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3 mos ago
Current fine, since you asked so nicely officer, i will confess my crimes. since i was seven years old i have refused to match any socks in my sock drawer. i practice sock hookup culture. i am a slut
7 likes
3 mos ago
sad news for anime and r&b fans alike as the cult classic "neon genesis d'angelion" has again been postponed. film challenges viewer and character psyches alike with simple question: how does it feel
1 like
3 mos ago
well, fuck me, if no one else is gonna ask. how does a job turn out to be a scam that fast? what tipped you off
1 like
3 mos ago
Melfi: Anthony, this is a pattern of you considering animals above human needs. tony soprano: the fuck ish this, huh? deer park, drinking water outta bambis'h home? he'sh an orphan, for christsake!
1 like
3 mos ago
analyzing the falcon and winter soldier trailer bit by bit. frame by frame. searching for a glimpse of the real captain america: joe biden
3 likes

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"If anyone is holding out on a giant robot, I'll forgive you, but you have to let me sit in the chest. That's where the heart of the team goes," came the laughing retort from the common room entrance. "Hey, everyone. Looks like they can't keep a good girl down."

Nicole Cognoscenti gave her team a triumphant smile and pumped her fist twice in the air. She was wearing compression leggings and a transparent windbreaker, like umbrella material, with a lime green sports bra underneath. She looked freshly showered; her scarlet hair, usually feathered so elegantly, fell in an artful mop along one side of her forehead, and some parts of her arms and midriff still glistened pink from heat. Along one side of her abdomen was the gauze they had applied to her cut in the infirmary, after an inspection of the wound that Nicole honestly thought had gone on way too long. She'd been assured that the wound wouldn't scar by the medical staff, but she also had been told to avoid any strenuous core exercises for the next few days, and a tummy like hers didn't sculpt itself, babyyyyy, so she had decided to start small and test herself on a jog around the parts of campus they'd been free to explore. In her professional opinion, being at least an undergrad in the study of Nicole Cognoscenti, she felt fine. Like herself. She looked down again to affirm there was no sign of creepy blood leakage through the bandages before she sat on the armrest of Penny and Dana's sofa in the common room.

Nicole grinned and nudged Dana's arm playfully with her elbow, favoring her teammate with a wink.

"Buonasera, slee-pyyyy-head," she jested. "From my vantage point, you kicked a lot of ass. I'm proud of you."

Nicole sprawled along the back of their seat, spine arced along the top of the furniture. She watched her fashionable running sneakers launch and fall in the air like neon missiles, kicking lazily as she listened to the ambient conversation of the Ars Magi assembled there. At first, it was just a chance to check out Vanna's roommate a little, but as they went on, and Penny and Dana tried to gauge her for her input on the conversation she had crashed, Nicole's lips had pursed slightly in contemplation.

"It was pretty polite of them to wait for us, don't you think?" she asked Priya and Cara's group, still draped across her perch. Stretching out like this felt like it also stretched out her cut, but the burning feeling the afflicted area gave off wasn't entirely unpleasant, so she propped herself up on one elbow to alleviate the worst of it and cocked her head. She pushed her hair off her forehead before continuing.

"Our session was normal until the second Penny passed her test," she explained, shrugging in the direction of their little bespectacled titan with another proud wink. "Then it mogged her. So did anyone actually get attacked in the middle of their test, or did they all show manners and wait for us to pass first? No one ever told me that Voids have manners."




Nicole's exhilarated laughter finally came to a stop as new orders from the tower came through their earpieces. She looked up to the direction of the observation platform, where their supervisors and Vanna waited and watched. She understood the logic of keeping a daughter of the Duodecim in reserve for a complication like the one they'd just destroyed, but it still got under her skin a little bit. Vanna was a more than capable fighter, from what little Nicole had seen of her prowess. Another thing Astrelle had probably hit a little too hard on the nose back onboard the Laurus, days previously.

Speaking of her embattled, grouchy goth roommate, she heard a new voice chime in on the Ars Magis' celebration: “This certainly beats those dumb cartoons, but I'll give them credit for fueling your creativity."

Nicole smiled at Astrelle wanly for a moment before looking back down at the unconscious Dana. With her fingers, she did her best to hastily fix the directions that the fight - and maybe Nicole's congratulatory headpatting - had sent her hair flying. When she felt she had done a satisfactory enough job, she arced her back a bit, ready to bounce off the pavement. A little hiss came through her teeth, along with a grumbled little "Fucker, fuck, owwww, man..." She would probably be feeling where the Void's claws had raked her for a while; the side of her stomach was taut and red, with little trickles of her magic blood trickling onto the waistline of her damaged parma.

"See you in hell, you fuckin' bozo," sh continued to grumble. Her eulogy to their first major Void kill was taken away on the same gusts that had dispersed its ruined corpse. "Come on, girls. The Powers that Be are calling us. Not you, babe. You can sleep," she added, proceeding to undo all the work she'd just done on Dana's hair thoughtlessly with another headpat. "You did great."

Nicole stood up, feeling her abdomen scream in protest even after she'd steeled herself to move again, with Dana wrapped up in her arms like a sleeping sibling. Thankfully, the younger girl was probably the lightest of the five of them, so carrying her back to the tower was no sweat. She cocked her head forward, in a gesture for the others to follow her.




Nicole felt success lurch from beneath her in the span between two heartbeats. The first instant, the song of victory was alive in her chest, thrumming with more energy than she had ever felt in any club, any arcade - anything in her life. The next, she was tumbling, her flight crudely interrupted by talons from hell. She gasped as they scraped her fashionable little parma, grimacing as she felt Astrelle start to leave her grip. Instinctively, her arm shot for her roommate's hand.

She grabbed only the air.

Where is she? Where is she? Fuck. Oh fuck. Did I drop her?

She had no time to get cerebral about where Astrelle could have landed. She felt the claws of the devil wrap around her the same way they had wrapped about Astrelle, but clearly something in the Void's bestial consciousness recognized her as the girl who had just bifurcated it - and it was pretty pissed about its legs. She felt, but hardly registered, the feeling of talons sinking into her stomach as she was reared back and violently thrown through the air. She heard, but didn't contemplate, the wind in her ears - so quick to buffet her rise, and now so instrumental in her fall. She heard Penny and Dana's yells, and closed her eyes.



I can breathe. I can fly. The wind is still mine.

Through the pain in her stomach, Nicole tried to focus. But her concentration, just as she began to feel the faintest stirrings of control again, was broken by the sound.

She heard a noise, almost like whistling, cut through her head. But it wasn't any whistle she could ever recall - not like the sound her dad made, breezing through movie themes in the other room while he sliced vegetables or showered. It was the sound of something skull-checking the sound barrier, screaming its fury as it surpassed the limits imposed by their humanity.

"Think fast, Nicole!"

What is this girl?

Penny, fearless, brash, foul-mouthed little Penny, had latched onto Nicole firmly by the wrist and flung her, hard, with the same berserker strength that seemed to have a knack for landing her into these situations in the first place. Nicole was more than grateful for the second wind, though; in fact, as she picked up momentum again, hurtling with speed that approached that of Penny's rocket-blading, she began to laugh maniacally. It was better than any thrill ride she'd ever been on, and even though the wind had largely sucked the cackle from her mouth, muffling her, she felt the same breezy, devil-may-care joy resonate through her whole body again. The wind was hers, and she could feel it begin to cushion her anew as she descended. She touched down onto a street light and whooped aloud.

Nicole grinned, looked up and felt the sun on her face. It took her a second to grasp the implication.

She looked down, blinking, to see Dana standing at the head of an enormous beam, one that she knew felt as warm and comforting to them as it must have been hell for the Void. She could see the disgusting, oil slick-like effect of the creature's decimated body in the air, and her experience just seconds was already catalogued into her 'shit I have to learn to keep doing this job for a long time' databank in her brain. So from her perch, she drew her blued saber, hearing its peerless edge hum and sing in the air, and brandished it in an overhand cut.

"Clean up, Vedfolnir!"

A gust of wind blew through the epicenter of Dana's strike, scattering the pieces of charcoal Nox in various directions. Hopefully they wound up at the four corners of the fucking world, but she would settle for the knowledge that the creature's tatters were now too far away to reaccumulate into a monster. She grinned, ready to congratulate the girls, when she saw Dana begin to sway.

With a graceful leap, Nicole landed from her perch and bent down to catch Dana before she hit the ground, feeling a slight twinge in her tummy where the Void's talons had cut her during the throw. Affectionately, she ruffled the sleeping Dana's hair and looked up at Penny. She gave a little wink of gratitude and bit the edge of her lip.

"Man," she exhaled. "What fucking shows did they show you kids?"

She started to giggle.
I was gonna wait for you @Plank Sinatra, but figured you'd have more to work with this way, hope it's alright!

@Mokley, with a few of us absent, does this RP need some more people? Obviously it's gonna be difficult to jump in right now, but at the next suitable point?


It's no problem! I've been meaning to get a post done, but like an idiot I only did occasional chipping away on a pretty major literature review until its due date last night, sooooo...blugh. But I plan on having a post up tomorrow!




There was a valuable lesson at the heart of all the chaos and bullshit here: from today until their deaths, there would never be such a thing as a sure bet for an Ars Magi. But it was a lesson Nicole really hoped they would get to around day...thirty. Ten. At least day two. No learning quite like accelerated learning!

"Girls, much as this is fun, I think we need to find a way to catch that thing before it flies off with Lennox. I'm guessing we can all jump real high with our new abilities, but I'm talking about if anyone thinks they can just up and fly, that would really be useful right now. We can try to hit the monster from this range, but don't hit Astrelle!"

"I couldn't if I tried," Nicole jested, eyeing the serpents tepidly. Truth be told, as jarring as it was to see the Void take flight - especially with her erstwhile roommate - and as much as it would have terrified her even days ago, right now, she found anything in the sky preferable to dealing with the serpents it had begat. In the skies, she felt at home. "Penny, you two keep on top of things down here. Dana -" she winked " - you're doing great, babe. Keep out of range and--"

One of the Void-spawn had lunged, and Nicole's swipe with her sabre punished it for the attempt. The winds that sheathed the blade cleaved the monster back into the pools of ink it crawled from.

"--and just keep blasting. Gotta fly. I'll be back with her!"

She made a break for it, springing off the ground and lightly tapping the stump that now topped the remains of the light Penny had obliterated. She shoved off the twisted, bifurcated metal pole and did her best to soar.

Truthfully, 'felt natural to her' didn't even come close to the sensations. While it was true that all the Ars Magi likely had some degree of agility beyond what they had ever imagined, in her soul Nicole could feel that her case was different. When anything else in the world jumped, be it man, beast, or magical girl, it came down. But not Nicole. She descended on her own terms.

She could see the Void, a cruel distortion of a raven's shape, with Astrelle fighting valiantly in its clutches. She could imagine the cynical thoughts about death and abandonment racing through her roommate's head at the moment. Thoughts of how they had all been tricked into this somehow, led astray by parents or society, how fighting for something as nebulous was saving the world was a dream for the stupid or the catatonic. Honestly, some of them might even have been warranted. But that wouldn't make those anxieties any less fun to prove wrong.

Nicole felt grateful for Palmyra's urban sprawl for the first time; though utilitarian, that also meant it was consistent, and she had no shortage of fire escapes to leap from in order to continue gaining momentum as she built up to sustained flight. With a sweep of her sword she summoned a current to beat against the wings of the Void; they had transfigured in a hurry, and they looked sickly and ill-made. Even a novice Ars Magi like her, she reasoned, would have enough juice in her to prevent such a pitiful creature from escaping. From there, it was a matter of cutting Astrelle down. Her scythe was absolutely not the weapon of choice for dealing with captivity like this, but even Nicole's sword required a precision cut - and a leap of faith on both their parts.

"Trust me!" Nicole yelled, grinning with all the optimism and grace she had in her, trying to make herself heard to her fellow Ars Magi over the winds. She swung the sword again, trying to cleave off the sickly, thin-looking talons that clutched Astrelle. So I can't be the Ars Magi that saves the world. Fuck it.

Expensive boots stamped on a cigarette long extinguished, balanced on the pitted metal of a balcony long abandoned. With a mighty, selfless heave, they abandoned their perch - and Nicole Cognoscenti flew.

I can just be the one that saves the girl.




She was proud of all her teammates. When the side was retired and she returned to her perch above the testing area, Nicole gave Astrelle a comforting wink on the other girl's way out to face her demons. She gave another to Penny, along with a friendly knuckle touch. For Astrelle's test, the Hastan watched with both her arms around her two younger teammates, eagerly taking in her roommate's performance. She had taken a quick lick, like Nicole had, but overall she acquitted herself well. Afterwards, she had taken a minute to recuperate on the ground; Nicole's mouth twitched sympathetically, remembering how laid up the both of them had been over the last few days.

Penny's turn came next, along with some encouraging cheers from both Dana, who already seemed inseparable with the glasses-wearing girl, and a single whoop-whoop! from Nicole herself. Penny kicked as much ass as any of them; as flustered as she had been at their luncheon days before, there was no denying she had the heart of a scrapper, and she proved it by brandishing her enormous fucking hammer, oh man that's cool until victory fell at her defeat. Cheers broke out again from the tower.

Then it all went wrong.

The air around Penny began to crackle again, along with a brutal impact that struck the bespectacled girl from nowhere for the second time since Nicole had known her. If they had still been the powerless girls on the Laurus, she might have been crippled by the surprise attack. Now she was an Ars Magi - they all were. And she was more than capable of surprising back.

With some help, of course.

The wind is on my back. May my sword cut like my smile.

"Vi faccio vedere come lotte un Hastano!"


Her second transformation felt as good as the first. Nicole vaulted over the lip of the tower and laughed aloud, raucously, as the wind rushed around her and whipped her hair back in a scarlet frenzy. In the four seconds it took her to freefall, her thoughts turned over in her head:

Catchphrase, that one was a must. Hot guys and gals will eat that kind of crap up.

Her feet hit the ground, as lightly as if she'd stepped out of bed. Her gladius formed in her hand; she sprung forward, using Dana's beam for cover.

"Dana, keep using those! Chase it towards one of us!" she called out, laughing airily as she twirled towards danger. Nevertheless, her words had adopted an iron tone; she had gotten to see both of her friends in action, knew their mettle, and knew how to encourage them to be the magical girls they'd always dreamt of. "Penny, don't stray from its right! The left is mine!"

And it was; she nimbly dodged a spindly arm, having learned quickly from her first time at the wrong end of a Void's swing. Content with her gameplan and feeling her confidence swell after such an effortless dodge, Nicole kicked herself off the ground as though her legs were springs. Her sword swung in the direction of what almost passed for a neck, the size of the sword belying the shape of buffeting winds that formed its true blade.




Ohhhh, Nicoooooole, you've gotta be a magical girl! Ars Magi have a storied part in humanity's survival! They'll remember your name in the neighborhood for the rest of time! Sure, you were a fuck up who could have gotten all As but got all Bs because you didn't like turning in assignments, and you declare thumb war on guys you want to bone down on, but that's just part of your charm! They'll love that about you in military school!

For three days, that had been the sardonic core of Nicole's buried resentments, swirling and tempestuous and often punctuated with weird stomach rumbles and groans, like she'd been fed some foul carbonara with frankfurter in it. She couldn't say she was entirely unused to the sensation. Two years previously, she'd had her wisdom teeth taken out all at once, but somehow all the romanticizing and propaganda disseminated about Ars Magi had neglected to mention that the whole journey began with the same crippling, post-anesthesia nausea that came with having your jaw disassembled. She hadn't even felt comfortable standing for the first day or two, for fear that she would find her legs still gelatinous or her stomach in the mood to betray her and heave. When she would look down, curled halfway into a fetal position on her bed, she would see the alien invading her body - scarlet and dull, with only the occasional glitter that she had begun to suspect was merely a trick of the sunlight, days passing by one after the other. Once she had reached down to poke it - sue her - and actually been driven to the point of tearing up in pain and discomfort.

Bereft of those two emotions, the only feeling left to her was boredom. She considered talking to Astrelle every now and then, but it was hard to keep her usual standard of flirting up when she constantly felt like she was going to turn into sludge with one wrong wink, let alone getting up and going over to the other bed. Besides, even if Astrelle was in the mood for talking - doubtful - Nicole wasn't really in the mood to hear her say she was right back on the airship. Even if she was, what good would it do now? They were thoroughly locked in for the ride.

They remained locked in for two more days after their procedure. At least, that was the result of the mental math she'd come up with as she trudged into their dorm's bathroom and began running the water for a shower. She was feeling only a little less listless this morning, and personally she would have been happy to take another week off. But it seemed like today was the day that Nova Lux figured they were strong enough to kick ass under their own power. As she stripped out of the clothes she had been bumming in since the operation and started fiddling with the water temperature again, the queen of vibes lifted up one leg and mimed the single, sweeping motion commonly associated with kicking ass. To her surprise, she didn't quite topple over - although she had wrapped her fingers around the top of the stall to prevent such a klutzy disaster from unfolding. Letting go, she tested kicking with her other leg. That felt easy enough, too.

She grinned at this latest triumph and stepped into the shower, gasping a little at the shock of the water on her skin - and then realizing it was a pleased gasp, and not the pained hisses that normally came swaddled in a blanket of foreign curses at the water being too hot or too cold. No, it felt just right - Goldilocks temperature. After a second of indecision in the face of her good luck, she grinned; her head reclined, letting the water wash over her face, hair, and down her front as she savored the warm water and her good fortune. Even the way the water lapped at the jewel in her abdomen didn't feel quite so bizarre anymore. Gently, she reached down to touch the small chunk of emerald. This time, she felt nothing. That felt good in of itself, and she grinned, giving the gem an affectionate little pat and circling it with a finger.

Another little victory. Just keep stringing those together, bella. That's what life's all about.

She grinned, angling her head back further, and started rinsing her hair.




Once again, she found herself marveling at the differences between Palmyra and her native Hasta. Marveling was the wrong word, actually. Mourning was more appropriate. But even as far as Palmyra went, setting foot in the MEZ was an absolutely ghoulish concept, like preparing to duel in the middle of a graveyard. Every building had once bustled with activity, people living their lives here in spite of miasma, until one by one they had faded into memory or been driven out by the military - the same military she had now devoted her body and her life to. She looked over at Astrelle again, then back to the tests at hand. The rest of them had gathered to watch Vanna perform, and once again, Nicole found it enchanting to watch the daughter of the Diana clan go to work. Even though there was no possibility of her words of encouragement reaching Vanna, or Dana after her, she still kept up an enthusiastic applause at their transformations and performances against the Voids, and at the end of both tests she found herself applauding loudly. Then it was her turn, the girl in the middle - not noble, but not poor; not thrilled about her fate, but not resigned to it either; not consumed by dreams of being an Ars Magi but not thoroughly repelled by them. The queen of vibes, the girl in the middle. She guessed that made her the natural candidate for the glue of the team.

That glue would be put to the test. Nicole was about to prove she was capable of holding herself, and the squabbling quartet of girls who fate had tied her to, together. She looked back at the other girls in the observation tower and smiled warmly, hands on her hips. Knowing that familiar eyes were on her helped quell her discomfort at the ghost town that threatened to swallow her, like being in the midst of friends in a horror movie screening.

“Now lowering diffusion level. Nox levels rising. Manifestation of Voids detected.”

Nicole's attention was stolen away from her new friends for good. It was do or die time. The nausea in her stomach was replaced by performance jitters. The kind she'd felt when she was on the Laurus, experiencing fleeting bursts of agility for the first time. The kind she felt when she had first gotten her letter from Nova Lux. The kind she felt standing at the highest point of Hasta, rain matting her hair, seeing the rivulets trace the lines of his cheeks, his jaw and his lips...

The kind she'd felt then, the moment of her greatest failure. Her final failure. From here on out, it was all about the little victories.

She stretched out her dominant arm, rolling her hand by the wrist and cracking every knuckle as the Voids drew their forms from hell.

The wind is on my back.

She felt her stomach flutter again, and her body began to glitter.

May my sword cut like my smile.

And the blade, long, slender, and cobalt, bloomed in her hand like an extension of her hand - the finest steel, ornamented in color and born from gust.

Her body looked like it had become fire made flesh, a slender inferno being licked and fanned by the breeze cultivating around Nicole Cognoscenti. Her clothes had become tangerine tongues of flame, with white hot cores serving as her top, skirt, and boots; her scarf blew triumphantly in the wind, the longest tongue of all, tasting the justice she represented on the wind. Even the jewel in her navel glittered brighter, like her eyes after a well-timed quip. She tipped her small beret towards the monsters formed to test her, in a playful show of respect. She didn't bother with a ready stance.

"Vi faccio vedere come lotte un Hastano!"

The Ars Magi lunged.

Her very first Void died to her very first cut. Instinctually, Nicole crowed out in triumph, but beneath the lizard brained thrill of her Void kill virginity came a mental note - she had swung with a simple backhanded cut that had ducked past all three Voids, and bifurcated her target down the middle on her way past. The sword, however, had never even touched the shadows; its reach must have been augmented by her power somehow, or perhaps the physical blade itself was only the center of winds that swirled invisibly and cut sharper than scissors. She would need to test it out further sometime.

In the meantime, the second and third Voids were ready to attack. Her back was to them, so she kept running, feeling the same agility that had served her from nowhere onboard the Laurus kick back in. Now, however, she felt it burst from within her spectacularly, and when she ran she felt freer and fleeter than she ever had in her life. Nothing would catch her with the wind at her back. Nicole leapt, so happy she could cry.

She thought her feet made contact with the ground until she looked down, noticed the dusty, fogged, cracked glass of a window long-abandoned, and decided she didn't give a crap. She kept running along the length of the building, taking her final leap off the corner where building met alleyway. Her right foot reached out and used a sign post, rusted beyond the point of deciphering, as a springboard for her next great leap, back into the midst of where the Voids had rushed to meet their doom. This time, she wanted to see the blade sink in; her gladius sank deep into the shadow of a Void, where any normal, Godly creature would have felt its heart pierced by the manifestation of her justice. She grinned in triumph--

oof oh god

--and felt the breath leave her when the third Void struck her stomach.

Even as the second Void returned to the cold hell from whence it came, she tumbled backwards from the force of the blow, feeling the strain of the operation upon her midriff all over again as she skidded to a halt on one knee. She had been caught showboating, caught up in testing power unlike any she'd ever imagined she would feel, and gotten caught for it. That was probably one of the lessons that Nova Lux wanted to teach them. It was better to learn it now. Nicole stood and adjusted her beret, an uncharacteristic, pouting glower on her face. Her fingers adjusted, cracking again around the hilt of her gladius.

This time, both opponents rushed to meet the other - both determined, but one measured and strategic where the other was mindless and cruel. Blows that had seemed terrifying onboard the Laurus now looked wild, frenzied, intent on pain and death without a clue how to inflict it on an opponent that had become faster and stronger than them overnight. Nicole's dodges felt kinetic in a way she'd never imagined she could feel, skidding backwards, to the side, bobbing and weaving for the fun of it. The wind was tickling her inside, making her feel as though she could start laughing and never, ever stop - making her feel like she never wanted the fight to stop. She felt like laughing like she imagined she'd laugh if she ever got Astrelle to come up with a joke. Most of all, she wanted to laugh at the Void.

Then, in the middle of a leftward dodge that turned into a flourish, the wind around her blade cleaved an arm-like appendage from her final obstacle. The inky blob that passed for a head went next. And then it was over. She was victorious.

Hell with little victories. This was huge. Nicole Cognoscenti had passed her test.

She adjusted her beret, seconds before her transformation slowly began to revert. She had imagined the reverie she felt would fade alongside it, but aside from a few little aches of exhaustion, she felt no worse for wear. Even the scrape on her left leg, where she had skidded the length of the forgotten street, was barely a twinge. She took another deep breath and went to fiddle with the beret again, anxiously, excitedly, before she realized it had faded away. She was back in the clothes she'd warn to the test. Only the gem in her stomach still glittered, as it would until the day she died.

She looked up at the observation tower where her friends watched and grinned, smile cutting the length of her face. She raised two fingers and kissed them emphatically, then arced her left arm in a clockwise motion above her head. The fingers split in front of her eyes, forming a triumphant V as she bowed low, like a ballerina seeking accolades for her performance. Her bad leg was hidden from sight at the peak of her proud little curtsy.

Then, true to character, Nicole Cognoscenti started to headbang. When she lifted her gaze up, her scarlet hair had fallen into her face. She gave a halfhearted attempt to blow it out of her eyes, with no cigar.

She started to laugh, and didn't stop.


She supposed she should feel endangered. On some level, she certainly was; Gypsy Soul was upset with her, judging by the amount of sirens going off as her Samadhi batted away the alien's claws once, then twice. Her parries felt effortless, an application of training she had done day in and day out in her past life on Mars. This was always a possibility, Gyps. You knew not to go in naïve. She could almost hear the voices of gleeful executives and scientists, and felt the same skepticism now that she'd felt then - a nagging concern, in her bones, that there was something malicious waiting in space. But she'd gone along for the ride this far.

She heard a new alarm blare in her cockpit, and a grin split the surface beneath her cool metal face.

"Sssstupid bug."

Danger close once. By now, she had been attempting to Gypsy Soul's high mobility Praxis Clock package proved worth the time and risk to implement, sweeping backwards and from the right as Odysseus fired its twin ATs at the creature's armor. They struck, just as Bedwyr's sustained volleys had, and though they didn't seem to do any better of a job at penetrating the alien's defenses, they certainly seemed to piss it off. Almost as much as Gypsy's continued survival did. Another alarm blared.

Danger close twice. Ajax was returning fire, answering the creature's spinal singes with a one-two punch that, if not another shellacking on an already thoroughly shellacked exoskeleton, would send it reeling with the pulse that followed the uranium slug. With no further volleys at risk of obliterating their local, nimble, otherworldly friendly Orbital Gypsy pressed the opportunity to engage.

<<Roger, Bedwyr. Something to keep me on my toes a little bit.>>


//Praxis Clock functionality rating reduced to 3. Samadhi functionality rating raised to 5.


It seemed that, now that she had fully committed to her plan of attack and decided to seize while the Bandit was vulnerable, Gypsy Soul had finally decided to commit to the bit, too.

//Stupid bug.//


No longer merely content to block blows, Gyps' Counterattack struck one talon, then the next, the smaller Orbital attempting to drive back the monster offended by its very existence. If the others could keep up with their engagement, she knew could make short work of the talons. Gyps found her heart thumping in her chest, felt her legs quiver with excitement and her teeth sink into her lip. She was really getting into this.

Gyps was feeling so good, she mused, that maybe she wouldn't even dodge in a few seconds.

//Prepare for evasive maneuvers.//


She would, of course.

...But maybe she wouldn't...
Post should be up this weekend on my end!


Well, this was incredibly, incredibly delayed, and all I can say is that semesters starting will always suck. Sorry for the hold up, but I'm in business now and post is up! If anyone else is still onboard here, I am too.
I R I S


*That's it. Archer's dead, or something. I can't find any of you and I'm done trying. Maybe you're dead, too. Worst training exercise ever. I'm telling the council you all suck.*

Despite the whirlwind pace of events and the weight of Fluke's words, Iris almost wanted to smile despite herself. The scatterbrained little trainee hadn't bothered Iris as much as he'd seemed to bother some of the others, and his ornery personality remaining relatively unchanged was a comfort at the moment. She'd almost jolted out of her skin - and worse, lost sight of her trajectory on her glider - at the explosion when it had gone off, but her prey had barely even registered that there was an incident. They'd spared only a fleeting look before dipping in the direction of the hospital; Iris remained in pursuit, but...

Archer's dead? And the others...? But she'd just seen...

"Don't go badmouthing me, Fluke," she complained in his ear. "I'm doing my best here, following the people we think dumped that corpse in the alley. Pretty sure they're the ones that have been leaving the trail of burning buildings too, those rude asses...they had this...never mind." Cedar's reaction to the ring was still in the back of her head. Best to not bring it up. "I was just with Cedar back in the alleys. What happened to Archer? Should we regroup?"

She hated abandoning the chase right now, but if the others needed a big girl on demand, then Iris would have to be there. On the other hand, she could still see right where they'd entered the hospital...

So while that avenue was still available to her, and she waited for Fluke's usual retort, she kept straight on.
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