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Buddha72
Ama and Moto
After settling the last of her gear in place, she looks around the room taking in the faces around her. She steps closer to Moto and lowers her voice to speak to him, hoping to prevent it from carrying.

"We may have only one chance to get this Samael. He was planning on returning here - we could wait for him and confront him then. With this woman I think we can continue this stand off as long as she remains alive."

As she speaks she accesses her commlink and brings up the agent program on it.

<< Perform a search on this unit and report any new data from within the last 3 days. >>
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

The big man whispers but it is a low and steady sound like a coming avalanche. He could not stop the wind from blowing any more easily than he could stop his voice from carrying to those nearby.

"If we stay, I must send Babs away. She fights well for one of the lost, and should find her tribe some day. If we leave, they will use the talking machine to tell Samael that they failed and you have not gone to the spirit lands."
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
She once again is amazed at his ability to grasp a situation despite his lack of understanding of all the forces in play.

"Exactly, I think we should remain here till he returns. Send Babs to safety."
Fenris
Boots

Sean manages to drink himself nearly into a stupor with his cash, and gets out the door several hundred nuyen.gif lighter (after a few rounds for the whole bar), barely managing to get the wheelchair into the cab outside the pub.

At the house, he tumbles out of the cab after wrestling with the chair, and ends up laying on the ground, the pre-paid cabbie simply speeding away into the darkness and leaving his crumpled form lying on the curb.

With the now-familiar lurch, you find yourself laying facedown on the curb, blinking as a cat screeches bloody murder and rushes away down the street.

___________________________________

Shivan

BigPanda gives a unreserved grin as he watches you yawn, apparently less put off today than yesterday. He keeps up a steady patter of light conversation as the two of you walk downstairs, but always pauses to let you talk, careful not to cut you off.

He immediately moves to the kitchen as you take in the sights, smells, and tastes downstairs, the house one apparently old enough to require a certain amount of manual assistance to it's soy processing unit. He shakes his head to your question as he presents two plates of something that looks vaguely like eggs and piles of hash, the scent of fake meat and vegetables steaming off the piles.

"Sorry, I don't have much use for mechanical tools, so I don't really have anything like that here. Is it something we'll need to go buy?" He flops, cross-legged, onto a pile of pillows after handing you your plate.

As you unspool the message, you see Solid Snakes standard encryption protocol coiled like a cobra over the message, hissing and spitting until you finish the decryption routine, fading away into digital nothingness as the message is accessed.

<<@Shivan[Solid Snake]Alright, shallow end of the pool it is. Group of thugs hit a high-end fashion house in Bellevue yesterday. Word is it was pretty brutal...trying doing a quick search on Store Clerk Head Squash and you'll see what I mean. Local #278 Retail Professionals wants to know who did it, but the stores being all hush-hush with their security data. Hack into the store, it's the Zoe Fashion Haus, download everything you can get your hands on...they should have gait scanners, facial recognition files, video, audio, audio analysis, the works, and get that file to me. It's worth 7,500 :Y: if you can return it in 24 hours. If you don't want this, tell me quick, I've got others that will hop on this.>>

___________________________________

Ama and Mato

The cheerful voice of the Navi responds back in mere seconds.

<<@Ama[NAVI] There have been three messages sent, one to a contact named Mato, one to #$%^&** (identity anonymized) and %^@@@$%& (identity anonymized) in the past three days. I have logged approximately 43 messages relegated to Spam, spent 43 nuyen.gif to automatically address the submitted bill for MSP services, as requested, and have logged 13 distinct geotags, though there were a number of hours during which no geo location information could be gathered. You have received one message. Would you like to read your message?>>

Upbeat and cheerful, the OS spools the information directly into your audiobuds, sending a second stream of bulleted items through the image link to hover unobtrusively near the corner of your vision.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
She pauses a moment to interact with the interface.

<< Playback message. >>

She turns to face the would-be leader of this group as she does she whispers to Mato.

'Send her to safety but ask for her numbers to call - we might need a ride out of here at some point."

She faces him fully and lets her voice carry through the space.

"I think we've made some progress here. We want to wait for Samael to return. I think we can all remain calm and this does not have to involve anymore pain or bloodshed. When he arrives we will shift our attentions to him and leave you all be if you find things to do elsewhere that do not involve us. Can we make that arrangement work?"
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

To help lower the tension, Mato sets down the girl he'd been crushing in his arms. The large warrior strode to the door where he could see Babs.

"Go now, we must wait until darkness falls. Be safe and I will use the talking-box to reach you."
UmaroVI
Boots stumbles to his/Sean's feet, flipping the cat off as it runs away.

That was more like old times...I'd better get him home.

Boots sat in the chair, poked at the controls randomly, then just picked the chair up and hauled it in.

Now that we've got rent money, I'd better find Elinee and see if she has any ideas what's going on. I'm not sure if being linked to Sean like this is a blessing or a curse, but I don't like not understanding it.

Boots paced around the apartment as he thought things over. He didn't want to leave in Sean's body - he could dump a stranger if he needed to run from trouble, but not Sean - and besides, Sean was understandably not thrilled about being possessed while he slept.

Boots found himself sitting in front of Sean's terminal, in Sean's wheelchair, while planning his next move.

Hmmm...I think I remember seeing how this works...you push this, and then this..or was it that?

After some trial and error, Sean managed to get it working...mostly, and started poking around on the Net, curious about what was there.

'NeoYouTube: Funny cat videos'? That looks promising...
Fenris
Ama and Mato

First message! chirps the bright and cheerful voice.

<<@Mato[Ama]: I have found some that have knowledge of the person we seek. Call this number, tell them you need a ride, and give them #this address#. They will not give up the information we need easily...bring your weapons and armor.>>

Second message:

<<%^***&&...meet me at...^&*((*&^$####$...got the girl, do you know why...^&**&$%&^****!!@#. Just be there.>>

Third message:

<< ==MESSAGE DELETED== >>


Outside, you hear a curse and a slamming car door. The vehicle squeals away down the street, and a few moments later Babs steps cautiously through the doorway, shotgun held in a loose but ready grip, a backpack slung hastily over her shoulder.

"Wouldn't be a good Jersey Girl if I leftcha here by yurself, woudda? So, what's the deal with these punks, and how long we waitin' for?" She grins brazenly at Mato as she steps close to the enormous man, looking around protectively, of all things.

UmaroVI
Boots, around noon

Hahahaha, that poor hellhound...

Suddenly, Boots was ejected from Sean's body as the fomori woke up. Boots quickly manifested, floating excitedly around Sean's head.

"Sean! Woof! Good morning! Bark! I'm going to see if I can find out more about the dream thingamawhatchit. Catch you later!"

Boots headed towards where he last knew Elinee's lodge to be, then scratched at the metaphorical door by poking the ward.
Notsoevildm
Shivan returns the grin, careful not to reveal his fangs too much. He follows BigPanda downstairs, asking questions about items that catch his eye, which is pretty much everything from pictures on the wall to furnishings in the rooms.

His stomach rumbles at the smell of food even though he ate yesterday. He carefully tests each thing on his plate with his tongue before spooning it into his mouth and swallowing it.

"I don't have the right jaw structure to chew my food" he offers as an explanation for the weird eating ritual.

When BigPanda says he has no tools, his head droops sadly.

How strange. How does he maintain his electronic equipment wonders the naga.

While thinking about that, he reads the message from Solid Snake. He pulls up a search window on Store Clerk Head Squash while he composes his response.

Eww!

<<@Solid Snake[Shivan]: I will be getting it on immediately and will provide all datas I can find within the allotted time frame. You can count on me.>>

I do hope that was professional enough.

Message sent and gruesome video link deleted, he returns his attention to BigPanda.

"Do you think 7,500 nuyens will be enough for tools?"
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
She raises an eyebrow at the boldness of a cab driver as the woman throws in with them. She pushes the smile away from her face and feels the bitterness follow it - Mato seemed better at being human than she is. She turns to the leader of this ragtag group.

"Good question - when do you think he will be arriving?"
Fenris
Boots

Sean waves a bleary and obviously hung over hand at you, wincing as the bright light of day pierces eyes that actually have to deal with the left over toxins floating through his system. You race over to Elinee's,

Almost immediately after contacting the ward, a large, spotted leopard pads out of the ward, settling back on it's haunches and eyeing you suspiciously. It's roughly of size with the chimeric animals you keep back at the house, and you can feel the questing tendrils push and pull along your fur, tell-tale signs of a spirit of Detection sizing you up.

"Whatchu doin' pokin' your nose around here, perro sucio?" It asks with a thick Spanish accent, standard feline disdain a strong undercurrent.

"Madre Elinee don't need no lost espíritu wand'ring 'round here."

__________________________________________

Shivan

You pull up the provided video, and get some fairly hi-def (thanks to modern comm-camera) footage of a woman in a short black dress with grey skin. Her eyes are glowing red, and you see her sweep out a hand to batter down a woman crouched around a corner. The setting looks to be in some sort of high-end fashion location, like the dress shops you've seen in the trids, and the woman that gets knocked to the ground looks like she could be a salesperson or a model at a place like that, except for the small gun clutched in her hands. She fires several rounds from the floor at the grey-skinned woman with no effect, bullets visibly richocheting, before the grey skinned woman lifts up a foot and stomping down, hard, on the prone woman's head. The eager young director zooms in on the spray of blood and brains that is splattered across the floor as the woman's head is crushed by the single blow.

Deleting the video, you blink back to attention just as Panda's asking his question.

"-so yeah, that would definitely be enough, and I can get you whatever you need." He shrugs with a helpless smile.

"I'm happy to get you whatever you need to stay here. I want you to feel comfortable and have everything you need."

A packet arrives a few moments later with the LTG number for a node and an address, along with a repeat of the details of the request for data he'd originally provided to you. The coiled snake of his icon twists into a small, archaic stopwatch, which begins to rapidly tick down. You can see your 24 hours has already been reduced to 22 by the exchange.

_____________________________________

Ama and Mato

Babs slings her backpack in one corner of the antechamber the face-off was happening in, eyeing the young, bedraggled woman in the dirty underthings. Amy, for her part, has eyes only for Ama, watching as the woman professionally re-appropriated her gear like one that had worn it like a second skin, like the person it was actually cut and made for. There's something in her eyes, a mixture of rage and envy, and she turns away as she shivers, finally, pushing past the men and up the stairs of the abandoned apartment building. The boy, Joey, apparently, has only murder in his eyes as he stares at the two of you. He eyes Mato for an especially long time, and it's easy to see the idea come to his eyes when the cars pull up outside, disgorging another eight gang members that come rushing up the stairs, blades and guns drawn. He waves them down, though, grudgingly, and motions them back.

"We's got ourselves sort of a 'Mexican Stand-off, heya." His accent is reminiscent of Babs, now that you hear them both together, but there are some slight differences.

Babs strokes the shotgun cradled in her arms. "Dun do anythin' stupid," she mutters. "Just wait till yowa guy gets heya, and let them deal wit' it. Any nothing to be dun for gettin' in the middle ovit."

Amy comes back down the stairs, her new jumpsuit a dirty and ill-fitting replacement for what she'd be wearing before. She takes a seat on the stairs, eyes locked onto Ama again with that same mix of emotion, the details hard to place as they flit back and forth behind her gaze.
UmaroVI
Boots
"Elinee was there when I was called to this world - I'm no stranger to her. Tell your mistress that Boots wants to talk to her, gatito."

Boots sat down at the edge of the ward, keeping his eyes on the feline spirit.

Fenris
Boots

The big cat snorts. "Yeah, but that's back when you were som'body. Now you're nuttin', don't got no master, no binding to this world. Hold on, pendejo, I'll see if she wants to talk to joo." He pads insolently back inside the ward, the sky blue surface rippling as he passes through it, images off rain forest trees and birds appearing briefly on the waving surface, disappating as it settles back into it's solid shape. True to his word, though, a few moments later, Elinee breaks the surface, looking down at you with a sympathetic smile.

"Poor Bootses," she murmurs, eyes manifesting faint, blurred images of vertical pupil as she comes alive in the astral, reaching out to stroke an affectionate hand across your head. She sits down on a nearby chair and pats her lap, motioning for you to put your head down. Brown skinned and weathered, Elinee always looked somewhere between 50 and 500. Her salt-n-pepper black hair was back in it's bun, and she wore the standard Chalino denim jeans and tight-fitting workshirt that was still more popular in the south. It was what she wore to work, though, claiming it put her more in touch with the old ways, the old spirits and names that made up her brujeria power.

"I haven't seen you around since Bea died," she murmured. "We all thought you'd gone back to Alfheim for good once you'd lost your link. Whatcha doing still around here, bello perrito?"
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

Hunching down, the big man tries to find a comfortable place to sit. It was going to be awhile until sunset and they didn't seem to be leaving soon. Mato sets his helmet down next to him and looks at Joey. The boy appeared to be the closest thing the gang had to a leader.

"Your tribesmen are hurt, your spirits are broken. Now you are like the vulture, feeding upon the remains of other hunters. It is not how you should be. Why are you this way?"
Notsoevildm
QUOTE (Fenris @ Mar 19 2013, 05:56 AM) *
"-so yeah, that would definitely be enough, and I can get you whatever you need." He shrugs with a helpless smile.

"I'm happy to get you whatever you need to stay here. I want you to feel comfortable and have everything you need."

A packet arrives a few moments later with the LTG number for a node and an address, along with a repeat of the details of the request for data he'd originally provided to you. The coiled snake of his icon twists into a small, archaic stopwatch, which begins to rapidly tick down. You can see your 24 hours has already been reduced to 22 by the exchange.
Shivan gives a short "Eep!".

He slithers erect, his arms placed firmly on the table, his eyes on the horizon as he reads the message.

"I am on the clock, BigPanda! First I must check on NoisyBoy then I must to work. Is there a place nearby, I can work in safety. My contact says it is best not to be 'defecating in ones' own backyard' so I should not be working from here unless there is nowhere else to go. Worry not, if I must work from here I learned many tricks in my cage about how to hide my trail."

He slithers towards the yard, shivering at the cool outside temperature. He quickly checks the dog-drone over for any damage, mentally reading the status of its biomonitor, and running his hands over it's head and body. He then lets it out of the yard to do its business, keeping it on a short mental leash and watching out through its eyes for any passersby.

He realises he knows next to nothing about cybered animals so sends searches out onto the matrix for anything he can find on dog care and biodrone maintenance and repair. He realises freeing NoisyBoy from his mental prison is going to be a challenge, but that task will have to wait for now.

With a hissed sigh he returns to the warmth of the house to see if BigPanda has found a safehouse for him to operate from or if he will need to hack the node from his room here.
Fenris
Ama and Mato

Members of the gang disperse as it becomes obvious after an hour or so that there's not going to be any immediate violence. The sun cants lower through the window as Mato speaks, and Joey eyes him like something someone's dog left out in the street.

"C'mon, man. What're ya' wearing, 10k in gear right now? You got no fraggin' clue what it's like ta' live out here, what it takes when you ain't got nothing. We do what we have to do ta' eat, ya' know? I keep these guys heya fed, keep 'em outta under the thumb of the Yaks and La Familia, and make sure nobody takes what they got. Who you lookin' out for? Yourself and those two chicks? Yer fraggin' runners, man, whatevah." Babs jumps into the conversation at this point, having taken a seat near Mato.

"Thas' bullshit and you know it." You can practically hear the pop of phantom gum as the girl speaks, her East Coast accent thick. "I came out with with freakin' nuttin' but a damned car, and I managed to find a job! There's things ya' can do for money that don't mean hiding up here in this building like a rat and feedin' on other poor, helpless people!"

Off to one side of the conversation that rages between the two East Coasters, Amy slips up to Ama, obviously taking advantage of the distraction of the conversation. She glances down nervously, plucking at the ragged edge of her jacket and speaking quietly.

"How did you...I mean, that thing in the stairwell, where you knocked those guys around without touching them. How did you do that?"

_______________________________

Shivan

BigPanda hops to his feet as you do, knocking his empty plate to the floor. "Wha? A place to do what?" he asks as you slither out of the house.

Noisyboy is just as you left him, sitting in the same place, though he occasionally scans the yard and it's environs. At your direction, he goes to the specific spot you indicated, relieves himself, and comes back to sit in the same spot again. Thankfully the yard is enclosed, both by a wooden fence and by a rampant overgrowth of vegetation that looks like it constantly threatens to overtake the yard.

As you move back into the house, BP is beaming.

"So, a place, right? Like a safe place that you can hack from? I've got one, c'mon!" The van that you arrived in just the day before was idling outside, no driver present. Had it really been just a single day ago? BigPanda climbs in the driver's seat and rattles off an address as you move the length of your body inside the spacious rear compartment. A steady hum of light conversation and a thirty minute drive find you in a business park among rows of storage spaces.

"We've got Matrix connection here, and there's some sleeping bags and supplies and stuff." He's chatting nervously again as he slides up the door and turns on the single bare bulb to illuminate the room. You can see that someone's punched through the plascrete walls to either side, and opened the space up. Neatly piled boxes carry labels in some odd code, but some of the provisions are obvious. Food, clean electronics gear including commlinks, weapons and ammunition to name a few. Some other crates it's impossible to say without opening, but true to his word, there's a pile of sleeping bags in the corner, and BigPanda struggles to haul over a bucket of iron rations in neat, round packages.

"There's a chemical toilet over in the corner, for, you know, that, and I thought I could stay and get you food or whatever you needed while you were, you know, hacking, or whatever your job is." The words are said in a rush, the elf's desire for approval obvious.
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

"I am of the forest--I do not have the K's you speak of. The land has much to offer, food and life, peace for spirit. This place is sick, it grows in you and makes you sick. Algonkian is good. The lake of echoes is good. Babs comes from the York and Jer Sea. Good place. Her spirit is strong. Leave this place, I teach you how to find tribe and grow.

"Not need the burning arrows there. Knife and strong hands, family all you need."


There is no deceit, but rather an open pain in Mato's face. Death, decay, and suffering surrounded him, stifling his connection to the ancient spirits. The air and land of this place was toxic and never meant to sustain life. There were so many better places that Amy and her people could live.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
Ama feels the wave of uneasiness swell in her as the young woman speaks. She was unaccustomed to talking and relating to others outside of some context. She wasn't a target exactly or a part of a phantom life she was inhabiting so she had no script or directive to follow. This woman was clearly feeling as out of place as she was at this moment. Taking strength from Mato's example she turns and replies, giving her voice low to keep the conversation private and avoid undue attention.

"Magic would be the shortest answer. I channelled power from me and through me to create the effect you saw."
UmaroVI
Boots puts his head on Elinee's lap and wags his tail.

"I still have a role to play in this world. Bea wouldn't have wanted me to abandon her brother, or let her death go unanswered for. But things aren't the same as they used to be. My connection to the Sisterhood of the Null Moon and the other familiars was severed, and I'm more linked to Sean.

"I was hoping you might know what happened. Since I came back, I possess Sean whenever he sleeps. I'm not sure why we're linked like this or what it means - do you have any knowledge of this sort of binding?"
Fenris
Ama and Mato

Joey snorts in disgust.

"You wanna go spout that Neo-Indian live-with-the-land drek, do it somewhere else." He rises, storming off, and several of the gang members immediately follow. A few more drift away with the occasional glance back, but a small cluster, no more than half a dozen, remain behind and begin to question Mato on the whole 'clean living' concept.

Amy presses in a little closer to Ama as she answers, looking extremely nervous and talking down towards her grungy shoes.

"How did you...you know, learn to control it? Is it hard?" she asks, her voice almost a whisper.

________________________________

Boots

Elinee strokes your head, wrinkled face furrowed in a frown as she listens. She whistles softly as you describe the possession, and she shakes her head a little.

"I've heard of these, this atado, occurring between free spirits and people before, but one like you describe...that's some serious obligación Bea laid on you. She must have wanted you to take car of him, or her spirit wouldn't have bound you to Sean like that. And I agree...I knew Bea, and she'd want to put some pain on whoever killed her. You go take care of the boy, make sure he stays out of trouble, and I'll digging into this and let you know if I find out a little more about the dream pact. You and Sean still in that same place?"
UmaroVI
Boots
"Yeah, we're still in the same place. Wouldn't feel right leaving it.

"I suppose I am a 'free spirit' now - I should try to figure out what that means. Things worked a certain way in Alfheim, when I was beholden to the Huntsman, and another way when I was here as Bea's ally, but I'm not sure how they work now. Anything else you know about the rules that govern other free spirits would be helpful."
Notsoevildm
QUOTE (Fenris @ Mar 23 2013, 04:55 AM) *
"So, a place, right? Like a safe place that you can hack from? I've got one, c'mon!" The van that you arrived in just the day before was idling outside, no driver present. Had it really been just a single day ago? BigPanda climbs in the driver's seat and rattles off an address as you move the length of your body inside the spacious rear compartment. A steady hum of light conversation and a thirty minute drive find you in a business park among rows of storage spaces.

"We've got Matrix connection here, and there's some sleeping bags and supplies and stuff." He's chatting nervously again as he slides up the door and turns on the single bare bulb to illuminate the room. You can see that someone's punched through the plascrete walls to either side, and opened the space up. Neatly piled boxes carry labels in some odd code, but some of the provisions are obvious. Food, clean electronics gear including commlinks, weapons and ammunition to name a few. Some other crates it's impossible to say without opening, but true to his word, there's a pile of sleeping bags in the corner, and BigPanda struggles to haul over a bucket of iron rations in neat, round packages.

"There's a chemical toilet over in the corner, for, you know, that, and I thought I could stay and get you food or whatever you needed while you were, you know, hacking, or whatever your job is." The words are said in a rush, the elf's desire for approval obvious.
Shivan is clearly impressed by BigPanda's safehouse.

"Wow, thiss iss jusst like Johnny Viper'ss hideout in Night Warriorss!" he hisses gleefully.

He moves around the safe house, inspecting boxes and picking up various weapons and other pieces of equipment.

"...thesse commlinkss are not very good, nassty flaw in their sstandard firewall dessign you know. You sshould patch them or upgrade the OSs to 4.2.2 at leasst...hey look: 'UZI 9mm'...here thiss iss what I need to check my armss...are thesse really Predator IIss. They are nearly ass old ass me...yuck thesse protein barss tasste like cardboard...no way, thesse are Aress Crussaderss...I learned how to shoot thesse in the lab...."

While he is clearly no expert with guns, he does seem to know what he is doing with these particular weapons. He quickly checks they are not loaded then holds one up in each hand.

"Jenny Cagney ussed a pair of thesse in Police Squad 60. Never worked out how sshe did that. I am no markssman, but can sshoot equally well with either arm, but when trying to usse two at once, the ssmartlinkss jusst interfered with each other. Can I have one?"

BigPanda is clearly a little concerned by the naga's rampage through the safe house's equipment but Shivan is clearly unaware until the elf interrupts his monologue.

"I can check but don't you need to be doing hacker stuff?"

"OMFG! Look at the time!"

Moving surprisingly quickly, Shivan gathers up a few of the sleeping bags and builds a little nest for himself. He curls up on top of the pile and pulls another couple over his body.

"Thiss will take ssome time. I will be away in the matrix. There will be little to ssee but I would be grateful if you would watch over me while I am gone."

He settles himself under the pile of sleeping bags and closes his eyes.

Trees spring up around him. He can see creatures moving in the jungle, each one a node to be investigated. Creatures call out messages from the matrix. But he is on a mission. He pulls up the address from Solid Snake, checks his program loadout and slither off into the digital.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
She feels the strangeness of the situation press in around her, hearing Mato try to convey the teachings of his people to these hopelessly urbanized squatters. The woman continuing to press closer to her and still not fully recovered from waking up here and in this condition - whatever her condition is or was. She feels disjointed - comfortable to be in her own things again but still in this place looking for answers to questions she doesn't even know to ask yet. She answers trying to lose herself in the conversation, to make it an anchor of sorts.

"My teacher guided me through the steps necessary to master it. It was hard but no harder than I think living here and this way."
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

The time passes slowly. Mato talks to the people around him, guiding them through the lessons of living among the people. Memories welled up within him as he spoke the words that the elder had taught him years ago, when the bear first awoke and walked as a man. There are many things they could use to make their lives easier, the sun-catchers which store energy for cold nights, knife-machines for trimming dead fall and forming buildings. They would need to choose, take some things with them and leave others behind.

When they found clean water and broad fields, they would be ready to settle the land.
Fenris
Boots

The old woman's lips purse, and she considers you for a long moment.

"Beware those with the Gift, they can banish you from this world just like Bea could a summoned spirit, and they can bar you from it as well. As for other things...well, you can feel it, can't you? Somewhere, there's something that's tied to you, imprinted here in the world? Could be a person, place, or a thing...might be Sean, might not be. There's something here that has the essence of your creation, the thing that lets you come back from Alfheim." Her brows furrow in concern as she scratches under your chin and behind your ears, more than willing to indulge in the more dog-like aspects of your chosen form.

"And you should be wary...you're of both worlds, now, and The Hunstman isn't one to let a vassal slip through his fingers, especially not one that can walk between the worlds as easily as you can now." She gives a last pat, and gently pushes your head away as she stands, brushing at her pants. It's probably more of an unconscious reaction, since you obviously don't shed real fur, but it does bring up the fact that she's been touching and interacting with you on the astral, as opposed to just staring at your translucent materialization in the physical plane.

"Run along now, and keep an eye on your boy. I'll keep looking for more information, and I'll send Panza after you if I come across anything else. Come on back if you have questions, it's always easier to find an answer if you know what the question is."

______________________________________

Shivan

The slender elf seems to grow even more agitated as you grab various pieces of weaponry, and really only finally settles as you curl up in the pile of sleeping bags. With a sigh, he settles down beside you after he's re-locked the door, tentatively reaching out to rest a hand on one of the thick coils, relaxing completely only once he realizes that you're not objecting to the touch, though that's mostly because you're already in VR and slipping through the trees.

You follow the trail to the address easily enough. All around you, the ghostly flickers of filtered people and information travel, the sensory white-noise that commlinks filter out to allow one to focus enough to actually get something done when immersed in the Matrix. Before you stands a treehouse, a carved wooden staircase leading up from the ground to the intricately carved door. The treehouse isn't large, but is definitely more finely crafted han most of the other icons around you, giving the impression of an immense amount of artistic talent, even through the reality filter that tweaks imagery to suit your whims.

___________________________________

Ama and Mato

Time creeps slowly by, and the small group clustered around Mato continue to ask questions, getting into the details of water and food and survival, but also asking odd questions, things about 'legal rights' and 'land ownership' and 'squatting', all things that don't have good translations in the People's tongue.

Aside from the group, Amy, seemingly embolden by Ama's responses and focus on the conversation, continues her half-whisper at a slightly quicker pace.

"So, you need like a teacher, huh? Can you...I mean, can you just, like, find anyone? Or is it special or specific? I mean, is there a certain type of teacher you need for certain things, or anything? Did you ever hurt-"

Her last question is abruptly cut off as the sound of a heavy engine pulls up in front of the building. Several doors slam, and the gang members that had been lingering around the 'runners abruptly vanish, darting off around corners and up and down stairs. The three non-gangers are abruptly left alone in the lobby as several people, making no attempt at stealth, and then come into view through the ruined front door. Leading the pack is a slim figure in a neat, white suit, edges pressed and creased, looking much out of place in this desolate and destroyed landscape. Sickly pale and bald, his eyes swim with milky cataracts, and he's proceeded by the thick scent of carrion and some sort of mitigating 'non-smell'. Behind him, a troop of similar figures march up the stairs, each one of them armed with at least a sidearm and some sort of small machine gun, as well as esoteric collections of other melee and ranged weapons, the equipment strapped and scattered around various collections of body armor. Consisting of two humans, two elves, and two orcs, the group, despite the somewhat mis-matched appearance of their equipment, managed to give off an obvious aura of competence.
UmaroVI
Boots
"That makes sense, I'll have to track down my anchor."

"One more question - do you think it is possible for me to re-forge the bond I had with the Sisterhood?"



-----

Boots heads back to Sean, thinking about what Elinee had said.

Sean has to be the anchor. After all, family iseverything - what else but family could be important enough? But I need another look at his aura - maybe now that I know what I'm looking for.
Notsoevildm
QUOTE (Fenris @ Apr 13 2013, 06:37 PM) *
Before you stands a treehouse, a carved wooden staircase leading up from the ground to the intricately carved door. The treehouse isn't large, but is definitely more finely crafted han most of the other icons around you, giving the impression of an immense amount of artistic talent, even through the reality filter that tweaks imagery to suit your whims.
Shivan's sleek metal and ceramic body is the only mechanical icon in his reality. As he approaches the node, he activates his stealth program. His form shimmers as metallic scales reflect the scene around him, making his icon almost impossible to detect. He slithers silently up to the door.

Impressive work, possibly indicating a high level of security. Or it could just be like many things the humans do: all style and no substance.

Still he takes no chances. His metal hands run lightly over the door, tracing the patterns in search for flaws in the code. He places his head against it, listening for hints of defects. His tongue probes grooves, seeking weaknesses in the firewall. When he has searched every facet of the door, he starts on the frame around it, then the walls, then the roof. He looks at every step of the staircase, the bark of the tree itself. Then he starts at the beginning and repeats the process, again and again.

Wait. There. That port is not closed. A back door? A trap?

With a shrug, he dives into the port and logs on.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
Feeling her pulse quicken she begins to inventory the weapons and people. Several scenarios flicker through her mind - ways to minimize her exposure while taking them down. This many and not setting the field she would get wounded but her training had prepared her for pain and gave her the means to push through it. First and foremost, she needed information so talking would be the first tactic employed. Stepping slightly forward but making sure she still could use Mato's massive body as a shield if gunfire broke out, she pitches her voice so it carries.

"Samael?"
Fenris
Boots

Elinee's face drops slightly at your question, and she sighs as she pats your head.

"I'm sorry, compadre, but the Sisterhood is just that...a Sisterhood. Bea always presented you as male, and the sisters would never accept you as a member. I'm truly sorry, I would never wish to turn away someone so closely bound to one of our members, but it is part of our strictures, a source of our power. Arixochatca, the ancestor spirit that guides our Sisterhood, would punish us for breaking this stricture.

If you'd like, perhaps I can ask around...there are groups that don't have such strictures, or have other requirements that I'm sure you could meet."


__________________________________

Shivan

You linger for hours at the node, searching the details, the nook, and the crannies, feeling the ghostly brush of other icons moving up to and accessing the node, hundreds of them over the time you're there. Slipping through the chink in the finely crafted icon that represented a slip in the firewall processor, you're approached by a thin figure, dressed in a diaphanous looking suit that could be female, could be male, depending on the viewers preference. The world scrambles and fuzzes around you, flickering between a sleek, modern boutique and the interior of a treehouse around you as your reality filter struggles to overcome the custom sculpting on the node.

_________________________________

Ama and Mato

The figure's head swivels towards Ama, but disconcertingly, doesn't focus directly on her. He appears to focus a foot or two over her shoulder instead.

"Well, it looks like the corpse I've come to collect is going to make for somewhat livelier cargo then expected." His tone is touched with the soft tilt of a British accent.

"I am Samael, and since you're obviously not dead, as expected...who are you?" His tone conveys a genuine curiosity, and he seems calm, if not entirely at ease. Behind him, the group of armed figures shift restlessly, hands shifting on the grips of weapons, several of them easing various melee weapons in their sheathes. They seem to be expecting violence to break out at any moment.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
Keeping as many of the men as possible in her peripheral vision she answers making no effort to disguise her tension at the scene playing out before her.

"I am Ama but more importantly, who sent you to collect my corpse?"
Fenris
Shivan

The space around you resolves suddenly into a gleaming metal and glass artifice, the sharp edges and angled spaces almost an affront to the memory of the carefully crafted treehouse you'd seen from the outside. The androgynous figure in front of you takes on edges and clothing, a well-dressed figure, though still fairly gender neutral, in what's probably one of the newest slacks-and-blazer combos, AR accents hovering a few inches off of hems and edges, highlighting them in a glowing tracery of blue neon. The space itself looks to be only twenty or thirty feet across, roughly square shaped, though various alcoves and outcroppings prevent it from being four simple walls. A collection of scarves, belts, bandoliers, and harnesses hover in space over lighted pedestals, rotating slowly to show them off. Along one wall, a series of images of other naga stretches four or five meters tall, dressed in some of the items scattered around the floor.

Stepping past the simple greeting program, which fades away into the wall as soon as it's obvious you don't intend to interact with it, you peer through the unfamiliar iconography, searching. The Analyze program feeds you a constant stream of data about the node as you send query after query, your Admin level access giving you probably more information that most on such a request. Against the far wall, between two of the towering naga figures, a small square of wall is suddenly highlighted with green tracery, the program informing you that it's a hidden access pathway to another node.

______________________________________

Ama

Samael chuckles with a small shake of his head. "I don't think the answer to that question is nearly as important as you think it is. But very well, his name is Pywll, for the good that that will do you." He shakes his head, obviously considering you, though again, the unfocused look lends an unsettling air to the common expression.

"Now, what to do with you? I suspect dumping your corpse in the desert is going to be quite a bit more difficult now, given your...semi-lively state. My orders weren't actually to kill you, kitten. I think we're at a bit of an impasse, since I'm heavily...encouraged...not to ad lib on my orders. I don't suppose you'd be willing to let me make a phone call before you try and kill us all?"
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
She feels the confusion and embarrassment flash across her face at being called kitten and nods while struggling with his apparent duality. Here he was to collect a corpse with a small mercenary force but was talking to her like they were close friends or even lovers. She quickly makes a note in her commlink of the name Pywll.

"What desert?"
Fenris
Ama and Mato

"Oh, just anywhere out there that would make it hard to get all the pieces of your body back together again. Much like Humpty Dumpty, hmm?" His eyes flicker up and off to one side, staring at nothing but in a focus manner this time, and he blinked once, and then turns the off-center look back on Ama.

"Well, miracles never cease. I've been offered a tidbit to toss to you...seems you're hunting a ghoul pack, right? Word is, they fenced some gear recently through a fixer by the name of Legore, that works out of a warehouse in Snohomish. Apparently, someone up stairs isn't looking to follow up on whoevers orders preceeded mine. You're free to go." He motions to the group behind him, and weapons lower, albeit reluctantly and slowly.
UmaroVI
Boots
"You're right, Elinee - I'm not a familiar spirit anymore. With what you said about being careful around the gifted - I would appreciate if you could ask around. Sean is family - but it feels wrong not belonging to a pack, here. There must be other likeminded spirits in this city."

Back at the apartment
Boots took a good look at Sean's aura, keeping in mind what Elinee had said. If Sean is what tied him to this world, as Boots suspects, it was best to know now. If not... what else could it be?
Buddha72
Ama and Moto
With yet another tantalizing hint that forces outside her awareness were controlling her life, something moves inside of her - a sharpening of her emotions and thoughts as she looks at Samael. She speaks and feels that energy move out from her and envelop him, pushing and pulling at him trying to get him to submit.

"Who do you work for?"
Notsoevildm
QUOTE (Fenris @ Apr 30 2013, 04:56 AM) *
The space around you resolves suddenly into a gleaming metal and glass artifice, the sharp edges and angled spaces almost an affront to the memory of the carefully crafted treehouse you'd seen from the outside. The androgynous figure in front of you takes on edges and clothing, a well-dressed figure, though still fairly gender neutral, in what's probably one of the newest slacks-and-blazer combos, AR accents hovering a few inches off of hems and edges, highlighting them in a glowing tracery of blue neon. The space itself looks to be only twenty or thirty feet across, roughly square shaped, though various alcoves and outcroppings prevent it from being four simple walls. A collection of scarves, belts, bandoliers, and harnesses hover in space over lighted pedestals, rotating slowly to show them off. Along one wall, a series of images of other naga stretches four or five meters tall, dressed in some of the items scattered around the floor.

Stepping past the simple greeting program, which fades away into the wall as soon as it's obvious you don't intend to interact with it, you peer through the unfamiliar iconography, searching. The Analyze program feeds you a constant stream of data about the node as you send query after query, your Admin level access giving you probably more information that most on such a request. Against the far wall, between two of the towering naga figures, a small square of wall is suddenly highlighted with green tracery, the program informing you that it's a hidden access pathway to another node.
With a hiss of disappointment, Shivan offlines his reality filter. The node's operators clearly wanted to have full control of the 'customer experience' and the reality filter was top-notch. He slithers over to the small highlighted square pausing to scan it and the naga 'guards' for any alarms or deadly IC before opening it. Now that he is in the node, he also offlines his Exploit software, spooling up his Edit routine and checking his Attack program is active just in case there was something or someone waiting on the other side.
Fenris
Boots

Elinee nods, smiling as she almost unconsciously brushes her lap to clear dog hair that clearly wouldn't be there from your astral form, and she turns and disappears back beyond the ward. The jungle cat slinks back through the ward to smirk at you as you turn away.

Back at home, Sean is comatose in his chair, the remains of breakfast scattered around the table, one of the dogs sniffing eagerly at a Heat-Can™ half-full of corned beef hash that's knocked over on the table.

Searching his aura, you can see it has that odd, almost empty sensation. Similar to when Bea was projecting fully into the astral, though it doesn't evidence the lack of a soul that her body did at those times. It's familiar, almost comforting in the various dark swirls and holes that represent the 'ware he'd put into his body, and the results of the constant alcohol use that eventually affected even his formidable frame, but no sign of a connection to you existed, nothing that would indicate the sort of fundamental tie that would have drawn you back across the metaplanes.

____________________________________________________

Ama and Mato

"That's a complex question, isn't it? Whose ends do I pursue? Whose goals have I adopted? Who do I accept money from? Whose orders do I follow? In the largest sense, I answer only to the Goddess. In a more...secular perspective, the person I most often receive orders from that I follow, when I do deign to be ordered, is Pywll, as I've mention-" His commentary bites off, suddenly, and a confused look scatters over the previous serene features of the ghoul.

"I didn't mean to say quite that much..." he murmurs.

___________________________________________________

Shivan

The two naga standing near the door are actually nothing more than window dressing, upon further investigation. Sliding up to the door, articulated fingers unfold and retract away from your hands, skin tight gloves rapidly reducing into simply dots on the back of your mechanical palms as you take the Exploit program offline. The stylus and the smooth tray of sand appear to hover just out of reach, waiting for your beckoning motion to edit and adjust whichever file your attention should fall upon, and the articulated shoulder mounted rocket launcher that represented the generic Attack program uncurled and aimed over your shoulder, the barrel searching back and forth with something that almost appear to be excitement. The icons weren't quite appropriate to your personal motif, but since they were far more sophisticated than anything you'd been able to run on your previous 'link, power outweighed form, for the moment. It was necessary, however, according to every hacker trid you'd ever seen, that you get your own, customized icons soon enough. What would another hacker think if you were using generics?

You watch the code that represents the node connection resolve into view, replacing the image of the door for the briefest moment as your Analyze program and skill laid the raw code bare. The door flickered back into view as you completed the scan, and nothing had seemed untowards, at least that you'd seen.
Notsoevildm
QUOTE (Fenris @ May 9 2013, 08:21 AM) *
The two naga standing near the door are actually nothing more than window dressing, upon further investigation. Sliding up to the door, articulated fingers unfold and retract away from your hands, skin tight gloves rapidly reducing into simply dots on the back of your mechanical palms as you take the Exploit program offline. The stylus and the smooth tray of sand appear to hover just out of reach, waiting for your beckoning motion to edit and adjust whichever file your attention should fall upon, and the articulated shoulder mounted rocket launcher that represented the generic Attack program uncurled and aimed over your shoulder, the barrel searching back and forth with something that almost appear to be excitement. The icons weren't quite appropriate to your personal motif, but since they were far more sophisticated than anything you'd been able to run on your previous 'link, power outweighed form, for the moment. It was necessary, however, according to every hacker trid you'd ever seen, that you get your own, customized icons soon enough. What would another hacker think if you were using generics?

You watch the code that represents the node connection resolve into view, replacing the image of the door for the briefest moment as your Analyze program and skill laid the raw code bare. The door flickered back into view as you completed the scan, and nothing had seemed untowards, at least that you'd seen.
Shivan gives an all too human giggle when he discovers the naga are simply part of the node's design.

Just wallpaper! Perhaps I am being a little too paranoid. It is just a retail store, not some corporate nexus, after all.

His face falls at the generic icons for his programs. Solid Snake had told him that he should customize his programs to his own style.

But what is my own style? Something to think about later, focus on the job for now.

He pushes open the panel and slips through the entrance into the hidden node.

Buddha72
Ama and Moto
The answer struck her like another blow to her crumbling dignity. The lost time, this place and these people who held her, the risk of death or worse she took to by abandoning her once masters and all of it to seek a deeper communion with the divinity that spoke through her. Now she stood her with days missing from her life, altered physically in a way she still did not understand and this man treats like a minor errand to be run. The rage, confusion and the frustration welled within her and briefly everything threatened to slip away, to be lost in a wave of emotions and drag her down leaving her a broken thing at inevitable bottom that awaited her. A sudden thought surfaced and rang through her like a single chime.

Kill them all except for Samael.

It spread calm and comfort over her troubled soul as she begin to plan the next series of actions, who she would kill first and in what way. It drained all the conflict from her and left her feeling refreshed. She knew this and she was trained for this. She would let her body do as it was conditioned to and that would bring the relief she desperately sought. She swept her eyes across the room, stopping only twice as she locked eyes with Mato and hoping he understood what to do next then resting finally on Samael. When she spoke it was evident she did so with relief and a tenderness for the man who had for the moment brought peace to the situation.

"Thank you."
Fenris
Shivan

The short hallway leads you into another open space, though this one is obviously much more functional. Sparse white walls, circle around a glass dome in the center of the room...closer examination shows that the dome is set a story or so above another white walled circular space below, where four large cabinets extended from the walls several feet into that lower room, though with doors closed its impossible to tell what might be inside them.

The space reminds you of the operating theater from The Island of Dr. Moreau's Biodrones, an action/medical horror/bestiality porn trid that had been a popular remake a decade or so ago. The three gleaming metallic dogs sniffed around the upper space where you are standing were definitely not canon to the movie, however.

__________________________________

Ama and Mato

In her head, Ama can hear the same voice resounding in her head, the voice that spoke to her in the first few frantic moments after her reawakening.

KILL THEM. LEAVE THEIR LIFELESS FORMS AS A SYMBOL TO PROVE YOUR WORTH.
Fenris
Ama and Mato

Something in her voice, something in her stance, some bit of the coldness and stillness that settles over the girl translates itself to the men. The man immediately to Samael's left curses, hands flashing down towards his weapon. Several other members of the team grab for weapons and ghost apart, quick steps making no sound except the occasional patter of plaster kicked by booted feet as they split several meters apart, leaving two men standing where six had been. Even Samael half-jumps, half-sprints backwards, body spinning slightly to one side as his shoulder hits the doorway.

Next to Mato, Babs starts swearing up a storm as her backpack hits the floor and she dives to one side, behind the edge of a wall.
Buddha72
Ama and Mato
Drawing deeply on the power within her and from outside when the inner well was tapped out, she arranged the flows into their destructive pattern. She could feel the pain as the mana ripped through her flesh, as it burned from using too much power in the one spell. She gathered the threads and wove them into a ball, it growing large and heavy between her hands as she flung it away from herself. Her smile is grim as she watches it explode outward catching Samael and three of his men in its release. The blood trickles down her face from her nose as blood vessels burst and the cost is paid for the magic.
Notsoevildm
Shivan pauses when he spots the dogs, then slithers nonchalanty forwards.

I have admin access, they should ignore me. I wonder if these are the active security icons my Analyze program detected? And if so, where is dog number four?

He scans over them as he approaches, checking to see if they are just simple attack programs or smart frames capable of independent action. He also looks for a way down.

I could just drop over the edge or lower myself down with my tail, but that might trigger an alarm.

The node's sculpting is slighty disturbing. He has spent too much time in labs that looked like this, never mind the whole bestiality overtone of the dodgy trid. He suppresses a shudder and focuses on getting down to closets on the floor below where he assumes the information he is looking for will be stored.
UmaroVI
Boots
No, it's not Sean - maybe it's something, rather than someone?

Boots started looking around the apartment, examining familiar items for any sign of his spirit formula while he waited for Sean to wake up.

I got distracted by trying to figure that out...I should try to track down Block, or get more work so we have more resources to hunt the right people down.

Later, once Sean is awake

Boots cheerfully manifested, wagging his astral tail as Sean stirred.

"Sean! Bark! Good morning! I've been doing some thinking - have you seen Block recently?

Also, can you keep an ear out for more work that might come our way? We should start gathering resources while we have the chance."
Fenris
Ama and Mato

For most, there's only a slight ripple in the air, a minor displacement as power slams through the space. For Mato and Samael, however, the air is awash with the bright colors of Ama's aura suddenly filling the space, washing out in a meters-wide sphere that encompasses the two guards back near Samael's doorway, and the well-dressed blind man himself.

The effects are obvious enough on the physical plane, however, with blood suddenly erupting from the effected men's eyes, noses, and mouths, staining Samael's suit and filling the googles and glasses of the two armed men. It drips from their hands and down their legs as well, unseen ruptures in the skin tearing through their astral forms and grounding the charge hard through that physical bodies. One of the men goes down, eyes rolled up in the back of his head in an unconscious slump. One of the other men rushes over, digging fingers into the straps on the man's shoulders as he tries to pull him towards the doorway.

______________________________

Shivan

The dogs continue their odd patterns of sniffing and searching, gleaming metal hides flowing past you as the huge beasts seem to ignore your presence. In front of you, you can see a small door inset into the glass dome of the viewing room, a round wheel and a keypad that seem more appropriate for a slab of vault door on a bank looking somewhat inconspicuous on the thin glass square.

______________________________

Boots

Sean wipes blearily at his face, obviously still hungover, and just stares at you for a moment before giving his head a quick shake, eyes focusing a bit more even as he mumbles to you.

"Whadda' ya' mean, looking for more work? Fleet paid us enough to live for for a couple of months, we dun nae need ta' keep pushing now. And Block..." His gaze seems to unfocus as he considers the name, straining to think through the haze of alcohol.

"Nah, ain't seen Block since...well, you know, since Bea..." He falls silent, eyes downcast, grief visible in the slumped shoulders and his rough features.
BishopMcQ
Ama and Mato

With the explosive wash of color, Mato charges forward. His massive size turns the motion into an oncoming avalanche more than person taking two short steps. The tribal guardian sweeps his arms out to scoop Samael into a tight embrace before the ghoul could bring any weapons to bear.
UmaroVI
Boots

Boots snarled angrily - not at Sean so much as at the whole room. For a moment, his outline looked less like a shaggy stray dog and more like a monstrous hunting dog.

"Come on, Sean, we can't just let this go! Don't tell me you don't want to tear someone's throat out for what they did to us. Do you think Bea would want her family to sit around feeling sorry for themselves instead of getting revenge?"
Fenris
Still dazed by the wash of mana, Samael is an easy target for the literal bear of a man, giving a sudden gasp as the massive arms close around him. Off to one side of the struggling pair, one of the men looks at Samael with an appraising eye, and everyone can hear the rumble of a large vehicle outside start up as he tugs a grenade from a pouch at his belt and flips the safety cover free. The group continues it's scatter to opposite sides of the room and away from each other as another, missed by the waves of power that rippled off Ama, snaps the submachine gun in his hands up, bracing it against his shoulder as he sprays a steady stream of bullets towards her. It's oddly quiet, only a stuttering cough matching the flashes from the weapon's muzzle.


With a grunt, Samael refocuses on the immediate threat, eyes locking with Mato's as he twists, sliding an arm and a knee up between their clenched body's and forcibly thrusting away, breaking the hold as he stumbles backwards and down the stairs. At the street only a few meters away, you can see a solid-looking black SUV swinging one door invitingly open. One of Samael's hands flashes down to his belt, whipping it free and away from his body as he moves.

Inside the foyer of the apartment building, another of the men leans to one side to clear his line of fire before sending another long series of stuttering flashes towards Ama, frantically gesturing with a tossing motion with his hand towards the man that had palmed the grenade, shots spraying wide because of it. Groaning, spitting to clear the blood from his mouth, the man that had taken the worst of the spell along with Samael and his unconscious friend swivels and fires a full series of rounds into the side of the wall where Babs was crouched, gun barrel swinging a bit wide as he staggered towards the door. Bullets whined and chewed into the cheap plastic and paint, leaving a ragged series of holes that stitched the wall just above her head. Crouched with the shotgun in hand, Babs waited out the fusillade, her eyes wide with fear, tempered by the grim determination of her grip on the weapon.
Buddha72
Ama and Moto
Seeing the arc of fire, she turns and pitches herself at the wall of the stairwell planting a foot on it and launching herself into the air sideways. She feels and sees the line of bullets trace her path along the ground and pass beneath her as she arcs her back and slaps her hands down on the ground as she lands and coils her body in and out again shifting to her feet. The impact of the floor flows up her legs as she twists and begins a series of somersaults towards the shooter.
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