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5 days ago
Current Gonna dress as the whole Conservative Party. If that thing doesn't fucking count as "undead" at this point, I don't know what does.
6 likes
7 mos ago
"I know this." "You do?" "Hentai!"
4 likes
1 yr ago
Somebody, please, kill me before I have to see the RPG Status Bar turn into an argument over Feminism. I don't think the Guild can handle anymore issues at present, let alone Feminism.
9 likes
1 yr ago
When people get angry and defensive over a comment seemingly fired at the sky, you gotta stop to wonder if they're pissed cause they think it's false or if they're pissed cause it's true ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
5 likes
2 yrs ago
Playing Alien Isolation for the first time. NOW I REMEMBER WHY I HATE HORROR GAMES!
6 likes

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Two identical looking girls sat in the furthest booth from the door in The Pitstop, patiently waiting for someone. The two slowly snacked on a large order of fries as they did. Shion watched the clock on her phone; it was nearly time. Honestly she was nervous, though the clone to her side seemed disinterested in the whole ordeal, making things a little easier on both of them.

At the entrance, a girl no older than fifteen stepped into the establishment. From the wind outside, she brushed aside a loose strand of near hazel brown hair, tucking the piece behind her ear. Although hard to see beneath her maroon jacket, partially zipped across her torso, the girl reached to her chest, and straightened up an oddly formal, black tie, and fixed the vest either side of it. In her right hand she held a bag, no larger than a small medical bag, which emenated a metallic click as she fixed the small bow atop her head.

The girl then cast a glance about The Pitstop - a perceptible gaze backed it, though all it saw were people, unnecessary to her attention, until they fixated upon the person specified in the email. ’Shion, I've got a Puchuu pointing me in the right direction. Tomorrow at 2 P.M. at "The Pitstop" would work best for us; you'll know it's me because there will be two.’ Indeed there were - two girls, sat side by side at a booth, some hundred fifty feet in front and to the right of her. Whoever they were, most likely they shared the girls own penchant for duplication.

She made a beeline, dodging past one too many waitresses in her passage. A short moment later, the girl slid into the booth, opposite her two Informants. ”You must be Shion. I’m Christine, pleasure.” she recounted simply. Before neither girl had a chance to respond, Christine had already opened the bag. In the next few seconds, a multitude of items came out - two voice recorders, a notepad and pen, a flip phone, and touch screen tablet. Both record buttons were pressed in an instant, and Christine began to speak.

”Reporter Christine West, of The Penrose Independent. Interview held at one minute past two in the afternoon, at The Pitstop, Penrose City. Interviewee is Shion Yuki,” Christine spoke aloud, took a quick note, and glanced up towards the two girls. ”Sorry for the formality, standard procedure for unspecified information discussions. Mind if I start by asking why you reached out to us?”

”Hello, Christine.” the Shion on the left said. ”How was your trip here?” She took a bite from another fry, not bothering to wait for a reply. ”I’ll cut to the chase. ‘We’, by which I mean myself, are really after two things, both of which we think we could find from a mutually beneficial arrangement with your… company? Group? Your… organisation. That’s the word.” She went silent as she continued eating, wordlessly offering access to the food to Christine.

The other Shion continued for her. ”All we want from you all is simple. Money, specifically magical coins, which we assume you pay your reporters with… And access to your large number of people at sites of interest.” She pulled out a small metal object, a purple gem with a snake made of silver wrapped around it, setting it on the table next to the fries.

”The Penrose Independent is a news organisation. We offer Magical Girls and Boys jobs and protection in exchange for their help in writing news articles.” Christine commented. She made a note of Shion’s demeanour, and the way her clone spoke interchangeably, then looked back up to the girls, with cold eyes that danced with curiosity. ”Magical and mundane currency is, of course, the main source of payment for the members in its employ. If you want a job, then alright, we can go from there - I’ll send my Boss your application, and she’ll sign you on wherever your skills can be best applied.”

Christine glanced between the two. Behind her eyes, her gaze betrayed inquisition, and their crystalline blue shade gave way to cinders and the smoke of knowledge, with flames that lapped at the falsehoods of information. ”But I’d like to ask what you’d intend to do with access to the entirety of the organisation. It’s no lie that we’ve got a fair few members, so whatever you plan to do with that gem of yours, mind telling me if it’s worth the expense we’ll be put at for using it?”

The leftmost Shion grinned as the other began speaking. ”This gem is a relatively high-grade mana condenser. It collects nearby magical energy and stores it for later use. It’s like a reusable coin, in a sense, but nowhere near as powerful. Our plan is to use your large number of bodies to collect quite a bit.”

The other Shion continued for her, “Look, for some reason, people want this city. Beacon even has a headquarters here. There are plenty of magi willing to fight here. Do you know what the most efficient, renewable way to collect magical energy is? Take a guess.”

”If I have to guess? Then,” Christine began, eyeing the thing with a mix of caution and intrigue, ”I’d say by putting these things in areas of high residual energy. Since our members are usually found in places where magical combat has recently occurred, they can do their jobs and gather Mana for you simultaneously. Am I getting that right?”

”That’s right. In our experience, limited though it may be, the best way to get mana is to be near battles. Not only do you get plenty of residual, excess mana from the combatants, but you get multiple kinds of it. Sometimes very rare kinds that could only be gotten from very specific sources otherwise. If your agents wore these on the job, imagine how much energy you could collect. We’re willing to give you fifteen percent of the total mana collected, more if you really manage to get a ton.” The two Shions paused. ”The only issue is that we’re still waiting for our supplier. We should have them by the time your boss decides if they want to hire us, and this offer is obviously there regardless of whether or not we end up working with you for your own goals.”

"Let's get this straight," Christine said. A hint of impatience lit in her voice, as she leant in, and gestured to the fries. "May I?"
Both Shions pushed the fries closer to her. ”Have at them.” The one on the right said.

”Thanks,” she replied, took a handful, and began to eat as she talked. ”See, thing is, you’re not only asking us to use the things for your benefit, but also to pay you for their use, and a tiny percentage of the net energy. Do you call that a fair deal? I don’t. Besides, I’m not exactly convinced on this. Few questions to start off with: how many do you expect to get hold of, can they be reused - if so how do you expect to store the energy so the gems can be reused - and what exactly can you do with the magical energy gathered besides replenishing your own mana? It’d be nice to know all the details of what we’re buying here.”

”Of course. We’re expecting to get about fifty to start, more if you can manage more people than that. They are reusable, but we don’t have access to where the energy gets stored on our behalf, only our supplier knows where it gets stored, but that’s our personal arrangement. It can theoretically be stored in bigger gems, which we might be able to get one for you, capable of storing quite a lot of gems’ worth. And…”

The other Shion continued in a hushed voice. ”The reason we use these gems is because it stores the type of mana. Fire magic? Store some energy from a fire user and you can shoot a fireball with it. Need something metal moulded? Store some metal alignment mana and do it yourself. You need about five times the mana you would need if you were just specialised in that type of magic, but only half of the mana you use to do it needs to be the type you’re shooting for. So if you have a gem’s worth of fire mana and a random assortment in another gem, you could light fires fairly easily. The best part though has to be how much mana these things store. You could fit about one and a half ‘normal’ magical girls’ worth of energy in each of these.”

”And remember, we’re not saying you’ll get fifteen gems out of one-hundred, we’re saying you’ll get fifteen percent of the collected mana itself, so the more types you collect the better off you’ll be, and that way, neither party can manipulate things to only give the other certain types.” The first Shion concluded.

While the two Shion’s spoke, Christine wiped her hands on a napkin. She leant across the table, as non-obstructively as possible, and took a hold of the gem. A beautiful piece of craftsmanship, Christine though, as she traced her thumb down the rough, scaled snake embellishment, and along the smooth, crystalline sphere. The information ran through her mind as it was given - one of the many reasons Christine was perhaps The Boss’s closest Reporter. And as a Reporter, she did not merely act as a vocal piece for The Independent, but for The Boss herself.

”While I think about this, mind if I ask you a few more questions?” Christine began. She glanced across to the two girls, measuring their responses and language closely. ”I’ve heard that you had a meeting with Cindy Ford and her entourage yesterday. Am I to assume you offered this same deal to her, and she turned you down?”
No, not quite. We tried to offer an alliance with her in exchange for a rather absurd payment of magical coins. She likely didn’t have access to as much as we wanted, but even if she did she refused, resulting in a simple non-aggression pact. We’ll stay out of her way as long as she stays out of ours.

”You’re asking for Magical Coins from us too, though. Any reason why you think this deal works any way in our favour if we agree to the terms as you’ve set ‘em?” Christine placed the gem back down onto the table, directly in front of her. ”You’d get payment if you work for The Independent, as an actual member. Otherwise, that’s gonna be a no.”

”We’re only asking for coins if we do work for you. The coins would be payment for our services as a journalist or whatever else you need; the collectors in exchange for part of what they collect is separate altogether.” The Shion on the left waved off Christine’s comment. Suddenly, both Shions’ phones dinged, signifying a message was received. The one on the left pulled out her phone and checked it, her eyes widening.

”So…” She began, clearly upset. ”As it turns out, we’re going to have to do a ‘test run’ whether we want to or not. I suppose it’s smarter anyway, to not just trust you with so many of these… But we just got a text from our supplier and unfortunately for us all, we’re only getting five more condensers, at least to start. We can send her more money as we get some, so if we work for you you’d basically be paying the bill.”

With a cautious eye, Christine stared across at the duplicates. Little hid behind the gaze - a pure and calculated expression, analysing them both, individually, as one, and in turn. The smoke had vanished behind her pupils, and crystallised into ice. ”Are we meant to trust this, pretty dubious, operation? I mean you can’t even keep up the promises you’ve made, and I’ve known you for about ten minutes,” Christine began. Her fingers rapped across the diner table, betraying a paradoxical, neutral impatience. ”My Boss doesn’t mind as much, but I like assurances. Absolutes. Truths. As a note, this operation wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with these ‘Red Coin’ rumours that have been floating around, would they?”

”That’s hardly fair. We’ve been nothing but truthful with you. If we wanted to be ‘dubious’ we wouldn’t have just told you what we learned.” The leftmost girl huffed.

Red Coins? The only time we saw any of those, it was when we talked to Cindy Ford. Someone made an offering of them to her. Apparently, they’re used to change things about a girl, rather than just adding power to them. We didn’t hear a whole lot of details.”

”Let me make you a deal,” Christine said. For some ten seconds, silence filled the conversation as she took a long series of notes. ”You want to collect magical energy, cool. Tail end of this Soth clusterfuck, we’re gonna have to be spending a long while going through the graveyard, looking for bodies and whatnot, so how about we say - thirty percent of the total collected energy over fifteen, and a weeks trial period where we keep all the energy, as down payment and a test of safety for these things? I’m also kinda curious why you’re interested in getting so much energy in the first place. I’m guessing you want to work for us too, right?”

The Shion on the right bit her lip as the other responded. ”Flat thirty and a week’s trial period sounds fair. And yes, we’d like to work for you, though for the record, all the coins we make doing so is going to go towards getting more of these collectors, so if you’d rather us work for free for a period of time and you simply invest in getting more it’d save us all some time.”

”I think we can agree to that. Does that sound okay, Boss?” Christine asked aloud. There was a moment of pause, an uncomfortable silence that accompanied the wait, but off to the side of the table, from the tablet, came a voice. It lacked expression, nearly androgynous, though still recognisable as female. She was serious, not quite monotone, but the emotion within the words were barely recognisable as something truly emotive.

”It does, thank you Christine.”

Both Shions let out a sigh of relief. ”Thank you.” One said. ”We’ll do our best.” The other said as she took out her phone and sent a text to her original self. -Success-


~ Christine ~


Following the events of the day, the graveyard lay still. Hours had gone by - though the day remained the same, what had been a battleground had become the grounds of an investigation. The destruction that had been inflicted on the place lingered, marring the land of the dead with scars, craters, and debris. The place was in a sorry state, as was to be expected after so many forces clashed in a single area, but the actual severity surprised Christine to a small degree. Many a location she walked past seemed worse than the aftermath of the Stadium, though she hadn't thought it possible at first.

Christine took into her hammerspace handbag - a small thing, a purse sized backpack, lined with useless pockets and equally useless accessories. She withdrew a phone, and immediately the vibrations struck at her. A near constant stream, the moment the device picked back up the signal, from near every source at the Independent’s disposal. Surveyor Teams Alpha and Beta had been assigned to combing the graveyard from on high, searching for The Boss’s mysterious ‘interesting corpses’. The hum of drones overhead drew Christine’s gaze, making passage along the skies, spying for only the Gods knew what.

Around a corner, she came to the mausoleum, large and nearly untouched. The space around it was crater-ridden, but the structure itself had remained untouched throughout the events of the battle. Across the way were body bags, and over the top, scouting for further corpses, were two officers. Since the battle had ended, the police had descended upon the place like flies to roadkill - The Boss had complained one too many times than normal, and false identities only got a teenage girl so far through the line. Sasha had little trouble herself, as a thickset, heavily muscled woman with an equally heavy personality, but Christine was another matter.

Out from her bag came a stun gun. Little did Christine have need for it on most occasions, but transformation would take too long. Instead she ducked up behind the two of them, along the wall and behind a grave. With the first officers back turned, she brought it to his neck, and as he fell, she grabbed the taser at his belt. The dull ring of electricity brought the attention of the second man, but any words he attempted to make gurgled out in sudden tension of his muscles. The moment he fell, Christine brought the stun gun to his neck as well, ensuring both stayed down cold.

”Sorry,” she muttered, and took to the bags. Two large, black pieces of equipment, obviously filled, stretched across the dirt just a way off the crater and mausoleum each. The first she unzipped was a girl she didn’t recognise, decapitated at the base of the neck, with a single, clean cut. The second, Christine reasoned, was the ‘interesting corpse’ The Boss was in search of - and blonde, green eyed dragon girl, scaled along the arms. She wore a white dress, reminiscent in part of a Chinese dress, windowed at the breast, and soaked in blood from the neck downwards. And much like the other girl, the second body beheld a severe neck wound.

Phone in hand, Christine dialled a familiar number. "005: Katelyn Everance located. She's heavily wounded, probably dead."

~The Boss ~


Accompanied with her right hand, The Boss near found herself enjoying the walk. It was something of a distance, from the police checkpoint at the edge of the graveyard to Christine’s beacon at the mausoleum, but with Sasha on her arm, the rare pleasure of walking outside became something greatly more so. It was a quiet trip, with little conversation to share between them, but at times The Boss some semblance of peace. The two talked regularly, and The Boss enjoyed Sasha’s company, as she had done in so many ways for so many years. Even the quiet was a conversation in its own respect.

From around the corner of the Mausoleum, the first to emerge was The Boss, fixing her patchwork cap as she strolled towards Christine. A little ways behind came Sasha, transformed into her Magical Girl attire, presumably to keep her identity secret from any prying eyes. The Boss, on the other hand, kept herself sealed - uncaring of who could have been watching.

”So?” The Boss queried. She had closed the distance from the edge of the mausoleum to Christine in a second, elongating her gait some ways to speed up the process, despite the short distance. Just off to the side, by one of the graves, was Christine, sat idly watching the two approach. And to her right, propped up out of their bags, were the corpses.

Christine pulled herself from the ground, cleared her throat, and took a step forward. She had been preparing what to say here, The Boss reckoned. "Uh, well, that. Looks like the same person got them both - dagger wounds to the throat, I'm guessing?" Christine took a step up towards the bodies, and titled Katelyn's head, showing off the wound. "Whoever it was took this one's head clean off. Though, she was touching her," she gestured from the body to Katelyn, "So I'm guessing they got killed at the same time. Facing each other, too. Assassination'd be my guess."

As the girl spoke, The Boss reached into her coat. A large thing, almost comically so, which covered up the small frame that wore it. Though brown and seemingly never washed, it remained in nigh pristine condition, save the patches, where damage after damage had been sewn and hidden, until nearly nothing of the original coat remained visible. Even its size, though, didn’t explain the things The Boss could pull out of it. An onlooker might have considered it like a hammerspace in and of itself, as she withdrew a laurel wreath, gold and green, embellished with berries, bespoke of a magical artifact. The Boss took a step forward, and placed it onto Katelyn’s head.

"Rebecca completed her mission, yeah?" The Boss asked to no one in particular, without turning away from the body.

"From what she had said, contact has been made with Alicia." Sasha replied.

The Boss nodded, and quickly raised a finger.
”Wha-? a startled Christine began, cut off from beginning to speak. From the corner of her eye, The Boss could see her confusion, but paid it no mind, as the surrounding area was filled with the sound of desperate choking. Katelyn doubled over into her own hands, coughing up blood as she struggled for breath against the vicious wound across her throat, which slowly sealed up with the power of the healing artifact on her head, and her own Regeneration.

"Try not to die a second time, Katie," The Boss said, as she removed the wreath from Katelyn's head and passed it onto Sasha. "Give this back to Charlotte when we're done here, 'kay?" Once the chef had taken it, The Boss knelt down onto the stone, where Katelyn continued coughing, "Mind telling me what happened here?"

Question in the air, The Boss watched as Katelyn attempted to bring her breathing under control. The coughs subsided, and she shifted uncomfortably against the stone of the pillar, and the bag beneath her. "Silhouette, that... that fucking Mint Agent... She's got a Time Specialisation," Katelyn started, her normal, apathetic tone of voice falling away into anger as she spoke, "That stupid knight decided to turn on me, and I guess she, she, slowed time, or something?"

"'That knight'?"

"Shona, the, one of those Beacon girls the Bates kidnapped."

The Boss again nodded slowly, both to Katelyn, and behind, to Sasha. "A Mint girl who can slow time enough to get a hit on you, huh... man, that's gonna be a pain in the ass." she said, as she stood up, and took a step towards Shona's corpse, "Sasha, get a message to the Beckoners, will you? Tell them 'The Penrose Independent has recovered the body of a girl we believe to be named Shona - one of the missing girls abducted by The Bates. As a sign of good faith we would like to return the body, for either storage until reincarnation, or proper burial and funeral rites.'" As Sasha nodded, The Boss tilted her head to the left. "Christine... may I have a word with Katie in private?"

"Sure, I'll go, uh... check in on the Surveyor Team's."

"You're not built for multiple engagements," The Boss commented, back turned to the girl, as Christine vanished from sight.

"Mint, then Beacon, then Mint again, then Beacon again, then Mint again, I'm going to find her and kill her." Katelyn spat. What was once merely a devolved form of her usual speech had derived completely. Every word she spoke was accented with venom, with an anger that far surpassed a grudge against Silhouette or being oppressed as a Monster Girl. A rage burned within her, in the depths of her soul. The Boss had no need to look at her face to see it contorted in desperate, deep seated hatred. And she didn't make any comments. "You know what I mean, don't pretend like you can't see it. Everything I've ever known you know, I swear on my life and hers - The Ebon Mint will be annihilated when I'm through. Understand?! Some fucking God you are! 'Remember the terms of our contract', those terms were mine to begin with."

The Boss made no moves or sounds to stop the rise of anger within Katelyn, until finally it released - a deafeningly loud explosion filled the air of the mausoleum as Katelyn fired off a railgun, completely decimating two of the pillars, and an entire wall of the structure. The air crackled with residual energy as the girl fell to her knees, her weapon skittering along the ground beside her, and she began to cry. The Boss looked back, lacking expression, skin and muscle stretched across bone, and looked upon the dragon girl with smoke in her eyes. She closed the distance between the two of them, knelt down, and hugged her.

"They're not listening, huh? I know the feeling. When your ideal won't listen to what you have to say. It's hard, isn't it?" The Boss leant in, wrapping the sobbing dragon girl tightly in an embrace, whispering into her ear. "But you're not wrong. You've been hurt in so many ways, haven't you? The Ebon Mint is evil, and your mission to destroy it is pure. They hurt people, like you, all the time. Remember what you told me? We made a deal, because I want to help you. Because you can help make the world a better place."

The wreck of a Magical Girl in the Boss's arms seized up for a moment. Every muscle in her body seemed to tense, as the words pervaded her mind. They felt heavy, even as whispers, and backed with tremendous volumes of wisdom and experience, despite their simplicity. But it wasn't the work of a Psychic Specialisation - Katelyn had felt that first hand. It was different, softer almost. Inviting. "Y'know, I made this organisation to help reach the truth. In the end, all things boil down to it. I like to think - that truth is the same thing as what others call justice. When Beacon removes a corrupt member of their organisation, or kills a violent Monster Girl, they are just spreading the truth that is their ideal, right? I think my ideal would adore you, Katie. Because you’re honest and true. Keep up your end of the deal, okay? Find and kill Silhouette."

The Boss pulled away as Katelyn’s sobbing subsided. She held out a hand, to pull the girl off the floor.
"You okay, Ma'am?" the voice of Christine called out, cresting one of the entrances to the mausoleum as she looked in on the scene.

"Perfect timing, Christine, let's have, hmmm... Scarlet and Caleb, come and help you transport Shona's body. Put it on ice until the Beacon operatives come and collect it." The Boss placed a hand of Katelyn's shoulder. "And you, go and get some rest, alright? You're gonna be low on mana after regenerating - near death experiences are hard the first few times around. My Trackers will add Silhouette to the list, and I'll contact you myself when we find her."

"Alright... sure..." Katelyn responded, wiping some tears from her face. She picked up her weapon, banished it, and then took off towards the city, quickly leaving the sights of both The Boss and Christine.

"Have someone keep an eye on her apartment. Make sure she doesn't kill herself," The Boss said, presumably to Christine, though with her back turned it could have been to anyone. She reached into her coat, on the right side, and from within drew a phone, leaving little room for Christine to respond - a touch screen device, with a shatter proof case and wide screen, more indicative of a personal item than standard issue. She brought up her contacts list, and dialled out a specific number of a rather important man. When the dial up ceased, The Boss raised the thing to her ear.

"Hi there, Lee. Boy do we have a lot to talk about, don't we?"

"Ah, 'Cynthia,'" came his voice from the other end. "Good to hear from you."

"The one and only," The Boss replied. On the other side of the call, the sound of gravel crushed underfoot followed her movements, until she came to lean against one of the mausoleum's walls. "How's the fear treating you? Well, I hope?"

"Pleasant as always."

"Good, good. Right, listen, one of my associates has just made contact with a Beacon agent. They'll be hearing about you guys soon enough, and the story about it's being kept vague - no 'potentially deal breaking information' getting into the mix, y'know? I'm thinking, that's my side of the deal done. Beacon knows, my Taskers are out and about and all's cushty. So how're we looking?"

Lee sipped something, presumably from his mug. "Like the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he said, pleasantly.

Across the call The Boss chuckled to herself quietly. "A beautiful friendship, that it does," she echoed in kind. "I suppose you'll want to start giving me the rundown soon enough. Before that, though, I have to say, I've been hearing some rumours about you, Lee. Ignoring you and your biker pals showing up to the graveyard, there've been some interesting things floating about The Web. Where'd you like to meet up, eh? I'm sure we'd both like to get that out the way first."

Lee took a contemplative sounding sip. "Are you familiar with the Beth Lamnnid Memorial Library, on the west side of town?" He paused again. "There's a restaurant not far from there. It doesn't get very busy, but it's got pleasant food. It's called the Nerine Vista."

The Boss smiled, something coy and understanding. She pushed herself up from the wall of the mausoleum, and began to walk, onwards to the skyline of Penrose City. "I think I've passed by there a few times, actually. Seems nice enough. When are you free? - I'll call up for a reservation." Within the sound of footsteps, The Boss sighed of pleasure. A moment where true happiness bled into her words. "Tonight has been going great, don't you think? It's been a long while since I ate out socially. I expect you to keep up the bargain to the letter, I should add. Can't do with spoiling the mood."

"Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of spoiling the mood." The Boss could hear the smile in Lee's voice. "How about Friday night, around seven o'clock?"

"Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good. I'll see you then."

"I'm looking forward to it. Enjoy the rest of your night."

A smile worked its way onto The Boss’s lips. A scarce and distorted expression, backed with emotion and yet lacking it equally. Just skin pulled taut over her jaw. She began to walk, onwards to the Penrose skyline, as smoke billowing into the night.
@January Technically, I wouldn’t call them skills. I just didn’t have a place to properly list them, but wanted them to exist in a place where I could easily see them. They’re techniques, which rely solely on combat prowess rather than any magic. It’s literally just different ways of attacking with a fancy name that I’d otherwise forget. Equally, they’re not hidden, I just... haven’t actually come up with the other four yet, and didn’t wanna delay the sheet anymore.

Also, uh, Ruin of Damocles is already resetting when switching targets. I guess that’s worded a ‘lil bit poorly, I’ll rewrite that.
Got bored and felt like giving this a shot, so Imma just yeet this one over and see what y'all think.



Lilly had taken something of a double take over the course of the meeting. While she was half paying attention, that remaining fifty percent was her watching for an opportunity to find Monokuma alone. He kept on about his motive, but in reality, she was only interested in clarifying some parts of the rules with him. Specifics, mostly, that weren't clarified explicitly in the handbooks, but it was information she wanted regardless, especially now that her camera map was completely drawn up.

But watch as she might, the opportunity never came. The next second, he they were called to collect pairs of handcuffs. There were obviously some things in his speech that she missed, if her surprised - if not curious - expression wasn't obvious enough. Still, she tried to take the initiative; as much as being bound nearly twenty four hours a day didn't sound the most appealing, making a new friend was always welcome. There was even room to invite her to the Girl's Club.

“Lilly?”

With the odd looking handcuff already locked around her wrist, Flare reached out to the pink poptard. It wasn’t like she was dreading what was about to come, but her hanging eyelids certainly betrayed a reluctance to tie herself to Lilly.

“Could you put the handcuff on please?”

As she bounced her way down the Amphitheatre steps to the stage, Lilly heard her name called out from somewhere nearby. A quick, frantic glance about located the source: her partner, Flare.

"Oh, hi hi!" Lilly called out, bouncing through the short distance between her and Flare, "This is super weird, right? Right? I don't get why they're forcing us to do something like this..."

“Yeah...It is odd; which is why I want to discuss it with everyone.” Observing Lilly as she closed the distance, Flare could see the overwhelming enthusiasm that hit her like a tidal wave; as she took a step back, she made it clear that she wasn’t used to such bubbly behaviour. “I can’t imagine what the bear wants to accomplish with this.”

Lilly took another step closer to Flare as the latter finished her own comments of the matter. She was energetic, certainly, but she also very obviously had no qualms violating another’s personal space; the moment she was close enough, she reached down and, with a firm but gentle grasp, likely owing to her weak physical strength, took hold of Flare’s wrist. If the girl wanted to, it would be no hard feat to pull away, but Lilly didn’t pay any mind to that.

”I hope this doesn’t last too long, I’ve got so much work to dooo…” she whined, idly, as she played with the pair of handcuffs. From an outside perspective, it might have looked like she was simply rolling them around in her hands. But at such close proximity, Flare could see properly: she was evaluating them. Turning them over, checking the locking mechanisms as best she could from outside. thumbing the timer - all of it in an experienced, though unprofessional, manner.

All Flare could do during the assault, was uncomfortably tilting her head back, hoping that Lilly would back off before Flare could sour the mood. However, when she noticed Lilly playing with the handcuffs she calmed down. With a squint, Flare evaluated Lilly as she was checking out the cuffs.

“You should find a way to work with me then. We’re gonna be together for now.” She stated as she took one side of the handcuffs from Lilly and locked it around her wrist.

”Wha-” Lilly exclaimed, flinching slightly at the sudden click of handcuffs being locked around her wrist, ”I-I wasn’t ready..!” What had once been a half childish, half serious expression had turned completely childish - complete with a pout.
”Meanie…”

Though at first she seemed upset, and her words and facial expression seemed to back that up, she rapidly changed gears. Almost as quickly as she had taken to berating her partner, Lilly gave a small, light giggle, and pushed her way into the taller girls torso, in a kind of no-arm hug. Even then, despite the angle, it didn’t seem particularly awkward.
”I bet this is gonna be super fun, don’t you?”

Flare should really have expected it from someone with no concept of personal space and an infinite amount of cheers, but still, she didn’t expect this. She did not know what to do at all as she raised her arms awkwardly, only to slowly, very slowly, wrap them around Lilly.

“S-sure…” At least she could find solace in the fact that Lilly couldn’t see Flare’s face as it was, not blushing or red, but uncomfortable and irritated. Before releasing her from the hug, Flare took hold of the other side of the handcuff and put it around her own wrist. “So what are you working on?” She smiled as she released Lilly.

”Oh, oh, yeah! Well…” Lilly began, taking a deep breath, ”I’ve sorta been making this map, of all the camera locations and stuff. I’ve got this super big detailed map of the whole place now!” as if to emphasise, she brought her non-handcuffed hand up into the air, attempting to spread out her small, five foot on the dot body, ”Cause that sounded really useful!”

Then, as quickly as she had pulled away, she leaned in once more. This time, though, it wasn’t for a hug. Lilly stood up on her toes, expecting Flare to lean down so that she could whisper into her ear.
”This is super-confidential-top-secret stuff though, okay? You gotta swear on your life not to tell anyone.”

Although she did not lean forward, she still intended to listen carefully. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

”Weeell…” Lilly giggled, ”So y’know how I’m gonna try and take over the cameras and stuff? Well, I had this idea, and, and,” somehow, she managed to lower her voice even more than before, ”If I get it right, well… I-I think I might get access to the Game’s entire server system, if there is one!”

“That’s...“ Flare’s face went through a variety of emotions, from confusion to surprise to caution with a smile somewhere in between. “And you didn’t tell anyone? Nobody knows?” She gently grabbed Lilly by the shoulders. “I know you love to be social and have fun with everyone but...You should keep this secret to yourself. It’s a dangerous thing you’re playing with and I don’t want to see you hurt, nor the others. If our captors find out…it could be bad.” Although her words were urgent, Flare was completely calm during this exchange, yet she was reluctant to let go of Lilly until she had an answer.

Lilly squirmed uncomfortably in the sudden grasp. Hugs were her raison d’etre, be that giving or receiving, but this was no hug. A bashful, quiet giggle followed. ”I-it’s just a theory,” Lilly reaffirmed, attempting to wriggle out of Flare’s grip. In her gentle hold, the limits of Lilly’s physical strength were obvious. ”There might not be anything to hack, if Monokuma’s smart. I-I hope there is, so I can be helpful to everyone… b-but okay, I’ll keep it secret. On one condition, though!”

Noticing the tension, Flare softly let go of Lilly before placing a hand on her hip. “Anything you want.”

Something of a heat rose to Lilly’s cheeks. She backed away from Flare a step, half looking up to the girl, and then away again in anxious excitement and embarrassment. ”Um, well, you see,” Lilly glanced around, checking who was nearby, and ducked back up close to Flare, whispering with abashed furore, ”Chikako kinda sorta invited me to this, um, girl gang, and I know she’d want more people to join so, so, I was thinking you’d maybe like to join too..?”

”Uhh…” Flare raised her eyebrows out of surprise, as she definitely expected something much more complicated and important. Trying to awkwardly raise a smile, she scratched the back of her head. ”I-i can do that, sure.” As she breathed in deeply, all tense feelings gathered in her lungs, and with a long sigh, they were blown away. The now relaxed Flare extended her hand towards Lilly with a smile. “It’s a deal.”

Chikako would definitely be pleased. Lilly smiled, a shy, innocent smile of happiness, and grasped Flare’s hand with her own. ”So, uh,” Lilly let out a childish giggle, ”W-we should probably, um… come up with sleeping and bathroom arrangements sometime soon, huh?”
In H@ck3rz 18 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay


~ Return Trip ~


"Cassie" slid their passport, picture face down, into the automatic security check of Heathrow Airport. They glanced up, looking directly into the glowing cirlce of a camera just off to their right. For a second, there was a pause. A moment of recognition. And then the plexiglass gates in front of them opened. The things had always been finicky, though this time the Gods had given their blessing, and Freischutz hated dealing with them, with every fibre of their being. For that matter, they hated passing through Security in any capacity. At the very least, the UK had them automated for UK citizens. Travelling into Canada didn't have that luxury.

Some week prior, Freischutz had begun their hack. Compared to the others, it almost seemed to them as though it was the easiest of the four, and as they progressed through the various versions of the storage, the only difficulty "Cassie" encountered was persisting through the sheer tedium of the task. The number of different things Freiscutz had to extract data from, had at first astounded, and quickly worn on them despite the numerous hacking opportunities they had been given, until finally it was all complete complete. In truth, the excuse that they had "gotten stuck" that had been given over the Discord was a lie - a convenient explanation for their slow progress.

The Samaritan's didn't deal in medical information. Not for a lack of want, it simply did nothing for their operations. Stealing NHS documents would be a cinch, but it didn't benefit anyone. Chances were, it would only result in further cuts, and more privatisation - the opposite of the mission. And so "Cassie" was forced to look elsewhere for someone to deal with the information. Someone who knew what to do with it, and which companies in the world would be willing to buy it. Though Freischutz had little basis for comparison, it was standard Business theory - the more competition that exists in the market, the more prices will go down for the consumer. If a large number of medical companies vye for the same patients, offering lower and lower rates on medical bills to attract them, everyone would win: Freischutz would get some money; the patients would find cheaper hospital expenses; and the companies in question would gain new customers.

In particular, Freischutz contacted a man in Canada. By the name of Arnold Murphy, over "Cassie's" one week stay in the country, the two worked out and arranged a deal regarding the sale of the information. The Samaritans had worked with him in the past, for various, undefined savouries, and though the meetings took place entirely over online chat, it gave Freischutz a fantastic excuse to visit a country they had always been interested in, under the guise of the school half term. And Toronto was more than a thing to behold, worth every penny spent.

So, passing through the terminal, Freischutz smiled - an innocent, pleased smile. It was nary their job to mess with the medical companies of other countries, but money and the chance to do good were motivation enough in their own right. More money in the pool meant more Samaritan operations, and with all the promised 0-days, "Cassie" would be hard pressed to pass up the opportunities as laid out bare before them. If everything went according to schedule, the next few days would be spent with companies buying out the information. The sources the records had been stolen from would inevitably remain silent, for fear of losing more patients in the ensuing scandal, and the world would keep turning. No exposure, and no trouble.


~ Contact ~


Rebecca had taken a station to the edge of the battlefield. For the most part, she barely understood what exactly had been transpiring here. The darkness, the fog wall, the Horror minions - her best guess lay somewhere in the realms of The Bates, if only because of the fight with Abigail, one of the missing Beacon Girls tied with the two Monsters. But Rebecca's understanding was terminal, and she was doing a poor job of finding out more. But that wasn't her job anymore. As much as Christine insisted it was, Rebecca was no longer a Journalist. She was a Tasker.

But, watching the field, and the sky, and the people that navigated both, it became increasingly clear that the battle had ended. The dragon had vanished, the fog had subsided, and the entity in the sky was nowhere to be seen. As Rebecca scanned the environment, it began to dawn just how popular the event had been. People from every organisation she knew of, and from those she was unaware of, had congregated. The more she looked, the more Rebecca considered the possibility: that every power in Penrose had been present this day. From an outside perspective, it caught the Shinobi with awe.

Her eyes cast downwards, to the floor of the graveyard. She needed to be out, and up there, getting herself involved. She needed to be seen. Rebecca's weight shifted from foot to foot, until she dropped herself down onto an unbroken headstone. In contemplation, she pulled the sword from her back out onto her lap. A sword that came from nowhere, she thought. In her hands, even with the sheath it weighed nigh perfectly. And it was a beautiful thing, with a scabbard of deep and rich reddish-brown wood, nicked and scuffed from a history of savage combat. In her hands, Rebecca could feel the power behind it, an Odachi some hundred centimetres in length, she had guessed. Its hilt was wrapped in coarse, thick bindings, entwining it from the pommel to the shaped metal guard, sculpted into a ten petalled flower.

Such a savage weapon would be awe-inspiring to wield, Rebecca understood that. And it frightened her. The more she held it, the more it exuded something, that bled into her hands and head, and brought upon her that same migraine once again. At first, Rebecca had mistaken it for a gift from Bravaan. He hated her actions, and her choices of allegiance, but no doubt, he would be capable of producing such a weapon. And yet that didn't fit him. No, Rebecca understood just where the weapon had come from now, even if its true origins evaded her. This was a blade born of nothing, created of some tumultuous chaos of silence. It was a terrible thing.

In confusion and dismay, she swung it onto her back once more. It would be impractical to draw from there, but that wasn't a concern. Not yet. Rebecca had a mission to complete. The last mission she would ever truly complete for The Penrose Independent, she imagined. It was a sad concept, as Rebecca withdrew her notepad and pen, but one that had to be done. The Boss would not accept failure on something so important. But with the darkness and fog wall dissipated, and the desolated graveyard illuminated in the light of the afternoon, there would be no way to make it to the floating platform - the center of attention, and where Rebecca could spy Alicia Hayden.

You've probably never heard of me, but my name is Rebecca Suthers. Former Journalist to The Penrose Independent, seeking assistance for both my acquaintances and myself from Beacon.

I know you have no reason to believe me, but I need help urgently. My phone number is 202-555-0167. You're a Seraph, so you have to be the best person to ask. Whenever you have the chance to meet in private, please contact me.

- Rebecca


On the paper, Rebecca scribbled out a message. The thing read perfectly, in clear and fluent English, though the words themselves were scrawled. It was a messy job, obviously done quickly, with little regard for complete legibility. But the important sections were readable. A sigh escaped Rebecca's lips, and she muttered "Canne believe ah'm fuckin' doin' this shite." The displeasure was all her as she folded up the piece of A3, lined paper. One side at a time, until it sat in a square of material, as uncomfortable as possible. And then Rebecca closed it into her hand, and dipped it into the white, left side pocket of her military uniform, until the darkness enveloped it.

Then it was gone, teleported through the shadows, up to the floating platform. It was an unconventional usage for her Specialisation, Rebecca mused, but this wasn't her first information delivery mission. The ability to transport items from one place to another visible was more than a modicum useful, The Boss had assured her. And it seemed she was right. With nary a second delay, Alicia would feel the thing appear within her clothes. With any luck, the Seraph would notice it immediately, and the mission could proceed as planned, as quickly as possible.

But until then, Rebecca slunk off into the city.



~




~ Day Zero ~




"Cassie" had taken a step away from their engagements for a little while. Between the workload of government secrets, and now this Elder fellow, they were far too busy than they ever typically enjoyed. "Cassie" wasn't one to let work pile up, typically. Of course, blackmail was a tricky business sometimes, so the job itself had taken a while longer than expected, but with more things coming in, their 1am workload had been disrupted. In the end, there was only one course of action: take a break and figure out how to retake the reigns.

Two bright monitors and a Gmail window illuminated a somewhat dark bedroom. In it, Freischutz sat, playing with a loud, and attention starved cat. Their second monitor was open to a Discord channel, though not for "Th3_Calm", or whatever it was called. "Cassie" hadn't taken the initiative to join it yet. The channel open was The Samaritans own Discord chat. They never discussed anything sensitive, for obvious reasons, but it helped to keep in touch, even if it was, presently, left in a dim silence. Most people had gone to sleep already, anticipating another day of work in the morning, and trusting their own Free Shooter to complete a satisfactory amount of the task. Either that, or they were off playing games.

"I should really... leave this to tomorrow, shouldn't I?" they asked aloud, keeping their voice at something of a quiet tone. Isabella didn't make much of a reaction, not that the cat could answer in the first place, let alone understand the context behind the question. She merely continued to roll around in her owners lap, disrupting the workload even further. "Cassie" looked back to the monitor, half attempting to evaluate the email. It crossed their mind that, if they were reaching out over Gmail and not one of the other email accounts they had, this Elder must not have cared all that much about security - that, or they didn't need to worry about it. In some capacity, it was highly suspicious. There was some hesitation, but in the end "Cassie" still clicked the invite link attached, and watched as the Discord app to their left popped up with the server information.

Th3_Calm. Four online, ten members in total.

"Retaking the reigns" was going to be hard, Freischutz thought, and sighed.
"But what if there's something interesting? It can't hurt, can it?" they looked down at their cat, who stared back with vague interest that tapered off at around about "Tickle my ears more please". "It better not hurt..." they whispered once more, barely hesitating despite the words spoken, and clicked the join button.
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