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2 yrs ago
Current Going in a trip over the weekend. Will be back on Sunday, probably no RP posts until then
2 yrs ago
>That awkward moment when you learn the religious revival movement you were headin was actually a vehicle for a Lovecraftian Abomination masquerading as a God to jack your body and take over the world
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2 yrs ago
>That moment when you realize that you can only do fandom RPs because you're bad at original characters. This is what I get for never playing DnD
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"Hwaa....

The sen felt....good. Warm. Maybe a bit too warm actually. The glare from her window was growing to be annoying, earning a displeased groan as she slowly shifted to try and avoid it. which didn't work for the most part, until something moved in the way to obscure said sunlight.

Now that was weird. So was the sudden realization that she didn't feel like she was in her bed anymore. In fact, this felt like some kind of beach chair...

Eyes flickered open to find that she was, indeed not in her bed. Instead she was on the beach, and she had no idea how she had gotten here. At least the fact that she was quickly able to locate Kimble and several other Beacon girls with her was a good sign. It probably wasn't a kidnapping attempt, if it was then it was the strangest one she had ever seen. There were only a few other options she could think of, but deciding on one seemed like futile at this point.

"Of course I am," she assured Kimble as she rose to her feet, before leaning over to scratch behind the catgirl's ears. "That would be a pretty lackluster way to go out."

Now fully awake, she could take stock of the situation. They were on some kind of beach, there were several girls here, it was hot but it looked beautiful, and at some point along the way she had wound up in a swimsuit like everyone else. She wasn't sure the one piece was what she necessarily would have gone for at first choice, but 'choice' didn't seem like something they had right now.



She nodded in agreement with Sylvia's assessment as she took charge of the situation. Find out what was going on first, then address potential relaxation once they knew there was no threat. "Sounds good to me," she concurred as she joined the cluster of Beacon girls.

Following Sylvia's gaze to what she had noticed, reading the sign earning a small frown from the Seraph. "Well that's convenient," she noted before looking around at those present. "Well, if we feel like playing along it shouldn't be too hard to get there without getting wet. Penny has a boat and if that's not available, I'm sure we can figure out something anyway." For example, Summer's powers could get pretty ridiculous. Where there was a will, there was a way.
Currently waiting on Cap for Kearsarge, not sure what I should do if it ends up taking too long. Like I said, no shuttles :P


&



It was a sunny day outside, something that Alicia Hayden currently had the time to appreciate as she stood on the roof of Beacon’s HQ in Penrose. She was already transformed for what she would be doing very shortly, a state of affairs that gave her ample opportunity to feel the warmth of the sun as well as the gentle wind that ruffled her skirt and sent her hair swaying.

”Yeah, this is a good day. Perfect for a patrol,” she mused to herself with a light smile. Normally this was just the sort of thing that she had to do as part of her Beacon duties, but this patrol in particular was different from those in recent days. It would be her first with Janet and Jenna since they had unveiled their ‘White Coin’ invention, and she was looking forward to spending a bit of time with them.

She expected this would be a nice change of pace for them as well. They had been so busy in the past weeks with that invention and preparing it to be produced on a larger scale so Beacon could take advantage of it, that they might need some time out of a lab to take their mind off things. The sort of pressure they were under, even with Binky’s help she could imagine what it might be like.

It was just about time for their patrol to start, which was why she was on the roof. The twins would show sooner or later, and then they could get underway. Until then, she would relax and enjoy her day.

As predicted Janet and Jenna arrived not long after. Their absence hadn’t really been felt too much as they had still been active, presumably to not be MIA for a long period of time. One could count on their hands the number of people that knew what they had been up to for the last week. That did mean even more work for them though, keeping up with their normal duties and all. Thankfully a bulk of the White coin project was done and the restriction was time and less figuring out how to make it work. Letting out a relieved sigh Janet walked over to Alicia. ”Sorry we’re late. Trying to get back into the groove of things again.”

”it’s fine,” Alicia assured Janet as she turned to face the twins once alerted to their presence. ”There haven’t been any alerts recently, so it should just be a standard patrol. We’re slotted to head out east, around the Historic district out there.”

She would wait for them to transform before stepping over to the edge of the rooftop. Poised on the edge, Alicia glanced back over her shoulder at the duo. ” Now then, time to get going,” she said before hopping off to the nearest adjacent building in the direction of their patrol route.

Stepping off the edge of HQ the twins followed after Alicia. Despite all that had changed Alicia was still something of a mentor to the two. Being a magical girl was new enough but adding on everything else just made it even more confusing. This patrol would probably be one of the most normal things they’ve done in a while. ”Good, I could use a little break from the world ending.” Smirking slightly Jenna and her sister kept up as they crossed the cityscape of Penrose.

There was something that never got old about jumping from rooftop to rooftop, flying over the people below who would never know that you were there. It was as close as one could get to being a superhero, and in this case they kind of were. Just superheroes that everyone would forget about meeting afterwards.

The path was direct and straightforward, and Alicia led the way even as her companions kept up. She was more relaxed for now, though once they got on location they would need to be more alert for potential dangers. With Mariette and Regina and that new trouble squad, who knew if someone would try and take a shot at them.

“So, how have things been going?” she asked as they moved along, making sure her words could be heard at the same time. ”I hope you’re not too overworked and underpaid. Cause that sort of thing can really wear you down.” If it was, then she was more than willing to talk to someone about it. The well being of their sisters came first, no matter how important the White Coins were.

Skipping across the rooftops Janet responded first. ”Busy as you can imagine. I think things will start slowing down here soon. We got the process down so now it’s just refining everything so there’s not so much babysitting.”

Pulling alongside Jenna had to shake her head a bit. She wouldn’t put it so lightly but it wasn’t like anyone else could do it. ”Glad to be out here though for sure. I can only sit still for so long in that place.” Looking down she thought to herself how oblivious he had been to the fact that magical beings has been running all around him. Being brought into the fold as a magical girl was like having a spotlight blasted in your face revealing how blind they were.

”That’s good to hear.” Alicia was reassured by what they told her, and that she could be of some help even if it didn’t involve the more technical aspects of the project that they were embarked upon. Most of her expertise was in dealing with threats, not this sort of thing. Which was a shame, since the White Coins were ultimately the sort of endeavour that would really make a change in the world.

Thinking about it caused her smile to widen just a bit more. “Still, it’ll be nice when it’s finished and we can get this out there. It’s hard enough dealing with all the bad press we usually get. Maybe we’ll actually be able to change some people’s minds, if they don’t just think it’s some kind of trick.”. And though she didn’t want to be cynical, well, she had the sneaking suspicion that more than a few might think that way regardless.

”Can’t please everybody. But it’s always going to appeal more to those that don’t like the place they’re in now. Others are going to reject it either because they don’t want it or because it’s associated with Beacon. I do hope it spreads to other chapters though. Penrose can’t be the only place that could benefit” It would also help to avoid any other friction to what they were doing. Right now they were treading new ground and there wasn’t really a way to know how the rest of the organization would respond.

”True, but one can try.” Alicia let out a loud huff, before trying her best to push that out of mind. That was a good point raised, though she could only assume at least some of the chapters would hop on, if for the increased immunity to brainwashing and mind tricks and nothing else. That was relevant regardless of your attitude.

They drew near their destination at last, and she did her best to focus on the task at hand, rather than letting herself be troubled by her own darker thoughts,. This was important, and she needed her head in the game. Not off brooding on her problems.

Hopefully conversation might help with that. ”Anyway. So Jenna, have you had any luck in learning more about your magic since the last time we practiced together?

Being addressed Jenna perked up. ”Oh yeah, I think I know what’s going on.” She glanced off in the direction of the graveyard. ”I’m pretty sure I can copy other people’s power. It’s hard to explain but whenever I see someone use their power I can choose to use that same power. I’m pretty sure there is some kind of cooldown before I can switch again though which would explain why I couldn’t just copy your power during training.” Arriving in the Historic district the trio headed toward one of the taller buildings to get a vantage point. From their perch they could decide where to start their patrol.

Hearing that Jenna was getting a handle on things helped to distract from Alicia’s own worries, and she was glad for that. It meant that her intended approach was having the effect that she wanted it to, even if it might only be a short term reprieve when it came down to it. ”Good, I’m glad for you. That sounds like a neat ability, though it might be useful in some situations more than others.”

The trio ended up on top of an old clocktower, providing the height needed to survey the surrounding area. ”Alright, I think we’ll do a loop, kind of like this,” Alicia told her companions, tracing out the general path she wanted them to take with her finger on the city below. They might deviate a bit, just to check out possible disturbances, but on the whole that was the path they would take.

”Keep an eye out,” she added as they prepared to depart. ”With that whole ‘ruler of Penrose’ schtick from before Soth attacked, we want to be alert in case someone who works for Cindy tries to pick a fight.”

”Right.” Moving out they began their patrol. It meant less conversation, but since the battle against Soth the magical girls and boys in Penrose had spent a fair amount of time cleaning out the city of monsters. Didn’t mean they weren’t still around but they were in hiding.

After a while of a quiet patrol Janet struck up a question for Alicia. ”So we haven’t really had the chance to ask you much lately. How have you been doing?” It was a genuine question. Remembering back to the day they tested the White Coin Alicia had expressed some sense that she wasn’t really contributing much. It wasn’t a sentiment that Janet shared on the matter given everything that had been done for her.

Alicia led the way as they patrolled, moving on rooftops and occasionally ducking into alleyways as well as some buildings. They were on the lookout not just for monsters or dark magical girls or what have you, but signs that they had been there in the past, or that they would return. Knowing the territory a girl liked to run in was just as useful as meeting them face to face.

Fortunately, or not, the first part of the patrol was relatively uneventful. They picked up some signs of things that might be worth looking into, but there was nothing pressing going on. Which meant there was time for them to continue talking as well, at least a bit.

Slowling, Alicia flashed a smile towards Janet in turn. “I’m doing alright,” she responded swiftly. ”Just out fighting monsters, making new friends, trying to figure out how to track down the people who want to kill us, that sort of thing.” Though for someone who could read emotions, it would be obvious that there was more than she was letting on.

Humming to herself slightly Janet looked away for a moment before coming back. ”Mmm, no. I may not look it but I’m old enough to know that almost no one is just ‘doing alright’” Putting a hand on Alicia’s shoulder she slowed her down. ”Plus I’m not just going to forget the things you mentioned during our last meeting. We’re your friends, if you have something on your mind you should let us know.” Jenna returned from scoping out a small alley. While not 100% sure on what was going on, it didn’t take much to tell her that Janet was trying to talk things out.

Alicia made no effort to resist as she was slowed down by Janet, a huff escaping as she shot a rueful grin her friends way. ”Well, ‘alright’ is petty subjective so I guess we’ll have to disagree on how possible it is to just be doing alright.” Though she tried to counter the validity of Janet’s statement, she quickly realized that she probably wouldn’t walk away from this one. Not with magic powers involved.

There didn’t seem much point in lying about the reason either. They might not be able to tell if she was, but she didn’t see a reason to hurt her friends like that. ”I guess...I’m just feeling a bit useless,” she admitted, her shoulders sagging as the tension left them. ”I’ve been around for stuff basically my whole career, but I haven’t done anything that someone else couldn’t have done if they were in the same situation. That’s all.”

Mulling over the idea in her head for a while Jenna resumed walking. It was somewhat tricky to respond to that without sounding insensitive. Thinking back to her own experiences so far as a magical girl she could see how that could be felt. ”I wouldn’t say that we’ve really done anything that important until now. And even then it wasn’t because we are super smart or anything, it’s more like we cheated.” They couldn’t sit around too long so she got them to start moving again. ”Maybe it’s because of who I used to be, but being a magical girl has given me a second chance. Third if you count the trial. And I’ve been trying to find ways I could make up from the mistakes in my life. Maybe I never will, but after all the shots I’ve been given I owe it to Beacon and you to give it my best attempt. It’s not glamorous but it’s a lot better than where I used to be.” Perspective was something Janet and Jenna were blessed with. It wasn’t the only perspective but the one they had at least gave them some direction.

Seeing an opportunity to speak up Janet took it. ”Not everyone does what they do for the same reason. Redemption is kind of our motivator. I wish I could say it was for more altruistic reasons, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.” Looking at Jenna for a moment she added. ”I know the feeling though, I do. It’s one of the reasons I decided to use the Red Coin. I didn’t feel like I was having much impact. Hell I practically hurt more people than I helped. Was it the best idea? I don’t know. But I only have forward to move so....” The girl shrugged a bit. She wished she had better encouragement to give but it was something she struggled with as well.

”Haa, it sounds dumb when I complain to you,” Alicia observed with a sigh. ”You’ve gone through a whole lot worse than I probably ever will.” If there was someone she shouldn’t be expressing this sort of thing to, it was Janet. Not after what had happened with Justine.

She followed along as they resumed walking, keeping up as they moved at a slower pace now. ”I’m not sure what you mean by cheating at it, but you’ve done something that could dynamically change the entire magical girl community. And me? Well, it just feels like I was there, like that’s all I’ve ever done.”

With a small burst of magical energy her wings shimmered into existence, spreading wide enough that she could look back at them. “Like that Justine thing. I was there, sure, but I spent most of the actual assault frozen or useless without mana. I wasn’t even there for the actual final battle to save the world and all that stuff. But I ended up as a Seraph anyway. And I guess… I don’t feel like I earned it. It’s just hollow, like the Beckoners wanted to pretend we didn’t get caught with our pants down the entire crisis.”

She came to a stop at the edge of a rooftop, hand on her hip as she stood like a sentinel in the wind. ”That fight at the graveyard was the first time that I felt like I actually deserved to be a Seraph. And then there was that whole thing with Serenity and them thinking it was something I did, and that feeling was swept away.” Not that she blamed the others for that, not knowing any better. It was just frustrating for her to deal with when she compared herself to others. ”The Beckoners know what they’re doing, I’m sure. I just don’t see what they have planned, and I guess I’m stuck.”

An air of silence hung for a moment before Jenna spoke up. ”Have you asked them?”

”Eh, I’m not sure if that would really help. Maybe, but it's hard to say.” Admiring the wings for a bit Janet managed a smile. ”I see what you’re saying though. Getting attention that isn’t really something you did. Beacon was at a low point and I’m sure they knew that people need hope. You could provide that and it’s just gotten a little out of hand. I would talk with the Beckoners, not about the why, but about how you feel. I’m sure they didn’t mean to have this happen.” Stopping she faced Alicia directly. ” Although personally I think the title fits with what you’ve accomplished. Sure maybe it’s not for some super spectacular feat that just wows the masses but you’ve honestly been like a guardian angel for me. No one else in Beacon would have fought for me like you have. I really only have you to thank for that. I’m sorry I’ve never really expressed that to you. You mean the world to me and I owe you my life.”

”I blame having been a guy. Guys suck at expressing themselves. Or at least I did. Which is probably why…” Jenna trailed off from that though as she realized it didn’t really matter. They were having a moment and she jumped over and pulled the other two into a group hug. ”No matter what the others may think you are our Seraph.”

Glad that she had managed to convey just what she meant to express, Alicia averted her gaze when they suggested she just talk to the Beckoners about it. It was a simple solution, but one that she was just nervous to attempt. She didn’t want to disrupt things, or make it look like she wasn’t up to the responsibility they had placed upon her shoulders.

Still, she supposed she didn’t have much of an excuse, not anymore. Sometimes it took an outside perspective on things to really push you into action. “I guess I should. What’s the worst that could happen, going back to being a normal member of beacon like everyone else?” With her current state in mind, she couldn’t say the idea didn’t have a certain appeal to it.

But she was distracted that by being drawn into the sudden hug as the twins professed how they felt. Stiff for a few seconds, Alicia soon gave in, eyes watering without becoming tears as she bit at her lip to hold back. ”Thanks you two. I appreciate it. Really.” She was going to need a moment or two to recover from this before she could get underway again.

Glad to have gotten that out there the twins held the hug for a while before letting go and giving Alicia a chance to pull herself together. ”Don’t mention it. If you ever need someone to talk to just let us know. It’s the least we could do.”

”I’ll remember that,” the Seraph assured them as she took some deep breaths to get herself back under control after the impromptu emotional release. She brushed her hair back, straightened her clothes a bit, and calmed down before nodded to the duo. ”So, I think we should get back to that patrol, don’t you?”


&



&

Sylvia Starshine


First Step


It was early. The sun had only just risen over the horizon and most people were still asleep. Penny was wide awake though. Her lowered need for sleep was normally seen as a blessing, but for today it had given her several hours of silent contemplation of all the various ways that what she was about to do could go horribly, horribly wrong.

That hadn’t swayed her from her choice, running away from a problem never solved it, and tended to hurt the ones you ran from. So here she stood, on the Back porch of Alicia’s house, watching the sunrise waiting for Alicia to wake up.

With a yawn, Alicia awoke from her slumber. Her rest had been well enough, especially when one considered the night that had led into it. There were no nightmares to talk about, and she rose feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.

Glancing over, a frown appeared as she noticed that the bed next to hers was not occupied by Penny. Had she chosen to leave early? Had something happened? She trusted that she could take care of herself if there was some sort of difficulty, but that did not stop her from worrying to some degree.

At the very least it couldn’t hurt to check, she resolved, and with her mind made up she rose from her bed to do a sweep of the house. It was not difficult to locate Penny, standing on the back porch and staring at the rising sun. “Hey,” she said aloud, announcing her presence as she walked up to her friend, “Early morning routine?”

“Something like that” Penny would say as she turned to look at her friend with a half hearted smile “I haven't been able to sleep more than four hours a night since I joined the community. So I tend to be a early riser” She would explain with a shrug. She was mostly sure it didn’t have anything to do with her physiology as she had met some other magicals that also didn’t need as much sleep as normal and by this point it was another thing she had just gotten used too.

There was a pause as Penny fidgeted with something in her pocket “How about you? Waking up with the sun a personal habit or community focused?” she would ask as she turned back to watch the changing sky.

“Community focused,” Alicia assured her. She was still a bit tired, but that would be shaken off soon enough. “Well, that and when I woke up you weren’t in the room, so I figured I’d check and see if you had left.” That sleep thing sounded useful, and there were definitely times she wished she could do the same. But compared to everything else she wanted, that was a relatively minor desire.

Looking back out to the horizon, Alicia was comfortable in her own home. “Mom and Dad will be up soon. We can have breakfast then, unless you’re really hungry,” she offered after a few minutes of silence.

“I can wait for food” Penny would reply before taking a breath. “There is something I wanted to talk to you about regardless” she would say as she moved to sit against the house “It’s community related” she would added once again fiddling with something in her pocket “And it’s not something I’m proud of, but you deserve to know. And I didn’t want it to get sprung on you out of nowhere, ‘cause it almost did. It was stupid, a terrible idea and…” Penny forced a breath out through her teeth. She was rambling. The one nervous habit she always had.

“What I’m trying to say is I messed up, and I know that.” She said with a sigh of defeat, as she pulled whatever it was she had been fiddling with out of her pocket and held it in her hand as tightly as she could “And I’m sorry” she turned her hand over and slowly opened it. In the center of her hand lay a small piece of inky darkness. It was circular, perfectly smooth as well as flat. It was unmistakable to anyone who was part of the magical world.

It was a Black Coin.

Penny’s entire body was rigid with tension and her eyes were fixed on the rising sun as she awaited Alicia’s reaction.

For a moment Alicia didn’t comprehend what she saw. It was evident when she did, her body stiffening as her eyes widened. The almost desperate thought that this was a dream raced across her mind, a sign of her disbelief made manifest.

That couldn’t be,...

There was no way…

Yet it was, and her stiff body snapped into action as she scrambled backwards, staring at Penny with eyes that made no secret of her disbelief, and the hurt. There was no question of how, or of the time. There was only one thing she wanted to know, and that was: why? The fact that Penny had apologized didn’t matter, not with something this important. As a member of Beacon, she was acutely aware of what having that coin meant. And suddenly, things were making a lot more sense.

Just as quickly, the shutters came down in a glare. “Explanation. Now,” she said at last, words practically spat out in anger. “Or I swear to the Spark I will end this alliance right here, without hesitation.”

“He Who Brushes Away The Old, can’t be trusted,” she started softly; Alicia’s reaction hurt, but it was the best she could have hoped for. “And He has already called off the alliance, just didn’t bother telling anyone.”[/color] Penny’s voice was surprisingly even in light of the crime she was admitting too. One could almost trick themselves into thinking Penny was fine were it not for her shaking hands and softly glowing eyes.

“He...Doesn’t care. About anything other than change. Beacon is something he’s been targeting for a long time, but the Mint is just as much as a target for him.” She began, closing her hand to hide the coin from sight, but made no move to return it to her pocket. “He pointed a Broker in my direction, I don’t know when, but I met them the night of the gas station incident. I was worried, for Thalia,” her voice cracked as she said her lost friend’s name, and took a moment before pushing on, “and the potential fallout of her full transformation. Beacon hadn’t yet openly started to move away from their hard stance and I had fallen for her. It was a mistake, made worse by the fact she ran away once she woke up, but that one’s on me for assuming she trusted me.” Tears were silently running down Penny’s face as she spoke, but she kept her voice clear and her legs still. She would not run, no matter how much it hurt.

“I only met the Broker a few times, as she became my handler as well, but it was how I got the metal to build my extra limbs and a couple of other things. Mostly I kept them as far away as I could. Wanted to tell them to go to hell, but hard to do when your Patron says otherwise.” A useless shrug. The reason felt hollow to Penny, but it was the only one she had to offer. “Last time I saw them was just the other morning, I was following a lead, as one of the things I added to my debt was information that could possibly help me find Thalia, or at least find out what happened to her.”

“She, the handler, had a falling out with Mint. Don’t know what about, asked but didn’t get an answer. I had always assumed that few people knew about me in their organization, but Elroy made it sound like she told him, so any number of people could know. I decided that if anyone was going to tell you, it was going to be me, because at least this way you can get some closure rather than wondering.” The entire time she spoke she kept her gaze locked on the horizon. She didn’t want to face the hurt and betrayal that was almost certainly on Alicia’s face, the anger in her voice cut deep enough. “Once we're done here I’m planning on telling Sylvia. You deserved to know first though.”

Alicia was silent, her powers tapped as she listened to what Penny had to say. It was a good thing they were here, now. As a worse setting probably would have seen her already with her weapon drawn. All things considered she was being downright accommodating for someone who had just revealed themselves to be a member of the Mint. A different Beacon member probably would have gone straight to fighting, and skipped any attempted explanation.

As much as she hated to admit it, things did make some sense. How Penny had been acting recently, what had happened in the graveyard. The fact that Laat had already called off the alliance wasn’t even that much of a surprise. It was just another bad thing to happen to Beacon recently. They were just lucky that this had been revealed before they had been stabbed in the back (again).

She was silent, still, focused intently as Penny went about her explanation. She wanted to make sure that there was no lie, that she had not missed something important. She wanted to trust Penny, but after this revelation that she had missed so completely she couldn’t take the chance.

At least she knew the ‘when’ now, and the ‘why’. It didn’t make things easier, but it was useful. But she continued to focus on what was really important here. Sylvia would definitely want to know anyway, regardless of how this ended. “Why now?” she asked at last. “Clearly your patron didn’t approve of this, so why the sudden honesty?” If she just wanted to give an explanation to salve her conscience before they went back to being enemies, then that was fine, but Alicia had the feeling there was more to it than that.

“Because I’m tired, for one” Penny would answer after a few moments “Tired of Him using me for his deals, tired of lying by omission to you and Janet, tired of waiting for everything to blow up in my face.” It was the truth she had come to face at the graveyard, before she had stepped away from her humanity “I also don’t want my mistakes to condemn other monster girls again. The ones like Kimble, who don’t mean harm. They don’t deserve me tearing down their hope, with my idiocy, not when it’s still new.”

Penny stalled, as she debated for a moment, on whether or not to voice her last reason. It didn’t take long as shaking her head she knew she had too, any deception here no matter how small was to much to risk. “I’ve also started crushing on you, rather hard.” Penny finished softly not wanting to elaborate.

She felt sick, and resisted the urge to curl up. It was an ugly truth that most of Penny’s reasons were selfish. She had been forced to find a way to survive on her own ever since she had joined the magical community, but having actually spoken the reasons aloud she couldn’t escape how much she sounded like her parton, and she hated that association so much right now.

Once again Alicia fell silent as Penny explained what had brought about her change of attitude. Once again her powers worked, trying to discern if there was some sort of lie, but finding none beneath the reasons were understandable, especially since she knew that Penny had had problems with Laat from their past conversations.

The last thing said caused her eyes to widen in surprise yet again, and to stiffen. This was not exactly the best way to learn that someone had a crush on you, and now it just had to make things more complicated. A sigh escaped, her head bowing slightly. They would just have to talk about that later, when they had figured out what was even going to happen to Penny. It was too much to handle right now.

“Okay, I see,” she replied at last. She couldn’t let her feelings get in the way of her judgment. She just had to continue on. “What has the Mint had you do for them since you began to work for them?”

“Nothing really, I’ve been more of a scout really, sending off Information I’ve found. I tended to stick to pictures of Beckoners and defunct patrol routes, whatever was the least useful,” Penny answered with a grimace; she was never fully sure that she was feeding bad information or not. Never asked, to keep herself safe. “I’ve still got a backup of everything I’ve sent off and can give it to you later.”

Back In the house there would be the sounds of the parents getting up signaling they were running low on time to speak privately. Penny would finally break her gaze away from the horizon to glance at the house before looking to Alicia. Silently asking how she wanted to handle this.

There was some consolation in the fact that Penny had not given anyway anything particularly important, aside from perhaps the roster list from Beckoners. But they weren’t exactly a secret organization, so even that was not too big of a deal.

“Do that,” she agreed with Penny before glancing back into the house. They were almost out of time. “One last thing: I just need you to tell me that this was not your idea, and you did not want to harm Beacon. Those exact words, no deviation,” she told Penny. The answer was pretty clear already, but she needed to confirm it with her powers, for the sake of completeness.

Once that had been done she sighed, rising to her feet. “I believe you,” she told Penny. “Let’s go back inside, I need to arrange the meeting with Sylvia so we can handle this mess.” And she would do just that, heading inside and back up to her room. Once she was there she would fire off a text message on her phone.

To: Sylvia

We need to talk asap. Where/when can you meet?


That done, she returned to join the rest of the family for breakfast as she waited for a response.




Later during the day, Sylvia, Alicia and Penny were at a Chinese restaurant, the former having invited them over after they agreed on meeting up. Sylvia had that day off, with Sally working as her substitute, and she decided they would go eat something spicy.
“These spring rolls are delicious,” she commented with a smile, not seemingly having noticed the tension in the air between the latter two. “Especially after a job well done; we didn’t lose any civilians in that mess.” However, after she took another look at the two, her expression turned somber.
“...I figured this wasn’t a normal date; nobody asks to meet their boss for casual reasons. I can tell when something has happened. Well, what is it?” She asked with a raised eyebrow, having put her spring roll aside.

The Chinese restaurant was nice, and were the purpose of the meeting not so serious Alicia would have liked to have taken more time to enjoy it. As it was, it seemed like only Sylvia was able to enjoy herself when it came to the gravity of this situation. And that probably wouldn’t last.

As they at last turned to business, she took a deep breath before her gaze met that of her boss while her hands rested on the wooden lacquered table. “Right, it is,” she assured Sylvia. “As of this morning I’m dissolving the alliance between Beacon and Laat'AlOfan. Penny, tell her what you told me.” She gave a small nod in the direction of the girl next to her without looking at her. Not just yet anyway.

At the full use of Her Patron’s name Penny couldn’t help but flinch. He would be watching now, and she knew it, but it there was nothing she could do about that. Taking a deep breath she would once again reveal the Black Coin she had, and place it on the table. “He wasn’t content on having me work with just Beacon.” She would begin as she watched Sylvia. “He contacted the Mint and directed them to me. I don’t know when He spoke to them, but I was approached by a Broker a week before the assault on Justine’s castle. I was an Idiot,” She would tap the coin for emphasis “And since then I have been sending small, hopefully useless, packets of information to them about Beacon to work off the debt that I acquired due to His demands.”

“I’ve received little from the Mint, mostly hard to aquire supplies and information. Recently my contact with Mint has had a falling out with them, a few days ago. I don’t know what caused it, or why and I haven’t been contacted by anyone else from the Mint yet.” She would take a drink from her water before continuing as the next few words had the greatest chance of drawing Laat’s ire “I am tired of being used as a pawn in His schemes, and don’t want my stupidity to hurt the chances of other monster girls now that you have started moving away from a hard kill stance.”

The moment she was done speaking she could feel a droning static start to build in her head. He was annoyed at her choice of actions, but nothing more would come of it yet.

“...”

Contrary to what one might have expected, Sylvia didn’t seem to show any shock or surprise in her expression. In fact, it seemed as if she had expected it, or at the very least, went to great effort to conceal it on her part; whether it was intuition, or years of experience in her job, she immediately understood the gravitas of her confession. She glanced in Alicia’s direction, acknowledging her, before her gaze locked on to Penny. And then, she sighed heavily.

“...The God of Change, huh? What were they thinking?” She leaned back on her seat, having crossed her arms, and gave an angry glare at Penny. “Penny, do you understand the situation you are in right now?” She looked down at the Black Coin, and seemed to hold back from gritting her teeth. “Even mere possession of a Black Coin is grounds for elimination.” She averted her eyes. “But, it sounds like your Patron was the deciding factor in your betrayal. Ugh…”

She sighed again. “You know, the last time a traitor came to us asking for forgiveness, it turned into a disaster. The news of it leaked instantly, thanks to those damn spies the Penrose Independent had planted in our organization. This won’t be any different. In fact, it will turn worse; Beacon will lose all faith in the reformation, and we will regress back to the old ways.”

Her arms slumped down to her sides, and her eyes seemed to stare into space.
“...I still remember that day…” She suddenly spoke up.
“When I found you in the Overcity. You were a real pain in the butt to put back together, what with all your pieces lodged in the ice and whatnot. But there...I touched your heart.” She slowly placed one hand on the table.

“And what I felt...It was unlike any monster girl’s, and not because it was metallic; I felt a bright light in there, full of hope.” She lifted the hand to her own chest. “I still believe in that Penny, the one who fought to protect others, who risked her life for it. And for that reason...” She stood up from her seat. “I won’t order you eliminated. Nor will I hold a trial.” She placed both hands on the table. “However, In return, I will ask for one thing, and one thing only…” She took a deep breath.

“Forfeit your Patron...And join Beacon as a full member.”

Penny did not hide her surprise at Sylvia’s words, she had come here expecting much, much worse. Yet she could not help the brittle smile that formed on her face. She placed her hand over the Black Coin so there would be no chance of losing it. “I would have abandoned him and joined Beacon along time ago if I could” She declared sadly.

A moment later she would let out a hiss of pain as the droning static became piercing nails across her mind. “All who serve him directly are bound to him” she would continue through grit teeth “And he guards the secrets of freedom jealousy, willingly sabotages us as well so that we can’t break free of his grasp.” As she continued to speak, things would start to break all around them. Glasses would crack and plates would split. Even the table between them would groan as it started to warp.

Meanwhile Penny could feel the Monster within her trying to stir. Her body started to itch and her skin would feel too tight. Her emotions would start to dull, some on the verge of shutting down. All the while the sharp static pain would start to throb as if someone was hammering the nails in deeper. “If…” Words hurt to form and the desire for freedom was slowly fading “...You can help me…” She was looking at Alicia now, Penny couldn’t remember turning to look at her “...I’m yours.”

Sylvia’s gaze turned more stern as Penny struggled with the destructive influence Laat had on her, and bit the corner of her lip as she saw how as she attempted to resist the urge, her presence alone was enough to dismantle the dishes. She wrapped her hand around the one holding the Black Coin, holding it firmly as she looked her deep in the eye with compassionate eyes. “I know a way. It will be risky, and there is a chance you might die...But you can be freed from your curse.”

Silently listening to the conversation, things were going much better than Alicia had feared that they might. She hadn’t even needed to try and persuade Sylvia, with both of them knowing the challenges that this represented. It was a whole different business from what had happened with Janet, because the Mint was a whole different beast. And too rapid change would destroy everything.

But it seemed they were going forwards with this, and she was pleased to find Penny fully willing to join them. Not that she was particularly surprised by that either, but for some time it had felt like nothing was truly certain any more. Not that Laat approved, if the rising commotion in the diner was any indication of his feelings.

Meeting Penny’s pained eyes, Alicia smiled warmly as she took her friend’s other hand, mind already catching on to what Sylvia had in mind. If she thought that it could work, then who was she to doubt the plan? “Well, it’s not like you have any better options,” she noted aloud, giving her hand a soft squeeze. “I’ll be with you the whole time.”

Penny held the warm gaze coming from Alicia. Willing herself to get lost in the other girls' eyes, stoking what little emotion she could to stave the other side of her existence off. She would nod slowly as determination would crystalize within her. She would turn to Sylvia. “I’ll…” the world would nearly dissolve in to static as pain blindsided her.

For a moment her world narrowed down to pain and a nearly overwhelming desire to rampage, her cursed mind being kicked into overdrive by a vindictive God, but the contact with Alicia and Sylvia helped in grounding her. Allowing her to focus on the savage, human, glee she felt at truly pissing off Laat. “Do... It” it was hard to say if it was a continuation or a demand as her voice crackled with static and the rate of of wanton destruction would increase.

It was easy to see her disguise was barely being held together. Her eyes were glowing ominously and most of the color had drained away from her skin and hair. Additionally her gaze would flicker back and forth between a vacant stare and a baleful glare. Penny had otherwise fallen unresponsive, though oddly compliant. She would follow if one of them pulled her along and would generally stay where she was if left alone.

She was placing her life in their hands. Hoping that her trust would be rewarded.


&



(Plus some Beckoner)


It had been a busy day today. A big fight and saving the world from a Horror, a party, training, and making new allies. Yet for Alicia the day had not yet concluded as she found herself downtown. She was here for another meeting, one which was a bit more ambiguous than the one she had had earlier in the day. Katarina had been up front about wanting a partnership. But this Rebecca? Just needing help was a lot more broad.

At the moment she was loitering a bit, idly pacing around near one of those cardboard cutouts that they used to advertise movies. Her chosen location for this meeting had been an art house, one of those places that showed avante garde and indie films in addition to the blockbuster hits. It wasn’t the busiest place most of the time, but if you knew how to position yourself right then you could have a conversation somewhat masked by one of the movies playing in the theater. Not that it would make a difference to a determined magical girl, but she was at least making an effort.That had to count for something, right?

Her gaze drifted, sweeping across people as they walked by whilst wondering just who would end up approaching to speak with her. They had set a time and place, and she was at the place and it was almost time. “When did I become Beacon’s diplomat?” she muttered to herself with some amusement. It felt like she had done more talking than smiting darkness recently, world ending Horror aside.

Still, she could afford to be a bit patient, especially for someone who said they needed help. “Fifteen minutes? That sounds good.” Alicia checked her phone to make sure of the time, just in case she was off. Which she was not. Well, she’d give Rebecca this, to a reasonable amount. And if it was a trap after all, well, that was just going to be really unfortunate.

Some seven minutes passed before the presumed girl in question arrived. Rebecca had spent the time checking, double, triple, the exact location, ensuring without a shadow of doubt that it was the correct place. For one of the first times in her life, Rebecca wanted to be no part of the engagement - to run somewhere far away, where she would neither have to meet with Beacon agents and The Boss. The recent complications had made it all the worse. In the hours prior, she had returned to the apartment shared with Charlotte, to find privacy for privacy's sake, and to figure out just what would happen from this moment forth.

From the doors into the lobby of the theatre stepped Rebecca, already transformed. The white of her uniform, and the formality of such a thing, laid bare a stark contrast to the patrons of the establishment. Awkwardly, Rebecca thumbed with her Soul Jar, and the brown orange locks that fell over her epaulettes, casting a cautionary, and anxiety riddled gaze over the scene. Without backup, entering into hostile territory, and without her weapons at hand, her expression was that of fear. And yet it didn’t dull her sense. Every look was a full body scan, every glance was an observation - be it the nerves, or a subconscious mechanism.

With a white gloved hand, she reached into a side pocket, and removed a touch screen device, outside the standard issue of The Penrose Independent. It was new, free from any bugs or tracking devices. In the hours prior, Rebecca had gone through, meticulously, everything she owned, leaving nothing to be linked back to the Independent more than identifying her as a person being tracked. She reread her notes, checked the time, and replaced the thing. This wasn’t the first possibly dangerous meeting she had been on, Rebecca thought, though it barely helped. So she resigned herself to the fear, and took point in an obvious location. Any human would mistake her for a lost cosplayer, but a Magical Girl would easily make the distinction. It was simply a matter of waiting.

It wasn’t all that hard to identify who she was looking for when the time came. A transformed state that made one look like a cosplayer tended to stand out, at least outside of conventions. That was undoubtedly what the other patrons thought she was, but Alicia knew better than that. After all, they were both magical girls.

She watched her a bit, sizing up the girl that she was supposed to meet, and making sure that everything felt right. There was a lot of anxiety radiating off of the girl, which fit with her attempt to acquire help.She was probably easier to satisfy that there wasn’t an ambush planned than Rebecca was though such things weren’t really Beacon’s style anyway. Not that that discounted a third party, but that was the risk one would have to take.

Stepping away from her position against the wall and near the cardboard figure, Alicia waved as she walked over to the white uniform clad girl. “So, you must be Rebecca,” she said once close, offering a hand to shake. “Glad to see you could make it. Though I figured you’d want to be a more circumspect.” Not that she minded, it was merely an observation.

Although she knew what to expect, Rebecca still eyed the girl with unabashed caution. She wanted to take the untransformed state as a sign of amnesty, that Alicia giving away the upper hand so easily was enough to trust her and the situation. But Rebecca had been taught better than that, for better or for worse. Her eyes trained Alicia for every step she was worth, a year of rigorous training crossing her mind in an instant. If she wanted to live, a fuck up was less than unacceptable.

”Aye, tha’s, tha’s me,” Rebecca replied, removing the rightmost glove to take Alicia’s hand. ”Durability’s me best attribute, so… y’know, bein’ Transformed. Ah’m fuckin’ nervous, aight? - this isn’t, this… shite, ah’m sorry ‘bout this, ah need you’s lots help, ah don’t ‘ave a choice. D’you’s ‘ave anywhere more private to talk or anything?”

Wow, that was an accent. Alicia had to take a second to mentally parse things, glad that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. After a moment she shrugged, accepting the explanation at face value. “Fair enough.” She’d probably do the same thing if she was as nervous as Rebecca appeared to be.

As for her request, that could be arranged. “Sure. Follow me.” She led Rebecca over to an elevator, which would take them to the second floor. There was a small lobby area there, meant to allow handicapped persons to get to the top of the big theaters. Because of that people didn’t usually go up here. She only knew about it because she’d worked part time here some time ago, so she knew the layout.

Upon arrival Alicia walked over to a locked door, entering the code on a keypad and admitting them into the crew break room. Fortunately the code hadn’t been changed since she worked here. At the moment the room was empty, and it would probably stay that way for at least a bit. Good enough for what they intended to do at least.

Closing the door behind them, she then turned to face the other girl, relaxed and ready to get down to business. “So, what’s this all about then? What kind of trouble are you in?”

Another cautionary glance was cast about the outside, as Rebecca entered into the break room, and then a third once within. For the moment, the plan had gone smoothly. But she lacked the wherewithal to continue, Rebecca realised. This kind of work was more in line with Christine and The Boss’s expertise - espionage was the least bit her talent. Anxiety had left her balance unsteady, and a headache drastically different from the one at the graveyard wracked her stressed brain. For a moment, there was silence, as Rebecca dragged herself to a nearby chair.

”Before, uh… anythin’, ah should get this outta’ the way,” Rebecca began, and summed elsewhere a weapon: the Odachi, its sheath still clung to the blade. She reached to the side, and placed it on a nearby table. ”Ah was at the graveyard, fought that, uh… Abigail. Ah got caught in this, ah dunno, explosion ah guess. Ah think it was, like, mana or some shite. But… Ah know you’s don’t like Dark Magical Girls, but, ah think ah might’ve been corrupted. Just… thought you’s should know.”

Alicia’s gaze narrowed for a moment, examining Rebecca more closely as she admitted to what had happened to her at the graveyard fight. However, after a moment she seemed to relax. “We’re trying to judge people for their actions rather than their nature these days, and if you’ve been a dark magical girl for all of half a day then I doubt that’s something to worry about. But ultimately it depends on what kind of help you need,” Alicia decided. This was new ground to some extent, and while she was willing to hear her out, she didn’t want to make promises.

”Ah… ah need ta’ ask you two things,” Rebecca replied, shifting somewhat more uncomfortably in her chair at the sight of Alicia’s glare. ”First, see… Ah know some people. Ah dunno really much about ‘em, but ah guess they’re, like, human Mages or somethin’? Call ‘emselves Runners - definitely aint Magical Girls. But… they’re gettin’ killed cause that magical protection wish that was made a few week back ain’t protecting ‘em. They asked me ta’, well, pass the message onta’ Beacon, see if they’d be willin’ to help at all.”

The second request came with more difficulty to the girl. Without exception, Rebecca knew it would test her mettle. For one of the few times in her life, she was scared of something - and rightly so, with the cleansing fangs of Beacon glaring down upon her in the form of their Seraph. The meeting would be off if Alicia smelt even a hint of a lie. Rebecca’s hand balled into a fist, her knuckles growing pale under her stark white gloves, and her foot drummed nervously against the floor of the break room.

”Second,” she began, ”The Penrose Independent ‘as this suspension program. When you’s fuck up a story too badly, they send you on somethin’ they’s call ‘training’. M’ah sister - Twin Soul, whatever - got put on it a few weeks back… she’s alive, but I canne find her. Ah don’t even think she’s in Penrose anymore. We’s joined up to try and ‘elp some people, but… ah dunno if she’s safe, ah’ve been threatened with the same thing recently. Please, contact your Beckoners or… somethin’, I need to join Beacon. Ah might be able to help some people, an’ find me sister, an’ ah won’t have to worry so hard ‘bout fucking things up.”

Alicia was quiet as she followed along with what Rebecca wanted to say. “Okay,” she said to the first request. This was new to her, but since Beacon’s job was to protect people anyway it didn’t seem like it was far out of their wheelhouse. “I’ll see if we can set something up to help there.” She was sure that Sylvia would be willing to at least give it a shot, even with all the other distractions they had on their plate. But Rebecca probably understood that anyway.

An eyebrow rose as they turned to the second, and much more important request. It was possible, though it wouldn’t be easy. But if Rebecca really wanted to try, and she seemed sincere in her belief, then there didn’t seem to be a reason to disagree.

She caught herself before agreeing though, curiosity sparked as she scratched an itch on her cheek. “That seems awfully grim for a news agency,” she noted aloud, a hand coming to rest upon her hip as she sought to appease her curiosity with what had been relayed. “Is the place a front for the Ebon Mint or something?”

”Not that ah’m aware of,” Rebecca chuckled, somewhat nervously. Though the initial anxiety remained, she appeared to have settled into the conversation a bit more - her foot tapping less and less for every second that passed since Alicia had agreed to the first request. ”Ah canne say ah know what the training’s about… Hell, it might just be training, but… Ah don’t trust em’. Not with mine or me sister’s life.”

Alicia could hardly blame Rebecca for feeling that way. After everything that had happened to her, she would go to great lengths for any of her sisters too. She was more concerned by the Mint being behind this, but it looked like it was just a company with shady business practices. Still bad, but a lot easier to deal with than something as pervasive as the Mint.

“Alright.” She took a few steps closer to Rebecca, firm without being confrontational. But this was serious stuff, not something to be taken lightly. “At this point a dark magical girl joining Beacon is a bit too out there for most of the common members to accept.” Even she wasn’t sure whether she was ready to accept it, without time to get to know a DMG like she had with Penny.

She continued that train of thought fairly quickly. “That leaves us with two options. Either you stay on your own and I’ll try to assist you in finding your sister on the side as best I can. Or you’re going to have to let Beacon go through with purifying the magical corruption, and then we can begin the membership process.” She had a suspicion as to what Rebecca would choose, but she wanted to offer some options anyway.

”Um,” Rebecca started, fidgeting on the spot at the idea of purification. There was no lie she could tell - being a Dark Magical Girl didn’t suit her, nor did the migraines that seemed to accompany it. The prospect was a frightening one, placing her life in the hands of the people she was actively deceiving. Even though it was her second objective, being away from the Independent, and outside The Boss’s orders appealed highly. It felt correct. And more importantly, it satisfied Rebecca’s mission parameters. ”Could you’s… tell me what’ll ‘appen to me durin’ it? Wha’does “purification” even entail?”

Uncertainty was to be expected in a situation like this. The purification process was something that didn’t tend to get much attention, mostly because of the restrictions on it and because of their reputation. But with it the subject now, she was more than willing to discuss it.

“Purification is a fairly simple process,” Alicia explained, remaining in place in a slightly more relaxed stance. “You’ll be placed inside of a magic circle, where a complex ritual is formed that lasts for ten minutes. If you leave the circle, the ritual fails. Usually this happens by consent, or because we’ve managed to incapacitate the magical girl beforehand. Given how difficult that tends to be, that’s why Beacon is more likely to go for a short term permanent solution to the problem.” If Rebecca was willing, then this wouldn’t be an issue in the slightest.

Having explained the method, she addressed the other facet of the question. “Essentially, Purification uses the power of the Spark to attune your magic and remove dark magical energy. Monster girls are returned to normal, mental mutations are healed, That sort of thing. The only side effect, from what I’ve observed, is that any physical changes tend to linger beyond their original form. Which doesn’t seem like it should be a problem for you.”

Rebecca gave an understanding nod. Her eyes drifted over to the weapon, the Odachi that had she had just recently obtained. Under no reasonable circumstance was Rebecca willing to draw it, but ‘reasonable’ as a Magical Girl was few and far between. If it came down to the wire and there were no other options, Rebecca wanted it with her. ”Any idea’s what’ll ‘appen to me new sword? Guess it’ll vanish with the magical energy, huh.”

Following her gaze to the sword, Alicia could only shrug. “I don’t know, for sure. It tends to depend on how connected it was to your magical overload,” she admitted. They would only find out for sure once it had been completed.

”Aight…” Rebecca sighed. Her left hand reached to her own head, and ran through her hair, as she leant back into the seat. ”I canne say ah’m too excited ‘bout going into somethin’ kinda vague like this, but… ah’ll do it. This ain’t what ah wanna be, an’ the headache hurts like a bitch too. Aye, ah’ll do it.”

“It’s magic, we try to figure out what we can,” Alicia explained with a shrug. At least things had gone in the direction that she expected they would, and Rebecca soon agreed with her proposal.

Nodding in approval, she moved on to the actual details of what they needed to do. “Alright, well, I can tell the Beckoners. Would you prefer to do this now? Because I can get them to set a date for the next couple days or so and relay it to you, if that works better.” She wasn’t sure how Rebecca’s current mood would influence how they went about this, so best to leave it up to her.

Alicia was right. Magic at its best was a crapshoot, and relevant information about it was at worst impossible to make sense of. Half the things in the world didn’t make sense, and the other half were inconsequential - Rebecca vaguely remembered The Boss mentioning something similar. Regardless of what Rebecca understood, there was always more complexities she didn’t understand. ”Ah’d, uh… ah’d prefer sooner rather than later. Quicker ah get purified, the better, ah’d say. Whenever you’s can fit me in, ah guess?” Rebecca laughed - an uncertain chuckle, disjointed from her actions, and marred in anxiety. ”Jus’ gimme a call, an’ ah’ll be there. Really, thank you’s for this. Mean’s a lot.”

“Of course, I’ll do that,” Alicia agreed, taking a step off to the side. It seemed they were about done here, at least for now. But they would definitely be seeing each other in the near future (if nothing happened to Rebecca in the short term). “Beacon is always willing to help those in need, if they’re willing to accept it. So I’ll be in touch once I’ve gotten things worked out with the Beckoners..” If there was anything else Rebecca wanted to add, she was free to do so. Otherwise Alicia wasn’t going to stop her from leaving as their meeting came to an end.

”Yeah, please. Guess ah’ll, uh, see you’s around?” Rebecca replied awkwardly, and stood up from her chair. Her fingers brushed gently across the wooden sheath of the weapon, and it vanished from sight, while she continued on to the door. Before Rebecca left, and as something of an afterthought, she turned back. Bravaan would have her head for abandoning him as a Patron in favour of Beacon, but his wrath would be all the more if she neglected her rites. Arms to the side, and rigid in body, Rebecca bowed in Alicia direction, and quickly took off in slight embarrassment.

“See you soon,” Alicia agreed with a wave as Rebecca departed. She waited until the girl had departed and the door had swung closed, giving it a good five count just to make sure she didn’t come back for some reason or other. Only then did she let out a sigh, shaking her head. Well, that had definitely not been what she was expecting from this meeting.

But hers was not the only opinion that mattered, and now it was time to take stock of the meeting. ”So, what do you think,” she asked, leaning against the table as the Beckoner who had been observing appeared. “She wasn’t lying, but that’s not infallible. Are we going to go through with this?”

“We will, for it is the path you have been fated to walk.” The Beckoner, resembling a red panda, scratched the table with its tiny claws. “Archangel, only you can pave the way for mankind’s hope, every good deed a stone to step on. Stay vigilant, and may the light of Beacon guide you.”

The Beckoner then vanished, as they were wont to do. But that day, Alicia could feel a bit more proud than usual.

@Vocab[@Armiamis]
Alicia Hayden & Penny Asimov @Shifter_Master & Katarina Nekrasova @Rune_Alchemist & Amaryllis Evenings @ERode


The Virtuous Pie, Afternoon of the Graveyard Fight

Half an hour later, and Amaryllis was beginning to realize that she may have come too early. Dressed in her usual low-profile combo of cosmetic glasses, a ribbed sweater, sweatpants, and sneakers, she sat hunched inside a booth at Virtuous Pie, a supposedly ‘high fast casual’ pizzeria and parlor that specialized in vegan foods. It was a bit nerve-wracking, telling the waitress that she’d need a table for a party of four, when she was only one, and now, sitting there, Amaryllis could practically feel the judgment of everyone else in the room. Nervous sweat began to bead on her forehead as she tried to make herself as small as possible.

Too eager, way too eager. And what if they all suddenly had to take a rain check? What if Rina meant a different place? Oh god, would she be able to leave with just ordering water here before scuttling off somewhere else? Amaryllis chewed the inside of her lip, ignoring the half-hearted murderous impulses of her Sword. She should have taken a longer shower. She didn’t still smell, did she? With all the grace of an elephant, the devastatingly beautiful girl stealthily took a whiff of the crook of her elbow, only to lament that she couldn’t smell anything at all.

Those fashion magazines always said, after all, that people were naturally accustomed to their own body odors, so weren’t actually capable of telling if they smell bad or not.

Amaryllis wormed further into herself, wondering briefly if it wasn’t too to pretend to take a call, walk out the pizzeria, and just run all the way back home in shame. How many more times would the waitress come by to offer to fill up her glass of water while subtly nudging her towards actually ordering pizza or ice cream? Amaryllis didn’t know, but she also didn’t want to be a glutton and order food for herself before anyone else arrived. Except if she didn’t, she’d just be a loiterer.

Gosh, what a hellish scenario.

“Yo, Shakespeare.” Before Amaryllis could slip further into a spiraling descent of anxiety, there was a friendly slap on her shoulder as Rina walked up and waving down the waitress. “Chocolate milk.” Sliding into the booth across from Amaryllis, Rina leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table.

She wouldn't mention her nervously fidgeting outside for five minutes and her brief panic over possibly having to be the first one here.

And now there was another problem.

What to talk about now? Saving the world? That felt crass. The weather? That was just lame. Plans for next horror encounter? No this was a victory celebration. Normal people didn't spend their entire time planning for the next world ending disaster. Something more personal? Amaryllis was pretty beat looking when they left the graveyard.

“You look good.” Rina blinked. “Uh I mean, y'know, since the graveyard and stuff.”

“Uh, yeah, you do too,” Amaryllis managed to squeak out, after only barely suppressing a yelp of surprise. “Did t-”

Penny would be the next one to arrive, or at least the next one to enter the restaurant. Dressed in her usual baggy outfit.

She had been the first one to get here but had chosen to wait on a rooftop across the street for others to show before venturing inside herself. Mainly it was because she was the only one with a hard time limit. Partly it was fun watching people be nervous when nothing serious was going on, but that might just be her hanging out with Chloe too often.

“Hey you two,” Penny would say in greetings as she slid into the booth seat next to Rina before she too waived down the waitress to order her drink “Get me the biggest, fizziest, drink you can.”

The waitress, who stopped by as Penny settled in, wrote up the orders on a big notepad. “Ultra-fizzy, extra-titanic drink, coming right up!” She cheerfully responded. “Anything else?”

“Like the restaurant choice, never been before.”

”It’s a nice place, yeah,” Amaryllis said, sipping on her own glass of water. “Um, so, should we order now, or?”

Alicia was the last to enter the building, following closely on Penny’s heels. She’d had some business to take care of, reporting back to her superiors in Beacon and stuff like that, but now she was ready to kick back and take off some of the load. She had switched to an orange shirt with little floral patterns on it, but otherwise it was the sort of outfit that she usually wore.

Quickly identifying the trio, she slid into the last spot in the booth next to Amaryllis. “Looks like the gang’s all here. At least for this size of table anyway.” She wasn’t entirely sure that other people wouldn’t show up, but if they were going to she didn’t know about it.

“I’ll have a Sprite,” she told the waitress before reaching over to snag one of the menus that were laying on the table between them all. “So, are we all getting our own personal pan things, or is there a topping we all have in common?” She hadn’t been to this place before, so she was going to need a moment or two to see what they had available that she might want.

“Well since it seems like everyone's here,” Rina leaned back in the booth, one foot resting on her other knee. “I'll have - uh.” Wait no. Would people think that was weird. Most people would right? Most people consider it weird. “-I'll eat anything so you guys get whatever.”

Penny raised an eyebrow at Rina at the odd stumble but shrugged it off “I’m pretty sure that I’ll have a paycheck when I get home, so I’m willing to splurge. Thinking we get an extra, extra, large to split and a sundae each?” She would offer as she also grabbed a menu to look over the options. “We can go half and half on the pizza in case someone wants something odd like…” She stalled for a moment trying to think of something she wouldn’t eat on a pizza anymore, and came to the bemused realization that she would eat just about anything now “...Anchovies?” her uncertainty was obvious.

Amaryllis shuffled to the side as Alicia sat by her, pressing herself against the wall so that neither of them had to make physical contact with the other. “Um, it’s…” Amaryllis mumbled, finding it difficult to find the right words.

At that moment, the waitress opened the menu she was holding in her arms; she seemed to uncannily sense Amaryllis’ hesitation.
“Our handcrafted pizzas are made entirely in-house! This includes our artisanal nut based cheeses and our three-day dough that is hand stretched for the best tasting plant-based pizzas! Also, all pizzas are sized at 10 inches for an individual portion! I would recommend the cheese pizza with olives; that combo is simply the best.”

“But...we can share anyways, I guess? They have stuff like...chickpea curry pizza and this thing called, ultraviolet. Like, if we’re here, we might as well try something we can’t get from Pizza Hut…” But wait, it was reasonable to just go with safe choices too. Not like magical girls get paid for saving the world and all. Amaryllis had a good ten thousand dollars she converted into decently well-performing stocks, but maybe others were just more austere about it? “There’s margherita too, if you don’t want anything too...uh, out there?”

Leaning forward just a bit so she could eye the text on the menu, there was a small rush of embarrassment on Alicia’s part. “Oh, I see.” But it was something she fairly quickly moved past, what with it being her first time here. At least they had settled that before they had the food right in front of them.

Turning back to the menu in her own hands, she scanned the items before settling on one in particular. “I think I’ll have the Calabrese. That seems good. If we’re trying different from the Pizza Hut norm, then getting something with a bit of a kick to it should fit right in.”

“Huh...” Penny read that bit of text herself before shrugging it off “In that case I’ll take a Chorizo and Artichoke with extra everything.” Silently agreeing with Alicia’s assessment of getting something with some kick.

Taking a look at the menu, Rina was a bit unimpressed. In fact, almost none of the items here seemed like stuff she was used too. Rina began sweating as she looked at the menu. Guess this is what she should have expected from a vegetarian in-human lizard people establishment. She didn't even know what half of these ingredients on this list was.

“...I'll take the Harvest.” Rina replied simply.

The waitress silently wrote up the various orders as they came in, her bubbly personality showing from her repeating the orders. “...One Calabrese, and one Harvest. Wow, you girls sure are having a party today! Just wait a teensy tiny moment. Have fun!” And with that, she quickly turned and left for the kitchen, her long blonde hair fluttering behind her.

“Oh, uh…”

But before Amaryllis could get her own order out, the waitress had already headed off to the kitchen. Her raised hand dropped back down to the table. That was fine, she guessed. The place looked busy anyways. She could order once the waitress came back. Yup, that was the way to do it.

“So…” the buxom teen said instead, “Are you all working? Or still in school?”

“Ha, used to work. I actually was a police officer for Penrose until...two or three years ago?” Rina replied dismissively. “Kinda tough to get a job when you look like this.”

Alicia didn’t notice until the waitress had left that Amaryllis had not had the chance to order. Which seemed pretty rude, not something she would have expected. Her tip would mirror her displeasure when the night was over, that was for sure. But she tried to move past that, since an issue had not been made of it.

“Same,” she agreed with a nod towards Katarina. “Used to work part time, but now I’m back at school. With a lot more to worry about than student debt this time.” She finished with a pained grin, confident that at least some of the others probably understood her pain.

“Neither for me at the moment, very tricky to maintain either when you can only be human for about four hours a day.” Penny would answer picking apart her napkin absently. She had noticed that an order had been missed but thought that Amaryllis might have placed an order and just had them put it on hold while she waited for the rest of them. “I used to work on developing new hardware and software before my abduction into the community, and was gladly out of school.”

The waitress soon returned with a basket of bread and the ordered drinks set on a tray, and placed the items on the table. “Here you go: one ultra-fizzy, extra-titanic drink, one Sprite, and water. The bread’s on the house.” As she carefully placed the basket to the side of Amaryllis, her eyes widened. “Gahh! I forgot to take your order! I’m sorry!” She bowed at a 90-degree angle. “I was a bit too excited, since you girls...Oh well. Can I take your order, miss?” She looked like she corrected her words at the last minute, and slightly blushed from the embarrassment of facing up to the mistake she made.

Penny narrowed her eyes at the last moment change of words from their waitress, but chose to try out whatever concoction she had ended up ordering instead.

“Oh, no, no,” Amaryllis shook her head, now feeling totally awkward about the bowing and the apologizing. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it, I didn’t know what I was getting anyways, so, uh...don’t feel bad about it. I’ll go for…Stranger Wings. Thanks.”

“A Stranger Wings, got it!” The waitress replied after jotting it down, and once again left. However, this time she nearly inaudibly whispered: “Geez, I got distracted...”

She was strong enough to eat spicy food like that, wasn’t she? Probably. Turning back to her companions, the bespectacled youth nodded, recalling all that they said. Rina was a police officer, that was super cool. Penny was in computer science and that was cool too. Alicia was a part-timer, but considering the trend of ‘your past profession somehow fits your present self’, Amaryllis wouldn’t have been surprised if the Star Seraph worked at a laser tag place or something. “Oh, I go to a vocational college myself. You guys, uh, heard of Penrose Technical? My backpack came with the documents that let me get in, so I’m sorta doing metalwork and all…”

“Oh, and, Penny, if you don’t mind me asking...what do you mean by the, um...four hours of human thing? Does your Patron have you set for monster hunting for the other twenty hours, or?”

“Nothing like that unfortunately,” Penny would reply snagging breadsticks from the basket, content with her drink choice. “Laat has some odd rites for sure but that’s not one of them Thankfully. No, it’s trying to maintain this disguise for more than four hours a day tends to fray my temper and is generally very uncomfortable” She would explain gesturing at herself as she spoke ”As it’s sort of like trying to act normally while also flexing all of your muscles at once in addition to being wrapped up in an outfit a half size too small. So long as I don’t push it to the point it falls apart, I can take about an hour break and reapply it for another couple of hours but I think that has more to do with my regeneration than anything.”

“One of the joys of being a Monstergirl” She add sarcastically before shrugging and taking a bite of her breadstick.

“Oh wow,” Amaryllis said, shaking her head. “That, wow, sorry to hear that.” Her Sword sounded vaguely the same way, but at least she was still physically human at the end of the day. “Yeah, huh, that’s definitely not...fun.”

“That's rough.” Rina replied to both Penny and Alicia. “Whoever this Laat is sounds like a real piece of work.” Rina leaned on the table. “Suppose that’s is one of the reasons I'm glad I don't have one. I'm not really all that great at following orders from people, hah.” She shifted her gaze to the side, chuckling nervously. “...though having some support every now and then would be nice.”

Alicia nodded along as Penny explained the difficulties caused by her patron. It wasn’t anything she didn’t know already, so she took the occasional sip from her drink as the others chatted. Nonetheless, she at least tried to pay some attention rather than examining the decor of the restaurant at the expense of the other girls here.

The mention of support drew her attention back, and she left her drink alone as her clasped hands came to rest on the table. “That’s one of the reasons we’re here right now,” she noted aloud. “Didn’t have much time to chat about that partnership you wanted before the cops showed up, and I’m not sure any of us were in a good mood to do so after the end of the world thing.”

A rueful grimace accompanied that statement, her mind flashing back to Regina’s escape before she dismissed it. She needed to focus on the here and now, not what she couldn’t change. “So, I guess if you’ve got some sort of pitch for this partnership now would be the time.”

Amaryllis perked up, eyes widening slightly. “P-partnership?”

The waitress’ return seemed to be perfect comedic timing on her part, as she slightly giggled upon hearing Amaryllis while pushing a small cart with two trays loaded inside it. “Sorry for intruding, but your orders are ready!” She took the plates out and placed them before the four customers. “Bonus Appetitos!”

“Oh, uh, yea.” Rina grabbed her pizza from the waitress, waving briefly at her before addressing Alicia. “Nothing huge. Just thought about potentially working with beacon.” She cast a glance over to the Beacon girl with a mild frown. “...I'ma just straight up say I've never liked Beacon much. You all do good work, but sometimes I think you guys may be a bit...harsh. Not sure my ideals and yours mesh well.” She glanced over to Penny. “So while I don't think I could join you guys in full...I dunno, is there a temporary position or something?” Not much of a pitch in hindsight, but she'd rather be honest than try to oversell herself “...sorry if this seems a little awkward but after Penny told me you guys let her in I thought maybe you guys might be becoming a bit more...open.”

“Thank you,” Alicia said as she took her pizza, leaving it in place for the moment so it would have a chance to cool down to an eatable temperature. Which gave her more time to talk with Katarina, so that was alright regardless.

She couldn’t blame her for thinking that they went overboard sometimes, even she thought that they did too. But it was better to go overboard than to not go far enough and have innocent people suffer as a result. “With all the nonsense going on these days, we’re willing to let you work with us to keep people safe. That’s what’s most important after all. But there will probably be some conditions, like there were for Penny when she and her Patron allied with us.”

“As long as you guys let me do my thing without too much interference...I can handle a few conditions. The red tape you guys would give me can't possibly be any worse than working for the government.” Reaching for a slice of pizza, Rina took a bite of it.”[/color] Decent, but it was pretty hard to make bad pizza.

Still waiting, Alicia was not so eager to get to eating her food at the moment. They would see if Rina was able to live up to the requirements that Beacon would likely place upon her. ”Well, if what we had Penny do was any indication, the restrictions are fairly simple. No treachery, no blasphemy, you continue to stand in defense of mankind. And, uh, there might be a time limit, and there might be a test of somer kind eventually. Though I’m not sure, the Horror thing might be taken as a suitable test.”

“Pretty sure both of you will have an easier time then I did getting a temp position in Beacon.” Penny would add after trying a bite of her Pizza, savoring the added kick hse ordered. “They came looking for my Patron, Laat. He’s a God of Destruction and Change. The Beacon higher ups were foreseeing something on the horizon and wanted some backup, I was just part of the Deal they struck.”

“Plus, Beacon has been relaxing it’s stance lately as well. If you take me and Kimbel as any indication.” She would add after taking another drink from her Jumbo cup of fizz. “Pretty sure that’s on you though Alicia.”

“Eh, I do most of that already.” Rina replied dismissively. “But hey, we just saved the world so lets act like it. Not like I'm gonna be doing anything after this. I'm beat.” Rina glanced over to Amaryllis with a small frown. She had been pretty silent this whole time. Well, understandable she supposed. Taking a sip of her own drink, Rina turned to Amaryllis, eyeing those wings she got. “You gonna eat those?” She hadn't eaten half of her pizza yet, but those wings looked pretty good.

Amaryllis had been busy drinking water during all this. As expected, Stranger Wings certainly was spicier than what her tolerance had prepped her for, and between sips of water, she had ended up quietly listening to the others talk instead. It sounded like a lot of work-stuff, really, and Patron politics weren’t exactly something the girl cared about herself. Testing the tenderness of her tongue against her teeth, Amaryllis winced, before motioning Rina to go ahead.

“On the topic of non-magical stuff,” she ventured instead, eyes flickering from one person to the other, “D-does anyone follow Game of Stools?”

“That’s good to hear,” Alicia replied with a smile as Rina confirmed that the conditions wouldn’t be too much trouble. “I’ll pass it over to the Beckoners, see what they say, and get back to you.” If there were any other conditions then they could work it out at the time. But she had Katarina’s number, so it wouldn’t be too much trouble either way.

At last she began to eat her pizza, a hum escaping with the large bite that she had taken. It was good, better than she had expected that it would be. So she found herself pleased as they decided to talk about something other than work. “The name rings a bell, but I’m not following it. What is it?”

“Ugh. I try not to remind myself that it's over.” Rina replied, picking up a wing unceremoniously from Amaryllis' plate. “And that last season...seriously, what were they thinking?” She chomped down on the wing...and immediately regretted it. But showing so would be incredibly uncool. Her face contorted in mild discomfort as she tried to hide the inferno that was forming in her mouth. She wasn't good with spicy foods, but she didn't expect these guys to have some that hot, leaving the explanation to Amaryllis.

“Wait it ended!?” Penny interrupted before said explanation could commence before groaning “Guess that’s what happens when you lose access to TV for a year” Penny was having no problem with the spiciness of her pizza and had even gone so far as to add hot sauce to it. She hadn't been a fan of things this hot before joining the Community but having regeneration seemed to have removed the downside of eating such things.

“Don’t worry about spoilers, not like I’m going to have a chance to watch anytime soon.” She groused taking another bite of her pizza sad that she had missed the final season.

Amaryllis didn’t think the last season was all that bad herself, but she didn’t want to get into an argument with Rina about Game of Stools either. Turning her attention to Alicia instead, she took another sip of water, before explaining, “It’s, um, basically a sitcom with dramatic elements to it. There’s this town, you see, and there’s not enough plumbers to service all the, uh, ‘stools’, in the town due to deportations and all, so, basically everyone’s fighting over the one guy…”

It really sounded worse when she actually said it out loud, huh. Amaryllis’s ears burned, but she continued anyways. “It’s funnier than it sounds, really. Just that there’s a lot of characters and subplots, so it’s sorta hard to fully understand...but I guess the Internet’s there…”

”Ah, I see.” Truth be told sitcoms weren’t really her thing, but if they liked it then there didn’t seem any harm in giving it a shot. She could afford to do the three episode test at least. ”I’ll have to look into it later.”

Settling into the discussion of tv shows, she wracked her brain for what she liked and had seen recently. Lighting up with a burst of inspiration she finished chewing her next bite of pizza before adding to what she had said. ”You know what I’m really looking forward to? The next season of Eastland. First season is phenomenal, second season is a bit rougher but still pretty good. I’m really looking forward to what they do with the third.”

“Oh, Eastland’s getting a third season?” Amaryllis perked up at this, leaning over the table slightly. “That’s really nice to hear. Gotta wonder how they’ll replace John Pattison for lead role though…”

Alicia shrugged, pleased to have found someone interested in the same kind of show that she was. ”Not sure. I’m just looking forward to what they’re gonna do now that they’ve expanded the scope of the show with how the finale ended. You know, maybe see some of those other zones that probably exist for people to interact with. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end. Downer endings are okay, so long as they’ve got some meaning to them/”

“Eastland?” Rina frowned lightly. She didn't remember watching that one, though the name was familiar. “Don't think I've ever watched that one. What's it about?”

Penny didn’t have anything to add to the conversation of Eastland. She had seen part of season one, but it hadn't clicked with her. So instead she was finishing off her food, while eyeing the desert menu intently. They gathered for Pizza and Ice cream, and Penny wasn’t leaving without both.

Alicia decided to take that question, allowing Amaryllis to eat her pizza for now. ”So basically it’s a show set in the future, and there’s this theme park where people pay to get in and can live out their fantasies in this grungy 1920’s city. And the entire place is filled with androids to interact with, and you can do whatever you want to them since they’re programmed not to harm people.”

She finished off her current slice of pizza before finishing the explanation. ”Only it turns out that the androids are starting to achieve sentience without anyone realizing it, and to remember what’s been done to them. That’s all I can really say without spoilers.”

“Haaa....really?” Rina frowned, finishing the last bite of her Pizza. “I never got those shows about sentient androids and stuff. If they got emotions like we do, then they might as well be human. Like that's just common sense, isn't it?” She grunted, tossing an arm lazily over the back of the booth. “Anyways...someone mentioned ice cream when we got invited.”

“Um…” Amaryllis had wanted to talk about Eastland as well, about how it wasn’t actually as simple as ‘they have sentience so they’re human’. After all, their sentience was only part of their programming as well, and could easily be replicated with just Ctrl+A followed by Ctrl+C, putting to question what it actually means to be human when even something as complex as sentience and self-awareness can be made.

But ice cream. Yes, ice cream. With eye contact alone, Amaryllis did her best to summon the waitress again, who appeared with a bright smile on her face. “Did you enjoy the ultra-fizzy drink?” She asked with a giggle, and took out her notes. “Will you be having dessert as well? I recommend trying out our ‘Tiger’ ice cream: it’s vanilla with stripes of orange mixed in, combining into a wild taste, eheh!”

Alicia would have liked to debate as well, but she would have to be content with leaving it on the backburner and chatting with Amaryllis later. At least she had another fan to chat with. But the topic turned to ice cream, and after glancing at the remnants of pizza on her plate she decided that she was willing to go for dessert now too.

”Yes, ice cream,” she agreed before leaning over to look at the menu. ”Peanut Butter Cookie Dough works for me. The two scoop,” she told the waitress after assessing her options. It was a party, why not indulge a bit?

Since Penny hadn’t gotten far in Eastland she hadn't known that it took up the debate of Sentience VS Humanity. Which as far as Penny was currently concerned she was as close to an expert as they could get, thus would have enjoyed that debate. But, alas, Ice cream trumps all.

“I’ll take an Ice cream flight with Tiger, Marionberry cheesecake and Key lime pie.” Penny would order before closing her menu “And the drink has been fantastic” she would answer taking another swig of said draink.

“Mm...Bourbon Vanilla?” Amaryllis ventured. Had to try new things and all, even if she never drank Bourbon in her life.

“Chocolate here.” Rina simply replied, not too interested in trying anything fancy or new.

“Sure thing! But watch out for brain freeze!”Soon enough the waitress came back with bowls full of icy yet tasty goodness. She also brought the bill to them. “You can leave the money on the counter on your way out; I can tell you are honest girls~” She mused happily. She turned to leave. “I hope to see you here again!”

The ice cream soon arrived, Alicia giving a grateful nod to the waitress as she presented them with what they had ordered. ”Thank you,” she said, eyeing the check. There was going to be a small debate over that, she was sure. But for now, she took up a small scoop of ice cream and lifted it in a faux salute. ”Well, it was nice meeting the both of you guys. Here’s to stopping many more evils in the future.”

“Eyup,” Amaryllis replied, her ears turning red from the faint taste of alcohol in her own ice cream, “To that, and, uh...romantic luck?”

“R-romantic luck?” Rina chuckled nervously. She felt like that was oddly directed at her after what happened with Mika. “Uh, yea yea, whatever. To beating up bad guys in the future.”

Penny grinned raising her own spoon in salute as well “To ‘Love and Peace!’” She would quote before taking a bite of the frozen treat.

As the girls celebrated, a certain girl peered unseen at them.

There’s no doubt about it....They must be them. I need to be careful around them. Especially the sword girl. Oh well, they’re paying customers, so for now...

A couple of bat wings sprouted on her head.

“They can be the ones to eat, ehe…”
I'll have you know that it was 5/8ths of a solar system, thank you very much. :P
UNSC Andromeda

Yamanami and the bridge crew waited patiently as the comms were active with various messages. It seemed a brisk dialogue was developing, even if there was some lingering mistrust.

"It doesn't sound like anyone is going to come and get us," Kenshirou pointed out after a few moments. They had had one refusal due to lack of ability, but not much more than that. Almost like the others hadn't even heard their request. Which was unfortunate, though perhaps a response to their more belligerent introduction.

In spite of that, Yamanami would not let himself be daunted. "That's fine. What do you think about this multiverse theory they've proposed?"

"It sounds as reasonable as any other explanation," Reynolds answered from his station. He was the busiest of all of them there, trying to get some sense of what was happening. "And you know what they say about Occam's Razor. The simplest answer is usually the correct one. It's either that or we're dead." None of them accepted that they were dead, which meant that this multiverse idea would have to be their go to for now.

Instead of saying more, Yamanami held his tongue as the message from the Kearsarge came across the comms. At least someone had heard their dilemma, and the fact that they were also a UN ship, if not from the Cosmos Navy, made them an easier option to go along with. Hopefully they could find some common ground, even if they were from alternate realities.

Returning to his seat, Yamanami activated the comms. "Kearsarge, we appreciate the pick up, and can meet your requirements for the delegation. We'll send over landing details shortly." The forward deck should serve as a good spot, or merely by the bridge itself. Turning from that, he rose and moved towards the door. "I'll handle this in person. Kenshirou, you have the Conn. Keep the repairs going while i'm away. Even if we don't have full weapons functionality, I want the ship to be able to Warp out of here if trouble shows up."

"Aye aye, I have the Conn," Kenshirou echoed as Yamanami departed the bridge. He had a meeting to prepare for, and it wouldn't do to be late for it.
Yamanami: "Man, I'm glad no one noticed the gaping hole in the front of the ship"

XD
UNCS Andromeda

More messages continued to come in, and eventually they resorted to funneling the radio into the bridge comms so everyone on the bridge could hear what was being said. It was confusing enough for just one person, with multiple ships making themselves known at this point. At least a few claimed to be from Earth, even a few from the UN to boot. But the fact that they mentioned a 'Space Command', meant they might not be the kind that they knew.

Which all was rendered moot when one of the ships threatened them all with force. And a two on one fight was something that they couldn't win. "I guess we'll have to stand down after all," Yamanami remarked. Probably for the best anyway. Now they had an excuse to not get in a fight without looking bad for avoiding it.

"I'm not seeing anything matching out database," Reynold reported as their sensor readings came back. "The...'Daedalus' and the 'Kearsage' are close to some of the newer Earth Federation designs, but I'm not picking up Wave Motion reactions from either of them."

That left the question of what was going on. Yamanami had read the reports about the Yamato getting trapped in a subspace pocket on it's trip to Iscandar, but that didn't seem to be what was going on here. Not that it seemed anyone else had an idea what was going on either.

Well, if there wasn't going to be a fight then there was only one thing to do. "All hands, stand down from red alert," he ordered via the internal comms. They would still be on alert, just not poised for a fight. "And keep working on figuring out where we are sso we can get back to Earth."

"None of these stars are making sense," Kenshirou observed. "Maybe we ended up in another galaxy. But that wouldn't explain these ships claiming to be from Earth, or the United Nations."

There was a nod from the Captain, who was not about to argue with the findings of his XO. they would just have to keep hammering away at the problem, and hopefully they would come up with something. In the meanwhile he activated the external comms again. Best to address the others now that things seemed to be going in a direction that he had not anticipated at first. "While the Andromeda is willing to participate in a face to face meeting, we currently lack shuttle craft to facilitate such a meeting. We merely seek to return to Earth as rapidly as possible."
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