RP [Phoenix Team] - Nothing but my Medicine

Discussion in 'Phoenix Team' started by Luca, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Late at night with the darkness here around me
    I'm drinking all alone
    Nothing here but my medicine to guide me
    Since I've been on my own

    Well, have you forgotten now?
    Memories that continue to amaze me
    Are all but over now

    ♫ The Jetzons - Hard Times ♫

    Barrier Island Medical, High-Sec Emergency Ward
    Holographic targets of light sprung up around the hospital room walls as an out-of-timely wakeful Luca amused himself with a coordination test for his left hand, pointing a laser at each circle from his side on the bed. With flicks of the wrist and the left eye leading the pointer. The nurse left it behind after she'd had wrapped up the tests, but Luca had saw fit to reactivate it to pass sleepless hours in the dead of the night, focus on something other than the doubts and anxieties that'd crashed in his amygdala and pushed his friends away.

    Then the door opened suddenly and a new target had appeared - no guests were scheduled or expected, even welcome faces. Survival instincts had kicked in Luca's red dot was drawn against the new arrival's head, expression steely as instinct told him to reach for something with the other hand. Except, the reality was his other hand and most of the forearm was gone. A snarl of frustration welled up in Luca's face as he thought this could be Tanhauss finishing what they'd started. The other option in conflict was a tasteless vase with plastic flowers - heavy enough to discombobulate someone if thrown at their head.

    "Settle, Mr. Pavone." The silhouette said, the voice sounded like a pained older man's, passing through a vocoder or voicebox as an integrated respirator breathed for them. Gait stilted as he dragged a chair from aside to sit down beside the bed. "Me being here is already a risk to us both." Luca's laser pointer stayed around his head, reflections showing patches of dull metal and sallow, liver-spotted skin intertwined - some manner of elderly full-body cyborg, the man in red guessed, and they worked on a last-name basis. "And stop trying to blind me please - my vision is augmented."

    Luca finally stopped with the laser pointer, turning on a bedside light to get a better look at their guest - wearing a smoke-black double-breasted trenchcoat with dull mint trimmings and buttons, and what looked like a suit beneath it. The man's features in full illumination were ghoulish, a hodgepodge of flesh and steel solutioned again and again to stave an inevitable end, but a remarkably calm demeanour, bordering on acceptance.
    Most telling was a glistening badge on the trenchcoat with the Gruppen Tanhauss 'T', showing executive level trim. "Gruppen Tanhauss?" Luca laboured, looking into the man's eyes, narrowing as he crossed his left arm over his chest. "Did you get tired of sending people to kill me; wanted to do it yourself?" He asked, grimacing - he respected it at least if that was the case.

    "Hohoh, I heard you were a sharp-witted man." The elder chuckled, shoulders shrugging as they glanced at the bedside table, gut feelings upon the money. Nobody else had been here save for nurses and Units who'd been questioning and coming up short too, no knick-nacks nor get-well's, or any signing of bandages around what remained of Luca's right arm. "You're not taking visitors in your darkest hour, eh? I thought you'd clamour to have them all lifting you out of this, fixing you up with a new arm, telling you to take that medal and enjoy it for saving Sargasso from the Driver, and getting Tanhauss decoupled from Sargasso..."

    Luca grew curious - the insights went under his skin as the man continued: "Within a week, I reckon Mr. Isbala could fix you a new limb, should his connections at Cloverpaw not tie him down. That combat medic I saw apply a tourniquet to what was left of your arm on the scene-" Breyja, specifically. "-she looked like a fine addition too, though just a finger." Maidenhand vernacular - was this a tactical breakdown?
    "And you have the trust of the Crude, who only wanted to whistleblow when her planned con spiralled, hell, I thought you'd be spending your recovery engulfed in her knockers instead of in a military hospital!" The blankness on Luca's face made the man chortle - no way the thought wouldn't have crossed Luca's mind at least once! "Fill your boots once in a while, kid. It'll take the edge off you both, and she's been hammering you for it."

    The impromptu relationship counselling only raised more questions and had Luca seriously contemplating to let them meet that tacky flower vase at high speed, but the man could see that and cut to the chase. "The point is, you have specialised men, women, aliens, and Chelti willing to go above and beyond the call, or throw themselves at their feet for you - or both." The lurid grin at the thought elicited a snort from the codger. "As a man who knows the value of his connections and what they can do, I say you take them and take it all the way to the top."

    "The top of what? What's your angle, then?" Luca looked down at his right arm stump, a phantom pain spiking through it as his instinct to clench a fist and crack his knuckles as a threat was missed. A wince in his eyelid. "Why are you telling me this? Plenty of people have profiled me, figuring at what I can bring together officially and otherwise. I'm just an ex-military punk with straightforward ambitions, and friends high and low" Gruppen Tanhauss definitely had a file on him, he figured "you don't need to tell me how to shoot my ropes, old man."
    "Please, you hardhead, I am complimenting you - I'm a fan." The elderly man stood up, opening their coat. "I am Erik Van Krupp. Founder and Owner of Gruppen Tanhauss, GMBH." Erik finally introduced himself, stunning the man in red - in his investigations of the megacorp, Luca had Erik's name as a bullet point within the rest of the Tanhauss conspiracy they'd uncovered. "I want you to liquidate and subvert my empire, stratum by stratum before what's inside of it grows out of control and consumes us all. You have my express permission, I'll leave it to you."

    This was already lining up with existing plans, though. Confusion and red flags sprung forth. "I'm ... flattered?" Luca mock-gawped, guessing this was his biggest contract as a troubleshooter to date. "but the Units? Can't they make this nudge happen?" They could move mountains, why not knock a megacorp off its perch?
    "They're hitting brick walls as Tanhauss seals off their data from public networks save for medical records, and cooks the books as extracts are taken." Such security and oversight, as well as manipulation was implemented to protect the company externally - but now it'd turned inwards and cocooned itself. "It'll only be a matter of time until the inconsistencies reveal themselves." Which could be a month, six months, maybe more as the paradigms kept shifting. "But you work faster, you can draw more fire out, goad them, terrorise their black operations and interests, perhaps even turn the public in Noir against them."

    But a thought occurred as to why the Units were unable to grasp the true form. "What about..." Luca asked, looking left and right before asking. It was ubiquitous before, but the thought of being watched never seemed to wash away, even in total isolation. "that thing?"
    "That's why I want you to end it - you're the only person I know to survive physically and mentally, after meeting them." Arm-stump and new-found and palpable paranoia notwithstanding. "They ... they are not of this world."
    No shit, gramps. Luca raised an eyebrow. "You mean you've sent others to try and take them out, and let me guess..." Luca twirled his left index finger around, conclusion foregone.
    "Completely dropped off the map, neither hair nor hind of them." Erik assumed they'd been taken within the fold or eliminated. "That thing may already be listening now. Nobody knows I am here, not even the board, and I fear it won't stay that way for longer."
    "A CEO going over the wishes his board? Where have I heard that one before?" Luca said, singsong.

    "They wouldn't be open to the idea." Erik said, just as sarcastic. "Assets and interests aside, they've brought into this entity's ... madness. I fear it will not be long before I too am subsumed by this new culture as it bleeds down, racing for the bottom to fall through the floor, and perhaps beyond." They turned for the door, framed in the low fluorescents of the corridor. "I trust you to get your new hand dirty when your physio's done, and to bring this to an end swiftly..." And then it slid shut.
    Finally, something greater was coalescing as Luca turned off the lights, finally feeling some security in knowing that even within, his enemies had discontent within to capitalise upon. He figured he'd put a call out to the team the next morning - or afternoon, however his sleep schedule lined up...

    > GO!
     
  2. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Barrier Island Medical, High-Sec Emergency Ward
    "...and now back to today's feature, brought to you by Shinka Studios" ran the hospital's daytime television as high-intensity patient Luca was contemplating whether or not to continue watching the show he'd channel surfed into would tide the hours of recovery over. Flashy title graphics, intercut with dynamic ranger action heralded the arrival of Galaxy Rider Handsome.

    By pure cosmic happenstance, it was at that moment that an attendant came in wheeling in a hard-cased package, with a sender sticker loosely applied to the casing indicating that it was from Jirou. The attendant held out a datapad for Luca to thumbprint on with his one good hand. It was a little hard to reach over with the intermittent jolts of muscle pain, but he did so.

    Once it was signed, the attendant left the case on his wheeled side table. It didn't seem like there was any easy way to open it - at least, that was until a square popped up from it and lit up - a screen. It flared to life, revealing an extremely close up Jirou fiddling with something and receiving the sounds of microphone fumbling, before pulling back to a more reasonable perspective and soundscape.

    "Phoenix." The man said. He seemed a bit worse for the wear, with one of his cybernetic limbs mismatched with the others and more than his fair share of bandages.
    "Rrrrrrider." Luca replied, rolling the 'R' and inclining his braced neck. The unexpectedness of this arrival however had robbed him of any further line of inquiry - the man in red was only expecting a short message or two.

    "I heard what happened after you hung up. This is the part where I say 'I told you so'. I told you so. But, I didn't know if you'd have your comm on you after all that so I decided to use something a little more secure."
    The truth was, his original comms were taken, along with most of his right arm. "Couldn't really catch any messages, anyhow." Luca said. "Can't do anything to drastic from this bed over a public network." Trying to find some humour in what was happening, he raised his right arm: "I'll be mostly armless until later."

    "Well, maybe sooner. It depends on how quickly you can get the surgery for connectors. This will serve as. . . a bit of a reminder, I'd think. Especially after all this." Jirou said, running the mismatched hand through his hair.
    Trying his best, Luca tried to crane his braced neck, shifting his shoulders over to get a different angle on the box Jirou had delivered. "A simple reminder doesn't come gift wrapped in helenium, delivered by someone able to get by hospital security, Jirou."

    If Jirou was talking about connector surgery, then within was likely something to connect to. "Yttrium's been helping with getting messages out in my absence, and I've only been able to do so securely since she's got a friend in the ward. How's your crew holding up?"

    "... They came for me, Phoenix. In my own temple of art. A score of their vegetable goons. I prepared for a similar case but I hate being right. And Shadowcat's gone dark after her little excursion to settle some personal matters. Nobody else has suffered much but. . . I'm tired of the chaos. I'm launching my project soon."

    If only the chaos was tired of them, Luca mused. "Your ... personal project?" Everyone he knew seemed to have one going these days, but knowing Jirou...

    "The Galactic Armament Organization. Consider it a more focused successor to our. . . past work history. Built on teams, task forces. They can keep eachother in check. And they'd answer to me. Not some greased palm or emotionless box."

    Upon first blush from the holograms, it sounded like a private security organisation had been in the works. That meant personnel, equipment, a motorpool, possibly even aerospace capability. "Shooting for the stars, Jirou?" Luca complimented.

    "Just one, for now. But regardless, once I close the call this case will open and you can, I don't know, shove this thing underneath your pillow or something. At least, until you get that surgery I was talking about. I'm a bit of an expert in this field, after all." Jirou said, unhitching the new arm and waving it at the camera with his other.
    "Always a handy man." Luca chuckled, ignoring the tightness in his chest to be amused. "I'll touch base once things are on wheels again, yes?"

    "Of course. But I'd keep my ear to the ground if I were you. Things are bubbling over in Noir and it's coming to a head soon. Rest up, Phoenix."
    "You rest well too, Rider." Said Luca, parting ways.

    The screen clicked off and folded back into the case. With a pneumatic hiss, a heretofore unseen seam in the case split and the package swung open revealing...
    "Hopefully my physio doesn't have a fit when he sees this..." Because Luca's heart, however laboured, was racing at what he was seeing.

    It was quite a marvelous piece of engineering. A silvered cybernetic arm - likely top-shelf, knowing Decker. A stack of coloured plates of RED, ORANGE, and PURPLE make were nestled in the corner - likely a way to customize the arm without the need to spraypaint and ruin the finish or gummy the internals. A small placard in the top half of the shell gave a brief overview of the thing - it was water and weather proof, hot and cold resistant.

    The hand had a similar functionality to his stunner's comm hookup, able to swipe datacards or other such forms of magnetic or electronic information and feed it straight to whatever device he had synced. But, most impressively, it had a firing function - a single-shell loader Spellock, fired from the palm. No extra room for storing extra shells though.

    It wouldn't be some manner of superhuman augment, but it was a hardy and pragmatic piece of equipment with an extra bell and whistle built in.

    Folding the placard overview between his good fingers, he now set to concealing this new object and its case. A couple of moments passed as Luca figured possible locations from his bed-bound area. The bedside table's open compartment beneath the drawer had room enough to fit the box. The arm could stay within until news of the surgery got closer to a fixed date - therefore the best time to 'whip it out'.

    As Luca was half-out of the bed and trying to push the box away with his good arm, the door slid open. "Okay Mr. Pavone, its time for-" It was Nurse Metzger, whose mocassin footsteps came to a stop, followed by a chortle. Luca would've turned around, but the casts, braces, and intubation which restricted his movement prevented that.

    Sliding the box into the end table with a thump, the man out of bed sighed as they settled back into their expected position, supine in the bed and in effective recovery constraints and monitoring. "Mister Metzger, between you and I this isn't the worst thing that's going to get smuggled in here..."

    >ONWARDS!
     
  3. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Barrier Island Medical, High-Sec Emergency Ward
    Nurse Metzger was sitting cross-legged with a datapad, tapping information on his latest handful of a patient: Luca Pavone. The maidenhand nurse never envisaged that one of his patients would be a freaking superhero in all but name - but even so, Luca's wounds showed that like all others around Nurse Metzger, this man was only human and vulnerable.

    "I'm going to try something different today. We noticed that you have an active psionic signature that wasn't present before, according to our records." The Nurse told his patient, who had managed to smuggle in a couple of other niceties from the outside to conduct his business, which the nurse tolerated for now. "Are you a psionic practitioner at all, sir?"

    "Nah." Luca replied. "It was kind of foisted upon me. Back in the day I was offered the use of amplifiers and other tech, but I stuck to what you see in me now." Most notably the adrenal implant and heart restarter, which had seen Luca live through situations where the rest of his body should've failed him, buying enough time to get to an operating slab.

    All that extra time bought before was clawing back with this painful recovery. "Indeed. Anyway, I want you to raise your left arm and point at the wall, and think very hard."
    "About what?" Said Luca, obliging with a raised eyebrow.
    "About what drives you." Metzger replied.
    "What drives me?"

    "You can't tell me you get injured this frequently for no reason, Mr. Pavone. I want you to home in on that emotion which thrusts you in front of danger so often." Metzger didn't know what drove Luca specifically, but the nurse had some surface-level ideas: Money, women or men, the thrill, the attention, the spectacle, something to prove, maybe - just maybe - true altruism, or perhaps being the way he was, was the only thing Luca knew how to do, ulterior motivations and perceptions be damned.

    Luca was coming up short of an audible answer, either deep in thought or unwilling to describe himself since he'd never stopped to think too hard about it, even with all the thinking he'd been given to do in recovery. "A medical record three feet tall when printed doesn't lie..." And that was just the injuries that'd been admitted to hospital or carried over from the UDD service record! The EAD files were sealed, and Luca neglected to mention a bunch of spot surgeries on himself done to address immediate problems before moving on with whatever he'd set his mind to.

    Reflection didn't come easy to a blood-soaked mirror. For Luca, violence was the answer - and he was deputised by the Units for it. While it wasn't the solution to every problem that came across EAD's desks, it sure was a component. "I really like hurting people who have it coming." He admitted. "Its fun to watch evil people squirm when the violence and misery they dish out on those who can't defend themselves gets turned on them, matched, or exceeded."

    Metzger seemed concerned, as Luca was drawing a circle in the air with his finger as asked. "You wouldn't believe how often bad people try to play victim when they're cornered," The man in red continued "pleading with their sob stories when they discover they're not the big pants in town."

    He focussed on the tip of his finger. "Sure - it can't undo any damage they've already done to the defenceless, but there is catharsis in dragging the sons of bitches before the victims and letting them have their fill after I've broken them in half over my knee."

    "That's not a healthy attitude," said Metzger, crossing his arms as they watched the fingertip, seeing nothing yet "but if that was your primary means of employment with the EAD, I can see why you've become habituated to it. How'd the history of violence begin? Did you have a bad upbringing?"

    "Nah. It was a happy family. Many of my friends in the EAD couldn't say the same - so many traumatic transitions into what made them job-viable." Luca couldn't help but chuckle at that fact - it figured in. "The real trouble with me began after the UDD couldn't contain me after the Polygon Attack of '65 - said I was too volatile to just take orders after seeing me in action."

    "So you were referred and promoted into to the EAD..." Metzger figured. "Because you terrified your superiors?" The EAD was a fearsome force, and its shadow still lingered over the whole of the Protocol's colonies. Their successor, RACCA, didn't seem to be anywhere near as fearsome, with so much restraint to prevent a repeat of what happened before.

    "Ding ding ding." Luca congratulated. "EAD was a madhouse run by the inmates when it reached its nadir, but the most effective and deadly fighting force this side of Aleph in its zenith. I was a part of that - better and worse - the experience can't be transplanted and replaced like a bad lung, a bum knee, or a new arm."
    "I fight now because its easier than breathing." A glow begun to form, a ring of light slowly fizzling in from the fingertips, orange in colouration manifesting as smouldering and sparking - burning gunpowder. "So I might as well fight in the right direction, for Sargasso, for Unity, for those who can't defend themselves, like I was always intended to."

    Metzger was nodding along as he watched the spiral of smoke and light twirl into the room. However, it if smelt like smoke and looked like smoke, there was another problem: "That's great - and you're already on your way to making heads and ends of your new-found psionics, but uh, Luca? Be careful not to set off a fire alarm-"

    "Open a window and let the breeze in then," was the patient's straightforward response. "It was getting stuffy in here anyway."


    Barrier Island, Flatiron's Hill Mall
    Yttrium Indium Maganese, proactive Crude and glom going without was spending her freedom from the machinations of Gruppen Tanhauss in a park, reclining on a bench with a vaporiser, puffing away a blue haze carried upwards by the breeze as she side-eyed the hospital down the street. Watching, and waiting in the midday haze.

    Her form shifted ever so slightly, visible throughout the half hour but imperceptible to the pedestrians and strangers who were coming and going, the most they'd see in Yttrium was a light bobbing and jiggle of the Crude's carbogelatinous body when they sat down. Little changes in her exterior texture, like sheen, colour and shifts in skin texture patterns required longer observation.

    Someone sat beside her, a nurse on break between shifts with a disposable bowl of cold soba and fixings from the Angel's Hair Noodles on the corner and a cup of miso soup. Breaking chopsticks and entering just as casually into conversation they said: "I managed to nudge his surgery schedule forward, like you asked."

    The best news Yttrium had heard all day, taking a moment to let the corners of her face break into a smile. "Good~ Lulu said he got another arm from a friend the other day."

    "That explains why he wanted that surgery. It seemed weird at first," The inside nurse slurped on his noodles, washing it down with warm soup. "I thought he was down for the usual - regrowth treatment in the tank, good as new."

    The fact that the hospital staff around here knew his patterns was an unpackable worry in the back of Yttrium's mind, but it added up - maybe this wasn't the first time he'd lost a limb and he hadn't told anyone. "Maybe he feels like upgrading." She surmised. "I can't wait to see how it looks."

    "He won't let the doctors see it, and we can't get it open because its bio-locked;" The nurse stated, before finishing their meal up by tipping the bowl's contents up against his mouth and sucking down the remaining noodles and broth. The nurse continued, leading into their more pertinent question: "guess it must be something you can't get off the shelf here... speaking of, what about payment?"

    "Check your front pocket, darling." Smooth as could be, Yttrium slipped a bundle of rods in during the nurse's momentary lapse of focus - it was easy to do when it was possible to extrude pseudopods carrying items, and do so quietly. Standing up and rolling her shoulders to let her hair catch the breeze while the nurse saw their bonus payment, she begun walking away. "You keep your nose clean in the meantime, mm~?"

    On the way back to 55 Midway Beach, she tapped out a message to the group at large.
    Code:
    TO: PT-GroupChat
    FR: Yttrium
    MSG:
    Good news. Lulu's treatment is being moved ahead. He might have to do some physio afterwards, but he'll have an arm back.
    Will keep you all posted. Stay safe out there.
    
    PS: Apparently a friend of his sent him a new arm? Anyone have any ideas who?
    After tapping the message out, she spotted an unusual sight out the corner of her fibre-optic mane. Foam was pouring out of one of the hospital windows. Cataloguing the strange sight and taking a couple of pictures, she moved on, unsure of what the cause was.
     
  4. Ashlinn

    Ashlinn Member

    Middleton, Sargasso
    The Tech Thieves - Fake

    The sound of fists and legs pummeling speed bags, punching bags or the clattering of sticks as different people sparred with each other or wooden facsimiles of people. In the corner Breyja was hunched over a low table opposite the old man from a few weeks previous as the two stared at each other. The Wrinkled Old Man exhaled slowly and Breyja's head snapped back as she fell for the old man's feint on her wrist. His palm raked back down and there was a low muted thump as he buried her head into the table, a hand having dragged her head forward via ear. Ice clinked softly as he drank from the cold glass of long-island iced tea with his other hand. She merely grunted as she watched him sip and then lunged forward. Her outstretched right arm was slapped aside making her arm swing wide over the table. The mans hand was pulled back, fingers cupped as if he was putting on a shadow-play for children and his arm was a snake. It lashed out again when her left arm came slashing in low in a feint. Both of them were moving in a blur as a few other people watched the match play out.

    Eventually the pacing slowed as they both seemed to settle into a routine of feints and counter-feints. The Tea eventually was set aside and the old man's other arm was brought into play as Breyja began catching onto his tricks. both of their heads were rocked back, identical hits snapping the other back, a roll over her shoulders saved Breyja's face from meeting the table but not the old man from trapping one arm under his own at the wrist and wrenching it over, the popping of tendons as they struggled ot hold filled the air when she caught his other arm during it's withdrawl and hauled him bodily over the table, freeing both her arms. She toppled from her seat as the old man laughed and balanced upon one arm in a handstand over the table. A swift kick to the gut sent Breyja rolling and calling it there, "You're arm work is utterly bad, just... !" He stopped as the table creaked under him, a leg clattered to the side and one of Breyja's booted feet connected with the bottom of the table sending old man and table tumbling apart.

    Their sparring match continued to play out in the corner now that they both could bring movement into the fight, Breyja's legwork was better as knees found joints, the old man countered with elbows and jabs into any exposed soft tissue. Most often ribs or or into her inner thigh. This had become her routine as time passed waiting for Luca to recover. Part-timing at the gym as an on call first responder in exchange for sparring with the old man who ran the place. It got her off the beach and back into a place she was comfortable. A routine that turned her days into a long morphing kaleidoscope of routines. She worked in the morning, Sparred in the afternoon, tossed the occasional query about Luca's health when she wasn't drinking herself to sleep to get the image of the man's arm vanishing into a hole and the blood... that was raising up over her head in a tidal wave, It just..kept flowing out, she'd emptied her entire kit out and pulled out every emergency crash course technique she'd ever learned in the bloody fields where she'd been drafted to triage wounded. In the back of her mind she was screaming that this had to be a dread,. but she could feel the heat from the blood as her fingers slipped on the tourniquet.

    Something broke the silence, a hand on her shoulder and a metallic screeching in her ears exploded across her mind before the woman snapped up in her bed, sending bottles crashing to the floor as she snatched her phone to silence it of Yttriums message. Her pulse raced and she could swear she still smelled blood in the air as she stumbled to the bathroom and made very unladylike sounds until her stomach stopped hurting. Her liver could complain more later as she felt the stabbing behind her eyes receded and the world settled. It took a prodigious amount for a Maidenhand to get drunk. And a prodigious amount had she apparently had after sparring with the old man the previous day as she looked around her apartment and groaned, "I need to clean." Eventually she got back to the phone.


    Code:
    TO: PT-GroupChat
    FR: Breyja
    MSG:
    Good, the longer they wait the thicker the scar tissue forming over his nerve endings, 
    the more cutting it'll take to attach his new arm. Tell the nurses I'm sorry, again, for punching the doc that turned me away at the ER... And wish Luca a happy recovery will you?
    
    PS: Wasn't me, I suggested regrowth.
     
  5. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    ♫ Ennio Morricone - The Thing ♫

    Noir, Tanhauss 'Furcht-Turmschloss' Tower, Underground Laboratory
    Hiding beneath the industrialised, corporatised city-colony of Noir was a honeycomb of caverns and pools, the medium upon which the city ran unseen. Under here, many companies dug out basement space - the majority only reaching a couple of floors deep for additional inventory space, piercing into the underground by chance and quickly patching themselves away from the ecosystem of industrial detritus and mingled organic bacteria.

    Places with the money to burn and the muscle to hold their territory against nature like Gruppen Tanhauss had dominated entire galleries of caves, running wetware computing distributed among the living Sourcian network and calculator, Muller. In addition, the true workshop of one Dr. Tobias Lange was here - the one he appeared in for commercials and video seminars was only for show - like many things in Noir. The law? A mere suggestion. Regulation? A fig-leaf unable to conceal the girth of the doctor's science-releated memetic erections. Ethics? What were they? Rules with which to control lesser men, to ensure the self-imposed 'greats' like Tobias had no competition from those the laws of Noir sought to control.

    Dr. Lange was examining a mangled piece of flesh that Driver had brought with them, screwing their nose up in disgust. "Nein nein NEIN NEIN NEIN! This is wholly unacceptable!" The doctor was seething now that he had Luca Pavone's right forearm and the Grapple Stunner in his hands, too destroyed and wrecked to make any suitable reverse engineering from, and the genetic data had become corrupt as a result of the witchspace teleportation. The doctor would've vented his anger at Driver directly - but the former EAD turned former human was only a torso and head, currently suspended in a tank intertwined with the perverse manipulation of Temhebu to make her 'ideal champion' a reality with the doctor's help.

    Dr. Lange's frustrations were borne from more than the immediate letdown of finally receiving Luca's right arm and being let down by its mundanity - the idea that one man could wage war against a whole company was getting beneath his synthetic skin. All the footage of his broccoli-based soldiers being mangled, ripped and torn apart by Luca and his companions showed that quantity wasn't its own quality against righteous aggression, bloodshed, and combined arms tactics.

    The fact that many of his resources on Sargasso had been embargoed by the Units while Tanhauss was under investigation also cast a pall over both him and Isla Mout-Battenburg. For Lange, it meant less opportunity and resources for science, and for Ilsa, less money in and bad PR - which also concerned her supernatural majority shareholder - not the bad PR - just the monetary losses. "If Tanhauss cannot have Sargasso, then I shall let zem have mein dregs und rejects!"

    Muller, the company Sourcian was listening in on Dr. Lange. They knew it wasn't uncommon for the doctor to monologue and wax lyrical, but the Sourcian distributed across the volume of an olympic pool give-or-take a few buckets hadn't ever seen the doctor this frustrated over something that seemed so trivial. The company had endured worse in the past, but the Sourcian couldn't grasp the true form of what was casting its shadow over the company.


    Sargasso, Flatiron's Hill, The Heroes Armaments
    ♫ Shadowrun (GEN) - Bar 1 ♫

    The cue ball smacked into the formation at speed, breaking the triangle apart into its individual balls, skittering and bouncing around the table. From the bar, Ally Kelly watched a familiar scene play out - the local hustler who played dumb to sucker in tipsy upstarts who thought they knew how to handle a billiard stick. Sure, Ally could've told that blonde hunk who was dick-in-hand, head-empty that he was going to lose - but it'd be more fun to watch the old hustler take them down a peg - it never got old.

    Nursing a fruit mocktail at the bar was an MBF wearing a floral-patterned shirt, and a pair of aviators that complimented their bork-to-speech collar. Bork snorf bork, they barked, translating into "Another Fruity Mojito, please." A classic drink which substituted the Sargasso sugar-cane white rum for an apple and orange juice mix. Joe the Barman saw to that, with cocktail shaker in hand.

    On the opposite corner of the bar, Heck on Legs herself, Mae Cuthbert of the Appachoppers and a couple of the boys under her direct command were crowding around the arcade machines. Ally and Joe the Barman tolerated their presence as long as they didn't start anything - because there were plenty of people willing to get even with members of the gang. Since Tanhauss had gotten the boot in Sargasso, the Appachoppers had scaled back the scope of their operations considerably.

    After trouncing another of her boys in a fighting game, Heck on Legs approached the bar, sitting beside the MBF. "Gimme a beer." Mae ordered.
    "Coming right up," replied Ally. Mug beneath tap and filled with liquid amber and a white head, she served it with a side of girl talk and gossip. "Where's your boyfriend, Mae?"
    Taking the glass and chugging half of it in one go, Mae had an answer. "Frankie? He's going legit - well, at least as legit as he can." Mae stuck around with him because he seemed to be able to find his way into any job, and had enough gumption to study the minimum and figure the rest as he went. Frankie's new gig was a 'reclamation officer' - fancy words for a scrap collector.

    Looking around the bar, Mae noticed that among the patrons there was a notable omission. "Speakin' of squeezes, where's that red-jacketed monkey man and his posse?" That Raiken and the crude with the huge knockers were hard to ignore. Breyja flew under the radar as a regular patron - just another Maidenhand getting as smashed as possible despite their anatomy. "I ain't seen his bike on the road all week."
    "Luca? Oh, he's out of action." Ally replied, shaking her head a little - she'd seen the live feed.
    "Whaddaya mean?" Mae was out of the loop.

    "Remember that huge stoush at the Magic University last week, with all the weird eyes and the lockdown around Middleton?" Said Ally. Mae blinked over the rim of her mug - Heck on Legs had seen of it in the news, but disregarded it as a mage's experiment gone horribly wrong - and a woman like Mae had no time for that hokey magic. "Yeah, basically he saved Sargasso and is in hospital now, lost his arm."

    Mae put her glass down, now empty. "Wait, he saved Sargasso?" The biker seemed perplexed. Ally nodded along, looking over to yesterday's newspaper with the university's recovery front and centre. "Is that his job or something when he ain't beating up my boys?" She asked for another beer while she was at it. The MBF was also listening in on the conversation while tapping on their phone.

    Ally obliged, refilling the mug. "It comes naturally to him, y'know?" The redhead shrugged, seeming resigned to what one of her frequent patrons did. "Whether your boys are involved at it or not-" said boys were now hogging the arcade machines to establish their own pecking order beneath Mae "-I wouldn't take it personally."
    "We kinda were involved when Tanhauss was bankrolling us, but that ain't the case no more." Mae admitted, fanning the air in front of her to dismiss their corporate skeeze. "They dropped us like a grey goo in an algae colony when we weren't up to their 'standards'." Looking aside and trailing off, she slurred something to the effect of "'n still owe us, tight-fisted pricks..."

    Taken aback by the display of humility and openness from Mae, Ally said "I'll pass that on, see if I can get him to lay off you."
    "You got a deal, woman." Mae put her hand forward for a handshake "No promises we won't engage in our own fun, but we ain't for those corporates from Noir." Though mildly intimidated by the girth of those forearms, Ally still gave Mae a firm handshake.

    Ally thought she could push the envelope with this treaty. "If you really wanted Luca off your back, you could join up and take what's yours~"
    Mae shook her head, grimacing in disgust. "Enemy of my enemy? Nah, that's my fight alone, and monkey man and I are still throwin' down when he's walking again." With her second pint of beer consumed and her fill had, she stood up and scanned her credit chit. "Just got respect an' boundaries for him is all."
    "Suit yourself."

    Bar chatter among patrons filled the ambience as the patronage went on through the afternoon.
    "Mate don't fill up on bread." "How come? Says who?"
    "Uhh... its high in cydroharbates?" "Its carbohydrates ya numpty!"

    Ally wondered what the rest of the team were up to in their absence from the Heroes Armaments...
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  6. Moogle

    Moogle Administrator Staff Member

    Galacta Candy Secret Sublab, Sargasso
    Ape Escape On The Loose - Oceana - Coral Cave

    "Alright mark thirty. . . two, model C, test . . .COSMO! What test are we on?" A research haggard Seiren barked at his dog. Cosmo held up a projector device that said 17 in papyrus font. Cheeky thing.

    The inventor, after all was said and done, cheesed it after Luca was confirmed to be safely treated by Brejya and subsequently paramedic aid, hightailing the Galacta Custom out of the area as to not let it get impounded. Which, when all was said and done, not a particularly difficult task save for the part that half the systems were failing from operating too many gravitic centrifuges and capacitor subsystems that the machine was largely untested in using. Thus far, he'd managed to avoid any sort of Unit inquiry or other authority into the origin of the machine, though he suspected the obelisk-shaped machines already knew about it and simply didn't care.

    The Galacta Custom now rested in its cradle of the sublab's garage, occassionally sparking and being tended to by two new space themed MBFs on loan from Cloverpaw.

    Since that fateful day, Seiren threw himself into new research projects - namely prosthetic arms and Grapple Stunner upgrades. An array of limbs, both market and printed, sat in various states of disrepair and junkification. A particularly large pile of them rested in a junk bin, being wheeled by a fourth new MBF to a new scrap-machine he seemed to have installed in the interim.

    The Mark 32, Type C was merely the latest in a long line of attempts to integrate Grapple Stunner functionality into an arm. Seiren stimulated it with a control panel hookup, firing the entire, wire-guided hand across the room and **into** a dent in the wall made by many, many previous attempts - causing the hand to break itself on impact.

    "Ffffffffffff-fine, Type C **still** doesn't have the pressure settings right!" He groaned, butting his head into the workbench. "Cosmo, mark Type C as a failure, run diagnostic."

    It was at this moment, he noticed a notification from the terminal on the wall. The terminal was connected to his comm for point of convenience and another reason that would soon be revealed. In the meantime, Seiren pulled up its message and swore aloud before punching in a message.

    Code:
    TO: PT-GroupChat
    FR: Seiren
    MSG:
    So I just wasted however long I've been in my workshop making arms for **nothing**?! though in retrospect i guess i coulda asked him whether he was getting his arm grown back. well i guess i'll focus on my b-project for now. anybody have any requests for me to make while I'm dealing with an influx of new material?
    
    Seiren huffed and turned back to his workshop.
    "Nebs, Cosmo, clear up the unused arms for now and file them under, oh I don't know 'invent when bored' or something. Going to focus on the other thing now."

    The lad had made more modifications to the sublab besides adding a scrap machine. With the help of a very well paid abjurer and a transmutation specialist, he'd swapped out and upgraded the walls to have multiple obfuscation and defensive spells, as well as beautifully mundane lead and lining to compliment the concrete of the place. Additionally, he'd made room for a secondary generator even further below, adding to his sustainability and helping to power jammers and magic alike (The latter thanks to a Hekate Alraune Energy Converter).

    Since the incident, Seiren didn't want to take any chances on whatever that thing was that seemed to interfere with communications and summon an army from nowhere. Theoretically monster-proofing his lair was the first step. The second step was working on a way to fight something that was so uncatchable. Naturally, he pulled up his current project, labeled simply, "The Bear Trap." And then, he began to type.
     
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