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8 yrs ago
If there are RPs/PM's I need to reply to- I am working on it, I'm a little overladen in life atm. I haven't forgotten about you :)
9 yrs ago
Aaand back.
9 yrs ago
ALERT- I'm going AFK for a week, anyone that sees this on here, I won't be about to respond, this is to both 1x1s/RPs.


I've RP'd for the best part of over ten years now here on the Guild, and particularly like military settings, both contemporary, past and near future. I have even dabbled in a little more experimental RPs, as well as created a plethora of 1x1s over my time in the guild. I've like creating RPs with a distinct flavor, but love classic settings too.

I'm pretty flexible and try and get back to people on ideas and responses, but sometimes, I may become very busy and it will take some time till I am un-busy- though I always come back!

Most Recent Posts

Raven's Rock, Camp Hannula, Pöyrisjärvi National Park, Finland

The Finnish Home Improvements Centre (or the Armoury)

2000 Local Time

Athena set her armour back down in the Heavies section of the Armoury, into the large hydraulically-assisted mount point, helmet off with the high-collar torso piece following, as did the legs, arms and remainder, pulling away. The armour had taken serious hits, and the coil itself needed a refurb- it had burnt everything out completely, to a point where connection points were black and ashen with how heavy the use had been. With a few clasps, the youngest sibling emerged and quickly dressed in a bright gold, branded t-shirt of #AthenaAwesome, cleavage still a little on show and black tights, revealing her pulsating forearms and her thighs tight to the look. Long blonde hair allowed to flow, she could feel the bruising starting to hurt from the BTR, and well, getting slapped by a fucking mech. The adrenaline had poured in her veins richly, considering how much her hearts could discharge, but man, it was shitty. She ran a finger along the line of the scar, and then up the bruising, chuckling. Looking to Freya, and Jamie, bringing himself out of his, she could only smile.

"Frey, you missed a really good one. Tons of explosions. And I got to put some voltage into your mutual friend." Athena giggled, walking over and hugging Freya again, burying her head in her shoulder, giving a prick with her fingers into her back, giggling, in response to that. She was a shit, at the best, and worst of times. Deep down though, she was really happy to have her back.

"And it is so good to have you back, sis. Honestly. I had to hold down the fort for guys leering at the females of our family. Do you know how hard that was?" Athena giggled with a sarcastic charm, as she looked to Jamie, very much the middle child.

"And he was good too. Blowing shit up as well. Anyway. " Athena added, chatting way, way too much again, as she looked around, seeing Chuck peel his armour off, bringing Duke with him to get showered. Jesus. That hunk of man was something. So was Oliver. Was it weird? Eh, probably, but her gaze caught for a while as she looked back.

"We should probably see how the others are doing."

Purna meanwhile, quietly pulled the tight suit off him, gently folding the Gryphon into a neat square, and plugged the energy cell on the suit's pack in, laying his MP5, Mk14 and USP out neat, unloaded, inspected, clean. A professional's mark, as he changed into a plaid shirt, a rather old-school thing for such a new-school infiltrator, and a pair of jeans, again, nothing fancy at all. He seemed to almost have the look of someone who dissolved into the background, but Purna liked that lots, as he also headed out of his section, to join the others, and the commotion building from where Skye had appeared after Adam and co had also put away their equipment. He'd dropped his exo, and was still in his fatigues, and still looking as serious as ever.

Skye Rosalind Lyons

Adam Stanislaw Kajtanowicz

Athena Anna Kanataario

Purna Chai Gurung

About Five Minutes Later

Superstar Ensemble Assemble!

The scene was a standoff one, Adam hand on rifle, Athena not really needing a gun when she had two large ones in her biceps. Skye saw Ban step out of her shadow, and Enri, scarred yet standing. A new one, given she had no idea, but Ebrima was almost eyeing her up in shock, and Enri rather in anger about it. Athena, Freya and Jamie back together again, many hugs shared, much banter given, and Athena just happy to have her by her side again, in one piece. Sam, Tahlia and Purna all there, and many, many people melding. Yet fuck, not another conflict.

Skye interrupted that, her casual, yet forever worn look coming back to it to Ebrima.

"The Atlas you mean? We chatted about something about stolen identity, funnily enough. Having new blood.....wait...." Skye replied, as suddenly, Duke lept up onto her, licking away, Athena chuckling and shaking her head, as did Tahlia.

"Aww, hello friend! I know, it has been a while! Good to see you too, and in one piece as well!" Skye smiled gleefully, the first time in a long time, as she wrapped her arms around Duke, hugging back, kissing him on the top of the head with the excitable dog woofing and hovering around, giving the Scot a rare reprieve. She looked to Chuck, and to Freya, the two towering over. Since when did Raven have five giants?
"Hiya Chuck. Appreciate the assist! And good to see you one piece too, Freya." Skye replied, then turning to Adam, shrugging her shoulders.

"Well. I suppose there's my tell. Same blood maybe, same heart as her, but...Duke knows me well at least." Skye giggled, ruffling his fur, standing back up and seeing Adam walk over, the look on his face of concern irrespective. Point taken, he knows who this is, but he still seemed pissed.

"Fine. The Skye I know has a weak spot for dogs. Good to have you alive. Though, can I ask what your plan is, Major? You realise how much shit we had to deal with because of your status?" Adam replied, staying stoic, a smile cracking yet getting straight to business. Wow, no thanks?

"Adam, it wasn't ideal, I'll admit. But needs must." Skye added, Athena eyeing up the infamous Skye Rosalind Lyons, almost unable to tell what she was. There was a little bit of a legend of course, within what she'd heard in Blue Sword.

The kind of woman that took down a giant, and this ghost that ran a team of misfits even more unhinged than her little operation. It all started to make sense. There's a rare moment where a woman almost a foot and a half shorter almost felt like more magnetised than even her own usual extraversion, all eyes on her body dragged by the Highlander's tone. Adam replied to that in turn.

"Well, you can't just go rogue when the world's hunting anything that has your face. Did Oracle get you up to speed?" Adam asked, Skye nodding in turn, the navy t-shirt wearing, jeans having redhead's hair a short plume, nowhere near what it used to be, but beginning to form up to what she was once.

"Aye. Rose is fucking omnicidal, far as I can tell, she's keen on just cleaning the slate and starting again, with fuck knows what to replace it. She's damaged to all hell, and she's just pulling the trigger before anyone realises what she's doing. We recovered Raven's old data. And another body of Rose's. And the constituent pieces that make up Sol Hestia. And a hacker, Enri, who just figured out just how deep Rose's neural networks go. Which, I assume you just learned about. So I hope it was worth it. Happy?" Skye replied, shrugging her head, knowing well, that was why she was here. Nothing like a serious peace offering to quell the bullshit.

"You were busy then. We had our doubts, but you proved us wrong. I was expecting to put a bullet in you." Adam's husky Polish accent carried, Skye replying in turn. If there was one person that seemed to be like an antidote to him, it would be the Scot. As capable as he was, he ran his team tight. Skye perhaps, less so.

"Yeah, well, you know me. Can't help it. Nearly fucking died for it though, so appreciate you not killing me at the last hurdle. Rose came after us, and.....there's things that happened. We got her though." Skye added, looking to Ban, then back to Adam, pulling her shirt up and revealing her newest scar, right below her tattoo on her back.

"Fuck." Adam commented, the wound a nasty one considering it had freshly healed, but well, Skye was made of stern stuff. It would take a lot more than that to kill her, Adam noted. From experience.

"Yeah. It happens. Looks like you lot took a beating too. And brought Viper, Scion and Valkyrie back into the fray. The all-stars. Jesus. I said it, didn't I, they'd bring some right crazies into the fray.....especially Athena, we really must be screwed!" Skye replied to the team, a smile forming, glad to be back with friends, although, the larger woman, well, one of two had another comment to make on that. Skye in turn nodded back to Freya, the regal-haired fellow redhead back to action, and back to this. Still, Athena had something to pipe up on.

"Skye Lyons. Shit, everything my sister said you were.....the mere mortal she can't shut up about. So, who's in charge? End of the world kinda problem we have here." Athena asked, Adam and Skye looking at each other, then back at her, the towering, almost olive-coloured blonde coming in between.

"Good question." Skye replied, looking back to Adam, a shrug respondent.

"Seems like we don't have time to figure that out. Oracle has the overall lead, at the end of the day. And we need two strike teams, and right now I suppose that means we're both leads. Both respond to Oracle. Though.....maybe we need to be a little more ordered, than last time?" Adam asked, a reminisce to times old that they worked together. In a different capacity than Raven, of course, but well, a time that still harkened back. The two clearly had something thicker than what was going on, not that either was entirely letting on.

"Jesus. Ordered? I think you need to remember what you came into. And good. I can work with that. We have a world to save, no point bickering." Skye replied, her Scots sarcasm back at things again, stoic and to the point no less.

"Fine. I suppose you owe me some introductions." Adam asked, as Skye nodded, looking to the other two, well, now only one considering Ban was being taken away.

"Ban Kingo, Enri Uemura. Former Raven, current hacker respectively. Both capable. Both help we need now." Skye replied, as Adam nodded.

"We need as much as we can get. Oracle said..."

"We have leads coming close and we expect to deploy within eight hours? And the fact that the central server for Rose is currently looking like it's nonsensical to find? Didn't need sleep anyway. World's going to fucking end, so hey. No pressure." Skye quipped, Adam a little more straight in her response.

"Yes, indeed. Good to have you back. In a weird way." Adam coolly replied, just unsure how to read her at all, but well, sticking professional rather than anything else.

"You too. Don't go being a twat now." Skye replied, Adam shaking his head, Skye knowing he wouldn't go further, being as professional as he was. Ban was being pulled away for medical help, a place that Oliver and Sam had already come from too. No doubt Sophie was beyond pissed, and annoyed at how many hurt team members she had to deal with. At least she wasn't the only doctor on site....

As Adam and Athena came out of the way, Tahlia ran in, and lept up to Skye, hugging her, holding her close and looking back.
"Don't you ever fucking do that again! You even had me worried!" Tahlia yelped, Skye chuckling, smiling and looking on at Sam, Oliver, Antti, and Purna behind.

"Good to see you again, Tarly. Thanks for holding things down. And nice new legs, by the way!" Skye replied, embracing the Kiwi as Tahlia smiled, a keen look on her face, as Purna pulled to the side, nodding on. Skye observed the new legs she appeared to have- rather than the titanium-carbon based pegs with adapters on the feet, they actually looked more like a leg, and had a greater range of motion on them. Freya's friend must have sorted her out, as it looked like Tahlia was actually walking with something that looked. Tahlia smiled back, but not before Purna managed to come through. To him, it was even a shock- though he hadn't worked with Skye in a while, it was clear there was also some other history. Skye Lyons had clearly inflected herself wide, but perhaps now they were coming back to that.

"Miss Lyons, long time no see. I still can't believe you're here. When I heard about the body, I thought you were.....yeah, I should have probably guessed." Purna started, although now he was beginning to put dots together. Bit by bit, at least- that Skye was even another body somewhere else, somehow was still hurting his head.

"Yeah, it was a good trick. You and Ebrima been playing fair?" Skye replied in turn, a look of surprise on Purna's face, but well, the fact he was a Gurkha and what she knew of Ebrima, well, it would have been an interesting scene to say the least. One she wished she saw for the first time, Ebrima nearby at least bringing the two into focus.

"Eh, it is, what it is. Acceptable." Purna dryly remarked looking to Ebrima, as Skye chuckled, looking around at the others, the fact there were so many people now probably a bit crowded.

Skye of all of them caught the eye of Sam. She seemed exhausted, broken too, but Skye found that energy to head over, and well, just simply hug.

"Good to see you again, Sam. I kept up my promise....somehow!" Skye added, this personal touch perhaps a little much, but well, considering the events recently, it was rather remarkable. From enemy number one to this, it was quite a turnaround, not even one Skye was sure she'd end up getting. Sam had done a hell of a job holding the team together after that, and silently, she knew Adam had reason to distrust. She was glad that hadn't been the case, and they were all still mostly in one piece.

"You did good. Really good. Glad you held your end of the bargain too! And....for what it's worth, not an easy thing at all considering what we're going through. Kameko by the way...I can see where you get it from." Skye chuckled, knowing what Sam had been through- likely as a result of Adam, Athena and Imran, and no doubt everything on top of that had driven the team to breaking point. Even so, the unbreakable spirit of the Scot had to keep going, as she gave a silent nod to Antti, who gave one back, no comments shared there at all. With that, Skye headed away from the groups of others, looking to Oliver, who just looked confused. Well, hopefully he would chill out a bit more now, considering the scene set. With that, Skye turned to him.

"I think that settles that situation. You look like shit, Oliver. But still alive and kicking. After taking a slug like that, not half bad." Skye added, looking up to the tall American, who had certainly taken a beating from the railgun in Marrakesh, but well, still stood and kept going. He probably wasn't all up to speed with the situation relating to Skye, but that was fine by her- all of this was a whirlwind, and not much of it made sense. Still, it felt like a whirlwind, as the team mingled, Skye

"Alright, team. Get yourselves rested, and our locations should come through in a few hours. Enri, you should join Raphael in the intel room. I know, he's Israeli, I know, he probably took down yours and Ebrima's team, but you should be aware that Raven's not exactly all about revenge, we're more the stop everyone getting neurotoxin in their brains kind of thing. I do know that you know each other, trust me, there's plenty more." Skye commented, most certainly the two of them in shock that she even knew that.

That was information that was no doubt suppressed, buried, even Enri would have been outright offended to see Skye know that, but well, she had her measures. Being a team lead came with reading files, and she didn't sit in her office doing nothing when it came to recruitment and people. A good spy stayed one step ahead, and knew when to talk about people. Skye was rather like that. Unconventional, but at the least, she knew when things needed to stay secret, and when maybe some honesty would do some good.

Still. Moving swiftly on!

"Anyway. Things to upgrade, repair, yourselves to fix, and a job to do. We have a lot of people to save and no time for paperwork."

After all that, the team got to that promptly.

Skye was reunited back with her exo, and this time around, a fine looking tool had been wrapped up in attachment next to it, with a note stuck on the barrel. Tahlia's writing on it.

"If you come back alive, you'll appreciate this! Hold button shy of trigger for capacitor charge, or just hold for burst."

Not bad. Skye had put this on her Christmas list for a while, in replacement of the MG3 as a bullet hose and the SIG as a precise tool, here it was, a prototype M31, an electromagnetic-coil driven battle rifle derived from a SIG-inspired design. A large battery pack under the trigger guard, and a custom-milled cartridge for a magazine in a bullpup configuration. Smiling, she checked the sighting, and shrug her head. Not bad, for a tool like this. She whistled, rotating the rifle around, and then looked over to the others, milling around, checking over their new equipment.

Tahlia was able to spend time with the team now. In the interim, the team could consult her, as well as anyone else regarding equipment, tooling and gear. This was probably the penultimate chance for the team to equip upgrades, and considering the missions ahead, the final form of each of the operatives was getting closer and closer.

The location of that server, and the deployment point for Sol Hestia was getting closer. But with Henry's confessions, Raven's old data, the intelligence gained in Marrakesh and Nagoya, as well as that of everything up to now, the feeling was one that even Skye felt the weight of. There was pressure, a deep-seated. And worse, the fact she'd brought Ban back into this hurt her inside. She hadn't really said it out loud, said what she felt. She had caused that, not Enri, and whilst it felt a little ambiguous, there was a chance Skye had just let her mask slip, for even a second, and given that away. Painted herself red and let the bulls charge, and Ban's father had been collateral. Rose in a way, was right. She pushed down those feelings. Adam, across the room much the same felt the weight of this command again. It was difficult to manage, especially someone like Athena who threw herself in the way of things as much as she did.

0200 Local Time

Short Slept

The phone buzzed by Skye's bed, as she groggily reached over, grabbing the device, putting ear to receiver. Barely any sleep in the last few days, and what little there was, was interrupted.

"Oracle here. We have an update, three targets, urgently. Ferrovia Two, a recently developed geoengineering platform offshore in the western Azores, a data centre on board what appears to be a blimp over Newfoundland, and a receiver station at an rare earth minerals mine in southern Greenland. We need you deployed within an hour."

"Sorry....a blimp?"

"It's an unusual one, but we can't just shoot it out of the sky. We need to sever the link. And any Sol Hestia on board. We have possible ideas on how to get you there, but appreciate it won't be easy."

"A fucking blimp....and the other two targets are hard to hit. We got any help?"

"You name the resource you need. I've been told we practically have the entire free world's arsenal at our disposal. Adam is on Ferrovia, you're on the blimp, and I'll let you task who you need for the mine in Greenland. Insertion methods and intel are to follow within twenty minutes, our teams are around the clock."

"Now, when you put it like that....copy, Oracle. Keep me in the loop." Skye began thinking about the situation, and disconnected on his prompt. In particular, how to deploy the team, and how to make this work. It would be messy, but there was a lot of thinking to do. She'd come to the team when she was ready with a plan, but with that, Skye was up again, and with a big yawn, clambered out of bed and with it, knew Adam would have the same matter to manage.

For the data centre in the sky aboard the blimp, anyone deploying to that would likely need a more specialised loadout- the heavies would be ruled out of armour if they went, and the mediums even would have to forego exoskeletons they usually used. As for Ferrovia, the floating platform sat off the coast in the deep sea, an oil-platform like terminus, requiring the use respirators, SCUBA and other equipment. And as for Greenland, that would be a task of itself. Not one Raven would live down. Skye and Adam would allocate the team shortly, and it would be a matter of time before the full details come through.

Purna Chai Gurung

Jemaa-el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco

1412 Local Time

Escape Route


The shooting that came down onto the convoy vehicles was quickly interrupted by the speed, aggression and antics of the unlikely dynamic duo, Purna clattering a magazine of subsonic 9mm rounds into a cluster of riflemen on the roof, blasting past and then clambered down.
"Keep up, old man!" Purna cheekily yelled back to Ebrima, gunning it through more rooftops, and with it, moving through.

"Contacts, up there!" He called back, ducking down, letting Ebrima clear out the ambush on his side, before moving over and clattering another one with a USP shot, well flicked through the man's skull as he kept in sprint over a metal roof. And with that, suddenly the square ran out, and a large garden opened up, at the edge of the market and dense housing.

With a deep breath, Purna stopped, standing alongside Ebrima, rifle in hand and examining the mess forward, exhaling hard and in position to at least intercept the vehicles, and jump in quickly.
"Not bad. You seem to rip things apart well." Purna commented, drawing the Mk14, readied up.
"Wilk, route is clear. I have a lot more Moroccan Army massing, few IFVs and light vehicles swarming the route towards the Airport. Have you got capacity to take us on board?

"Affirmative. We can't stop, you'll need to work to us. Out." Adam's response was a cold one, as Purna sighed, looking to Ebrima.

"Brilliant." Purna said, adjusting his grappling hook, hearing the trucks come through.

"He is an asshole at the best of times." With it, Purna vaulted over the next wall, and clambered down, running across the road and with a swing of his grapple, pulled it tight and over the next gap, throwing himself forward and landing on top of the forward truck, one of the Blue Sword gunners nearly picking him off in the process, if it wasn't for the fact that his IFF at least pinged back.

Another day, another way out.

Adam Stanislaw Kajtanowicz

Athena Anna Kanataario

Roads Outbound

The fight had been a tricky one to manage, as Adam bundled back into the other truck, the one not containing Blue Sword and then the remainder of their forces, speeding out of the square, bullets flying yet now the crossfire intensifying as nobody knew who was friend or foe. It was an anarchy, but at the least, they'd gotten out onto the road, and they were hustling back to base.

Athena had followed, and the injury on Tiny Nord was of concern. She had already gotten to him inside their truck, pulling his helmet off, and getting one of the medics.
"All Blue Sword contacts, withdraw and follow lead for Extract. Also....fuck me, you took a half-charged railgun to that thing!" Athena yelled out, in shock, rather impressed that said, looking his shoulder over, and pulling his head to look at hers.

"You'll be alright. Keep looking at me. Breathe." Athena replied, growing up a little in this moment, well, perhaps realising that there were others outside of her brother and sister that were like her, able to take on things like this. She was still in shock about what Sam had done, but for now, was focussing on Tiny Nord.

"Okay, bleeding's gonna be stopped, suit's contained most of it. Ribs are gonna hurt, and you'll get some painkillers in soon. We're done here. Easy." Athena replied, knowing for this moment, well, she had to at least take some responsibility here.
"Took one for the team, but don't worry, I shocked the hell out of him. Bzzzztt...." Athena kept on nattering, knowing Oliver probably didn't need to hear it, but well, the chat continued anyway.
"So he's probably toast. You'll fight on another day, but that plating and shield are going to need a refit, quick."

Adam saw Henry come awake in the other truck, where he sat with Sam and Jamie.

"Welcome back. Knockout gas hit hard. We had to take our precautions." Adam said, looking over at the older scientist, the look on his face of dazed confusion, and blur. With a look around, Henry coughed, leaning over, looking with a squint at Adam, the Pole keeping a distance, unaware if he was friend or foe at this point.

"You. You're Imran's men. Imran's people." Henry spluttered, in shock. Adam nodded, Henry in shock as he grabbed a hold, Adam aware he was a bit weak still, so no real threat, not yet.

"Did you stop it? Did you stop them?" Henry asked, panicked, coughing hard, Adam replying with a nod.

"We did. Whatever that compound is too." Adam replied, the look in Henry's face unchanging.

"Shit. You're them alright. Listen to me. This is nothing. This is a sample. They....it's a testbed. Fuck. She's gonna come. I keep forgetting that."

"How did you end up there? Took a holiday, just by chance end up in a compound full of Artemis soldiers and a ton of neurotoxin?" Adam replied, not wanting to let him go that easy.

"They have my family. I haven't got a choice...means they're good as dead too now, and I suppose we all may as well enjoy what's left. You've seen enough of her, surely?"

"That isn't an answer. We'll secure them. We can fight them." Adam's teeth gritted, Henry still in disbelief.

"You don't understand. This is already in motion."

"Then tell me how we can stop it. You're the main reason she's alive to begin with, so nobody better to ask. So talk, because there has to be a way.." Adam said, looking over at him, looking at the state he was in.

"You're not a captive....they looked after you." Adam said, his astute observation catching that, well, beyond the ragged state he was in.

Henry went to mumble, but before he could, Adam grabbed a hold. Easy to give in, but perhaps because he wanted the easy way out. An easier way out.

"You sold out, you piece of shit. Talk, or I'll fucking double down!" Adam yelled, his voice carrying. This wasn't always ethical. Not always pleasant. But on someone not like them, it worked.

"Shit....okay. Not much you can do when you know what she's capable of though.....right. The network needs a central server hub. She was smart enough to remove it from an original site. And put it God knows where. It works on the fact that Rose goes back to a central network each time she dies. Historically, we had failsafes that gave us oversight. Now she goes to virtually anywhere with a signal, and that has a body in prep. So she's probably hiding that very well, or else you'd actually be able to kill her."

"That isn't the point. The compound, the neurotoxin, she's gonna unleash it through a geoengineering scheme. Releasing it here would kill a few million. Releasing it in the sky suddenly would drop a few billion, mixed in with raincloud. She needed me to finish the sequencing. But she'll be close enough now. Close enough to wait on wind patterns."

"Where, when?"

"Fuck....no clue. But listen. I've seen that compound act. It's Sol Hestia, it's a two-part compound that works from her body."


"She's.....Rose is effectively a bioreactor on feet, draw enough of the blood, synthesise it out, and you have a neurotoxin that kills human beings, and leaves fauna, flora, society, untouched. It's a Cold War weapon, an alternative to a neutron bomb the British developed in the 1980s. Clean, and doesn't stop until it breaks apart naturally. In a simple form it's a simple psychoactive drug that stops DNA from destroying itself upon replication, but brew the opposite, right chiral structure passively, with Rose's blood that contains the active component, and it becomes more lethal in parts per billion than anything else. Like Thalidomide, except way, way worse. It was a failsafe designed to making sure she wouldn't have any more mutations in her DNA upon replication. Yet it worked too well and she realised it before any of us did. A mistake." Henry whimpered, as he sighed.

"No cure exists. It's an off switch for a lot of humanity. A reset. Everyone, rich, poor, young, old, white, black, dead. Nothing left but nature to reclaim what is left unless you're in a sealed bunker or off-planet because it just destroys human DNA. The compound remains active for about two years, and with the right spread, ends up in every carried wind, bonding to water. Controlled, a potent weapon, but left unchecked, effectively a genocide tool. We created a monster. And whilst her motives to try and stem humanity are noble....like Artemis.....she isn't stemming, she's going to cut it off." Henry seemed genuinely cold, dethatched almost, in spite of it, but his passion came through.

"Well....you're the one who spawned her. So we'll just have to end her." Adam added, sighing, looking across, as he shrugged.

"Point taken. There should be a fairly clear signal to where her core server is, from any offshoot that she might have been dumped in. The geoengineering scheme, I can't tell if it's Ferrovia One, or something else. But she was turned into this. You need to understand, she doesn't play by the rules anymore. She'll stop at nothing. My family included." Henry replied, as Adam sighed, shrugging. The buzzing in his ear indicated Oracle was back on the line.

"Shit. Oracle, it's Wilk."

"Affirm, I caught that. Get him back, safely. We'll complete a full debrief." Oracle's reply was succinct, as Purna emerged through the gunner's hatch, sitting down next to Sam, who was certainly feeling the squeeze, metaphorically and quite literally.

Sitting down, Adam had a check over her, Jamie reloading his kit in the far end just in case, and the group of them on the way out. This had been messy, and he wasn't happy with Athena's approach. It could have killed Sam, Oliver, and maybe even Athena herself, but, she'd have some smart ass comment to come back at it. This was meant to be a simple snatch and grab. Not a fucking warzone.

Adam had a gander at the other two, knowing they probably weren't entirely sure what this all meant, but Adam was getting a feeling.
"We might be getting very busy. Looks like this got worse."

Somewhere in London, United Kingdom

1000 Local Time

A bomb for a body, a hammer for a head....

And there she is. The body of Rose Lyons, well, not quite, but as if by special delivery, she'd arrived in the bunker-like lab.

Oracle looked down at her, another scientist opposite, a clipboard in hand and results expedited.

"Fuck me. I still can't get over this." Imran felt like it still sank in. From the moment that it, the results were now firmly in and confirmed. Skye and Rose were intangibly linked, that was beyond confirmed now, and the genetic results were a perfect match. There's no denying it, whilst perhaps Skye had gained a few scars, scratches, cuts and changes to her skin from puberty and other facets, this was more or less the same person. Even the muscle seemed to be at the same sort of composition, the natural jumping off point for a thirty-year old Scottish redhead, with a bullet left inside her. Everything he knew of her had changed over the last few days, and to find out that mystery project had been her, well, he was beyond livid.

"Well.....she's rather unique. She's a biomechanical piece of work. She's absolutely Skye Lyons's identical copy. To the letter. Minus the tattoos, of course, and the other features you identified. This is Lynx. Every story you heard. The neural link, the plug is like nothing our computer scientists have seen. Same with her general physiology. It's like someone fabricated something out of thin air, and someone figured out how to perfect it. There is no file on it, outside of Henry, who clearly isn't the main architect for her." He added, as Imran looked around. The man opposite looked, a white-coat wearing technician, the Sikh in a certain kind of unhappiness about it. From the moment Lynx had turned up, he had been in denial, almost disbelief about it. But now, it was all coming out.

"And yet she's not Skye at all. Some sort of demented fucking thing." Imran commented, the scientist opposite nodding, his pale face perhaps in an equal state of shock.

"Well, we found traces of DNA strands fragmenting from her blood, typical of a clone. It's clear whatever copy this is, it's in a point of deterioration. Rose is probably living less in each body, considering the copy can't exactly be repeated perfectly without it falling apart over time. There's no fix to that, it's genetic drift. You can't just keep copying and copying without consequence. Unless you had the original, of course. Not that we are absolutely sure that's Skye either."

"Right." Imran added, shaking his head.

"I read about this. A project without a name. People in our department looked after Lynx like she was nothing. Fuck, maybe even I did at one point." Imran said, as he knew that callsign had come across his desk, when he'd been a spymaster here in MI6, and perhaps it all made sense. Skye after all, gave Lynx almost all of her deniability, and he never asked questions. Never needed to.

"Still shocks me. I guess we used her to kill our targets that we considered suicide missions. For Lynx, they were. She would die an awful lot for it yet on the paperwork, the operative always came back alive. Strange that now I never thought about it in hindsight. When it's someone else's case, you don't bother." Imran added, chuckling, almost talking to himself, turning her neck, looking down it, and at the oddly shaped lump that sat there.

"Aye, and a lot of those people in MI6 are now dead. Rose killed the lot of them, accidents, a couple murders, and yet outside of this, seemingly all disconnected and linked to foreign intelligence. If she wanted revenge, she almost made them all disappear. Apart from a few. Like she knew what she was doing, in a way, she's going beyond revenge now." The scientist replied, as he turned to Imran, this bit not making sense, and something he wanted to ask Raven Squad's defacto CO.

"Oracle, how did we get her body? The note, you saw it. It was like someone knew her. Wanted us to finish our work from the previous corpse we got." The scientist asked, as Imran sighed, shrugging.

"One version of Miss Lyons might be lying dead here, but Skye's rather resourceful. I guess I shouldn't have doubted."

"You mean, Skye Lyons is still alive? Well, the other one?"

"Not unless Rose got after her first."

Imran's phone rang, as he walked back out again, hearing a voice on the other end. As if with almost perfect, idiosyncratic timing, the voice of Skye Lyons came back in as Imran walked out. As if almost a reverse of the last time.

"Morning, did you receive the package?" Skye's chirpy Scots accent came through.

"Fuck me. You did well to get my number. And time it well. So either you killed Skye, and you're impersonating her, or you're actually her. Either way, it would have to be impressive what you did to get this to us."

"Well, I've got so much shit to give you for Marrakesh. And believe me, it wasn't easy."

"Well....I can't ask for an auth code."

"I suppose I'm as much Rose as she is me. I know about Sam's Shelby, her custom purple bike, and then I know about Freya's lovely scar on her shoulder from Chile, then same about Ebrima's exo being in need of tweaks but being a fancy bit of kit. Or Tahlia detonating a pyro in Colombia from her report, then me having to slit the throat of Rose whilst she was signal disconnected. And me pissing off Sophie by riding my bike when I had broken ribs. Then leaving it all behind over Tokyo and making a big scene. And let me guess your side. You have Adam, and from what I saw of the pictures, Athena fucking up stuff now? Honestly. I give you two days and you already half destroy a major city."

"Hah.....yeah, that would be you. She'd have to try pretty hard to be that sarcastic."

"Yeah, exactly. And you did put a kill order on me. Which is fair. But I'd like to trade. Rose's body is the first half. Data is the other one."

"How did you get it?"

"Don't ask. One of the team got it to me. You can probably guess, but the point is, proves my system works."

"Annoyingly. And if this was any other circumstance, you know I'd be hunting you pretty hard. But you make a good offer. What do you want?"

"I'll send you my co-ordinates, and I want back in. Only condition is, I need two more with me as help. Do we have a deal? "

"Done. They better not be problems. We have enough shit going on as is."

"They are."

With it, Skye looked over her shoulder, looking at Enri and Ban, and chuckled, sitting back in the seat of the old Buick.

"Fine. Get yourself to an airport. We'll make arrangements." With it, Skye hit the disconnect, and sighed.

There had been so much blood, so much loss for this, and every time Skye believed this would end, it went deeper. But now they had at least half a chance to fight back.

Camp Hannula, Pöyrisjärvi National Park, Finland

2000 Local Time

Interlude: Sisu

Home was a strange place to be, but it was not going to be a long trip back. The trucks had been rushed back, with the entire team in, and the point was to rearm, reequip, and get any critical work done to anyone that was hurt, before going out again.

They rattled through the now melted gravel of springtime, and with it, came to a skidding halt back at the base. The team unloaded, as did the supporting Blue Sword soldiers in the now gravelly, suddenly lush green landscape of Northern Finland.

Henry had been taken, and a full debrief was taken place. Raven's old data had also been gathered, and both securely taken, as was what they had learned in Marrakesh.

The situation was dire. A geoengineering scheme, and somewhere, a data server needed to be taken down. The team had to rearm, resupply and get ready again. Freya would be ready to go as well, and there was little time to sit around and wait. The fate of the world rested on Raven, and in the background, intel and other teams were humming away. They just had to execute, and get on with things.

As Adam headed towards the armoury, he pushed on the door and could only take half a moment's breath for the sight he could see. The Scottish woman who refused to die, who had died plenty of times before, just stood there with this wild grin on her face, next to Enri and Ban. Oracle had mentioned something about recovering Skye, but had no idea she was back this early. And fast. Was it Rose? Before he could even deduce that, he got his answer.

"God, you're still an uptight bastard. Evening to you all." Skye wittily commented, Adam's jaw just wide open. Athena and Purna followed in, as did Tahlia.

No worries, PM when ready with your char idea!
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Skye Rosalind Lyons

Ban Kingo

Kiyose City, Tokyo, Japan

0600 Local Time

The Ready Reckoner

The early dawn rose in the land of the rising sun, the streetlights fading in the dawn chorus of Tokyo’s many metropolitan areas, and the car was rolling around. Skye had fallen asleep on the journey, her body completely out of it after all that had happened, well, apart from the one trip to drop off her doppelganger, the chemical containment tubes sellotaped to her, and a trip to a black market to retrieve bootleg passports, documentation and everything else needed. It was the end of a hard mission, but one that would serve the team critically, even if right now, the pixie-like redhead was still in the crosshairs for many people.

Looking across the seat as the car came in towards the parlour, Skye looked to the other ex-Raven operative, the hardened and dutiful Ban Kingo. A man she didn’t believe she would ever work with again, let alone accept, but he was grateful beyond words for what he had done. Put himself back out there for not a stranger, but an old friend, and what an adventure it was.
“How are you holding up? Gonna say, this has been quite an adventure of ours. I have places to be. Up to you still, if you want to join me.” Skye said to him, the Scots redhead back to her usual accent, the sticker peeled off her voicebox, and back to her usual husky, seeded Highland accent, soft yet somehow, sharp like granite.

Ban sat with his chin cradled in one hand, a slight smile on his lips as they drove along. For all that he’s still bandaged up from the round he took during the lab strike. He nods, “I’m doing okay all things considered. How can one really prepare for a ghost from the past returning. That ghost then pulling them back into old habits. And then marching into hell like they’d never left it?” He chuckles softly “I’m doing good.” He looks at her directly eyes narrowing some, “I’m more worried about you. I’ll march into hell and back out again if you asked it. But you’ve been hit by setback after setback, backhand after backhand. That can’t have left you in a good place. How are you holding up?”

A tilt of his head, “As for continuing on. My little gambling den can run on it’s own for a little while, and I’m sure the Oyabun will allow me to take a leave of absence for a short bit. If you’ll still have me I’ll gladly follow on.” He slowly nods, “Just say the word my friend.”

Skye smiled back, a bit of optimism back in her heart from hearing it, even in spite of the fact that indeed, he was right. Setbacks like this were never good, the core team could have taken a much worse loss and Kaitaki had lost a lot of good support staff, people Skye had got to know and appreciate in the last few months. Still, nothing could be done now, and what mattered was going forwards. Even if it meant stopping a woman that seemingly couldn’t die and wanted to kill millions, if not more.
“That would be appreciated. I don’t know where it’ll lead. But I appreciate it nonetheless.” Skye smiled back, looking out of the window, traffic non-existent bar for traders and shop owners starting to set up for the day.
“I’m still going. But it’s all insane. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone. What you saw, what went down…..the memory is really, really hazy. Rose, that woman that looks like me, she had a lot of really scary stuff to say when I saw her in New Zealand. When she turned up. And I don’t know how to read any of it. Never met an enemy I couldn’t kill, or stop, no matter how big. But someone who knows me better than I do….that one scares me.” Skye replied, sitting up, looking across, hands on knees, shrugging.

“Everything I understand about the world has turned to shit, and the only thing I can do is just keep killing people until there’s something left and there’s something. No team, just us and the hope we’re right. So yeah. Dandy.” Skye let a wry chuckle, the kind of dry humor a Scots would have, as she sighed, leaning back, knowing Ban would understand, well, at least read that even with the slight crack in Skye there, she wasn’t going to let it be filled with anything else but sarcasm. The car was starting to pull in close, and they would be getting out, and going back inside.

Ban straightened up, seeing that crack, really though a small crack in Skye’s mental and emotional armor was more like a massive breach. He nodded then reaches over and place a rough hand, run through with hidden augments, upon Skye’s nearest hand. Warm, gentle, but with restrained strength and violence, “You’re not alone. You’re current team, I’m sure they are ready to step up higher and forward further then they already are.” He chuckles softly, “And you’ve got men like me ready to move forward with you, in your shadow or at your side. So I’ll stay here at your side and as your shadow, ready to cut down the ones that need to be cut down my friend.”

He looked forward then braced as the car came to a slow rolling stop. The driver stepped out to open his door, and Ban quickly jogged around and opened Skye’s for her, offering his hand to help her out, “So you’ll have a sword ready to cut out the curse that is threatening you. I’ll stick by you. Until you’re ready to get rid of me.” He chuckles a little, and motions for the driver to get the door into the back areas of the pachinko parlour. “We can plan the rest here, we’ll be safe. And secure.”

Skye smiled back, chuckling and giving a nod, knowing he was right, but also, knowing the challenges they faced were going to not be insignificant. She’d brought him into the firing line, and internally, that swelled inside of her too. And the shadows they faced, well, they had plenty to do.
“Thanks, Ban. I’ll hope that’s sooner rather than later. But I think we’ve made more than a dent.” Skye replied, a smile back, as she followed the driver, and with it, headed into the back door of the pachinko parlour, walking inside and heading through. All quiet and dead, with just the light of the machines available, and it felt like the strangest of places to be planning things. The driver led them through the parlour itself, and headed towards the office, around a corner, they had Ban’s office to get back to.

They did, until as Skye turned the corner to go down the corridor that she’d barely been in two days earlier and there she was. With a shit eating grin.
“Miss me?” Skye went to draw but instead was smashed in the back of the head, with another man charging into the back of Ban, tasing away with a cattle-prod like implement, until he stood no longer.


Her vision was blurry, but then again, this was round two of getting knocked out, by that utter, utter despicable piece of shit. Fuck. She’d known. She had played her. Skye should have known better. The whole thing….the assistant recognised Ban, and had found him. With a groan, she limbered herself up against the post, hands tied to the frame of one of the machines, Ban across from the other. And with it, there stood Rose, rather casually dressed considering, with Ban’s sword in hand. A black t-shirt, jeans, and the hair that Skye had identical to her.

“This is rather fine. Exquisite even. The details on it. And the sharpness. I bet you could cut up anything with this. And I think I’ll keep it.” Rose said to Ban with the wry sharpness of her English accent watching him come to, shaking her head, brushing the side of the blade, as she heard the other two men she was with drag someone else into the room, alive, sober, and kicking. Skye lurched, screaming, realizing, understanding.

Ban woke slowly and quickly realized something had happened that really didn’t play well. The parlour had been quiet, too quiet, even at the time of day it was. Even late into the night and early into the morning there would be people at the pachinko stalls or in the back playing one of the illegal games. But that hadn’t hit him quite right away. Not until they’d turned the corner into the back area, then started towards his office. The doppelganger, the bakemono! The woman who looked like Skye! She was there that explained why no one was in the parlour! He’d braced then, about to leap, when someone caught him from behind. He’d rolled to his back and looked up at an Obu family footsoldier. She’d managed to get some help? From Obu!? He’d tried to lash his hand up, but it’s caught and he’s rolled over again. He’s just about getting his legs up under him when he feels something jab into his back. And then he knows nothing but electrical pain!

He’d woken up on his knees, beside Skye, looking up, “What…h…ahhh the bakemono.” He snarls then his eyes go wide, “Ota-san!” he barked, and then pulled, the braces keeping him still straining but not giving, “What are you doing with my father!” He snarled out.

“Fuck, you leave him out of it!” Skye yelled, as Hataro was dragged to Rose, the old man no match for tasers and the two mercenaries that Rose had brought with her. How the fuck was she here? They’d taken down their facility, yet she was here, as if on demand? What, had she fallen out of the sky too? Also, how the fuck had she found out? Through the rival Yakuza clan, through a mistake Skye had made, or Ban had made, or in fact, anything?

None of it mattered. Hataro was dragged in front of the two on Rose’s nod, and with it, Rose crouched down in front of Skye, not Ban, and looked dead in, a certain conviction behind her. She didn’t really care. It looked expressive in her body language, she was done. Completely so.

“I have to admit, I’m disappointed we couldn’t agree earlier. But, I suppose it made me realize your true colors. See, I had to lose a very nice piece on the chessboard to you. One of my favorites. But sometimes you have to take risks…then that means we’re rather mutual in that fact. As if we weren’t already. I had to make a choice between you and your friends about the trip I made, and I could not resist coming here. Maybe you just don’t realize where the points on the tracks that I come from point to, do you?” She tutted, Skye wanting to scream a thousand fucks, if it wasn’t for the fact that Rose could kill all of them, here and now, no problem.

“Listen. You want me dead, fine. But you’re gonna be wasting energy on them both and creating a trail. You know as well as I do we’re in the open now. That makes it harder for us to even fucking move anywhere. So a bloodtrail is the last thing you want. Think this through.” Skye replied, as Rose chuckled, shaking her head, with a single, soft, stroke.

“It is the only thing I want, Skye. You kill who you killed, did what you did. And then you get collateral involved….make a scene. It really could only be you, couldn’t it. You really are desperate. You think you can still win. Yet just like this fine sword, it’s rather double edged how that works.” And with it, drawing the blade from the sheath, looking into Skye’s gaze, gently turning it over, then walking back to Hataro.

Ban held his father’s eyes, “Ota-san? Father…” Hataro Kingo looked at his son with a smile, “It’s alright my son. It’s alright. Keep our honor.” Ban swallowed thickly, then bowed his head. When he raised it again his gaze bored into Rose, watching her, but speaking of violence and vengeance.

“No team, no support, nothing. It’s like the fact you think your friends are a strength, yet I only see one problem with that. Isn’t that right, Ban?” Rose said, turning her head to face him, the sight of Skye Lyons, duplicated, in a certain turn.

“It’s that this work never really leaves you behind.”

And with that look, Rose cleanly raised and swiped the katana through Hataro’s neck, half severing his head in a messy pool of blood, kicking him down right in front of Ban, in a bloody, messy heap. He was half decapitated, and the bloodstain into the carpet swelled like an apricot.

It was messy, and instant. Like a blur, and Rose appeared aside from it. She wasn’t looking at Ban. She was looking at Skye. As if to make it worse.

Ban made no sound other than his breath getting heavier. Then in the low deep voice of his, but in that rumbly Japanese, “Watashi no meiyo to kazoku ni chikatte, omae o korosu. Omae no kubi o hane, meiyo o ubai, soshite omae no shitai o gomi no yō ni tsuba de haki kakeru!” He hissed then in english, “I swear, I’ll kill you. On my honor, on my family name, on my blood. And when I take your head, I’ll spit on your corpse like the trash you are! And the only way you can stop that, is by killing me!” He strains again the brace behind him creaking but not giving.

“So….are we paying attention now?” Rose did not seem like some cartoonish, far away villain anymore. She seemed here, right now, and well, with her motive, her tone hardened, cold, and as if it was another day. Another time. She was angry. She couldn’t hide her emotions, but this was a means to an end. Even in response to Ban, who squirmed, she seemed almost removed.

Skye looked on in horror.

She had clearly hurt Rose, deeply, way, way more than she had ever anticipated by all that had happened, so this must have been the extreme- after all, the center was key to her, but well, this kind of response was beyond words. Yet she was the same flesh and blood as Skye, after all. Same capacity for violence. Same willingness to think, and get what she wanted.

“You fucking monster! Fuck, what did he do to you?” Skye yelled, tugging at the rope and the machine, neither budging as Rose pushed back, the blade resting directly on Skye’s heart, a mere centimeter away from hitting the organ as she stopped on the cold, sharpened metal already pulling the sinews of her shirt away. Ignoring Ban altogether, apart from a glance.

“I know I can’t torture you. But him? He’s not us. And I can make you feel what it’s like as I strip him away, piece by piece, and the rest of him, his clan and family. They trained us well, Skye. I could go through all of your fingers, all of your toes, legs, arms. But I don’t need to. Just his, if I want you to talk.” She said, looking to Ban.

Ban grins and chuckles, the show of his teeth like a caged animal, unbroken and still wild, “What more do you think you can do to me? What more can you take from me? My father is dead. And by now, the Amagi family will be gearing for war. You have nothing to make me fear you anymore!” He chuckled and looked down at his father, “He was all I had left in my blood family. And you can’t touch the Amagi.” He grinned, then looked at Skye and then it clicked, “No…”

“I just need to take what else matters in his life away, and the face that does it is yours...like the clan. You’ve just given me an excuse to not care anymore about consequences, like you don’t. This isn’t a war. This is the end.” Rose finished, as if to put a cherry on top.

Skye couldn’t think of the words. A team-mate was one thing to do this to. Silence, acceptance, just knowing she had to talk enough to get this through was one thing, but Rose was smart enough to know Skye knew that too. So she did the only thing Skye herself would ever end up with. You can’t hurt that which can’t be hurt. You just rip everything around them to cinders until they crack. The unbreakable cannot have a foundation to stand on. Hardened criminals, special forces soldiers, they collapsed when nothing was left. There were worse things, but even so, she was going to do it to her team-mate’s life, the one she’d pulled him away from, all to rip it apart in front. The silence was deafening, aside from Ban.

“Fuck…..what do you want then?” Skye replied, hesitant. Anything would do. Anything to buy time. Rose was confident, maybe overly so due to her disposition, but not stupid. Rose indulged nonetheless.

“See, Ban, look how she starts. All those bodies you left, all the security that went your way, and it takes just one dead Yakuza to open her up. Well.” Rose said openly, then walking back, crouching in front of Skye.

“I want to know where you put a specific version of me. And what your hacker knows. If you do that, I don’t kill the rest of his clan. I spare them, keep them alive. Not sure about what I do with you, but he gets to go back out of this. Alive. To be honest with you, I don’t really see the point in keeping you awake anymore, but I suppose you may as well save the people you love while you’re at it.” Rose started, knowing well, Skye would probably die before she gave that up, but hey, she’d already fucked up enough things for now. May as well make this one last like Rose had felt herself.

“Isn’t that what you do best? Or should you just die a bit pointlessly while you watch me rip everything he has left away? Is that how we should do this?” Rose said, as Skye looked to the rope, trying to look for spots, ways out, anything. She looked at Ban with a certain determination, a certain ire, hoping, praying he had some sort of plan. Rage was a hell of a tool in a situation like this. Skye could squirm, but the rope was tight as hell around her, every piece pinning her in despite what she was doing.

Ban looked at Skye harder than at Rose. And screamed, “Jigoku ni ochiro! Go to Hell!” Then kicked the limiters off his augments. The smell of burning flesh and burning cloth filled the room and he pulled. Arms straining, legs clenching, and first his left arm came free with a cracking of the brace behind him, pulling harder, his legs came free, then again his other arm coming free. And he shot forward, over his fathers body and directly at Rose, “Face me now then you bakemono! You monster! I’ll take your head with my bare hands!”

His hands held to his sides, classic samurai style Judo ready to use, even as he rocketed across the space between them, steps stamping into the floor as he rushed her.

Rose turned in a certain shock, watching as he charged, diving out of the way as Skye lunged forwards in her own brace, yanking into her doppelganger and at least sheering the blade against her right arm and the tether holding her with a painful turn, one of the mercs running over towards Ban, weapon raised.
“Fuck! Kill him!” Rose yelled, unprepared for his speed, but sword ready, unaware of what Skye had done in the heat of the moment, as she knew Ban would have to take on the guard, before well, bullets happened.It was a split second, barely anything else happening, as Skye used it to get herself out, the anarchy in front at least creating a mask.

Ban barely slowed, the guard who jumped in his way swung his tanto. And amazingly he caught it. Between his hands, and almost in slow motion flicked the blade out of his hand, caught it and slammed it into the very center of the guard's forehead, and well maybe over judged just how strong his unlimited augments are. As he catches the body, and performs a perfectly beautiful shoulder throw, that bounced the man off the ground twice before he hit a wall.

And then he’s after Rose again, “You won’t kill me with my own family sword!” And then seemed to vanish, going from upright one moment, to seemingly gone. It’s from Skye’s POV that he ducked so fast that he seemed to blur out of existence. And he slams his right shoulder into Rose…

At the knees! A snarled out “YA!” As he shoved his whole body into her knees trying to bowl her over with the sheer speed and his body weight, “Down here Bakemono!”

Rose could barely react, smashed into a machine as she felt the weight of his augments and his strength, kicking him off and slashing, catching his metal arm with a turn, but barely able to put weight behind it, as she kept the blade front and centre, looking at him dead in view, not falling for that one again, on her knees, using his weight to throw him back and away.
“Right here! And I’ll gut you with it!” Rose yelled back, snarling with anger herself, as Skye fumbled across, watching the fight unfold, blood pouring from her arm as she yelled. Rose was in a decent position considering, unless Ban wanted to skewer himself.

“Not so cocky now, are you!” Skye yelled back, Rose turning for a moment to see Skye come across, her gaze split for a second. She hoped it would be enough to distract, at the very least for him to make another run.

Ban doesn’t seem to be shaken any. He looks at his arm, where the flesh over it is still sizzling away. The smell of burned skin was still clear in the air, “Not bad. But do you think you can keep up bakemono? Do you hear that by the way? You aren’t a person. You’re a demon! A ghost! Something not real! You are nothing!” He moved then. And even as Rose lashed with the sword there’s a crack.

Rose looked in awe. Ban looked pleased. He caught the blade between his palms. He then smiled, “I don’t need to be cocky when I know what I need to do. So tell me…” He moved his right hand forward while bracing the blunt edge of the blade on the palm of his left hand, then pushed and flicked at the same time, the blade coming free and sticking up into the ceiling almost half way up the blade! “..Do you bleed?”

He hissed, “Now then.” And moved again. And only due to the speed granted by his amped up augments, the blow is near invisible. The impact is a harsh crack as his first impacts on the nerve bundle half way up Rose’s left arm. The next one is a snap in the same place, on her right arm.

The last of the three though he takes his time, he measures up, placing his right index finger on her sternum, “Have you ever heard of the One Inch Punch? How they say it’s a myth?” He grins then surges forward, and indeed slams his fist into her chest dead center, mythological One Inch Punch indeed as he forced his entire body weight into that point, driving her back nearly three feet.

Then he stops, having to finally breathe, “Don’t need to be cocky. Now who is really cocky here? Huh? Bakemono?”

Rose spat blood, coughing up as she looked up, thrown back yet still breathing, blood pouring, yet seemingly, not even caring. Most people would, but then again, without consequences, she wanted to keep squaring. Keep facing.
“Oh, you are good.” She replied, and with it, let him draw in, responding in turn with a perfected counter, her krav-maga taught method not as fast as Ban, but effective enough to draw him in, countering his kick and responding with her own, going for his manhood and swinging him in, punching hard as Skye kicked her off him, running across the room to one of the Tantos on the floor and bringing it to bear.

“Two versus one, fine!” Rose yelled back, as she diverted herself onto Skye, the Scot facing her down and yanking the knife back into hand, staring her down. It was a quick set of moves as Skye came in close, but Rose couldn’t keep her balance, not with Ban looming. She tried to dodge, but it came fast enough, Skye finding a crack in her punches and with it, bringing the knife into hand, shanking into her stomach twice, as Rose took the knife and with it, pushed back, pulling the knife out of her with a primal scream and pushing back. Screaming, Skye realized as suddenly, the knife fell into her side, Skye limping away as Rose did the same, a shared pool of blood between them into the floor.

There’s a moment where Skye clutched her side, the wound driven hard, but right below her lungs. It hurts her to breathe though, the blade sticking in as she looked across at Rose, gargling blood out of her mouth, a bloody smile on her face.
“I’ll keep coming…..and you can’t stop this. Can’t stop any of it. You, your stupid team….” Rose uttered, the pooling continuing as Skye felt the same, crawling across, pulling her up, getting weaker, and weaker from her own.
“This isn’t what he wanted. I know it isn’t. Please…..please, Rose. You have to stop.” Skye begged, even in her weakness, feeling Rose’s depleting life cackle back.
“We’re on the brink…no going back now. It’s not him that wants this. Never was...” With it, Rose took the knife in Skye’s side, and weakly, tried to push. Skye screamed, falling on top of her doppelganger’s arms, trying to stop it as best as she could, feeling Rose’s efforts weaken with her weight.

Ban grinned right back at her, “The fine arts of Karate, Jujutsu and Judo play well with me bakemono.” He slipped in, ducking in with the paired women. His hands lashing out, vying off the lashes of that tanto, trying to create an opening for Skye to get in. The crack of metal on metal, flesh on flesh. He’s leaning back out of the way of a dangerous cut when Skye gets in. And he slides back and out of the way as the pair meet. He can see and hear the slice of flesh.

And for a moment he’s paralyzed.

They’d both drawn blood. He looks at Skye the tanto at her side, buried well. The opening in Rose though is mortal, it’s clear. And he watches as they bleed. And then come together in this moment. He caught his breath then stepped in, reaching down, to try and pry them apart, without pulling the knife clear of Skye’s innards, “Skye, stop…enough. The Bakemono is dying. You can’t help that. But you can help yourself.” He pulls again trying to get them apart, “Do not give you life for the dead. Do not give your soul for hers.”

Skye exhaled hard, wrapping herself onto Ban, holding tight, as she felt feint, fuzzy, weird. She felt exposed, but then again, gently throbbing blood from her gut was not a way she planned for this morning to go.
“She’s got me fucking good, Ban. Really good. You know me well…..” She uttered, dragging herself against the wall, exhaling hard and painfully, looking into him.
“I’m sorry, Ban. I’m so fucking sorry…..she…..I don’t even know.” Skye mumbled, putting her hand against his, exhaling deeply, her heart panicking, her body in overload, looking over at one of the men that Ban had brutally managed to kill. And the first aid kit on his tactical rig.
“The bleed. Listen. It’s going to need a ton of clotting agent. It’ll piss a lot of blood. And we need to get out. Fast.” Skye garbled, her panicked embrace looking down at the wound.

Ban caught her and carefully leaned back looking at Rose, “The Bakemono is gone…for now it seems.” He helped her away then let her out of his grasp and followed her to the wall, he looked up and around, then went to the door, with a heave he gets it open and then comes back, with a medical pack, “Take it easy Skye-chan, you’re going to be okay. You’re in my hands. I won’t let you go without a fight.” He opened the pack and left it open beside her, “This is likely going to hurt. We’re going to have to get it out and get you fixed up. There’s no cauterizing pen in here. But it looks like there’s some clotting powder in here. Just hang on.”

And then Ban applied pressure, pulled the knife and quickly stuffed the open package of clotting gel into the wound after ripping it open with his teeth. He shut his eyes, trying to drown out his friend's scream of pain from the knife then from the rough insertion of the gel into the wound. He holds his hand against the wound as the gel works to slow and hopefully stop the bleeding, “Just hang tight my friend. Just hang on. You’ll still have time. Everyone gets that moment of downfall. Now comes your climb back up. I think this is it. You can start coming back up out of the murk.” He continued to work on her wound. During which his limiters kicked back in, and stopped burning his flesh and clothing. Leaving him near naked in the moment, not that he seemed to notice any as he tended to Skye.

Skye screamed, yelping and roaring, feeling the heat and pain start to burn as she felt all fuzzy and weird. The words didn’t make sense, as the smell of burning could be audibly heard, from the limbs of Ban’s arms and legs, fizzling away. She felt very vague, all manner of strangeness happening from the amount of blood she was losing out here. After a lucid moment where it started to fuzz in, Skye found the energy where she could, resting a bloody hand against his boiling arm.
“Thank you…..shit, thought I was a goner.” Skye mumbled, and with it, released her arms, exhaling hard, looking back at Rose, then back to Ban. What would normally have killed someone here, had somewhat kept Skye alive, yes, through a poor decision but it was clear that if she hadn't gotten involved, the odds were still questionable for Ban. If Rose was anything like what Skye could do, she wouldn’t have done down easy.

Looking into his eyes, Skye mustered the energy she had for now, wheezing a little.
“We need to go. We really need to go. Wash any blood you have off you, it…it tracks. Hers. Sorry. It’s all a bit dizzy.” Skye kept mumbling, knowing it didn’t make much sense, as she felt the burn of his skin against hers, amplified by her sensory overload.

Ban used the medical stapler in the kit to close up the wound for now, “Right we’ll tend to that here shortly. Just want to make sure you’re good to go. Don’t want it to come loose in the moment.” And taping some medical gauze over the wound he finishes up. By this point he’s slowing a little the adrenaline rush, and the sadness of losing his last blood family clearly is starting to get to him. Only when he’s sure she’s taken care of does he get her to her feet to make sure she can walk, “Let’s go find somewhere I can wash off then try and get out of here. We can go to the Amagi Estate, they’ll take us in. But I think we’re going to need to get out of Japan for a while. Think Raven will take you back in? Think they’ll take me back in?” He levers her up onto his hip and helps to get her out of their holding cell, “I…can grieve later. We need to get out of here.” He took a moment to reach up and pull his sword out of the ceiling, tucking it to his side.

And he limps out with her on his side. Her blood and flesh and bone and pain. His meat, and metal and pain and loss. A fine pair in the end perhaps.

Skye looked up, barely able to hold onto him, her vision blurred like she was drunk, considering the litre of blood or so she’d lost.
“No chance. We can’t go there. Tell them to get ready for war, Rose is just using anything as a means to an end. Including them. We cannae stay for that..fuck he was a good man.” Skye continued to blear her words, looking back at Hataro, then back to Ban, her arms around him in an embrace, tears pouring out, as she sighed hard.
“Enri. Enri can help us. There’s one more place we have to go. One more thing we have to do. It’ll put us back where we need to be. In Los Angeles, there’s another friend that can help.” Skye added, hearing the sound of another vehicle rolling.
“Ah, fuck…..yeah, let’s get out.” Skye added, knowing they had to get to a vehicle, or something.

Ban winces, getting them outside looking around, “Come on.” And pulls her over to a small Kei truck, tucked along the side of the street a short distance away, “Come on, in here.” He pops the door after a little jiggling and manual lock picking. “Try and pop the other side open so I don’t have to break the window.” And then once he’s inside, hot wires the truck, getting it started, “:ets get out of here, I’ll make a call to the Family once we’re in a safe house. This likely means the Amagi and the Obu are going to go to the Mattresses. There will be deaths. Not since the Yamaguchi War have the Yakuza fought in the streets.”

Skye did as she could, fumbling across, taking the shard of metal and jabbing it in, using the good old picking technique of just shoving the lock until it went, and that it did, pulling nicely and falling in. She immediately fell onto Ban’s lap, before righting herself.

He caught her then pulled out into the streets, “We’ll make for the airport. I know a guy. He has a plane, it should get us to Hawaii, then we can try and get to Los Angeles from there. Stay with me here Skye-chan. We only got out of one problem. We’ve got far far too many ahead of us. Let’s get out of here.” He pressed the gas, and headed into the growing fog of a Tokyo morning.
British Embassy, Tokyo, Japan

0300 Local Time

The British Embassy in Tokyo was a classically Georgian-like building barely out of view of Tokyo's Imperial Palace, lit up by streetlighting and the overall rainy night filling Tokyo's early hours. But as any embassy head would know, operations never stopped for night time. Deliveries still took place, and well, one little panel van delivering fish, lobster and other foods for a dinner hosted within the embassy with a range of Asian Tiger ambassadors on behalf of Britain's wider diplomatic interests. Serious prep. As crate after crate got unloaded, as well as....well, another one that just got laid out.

Peeling it back, the translucent plastic bag rested against the boxes, and one of the guards overseeing the process immediately sprang into action.
"Fuck! What the hell is that!" The British-accented voice yelled, and the driver immediately got defensive, realising the corpse was not like the other fish. Human-like, not a fish in an icebath.

"I am sorry. I do not know how that got in...." The helpless driver said in broken English, hands up, on knees as another security guard ran over, bringing the man against the van and cuffing him, the other barking into his comms.

"Control, we have a situation, we have a body, repeat, body on site. Unknown at this point, standby. Possible threat." The call was efficient, as quick as it had to be.

With a swarm of guards turning in, the body was isolated, and a full scale evacuation had taken place. She was potentially a bomb after all, and the police would be called immediately. Yet for one pyjama wearing attache, who saw the face of the body, and for a moment, took a gulp, it wasn't a threat. It was a delivery they would never have wanted. She pushed past, and with it, approached the body, in spite of the guards resisting. There was a card, written as clear as day, and the attache took a good look of of stapled to her naked neck, with a bullet round still bleeding.


"Shit. That's one of ours." The guard looked to her with the shock that was carried by the attache, yet the clarity of knowing precisely what she was looking at. Skye was an enigma to anyone in the Foreign Service, yet to a select few, they knew the rough calling card of that number would be.

"Ma'am, please step away. We're manging the threat, we need to....."

"We need to call London. Now. That's one of SIS's operatives, code corresponds. She gets the first flight back home we can put her on. Someone brought her to us for a reason. If they know the code, they know she's one of ours." She said, as the guard looked bemused.

"Ma'am, we have police en route. Forensics will be here. Do you want the Ambassador...."

"Hold. I need to make some calls. We may have a more imminent threat. Isolate her in the bomb site, nobody gets in, or out." The attache of course, was just doing her job.

Not that she understood half of what the threat actually was. Or well, what quite this version of Skye was....

Purna Chai Gurung

Jemaa-el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco

1412 Local Time



The odds were poor, but Ebrima made them a significant amount better.

Purna with his arrival moved across the cafe towards the balcony, the last of his cloaking letting him dash across silent and invisible into the path of the last man, the man on the balcony, the bomb-maker in a slightly glitzier exoskeleton, Friedrich Koch himself. The sealed unit was good enough, but for his sins, Purna had no need to interrogate, or work with the man for any other reason. Just another throat to slit, and as Ebrima shocked the others and Ferdinand went to help, Purna hung off his neck and went from blackout to there. The knife jabbed once, twice, three times, piercing the neckbrace and with it, a turn straight up and into the man's head did the rest, the curved blade sharp and piercing enough to do what it needed as Ferdy's exo walked without direction, into a wall and then, clattering into floor in a bloody, gruesome mess. Another exo tried to swing, but with it, Purna used his agility to dodge the man's dash, using the grapple to pull up and let him slam into concrete, bouncing back as if he'd ran into a wall at 20mph. That was good enough. Purna then swang back out and like a gymnast with grapple in right hand and USP in left and kicked hard, the exo unable to respond in turn and with it, sending him through the window with two .45 ACP rounds through the face.

Purna's work was not half as bad as what had happened on the other side though, as now, the silence came over. There was a deafening mess, Boaro by the Spike-SR launchers, nodding quietly to Boaro's question. As quietly as you could nod, that was, as he prepped the device, the Cameroonian proving useful.
"Long time. I've got twelve o'clock." Purna added, firing his round, the two missiles in flight and then detonating the BTRs.
"Thanks, by the way. I don't doubt we need to run, Boaro." Purna yanked the next one along and commented as nonchalantly as he could, the NLAW the last of the batch. He refocussed and picked up the mech, and as Boaro took the last BTR out, he would have that. The missiles flew off, and with it, the BTR took a hit, and the stunned mech took a direct hit from the NLAW, detonating a shoulder and a weapons pod, but stopping short of blasting the thing entirely to bits- a bad scan on the shot that was taken, considering it probably had no fucking clue where to project the missile onto with that thing.

Still, the job was done, and before the mercs down below could refocus fire, Purna was already leading Boaro, heading through the back of the cafe and into an alley. Overlooking the same tight gap they'd jumped before, Purna lept off the end and using the grapple to swing through, running the wall and swinging into another balcony before clamping the wire up again, sending him carting onto the rooftop, and then, out of it again.

Purna followed Boaro's call, and with it, got moving, using his speed and ability to clamber and run to his advantage here, not wanting to stop for anyone or anything here. They'd be unlikely to make it to the trucks, but at the least, they could get out of the combat zone and catch up with the rest of the team later on.

Adam Stanislaw Kajtanowicz

Athena Anna Kanataario

Swing and a Miss

The operative that had crewed the mech upon receiving an axe kicked it open, and out clambered another Heavy, as if, like a Russian Doll, Ingwe Geza had plenty of fear left in him to give with heavy armour of his own. It would almost be hilarious, if it wasn't for the fact that now Ingwe had been relegated from a large armoured platform to a person-sized one and still had a large railgun-like tool in hand and the green and gold coloured suit had been repaired, and still seemed to be spluttering electricity. Ingwe yanked the axe out, despite the rounds that flicked at him from Tiny Nord, and cast it aside like a piece of plastic. Another giant. Well, this one didn't need mechanics to move, he just needed violence.

"Where's your courage now, boy! Think you can throw stones at me!? I want problems, always!" With it, Ingwe raised the railgun and blasted a round straight at Tiny Nord in response, straight at his shield. Not a full charge, but that would have hit like a freight train, there or therabouts- and for most, it would have been enough, probably without the shield Tiny would have been turned into pulp. It would have bought him time, Ingwe putting stalls and the mech between them both....and Athena, whose armour was coming back to life and she could now lump back towards the two. With a sharp exhale, she ran across, checking Tiny Nord was alive, which....well, he seemed to be, and realised Geza wasn't going for Tiny Nord. Or her. Jamie was right behind her, and she wanted to say a lot, but Ingwe's next move had her more scared. This wasn't a man wanting to go into a fight against three heavies. This was one who wanted to end one person only, before anything else happened.

With Tiny Nord likely taking a hit from that, Geza moved onto what his sensors had tracked before the mech was downed. Sam was flanking around the back, and Ingwe did not hesitate to move.
"And you! You cannot run from me! I'm going to rip you into pieces!" His voice boomed across comms, as he cleaved through stalls, and with it, fired a stun round from his shoulder, shocking the area in front, and worse, shocking the area Sam was in with the similar effect Boaro used, dumping smoke behind him. There was something to it, as Ingwe ran like a freight train up to where his sensor could see her, the electrical pulse he'd used like a really, really shitty and horrible area effect tazer. He recognised who she was. The only one that he hadn't picked a fight with in Chile. And now he had a chance to right some wrongs. Finding her winded on the floor from the shock, Ingwe picked her up as if she was nothing around her torso with his gorilla-like grip, tight in his electrically charged fist, and pushed against the hot, broken mess of the mech's leg.
"Now, you'll squish like a cockroach you are. No Freya to protect you now...." With it, Ingwe started to tighten his armoured fist in around her chest, and....

Athena in the midst, spotted him and with it, jolted the coil into the side of Ingwe, and pushed forwards, yanking Sam out of his grasp, turning it up. He tried to punch but Athena's physique did not let him in as she grunted hard and screamed back, holding him out of position, a wicked smile on her face. She knew the stories. She knew what had happened. And with everything her body was giving her now, that dump of seratonin hit just right, and she was going to enjoy this. She had watched him, and Ingwe had maybe not expected her to come back after so quick, after swatting her out of the air.

"Yeah, well, she sends her regards, motherfucker! Chaos, run!" Athena barked, as she turned up the coil and blasted at point blank, sending a massive jolt through them both but more importantly, blasting Ingwe a good few feet back, a massive smouldering char left by his chestplate. Another one. It would have been a similar case to last time with Freya....not that anyone was following that up.

Athena was even knocked back on her ass from point blank use, coughing a little as she felt the coil fizzle a little, malfunctioning from the charge she had cycled through it. Fuck. Well, down to secondary now, but she was hoping it was all worth it for what she had put through, drawing the twin MAC-10s from her hips, exhaling hard, knowing her suit was feeling a hell of a beating. Bingo fuel on the jump jets, and a kaput coil for now. Adam's voice interrupted that as she stood again, standing tall yet feeling certainly worse for wear.

"Wilk to all callsigns, regroup, BTRs are down and immediate threats are eliminated. Valkyrie, we need to fucking leave, now!" Adam yelled with a conviction he hadn't before, as he led a couple of Blue Sword mercs past an orange stall, picking off another group of militia, planting accurate fire from the MSBS, picking his marks and helping them somewhat turn the tide. To his relief, Athena complied, looking at the burnt husk of Ingwe, like his sister would have before, and forgetting to take a trophy of him. There was enough shit going on right now, other militia forces were flooding, and Athena already shielded Sam naturally, spraying a group with her MAC-10s, the compact SMGs spraying hot lead as they clicked out, and she instead switched to a sword in one, and a MAC-10 in the other.

"Affirmative. Fine. Have it your way." She called back, looking to Tiny Nord, and Chaos, who were no doubt a little in shock.

"Take a stim and run. Try not to think about the fact he nearly squished you like a bug, and let's try not to die getting out of here!" She replied personally to Chaos, the feeling one of horror, no doubt Jamie right behind seeing all of this, but Athena taking a moment to grow up a little considering as much venom as she may have had for Sam prior, she had to admit, that was brave of her. A few remaining hostiles were left, as they battled their way through the rest of the market, Athena keeping a lead and feeling the heat from all the hits she had taken, a few charging exos getting a sword to them with the MAC-10 pinning one down so she could at least get the low down. If Tiny Nord was dragging fire, Scion was likely scalping whoever was shooting at him, Boomer was handling his side of the square, then Athena was just skewering inbetween.

The trucks started to roll, as they pulled closer towards the position that the team were in, fifties on top of the armoured six-wheeled vehicles chattering away, with a larger truck following behind for the heavies to load up into. With it, Adam kept up some covering fire, a number of militants rushing and getting dropped as he nodded to Athena, who laid out some more fire from a MAC-10, before eventually dropping back. Moving to one of the trucks at the rear, she clambered in and checked the other heavies were on her lead, the steaming coils off her suit cooking, requiring a greater power cycle than she would have liked, her own exhale following that of her of suit's, no doubt. The trucks all rumbled once everyone boarded, and turning out onto a route that was at least somewhat clear, they were all clambering aboard and making a way out. Adam led Chaos towards one of the other MRAPs, and with it, lept inside, visor up and HVT right in front, secure and kicking.

Yes there may be- drop me a line with what you have in mind and a CS if you'd like, I can give it a review and get back to you!
Porton Down, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

About Two Years Ago

Crows were audible, loud, cawing and cawing and cawing in the foggy early morning dawn of the Wiltshire countryside. And within it, on a small complex lay an experimental research facility that mostly tested chemical and biological weapons, but today was different inside the specific unit they were going into on campus.

The shutter doors rattled, as the four dress-shirted men entered, lights flickering on, and a litany of British Army troops following in, sweeping out, rifles raised, the blood all over the floor and bodies everywhere, alongside missing equipment making gasps of men. It was a clear sight to see. Everything they had worked on, everything they had chased, gone, in an instant. It must have been a surgical break in. Everyone in the guard detail was dead outside, and mysteriously, not a single prompt had been given that it was happening. By the time the operation must have been done, two hours must have passed and everything had been co-ordinated, surgically, like someone knew precisely what they needed.

Henry was all too aware of what that phone call meant. And the sight of it, and the smell of rotting bodies was no unfeeling sign.

"Fuck me." He yelled, the sight the older, bald, glasses wearing man looking to the third, then back to Henry.

"She knew. She knew alright." The man looked on, Henry shaking his head, walking up to him and grabbing his shirt, the other man pushing back.
"You fucking moron! Do you have half an idea what we've done? What YOU did?" Henry yelled, grabbing him, the armed man separating the two, looking at them both, specifically the older one before they both had the chance to reply and argue.

"Sir, we have no leads on who attacked. Nothing. Whoever did this, knew how to hit us. She knew us from the inside out. There was nothing else any of the lads would do. Whoever hit, was a team as good as any of ours." The lead soldier called, as Henry looked back, the glasses wearing man holding a disdained look on his face. Henry replied first.

"I told you so, didn't I? Once you start this, it doesn't stop. And now, you have her on the loose. And working for God only knows what." Henry added, in disbelief, the stories now all proving true. It was a nightmare. Worse than they could have wanted to deal with. But, it was the reality. A comeuppance. The other white shirts wanted to say something else, they were high ranks, after all, but they did not stop Henry. A quiet man turned angry.

With a sigh, he walked past a bloodied body, the main culprit obvious.
"Fucking hell, Rose. I guess I shouldn't have expected any less. But even I'm shocked. All of this. It's not exactly like it's just one container's worth. She took all of it. Everything we set up. All of it. Those two technicians there. She killed Grace and Harriet....she grew up with them, for crying out loud." Henry added, shrugging his shoulders, one of the other white-shirted scientists looking across at him. The other looked more formal, Military or Intelligence even.

"Meaning what?" Another voice called out, one of the other dress-shirted men.

"Rose isn't like any other operative on SIS's books, but she'll slip up in time. The system, all of this....isn't replicable elsewhere. She's in the wild with her arse between her legs unless we help her put it back. She'll end up dead in time. Failsafes are in place, we just follow them to the end. Just one operative among many talented ones we have." Another said, Henry shaking his head, now livid, in his response to come.

"So you think she came here, took all of this, killed at least thirty people who have families we now have to somehow cover this up on to the highest level of government secrecy, and she has no plan? You said it yourself. No operative like her....she has a plan and you're already a part of it. Well, there's ONE operative like her we can't even tell that held a fucking normal life for her, and about a hundred EXACTLY like her, aren't there?!" Henry added, almost scalding in his tone replying as one of the other white-shirted men piped up.

"Are we telling Oracle?" He asked, another replying in sequence.

"Of course we're fucking not. You know why." One white shirt man replied and, went to another who replied.

"Because you think he'll tell her? He needs to know. Well done us, we try and cover it off for Ian's sake and maybe, just maybe, we sort this out. Henry, calm the fuck down. We need to manage this. Now." Henry listened to him, shaking his head.

"Because that wasn't the point. Ian didn't want this. Any of this. Neither did I. I think you know that. And now, she's going to come for you. One by one. She left these bodies as a point. Oracle isn't helping. Imran is telling you he told you so. Oh, he knew. Shock? Yeah, he knows. But doesn't know it was Skye and Rose fucking Lyons. So he's going to tell you to shove it where the sun doesn't shine if you tell him what happened here, and who. Because when, not if, he finds out, he'll come for you as much as Ian probably would." Henry said, sighing, looking around.

He was talking to senior military and intelligence officials like shit, and the normally coy Professor, a quiet man in his usual life was not taking prisoners. They had nothing to say, because they couldn't fathom the blood in here. Henry couldn't either, but rage had a hold.

"I suggest you tell your families you love them. I got told I was out of this affair. For you to fuck it all up again. I don't think you understand how screwed we are. You know what she can do, and you're still acting as if this is under control." He added, his tone underlying, fearful, almost shaking yet angry more than anything.

"Well, with respect, Henry, we don't have a choice but to bring you here. Stop panicking. Now you know why that phone was there. We never meant for this. Clean disconnect, clean end. And she somehow finds a contingency? You know that we pulled the plug, from the wall, as hard as we can. And she still ends up crawling out. That is why you are needed, how the fuck were we to think that is even psosible? And anyway....we'll take care of that fact, it's what they pay us for. Not your business. And frankly, we need answers, not complaints. You're not in our line of work. Just tell us what we need, and we'll be done."

"Well, fuck me for pretending you knew better and not thinking one of your best assets might realise you might backstab her! I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. Lt Col Atkins, in his late fucking moronic wisdom thought it would be a good idea to leave Sol Hestia in her as a failsafe, and Ian, rest his soul too! I told you it was a shitty idea. Now, we have a walking fucking timebomb on our hands that can't exactly be defused, and she seems to be able to kill an entire complex of trained monkeys with a bunch of ghost mercs, and shift two articulated lorries out of rural Wiltshire without any questions, so no.....sorry, I don't think I know better. I thought you're fucking experts, why am I pointing this out!" Henry ranted, almost turning red in the face, the men offended, but Henry giving zero shits.

"We have our measures....calm yourself Henry. We'll hunt her down. Find wherever this went, who attacked, and end it. With, or without Oracle and his band of merry men. And anyway, if we tell him, half of NATO finds out about this. And the Russians. And the Chinese. And this all goes to shit. You're right, he won't hold back. If he knows. Neither do we. Not when we have to."

"What part of what I just told you did you not listen to? Forget it. She'll be a ghost in the wind now, and there is nothing we can do. I recommend you find whatever funded this. And eliminate them. Tomorrow. She isn't just going to be angry. She's not going to stop until you cut off the neck."

"Our thoughts too. We have our best on it. This is being dealt with. Lieutenant, over here! We need photos on markings left here. Henry. Don't shit yourself. We've had things like this a while ago. Bear with." One shirted man added, as the phone wobbled in Henry's back pocket, the researcher sighing.

"Hang on."

Walking outside, the phone buzzed in Henry's pocket, and without thinking, in the millions of phone calls he'd already had to field this morning, took it. An encrypted phone, in theory. No other calls came to it, unless of a crisis like this. An old one, to be fair. But the use case was enough for someone.

"Hello, speaking?"

"I think you get the picture now....and I am glad you understand. Do not turn, and do not put the phone down. I know you, your wife and your children have had a very productive life since you packed this in. Bella is in that teenage phase now, yet she takes after her dad's music taste. No need for me to interfere, and, I suppose they deserve a bit of protecting. I'll come for you when I need you." The voice was only one. Only one.

His heart almost stopped, as he stared into the foggy abyss, and for a moment, he swallowed the most sour lump in his throat, adrenaline charging in.

Rose had intended for this. All of this. There was no tracing or going through the recording, and she wasn't bluffing. It wasn't a message for anyone. It was his. Directed at him. He was here for that reason, none of those men had an idea, but it all went back, she probably listened in on that entire conversation too. And he couldn't even spill half of it to them. What had happened. They knew knew the semantics. No detail. And the horrors of it.

Not exactly an amazing morning so far.

"Are we understood?"



Adam Stanislaw Kajtanowicz

Athena Anna Kanataario

Purna Chai Gurung

Souk Semmarine, Marrakesh, Morocco

1410 Local Time

The War of Tomorrow

It was anarchy everywhere.

Up down, there here and fucking anywhere. Specifically, there.


All hell broke loose as gunfire poured everywhere down on ground level on the way out of the Souk.

Boomer, Tiny Nord and Scion's presence ripped through the side of the alleys, and Adam picked off the man with the scimitar on Tiny Nord, using his rifle even in spite of the man lifted fireman-like over shoulder, keeping an eye on the now four horsemen of the apocalypse he had to keep an eye on around him. This was quite something, safe to say, he was appreciating his hearing protection more than usual today, nodding to Tiny Nord as his gesture was interrupted by the distinct yelling of the Warhawk on point. Jamie, or Scion had blasted a barrage into the alley. Now the rats were exposed, and the dark-navy, near grey coloured heavy was taking front and centre stage. She'd been waiting a while to get back to work, and here she was at it.

Athena was yelling out as she sent a wooden stall flying with static towards two Artemis soldiers, bullets flying an an RPG clattering stone near her, as she roared, yelling. Her other heart pounded in her chest, and it was clear where some heavy might even take a moment to settle, she just didn't stop, she used the coil to either fry or bash people in, her Trophy catching a 40mm round, the sight of it something and a half as it detonated. Even another mechanised Heavy came in, a DsHK loaded and yet Athena seemed to be fuelled by pure adrenaline, her hearts pounding as she used her jump jet to leap forwards, rounds clattering as she crashed straight in front, the static pinning him as she grappled him and he tried to punch back, yet nothing come from it given Athena's sheer, screaming relentless power, using one of her swords to basically skewer him through his Altyn-like helmet. Even Adam kept out of the way with what came next. You know those things in Tom and Jerry, or cartoons where a bunch of people get into a fight and you just see clouds of dust, dirt and smoke?

It looked like that, except when Athena was about done, she had marks on her armour, and still seemed to be standing, yet 20 men in the alley no longer were, with the heavy used to soak up a few rounds held in her left hand with the remains of his mechanised system propping him up like a chunky armoured human shield, whilst her coil fried a couple more in her right. Then it went quiet. With an pull up of her helmet, she kissed him on his metallic forehead and let him peel off her sword, looking back at Adam, not much dust on her face but an awful lot of sweat, even in spite of the AC inside the Warhawk being cranked to max, whooping with her heart almost wanting to explode out of her mouth, very much visible to the Pole.

"Oh, eat shit fuckface!.......oh yeah. This way. My men are posted up. We've got anti-tank weaponry. And some more toys. I told you....get yourself a girl that can fuck shit up. Chaos, threat's handled....but the militia are refocussing in one cluster in the stalls in the market, they ran when they realised what was coming." Athena commented, the static smell sticking out to Adam as well as the smell of the heavy on the floor very bloodied and messy, the Pole shaking his head from the level of violence that this woman had. Fuck me, she was barely not a teenager and able to blow more shit up than any heavy he'd ever seen, well, not outside of Raven at least.

"You are fucking crazy, Valkyrie. You guys came expecting a mechanised platoon?" Adam commented, Athena shrugging with the look staring back daggers.

"It's Morocco, what did you expect, we would come light? Come on. My men will not hold long. They'll need help. Get going, drop the HVT and we'll need to carve a path out. I'll be at the front, before you bitch." Athena said, the Blue Sword troops now visible on HUDs up ahead, now turning away from the troops that were between them and it. Extraction was right there. And well, a point to drop off Henry at least, who was still fast asleep. Always HVTs seemed to be out, it was like someone didn't want them talking in the heat of battle or something.

"Oh fuck you, Valkyrie. This better work." Adam replied, dry as ever, not wanting any command to slip here, given well, he couldn't exactly say no. But this was not a position he wanted to lose all his power, he had to remind. So did Athena.

"Yeah, yeah, something something fucking energy shield, something something fuck you not kicking enough ass!" Athena replied, as sarcastic, and as absolutely much a ten year old would.

With that, Adam moved forwards to the trucks leaving her silly comment behind, Athena looking across to Jamie, her look in her eyes clear. Blue Sword troops beckoned over, and with it, Adam dumped Henry into the back of one of the trucks, grabbing a stash of magazines inside, whilst Athena addressed the business behind. Her brother, and Tiny Nord, specifically.

"Appreciate the assist. Not bad unloading rockets into them. There are a lot more that way though. There's refills in the trucks, JamJam. See, always thinking of you and your expenditure." Athena added, walking on by, not adding more, not letting him have more, for now at least. As for Tiny Nord, she kept an eye on him, as selfish as she was, he was struggling, and she wasn't going to let him stay behind.

Looking at Tiny Nord's armour, Athena reached down, whistling to one of the soldiers, one of her techs to be specific, who ran in, the brief interlude interrupted by Jamie and Chuck raining down shit in the more opened up square littered with stalls and stands, and where the vehicles and mech were roaming. Inspecting it, they could tell he mostly had it fixed, but her and the tech finished the rest as much as they could. He had a good moment to look up through the corn-fed all American heavy, well, 2 of 2, or 4? She had no idea what her and JamJam were at this point. Probably some weird blend.

"Good to go. Hydraulic cylinder caught some damage, new one should keep you running. And we have better replacements than Russian for that. My mother would know. Come on.....they can't hide you back here. Dude down there has a DShK if you're feeling like you want more high calibre, than what you're probably swinging down there. Oh...did I say that bit out loud?" Athena cackled, wiping the dirt and blood off her shoulders, tapping him on the shoulder, and with it, breaking into a run, leaving a little static crackle on his arm as a friendly jive.

"You're rolling with Valkyrie now, Tiny Nord, I know, you probably heard about me. Stay with me, and keep blasting. We have a world to go fucking save....apparently." With it, Athena locked her faceplate back down, and set the coil to regenerate, leading the way out of the souk, under a destroyed arch and out into the warzone beyond.


Purna kept moving onto the alley, catching sight of Ebrima getting annoyed, and well, moving his side across the rooftops. Clattering into an exo, Purna was powerless to help, well, apart from sliding behind an AC unit on a roof as a sniper shot rang out, as he peeked out, Mk14 back in hand, cloak back on and gently peeking up, clattering a round as well as a countersniper could into the sniper, then the spotter of the .50 cal position, before back down again, another MG barked out, picking out his position. Well, fuck off, he thought, as he ran back on, hopping another alley and noting a couple more troops heading on Ebrima's flank, Purna skidding on ground.

Taking a hard breath in, he peeked and using his MP5 instead to clatter down shots down range, the militia-like forces getting rounds direct on the next rooftop along, using his positioning low-slung to the ground and almost as a blur to make the most of it. The cloak was basically pointless, but well, it had done its job for now, as he disengaged it to save the last of the battery, using the grapple to leap onto the next roof to help clear the bigger gap, watching Ebrima come back onto the roof. He'd helped in his own way, silently from the background, and didn't really need to say much.

"Few tangoes eliminated, moving forwards to Cafe L'Adresse. Copy, Chaos. Sniper team and loose elements eliminated." It was almost like it was just an exhale for him, not much to say, probably something the Cameroonian would appreciate. Despite their initial differences, more similarities perhaps matched them, more than either would be comfortable at all admitting. Poverty was a shared story, and well, they knew how to fight dirty and make the absolute most of the cutting edge. For now, he had his own issue to deal with. The door kicked open near to where Purna was, the final one in a coffee shop balcony overlooking Jemaa El Fnaa, as the exo-clad operative walked out, two more men moving on Purna's position, an NLAW in the hands of one and a PKP in the hands of another. Ah, fuck. And like that, a fireteam's worth of exos had appeared following those initial group. They were ambushing. Purna would have done the same, picking off with anti-tank weaponry? Now that was just fucking unfair.

Time was of the essence.
"Boaro, get to me, stat. Gonna need help here. HVT has a fancy exo. And there's enough AT here for us to turn the tables with." Purna's voice was persuasive, not understating yet cold and almost removed from what he was describing. All mags reloaded, he kept out of sight using the dark shadowy terrace, watching as the men barked orders in what sounded like Russian, clearly the banner of language they chose. They were right on the flank of the square, and the mech towering in the distance could be seen, at least 12 to 14 foot tall or so, as were the IFVs rolling in, cars on fire, stalls on fire and generally speaking, the warzone that was filling. USPs in hand, Purna kept his kukri held loose in his left, watching as one set up the NLAW, and precisely on motion, clattered a round into his head. One exo-equipped soldier recieved four more, but his reinforced armour took the brunt, and he had already lept forwards, clattering through the wood towards the Nepali, Purna rolling out of the way and shooting the other man with a round to wound him, before charging forwards and drawing the pistol back down.

With a push, Purna ran forwards and ran off the balcony top with the unprepared supporting AT soldier, grapple fired straight back in as the other body flew out with Purna holding on, giving him the chance to at least leash back in, smashing through a window and back into the cafe. He was fluid, a fireteam totally unaware of a body getting sent into one of them as Purna kept on blasting, rolling through a coffee stall and using his speed, fluidity and parkour to keep them on edge. Bolting through, he used the walls to pivot around another, emptying the mag, and flicking the pistols back into holsters. With his MP5 set, he dived behind solid cover again inside the cafe's ground floor, exhaling hard, knowing he'd caused enough shit to at least make them have no idea where they were being assaulted from. Normally, Purna would rip through people like butter- but Artemis's more advanced troops were a harder ask, especially in an active warzone where they'd be tooled up to find people just like him.

"Fireteam of exos above me, they've got an AT position set but I can't fight them alone, need some muscle here Boaro! If you want to avoid nearly getting your head kicked in, tell me when to ghost up and I'll slit the throat of any fucker you want, but you only get one shot!" Purna called out into his throat comms, knowing Ebrima was likely following suit down his side of the market, and would be able to hopefully return the favour. Whatever Boaro was gonna do, Purna could follow suit, HK slapping his MP5 with a new magazine and underslinging his kukri in a tight grip, and preparing his cloaking system for one last jolt.

This moment was one for Boaro to use to go one against four, and win. On his command, Purna would be able to do what was needed in that cafe to help him win the fight.

(Starlance- treat Purna as an NPC here for what you'd like)


Yet it was the shortest of respites. The mech was armed with an autocannon and rocketpods, and laying waste to a Blue Sword setup up ahead, and there was no time to waste, the BTR-90 IFVs trawling over cars, stalls and all sorts. At least three left, and Adam had picked up an AT4CS, rolling it over shoulder, USAS in hands with frag rounds for the exo-equipped soldiers.

"Scion, you keep the right angle, Boomer, you're on left, Valkyrie, you, Nord and Fireteam Gold have the middle, I'm in pursuit! Boaro, if you're at that AT position, steal what you can and clean up BTRs from up on high, any mortars, hit the mech even, fuck, work out what you can but don't fuck around, we're taking serious fire!" He called out, mortar rounds clattering out now. Mortars? What the fuck, were they actually committing to a warzone here? That meant only one thing- don't fucking stop moving, and keep killing anything in front.

This wasn't like New Zealand for much of the team, even like Chile, not really like Aralask, this was full blown, all out warfare in the busiest market square of a major city that could be, and this situation had gone from zero to one hundred in the last spell of about 10 minutes. They wanted Henry badly, dead even if they had to, but the attack had probably left them uncertain of what in the high fuck to do. Same for Raven. All that Adam knew was, they had to keep rolling the momentum hard enough, or they would get stomped.

Athena charged on, Adam leaping up and over a stall to clatter a squad with flechettes, as Athena barged straight through a stall with her own jump pack and basically ripped through another squad with an LMG post with a fluid arc of electricity cauterising the setup, roaring as Blue Sword troops sent 40mm rounds over the next stall in support with smoke and high explosive, Trophy Systems of the IFV coming in close picking up a few before Athena refocussed herself to deal with that.

The BTRs fired on stalls, sending wood splintering everywhere as Athena bolted across and Adam sent the shield back up, her fist raised and picking out one on her targeting system. A missile screamed out, and with it, smashed the wheels off one of them, immobilising it.
"Fuck yeah!" The yell replied back, as she didn't so much as run at the IFV but simply threw herself up six feet into the sky and clattered into the hull, buried the coil into the top hatch, and pulled, with a big jolt of electricity just blowing the door off and blasting the inside. The doors blasted off the rear, as she felt smug for herself for a moment there.

A 20mm round from another IFV made her rethink that, sending her clattering down, over a stall and over, exhaling hard, the round's impact against her armour not puncturing, but certainly knocking the air out of her breathless charge.

"You fuck!" She scrambled back, the Trophy System not catching that one, as it sent rounds flying all around, Athena using the shell as cover as Adam followed, the sight of Chaos on the networked HUD moving very fast making him worry. Almost like in a comic fashion, Athena's tall frame looked down at Adam, and the supporting two Blue Sword soldiers joining in, as well as Nord. The look on his face was not a positive one.

"Oh shit, Chaos, what are you doing!?" Adam called out....she was in a truck? Oh fuck no. Athena on the other hand, well she beckoned up.

"Chaos, you crazy fucking bitch, I like it!" Athena yelled, turning up the coil and with it, nodding to Adam, Tiny Nord, and in a sense, the other two heavies.
"Cover my ass, stay the hell away from me but get ready to rain down some fire! Scion, on your quarter, I'm gonna make a run, Chaos, now!"

With it, Athena moved out from the IFV, and with a turn up of the coil, broke into it. The jump jet pointed almost a more flat angle, she sent herself across, skidding through a stall in a comic fashion sending oranges and fruit in a colourful blast, running at pelt, heart pounding.

"Fuck me, you're gonna get yourselves killed, run it back!" Adam yelled with a venom, almost beyond disappointment, just hoping they weren't about to get killed. Everything he had said that, but well, there was no stopping. With it, Adam moved around the BTR's wreck and unloaded rounds on a group more Artemis troops were reinforcing, cutting them down, reloading with a tactical movement and keeping his head low, the woodwork making this area one hell of a killzone, the kind that only the heavies would survive. Moving through, he drew the AT4 off his shoulder and picked up a shot on a BTR, firing off a round and watching the Trophy attached snatch it out of sky. Fuck, that wasn't gonna work, but then again, it was just a tube, nothing advanced. Not like what Boaro would be able to pick up. Moving from point to point, he recharged the shielding up again, barrelling behind more solid positioning, staying the hell out of the way of whatever anarchy was going on further in.

The mech didn't miss spotting Athena, not one bit, and unguided rockets flew out towards her, blowing up all sorts, nearly detonating her with it as she took one last call into the tannoy to make sure she had its operator's attention, as well as all the BTRs and troops rushing in. She was centre of attention, and in most circumstances, this would be pretty much her getting killed. If it wasn't for all the fire support she hoped she was getting, one last jump upward and she was right where she wanted.

"Hey, Athena Awesome is right over here!"

With it, Athena cackled, and with the coil turned up, the last mode was left she really wasn't hoping to use, but considerate of the fact that up until now there wasn't much stopping this thing, she may as well have a go. The Fryer. Mini-missiles weren't hurting that thing, it had a Trophy System, her usual system wouldn't pierce it, but this, this might do something. And with it, the coil discharged anything it had left, not a blast to fry through armour but instead, an EMP-like shatter that would almost certainly short anything it hit. A complete overload in the short term, even for the military-grade circuitry that it was going into. Short range as a shrill of course, but enough to shock it for a moment.

Including her own.

Although, Athena realised a bit late that the pilot of said mech wasn't just any. It was the big bastard that Freya talked about a while back. Geza, fucking, Ingwe.

"Back at you." The tannoy replied.

The mech swung for her with a paw and clattered her over, but the pulse was well timed, and with it, killed the mech momentarily, as she got beefed into a wooden stall with a hard hit. Considerate of the fact it couldn't turn on her and unload its weapons, it just swatted her instead. The impact was hard. Heavy even, and breaking more stalls, she wiped out momentarily, unable to move for a second and pinned in. Not dead. But certainly dazed, and well, hoping the others had the rest covered.

If this is breathless, and you can't follow, well....there were far too many strands to follow, far too much to really focus in on, and try and establish. But one thing was clear. They needed to clean up the IFVs, any remaining Artemis troops, and most importantly, that mech killed or stopped, one way or another. Athena had started that process, likely Chaos would end it. The IFVs and troops around the massive square? The heavies in Boomer, Nord and Scion had those, but they couldn't exactly go toe to toe with wheeled steel and reinforcing exos and other troops, so they'd be pressed and would have to play dirty. Boaro and Viper had to eliminate their hostiles in the Cafe and then get AT to help out to that end, and get on with that.

Athena took a deep breath, and with it, bounded over stalls, clambering and running from fire, the armour ridiculous to bear, but no doubt, something she could at least hobble in. Her vision was blurry, her hearts were sucking a lot more in than she could manage, and she could at least swing by the wreck of a truck, huffing hard, taking a second to re-establish, and then get back.

The team had free reign here to kick as much ass as possible, together, or else they'd be making their end here.
Adam Stanislaw Kajtanowicz

Athena Anna Kanataario

Purna Chai Gurung

Souk Semmarine, Marrakesh, Morocco

1350 Local Time

Push and Shove

The collective push was a sight to behold. From the heavies utterly smashing up the remainder of the gallery and the garden, with Artemis throwing everything, from exo-clad soldiers, male and female, to local Moroccan Army troops that were charging in armed with G3s and G36 rifles of their own, to other local Gendarmes coming in, the place was a fucking mess of fire, bullet casings and people getting hit with hammers, swords and hooks. There's something utterly mental about it, this whole scene feels like within one little pocket of Marrakesh's many, the place was being turned upside down, shaken about, and the coins were being flung everywhere.

Purna and Sam had done well to secure the biolaboratory- the one inside which had the compound needed neutralising, and fast. Purna had noted Sam's observations, replying in turn to her and her concern.
"Noted. This is strange. I do not know much about it, Chaos, but if she has multiple bodies, it's possible this is a test. An experiment. But perhaps there is our problem." Purna replied, looking at the tank, the gunfire getting louder, and louder.
"I'll cover that corner. You have that one." Purna replied, flicking a new mag into his MP5, slapping the thing as he got set.

The heavies were turning the tide, and with their presence, Ebrima was no doubt seeing first hand why Raven didn't mess around. The sheer number of troops being thrown was insane, but there wasn't stopping three heavies in the mix. Not with that sort of attitude they were carrying, at least. Whilst they may have towered, nobody of an entirely sane disposition would charge into the fire like that, and the troops trying to counter the counter-attack were at least now getting the picture. Nobody was going through them.

But they didn't have long, anywhere close to enough time to get through without there being some disruption.

Adam carried Henry over his shoulder, moving with a certain pace to him, Ebrima leaping across from out of the garden to the buildings, using the roofs to flank, whilst the heavies punctured to the end of the garden, past the fire. Moving to the tent, Adam looks to Purna, noting the heavies securing the perimeter, and getting set inside.

"Good. Let's not all stay here. Boomer, find a way to burn that tank, then back us up. Scion, Nord, you have point, Boaro, follow on them and pick off any flanks while they push through from the rooftops. We are headed that way, into the market, marker points should guide us to the square. I'll back you up, but I need to be careful with the VIP. Viper, get back to rooftops and pick off anyone else on our way there, go long. Chaos, stay close to me." Adam called, the team reinforced, and a little more in one place.

With it, the team had places to go. Purna nodded quietly, and with it, headed back out, as the heavies continued on the ground, towards the market.

The fight out of the garden was intense, but Artemis had learned, and had pulled back, taking their loss. That said, that meant a different kind of problem. Like a rogue elephant, they weren't the main team's problem now. They were rampaging anywhere they wanted, and that meant a different kind of problem not five minutes away, as the heavies kept point, Adam followed behind through the dusty Souk alleys, with Boaro and Chaos. Viper had already returned to the rooftops, and picked off a couple of spotters already, using his grapple to pull up before breaking into a run, matching the pace of the team below, Mk14 in hand, using it to pick off any other spotters, or loose exos on the roofs now. Decloaked and visible, Boaro would pick him up if he looked, but with the pace he carried, it would be difficult.

The Pickle

There were more civilians running out, but well, gunfire had that effect. Even those stubborn to move were getting it now, and Blue Sword troops, Artemis and anyone else was in full chaos. The extraction point was a hard bubble to hold open, but they had it for now in Jemaa-el-Fnaa.

"Wilk, where the hell are you! We have you a window, you need to be here, now!" Athena yelled into the comms, the large steps clattering concrete, the Valkyrie's Warhawk getting a small smattering of rounds as she blasted back, Stream-level electricity pouring out of the coil, flashing concrete and an entrenched position of Moroccan Army that were being backed up by Artemis troops, the reply back not one she found satisfactory."

"We're running, headed en route with the VIP, we have resistance!"

"Well, you really aren't kicking enough ass, aren't you? Fine, I'll split the difference!" Athena boomed back in return. She was done with this bullshit, her patience gone and well, when you had the capability she did, well, you could make that excuse. And she wasn't gonna back down. Turning the corner as she ran into the souk herself, an RPG flew by and Athena replied with a zap of the thing out of air instead of the Trophy, before then turning the energy on the coil and skewering the guy into two, cackling from how hard this shit was going.

With a thump, Athena looked down the alley, watching on as more Artemis soldiers turned from entrenching to seeing her just come for them now. There's a presence to her, almost like a larger-than-life aura that of course exuded from what she did. There were no Blue Sword soldiers with her. This one was hers. And well, moving with pace, she caught more rounds, hardly stopping as she turned up the dial, civies now fully out of way, and brought it to bear, as one lobbed a grenade, chattering dust upwards yet not stopping the arcing, bouncing electricity that found its mark. The charred ash left a mark, as another RPG flew past, Athena skidding to a halt as an exo soldier tried to leap on her, the guy hitting hard in her head, as she flung him off and into a wall, flicking one of the swords out and with an eloquent, jump-jet fuelled turn turning his throat into kebab, flinging it like a mannequin down the alley, using her coil to then use the body as a fry point.

The noise of gunfire not at her rang out, and the sound of what was an MRAP skidding down the road was more audible. Fuck, that wasn't good. They were headed directly for Adam and team. With a leap, Athena activated the jump jets on Warhawk's chassis, and with it, flung up yet mostly forwards, clearing the 20ft of distance between her and it's incoming presence, barely fitting through the tight alley. There's a look in her eye as the MRAP turned the corner and went into the parting of the alley where they both met, and Athena intercepted them before it could even make way towards the team, a 40mm grenade launcher on top blaring out rounds in the general direction of the team. They'd be feeling the heat. But, they'd turn their heads and see someone as tall as their MRAP flying towards it like a two and a half meter projectile with a motherfucking sword in left hand, gigantic tesla coil in right.

With a crash, Athena bonked the MRAP and basically smashed in the front right glass and right door, turning the coil inwards and with a brap, blasting the doors wide off, pretty much eviscerating everyone inside with a bloody spray. With almost a tempered look, the Blue Sword operations commander stared at the team, down the alley, the gold-visored, dark navy coloured heavy letting shattered glass fall about, shaking her head.
"Don't stare, I get enough." Athena tsk'd, and with it, Athena looked down and stepped off the deformed bonnet of the MRAP, dusting herself off as the comms flared back into life before Adam could reply.

"Boss, we've got way more resistance coming in. Wait, is that a....fuck, Valkyrie, we have IFVs and a mech here, we're under a lot of shit!" The comms from Blue Sword was panicked, and certainly now not equipped for what was a condensed firefight that was now not just consuming the garden, but what felt like a good chunk of the market. The Blue Sword troops were exposed out in the larger square- Jemaa el-Fnaa was a teeming mess of stalls, rather than the tight, labyrinth-like alleys of the Souk, a very short walk away from where the team were right now.

"Valkyrie, if your team cannot hold, pull them back, we will find another way out." Adam said to her in response, Athena shaking her head, turning and covering the alley where she'd come from, and the pile of fried bodies still smelling like a wet, horrid static-y vapour.

"That's a negative. I'm off to go fucking scorch their point. We aren't running. We're fighting them." Athena said, blunt, Adam angry, and yet now realising shit, of course. Priorities, Adam walking directly in front of her, Athena looking directly, committedly down at him.

"Valkyrie, the VIP is priority. Kurwa, no way." Adam replied, Athena walking direct up to him even closer now, staring him straight now, the heat of the moment for the younger giantess of the three siblings not really backing down at all.

"Sounds like a you problem, you're with me and you're getting a ride....or you can go back the way you came! You still got ammo? If not, plenty of dead goons where I came from with guns!" Athena barked back, the chirp not one that she would back down from. Athena wasn't taking no for an answer. In fact, she was going to lead them through.

There's an uncertainty to it. No doubt JamJam was not gonna be happy, but then again, he'd understand Athena cared for her teams, even if she was a little vapid. They were the people she paid, kept in line, and well, were right now taking a lot more than just a little bit of fire their end. A little logic to it existed, but Adam didn't like this. They were going towards the gunfire, not away. And with a VIP to get to transport, even if it was armoured, there was always the fact that this was going to go longer than it should have.

With that, he replied in mind of what was going on, knowing he wasn't going to say no to a ride. Not that she made it easy, but fuck, he wished she could see the picture here. Henry was quite seriously one of the only leads they had, and any way out now if that one was getting hotter than expected would be critical. He was still soundly asleep, that knockout gas certainly hitting like one hell of a drug right now. Once he woke up, he was going to be very, very dazed. As for Athena, he'd have words later. She certainly wouldn't agree, but there was no telling her not to go do this.

"Fine. Have it your way, but on your head. Tell them to get an armoured truck to the gate and pull back to our souk's gate, minimise how exposed they are because they'll get fucking shredded in the square. And we need to secure Henry at least. Team, push through the market and we need to get to Jemaa-el-Fnaa and neutralise hostiles. Boomer, Scion, you are up front, but stay the fuck out of the IFVs and mechs, not without having something to unload into them. Boaro, pick off enemies on rooftops, stay mobile and keep RPGs off our point. Chaos, I need you to find a way to take out that mech, priority target. Viper, you're with Boaro. Fuck, how did they sneak that thing in in?"

"Glad you see it that way Captain. I don't leave my men behind. Looks like you can hide anything in a market this big. We have some supplies at the trucks. And we have some tricks up our sleeves." Athena replied, back on the front again as another set of troops set up, 40mils blasting down the alley, as Athena just ran into it, then bringing the coil to bear. With a blast, the coil smashed the aluminium shacks they were hiding behind to bits, laying down cover and giving an opportunity for the others to make hay through it and press through the maze-like alleys.
"Covering, move!" She yelled, knowing JamJam was here again, and she wanted to say hi, something to him, but she knew the tag team was back. Heading back to the market, there was pockets of resistance, but between them, they were sweeping it up well. That said, as soon as they would get to the market, it would turn from just the condensed chaos of the alleys, to the wide open fire that was going to rage beyond.
Collab with @BigPapaBelial and @Starlance

Skye Rosalind Lyons

Ban Kingo


Hisaya-odori Park, Nagoya, Japan

1800 Local Time

A Scots and Japanese Whiskey Blend

The two seemed almost a dynamic duo, a pairing that certainly the Scot wasn’t expecting to be back into. But it was what it was. And this was the riskiest thing she’d ever imagined they would do. The skyscraper opposite the park was a quick drop off after the car had dumped them around the corner, and Skye had stashed her gear on a rucksack, carrying it over her leather jacketed shoulder, concealing a kevlar vest and tactical equipment. The sort that would be anticipated from someone on the hunt. Skye had understood Rose had the same training- so therefore, they didn’t just have the same blood and genetics, they very much acted similarly.
“Follow my lead, Ban. Act like we belong here, and let’s stay undercover as long as possible.” Skye said, the shaven-head Scot resolute, the adrenaline pumping through her knowing they were going straight into a den full of tigers.

Armed with a G36 instead of her MCX that she pulled out of the bag before heading for the entry, the slightly more archaic weapon was a stalwart of the SAS, and a few other organizations in Britain back in the day, and perhaps was why Rose loved it so much. An iconic tool, and Skye no less had to look the part. It fit among, and Ban was in front, almost like a hostage.

With a walk inside of the building’s reception room, eyes turned, a few guards immediately coming out, guns raised upon seeing Skye, no, Rose, and Ban armed and tooled.
“Hands up!” One yelled, rifle raised, the unsuspecting Ban in front of her likely wanting to pull his rifle up and deck the two. Skye put a hand on the back of his shoulder, pulling front.

“Don’t you recognise your boss! Rifles down, lads. Get the verification.” She spoke with a convincing English accent, and toned back her mannerisms, pushing it all down. The Scot felt a little unsure, but fuck, this was something to do. Not so much impersonating someone else as the other half of her. The guards were still querying, as Skye, as Rose, sighed, walking in front, rifle lowered.
“This is Ban Kingo. He’s ex-Raven, and was harboring Skye Rosalind Lyons, but saw sense to join us instead. He is the one you fuckers couldn’t catch. Neither was she, despite my instructions! So I did some work of my own and and she’s now swimming pretty lifelessly in the Tokyo sewers. He’ll verify. While you bastards sat here, I had to get my hands dirty. Again.” Skye said, as one of them looked confused, but instead, came out with a device.

“I need a voice print and a code. I apologize….they are the security measures, Rose, as requested.” Skye shrugged in response to the guard, as she looked to Ban, reassured, the patch on her neck holding for now as she saw him pull the phone, holding it in front of Skye.

The voiceprint was easy, as she called out her name, Rosalind Lyons, easy enough. The code though, that was harder. She had to think. Actually, fuck. This was a problem. She kept thinking, thinking…..what was that date that they went to Porton Down? What was it? Rose was stuck on history. Skye wasn’t…..and she got it. Bam. And put that in. And to almost her entire relief, and shock, the six digit code worked, a bright green tick following. That shouldn’t have been so easy, but then again, maybe remembering a past was a good thing- something Rose didn’t gamble Skye would do so easily considering how far she’d run away, but since what had happened, Skye had made a mental note to remember it. Shit, this was the most awful cybersecurity she’d seen and no doubt Enri would find this the best joke of the year, but then again, Rose never looked over her shoulder. Never since now, at least. The guard nodded, and looked up.

“I apologize gravely, Miss Lyons. Welcome. Andros-san is not around, but you have full access. We have rooms upstairs for debriefing him.” His response was a Japanese level of affectionate apology, as Skye shrugged, looking to Ban, then back, the look of disappointment on her mug, almost you could call it a resting bitch face.

It was such a close thing, almost looked like they could get into the building just fine and through into other areas too. But of course no plan survives contact with the enemy. The guards approaching slows things. Ban hand slips under his long coat, hidden within his light short rifle, a HK derivative that had been shaved down to almost bare bones, barely 20 inches long all told, but could still hit like a brick shit house. But also in there, nestled just down the inside, his katana. The guards are so close, the rifle would be easy to make three pops each, the integrated suppressor would be helpful, but no his hand was just an inch away from the handle of his blade. Yes it was a close thing, and just as he felt the shark skin leather wrap…

Such a close thing.

Skye’s hand on his shoulder stops him.

Discipline, loyalty and Yakuza pride is the only thing that stays his hand and relaxes his body. Not yet.

He held still, trying to play the newly turned operative? That Rose/Skye had found him and come to fill him in? He huffed. He could work with that.

With a slow swallow he listened carefully. And that casual Japanese style familiarity, how often had Rose been here?

Ban quirked an eyebrow at Skye then made a little motion with his chin towards one of the lifts, and then a nearly imperceptible nod. It’s the best thing they could roll with right?

Skye nodded back to the guard, and stays assertive, like she owns the place, and leaves him behind, looking over her shoulder to break the silence.
“You did your job. And I did yours too, who knew. I suppose if I was Skye, she’d have had you killed a lot faster. I want more guards down here, tell Andros he’s going to get another visit from me if he doesn’t. Because I seem to be the only one hurting Raven and I am sick you don’t take it so seriously.” Skye ruthlessly responded, sighing as the guards barely replied, as Ban headed towards the elevator, Skye following towards, before they stepped in. Hitting the button, the doors shut, and the Scot looked over.

“Holy fuck. That actually worked. Shit, I was about a few seconds from giving you the double shoulder tap and we would have to ice everyone there.” Skye looked exasperated, yet giggling now, knowing Ban was no doubt freaked out by this version of Rose.
“So, let’s try and keep going. They think I’m here to debrief you. We need to keep playing this. We need to find a computer, get our friend on the network, then find the vault. And whatever is inside. Then, we really need to get out, fast.” Skye replied, the lift accelerating fast up as it went, Skye leaving the rifle slung on its strap, the alter ego she played holding true.

Ban walked to the lift and held the door as Skye finished her little tirade. He had to keep his face straight as best he could the whole time. Once the door closes he looks to make sure there are no cameras, finding none he lets out an explosive breath and sags against the lift wall, “Izanagi’s balls…how the hell did that work!” He caught his breathe carefully, “You are a born actor Kitsune-chan. I don’t think I could have pulled that off nearly as well as you did.”

He pulls out his phone on which the plans still rested, “Okay…uh fourteenth floor.” He looked over and pressed the button to set the lift going, “The network room should be up there. My mole here says that level is high enough there are fewer guards on a wider patrol. But they will all likely think you’re Rose, and we should have free reign.” He gives Skye a look, “This Rose…she seems like a iron-cold bitch. I have trouble see how you Kitsune-chan could even be remotely like her.” He gives her a good look over, “If I ever meet her i’m going to try and take her hands, Skye-chan does not deserve someone like that darkening your name.”

Skye chuckled, shaking her head, knowing this was addictive as all fuck. Holy shit, this was like Raven but way, way more toxic and worse in every single way.
“Hah, not before I get to her first, Ban. Enri’ll have a tracker on us. She’ll patch in when she needs to tell us anything, we’ll be on our own. Network room is first, then the vault after. Biometrics should get us in, which in this case, are easy. Hopefully.” The Scot replied, chuckling knowing full well Ban was probably enjoying this side, the more casual looking Skye knowing full well this operation hinged on selling that cover. Until it wouldn’t matter, they had to keep rolling that punch.

“Here we go. Good spot on the plans. Follow my lead..” Skye replied, as the doors opened, the office empty considering the evening hour, but a few guards waving to Skye, not even imagining she was the Scot but rather the elusive, secretive operative that had turned Artemis’s fortunes around. Rose was someone who didn’t want to be seen unless she had to be, and well, to be in person with an ex-Raven operative, who she seemed to be escorting, but well, rather than go direct for the rooms, they had half a detour to make. And they carried on, avoiding suspicion, and moving with an intent. A couple network engineers were in on the late shift, as Rose nodded to them, convincingly taking out a USB, as they looked on at her.
“I’ve got some intel off Raven. More for our supply. Have a peek. Courtesy of Ban Kingo. See, he likes our ideas. And this should be the final piece. I want to have him personally see what that means.” Skye said, the engineers standing at the sight, in disbelief that Rose would visit, the voice immediately identifiable from her various previous calls, slapping it onto the desk proudly. Skye knew this wasn’t going to be a simple one. They weren’t morons. They would check the USB first, and find it full of contents. But rather than hacking a laptop here, a CCTV system there, this was basically the central node. And it would be a couple more that would grant them access to a few specific controls, and they would be game, set and match.
“Oh, hello….Miss Lyons, we were not expecting you? And this is a great pleasure. Let us check.” One engineer took it off the desk that Skye placed it down on, returning to his computer, as she replied.

“Yes, well, when you have my capabilities I don’t want to be known, do I?” Skye replied, fully, totally leaning into Rose now, yet almost, to you dear reader, making it almost clear she was indulgent in the sarcasm now. There was reason for that. Walking across the room, she nodded to Ban, the other engineer peering away as she gave a pull on her throat, as incognito as she could.

And behind that other chair, she gave it a second, just a moment, before…..oh, well, his check wasn’t going to be a long one.

A hard kick to the back of the chair sent him squishing against the table as she reached forwards, pulling him down and onto the floor, pivoting him around and pulling, holding, holding, and holding, feeling the guy start to go limp as he kicked out, her stranglehold choking him out as she felt him try to kick and grab her, yet to no avail. Skye had done this a lot. Rose probably, too. And bit by bit, she felt him calm, and eventually, drop out.

“Fucking hell. Okay. Are you good?” Skye asked, looking over from her limp guard, towards Ban, who would have his person to deal with.

Ban looked at Skye and edged to the side, coming up behind the other man carefully, slowly. The pair of engineers bent over the console. He waited, watching Skye out of the corner of his eyes. And moved in near perfect sync.

The pair of engineers were looking at the contents of the USB. One of them let out a soft urp as Skye took him back and down. The second man was just beginning to turn, when the Kingo Family sword slithered up out of the coat, the scabbard still over the blade. And Ban locked the hard wood and leather scabbard over the front of the second man’s throat, and he pulled up and away, walking back slowly backwards. The engineer reaching up and trying to scratch at the scabbard then back at Ban. The former Raven soldier, renewed Yakuza using a very gangster style take down.

Ban stepped back and back and back until the engineer’s movements slowly came to a stop, his face purple from lack of air and maybe blood flow. Ban eased off and then gently laid the man on the floor, reaching down to check his pulse, “He’ll live, but will feel this pain for awhile.” He nods, “Good.” He looks around to make sure no one saw that take down, “We best hurry, I can’t imagine that this room isn’t on a pass by patrol or a physical patrol check.”

Skye nodded, in response dragging the body out, sliding him under the desk, and propping him up against the wall, having a moment’s realization. She ran quickly to the other side, finding what was one of the tech’s hoodies, and slid it under, before putting the chair underneath.
“There. Well. Sort of. Yeah, let’s make a move. First though.” Skye shrugged, knowing Enri would appreciate this. Going to the tech’s work station, she slid the USB in and saw it override all the security measures, automatically tapping past the internal security like a breeze.

“Outflaw, keys are yours, start the download if you can and tap into their network. We’re going to continue.” Skye replied, and with it, leading on Ban, knowing this would be a tense one, but still all on plan. They had a timeframe now, and that focussed things a bit better.

In a hotel on the other side of the city, a ping interrupted the bored hacker. About time, she was shit at Minesweeper anyway. Cracking her knuckles, Enri opened several windows across the three screens she had brought in, the young Yakuza buck tasked to do it occupied with a laptop near the suites door in case security was needed. Not likely. Not only did Enri set up a VPN beforehand - and as YouTube ads would tell the laymen those were bulletproof, she thought with a snicker - the entry team had taken her words about choosing targets well to heart. Almost before she had time to connect the programs she was going to need, her creation was already reporting near-total control of the target site’s communications.

“You made good time.” She quipped to announce her presence on comms, “They’ll need a crystal ball to find our transmissions, we can talk freely. I’m setting up the data mine now, give me two minutes for cameras.” if they had them. If you were doing shady stuff, you wouldn’t want records of it, she thought as she set the wheels in motion, feeding security data back to her main servers where an AI would determine areas and events of note and bring them up to a human operator to sort out. She quickly opened a communications window, a disheveled man in pajamas on the other side. “FastByte, we’re beginning.” He did not waste time answering, the man and his two brothers regular contractors Enri had met in university. In the meantime, another AI was already sniffing out every last byte of what Kitsune might be interested in. One jack-of-all-trades would’ve worked, but smaller, specialized programs were her whole schtick. It sold better and usually worked faster, too.

The guards from earlier were gone, as they got back to the lift, and tapping the button, the lift came up, the doors opening again and the two back inside. Skye knew
“Floor 24. This one might be a bit more tense. But let’s find out what the hell is going on.” Skye commented to Ban, turning to face him, knowing she had some explaining.
“I don’t know what we’re going to run into. But apparently, whatever the cure to this neurotoxin is, it’s here. I imagine you could burn it off just as easy. But, there may be some reason she’s kept it in her locker. And I don’t think we’ll understand it fully until we do. There are going to be a lot more questions than answers, Ban. You really don’t want to know what Rose is like. But you wouldn’t have signed up for what we did if you didn’t believe that. Trust me. I appreciate this more than my life is worth right now..” Skye said, knowing Ban was fully in on this ride or die shit right now, but that was the way the game would go. Checking herself over, she coughed a little, brushing off the fact she’d just choked someone out barely minutes ago, and readied up, another floor, another job.

Ban checked around the room once more, then hid his katana again in his coat. He picked his way out moving along in sync once more with Skye. Moving back to the Lift. He nodded again and hit the button for floor twenty four. The lift began again. Ban leaning on the wall lightly, he turned and smiled as the woman began to speak, “I watch and listen and see this as yet another dark thing we have to excise from the soul of this world.” He smiled brightly, “I still don’t fully understand what is happening, but I would not have joined you in this if I didn’t believe in you.” He nods, “Rose sounds like a true bitch, and if we can get something up on her without her truly knowing, then I believe in we will know eventually. And hopefully we can get you back to your family exonerated.” He looked up as the lift reached floor nineteen, “You have a life rich of experiences, and it is worth more then royal gold.” He faces her again, “And I’ll lay down my life if I have too to make sure you get it all back.” He gave her a bow, then straightened as the lift neared their next destination.

Skye nodded, hopeful, glad at least someone was on side. Oracle certainly wasn’t- whilst there was no doubt it would be painful to do something to her, precautions would need to be taken. She hoped the team was okay, at least, somewhat holding up. They would be. She wouldn’t have recruited them if she hadn’t, for now, the only thing that mattered was this. Whatever the fuck the cure was, whatever the hell they were looking at after, and what it meant. It would be an olive branch, a way back in and at least, it would put a dent in her plans. Creating dilemmas rather than nice choices, Skye perceived it as. Rose would do the same. Exactly that, like in New Zealand- perhaps forcing a choice of staying and fighting, or retreating and losing. And now they had to make this pay. Make this work.

“Glad you trust me. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, I would say the same, but, I’ve killed the hag twice and she’s kept fucking coming back. Not going to lie, it doesn’t make it any easier to kill the person who has your face.” Skye quipped back, the lift slowing, as they came to it. This was it. This was the floor that scared Skye, somewhat, but she had to push through that fear. The doors opened, and with it, the two emerged, a much higher density of guards here now. They all recognised Rose, the security check at entry passed as they knew what she was here for.
“Miss Lyons, you are a surprise to see here. You move in shadows, but it is a pleasure. I know you like to check on things, but I wasn’t expecting something so soon.” One asked, the German woman standing from her desk, not following the others in bowing, aware of Rose’s presence here, her mannerisms, her way here.
“That I do. I need to show this man something. Something rather important to our cause…and to me. Can you open the vault for me, please?” Skye asked, the girl looking up and down Ban, moving aside from the desk.

“This is Ban Kingo? We checked on him. Amagi Clan, pachinko parlor operator in Kiyose City. Rose….what does he serve us, if you don’t mind me asking? Not my place, but I am curious where he fits. You know me, I’m just curious about too much.” Skye sighed, knowing the question was an honest one, but chances were, Rose had built up a relationship with this person. It’s odd, because Skye is playing her out to that end.

“He knows how they work. And once I worked my magic on him, he gets it. He’s clever enough to figure out why Skye lied to him, lied to all of them. And I’ll say it in front of him….I think he was disillusioned with it all. Probably why he ended up out. How he didn’t get his head washed up, I don’t know. Whatever that shit they get up to get people out…..means he’s useful. Just needs a little proof though. And he’ll be hunting the rest of Raven by tomorrow morning.” Skye said, chuckling, a wry smile on her face, not unlike her usual own, but very much leaning into Rose’s.
“Well, fine. We’ll open it up. All yours, Rose.” The guard replied, and with it, instructed a group of her team to make way, headed to a panel. Mental note, that needed hacking too, but for now, Skye played her part, guiding Ban.
“Well, let’s go see what we have. Ban, you may be wondering if anything I said was true. Let me show it to you personally.” Skye felt odd to lead him, considering she was leading him to something of proof, but instead, they were going in to steal, or at the least, work out what the hell was on the other side. The metal door on the outside of the lab opened, and beyond that, an even larger door hissed open.

Ban smiled and winked at Skye then fell into place as they exited the lift. He paced just a step or two behind Skye and to her left. He slowed and stayed in the rear, crossing one arm across his chest, trying to appear casual even with the number of people around now. He was starting to get a little antsy now. Old instinct perhaps.

He turned and looked at the German woman, his eyes narrowing then doing his best not to growl. She knew quite a bit about him it seems. His Clan, his family, where he worked and the location of it no less. Everything in him screamed at him to shut her up somehow and make sure that information never got out. His hand briefly twitched and went for the katana in his jacket, it’d be so easy to, a swift cut, and she’d be silenced. But discipline again stopped him. He took a deep breath and bowed, “Many things have been revealed to. The perfidy of the woman who I thought my friend and mentor has been revealed.” One of the other people in the room saying something about it was bound to happen, even to the best.

And to anyone really familiar with Ban, Skye at the very least in the room, it’s clear the Yakuza is planning just how he could kill everyone in the room except for Skye as quickly and cleanly as he could. But before he could finish the doors open and beyond the vault doors hiss apart.

Ban takes a deep breath forcing his want for violence down, and follows in Skye’s wake.

And with it, Skye walked through, the vault doors opening up and revealing inside at first, a blinding white light, with sample after sample along the walls, various chemicals, a but all vialled, all contained. This seemed strange. Like a bloodbank, but something else altogether stranger, that nobody here was quite qualified to understand, well, aside from the techs, scientists, and maybe Rose herself. For such a secure whiteroom, the containment was clearly clear, and well, Rose had been here before. Skye couldn’t exactly say why, but it felt almost like her marks, her trace were over this. The Scot looked over the vials, looking back to Ban, curious. They were alone, the techs left at the start, and leaving them behind as the room illuminated in purple and blue light, revealing a lab, vaults of samples and what you would typically be expecting to see in a biochemistry set.
“These look similar. Odd. They’re somewhat a green compound, then the burgundy ones over there.” Skye commented, tsking, walking up to one of those claret ones in particular.
“So, she carried this with her in Patagonia, wanting to stab me with it in a syringe. Then she did. Clearly some sort of sorted neurotoxin….called “Hestia”. That’s the same thing Pavel said. That is weird.” Skye wouldn’t have known the details that Raven knew now on top of her own historic knowledge, but the other side, the green ones, that she recognised more as she walked over.
“Okay. So, that’s the opposite. Sol. That’s the sun.. I don’t get it. So if that thing there should kill instantly, why make this as a sample? Strange…and why is Pavel saying both when he’s drunk out of his ass?” Skye said almost the more obvious thoughts in her mind out loud, looking to Ban, then looking across the far end. She took one of the vials out, the reinforced polymer in hand as she carried it, then peering across to Ban, who probably looked very, very confused.
“Oh, right. Long story. There’s something to tell you at the end. Shall we have a look? Outflaw, we are pushing further into the vault. I’ll see if there’s anything we can can get you into.” Skye asked, almost a telling voice, her curiosity piquing. The temperature in the vault was cold, making her shiver, the translucent plastic blinds hiding something.

The yakuza stepped into the vault and looked around. Then had to lower his head and rub his eyes, “Ahhh so bright…” He looks up again to make sure there are not cameras, well none that Enri hasn’t already taken. He nods at the pair in the room, “Can you see this Enri-chan? This place is…I don’t know…both disgusting and far too clean to be real. I feel like this is another world entirely.” Ban paced to one of the walls and made his way slowly down, looking at the vials, and the beakers and all the glass containers, “These names mean almost nothing, but each one, feels like a disaster waiting to happen.” He reaches up almost touching a vial with some stange blue powder within. But stops himself before his fingers rest on it, “Rose, have probably used each of these, or tried too. But schemes could someone have for these powders and liquids.”

Turning he nodded and caught up with Skye, “Yes, we should, maybe we can find the thing that is likely to cause the most problems.” He edged over towards the other end of the room carefully, looking back at the vault door they came in through then back towards Skye, catching up with her finally, “Let’s hope.”

"No eyes on the inside. Let me see…" She fired up a search engine on a different screen, “Hestia, Greek goddess of hearth and home. And sacrificial fire, that's ominous. Sol was... the Roman god of sunlight. Hm, probably unrelated then?” She’d hoped whoever this ‘Rose’ person was she’d be stupid enough to assign meaningful codenames. And while the initial security would’ve been laughable were it not sad, no such luck here, or at least she couldn’t see the connection if there was one.

Skye replied to both, knowing Ban was no doubt confused by it, and so too would be Enri. It made sense, well, the fact none of it really did. But beyond the plastic? There was an allure. A pulling of the feeling, the sense as she knew that Enri would have unlikely seen beyond, and Ban neither.
“Copy. Yeah, this is weird. Maybe this connects to something.” With both their thoughts in mind, Skye peeled back the plastic, and stepped on through.

There’s a deep, horrid sinking feeling that hits her, as she saw the room, as long as the skyscraper must have been wide, and nothing really could have even given her any preparation for it all. There’s nothing she can say, as the lights flicker about, Skye walking past one, after another, after another. The horror persists on her face, as she looks back at Ban, the one moment likely he’s just seen the color drain out of her. She knew this had to exist….but seeing it was like a fucking nightmare come to life.

Calling it a gigantic plastic bag would be an understatement, but inside of it lay what looked to be the identical copies of Skye herself, one, after another, after another, mounted in what looked like hardpoints on the low ceiling and their own little bubbles, above a padded and reinforced panel below that upon activation, would rupture and dump into, also explaining the grate and the fluid that possessed the insides of the bags, making them turgid to the touch.

No umbilical cord, just a pipe in each of their throats, and probably what kept their lungs and internals sealed, with a wire protruding from the top of the sack into the neck of each body, the translucent material revealing a fully grown human being, not some child, not some toddler, but right now, age for age, like for like, Skye fucking Rosalind Lyons times about thirty, aged thirty-one, red hair, everything else. There’s this incredible feeling of every piece of Skye’s own humanity feeling like it sank, bit by bit, piece by piece, as she walked up, looking into the closed eyes of her own self. Rose was strange, this was straight up hurting her own sense of self, because every single one of them could be her. Someone with feelings, emotions....it wasn't like looking in a mirror, it was like looking in a mirror and being able to physically touch her own, plastic lined body.

“This is fucked…….I knew we’d have to see it sometime. Doesn’t make it any easier. Jesus…..it’s like a fucking doll in a supermarket. Ban, this is me. Or Rose. And it’s how she comes back from the dead. Holy shit. This is……this is insane..” Skye said, her Scottishisms coming through now, despite her vocal patch, a deep, husky sigh coming out of her, as she took air back in.

“Outflaw, standby. This is uhhh……fuck, quite a hard one to explain.” She said, cutting herself off, the usual confidence that had emerged a few minutes ago now sapping, but still, she pushed on.
“Console at the end. This could be it, Ban. Maybe it’s all of them. Or just a sample. Let’s go find out. Though fuck me, I don’t know if I want to. Oh well. Not like we have a choice.” Skye retorted, walking slowly on the metal grate, no obvious computational power here but instead, an array of networks, all pointing to one singular node.
“Outflaw, we’ve found an extension to the facility. Likely no way in for you on the plans, but there’s a terminal. We’re going to see what it comes up with.” Skye walked slow, taking deep huffs, trying to contain herself. Holy shit. Maybe this was it. Rose’s bodies were just all here, they just needed to pull the plug, and done. It may not have been, but what was here, that would be crucial.

Ban stepped forward but choked as he saw what lay there, some kind of plastic container? Bags? No, this is something else entirely. He gets closer. Then without really thinking draws his sword from within his coat. Staring at them laying there. He looked between the bodies and then at Skye, “They look like you Kitsune-chan. Nandayo…Fauru.” He holds his sword one handed, and waves his other hand in front of his face as if to clear a foul smell, or clear his senses of something he never wanted to see.

After a bit the yakuza soldier shakes his head, “This is foul, to play with the human body, and keep this in storage. An affront to everything sacred and fair.” He slowly slides his sword away, “Everything in me says to end these things here, deprive Rose of what they can be used for. But even I am not dark hearted enough to just kill something that could become someone. Even if it is your bitch of a noppera-bo. What do we do with them then?”

Skye shook her head, knowing this was beyond bonkers. Even his question felt difficult for Skye to swallow, considering the context of what this was. They weren’t alive, but shit, they were her, many, many versions. None of this idea of was she even real, no, that felt a little bit stagnant, it just felt like were any versions here? Just shells, chassis, carcasses that just had a potential to be inhabited, yet had no soul, purpose, direction? They weren’t even drones, something you could fill, the only thing that could do it was one person and that person was a split of the person that could do such a thing. It hurt her head, with Skye staying quiet, silent even, as she walked to the end terminal. Before she mustered up the words to reply, finding it harder, but....rationalising. Trying.

“The only thing they can become is Rose. The only thing they are is her. There’s nothing in there. No soul, no person, no consciousness. Nobody’s waking up if you rip that bag open. Nobody’s in there……though fuck, it feels wrong. On a level I can’t even really understand. We need to stop all of this. But we need to know how this works.” Skye added in reply, bringing up the terminal, and tapping in. A password, but again, through Skye’s biometrics, it sort of passed by easily enough. And then it was in. This wasn’t a system connected to anything in the building, or the servers, anything at all. It seemed to be connected to some sort of cloud network, out of building of course, but this was just a host point. Skye looked over at the data, pulling up a few bits she could do from here, knowing Outflaw must have been screaming to get in. For a relatie few seconds, Skye had to know herself. Had to see this.

“Oh, shit. That makes sense. Those hoses. They’re not just cutoffs. They’re sucking blood out of her and pumping nutrition in. Fuck me. Why are they doing that?” Skye said out loud, looking to Ban, realizing…..ahhh, shit. That was why. The neurotoxin. The work Spectre was doing. Shit, this was a factory. They were harvesting her.

Her blood was the last piece for the drug’s activation, an amino acid and protein compound that enabled the last building block of a complex biochemical weapon that turned it from a tame sarin-like substance into a complicated, human-focussed poison. That became clear because every interface was suggesting it now, and it all aligned in her head. The toxin targeted strands of specifically human nodes, given Rose’s blood linking it in. Hestia. The hearth, the fire. And that meant….Sol was a pacifier. The sun, the light. A way to keep Rose’s bodies in check, and what stopped the neurotoxin from just killing her straight away like Skye's experience had given, and likely, a byproduct of separation kept aside. That bit that Sophie mentioned…..Rose’s DNA was deteriorating with every copy and so left the bodies alive with maybe a decade to live at most, so now that made sense. But this was all a fever dream. And her head was spinning, even Skye’s intelligence hurt and she could barely make sense of the ringing in her ears, the fuzzy feeling of every footstep, her own heart thumping and clattering.

She could barely even explain this to Ban, or Enri, but it would in the data coming out of this later. If Raven had the tails of how the biochemical weapon worked, then right now, Skye, Ban and Enri were now seeing how the nuts and bolts worked. She had everything ready bar the deployment mechanism. And that would kill millions, if not more done right.

With a turn of the AR-enabled console, Skye plugged in one of her last remaining USBs, bringing it into focus for Outflaw.
“All yours.” She uttered, still bewildered, in shock and trying to get her head around it all. There was no way Outflaw was going to be able to hack everything here, and well, it was an encrypted network she’d likely not be able to understand, and nodes poked it off, given this wasn’t the server, but one of the offshoots. It was the peering eye inside of the mechanism that did this all, from the simple system to the one that basically turned Rose into someone who could respawn. And there it was again. Hestia Sol. Both together now. That was it. The AI, the bit that parsed the memory, the cutoff that Rose had mentioned. She mentioned it all as if Skye would follow. Why? And fuck, how long did they have now? There was insight to see perhaps where the node went, but it would be complex, and likely, not yield much in the way. It was blocked off enough as a pathway that it’d only give an indication of the central server, where Rose’s mere fucking existence would come from and into here. So maybe it was the only one, or maybe there were more. No answers there, but well, perhaps this wasn’t it. But it was useful enough. Cutting that off would sever this whole place, but likely, there would also be a killswitch here too for the bodies, and Skye looked for it as Enri did and Ban would have the chance to take it all in.

With the entry team moving deeper into the vault, Enri busied herself with the data mine and understanding the security features of the building in case things went sour until she got pinged by FastByte, a location and two associated cameras. A pair of guards approaching the desk where Skye and ban took out the two engineers. “Fishsticks…” The hacker muttered, sifting through the security system. Security lockdown, no. PA, no. Fire alarm. Picking out an office, far enough away to distract them but close enough to make sure those two would respond, she triggered the annoying buzzer, the two turning on their heels and making for the disturbance. Whew, crisis averted, or at least delayed.

Right on time, as Skye had just plugged in the second infected drive. “I see it.” Enri confirmed, skimming what she had access to now. Not even intending to pretend she understood any of it, she just bumped it up the data mine queue, figuring they could sift through it later at their own pace. “It will take some time, but on the plus side I can pretty much make the building dance a tango if we feel like it, so there’s that.”

Skye heard the reply, the muttering of Enri back, knowing she was puzzled, but, creative as ever.
“That is good. We may need that. Though….Outflaw, get a look at this. It’s a killswitch. Drowns them basically. And….I’m not pressing that. It’s alarmed, has to be.” Skye muttered, noting the reality of this. She hurt a little, because well, this is possibly the most fucked up thing to do. Killing one person in hot blood, then in cold, now, thirty? Fuck that. This was beyond wild.
“Wait. Rose’s old body got snatched, because of the tracker. And those bags are likely alarmed too….and her bodies may be tracked. So….that means….okay. This might be insane.” Skye said, looking to Ban, with a glint in her eye.
“I may have an idea. But we’ll need to be quick. Outflaw, I got one more for you. We may have a way to kill something else in the system while we’re at it. Make this one your priority. Can you sever the tracking link to the…..uhhh, body in Bay 15? Let me know when ready.” Skye added, knowing Enri was likely one hell of a busy girl, the guards distracted below, and all of this. And she sent across the routine, that linked to something else in particular. The very blood being sucked, and recirculated out of the bodies. The tracking nanites were at availability here, and well, any tampering was going to be hard-wired to set the alarms. Skye had something up her sleeve. They needed to die, the bodies needed to, and they were taking Rose with them. One Rose.

The yakuza curled an eyebrow, looking at Skye curiously, then back at the bodies, “So your yokai bitch of a copies body was taken. And here we sit and wonder.” He hums softly, “A puzzle then. How do we fuck with her and her ponzi’s?” He looked about then back at Skye, “An idea? Well apart from that time in Hong Kong where you let me fall into a pit, your ideas haven’t led us astray yet.” He cocked his head over and turned to the vault down, narrowing his eyes, “I feel like we may be running out of time though. We may wish to begin to hurry.”

Skye nodded, knowing that no doubt, Ban would need to trust her. Even if what she was proposing was about to be wild.

“It’s really stupid. But, so far we’ve been pretty good so far. Make your way over there, Ban, and cut it open. When you do, I’ll hit the killswitch. Grab the body, and we are going to run like fuck out of here. I’ll shoot, you keep a hold. I think you could probably use her a shield, but….try not to get her TOO riddled with bullets. We have our way back in.” Skye smiled, knowing fuck it, if she’s gonna die, well, may as well be this way.

“Let’s see, bay 15… 15…” Enri muttered absent-mindedly. She took maybe twenty seconds to understand how it worked. It was stupidly simple actually, military software at its finest. However advanced, it still has to be simple, rugged and understandable by a conscript. With near total control of the communication systems and the laboratory computers, making one of the other bodies send two sets of packets, one of its own and another masquerading as body 15 and silencing the true 15, wasn’t hard. “15’s a ghost, what now?”

Skye nodded to the invisible Enri on the comms, picking up the call.
“Okay, perfect. No more tracking for her there via that bloodstream. Okay, Outflaw, check the vault door and keep it open for us as long as you can. We may need some distractions in the building, we need as much as possible on the ground floor, ideally sprinklers or something else to set it off….or something else creative. Ban, you ready to cut Rose down from her bag? Moment you do, I hit the switch, this place severs all the bodies, alarm goes off, and we steal one of me. I’ll shoot, you hold and run.” Skye chirped, taking a deep breath. Fucking hell, she thought. This isn’t an average day out, as she brought up the killswitch routine, and with it ready to go, knew the alarms would be set off the moment this triggered. There was even a risk that the vault would shut, and she half hoped that this would work.

Sprinklers… thermally triggered, builders were smart. But the high sensitivity areas ran on a halon system to avoid water damage. Team didn’t have SCBA gear, but that just meant she had to plan carefully where she’d trigger them. Figuratively paving a path for the two to take. Next, for proper confusion, lights. Once again, the team didn’t have NODs. Once again, she took a bit of time to exclude lights in the sections along the way from her scheming. Fire and security bulkheads, those would serve nicely to trap any responders in conjunction with having subjected the cameras. Vault door, failsafe of course, built to close if things went wrong. No manual release on the inside as far as she could find, but here the location worked in their favor, the heavy door needing to close slowly to avoid stressing the building. “You’ll have thirty seconds to get out of the vault, after that it should be smooth sailing.” ENri hesitated a bit before asking the next question. “What I’m about to do on your mark could kill a lot of people in here. Do we? If not, I’ll need a minute or so.”

“Do it.” Skye replied, cold in her turn, and looking with eyes over at Ban, ready and in position, and well, moving to position. Enri had their path set. They had to run. Elevator, drop down, and then, through the lobby, and back out. Fuck me, she thought. This was going to be interesting without the exo. But that meant she just had other tricks up her sleeve, and Enri right now was playing a blinder, as was Ban with his carbine weapons and a human shield MADE of Skye. She ripped her patch off her neck, the device coming close to the end of its battery, and now switched to her normal, Scots tone of an accent. No need to impersonate, a spare would be available if she really needed, but they were going to be blown.

Ban paced over to bay 15, looked inside then drew his sword once more, “Alright, so the alarms should be off yes? Then…” He stepped forward, and slide the tip of his sword into the side of the bag whispering, “Kurinkatto…” As he slides the blade carefully up from the bottom of the bag towards the head. Tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth as he made the cut carefully. And when he is done and no alarms go off he gives the blade a flick, habit to clean the blade before sliding it back into the scabbard, “Alright, hello there bakemono…” He says again as he slides his arms into the bag and pulls the look-alike body out of the bag, “Hah O kinodoku ni, a pity that a silent form like this would be used by such a monster.” He heaves the body up over one shoulder, taking his sword ing the other hand, “Alright, now what?”

“Yours to carry!” With that, Skye clapped the switch and suddenly, all hell broke fucking loose. Skye watched as with a simultaneous trigger, every body of Rose’s left just dropped limp, the hose released, a few bodies breaking their sacks and splashing into the floor and grate with what was like a weird amniotic fluid everywhere, and well, Skye took the chance to run past those. Ban was in position doing what he did, and Skye ran in front, G36 now brought back into hands, the alarm suddenly blaring off, the pace of Skye bolting through like every dump of adrenaline had recharged again, running towards the lab sector at the front, rifle raised as a few men ran inside, Skye sliding behind one of the lab bulkheads. With a turn, she clattered one in the head, and slid across the desk with a leap above her whilst holding the G36 tight, even in spite of the length of the rifle clattering one more, breaking into a pace and clapping one more running in, the vault slowly closing. They had neurotoxin in here, but were paying no mind. They knew the threat. Fuck, their lives were irrelevant if what had happened just happened. Not that Skye cared too much, right now bigger priorities were at stake here.

“Shit, run!” Skye yelled to Ban, covering outside, the German guard nowhere to be seen as she flicked a new mag in as the vault began to start swinging shut, moving to a corner as she heard more come. With a look, Skye let the men run from out of the dark into the bright light of the lobby, and using it, ambushed them, pushing one rifle aside and letting his weight charge into her, using his rifle to clatter one man, before rolling across and using his knife to shank him, knowing even if physically she wasn’t on him, she was still here, still fighting. Standing up, she looked to Ban and well, Rose being carried? They needed to get down to ground level and out of here, and with that, Skye hailed the elevator up, knowing they needed to leave, now.
“Lift’s coming.”

To Skye and ban, not much will have changed. Everywhere else in the building, security doors slammed shut, lights switched off and the fire alarm started blaring. On the topmost floors, the pandemonium was made complete by the halon gas extinguishers. Enri tried not to think about the people trapped in a dark place quickly running out of oxygen, though in a past life she used to know at least one person who would’ve approved of an efficient use of time.

Quickly Ban hiked the body up once more then braced, before making a swift run out of the vault. Keeping in Skye’s shadow, as the Scotswoman started to fire, cutting guards down. The yakuza was not idle though. As some guards managed to flank the strange trio. Ban seeing them as they flicked out riot batons. But even one handed the Kingo family sword is very sharp indeed. The first baton to try and strike him is caught on the flat of the sword, then with a skilled turn the baton goes flying, and a short flick the guard drops back holding his hand where the mono-edge blade had just opened his forearm almost to the bone. Another guard trying to capitalize gets kicked in the chest, sent reeling and over the security desk, and landing with a crash behind it. A third and a fourth slowing. Even an encumbered Ban is dangerous. He grins, “Hey…catch!” And throws the body at the other two who scramble to catch it.

Ban grins taking two quick hopping steps, jumping and spinning, his right leg coming up and smashing both guards across the faces. Landing just in time to take the body back from their crumpling forms.

And off he goes again running for the lift, “I am surprised this has worked this well so far!” He shouts as he comes sliding into the lift.

“Good timing.” Skye replied, as the door dinged open, and with it, Skye kept to a side. Two men charged out, more guards. Shit, they were intercepted. But, not exactly hard as they saw Ban first, with Rose in hand, and that meant Skye at the side just pointed the barrel at one man’s head with a grizzly pop, before the other managed to turn, Skye had already dived onto his leg and with a gentle turn, pulled her legs into him and stabbed. It must have been something for Ban to see, Skye Lyons hadn’t really lost her edge at all. If Adam was good as an operative with a team, the Scot just didn’t really relent here at all, even without her exo, it felt more like she had to use ambush tactics rather than pure force and clearly struggled more, but the guards were rushing and Skye was ready. Standing to that, she got inside, sighing, hitting for Ground Floor, and looking over to Ban.
“Well. We’re not out yet.” Skye huffed, exhaling hard, yanking the mag out of the G36 and loading a new one in, shaking her head as she cocked the rifle.

“I’m gonna have fucking nightmares now. Fuck. How do you unsee that?” Skye rhetorically asked, looking down at Rose, with a couple of rounds.

“Oof. Okay. This bit is risky. Outflaw, we’re nearly at ground. When we hit, trigger whatever last tricks you have. We’re going to make a pace for the nearby parking garage, and get out of here.” The Scot commented, looking then to Ban, holding the very naked, very slippery, bullet round having copy of her own fucking self.

“As human shields go, you could have picked one with bigger tits, Ban. But we can’t be picky.” Skye chirped, the dark, black humour a fucked way of coping from the Scots lass, but well, what didn’t kill you, actually…..well, best not to think on that analogy. She was as crude as ever, perhaps probably the only way to keep her spirits up considering what she saw would turn most people inside out.

“Lobby’s a no-go, everyone I couldn’t contain is flooding out that way. Go right from the elevator and then take the second right, stairwell down, looks like an exit through a maintenance room.” Enri offered, finally making sense of the situation and being able to focus on the cameras. “Do I leave the trojans active or do I kill their whole local network?”

“Kill the link, we have what we need. You have what you need, if the flow is in order for the rest of the data you’ve taken already. That’s what’ll help us put two and two together. Also, this….thing, person? I’m not sure. There’s something in there too. Cheers for the advice. We’ll go on your move.” Skye commented back to Enri, readying up, sighing deep.

Ban cackled, and reached up, “Breasts are all well and good.” Then palms the bodies ass, “But I like them round down here then up there.” He cackles and gives Skye a wiggly eyebrow moment, yes he’s being playful and maybe a little lewd as he spanks the body’s rear, “Ah if I were younger and less repressed.” She shrugged, “Now is not the time.” He lowered his hand off the bare posterior. Pressing his back to the lift wall, to be out of the way immediately. By now any guards on lower floors would likely know that who they thought was Rose is now the Real Skye deal, and he’s not here to join them. If they don’t try and get them to surrender they are just going to try and riddle the inside of the lift with whatever they had.

“Dirty bastard. I mean, she’s not exactly Barbie. I’m so fucking glad my father didn’t think so. Not unlike some people we worked with.” Skye retorted, referring to herself, or Rose somewhat for the former, and well, the others could be imagined from the diverse team of Raven in the latter.

Enri set up the commands to execute, setting the window aside. “It’s dead the moment you’re outside. Two guards twenty meters ahead, three seconds to a corner.” She guesstimated.

The doors opened, and the guards readied to fire, unsure however, but Skye had the rifle pointed direct forwards, and shot first through the crack as it opened and blindly fired, picking one, then two, bolting out and covering Ban, at a direct pace. They moved direct to the corner, immediately out as other guards started to flood out from the side of the lobby, Skye covering his six as she shot rounds back, using cover and keeping her head down as rounds flew. Moving from pace to pace, she ran down the stairwell, covering a man flanking Ban with a tap to the head, reloading with a frantic energy, charging down the stairwell. They could run through the maintenance room and out to the street, then out of there.

Carrying a naked woman and her exact twin would be the most surreal thing Nagoya was seeing tonight once they may be out, yet somehow Skye was not entirely ensure it was the weirdest thing she’d ever seen even in the last two minutes.
“Keep fucking running!”

Ban waited for the first two guards to be hit, then he blazes out of the lift, and into the corner for cover, peeking around to see how far to the stair well, “Yosh, right…” And takes off again, thighs bulging within his pants as the augments within them push him forward at high speeds. He leaps a desk, weaves around a table, and hits the stairwell slamming his shoulder into the door to it, slamming it open. He’s about to take the stairs down, when he spots something up a level, “They’re in the stairs!” He shouts back, his voice loud over the comms link, “Ahhh it’s alright.” His sword flashed, and he caught the ankle of one of the guards on the flight leading up. Then he’s down, taking the stairs two at a time. Crying out as he slides down the last few steps and comes to a stop on the wall, beside one of the doors, “Kitsune-chan?” He shoulders open the door beside him and steps out into the next area.

“Well so much for locking it behind you.” Enri let slip a rare annoyed groan in the presence of a member of the Family, “One way for you to go, two doors and a tunnel and you’re out.”

Skye followed on that, no reply coming back considering how manic it is, running as she clapped the guard on the flight coming up, as he struggled for his weapon, running over him and back down, running through the cabinet-filled maintenance store and towards where he shouldered the door, nodding back to Ban.
“Yep, all here!” Skye didn’t really stop, charging past him, a bit rude, but checking the last room, and then letting Ban in, before moving across and dragging a pallet up to the door heaping it onto the door mechanism, pulling it so that it would be a bastard to open. It wasn’t great, but 20 seconds of bullshit was enough.
“Copy that, we’ll be going.” Skye added, and with it, moved to the next. Sweep, check, and nobody there either. Shit, this may be it. Had to be.

One last door now. With a pull, Skye couldn’t hear anything, and moved through, the service tunnel heading out into the street, and well, with it, their way through, the cold concrete contrasting the warm fire inside of Skye’s head.
“Okay. This is us. We’re moving through the tunnel now, headed to the way out. Great work, Outflaw. Saved our skins there more times than I thought. And if you have questions, believe me, this one is going to hurt your brain. We’ll move to find a vehicle and get out of dodge.” She called back, looking back to Ban, still shouldering the body, looking to him.
“Holding up okay?” She asked, checking her vest and her general arms and legs over as she moved, no rounds taken yet aware that hadn’t it have been for their work, she’d have been a goner. Rose had a bullet hole in her ribs, but it didn’t seem to be pissing out anything bar remains of blue fluid, mixed in with blood.

Ban pushed up behind Skye smiling a bit, “I feel almost young again. Like old times with Raven.” He taps the comms ear piece, “Well done Enri-chan. I’ll be sure to let the Oyabun know just how much help you were. This was not an easy task.” He looked up at the hole in Rose’s ribs, “Well, I’m surprised it’s only that.” And as things slow he coughs and pulls his coat aside, staring down at a hole just under the vest he is wearing under it, having just missed the plate down there, “So that’s what’s pulling.” He moves his arm, “Ah it’s fine. I can feel it moving in muscle not bowel.” He grits his teeth, “Let’s get out of here. I think we’ve had enough for one night. There should be an Amagi car waiting to take us to a safe house, then we can head back up to Kiyose once things have calmed down, I can’t imagine that this situation hasn’t reached the local police by now.” He picked up the pace heading for the far end of the tunnel and their way out.

“And that’s the building down.” Enri reported, the building behind them going completely dark as the trojans deleted everything and then themselves, the only trace left being two blank flash drives available at any electronics store. “Arigato, Kingo-sama. I’m packing up to go.” With the team out of immediate danger, the usual chipperness was coming back to Enri’s voice full force, “I’d never done this live support, just been in the room with the guys who did, this was fun! Don’t be a stranger, Kitsune-sama, we love repeat customers.” the hacker almost beamed.

Skye nodded to Ban, knowing it really did feel like old times. A strange return to form, but well, they had a way to go. Needing to get back home would be tricky, and well, it may be that
“The fact they pulled you up is of concern though. Let’s see how it plays. Keep the smoke long enough, they’ll lose direction. And they have bigger fish to fry now they have some attention deficit here.” Skye commented, as they kept on, and would soon be hitting light.

Enri’s comments felt similar, leaving the dead network behind, taking the data they needed and covering their tracks. It may have been good to grab more data, but they had what they needed, no point getting greedy. With any luck, the encrypted, scary-looking network that connected the bodies of Rose to the central node would be viable, as would

“Arigato to you, Outflaw. I am sure we’ll be working together again soon.” Skye replied, a smile on her own face, glad that a complete stranger merely hours ago had been the reason they’d made it out. She wondered if it was going to be worth ever properly explaining. Maybe it would be already. But if it wasn’t for her, this snatch wouldn’t be possible. The twin samples, a body, and the data they had. If there was ever a way to respond, Outflaw had without knowing, turned the fortunes of a team that was chasing into one that was now back in control.


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