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22 hrs ago
Current Taking the top off my Jeep.
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1 mo ago
Reminds me of the original Gears of War trailer.
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4 mos ago
Thinking about getting my kid the Lego Razor Crest for Christmas, but i might be the one that ends up playing with it.
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5 mos ago
Because I am an old fart I saw the status below about a gym game and thought it was an RP about working out and I was interested.
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5 mos ago
Hungover at the gym.
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@Laser Kiwi

It was pretty good overall. Clearly over-the-top in a few themes and the details are a little laborious at times. I generally like Stephenson's sarcastic style and he really nails the dramatic scenes.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
&

Coleman St. John


Part of the setup for the Sentinel program was a professional survey of the property by a certified engineering firm. It was a simple enough task, but the nature of the student body at Ashford Institute required that Cole be present for the work and the nature of some of the students meant leaving the two men unattended would have unintended consequences. Aside from that, he was a little curious how the equipment worked and he hired a local firm that was willing to come out on a Sunday afternoon when things would be the least... exciting. The two men arrived promptly in a very nice pickup and for about two hours, set about walking the campus grounds, picking up the tripod and the data-wand and plotting coordinates in what, Cole assumed, would be the baseline for the drones to operate around in their network. The Senturion company had provided an exacting list of specific details that the survey needed to cover. It was interesting and the weather was perfect, they talked shop, sports and typical male chit-chat about women and other profundities.

Cole checked his watch as they loaded up the equipment back in the truck before glancing around at some of the area they had covered. The whole time he hadn’t seen another staff member which was exactly what he had planned. For the majority of the week he had made himself scarce, taking care of his business and generally flying below the radar. Ashford had a guest and in typical form hadn’t even bothered to tell anyone about the man. Pierce was still gone, Kaylee had got in some trouble and apparently Tabitha had dialed up the Danger Room too high for some of the students. That was all fine. Cole smirked a little to himself as one of the engineers handed him a tablet to sign off on the work and initiate the payment transfer. With a handshake and a wave, they were headed back out of the gate. He turned and walked towards his Explorer, the only car in the staff lot, and thumbed the button on the key fob for the rear door to open up. Alongside a few other bags, he retrieved his laptop case and in a few moments made two copies of the survey work.

Reaching down he removed the cover from the hitch receiver where he’d installed a hidden safe in the housing. He rolled his thumb over the dials and took out the small drawer, retrieving a usb stick that he stuck in the side of the computer and after a few keystrokes, shut the laptop down and packed everything back up.

Aya had been wandering the campus since leaving her room, quietly hoping not to see anyone. Not Professor Everose, not the dean, and especially not Mr. St. John. She didn’t know how she would even begin to face him.

What did one say after peaking into intimate, painful details of someone else’s past? How could she apologize? Should she even tell him? She was a stranger, and he seemed like a private man, from the little she’d seen of him. Maybe it was a mercy to keep him in the dark, let him keep the comfort of his secrets.

Aya’s thoughts spun as she placed one foot in front of the other, reluctantly searching. Rationalizations, arguments, frantic excuses turned, over and over again. All the while, the heat of an inferno burned in the back of her mind. It scorched her from the inside out, phantom rage looming like a threat.

Was telling him… safe?

Aya froze mid-step. Coleman St. John stood not twenty yards away. He fiddled with something at the back of his car, did some work on his laptop, and then put it all away like he was ready to leave.

His face flashed in her mind - unsmiling, with combed hair and a finely pressed uniform. His mismatched eyes looked at her from the photo next to the empty casket.

She couldn’t move. He was going to leave and then she’d lose her chance - and her nerve. He was going to leave, and then she wouldn’t have to face him. She could just… stand there. It would be fine. He would rest easy, thinking his past was still behind him, and she wouldn’t be anyone on his radar. She wouldn’t be a quantity to consider and use like she was with the dean. She wouldn’t be a potential liability. Or enemy. She could just be… nothing.

But she’d be a coward.

Heart pounding in her throat, Aya forced herself to move forward. Her hands gripped at each other, knuckles white to keep from trembling. She stopped in front of him, a bit too far for polite conversation. She thought her voice might never come out.

“...Mr. St. John?”

The rear door closed with an affirmative shunt and as Cole automatically dug into his pocket for his key and almost didn’t even notice Aya standing at a slightly awkward distance. She seemed to speak just as the door closed and carried an odd demeanor like she was afraid to come any closer. He knew she was one of Kaylee’s favorite pupils and rarely caused any problems, but he also knew she had something to do with Kaylee’s apparent falling out with Ashford- a drama that he could feel himself being pulled towards. Whatever the case, what he was about to do was going to turn the tables on all of them. “Oh, hello Aya, what can I do for you?” His glance narrowed a bit and he tilted his head a bit curiously . She looked like she was absolutely about to boil over, though not from anger, but some anxiety like her mind wanted to run while her body stubbornly planted itself in front of him. He hoped she wasn’t about to have some sort of mutant panic attack. “You alright?”

Aya tried not to flinch at the sound of her own name. She hadn’t expected him to already know her. She supposed she should’ve, though. He was security after all.

She looked up to meet his eyes before looking down again, eyes searching the manicured lawn as if she could find an answer there. Her eyes flicked up again. Then back down. She opened her mouth and no sound came out. Closed it. Swallowed.

“I have something to apologize for.” She looked him in the eyes again, and a stranger’s grief pulsed through her. “I was doing an ...exercise. I didn’t know it at the time, and I didn’t mean to but I -“ Fire and rage and unstoppable, monstrous vengeance “I’m sorry, but I looked into your past. Just glimpses.” The words came out in a rush. “I didn’t share anything with anyone, but I - ...it was a breach of privacy. I’m sorry.”

Cole relaxed a bit. It wasn’t the worst thing he expected. When he was hired on, there was more than one conversation that certain measures of privacy wouldn’t always be guaranteed, simply because of the abilities of some of the students. He gave a small shrug and tried not to be dismissive, but rather accepting of whatever she wanted to tell him, if there was anything else. He tried to think of what she could have seen, though the vastness of such a recall on the spot was impossible. There were still many gaps in his own mind since he’d wrecked his last bike. It seemed most likely she must’ve witnessed one of his rides, whether it’d been the man in the desert he described to Kaylee or what he’d done at Nocturne, there were many, though she appeared sad and even ashamed, like it was something else she had seen. “Well... I’m not offended or anything, so don’t beat yourself up over it. I was told what I was getting into when I came to work here.” Ironically, he was getting a similar vibe from Aya that he had got from Cleo and it was continuing to confirm a gut feeling about Ashford Institute. He rested a hand on the side mirror and leaned against his car. “Is there anything else?”

So much. Aya didn’t know where to start. She didn’t know if she should. Her apology had been… easier than anticipated. He just seemed to absorb it, like a raindrop disappearing into a lake, and Aya felt disoriented. She’d been bracing herself for more… well, more.

But now that it was over with, that left the other issue weighing her down - of Sena, Pierce, Finvarra, Uná, the Sluagh, Avalon. She looked at him, her black eyes going back and forth between his. This was a risk. Another mistake. She confided in the dean, and he manipulated her. She confided in Professor Everose, and nothing happened. And now… she wanted to tell another stranger? Was she simply running in circles, trying the same thing over and over, never learning a thing?

But she had to do something - tell someone, if she didn’t have the power to solve the problem herself. Her mind spun, warring with itself about where to even begin when she didn’t even know if she could trust this man.

“They miss you.”

The words hung in the air. Aya’s eyes widened when she realized what she’d said. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Cole’s face contorted confusingly at the words, he wasn’t even quite sure if he’d heard her correctly. They were still standing several feet apart. “What?” His expression turned to more of a direct concern, like she suddenly might not have been sure to whom she was speaking, particularly after she immediately apologized again. “Are you sure you’re alright?”

Aya shifted on her feet, mortified. She started rambling, like she could dig a way out of the hole she’d placed herself in. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to overstep, I - my mom walked out when I was young… a little older than them. And I… I lost my dad earlier this year. I just know how hard it is to lose a parent. But I’m sorry, it’s not my business, I promise I’ll never bring it up again.”

Watching her ramble and stutter, he knew he was going to have to make a decision and just as that thought registered, he knew he couldn’t just leave her standing and drive off. This was not part of the plan. Taking her would be a risk. He rubbed a hand over his face and glanced around for a moment as he considered as many possibilities as his mind could register in the moment. “Look, it’s fine.” He said with a gentle wave of his hand to put the subject to rest. His mind was still playing out the scenarios from behind his vision, but the path was becoming more clear the more he talked. “I’ve been walking this property for the last two hours, I’m gonna take a ride and just unwind for a bit, you are welcome to come along if you feel like you got a lot on your mind, just talk and I’ll listen. No judgment, up to you.” It felt as sincere as anything he’d ever said. Counseling was most definitely not his expertise, but he understood people and sadly enough, it seemed like most of the students just wanted someone they could trust. The best he could do was just give her the choice.

Aya blinked up at him. He seemed… completely uninterested in his lost family who thought he was dead. She would’ve thought it a sore spot, something that elicited at least some kind of emotion, but her words just rolled off his back. She wasn’t sure if she should’ve been thankful or just plain confused.

Guess he wasn’t father of the year…

His offer though, was the last thing she expected.

“I…” Her eyebrows came together. She looked at his face, and it seemed open enough, but… There’s something else going on.

“Did the dean say something to you?”


Cole shook his head, He couldn’t really follow her train of thought. It just seemed completely random. “No, I haven’t spoken with him in several days.”

Aya didn’t move for a moment. She just studied him, still standing too far away, hands still gripping tight to each other. She pressed her lips together. Glanced at his car, then the high wall that lined the perimeter of the school behind it.

Finally she nodded. It was small and unsure, like Aya herself. “Maybe… a drive would be nice.” She didn’t have a clue what she hoped to gain from it, or if it was smart, or if it was safe, but still she found herself grasping at the excuse to leave campus, if only for an hour or two.

@c3p-0h
@Chev

good to go, move him over
GM POST




CHAPTER 2
M I R R O R


I M A G E

- EVENING - SUNDAY - WARM & CLEAR - AFTER 5PM





Classes and training continue on schedule at Ashford Institute and there is generally a feeling of calm and security across the campus. Things feel normal, to the relief of many, and the Institute feels much like a regular school amid fall semester. The events of the previous Friday night seem to have long passed from discussion and Dr. Ashford has returned from his business trip. Much like before, he has been somewhat reclusive in the days following his arrival back in Los Angeles, but rumors continue:

It has been over a week since anyone has seen or heard from AD and Professor, Adam Pierce. While casually, most believe he took an extended vacation others are more skeptical: Pierce was never a man for long holidays. His office remains untouched since he was last seen and the continued substitution of his position by others seems awkward and wholly unexpected for a planned absence. Also, and much more nebulous is growing talk that Kaylee Everose has lost her status as Education Director following an incident with a student, but no one among the student body knows for certain.

Apropos, a new face has also been spotted repeatedly around campus apparently getting acquainted and leading others to speculate that Pierce was terminated on the spot and not allowed to return. Tall and wiry, the newcomer is clearly too old to be a student and looks to be about the same age as the rest of the professorial staff. There is a slightly bizarre air of enthusiasm about the man, but he has yet to be formally introduced in any capacity.

Along with this new arrival comes word of a growing push for mutant registration in North America. While the subject has never been broached officially by the staff there does seem to be popular momentum for it in other parts of the world, particularly Europe. Those closest to Dean Ashford believe that he has often been against registration or at the very least, forced registration by the state preferring to keep the activities of the Institute away from the prying eyes of governments as much as possible.

- - - - - -


Among our small group, there has no doubt been a measurable increase in both control and spectrum of mutant abilities. This may have come from time in the Danger Room, a particularly difficult assignment, diligence in training or even a chance encounter. Consider this in your interactions along with the points above.


GM Post



24 Hour Time Skip Warning


Prepare to skip to SUNDAY in game - No scheduled events - Any questions please let us know.

IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE NOT READY TO SKIP PLEASE SPEAK UP

GM Post



The cliche of the setting was never lost on Ashford. A round room, dimly lit with a lesser circular table in the center that glowed a subtle white on its surface. The cigarettes however, were exquisite. He and a few others smoked as another presentation was given and the fine aroma permeated the large space. Sometimes the center of the table was used as a holographic display, but the presenter used a wide, stone-cut, wall map and a very traditional wooden stick to point to his various subjects which glowed or emanated in points of light as he dictated. The room was quiet as the smoke rose in slow whisps. Ashford tapped his ashes away and glanced around briefly to study some of the others’ reactions. Like himself, some wore more casual business attire, some were in full suits while others wore military uniforms representing various countries. All in attendance were men and all carried a varying degree of studied stoicism. The presenter wore a similar military uniform, however unlike the others, he wore a red arm band with a familiar icon, though rotated vertically to form a cross rather than an “X”. The symmetrical overhead fixture carried a likewise pressed in motif that also glowed overhead.

The presentation had only briefly continued when a voice sounded over the presenter. “Dr. Malcolm, you are skeptical?” The accent was sharply eastern european and familiar to Ashford. He turned his glance across the table to an older man in a green uniform. Various campaign badges adorned his chest along with an ornamental rope and a shined medal at his collar covered his crisp ensemble. He looked down his round-framed glasses from the dark recess of his sunken eyes.

Ashford enjoyed one last pull from his cigarette as he politely shrugged what he knew was more an accusation than a question. “Yes, I disagree.” He placed the butt in an ashtray before him. “Registering them will be one thing, controlling them thereafter will be another.”

“An ironic statement coming from one with experience and abilities such as yourself, Dr. Malcolm.” The man replied.

“We have greater than three-quarters registered willingly on the continent, doctor.” The presenter interjected. He had an equally distinctive German accent and held his wooden stick horizontally in patient waiting. His meticulously planned exhibition had been halted and he was irritated with the interruption. “Our methods have never failed to achieve success, for generations.” He said darkly looking at Ashford. “As you know.”

“Yes,” Ashford conceded with a tone of satirical affirmation.

“The question is not whether or not our cause will be unified, but who will stand at the precipice of destiny with us?” The older man said. “Do you think you deserve it, doctor?” There was some unsettlement in the room as the man’s tone became much less veiled. “North America is lawless. Mutants are killing in the streets and you have a dead staff member and our own liaison in Los Angeles to prove it!”

“Is it that he can’t control it... or that he won’t?” The presenter added with a dark smile.

Ashford gave a huff of amusement and couldn’t hide a small smirk. “Just what are you insinuating?”

“He wants to know where your loyalties are, doctor. I am curious myself.” The man across the table answered.

Ashford cut the older man an unimpressed glance back. “Who provided the fuel for your trip, General? Who provided the aircraft?” He tilted his head slightly as he spoke as if studying something of amusement. “Who paid the crew? Or furnished the chair you’re sitting in?”

“Monetary contribution does not prohibit you from the reproach of this council, doctor. That is the purpose of our assembly.” The man replied more sternly and sat up in his chair. “We are all well aware of your fortunes, but the facts remain that your work in North America has scantly produced a tangible result in decades and lags far behind our progress in Europe.” The last comment produced a flurry of commotion in the room.

“Progress is a point of view, General. I have only seen opportunity and success.”

“Perhaps it would be best to ensure that your goals are still in line with the rest of this council?” The speaker interjected again. He was pacing back to his original position and preparing to continue his presentation. He had been saving his point for a later discussion, but the atmosphere in the room gave him a sense that there would be no better time. “You will need a replacement for Adam Pierce and we will need a substitute for Alexander Stagnum. This is a fitting, ‘opportunity’ to consolidate our efforts, is it not?”

“We do not need any further staff at the Institute-”

“Send Armstrong,” The General interrupted with some smugness in his voice, looking towards a younger man standing in the dim backlighting of the room. “Armstrong will go back with you to Los Angeles.”

-----

An Air Force C-17 was taking off on the ice runway just as their helicopter landed. The cold was biting and Ashford wore a heavy thermal jacket as he stepped off the helicopter along with his appointed liaison. He shielded his face as the wind from the rotors kicked up ice and snow. The sound from large transport’s engines howled overhead and off into the bright blue distance. For a moment he watched the exhaust trail from the engines as it pulled away, but a slender shadow cast over him from behind, stark against the white ground before him.

“I’m genuinely looking forward to our work, Dr. Malcolm,” The man said. He grinned broadly as Ashford looked back. His tall figure looked comically disproportioned under his heavy jacket and he wore no head covering of any kind causing his short, straight hair whip around wildly in the helicopter’s turbulence as it flew away.

“It’s Dr. Ashford when we get back to Los Angeles.” He said with a sigh and patted his jacket briefly. Underneath the heavy insulation, there was still one last cigarette in the breast pocket and he checked his watch before he dug inside. A few moments passed as they stood in cold silence and Ashford enjoyed the last few drags before a quieter, sleeker sound approached in the distance with its bright nose-gear light acutely visible on descent. The much smaller craft daintily glided in and set down on the long runway and began carefully taxiing to the small boarding area. Ashford flicked the butt into a snowdrift and picked up his small bag. “C’mon, we can talk on the ride back.”
Dr. Sena Yüksel & Uná O’Brian





@Almalthia
Dr. Sena Yüksel


The tires crept over crackling gravel as she eased through the front gate while the iron bars slowly opened. A darkly tinted window covered a view from the side, but her profile was faintly visible behind the glare of the windshield and the shape of exquisitely expensive sunglasses. Her fingers drummed slowly on the steering wheel as she followed the car path towards the center courtyard and Ashford’s cottage. She would have liked something more exotic, however the little Porsche didn’t draw too much attention and was exceptionally comfortable, not that she knew a lot about cars. The Terran fascination with transportation was slightly bemusing at first, but their role as status symbols was undeniable. She loved the feel of the leather under her dress and the controls felt firm and well made. Craftsmanship was something she could appreciate in any reality and the simplistic elegance of the shape ticked the boxes.

The stereo beat a low and steady rhythm as she made her way watching the movements of students and faculty about the school. Her lips moved occasionally with the words of songs she heard before though the lyrics could sometimes be puzzling. She discovered early on that in Terran language, particularly American English, words could mean literally anything. Still, the decade of the 1990s seemed to represent the epoch of recent music for the culture. Rap and R&B from the period were her favorites, often those from Los Angeles. She detested rock and roll, grunge and even worse country music. Her strapped heel clicked down softly and she reached back inside for an equally posh matching bag that seemed to be as barely used as the rest of her ensemble before starting down the pathway towards Ashford’s cottage.

Knowing that the Dean would be out of the city for a few days, she hadn’t been back on the campus since early Sunday morning...



Her rage had boiled over at the realization of being outplayed and her head shook lightly at the thought of it as she walked in a powerful stride down the pathway. There was still another play she could make and her thoughts wandered for a moment, fingertips tapping lightly on the side of her bag reaffirming the presence of a solid metal object inside. Among the numerous glances she got, the fortuitous glimpse of a young redhead was the only one to return the attention of her eyes from behind her sunglasses. Nearly to Ashford’s doorstep, a rare smile spread over her lips and she gave the girl a small wave with her fingers as she passed.

@Almalthia
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