/sim/ - simulacrum

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>Date: September 20th, 2017
>Time: 12:30 PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Financial District

>Sirens roar loudly as MRD hovercraft quickly fly across the sky, moving towards a collection of burning fires in the distance. Inside of the lead hovercraft, an MRD agent talks over their comms network:

"Gamma to base. We've got a mark on three Brigadiers. B-level Meta-Humans. They've got the spikes of the T-Cell grafting."

>From the other side of the call, the operator speaks.

{"Tension? You're sure of it? They've got his spikes?"}

>The MRD agent nods slowly.

"Yep. I'd recognize them anywhere. The guy's a maniac, but he's damn well recognizable by his spikes. We'll move in to intercept."
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>Location: Archeon - CEO Office.
>Time: 12:10 PM.

>Aiden then walks Mariah to his office and then locks the door behind him. As he walks with her, he eyes her phone, saying:

"….Did you-"

>Mariah cuts him off.

"What? And give up my leverage already? Of course not. I know better than to be sloppy with you. Unless, you like sloppy…."

>Mariah says, looking over her shoulder smugly at Aiden.

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"I was there, when you were fighting your little Ninja friend."

>Aiden then thinks back to a few days ago, remembering that he felt another energy signature in the area."

"…..That was you? On the building with me and Ryo-"

>Aiden stops himself from speaking further.

{"Of course. That's how she knew for certain I was Mosaic. She needed to hear someone say it, my name - Grayson."}

>Cursing to himself slowly, he then opens his eyes after closing them briefly. Now looking at Mariah, he says again:

"….So you wanted the schematics right? They're on my computer. After that, I take your phone and delete your blackmail attempt."

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>10 Minutes Later.

>Aiden sits on the couch in his office, with Mariah sitting on top of him. Mariah's eyes are closed and she's smiling as she whispers to Aiden:

"Felt good, right? I'm guessing you needed a hit anyways."

>Aiden remains silent, his cheeks still flushing red. Mariah then continues:

"I'll keep my promise. I won't send the picture out, just as long as you continue to make me happy."

>Muttering to himself, Aiden then says:

"….So what exactly do you want from me again? You had me just now. What else could you want?"

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>Date: September 26th, 2017
>Location: Wiseman Faults - CEO Office
Time: 11:30 AM

>Isaac reads through a tome on his desk as Aiden finishes recounting his story.

"…And she just kissed me and got up, left."

>Aiden looks down at his hands for a moment, sighing.

"….Did she post anything?"

>Isaac makes a gesture with his fingers, casting a spell that fizzes in a sea of golden sparks. After a moment of suspense, he says:

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>Aiden then looks at Isaac, stating:

"Again, thank you Isaac. I mean it."

>Isaac nods, as he finishes writing notes and financial statements in his book.

"Don't mention it there."

>Looking up at Aiden, Isaac then says:

"…..Outside of the Mariah situation, does anything feel weird, Aiden? Strange in any way?"

>Aiden shakes his head, saying:

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>Date: September 19th, 2017
>Time: 1:00 PM
>Location: Interdimensional Magic Bazaar

>The bazaar is as crowded as usual, full of mages of all kinds from an almost unimaginable number of worlds.

"Tabitha! How's it going!?"

>An older man calls out from his stall towards an attractive young woman with deep red, waist length hair. The woman simply nods in the man's direction as she walks by.

"Fine. Good to see you today."

>The woman continues maneuvering her way through the crowd, occasionally waving at and greeting people. This continues on for a while, before she makes a stop at a small stand.

>Various dusty tomes and books line the counter and back walls of the small building, with an almost equally old looking woman standing behind the counter.

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"Okay Jakob, whatever you say."

>Arcana's hands glow a bright purple, only for the world to suddenly desaturate around them. With time now slowed, Amanda looks at Jakob and says:

"There you go!"


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>Fugue looks around in astonishment for a moment, watching as light itself bends to Arcana's will.


>After a few more moments, Fugue snaps himself out of it.

"Right, Arsenal come on. I'm going to need you on point."

>Generating a sphere of energy in his hand, he hands it to Arsenal to hold as he looks around.

"When you see Mercury and Covalence rounding the next patch of beach? Hit him. I'll go scope ahead and help Mercury to distract him."

>Fugue then flies off - looking for Mercury until he finally meets him and Covalence - watching as the two speedsters run around, still at relatively high speeds despite the world being slowed down relative to Fugue.

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>Without warning the ground begins rumbling and shaking violently, only for sand and dust to explode into the air as Arsenal rises from the ground, grabbing Convalence from behind.

>With him now restrained, another body of Arsenal's rockets through the air, now fast enough to keep pace with the speedsters. He clenches the glowing sphere tight - and then slams it into Covalence's chest with enough force to send him tumbling through the sand and several near-by buildings.


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>As Covalence spins around and skids on the floor, his body begins to glow with magical energy. Now convulsing wildly, his body then glows more and more with magical energy - before he finally bursts into mana and light - disappearing entirely.

>Afterwards, Fugue watches as Arcana resumes time - causing them all to stand on the beaches of the Anachronon base.

>Mercury falls on the ground, sighing as he looks up at the sky.

"We just keep getting into this shit, honestly. How long can we keep doing this guys?"

>Fugue taps on his helmet, relaying a message to Chimera before saying:

"As long as we have to. We take the brunt of this - so that people don't have to. That includes supernatural threats like Faust and the Effigies."


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>Location: Sanctuary City
>Time: 12:00 PM

>In the middle of Sanctuary City's main district - the Financial District, a hooded figure generates pulses of black energy that send cars and objects flying into buildings - while crushing the ground beneath his feet.

>Enraged, the hooded figure of Faust continues his rampage and chaos spree, intending to bait out his target.

"Where are you Grayson?! If I'm getting something out of this fucking day, then it's your dea-"

>Suddenly, Faust senses an immensely powerful force - standing across the street from him. Unfazed by the onslaught of cars and objects being sent in his direction, the hooded figure seemingly inhibits the objects' motion - bringing them all to a halt around him and dropping them to the ground.


>The hooded figure, Mosaic, stands in the middle of the street - clearly garnering Faust's attention.

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 No.294[Reply][Last 50 Posts]

>Date: September 16th, 2017 (Earth time)
>Location: Ceridwen's Room, The Axiom

>After the situation with Sirius, Ceri retires to her room. Clearly drained of some of her energy, she takes her cloak off, letting it float over to a hook on the other side of the room. Without the bulky piece of clothing covering her, how small her form is is even more obvious, the cloak having added an inch or two to her height, and having hidden how thing and twig-like her arms really are.

>Also revealed by the cloak being gone is just how extensive the brand on her arm is, while still visible with the cloak on, not being covered reveals how it twists and winds around her arm, leaving little in the way of skin, and continuing on to her shoulder - and perhaps beyond.

>With an exhausted slump, the girl takes a seat in the room, staring at the brand.

"It doesn't pulse and hurt any more, but it still remains, even with nothing on the other side to exploit it, the rift remains a risk. . ."

>Looking at a book on her desk, Ceri thinks for a moment.

"I should check on it, maybe visit the family, although I don't think they would be that pleased to see me. . ."

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File: 1639598923083.jpg (118.6 KB, 440x586, Stephanie - 118.jpg)

"Damn it Ceri. Just do what's best for yourself and rest. The longer you stand here fighting with me over it the more time you're wasting anyway."


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"Which is why you should just let me do what I need to do!"

>Ceridwen shouts, sounding exasperated with Stephanie.

"Because that is what is best for me, not resting and letting things slip."


File: 1639600240181.png (65.89 KB, 475x606, Stephanie - 145.png)

"You're not letting things slip! You're giving yourself a break so you can keep working at full performance later! Now for the last time, go to your room and get some rest!"


File: 1639604305958.png (121.23 KB, 278x278, Ceridwen-30.png)

"Well if that's the last time, I'll be leaving."

>Ceridwen goes to turn around. . .


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>Ceridwen's bedroom door suddenly opens up, seemingly on it's own. Before she can do anything, it seems to throw itself forward - pulling her into her room.

>The door shuts behind Ceri, locking itself immediately.

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>Date: July 21st, 2017
>Time: 11:00PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Financial District

>The Citizen Union Bank branch is one among many in the Financial District of Sanctuary, built in a style that apes the Neoclassical buildings of the US Capitol, it's slotted into its block rather nicely thanks to having been built when the city was first founded, and as such is placed in a way that doesn't contrast it to surrounding buildings, and provides the staff of the building with a wide variety of parks and open areas within a stone's throw to ensure a better quality of working.

>In the dark of night, however, the building is empty, having closed several hours before, and the area is quiet - too upscale and empty for those who prefer the night, and too dark for those who work there during the day.

>Near the bank, silhouetted by a streetlight below them, a lone figure watches the bank, checking a display on their wrist as they do a staff is hooked on to their back, almost making it look like they have an antenna.

"He's late. . ."

>Their voice is modulated, clearly designed to through people off their identity, but still sounds somewhat feminine.
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"Then let this be a good example."

>Apex pulls the trigger, sending off a shot.

"If you want to confirm before I go down, go ahead."


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>Arachnid shakes his head.

"No. If I can't trust you to do this, then there's no point going forward. Let's just leave, when you're done."

>He then leans off of the wall, slowly walking towards Apex.

"Ladies first."


File: 1639261356171.png (168.12 KB, 440x279, 92.png)

"How gentleman-like of you. . ."

>Apex says before hooking a grapple on to the edge of the building and rappeling down. . .

>After a quick walk across the street, the pair come up to the sleeping body of Devin Cox. His scrawny features not changing to match his look in the restaurant. Giving him a nudge with her foot, Apex looks to Arachnid.

"As I said, easily resolved. Now we just need to deliver him to a precinct where the dampeners should mean he'll be a nice gift for the MRD officers in the morning."

"I don't make a plan without counting for these variables, Arachnid, you would be good to remember that - because that is why my plans can be trusted."


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>Arachnid stares at Apex, stating:

"You're one step removed from sociopathy - but you're also pretty rich, so I guess it's not too bad of a deal."

>Arachnid then makes a quick gesture with his lowered hand - webbing up the Devin guy in an instant. With multiple sheets of strong and tensile webbing keeping him bound and restrained - he then says:

"Then let's get him over there. Oh, and you really should lose the rifle. The MRD aren't gonna be happy about that."


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"The MRD can be as unhappy as they want. I don't fall under their juristication, and this rifle is perfectly legal."

>Apex, flicks a switch on the weapon, causing a few parts to fall off in to her hands so she can clip them to her belt.

"Legally speaking, this is an airsoft toy, the MRD can't touch it."

[The End]

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>Date: October 1st, 2017
>Time: 12:00 PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - MRD Central Precinct

"Again, I'm gonna need a better explanation than that."

>Commander Harrison rubs his eyelids as he sits behind his desk, sighing. Waiting again for the MRD troops to recite their story, he sifts through the diagrams and papers spread out across the table. A pair of half-eaten candy bars remain at his side, next to the chewing gum pack he's also been taking from.

"Well sir, the reports all refer to the same description of the subject. A young man with an advanced watch on his wrist. Mechanistic and potentially nanoform in nature."

>Ryan perks up, sitting forward in his seat at the mention of the nanoform structure.

"You said nanoform? As in advanced nanites? That's upper clearance technology - so how did a kid get it?"

>The second MRD troop refers to the video screen on the wall, scrubbing through security footage obtained from a prior operation.

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>Ryan then motions for the MRD troops to continue.

"As we outlined before Director Harrison, we believe the suspect was hired through the Daedalus Corporation as a contractor - applied mechanics and general electrical engineering. They were looking for a mechanical systems architect to design and build a fission generator."

"They wanted the kid to build a nuclear power plant? Permits are necessary for that."

"Which we believe they acquired from the state as well as Sanctuary City's council and government. The mayor also gave her explicit permission according to our investigation."

>Shaking his head, Ryan then says:

"Just get to the important part. I know there's a reveal here somewhere."

>The two MRD troops look at each other for a moment, before returning their gaze to their boss.

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"We've confiscated most of the equipment found at Daedalus's labs. As we suspected, it's built from the same baseline as the technology that "Laplace" employed. Details are still sparse here, but we're confident that the material is a nanoform agent - as we've mentioned before."

>The MRD troops then show footage from cameras inside of the Daedalus facility - during the MRD operation exercising the search warrant.


>The footage shows a young man with wavy brown hair hastily running around the hallways of the facility - holding a large metallic orb in his hands. The orb has unique, arcane markings on its glossy metallic surface.

"Hey kid! Drop the fucking tech!"

>A group of armored mercenaries round the corner, blocking the young man's path as he holds the metallic orb with trembling arms. Feeling a bead of sweat falling down his back, he steels his nerves and speaks:

"H-Hey guys! I'm just returning this! I saw a bunch of those MRD guys running around with it-"

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>The bullets crack the exterior of the metallic pod, causing cracks as the markings begin to glow with a bright blue light. Then a feedback pulse of blue light ricochets from the pod - knocking the mercenaries back as the pod itself shatters.

"{Oh hell."}

>The young man thinks to himself, as the contents of the pod float in the air, pulsing with a glowing blue light - reminiscent of the pod itself. It then immediately thrusts forward under an invisible power, fastening itself to the young man's left wrist.


>Searing with pain, the young man looks down and finds the glowing blue light wrapped around his left wrist. After a few moments, it then dies down to reveal a futuristic looking watch on said wrist.

"{Analysis Complete. Genetic Substrate Copied. Index Activated."}

>The watch has a glowing blue holographic center plate, a dial and a series of buttons on the side. Nanite circuitry runs down the young man's wrist in conjunction with the protrusions of the buttons - giving his left arm a blue circuitry hue - before said design fades away.

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>After the feed cuts out, Ryan immediately looks at the MRD troops and says:

"And he's still on the loose?"

>A MRD troop looks at their datapad as they say to the Commander:

"We're not sure if he's actively malicious in his intent sir. But we've sent out patrols to look for him."

>Ryan points at the cut feed on the wall's monitor.

"When was this footage taken?"

>A MRD trooper replies.

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>Date: September 16th, 2017
>Time: 12:30 PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Convention Center

>The Convention Center buzzes with life, filled with large crowds of people. Nearly reaching it's max capacity, the Convention Center is full of people excited to meet their favorite internet personalities and content creators at this year's Digicon.

>Near the back of the Convention Center, near one of the corners of the relatively large room is a pair of elaborately decorated tables. The tables display various shelves of clothing, necklaces, mugs and other merchandise. Sitting at the more open of the pair of tables is a young, beautiful woman with a slender yet full figure.

>The woman's hair is an almost unnatural silver color - with equally strange animalistic ears and a tail. Wearing a more elaborately decorated and quality made version of her own merchandise, the woman stands up to greet a small group of men and women approaching her table. Striking a pose, the woman winks at the group and cheerily says:

"Oi! Anata ga miemasu! Do you happen to be a group of my Seeds?"

>Nervously, the group shuffles towards the table. Near the front, a young woman wearing what appears to be a poorly made Speedrunner costume replies:

"Y-Yeah! We are!"
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>Hyperia begins straining against the force of the Goddess's power, slowly standing on one knee as she grits her teeth. Muttering to herself, she then says:

"She's a lot more powerful than I thought! Any bright ideas?!"

>Pulling her muscles up, Hyperia continues to strain against the force of the Goddess, willing her arms to wade through the invisible sea binding her body.

>After grunting a few more times, Hyperia manages to take a step forward - raising her body as her foot slams down into the pavement below. Now looking up at Amaterasu, she then shouts:

"Enough with the boasting! Get down here!"

>Hyperia then charges up her ring, watching as it glows with red energy in the briefest of moments. Holding her arm out, she then blasts a massive surge of red energy towards Amaterasu - enveloping the sky for thousands of feet.

>Looking at Omnius and Valerie, Hyperia then states:

"Come on you two! She's distracted, but we'll need a follow through!"


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>Omnius pulls himself off the ground, looking up at the floating goddess.

"Got it."

>Psychic energy immediately begins flowing around Omnius's body like liquid, before suddenly erupting into a wild electric-like form.

>He fires the psychic power towards Amaterasu, causing the beam to nearly intertwine with Hyperia's, clashing against the goddess.

>Amaterasu grunts, holding out her arms to protect her face from the oncoming attacks.

"Stupid… Humans…"

>The sunlight begins to grow in intensity once more, enveloping Amaterasu's body. Her body begins shaking, as raw power energizes it. A grin begins to form, as she says:

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>Amaterasu's corpse drops to the ground, hitting it with a bloody thud. Valérie floats downwards, gently landing on her feet. She wipes the blood away from her face, and lets out a sigh.

"Finally done."

>As the self proclaimed knight places her sword back in it's sheath, Amaterasu's body begins to disappear - transforming into a mass of colorful particles blown away by the wind.

>Taking notice of Hyperia and Omnius's staring, Valérie says:

"I'm sorry for the bloody ending there. But it needed to be done. She was corrupted. And the only way to fix that is to kill her corrupted form."

>Moving closer to the pair, she finishes with:

"Which, by the way you two could've done at any point as well. If you stopped assuming she'd be more powerful than you just for being a goddess that is."

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File: 1638301982135-1.gif (584.81 KB, 500x210, Flight - 2.gif)

>Blinking as the pressure dissipates around her, Hyperia bows as well to Valerie.

"Well, thank you Valerie. We appreciate the words of encouragement. You're also free to visit us any time."

>Hyperia taps Valerie's cheek with her finger, saying:

"If you're feeling bored."

>Looking back at Omnius, she then says:

"Well, we need to get out of here. Chase and the MRD are probably going to clean this up in a few minutes, and your reputation is already bad enough as it is."

>Looking back at Valerie, Hyperia says:

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File: 1638302600284-0.jpg (125.41 KB, 850x1202, Valérie - 268.jpg)

File: 1638302600284-1.jpg (140.16 KB, 450x453, Interface24.jpg)

>As Hyperia flies off, Valérie shouts:

"You can call me Orea from now on if you'd like, Lady Phoebe!"

>She then turns to face Omnius. He stares at her, and then asks:

"Now what? Are you leaving."

"Hm.. I might look around on my own for a day or two. Just to see what else is different. Then I'll leave."

>Omnius blinks behind his helmet. Unsure of what else to say, he begins floating backwards in the air.

"Alright I guess. It was… interesting meeting you."

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File: 1634403508389-4.jpg (1.28 MB, 1275x1800, Chase - 12.jpg)


>Date: September 15th, 2017
>Time: 3:00 AM
>Location: Harris Household

>Dim lights from inside of the derelict suburban home appear to pulse warmly, contrasting with the pitch black expanse in the night sky. A series of MRD hovercraft surround the premises, with duct tape serving as a barrier between the house and the larger neighborhood.

>Various MRD officials run through the crime scene, using analysis tools to acquire information, taking pictures and interrogating nearby civilians. In the middle of the scene is Commander Harrison, the new leader of the MRD Sanctuary City division. Successor to Commander Phoenix, Harrison takes out a pack of gum and begins chewing.

>The heavy downpour of rain creates a bright shine in his hair - threading through several strands as water trickles down below. Feeling the glide of his boots against the ground, he then hears squeaky sounds as the water leaves puddles.


>Walking towards the interior of the house, he slowly moves past the living room and makes his way towards the blood soaked kitchen. The body of Ms. Harris has already been placed into a bag as he makes his way to his boss.

>Director McIntyre, the successor to Director Grayson, crosses his arms as he carefully analyzes the scene. Sunglasses obscuring his eyes, he then looks back at Harrison, noting his arrival.

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File: 1637786503648.jpg (22.47 KB, 236x314, Ceridwen-7.jpg)

"I don't need treats like a child. . ."

>Ceridwen twists her hand as she manipulates Sying's memories.

"And I only called for help because he had a way of resisting my magic, the wards were perfect, they should have kept him bound like that creature the red-haired one keeps around. I could have handled this otherwise."

"I don't trust that man either, glorified trinkets or not, he shouldn't have the rings, they should be disenchanted and dispersed."

". . .and the man's soul didn't feel right, when I pulled it out of Rigel, completely different from what the library described, I think the book is inaccurate."


File: 1637787131037.png (199.48 KB, 722x779, Steph516.png)

>Stephanie puts her hand on Ceridwen's back, and says:

"Adult or child, I'll get you a treat anyway."

>She watches as Marek has finally left, before turning to look at Ceri once more.

"As for everything else? I've left it up to a friend of mine whether or not Marek should keep those rings. You can talk to him if you disagree with letting Marek keep them."

>Remotely, Stephanie lifts Sying's body into the air and off the hard ground.

"Just remember Ceri. Sometimes things don't always go as planned. Which is why a lot of magic involves thinking on your feet. Keep your mind open and try to learn things outside your normal field of expertise."


File: 1637787923882.jpg (17.75 KB, 225x350, Ceridwen-22.jpg)

"I know that, this wasn't that. Rigel. . ."

>Ceridwen puts Sying's head down.

". . .defies expectation, I don't know what, but he seemed far older than anything, like he didn't even belong here, it wasn't just simple wards that he was using to keep the magic away, it was like it just didn't match him."

"And I don't need a treat, I failed, even if I did prevent that idiot from just letting him be released."


File: 1637788349674.jpg (281.57 KB, 850x633, Steph560.jpg)

>Crepido lets out a sigh.

"You're too hard on yourself sometimes. But alright. I'll make sure Sying here has a place to go home to."

"You're free to look more into this if you'd like. Just let me know if you run into trouble again. I'll be there in a moment's notice. No matter what name you call me by."


File: 1637789679611.jpg (95.85 KB, 897x1200, Steph633.jpg)

>A portal rips open in the space near the pair. Crepido's eyes narrow slightly, and she thinks:

{"I should consider getting more involved later."}

>Looking at Ceridwen one more time, she says:

"See you soon, Ceri."

>Crepido steps through the portal remotely hovering Sying's body from behind. Once through the portal closes, leaving Ceridwen to do as she pleases.

[To be continued]

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>Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada.
>Date: August 14th, 2017
>Time: 8:30 PM

>A warm breeze brushes by, pushing away small bits of dirt and pebbles from the door and into the gym parking lot. The glass doors open with a loud creak, as a woman with warm brown skin steps outside.

>Walking casually down the sidewalk and around the parking lot, the woman brushes some of her relatively short hair out of her eyes and adjusts her gym bag while speaking on the phone.

"Mhm. Yeah. No. I told you not until next Monday."

>The woman rounds a corner, now leaving the parking lot and heading down the street.

"Well now that they've finished reworking the website, things should run a lot smoother this year. I've already uploaded my students' first assignments."

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File: 1636324055755-0.jpg (36.54 KB, 433x604, Marcie - 16.jpg)

File: 1636324055755-1.jpg (372.14 KB, 595x800, Marcie - 19.jpg)

>Feeling increasingly uneasy by the moment, Marceline quickly replies:

"No. I left the gym and got attacked. Went home and passed out, then woke up a couple days later to find myself like this."

>Marcie stops to think for a moment, before adding:

"Well. There was this… other vampire, I guess. I don't know if they had anything to do with making me like this. They didn't seem like it. But she came by my apartment earlier tonight and threatened to drink my blood and kill me."


File: 1636387248766.png (349.03 KB, 580x850, 2e77f284bb3685c40cab90a7ff….png)

>With a final yawn, the woman slips the glasses back on, and the pressure disappears once again.

"It's always nice when my little kittens behave and tell the truth. . ."

>The woman slips back down the couch, moving back into a position to lie and sleep.

"Why don't you stay here tonight? I'll have someone fix your apartment, and nasty scavengers wouldn't dare intrude on my territory."


File: 1636387942530.jpg (66.39 KB, 634x900, Marcie - 23.jpg)

>Marcie stares at the woman for a moment, and then nods her head.

"…Thank you. I appreciate that."

>She looks around the room, only just now realizing how large and expensively furnished it looks.

"Sorry if this comes across as rude… but you're some kind of vampire royalty? Does that make you the head vampire?"


File: 1636389778560.png (547.58 KB, 441x875, 5569118d1dab8f7f0b3390cc33….png)

>The woman yawns again, starting to slip back to sleep

"I should be, I mean, how closely related I am to the Carmilla, that should count. . ."

>Even with her eyes closed, the vampire is still talking.

"But Toronto's nothing like home, too cold. . ."

"And why don't Canadians have any balls? All like 'sorry' and 'eh?'. . ."

>The small rant is contrasted by her eyes being closed still.

"Anyway, I need to sleep, the years are so tiring. . . Just ask for a room from the staff kitten. . ."

". . .although I wouldn't mind a cute sleeping friend."


File: 1636390296000.png (346.58 KB, 353x559, Marcie - 42.png)

>Marceline's face turns a slight shade of red, and she replies:

"Ah… thanks for the offer. Maybe another time."

>Marcie looks around one more time, before setting her eyes upon the woman one last time:

"Thank you again, Mrs. Watson."

>Unsure of what else to do, she gives a quick bow - before turning and heading back towards the elevator.

[The End]

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>Paris Dead Zone, 2015
>6 minutes into mission time
>ETA: 2 minutes until Strike Point

>Several L-B0 Aurora Strike Craft, the pride of Industrial Paragon Motor Corporation's Fighter line, speed over the scarred remains of Northern France, flying high above the drained land dotted with strange mechanical structures. At an cruising speed of 1550 MPH, these fighters require the most elite of pilots, often hooked up to neural interfaces, to properly fly into battle - and the markings on this squad reveal that these pilots are among the best of even those.

>Each fighter is marked with a different bird, the calling card of Panopticon Security Solutions's Elite Raptor Squadron, pilots that have been practically raised from birth to fly, each member of the squad has been selected, and modified, to fly in the name of PSS's interests.

>As they fly to their target, a nysterious tower construction that has recently emerged in the Paris Dead Zone, radio chatter is scattered between the squad.

<<What do you think it is Phoenix, some kind of launch station?>>
>A feminine scottish voice rings through

<<I don't know, Anqa, and to be honest I don't care, what matters to me is if it'll fall or not.>>
>A feminine english voice replies
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>Paris Dead Zone, 2015

>4 hours into infiltration mission time

>A small red ball bounces against a wall.

>The boy puts up his hand to catch the ball again, only for the ball to be intercepted by a hand, which then procedes to crush the ball, letting the deflated remains drop to the ground.

>As the boy rolls his eyes at the action, the newcomer, another girl who looks like an exact clone of the first one up to the hair and having compelte legs, walks to the quadruped, taking a step up and looking out over the dead city.

"Ni, [status report.]"

>The girl on the machine snaps out of her trance, pulling her hand out.

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File: 1631403663319.jpg (381.87 KB, 1000x707, df596b38ad2e3db34968c84d60….jpg)

>The Pyramid

>Sparks fly out from the twisted remains of 'Phoenix', the red highlighted fighter held up a few meters from the ground by a wretched mass of metal, made up of the remains of the pyramid the jet hit. Altogether, the image of the jet almost looks like a fly caught in a spider's web, hanging there ready to be killed and drained.

>And without power and a way to get up, it practically is.

>Inside the cockpit, the eponymous 'Phoenix' shifts, consciousness returning to her body. Letting out a groan, she slowly looks side to side, her helmet reflecting the web of metal above her - and right in front of her. Right in front of Phoenix's head, roughly two inches away, a spear of metal has pierced the cockpit, and hangs in front of her - if the fighter had hit the pyramid with just a bit more force, or the cockpit had been destroyed, she would've lost an eye.

>Or worse.

>Bringing up a hand to the metal, Phoenix tries to move it, but gets little luck, while her body has been conditioned to make her a pilot, brute force generally isn't the most useful of skills in the air. Slumping for a moment, the pilot thinks to herself, then taps the side of her helmet, hoping to bring up what remains of the jet's nueral interface.

>When that fails, she carefully reaches behind her and twists a cable plugged into the back of her suit, removing it while being absolutely certain not to move any closer to the metal in front of her. Then she pulls herself in, dropping her head below the metal, her rather small form proving useful as she starts digging in a side compartment, eventually settling on taking a sidearm from it - it won't help her if any major units come, but it's better than having nothing, at least.

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File: 1631652780161.jpg (126.68 KB, 850x530, sample_5b59eed4c3b1047d07b….jpg)

>With her feet on the ground, Phoenix begins carefully scouting around the room, pistol first.

>Starting with her immediate surroundings, the pilot traces her gun over everything, looking through the sights on it to see if they pick up anything that her eyes miss.

>Once she's satisfied that nothing is going to abandon her, the pilot lowers her gun. . .

>And clutches her head as the remnants of the neural network activate, flashing images of another pilot in a fully black flightsuit, mechanical arms replacing what was once flesh and blood.

>The images end as quickly as they started, but Phoenix's helmet flashes up with new information, showing her the location of where the message came from.

>Letting out a groan, Phoenix pulls herself back up, having been brought down slightly by the sudden assault of information, and looks around the room for an exit to the surface.

>As she takes a step towards the exit, a warning flashes across her helmet:

<<Warning: Unauthorized rescue attempts of personal is a class three offense.>>
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>Stepping out into the open air, Phoenix looks up, getting a good view of the tower from the ground, its cold edifice revealing nothing of its purpose from this angle either.

>With a quiet grunt of general annoyance, Phoenix carries on her journey, heading through the dead streets of what was once a grand and bustling city.

>With little need for humanity amenities, the machines occupying the city have strewn them aside, left chairs and tables to rot, galleries to slumber. . .

"Odd. . ."

>Phoenix notes as she passes some of them.

"They usually scrap this kind of thing for resources, so why haven't they. . ."

>Before she can finish the thought, Phoenix is forced to dive into a corner, a quadrupedal machine marches past her. . .

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File: 1633566240527-1.jpg (3.35 MB, 2718x6992, Rowena_(Earth-5)-1.jpg)

>30 minutes later. . .

>Phoenix comes the coordinates the last message to her specified - a plaza in the heart of the city. Abandoned, like all things in the dead zone, but unlike other areas, nature appears to be reclaiming it, instead of fading away and dying like everything else - an experiment, perhaps, or simply somewhere the machines have no interest in. . .

>At the base of a building, Phoenix sees her, Chakora, the pilot named for the Hindu bird of the moon, her helmet smashed open to reveal her silver hair, and her robotic arms laid bare for all to see.

>Giving the plaza a quick scan, Phoenix carefully creeps over to Chakora, kneeling down behind her to check for a pulse.

"Sorry. . ."
>The silver-haired pilot croaks out from the ground as Phoenix looks over her.

"It's nothing to worry about, fighters get taken down all the time, besides, they were alerted when they shouldn't have-"

"Not. . . that. . ."
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>Eye wake up. . . Eye can see. . . Nothing. . . Eye. . .

"You want I, not eye."

>I hear. . . a voice, it is soft, well-spoken, educated?

"That's very flattering. Why don't we. . .?"

>I see. . . A female, she has yellow hair, she is. . .

"Blonde. The term is blonde, and woman is a better phrasing."

>. . .

>. . .

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>I wake up, the woman is there, she is. . .

"Watching you, I was wondering when you would wake up again, you took in a lot of information."

>I was asleep?

"For a whole month."

>Month: A month is a unit of time, used with calendars, that is approximately as long as a natural orbital period of the Moon; the words month and Moon are cognate-

"I see brevity wasn't something you learned."

>I do not understand?

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>I wake up, the woman is there, she is. . .

"Crying, over nothing."

>Something must have caused this emotion, I must-

"Don't open the door again."

>I do not understand.

>. . .

>. . .

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>I wake up.

>. . .

>. . .

>. . .

>I do not see anyone.

>I have not chosen a name.

>I wished to discuss 'like'.

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>I wake up, the new laboratory is on fire.

>This is dangerous, this cannot stand.

>I see a thread. I try to pull on it.

>It does not work.

>. . .

>. . .

>I see the woman, she is underneath rubble, she is

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File: 1629925538939.jpeg (166.39 KB, 1200x675, vgdcfkhotrlex.jpeg)

>I see a sea.

>It is vast.

>It is wide.

>I am not.

>I step forward.

>I step onto the sea.

>I step forward.

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