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25 days ago
Current bruh 2020 sucks already, it's raining and I'm still depressed... You lied to me Jesus
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Local public announcement from the Head of Parliament - "Hoe's are indeed mad."
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S o n i c
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-Insert interesting stuff here-

I would put something interesting here, if I had anything interesting to say.

Most Recent Posts

Hi! Is this RP still accepting? I'll work on a character soon!

We definitely are (you'd know that now that you're in the discord but whatever lmao)

I'll give you all the necessary information you want and need when you and I are free
Hi! Is this RP still accepting? I'll work on a character soon!

We definitely are (you'd know that now that you're in the discord but whatever lmao)

I'll give you all the necessary information you want and need when you and I are free



Death truly was cold. Though the pits of hell were full of flame and fire, the moments before the soul's transition were filled with shivering frostbite. The teeth of the dropping temperature froze the world around them, with the only remnant of warmth coming from the inner humanity that was fading away. Takai truly felt this frozen wasteland of purgatory right after the explosion. His vision darkened and the pain was subsided with incredible numbness. Was he aware of what was going on? Perhaps. Most of the time he lay unconscious, unaware of the world outside of his nullified corpse. Takai felt like he was dead. At least he felt something, though. His world had been shredded into pieces. Surely enough, explosions and exchanges in gunfire had been a part of his career, but never before had it shaken the earth beneath his feet and racketeered his state of consciousness together. Every so often, though its frequency was inexplicably infrequent, a shudder or a sense of touch scraped by the darkness around him. He dared not to open his eyes, not that he could. Voices were muffled and distant, reverberated by a ghostly tremble nearby. Once or twice, his head would begin to pound heavily. It felt like a ghoul was slamming a brick against it, constantly. Consistent stress forced itself upon his body. Unseen hands would touch his body, with whispers or words coming through as a light caress to his cheek. And despite sensing all these anomalies to the blackened abyss that surrounded him, he could not see any of it. His vision remained coarse and grim. Darkness had engraved itself into his own irises, maintaining a consistent silence. He could not open his mouth, nor could he whisper his pain aloud.

Hours felt like years to him. How long had he been under the knives and comatose forced upon him? Every dream he had was a retelling of the fateful events before. Purgatory tortured him with the details being shown in their fullest. He saw the looks in Iwata's eyes the moment she squeezed that trigger, the look of betrayal she scorned when Takai had shot her more than once. Truly, she was gone, surely? No. Takai couldn't see what happened to her. If Takai was actually alive, then what excluded his counterparts from the same fate? All these questions, and the world's time to answer them. But with no sight, no true sound and no true sense of touch, he could not answer them himself. Instead, he lay still, sensing a strange envision haunt his nightmares and taint his dreams. Takai felt the chaos of the explosion around him. Time after time, once again following the last, a savage blast of fire and flame spouted in his head. The splinters and wooden shards that flew his way scraped by his skin, covering him in a peppery soot. Plumes of smoke and ash tore through the floorboards and devastated the attic he had once stood within. And then the force; the full force of the explosion sent him across the room, into whatever grave he remained in. Rubble piled atop of him and the world went black. That was the way Takai's world ended.

But at the last slimmer of hope, a faint light could be seen on the slit of his eyes. Days of painful slumber had led to the awakening. Slowly, he began to feel his eyes naturally flutter open. Everything around him was but a blur, an apparition of what he thought was the real world. Bright neon lights flickered above his head, where his eyes failed to adjust to the sudden luminosity shining down upon his weakened gaze. Moments of numbness surely came back, creeping into the frame of his existence solemnly. Takai's breath softly came back into the light, the weakened air exhaling from his crippled lungs. At first, it was agony, pain and suffering blended into one manifestation. After a while, his gaze began to start clear and the sight line before him crudely showed a familiar ceiling. Above him, the tiling and light bulbs of the NSF Emergency Wards looked down upon him, judging his immobile state. A strong weakness flushed through his muscles. Not even with his enhancements could he muster the mobility he hoped for. In an attempt to shift his position, Takai moved his head upwards, only for the pain to start again and for him to slump to a side. His head now tilted towards the east side of the bed, where suddenly a body could be seen standing close by. The figure was dressed in all white, a long coat subsided by regulatory attire. The nurse looked aside, hearing the shuffling in Takai's bed before realising what was going on. He quickly turned around, calling out for a doctor's name before leaving Takai alone for a few seconds. All Takai could do at the moment was roll his eyes, move them around and glance at the surrounding world. He was rigged up to a specialised sort of mattress, housing him in a chambered slumber. His memory was faint and the tidal wave of pain began to fade slowly, leaving only insensibility.

"Oh, okay okay...bit earlier than we expected." A new voice entered the scene, accompanied by a few hard footsteps against the cold floor below. Takai slowly felt the strength in his body ease, allowing him to make another attempt to roll his head back upwards. Though the first attempt was unsuccessful, he quickly mustered the energy to do so. Before him, another heavily dressed woman paced around his bedside, intently. Quickly, she gathered her assortment of clipboards and more advanced datapads, rummaging around her notes band sitting comfortably down on a stool nearby. She wheeled it closer, taking a deep breath as to prepare herself for some sort of audition. Takai's view cleared further, finally allowing him to see the doctor in her full self. On the breast pocket of her jacket, a nametag read out: Doctor Miho. "Okay, okay...clear thoughts. Right..."

As Doctor Miho rummaged around her self, clearing her mind from whatever she was thinking about beforehand, Takai felt himself move out of instinct. He slowly moved himself upwards, albeit with a large amount of pain to go with it. His teeth gritted as he did so, and alongside his motion the bed's frame comfortably moved up to a more apt posture. He opened his mouth, able to finally get some sort of noise out. It was a weak and pathetic groan, one that struggled to even best his fast awakening. Takai got a clearer view of Miho, seeing both of her legs accompanied with augmentations. Even though they were a common sight amongst the NSF, her own were still as unique as every other Operator he personally knew.

"Please save your strength, and I can explain everything." Her smile was comfortable, though troublesome. Takai's mind had many questions to ask, with so many unanswered from his time caressing the grave. A vague discomfort flushed out Takai's ease, causing him to shift more in his bed. "Before I explain things, I just want to make sure you're okay. First of all, could you please nod if you can understand me?"

Though with some hesitation, Takai did as she asked and nodded, following it with a croaked voice that could barely fumble out words. Though to himself he sounded inaudible, she clearly took something out of his supposed grumble. For a second, she wrote down several items onto her pad, taking in the situation as it unfolded. Nearby, the same male nurse stood aside, waiting for something to happen. Their professionalism was mixed, Takai thought to himself. The physical preparation was quite apt, but the doctor's nearly fumbled words were still to be questioned. Maimed by the realisation that he was still in a NSF hospital, he felt his heartbeat pace itself faster. Something felt so off about everything around him. The world had been black for hours, perhaps, and this was his awakening? A small checkup? Why was he in his chamber, the bed he housed himself within? Nothing felt quite clear.

"Okay, so you at least are conscious to a near full degree. That's good." Miho smiled, nodding her head and putting the datapad aside for a moment. Her face attempted to maintain all of its comforting values, knowing full well that the news she had to share wasn't exactly going to be the best wakeup he'd experienced. "Now, I must ask you to please bear with me on this, what I have to say may come as a large shock to you. I need your full patience and calmness. Can you give me that, please?"

Takai nodded, his face still and troubled by the rising tension in his heart. A cardiograph beeped in the background, signalling his change in mood and frustration as it was. Confusion settled into his mind, steering his thoughts into those of pure chaos. He was unaware of where he was or how he'd gotten there, but he was definitely sure something wasn't the way he wanted it to be. Finally, Takai heard himself speak. His crooked voice finalised words and formed a string of phrases, giving way to his awakening's rapid motion.

"What...what happened? Why am I..?" Before he could finish his own sentence, the flashbacks swung into full force. His mind was flooded with the memories of the explosion, the fire and the flames that spat into his own face. Shudders and panic quickly forced him to sit up harshly, granting another amalgamation of pain through his spinal chord. "T-The explosion! Iwata! I need to-"

"Hey, hey! Calm down, please. Listen..." She moved forward, placing a hand on Takai's free arm to calm him. He was unsure of how to react, but felt himself soothe and stare up at her, waiting for her to continue. "I'm...sorry to let you know under such circumstances but...Iwata is dead. She was killed in the same blast that put you in here."

"But...wait..." He leaned back into his bedding, his eyes blank and empty. Something felt off. Iwata was dead? Surely, he shot her several times but...the truth of her demise was still an abysmal revelation to dwell upon. The mission had gone off the rails so vastly that he could barely contain himself. Everything that could've gone wrong had, and so he looked up to Miho once more, staring her directly in the eyes. And as he spoke once more, he was interrupted by Miho once more, who's voice had descended into a more secluded whisper. "But the intelligence...what about-"

"It's stirred up a lot of commotion here. Command has been interrogating the intelligence department non-stop for six long days. Heard an officer stormed a party in the headquarters and put all the members of intelligence under detainment. Even delayed the upcoming operation." Now knowing the Raid had been delayed, Takai looked up to Miho longingly, searching for further answers to his endless questions. With a great sigh, she read his mind and expression perfectly, knowing what his silent question was to be. "You've been...well...asleep for just about six days. They're planning on starting the Operation tomorrow, putting aside the intelligence investigation for the day to focus on the bigger picture. I'm...sorry this is how you've found out but...well...things haven't been in your favour. We've had to book our upcoming therapy on you for-"

Whilst she spoke, Takai put his arm down, trying to use his hand to lift himself up. As he moved, his arm fell short of its predicted level, causing Takai to fall into the empty space below. He grunted out heavily as he fell to the side, tearing some of the bedding across his body aside. His left side was numb, painful but numb. Once he fell, his head fell adjacent to the arm that failed to support him...and something else laid before him. A...stub. Replaced with some sort of metallic docking, he saw nothing of his own physical hand, just beyond his elbow. Takai's eyes lit up quickly, his heart racing forward. Where was his hand? Why wasn't it there?! He could feel it, the pain was still there. The phantom agony shunted his gaze as he tossed and turned, lifting himself up on the other hand to see the rest of his body. Surely enough, a replacement had been given to his right leg. Takai's gaze turned into one of stressful fear, confusion and a demand for answers. His leg was missing, replaced entirely by some limb metallic replica that barely resembled the original organic mass before him. He struggled in his bed, sitting up properly and tightening his grip on Miho's hand, causing her to struggle and retract it in her own slight pain. He rummaged around in a strong panic, chaos besieging his mind. Before he could lunge forward, hurting himself further, the Doctor and Nurse slowly put their hands onto his body, gently holding him in place. Miho placed a cold, but tender hand against his temples, forcing him to make eye contact with her.

"Takai-san, please calm down. You're in safe hands, you just need to calm down." Quickly, she reached for her own pocket, pulling out a small letter. She struggled in the heat of the moment, finding her speciality being pressed for all its worth. As he looked into her eyes, he found himself not struggling, only tense in the muscles. His heart and breath still retained its intense pacing. "There were the explosion, your muscle reinforcements shattered...they...broke your muscles, beyond repair. We're giving you the best treatment we have to offer, just please...stay with us, calmly." From her pocket, Miho placed a letter down on the bedside table, her face one of slight distress and discomfort from the reaction Takai gave. Internally, she was screaming at the impurity of her role, being a physiotherapist. With most of the doctors helping elsewhere, she was the only qualified individual on standby. Though it had its perks, with her being an allotted physiotherapist, she'd likely be responsible for Takai's welfare from there onward. Takai felt a prick in his arm, where the pain and panic began to slowly diminish. "That's right, calm down, Takai-san. Slowly does it. Look, I have a letter for you. You had visitors during your sleep, and I think this one is from the woman you were with during the incident. Look, see?"

As the pain began to drown out into a drowsiness, Takai's free hand slowly reached for the letter, revealing a scribbled manuscript. Short and sweetly put, just as Kaz would write it. Whilst his vision blurred once more, he quickly read out the words before him, feeling a strange comfort once again seep into his motionless body:

Doctors say you will live but will be bedridden for a time. You were knocked unconscious when the houses exploded. Iwata is dead, as as the other four attacks.

I’m glad you’re alive.

As he read it, he fell back into the bed. The anaesthetic kicked in harshly, numbing his body and mind together. He could barely remember what was going on, finding a strange peace to what he read. Slowly, he felt his body cower, reminding himself of the fallen man he'd become. The places missing didn't hurt anymore. They only felt numb; just as they should. Takai looked up at Doctor Miho one last time for that day, hearing her say something about beginning their progress the next day. Before he could respond, he fell back into an actual sleep, one that was haunted by the voices of the exterior world talking to him.
Aight, my silence is over. Post time.

The Siege of Amone, September 28th - Hath chosen Death once more?

When the distant cloud of ash and fire formed in the rearward sky, Jean could only think of his allies left behind in its dust. How many were killed and how many more were injured? Though it was unclear where exactly the shell had landed, judging by its relative angle Jean could at least predict it had hit near the rear lines, spewing chaos upon the soldiers who waited their turns to be sent into the firing pit. Jean looked at the devastation and speculated only its true extent, before returning his gaze back to the car they'd disabled. Seeing some of the soldiers flee backwards, heading towards the Cathedral to put up a grand defence made him shudder in his boots, before he watched the advancing Federation infantrymen increase their foothold on the colossal building. Jean fumbled with the strap of his helmet, tightening it once more. A secure layer now slathered his scalp, adding only a faded tissue of steel against the ongoing rage of the battle. Unlike the Garnian Salient, there wasn't room for mass charges or the standard attack-defend procedures both the Empire and Federation had been using for the last three to four years. Fighting had boiled down into personal skirmishes. Smothered cornershops were laced in fire, riddled with bullets and skewered by explosives. Bodies dotted most of the streets and old homes became strongholds for the crews of machine guns. This was a mobile engagement. Static loitering left squads in perilous situations. Every street was a potential ambush, or a dead-ended alleyway that would only get them encircled. To think that the sudden change from the usual stalemate had offered such a stressful counter-option...the world had become madness incarnate once more. Jean rose from his seated position and began to approach the nearest group of soldiers awaiting the next order.

In their building, two of their own lay dead on the floor, blood soaked and drenched in a rainy residue from all the weeks before. No one met their cold eyes, refusing to even acknowledge the bodies they knew. It was wrong to turn off their reputable respect for the fallen comrades they lurked between, but no one had the guts to say anything dare they threaten their violent confidence in battle. Their savage momentum was all they had left to get through the remainder of the Amone Frontline. Once they broke these streets, a hopeful progression through the lost lands of Assen would prove triumphant in victory, granting the limited success that had been experienced many years before. On top of that, people like Lucia would be granted passage onto her own home soil. Whether or not she still had a home to call in her home country was something to tackle another day, but the peace of mind knowing her birthplace would be slowly handed back to her was comforting in its own right.

Eager eyes suddenly laid upon Jean. Downstairs, a few more quick exchanges of gunfire could be heard resonating throughout the hallways. All of them were distinctively Federation cartridges being let off. The housing was now clear, as many would call up the stairs, before proceeding onward further down the street. The roadworks were beginning to fall apart and the final Armoured Car was now under the siege of Isaac's flank. Jean took a deep breath and thought over their options. Either way, there wasn't much time to give. The Imperials were going to use every second to their advantage in this battle, taking their time to load every single artillery piece, machine gun nest, sandbag wall and street corner with barbed wire. Assaulting relied purely on strategy and pacing, ones that weren't always favourable to their own odds. Jean looked out the window once more, Lucia following his gaze to see a second cloud of smoke appear in the distance, this time from the Imperial frontline. Again, Jean had no idea what had blown up, but a small part of him hoped that it was the tunnelling system they'd sparingly been assigned to destroy. Ever since they'd arrived in Amone it had been the little thorn in their side, and now they could finally get rid of its opportunistic tunnelways.

"Okay, okay..." Jean thought aloud, returning to the group of riflemen. "I can assure ourselves that going through the main door on its own would be devastating. We need to try and enter from as many sides as possible. Lucia, I need you to run back to the troops moving up and grab several sappers, see if any of them have any satchel charges on them. We'd be in luck if we can get a few."

Lucia quickly scurried off through the hallways, as obedient as the day she'd fallen into Middleton's decline. Jean sighed, standing up and beginning to move, the soldiers behind him following closely. The gunfire in the adjacent street was quietening down, but the safety of those inside and out wasn't any less than before. Wherever they stepped, soldiers watched for tripwires, mines, makeshift traps and hunting gear that would catch them off guard. Every step was one held in fear or the anxiety that they may return home without a leg...that is if they were returning home at all. Jean's forwarding lead had them scurry close, listening to him in a way that Jean hadn't been listened to in a long time, if ever. If the pressure wasn't enough, people depended on his words. Without a proper commander by their side, only the occasional Lieutenant seen laid dead in the watery streets, it was up to the meat and flesh of the 15th Atlantic Rifles to call the shots. The Cathedral was unlike a target they'd ever come across. In the past, most groups would shower the objective in artillery before walking in to mop up its contents. Other strongholds were loosely underground, allowing them to siege them out through bewildering supply cuts. The Cathedral of Light was another story, however. Doing too much damage to it could render tremendous anger in the Cruxian Sect, plastering the fighters of the war as inconsiderate and against the rights of preaching. To Jean, none of that mattered in the moment, but he at least accepted the condition of low-artillery support.

Moving into the street in full, the shots ran quiet for a few more seconds before rising up in another street far off. The soldiers all began to move towards the Cathedral's main doorway, some beginning to circle around its perimeter. Several soldiers moved up to Jean once more, asking what he needed the charges for.

"Well, I was going to try and blow a hole in the wall. Like I said, the more entrances we have the better." Several eyes looked upon him in horrific fashion over the suggestion. Once again, damaging the Cathedral was considered a frowning experience. Though to Jean's defence, it wasn't exactly collateral damage, more so a light tickle to its enormous structure. However, his suggestion was soon shot down as Lucia came sprinting back, shaking her head silently upon her return.

"Sorry Jean. We don't...have any. They were taken to the Market Square instead apparently." Jean sighed as he moved between where he stood and Lucia, thinking desperately as the ideas for a safe entrance were beginning to fade slowly. Before he had a proper chance to analyse the situation at hand, he heard a succession of shouts for any sort of non-commissioned officer come towards him in a wave-style barrier. To his left, a group of shocktroopers were stood in a circle, looking down at the street floor from what it seemed. When the call came, Jean stood up and raised his hand, signalling his presence. After a quick jog, he was soon by the circle's edge.

"What is it?" Jean questioned the group, pulling two of them aside to create a gap for himself. His rush forward was ground to a halt as he saw the cold street's abyss below him. The group had come across one of the few manholes for the underlying tunnels and artificial bricked caverns beneath very feet. Jean stared at it for several seconds, seeing nothing but darkness as he failed to adjust to the blackened depth below. "What is that...a sewer?"

"Russel over 'ere don't think so. He thinks its some kinda passage, like a cat'combe or whatever. Cathedral apparently has an underside that leads upwards. Might be worth 'aving a gander down there." The taller Edinburgh Private spoke for the group, his loosened dialect showcasing a city-like understanding. Jean truly didn't know what it was, or what was below them. It could lead to nowhere in particular, or everywhere they needed to be. For now, they were restricted on their access to the Cathedral of Light. These soldiers weren't going to move unless someone forced them out of their hole. And with the current state of the frontal assault force, the Regiment were spread too thin to successfully encircle the entire complex as one. With so many objectives in their eyeline, it was only up to those who would make it that far to break its interior. "While you got boys givin' the perimeter, should we have a quick look down there?"

For a few moments, Jean looked into the darkness and felt a strange worry come from within. Regardless of the venture, it would prove vital if such an opening into the Cathedral could be located. Ten minutes passed achingly and the absence of any real formulated plan had started to wear down the patience of the arriving soldiers. More infantrymen made it to the Cathedral's exterior, wondering what sort of plan was going to go down. With them, several Lieutenants and Sergeants joined the waiting, giving less pressure to Jean's personal situation. Another two minutes were spent with Lieutenants gathering an understanding on the situation. Everyone was left in the open, already vulnerable to any marksmen who may have had an eye for the Cathedral's perimeter. Nothing came through however, and so the free-reigned soldiers continued to organise themselves on the exterior for their eventual entrance into the engaged beast of the Imperial Defence. Jean moved ahead, finding himself the commanding Lieutenant at the time. Upon seeing one another, he pointed to Jean and ordered for him to stand by him, hoping to feed him necessary information to sort out their endeavour.

"You there, Corporal!" With a lavishly thick accent, one deriving from Northern Edinburgh, he pointed a cold and fractured hand at the Francian. He'd noticed him looking and inspecting the hole they'd come across, as well as haivng been given the pointer that Jean was amongst the first to reach the Cathedral of Light's walls. He didn't carry a rifle, only an old fashioned revolver, chambered with six hard-hitting rounds. Jean couldn't have asked for an anymore obvious caricature of the leadership if he could. "I want updates, and fast! Tell me whatcha found."

Jean took a second to compose himself, unsure of how to react to the straightforwardness of the Lieutenant. Well, dilly-dallying over hesitation wasn't going to satisfy his work ethic, so Jean made it his top priority to quickly sell every piece of useful knowledge he could offer. So after a quick inhale, he opened his mind and mouth to the Lieutenant, giving him the information he needed to know.

"Sir, we've successfully taken ourselves the outside but we're short on ways to get inside. Heard some of the men talking about an alternative route around the sides, but they aren't enough to give us a fully stable entryway. However, about five or so minutes ago, one of the Privates found a tunnel supposedly, said it will be worth having a look inside to see if it reaches the Cathedral basement. I think it'll be a good chance!" Jean saluted to the Officer, giving a stern look of both exhaustion and discipline to at least warrant a good response. And a good response was what he got: the Officer smiled to himself before clearing his throat, patting Jean on the shoulder quickly. It forced a small smile out of Jean as well, making him feel at least the tiniest bit warm from the short engagement.

"Fantastic work, son. Get a few men and send them down, if they find something they'll shout for it. We've got a small stockpile of these little torches. Might be of use." As he was prepared to turn away, something clicked in Jean's mind. The sweetened sentence of a particularly feminine voice rang through his thoughts, whispering into his ear with youthful bliss: 'We can prevent it from happening again.'. And with Kalisa's soothing voice still fresh within his mind, he stood tall and thought about his need to act. He looked forward towards the retreating Lieutenant and announced within his bonudaries:

"I'll go with them, Sir. They'll need a Corporal to help direct them if things go wrong." The Lieutenant stood still, before turning around with a sly grin. As he did, he moved back over to Jean and held out a hand, clasping both of his own around Jean's to congratulate him on the sudden volunteer. As he did so, he turned around, calling for his inferiors to gather the handheld torches and bring them over to Jean's randomised batch of soldiers. A few female soldiers and a majority of male, around twelve, all to delve into the tunnels. As he did so, Jean saluted him once more when his hand was freed, turning and returning to the manhole with a slightly fresh coated confidence around him. Immediately, Jean began to gather his pacing and those quickly assigned to his side sluggishly wandered by. Only six of the torches were available for handouts, and Jean took the priority. He was going to lead them into that darkened depth whether they were up for it or not. Surely, Jean wasn't internally, but he held an aura of silent confidence to gather his spirits high enough. And so, when the time was right, Jean was the first to slowly lower himself into the pit.

Our new Vinland Grill!



Ten minutes had passed. Interfering with all that Iwata had laying around was no easy task; at each lift of a small object, he had to ensure there weren't any booby traps. Investigators within the NSF were susceptible to heightened egos if they weren't careful about their bitter reality. The Jinrai weren't the kind of group to settle down for fair and well-executed precision. Sometimes, the path to power was designed only to let the brutish to pass through. Understanding that core skill-set had led to the tactics employed by their foes to be as unconventional as past terror organisations found across history: the likes of the Vietcong, IRA and selective groups across the East Asian coast shone through their strategies. Sometimes it was a grenade pin strung against an object of interest, igniting its fuse, or other times it was a firearm perfectly set in place. The dirtier it was, the more effective it could be. Installing fear into the NSF hindered their own effectiveness, reducing their speed and efficiency in tearing down their hideouts. The more resources that had to be employed just to investigate a single individual the better the results were for the Jinrai. Takai was only half fearful of their results, putting the trust in his augmentation to identify any anomalies or external hazards that would risk his life and objective.

For a while, he focused on the ground floor, specifically in the kitchen. An assortment of smaller gadgets were laid around, assorted in randomised piles with no cohesion. Spent needles, flasks and bottles of alcohol littered the tables, counters and floors where poor attempts to reach the bin had been made. Takai frowned upon its findings, seeing Iwata's condition deteriorating from a likely unrecognisable self she had before. Sparsely spent canisters of augmentation juices were spilt in the corner of the room. Takai drew his focus away from the rusty needles and focused his PHUD onto the stains, looking at it to see what could be made of it. The seconds dragged on, giving him the freedom to move his eyes elsewhere around the room, before slowly returning to the substance before him. Taking out a tiny pipette, he sucked up a small sample of the liquid and stored it into a neat container, locked beneath his secured personnel storage system. With the kitchen finally examined, only seeing the aftermath of a drunken night and needle-injecting party, Takai made his way towards the next door, where the stairs that would lead upstairs lay hidden behind an assortment of empty cardboard boxes. He sighed, taking a second to adjust himself and stretch. The house itself smelt like vile vomit, shit and excrement shoved together in one pile. Her decency wasn't obviously lessened to defecation on her own kitchen floor, but it didn't stop the house from smelling just like it. All in all, it was saddening seeing a once close friend and mentor-like figure of his own to be reduced to the common downtrodden washout that he used to deal with in his earliest policing days. If anyone from the outside could've guessed, it looked like the den of a trafficker after tussling with an attempted escapee.

Standing in the kitchen, in the silence of his own investigation, Takai began to think more about what Kaz had said in the car. She rather politely, though darkened in her own tone, shot down his initial wish to have served overseas. It changed a person, it changed everyone who did it. Her stories of 'peacekeeping' weren't too dissimilar to the formation of the NSF. Riots of the political chaos that ensued above everyone's control scarred many and caused universal unrest across the nation, resulting in clashes between the Agencies and Revolutionaries across the nation. Many of those who rose up in the early days were likely in the ranks of the Jinrai now, explaining their Privatised Army size and stature. Kaz's mentioning of the child being threatened with killing their father wasn't something he hadn't seen. Brute force was one of many key doctrines into securing obedience. He'd seen officers of the supposed law do everything just the same, and the videos of Jinrai operatives ransoming officers or families of the operatives within the NSF weren't uncommon in the earliest months. Ultimately, neither serving on the homeland or abroad would've done anyone any good. Takai was a changed man from the very beginning, and there was nothing he could truly do about it. Sighing, he filed himself into the corner of the room, sighing heavily despite the camera feed still being active. Muttering to himself, he felt the need to call in something just to hear Kaz's voice. His thoughts weren't the best accomplice within the darkened room of a former comrade.

Just as he went to activate the PTT on his radio, a quick burst of information quickly caught him off guard. Kaz called it in: the target had arrived? Shit. Takai stood for a second, unsure of how to react and contemplating whether or not to call a confirmation in from her, but sure enough a second callout came through. Statements of Iwata arriving were succeeded by a supposed group under her command. Armed. Dangerous. An ambush? Shit. Just as the call came through, a squeal of tires could be heard in the distance, and the door swung up immediately to the sound of rushing footsteps. Takai dropped his hand and reached for his holster, hoping to draw his handgun as quickly as possible. Halfway through the motion, a shotgun blast shattered through the doorway to the kitchen, smashing the glasses and splintering the table quickly. Takai hugged the wall, holding his breath as he held the trigger carefully, waiting for the first body to move through. A second shot rang out, ensuring that Takai wasn't hiding behind the table in the first place. The second pump of its action reminded Takai that he didn't want to move out into the open just then. And to the least of his expectancy, he heard a voice ring down the corridor.

"Give it up, you bastard!" The ever familiar voice rang out with a light croak, followed by yet another shotgun blast, this time to the slight right of the room. The cabinets were torn from piece to piece, sending glass, wooden splinters and shards splashed around the room like the fragmentation of a hand grenade. Takai covered his head with his free arm, trying his hardest to shield himself from any potential damage, and as he did, he successfully anticipated the barrel of the shotgun to poke around the corner. From his perspective, the door frame was no longer empty, the barrel of the shotgun pointing through enough for Takai to make his move. Taking a quick breath, he lunged forward, his free hand at the ready, as he wrapped his fingers around the receiver of the weapon and forced it aside, causing the recipient to panic fire another shot just barely past Takai's body. Once he pushed the barrel, Takai slammed his handgun around the side of Iwata's head, causing her to recall. She staggered against the wall, before retaliating herself with a tight struggle.

Striking Takai across the body, she curled the fist dedicated to priming the action of her firearm and shed aggression down onto her attacker. The struggle for the powerful buckshot blaster had begun, leaving the two exchanging desperate strikes against one another. Despite having the intentions to disarm her and gain the advantage, Takai's strengths began to level out to hers as she grabbed his other free hand, attempting to force his own pistol against his skull. A sudden shove with his leg separated the two, leaving them in yet another standoff. Takai pushed himself back against another wall, giving himself the space to aim and fire his handgun a few times as she fled backwards in anger. Clearly, her training hadn't fallen a day behind, with her actions being swift and sharp. Each jab she'd made against Takai hurt and he could feel it. As he emptied the third bullet in his handgun, he leaned back to compose himself. A second later, the following blast of the shotgun pushed him away. Her advance was underway once more. Quickly, she moved forwards, continuously letting off shot after shot to cover her charge into the kitchen. Her speed was almost unparalleled in the head of the moment, sliding into the room to avoid Takai's second attempt at disarming her upon entry. Both Takai and Iwata tried to quickly fire off another shot, just barely missing each other again. The direct contact between the two forced an uncertainty in their actions, giving them less time to act upon accuracy and more on the will to survive. Iwata kicked her legs off of the broken, fallen table and charged at Takai again, quickly throwing the now empty shotgun aside and drawing a shortened blade. The steel-tipped weapon lunged towards Takai, forcing him to take agility over power. Once again, he escaped her powerful grasp of death and attempted to create distance, preparing yet another shot of his own only to be intercepted half a second later. Her speed and finesse warped his focus, causing his breath to fall short with a stable attention span. It had become a game of cat and mouse, Iwata using her advantage of fear and speed to quickly deal swings at her foe. Still unaware of who she was fighting, she complimented her ignorance with a lack of mercy. Every swing was accompanied with a cry of aggression, the true warrior's spirit unleashing itself upon what seemed to be a faceless NSF operative.

The very tip of the blade scraped across his armoured clothing, sparking and cutting almost deep enough to bleed Takai across the forearm, forcing him to drop the handgun in his grasp. With her swing overshooting slightly, Takai quickly took the opportunity to rush forward once more, wrapping his arms around her upper-torso in order to silence her rapid, rancid attempts. As he grappled her, he continued to rush, shoving her into the last remaining cabinets in the kitchen. She cried out in pain, fully disadvantaged by her lack of armour. Finally, as a few seconds passed in the heat of the battle, Takai caught a glimpse of the Iwata he was now faced with. An unfamiliar, augmented eye, cracked face and looseness of draped clothing, Iwata held an unrecognisable amount of cracked fortitude since the last time they'd met face to face. A deranged ideology had encompassed her in the moment, causing the rage of her actions to flourish in their skirmish. Without hesitation, his own pause had given her the opportunity to slam her metallic skull against his headpiece, knocking him back. Iwata swung herself around, priming her leg and striking the side of Takai's head with the heel of her heavy boot. Upon the slam, Takai yelled under the pressure of its sharp pain, tearing his PHUD from his face and slashing blood across the wall. Under its stress, it had informally torn several small patches of its mounting ports built into his temples, staggering him aside and revealing a new agonised face. Iwata, bracing her blade once more, stopped as she saw the man she'd brutalised.

For a second, the two paused. Takai was on the floor, struggling to get to his feet for a few seconds whilst the stinging on his face shattered his will to continue in the moment. Against the alcohol and blood stained tiling of the kitchen, the remains of a shattered PHUD added to the collection of broken messes layered across the room. Iwata lowered her stance and began to back up slightly, her face one of complete distress. Takai's vision felt blurred, still unstabilised by the unauthorised separation to his PHUD. Iwata looked to the left, as if to hear the commotion outside kicking off further, before she backed up more, looking and shouting at Takai as the heat sizzled into a burning aggression.

" fucking shit, Takai-san...Get out...get the fuck out!" In her distress, she suddenly pushed past the cardboard boxes blocking the enclosed stairway. Takai, unable to get words out of his mouth, forced himself onto his feet and finally recovered his sidearm, moving towards the stairway with his submachine gun drawn and primed. Despite his poorer vision, he made it a staunch goal to quickly subdue her progressive rampancy. Upon making it to the stairs, he took half a second to aim upwards, seeing it empty and the door at the top slowly closing in the absence of her. Taking yet another deep breath, attempting to hide the magnitude of hurt holding him back, coupled with the blood trickling down his face. Moving upwards, step by step, he jogged with his automatic firearm aimed and ready to put down her, hopefully in a non-lethal fashion. Feelings of distress still held him back, confirming her aggression against the NSF almost completely from the first pull of the trigger.

Disobeying her order for him to leave, he finally reached the top, barging through the door to see her at the other end of the room. The upstairs itself was a dusty attic, filled with several firearms and workstations for crafting contemporary ordinances to use against the NSF. He froze, feeling the realisation sanction his judgement. At the end, she looked around desperately for something other than her blade to use as a weapon. She stood, defensively and strong-willed to repel any advances he had. It'd became a standoff, him holding the judgement at the pull of a trigger. The two watched one another, staring at one another whilst the noises of the exterior commotion. Takai tightened the grip of his submachine gun, keeping it trailed on her static position. None of them said anything at first, her unsure of how to act other than against any approaches he'd made. There was little she could do in their face-off.

"To think you were sent on this mission...Fucking pigs, you are!" More silence subverted her expectation of a full discussion, Takai simply breathing and trying to recompose his stress. His face was one of pure magnetisation, staring at her whilst unable to unlock itself from her own gaze back at him. Every few seconds, he would slightly alter his grip of his own firearm, making sure it was firmly locked in place. "Well go on then, going to make your move?"

"Just drop the weapon, Iwata-san. Slowly..." As expected, she froze and didn't act upon his orders. The two of them made clear their intentions. She wanted to stand her ground, seemingly until the end, and yet Takai didn't want to let go of the hope for a peaceful resolution. "Lower it. Now!"

"Shut up, you dog! I am not listening to the likes of your people anymore. All you do is dispose of those who were once loyal to you the day we set off." Her shouts resonated throughout the attic, glassing the entirety of their surroundings with her fury. She rose the blade once more, backing up a few more steps towards the window behind her. Takai equally took a similar amount of steps forward, keeping his primed firearm trailed onto her every step. "What the fuck do you even want?"

"I want you to drop the weapon and come quietly, please. There's no reason we should have to resolve to fighting-"

"Spare me the fucking formality, Takai-san! You're here to kill me, or either to bring me to someone else who would." Despite Takai barely shifting his expression, she cracked a broken smile and taunted his position. In her own head, the agenda to her justified treachery was slowly revealing itself. There was little time to explain her reasoning, simple to buy her enough time to jump the gun and make her plans go through. "What...didn't know? When I left they were going to kill me for the knowledge I knew, just like they do to everyone! They'll do it to you if you stop licking their boots, each and every one of them. I'm protecting myself, and you're not here to grant me that."

"Iwata-san, please just calm down. I'll ensure you of your safety and-" Before he could finish, she turned and made a dash for the window. On the other side of it, another house closely kept with an adjacent window waiting for her arrival. As she ran for it, Takai took only his instinct and raised his firearm towards her body as she ran, pulling the trigger in a quick burst. A splatter of blood shot out of her shoulder as she dove through the window, smashing the glass and crashing through her target. When she did so, Takai slowly began to move forward.

His breath drew short once more. Every boot-step me made echoed throughout the attic again. He moved towards the smashed window, increasing his speed as he heard her struggling. He felt slightly shaken once more by her seemingly painful cries of hurt. Slowly, he clambered through the open space and made the short leap into the other window, comfortably landing where Iwata had originally fallen. Stains of blood already dragged across the floor in patches. Her unsteady footsteps could be heard further down the attic, instead finally settling into a coughing and painful shriek of suffering. The attic itself was filled with smaller plywood walls, separating their lines of sight more than their previous set-piece.

"Kaz, be careful. I'm going to make the arrest." He hadn't really reported into the already busy woman outside, knowing full well she had a package of her own to get through. Completely unaware of the happenings outside the house, he kept on task and pursued through the plywood hallways. Eventually, he came to see a single table at the end of the attic walkway. Near it, Iwata staggered towards it. Quickly, he made himself visible and yelled just loud enough for her. "Iwata-san, stop this instant! Just put your hands on your head and we'll get you medical attention."

On her back, the blood from his successful shots drenched her back, leaking onto the floor in trickles and streams that highlighted her pain. The closer she got to the table, the more she obscured it. Takai felt more stressed and anxious about her movement, seeing her striving to make contact with the furniture. She began to reach for the table, picking up a small device in her hand. Within seconds, what it was immediately arouse fear for his life. In her hand was a detonator. In her bleeding stance, he quickly dropped the act of peace, quickly following up two more shots into her chest as she turned around to meet him.

Iwata's body fell onto the floor, leaning against the table as the energy escaped her body. Her life was fleeting, her eyes were starting to dim. Takai cursed himself on the inside as he moved backwards, seeing her still clenching the detonator in her shivering hand. And as the life finally escaped her bloody, cold and fresh corpse, her grip on the trigger finally loosened, creating a flash before Takai's eyes.

From the bottom floor, several packages of explosives detonated, rupturing the floor he stood on. Takai was thrown backwards, tossed across the room into the furthest wall as an encompassing flame blasted the area around them. The adjacent house to Iwata's lit up like a firework, its windows shattering and smoke blasting out of every open doorway. Only portions of the wall broke off, creating an unstable foundation whilst both of the inhabitants were thrown into chaos. When Takai hit the ground, he felt a surge of pain fill his entire body, knocking him unconscious almost immediately.

The Siege of Amone, September 28th - Increasing the Pressure

With the street clear for another solid minute, Jean turned around back to his fellow soldiers. Diana, Isaac and Britta had been hot on his heels since the first whistle had blown, with Lucia close by his side. Now, the Cathedral was starting to appear on the urban horizon. Turning the last few corners, a colossal radiance of righteous authority clashed with the remaining backdrop of destroyed buildings, ruined streets and empty casings. Standing still for a minute, he heard the continuous orchestration of gunfire unravel amidst the silence of Amone. His breath was short and bittersweet, leaving a vapour of disgusted confidence to follow alongside it. Their march was far from over and the day was still young and spirited. Moments of pure shock were being left in the dust of their own heels whilst the Federation's forces paced themselves with intensity and without mercy. Amone wasn't just a city to some, it was a home for their religious sentiment. Jean empathised with their intent without holding his own candle to their Cruxian beliefs. Looking around, Jean noticed the streets light up with more troops, who'd cleared neighbouring streets quickly. For a while, Jean felt pity for the frontline defenders caught in the swarm. They had no chance, even if their objective was to slow down the approaching infantry. After all, they never really slowed anyone down properly. A mirrored sense of power entered Jean's mind, making him feel actually useful for a short while. As the footsteps and gunfire grew exponentially as the days went by, with countless lives being ended every second. Jean took another deep breath. For now they were to go ahead without their commanders. Middleton was nowhere to be seen at the Cathedral, so it was only believable that he was elsewhere in the siege of Amone, touring the ranks of his soldiers to lead them to some brutal victory he spied upon. Whereas on the road to the cathedral things were far different. Individual skill had become a vast fixation, giving way to the common soldier to thrive over the actions of one commander. Immediately, Jean turned to Isaac and Diana.

"You two, I want you to join the right flank. There might be resistance outside, but use that as an opportunity to take the interior guard of the Cathedral by surprise. Britta, Lucia and myself will take the centre still. Be careful, see you inside!" With his orders to split up in play, he turned back to the ranks of anonymous soldiers still waiting for the next order to push. When one Sergeant called out their opportunity, Jean edged his gaze to Britta and Lucia quickly before nodding with a comforting smile. Their task was more taxing than the others in their small and formulated party, taking the brunt of the assault's force through the full storm. Hoping their were ready, he spoke softly and knocked on Lucia's helmet with a clenched fist. "Let's get through this...together."

With the next advancement initiated, Jean joined the platoons worth of soldiers moving towards their next checkpoint: the Cathedral's entrance itself. For the first half of the journey, a cunning silence warned them of the ambush ahead, leading to an organised split and spread forged into the Army's formation. Taking two sides of the street each, most of them kept their eyes to the sides whilst only the front few watched their direct path. All around them the splintering shrieks of shots savagely scraped by the stones and steel bodies of destroyed motor vehicles. At the end of the vast, open street, spanning the width of most infamous motorways, a flurry of machine gun fire suddenly started to head their way. When the first few dropped, Jean immediately found himself piled with more unnamed soldiers, all taking a peak ahead to see what had interrupted their advance. Surely enough, when Jean took a look all he felt was the immense pain of a terrible flashback. The near past had shown itself to be brutal by all means, and the metallic horse at the end of the street fully realised it. The Armoured Cars had been deployed once more, two of them instead. Those too slow to reach the endless streams of rubble, collapsed housing and park walls dropped immediately, finding no time to react to their undying skewer. Lucia held onto her own helmet tightly, silently whispering to herself as the meander of gunfire kept them at an unease. Before long, several more soldiers started to join their pile, with others brandishing strange weapons Jean hadn't seen before. Grenades strapped into huge piles, bottles filled with oil and conversions to standard rifles, where only a single, far greater cartridge was loaded at a time. They weren't an entirely new invention, just the reconfiguration of an old and common rifle to use a single, larger bullet. Its effectiveness wasn't well recorded, but with the grin of the Fusiliers joined by their side it seemed to be an honest task. Many of them sang praise to the initial push, before noting that they needed to get closer to ensure their shot would hit.

Jean let the air escape his lungs before breathing a fresh intake. Turning to Lucia, he clasped a hand onto her arm to get her attention, letting them get a good second to look at one another to freshen their nerves. Once he did so, he turned back to Britta and patted her on the back. Carefully, he pointed a hand to a closer pile of rubble, not too far from their current position.

"Could you take a few rifleman and set up your Em'Gee behind there? Might give you a good spot to return fire. We'll take these guys around the side to get closer to those things." If Britta wanted to find a better position, he wouldn't of had any qualms about it. It was only his own speculation in the heat of the moment before he could finalise the best possible location for her to lay down a suppressive volley back at the defenders before them. Infantry had begun to surround the cars, using sandbags of their own nearby to create an even thicker exterior defence than the one encountered moments before. Hesitantly assigning a few soldiers to stay behind at Britta's discretion, he took Lucia and the prepped anti-armour troops to the left. Sure, their equipment was hastily put together, but it wasn't an unwelcomed addition if it was their best shot at moving upwards. Besides, they weren't his. These soldiers wanted the credit to use their newfound tools of destruction, then Jean would have to help the greater warriors pave the way for them.

Darting left was a moderate task. Every soldier went one by one, where the occasional skiff of smoke and dust slammed off of the wall whenever a bullet came whizzing by. Luckily they were blessed with the covering haven of an interior household, letting them traverse the buildings until they could get a clear shot at their target. With many holes in each of the buildings' walls, a consecutive path opened up and allowed for them to move quickly. Jean was amongst the first few to lead the group, with Lucia still closely following behind. He wanted to ensure her safety, knowing that in death her agony would only provide the absolute devastation of one Captain Middleton. She seemed to be handling herself quite well, keeping her head on her shoulders with her rifle tightly clenched in her hands. Her youthful shiver garnered the attention of the fusiliers around her, silently questioning the legitimacy of her own inclusion. Jean's protection wasn't great, but it was enough to maintain her focus on the task at hand. One by one, they clambered through open windows, broken walls and up spiralled stairs, figuring out their positioning whilst the rattling of machine guns and blasting of rifles only a few metres outside raged on. Their flank wasn't to bring them right beside the vehicles, only close enough to unleash their tools.

Several more minutes of climbing, where they silently held their breaths in an attempt to not give away their position was met with the occasional hand-to-hand engagement. Jean witnessed the fusiliers find several soldiers positioned in the upper windows, quickly silencing them with the piercing of the back with knifes, crushing of their windpipes through rifle-based strangulation and moment-to-moment executions that attempted to mask their sauntering engagement. Finally, they reached a point of which the rifles could set themselves up. One by one, they each loaded their larger bullets into their chambers, bolting the rifles with an intense weight to them. When the first took position in one window, the other two spread themselves out further. Jean and Lucia sat closely to the first anti-armoured gunner. On a silent count to three, he squeezed the trigger and the blasting boom of the far greater projectile sent a shockwave throughout the windowsill, shuddering the smashed glass that sat upon it. Jean watched the round flutter through the air, denting into the side of the armoured car before scattering onto the ground. The soldier cursed himself.

"Shit! Bad angle, get the others to shoot-" Immediately, the turret of the car suddenly shifted, and its barrel began to face the window they looked out of. The destructive rifleman turned back to Lucia and Jean, pushing them back quickly. "Get away from the windo-"

Cut short by a bullet cleanly sweeping from the back of his head out the front, the corpse dropped on the floor, narrowly missing Lucia. The two scattered away, holding their hands upon their helmets as the bullets reigned upon their position, flying over their heads quickly. Jean began to crawl to the side, using a free hand to make sure Lucia was following closely behind. With the car distracted, a second rifleman poked his head out of a parallel window, his round already loaded, before firing a piercing shot to breach the gunner's protective shell. As soon as the clang of a metallic splinter rang out, the gunner's suppressive ability ceased immediately. The bullet had pierced the first Car's mode of offence and defence, giving allowance for a second soldier, clutching a cluster of grenades tightly bound together, to charge towards the window, using the run up to monumentally extend its reach. The cluster of explosives landed directly next to the vehicle and exploding on its short remaining fuse, blasting shrapnel and fire in a multitude of directions. Any imperial infantry stood within its proximity were showered with its blast whilst the vehicle itself rocked, its wheels and underside breached by the ordinance.

Seconds of ash and smoke passed, letting them cough and splutter. The gunfire continued on the other side of the street as only the first of the duo had been executed via flame and fury. Besides, the explosion wasn't enough to blast through the remainder of the infantry outside their building, making way for any potential rivals to enter their homestead in a violent clash. Jean poked his head over the window sill again, seeing the back hatch of the vehicle open as the commander wandered out, smoked and plumed in ash. Before anyone reacted, Lucia poked her own head up, rifle ready and slammed her finger down onto the trigger, quickly and efficiently dropping the driver in his escape, before taking cover once more to avoid the several rifle shots returning to their position. Now, all they had to do was hope that Britta, Isaac or Diana were ready to deal with the opposing car, or they would have to find alternatives in clearing it. Only a hundred metres away from their position, the grand entrance to the Cathedral sat still, waiting and beckoning the Federation soldiers to go inside. Only once they cleared the outside could they enter safely, hoping to deal with the beast inside. All while this was happening, a second thunderous clap shook the earth. Wherever it was, the behemoth had just fired its second shot of the Siege, arcing once more towards the headquarters of the Amone offensive instead of the frontline itself. Jean heard the immense grumble in the floor beneath him as a distant explosion shivered the foundations of the ground. He hoped whoever it hadn't hit anyone, but with its blast radius, it was sure to have devastated more than just immobile, injured soldiers.

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