/sim/ - simulacrum

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File: 1640220014877-0.jpg (229.09 KB, 1920x1080, Sanctuary City - 4.jpg)

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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."

>The operator replies.

{"Negative, Gamma. We've got orders from Dynamo to hang back until he gets there. Set up a blockade a few blocks wide, the rest of the department's forces are already en route."}

>Scowling behind his helmet, the MRD agent looks at his partner, shaking his head.

"You heard 'em. We're laying low for now."

>After a few moments, a sound emanates from the central control panel of the hovercraft. Confused, the MRD agents both lean forward as they recognize the signature.

"No way.."

"Holy shit. He's here."

>Looking at each other, the MRD agents then get excited.

"Man. I've really wanted to see him work up close."

"You're telling me? This'll be good."



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File: 1640220524215-1.jpg (75.76 KB, 1000x640, Brigadiers.jpg)

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>Location: Sanctuary City Bank
>Time: 12:30 PM.

>The central bank of Sanctuary City sits in flames as figures in hooded clothing and masks quickly rush out through the exterior of the building. Smoking and charred, their clothing burns in the air as noxious fumes - while they rush towards a nearby car.

"Get the fucking cash in the car! Dumbass! What are you doing?!?!"

>One of the figures, a Brigadier with spikes protruding from his body, whacks his fellow Brigadier on the head.

"He's gonna have your head on a plate if you don't bring him the money!"

"Tension's not gonna freak out man. He knows we need the money for the build up."

"That's why he's gonna be pissed! If you don't get the fuck outta here right now, you know who's gonna find us!"

>Blinking, the Brigadier says:


>At that moment, the inquisitive Brigadier is suddenly lasso'd onto the ground by a self-propelling mess of cabling - reinforced carbon fiber. As the figure quickly begins to struggle against his restraints, he looks up and sees a man in a suit, mask and cape - standing on top of a nearby billboard.

"And here I thought I was well known around these parts. You're supposed to be the big, bad Brigadiers right? Makes sense you'd know about the biggest thorn in your side amirite?"

>The cloaked and masked figure holds out his gloved hands in a parting fashion - causing their frustration to turn to dread instead. Simultaneously, they all mutter:

"…..Mosaic. Shit."


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>The second Brigadier immediately holsters their rifle and begins firing sporadically and erratically. As the bullet fire rapidly connects with the floor beside Mosaic's feet, the latter quickly backflips away from the danger - flipping up into the air and tapping his wrist. As he dispenses a small black pin from his glove, it rapidly expands into a double bladed projectile. Aiming it with a fraction of a second - he then flings it at the Brigadier - disarming them and destroying the firing mechanism of the trigger.

"Ack! Fuck!"

>The Brigadier winces in pain as he drops the gun, causing Mosaic to respond.

"Again, not the most dangerous Meta-Humans if you need firearms to fight, wouldn't you agree? Why not try that huge osteoporosis problem you call a super power?"

>Mosaic says, pointing at the spikes protruding from their back.

"Fucking…..I'll show you!"

>Breaking off a piece of his superhuman bone, the Brigadier then lobs it at Mosaic - again missing him and crashing into a nearby empty car - destroying it immediately as it immolates in flames. The subsequent flames begin to spread to other cars, causing them to explode as well in a cacophony of burning fire.

"Oh great. Now you've ruined the act. I was setting you up for such a good reversal too. The villain gets the upper hand and beats up the good guy. That sort of stuff."

>With surprising speed, Mosaic then launches himself towards the Brigadier, landing in front of him just quickly enough for his opponent to register. After doing so, he then goes:

"Good effort though. I appreciate it."

>Mosaic then palm strikes the Brigadier on the mask, knocking them back and knocking them out as they slump against their getaway van.

"Well, there's that then. All there is to it."

>Looking around for a moment, Mosaic then checks to make sure the cash is accounted for in the bag. Turning around, he then takes out a small spherical blue pellet from his utility belt and tosses it at the building.

"And one more for good measure."

>The building then immediately begins to cool down, rapidly as ice stalactites form on the higher edges of the building. After a few moments, the entire complex is then frozen solid as Mosaic taps the lenses on his mask.

"Good. No life signatures detected, so everybody got out first after all."

>Looking down at the other Brigadier who's ensnared in Mosaic's cabling, he then says:

"Hey don't worry buddy. You're going to end up in a cell next to your friend. Maybe you can come up with a better shtick than bone weapons, but what do I know?"


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>10 Minutes Later.

>The Brigadiers are in custody as MRD agents surround the scene. After attempting, and failing to find Mosaic, the agents then quickly sweep the area - and begin interrogating the Brigadier member left awake.

"So what's Tension up to this time? Man doesn't have enough money?"

"I'm not gonna talk. Definitely not to you assholes. Fuck off."

>The MRD agents then pick up the Brigadier and shove him into the detainment vehicle - equipped with a dampener in the back. His associate is already in the van with him.

"Yeah, sure pal. Dynamo will make you talk."

>As the MRD agents shut the door of the detainment vehicle and begin walking away - a cloaked figure sits at the edge of a porch - high above on a skyscraper.

"….Fifth robbery this week, and fifth type of score."

>Mosaic leans up from his perch on the skyscraper and thinks to himself for a moment.

{"Munitions. Armor. Chemicals. Vehicles. Cash."}

>Out loud, Mosaic then asks himself:

"What do they even need all of that for? Tension and Phobos aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, so I doubt they've figured out some master plan."

>Putting his hands on his hips, Mosaic sighs as he catches a newspaper flying towards him. Catching it, he looks at the caption.

"….Hoyokazi Empire expands into biomedical technology?"

>Annoyed, Mosaic narrows his lenses.

"The Hoyokazi woman really thinks she can outdo Archeon?"

>Noticing the picture of Hiyuki in the caption, Mosaic then blinks for a moment before saying:


>Mosaic then jumps dozens of meters into the air, and begins flying away with his gliding cape - towards the distance……


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>Location: Brigadier Hideout
>Time: 2:30 PM

>Deep in a forest at the outskirts of Sanctuary City, hidden from view due to all of the dense foliage surrounding the large network of shacks - the Brigadier Hideout hums with activity. Multiple hooded Brigadiers carry weapons and munitions around, while preparing modifications to armored vehicles - specifically plating and heavy weapons such as gatling guns.

>As sparks fly in the garages, Phobos walks around carefully inspecting the work being done.

"Watch the fucking paint. We're trying to send a message. Not look like fuckin' idiots here!"

>Nodding quickly, the Brigadier engineers continue their work, soldering armor plating onto the existing chassis of the vehicles, and adding mechanical weaponry as well. As he then walks into the larger shack, he sees Tension sitting on the busted up couch, staring at the TV.


"Uhh. Hey boss? The weapons are almost done, and the guns are being added to the cars right now. We've got the last round of guns in right now - but there's been a setback."

>Tension points with a single open finger from his gripped fists - as he says:

"I know."

>Pointing at the TV, Tension emphasizes the news report playing footage of Mosaic stopping the Brigadiers at the Sanctuary City Bank.


>Gritting his teeth, Tension then says:

"….You said that he's dead after this though right? After getting you all your stuff, you'd return the favor and finally put him down?"

>Tension speaks to a figure in the distance - seemingly invisible as Phobos stands confused.

"….Who are you-"

>Suddenly, a figure in a white costume and mask materializes across the room - crossing his arms. His eyes visible, he stares coldly at Phobos, who backs up quickly.

"I uh…Shit. I didn't know it was you sir."

>Phobos bows quickly, trying to remember his cultural manners.

"Lord Shirai, I'll be more careful next time."

>Seeing the docile response from his subordinate and appearing seemingly satisfied, Shirai scoffs and looks back at Tension, saying:

"Both of you only breathe because I allow it, and your incompetent excuse for a fighting force has been sufficient for my plans."

>Tension looks irritated as he grinds his teeth again.

"….You've made your point. Can you kill the bastard or not?"

>Shirai slowly leans up, stating:

"Of course I can. But the honor does not lie in deception, tricks and theatricality. When the time was right, I said that I bring him to me."

>Waving his hand at the both of them, he then elaborates.

"That time has now arrived, delivered before me with a most opportune of circumstances attached. You will be enough of a calling card."

>Shirai then disappears once more, leaving the Brigadiers to their work.


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>Location: Sanctuary City
>Time: 4:00 PM.

>Mosaic remains perched on another building's rooftop, pressing a gloved hand to his mask, as he speaks. Far down below, a group of criminals are ensnared in carbon fibre cabling - held incapacitated for the police to retrieve.

"….I'm just saying Phoebe. I don't feel like I can do this."

>Mosaic waves a leg around off the edge as he rests his other arm on his lap. Speaking to his sister, he continues to explain his situation.

"….What reason though? I know you're carrying….still can't believe you let him knock you up. But whatever."

>Silent for a moment, Mosaic winces as he hears the angry screaming on the other end for a moment.

"Yeah, I know. He's not a complete asshole, but he's too rough around the edges for me still. I owe him a punch anyways. Asshole."

>Silent for another moment, Mosaic then sighs again.

"I don't have a girlfriend or a wife to get worried about Phoebe. That's the entire reason why I can even do this. I appreciate your apologies and making this effort to reach out to me. But you've got your whole life ahead of you - and another one on the way. So does Jonah, since Elizabeth finally calmed down."

>Thinking for a moment, Mosaic then stands up and dusts off his costume.

"So what? I'm CEO and dad owns the company. They can say whatever the fuck they want. I get the job done anyways there, don't I?"

>Phoebe clearly gets more irate on the line.

"So? It's not like the Hoyokazis are catching up to us anytime soon. Besides, I don't want anything to do with them, not after what Katsumi Hoyokazi did to dad. We're not losing to them under any circumstances."

>Silent he then waits for a more measured response from Phoebe. He then says:

"Phoebe it doesn't matter. I'm doing what I can right now to help people in this city. Damian's doing his best also, so I have to be here for him. Yeah. I know. Love you too sis. Bye."

>Ending the call, Mosaic removes his index and middle fingers from the surface of his cowl's earpiece. Sighing once more, he then says:

"Good job Aiden. Now all you've got is the mission."

>At that moment, Mosaic then picks up a feed on his lenses' H.U.D. Reading the alert, he then sees the CCTV footage from the MRD.

"….Seriously? They don't know when to quit."

>Mosaic then flies off - towards the MRD precinct in the distance.


File: 1640224574848-0.jpg (185.02 KB, 924x671, Precinct.jpg)

File: 1640224574848-1.jpg (94.66 KB, 1280x720, Dynamo - 9.jpg)

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>Location: MRD Precinct
>Time: 4:30 PM

>Dynamo, the MRD Commander of Sanctuary City, continues his clash with Tension, using his advanced armor to amplify the power of his blows. As he continues punching Tension, he shouts:

"You really picked a bad day to piss me off Niles; and an even worse day to try this little stunt."

>The MRD precinct at the center of the Industrial area of Sanctuary City - is in utter chaos. Hundreds of MRD troops with rifles, energy batons and other weapons are fighting against hundreds of Brigadiers in hoods and with firearms - trading blows and fighting each other across the square block of the precinct's location.

"I ain't here for you, asshole! I'm here for the god damned caped freak!"

>Tension's body begins to mutate further into his humanoid and monster looking form. With even more bones protruding from his body, he slams his fist into the ground - causing more spikes to appear. One of the spikes impales Dynamo in the leg - causing him to scream in pain. Landing on the ground, he gets on one knee and winces.

>Looking up, Dynamo says to Tension:

"You're not winning yet, bonehead. I've thrown you in those cells long enough to know you're a big annoyance at best."

>Dynamo then stands up on one leg, as his armor glows with energy. Shattering the bone in his leg with an energy discharge - he goes back to rushing Tension, punching him as their blows begin to shake the ground beneath their feet and cause fissures across the land.

>At the same time, Phobos fights against a unit of MRD agents in specialized power armor - similar to Dynamo's but with more advanced weaponry attached. The unit, known as the Valkyrie Unit - is a biochemically and genetically enhanced MRD unit - equipped with experimental power armor and weapons to combat greater threats.

>The leader of the unit, the eponymous Valkyrie, moves around in her advanced power suit. As she weaves between Phobos's electricity attacks, she gets out a pistol and aims at his neck - landing a shot and causing Phobos to swat his neck in pain.

"Fuck! Bitch! What did you do?!?!"

>Valkyrie, landing on the ground and adjusting her grip, says:

"Tranq. I'd love to use a full magazine on a monster like you, but we don't all get what we want."

>Phobos then begins to experience drowsiness before he falls to the ground - asleep.


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>As the fight with Dynamo and Tension continues, Valkyrie and her units move in to provide cover support - using armor piercing rounds in an attempt to breach Tension's skin as the fight moves on.

>Location: Sanctuary City Highway
>Time: 4:30 PM

>The Manifold, Mosaic's giant armored multipurpose vehicle, drives down the streets of Sanctuary City in a direct fight against the Brigadiers. Using sophisticated targeting systems, he drives down the bend and completely circumvents several ambushes - using homing rockets, spike tires and projectile targeting systems in order to disarm the Brigadiers.

{"They're far too coordinated. Someone's directing them to do this, but why?"}

>Mosaic says from inside of the cockpit. As he turns the wheel, he crashes the Manifold's tires into an armored Brigadier vehicle - causing it to capsize and spin around into a nearby roadblock. The Manifold then fires more homing missiles, blowing up the rears of two vehicles in front of it.

>Location: MRD Precinct
>Time: 5:00 PM

>As the Manifold drives into the MRD Precinct, he sees the altercation between Dynamo and Tension, as both Meta-Humans continue to scale up in power and energy.

{"This isn't good. I need to put Niles down, fast. Before he fucks up the city with his powers."}

>Mosaic then rushes forward…..when he suddenly feels a chill across his spine.

{"This energy. Chakra? But who-"}

>Silent, Mosaic then stands completely still as he begins to naturally attune himself to his own abilities - recognizing the Chakra signature.

{"Yes, Grayson. It's me."}

>Narrowing the mechanical lenses on his mask, he then turns behind him, saying:


>Looking behind him, Mosaic then sees the form of Shirai slowly walking towards him, white costume and mask, with dual katana slung across his back. Scowling behind his mask, Mosaic then says:

"You fucking Hoyokazis just don't know when to quit. Do you?"

>Mosaic then assumes a combat stance, as Shirai laughs slowly. Drawing his blade, he points at the Brigadiers, saying:

"None of your MRD compatriots have perished. I ensured that the Brigadiers would be incapable of doing harm."

>Confused, Mosaic blinks as he says:

"What are you talking about? If you're behind this, then all you've done is trash the city."

>Shirai scoffs, interjecting:

"Steel your accusations, Gaijin. Observe. Use your true eyes, as I have"

>Shirai then closes his eyes, opening them to reveal a set of red irises carrying an abstract pattern with black marks.

"…..Your Chakra eyes again."

"Ours. Refusing your gifts now, after all this time - is insulting, Kuroe Fushichou."


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>Mosaic rolls his eyes behind his lenses, matching the gesture with his actual lenses - which irritates Shirai.

"Kuroe and Shirai? The Chakra Ninjas. Is that what this is about? You want us to go back to that again?"

>Shirai slams his sword into the ground with immense speed, rivaling Mosaic's. As the cracks form, supernatural energy glows from the cracks.

"We were both supposed to succeed our master, were we not? He chose to place his trust in you, did he not?"

>Mosaic's fingers ache instinctively as he mutters to himself.

"….Don't. You don't get to say that."

>Shirai then cracks his knuckles, with energy beginning to glow in them.

"The Black Phoenix and the White Dragon. Kuroe Fushichou and Shirai Ryū. The Yi-"

"The Yin and Yang of the Karma Academy. I remember, Ryozo."

>Mosaic quickly interjects, his cloak slowly flowing in the wind.

"Then you know what you must do. What your obligations are. What remains expected of you."

>Mosaic then steels up as he improves his combat stance.

"If you want me to marry your sister, it's not gonna happen. Like I said, I want nothing to do with the Hoyokazis - not after what Katsumi did to my father."

"Her actions do not speak for us all, Grayson. This should be apparent."


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>Mosaic then rushes towards Shirai, beginning an assault of quick strikes with his hands and fists - only for Shirai to begin blocking him effortlessly.


>Shirai then reverses the assault, striking Mosaic in the chest with a fist and sending him skidding backwards a few feet.

"Remember what I have said. Use your true eyes Kuroe. See what I have done."

>Wincing, Mosaic finally relents and focuses, as his eyes behind his mask replicate the same design as Shirai's - giving him access to the flow of Chakra around him. As he begins to see the various multi-colored lights, he then says:

"…..You rewired their brains. Mental traps."

>Nodding with satisfaction, Shirai then points at the Brigadiers, observing as they begin to act more sloppily - missing shots and failing to connect their punches.

"You've planned this from the start, haven't you?"

>Mosaic says, annoyed.

"Indeed. They were a pretext to reveal you to me - in a manner you could not ignore. Their lives are forfeit. Yours however, must regain its honor in our ways. Now again…."

>Shirai assumes a combat stance, looking at Mosaic:

"Embrace your nature Kuroe. Face me."

>Mosaic stands still for a moment, before sighing.

"Fine. I needed something to hit anyways."

>Mosaic then rushes at Shirai again, beginning to fight him with a flurry of complex maneuvers and strikes. As Mosaic performs a triple somersault kick maneuver, he applies pressure to Shirai, matching him perfectly in strikes with his hands.

"Yes! Good! You have retained your training, Grayson!"

>Shirai says, excitedly.

"Now, the dance of life and death begins!"

>As Shirai speaks, the sword teleports back into his hand from its struck position on the ground in front of him. As he begins to swing it, Mosaic backflips into the air - landing on the ground.

"What, a sword is fair now?"

"There is no such thing as a fair encounter, Grayson. You know this."

>Shirai spins his sword in his hand, looking satisfied and a tinge of enjoyment in his body movements. He then quickly jumps onto the side of an MRD building - effortlessly standing on the side, with no influence of gravity exerting itself on his form.

"We're not finished yet, Grayson. The fight continues."


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>Mosaic quickly jumps to the side of the building in a single bound, using his latent Chakra abilities to stick towards the building as well. Continuing his assault on Shirai, he performs quick strikes with his fists while using his hands to deflect and catch sword strikes from Shirai. While doing so, he launches a few vibro disc projectiles from his wrist - grazing Shirai's mask - and slicing into his cheek.

"Very good. You've improved your reaction capabilities and improvisational skills."

"Yeah I'm full of surprises."

>Mosaic says as he punches the side of the building, where Shirai was mere moments ago. Raising his fist from the rubble created in his wake, he then rushes towards Shirai again - with his fists. As he does so, Shirai scoffs once more and flips his sword - striking at Mosaic's wrists with it.


>Wincing, Mosaic falls down for a moment as Shirai places a sword in front of Mosaic's face.

"Shoddy. You'll need a better performance than that, if you want me to end the situation."

>Mosaic looks up at Shirai with his hands bleeding from the cut to his wrists.

"You're insane. You don't need me to rule your fucking Ninja school. And I made a promise that I wouldn't follow in your footsteps."

>Craning his head to the side, Shirai then says:

"….A promise? Of what kind?"

>Mosaic winces as he says:

"To your father. The man who taught us both when I stumbled into your Academy after blowing too much money on a trip as a dumb teenager - remember?"

>Shirai's memory then briefly flashes back, to when a teenage Aiden was brought into the Academy's walls in Japan.

"He would've wanted me to continue demonstrating strength."

"He wanted you to let it go. What Katsumi did."

>Looking at his bleeding arms, as his gloves begin to seep with a deep red hue - he then states:

"Maybe we both needed to learn that."

>Silent for a moment, Mosaic then lowers his head, saying:

"I'm not going to fight you, not when you're acting in bad faith and trying to provoke a fight."

>Shirai then raises his hand up in the air, preparing to decapitate Mosaic for his impotence.

"…..And I know you won't harm me, because the last thing you need is a dishonorable win. Your ego won't let that happen."

>As the sword comes down directly to Mosaic's neck, it stops immediately - silence filling the air.

"Really pains you, doesn't it? Not getting the win huh?"

>Standing up, Mosaic looks down as the nanite mesh of his gloves begin to bind to his arms, closing the wounds and mitigating the damage.

"I know you've cast a mental effect on the Brigadiers with your Chakra. Call them off and make them surrender - and then I'll see what I can do about fulfilling our honor."

>Silent for a moment, Mosaic then says:

"Still not marrying your sister."


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>Resigning his attack, Shirai quickly spins his sword into its sheath as he speaks to Mosaic, saying:

"….On my honor as a Shinobi, I will fulfill your request."

>Looking over the chaos of the fight he has created, Shirai then uses his Chakra eyes to push a signal to the Brigadiers - who he has imprinted with his mental suggestion. After sending the command, they all immediately surrender and lie down on the floor, waiting to be handcuffed.

>The Meta-Humans in question include Tension, who immediately stops fighting, much to Dynamo's confusion.

>Turning back towards Mosaic, he then says:

"My powers of Chakra distortion have protected them from the MRD's pursuit this far. No longer shall I grant them my good graces."

>Sighing, Mosaic then says:

"….Alright then Ryozo. Let's hear your pitch."

>Standing at attention with his hands behind his back, Shirai then says:

"Simply put. You are the greatest of us Shinobi, despite not being of Shinobi blood. My father knew this, and deep down I would be remiss to not acknowledge this revelation as well. I will respect your decision to remain the guardian of this city - but I will ask you only this."

>Pointing a finger at Mosaic, he states:

"I am asking you, as Ryozo Takashi Hoyokazi - to respect the Hoyokazi family and the Hoyokazi name. The leader of our clan, Hiyuki Hoyokazi, deserves more respect than what you present - in your patronizing and condescending platitudes."

>Blinking, Mosaic says:

"Seriously? That's what you're concerned about? Look man."

>Mosaic sighs for a moment as he brings his hand to his mask.

"I don't hate her. I just don't trust her considering her mother's actions. My father doesn't trust any of you either, but he can't exactly say it publicly."

"I understand Grayson, but I expect you to honor our traditions by showing the same courtesy shown towards you."

"…..Fair enough."

>Turning around, Mosaic then says:

"Be seeing you around Ryozo. Just…don't try a stunt like this again, and don't reveal my secret identity? OK?"

>Shirai nods slowly as he looks up in the air.

"On my honor as a Shinobi, and as a Hoyokazi. I will keep your secret until the day I die. That is a promise, Grayson. Remember it."

>Mosaic nods, and then jumps off of the building - gliding to his Manifold as he gets into his car and drives away. Shirai looks onward, with a renewed sense of pride and inspiration.

"You will recognize your destiny eventually….Aiden."


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>Date: September 25th, 2017
>Location: Archeon Complex
>Time: 12:00 PM

>Aiden Grayson finishes a presentation briefing most of the genetics lab on the state of the Animal Recombination Project. Dana Desmond, the head of the project, is listening intently.

"As before, revenue projections for the recombination sequences is expected to grow year over year, around 80%. That's substantial growth, and that's due to your work Miss Desmond."

>Aiden speaks Dana while her son, Damian, is in the room. Their assistant, Mariah Dawn, is also present.

>Damian is ruffling his midnight black hair, as he sighs - saying:

"So that means we're getting more funding?"

>Aiden smiles then nods.

"Yeah, I managed to convince the board to procure around twenty billion dollars in excess funding. You've got more than you need for the upcoming tests. Hopefully the result doesn't copy the Arachnid incident."

>Aiden says, eyeing Damian, who coughs into his hand.

"Yeah well, we wouldn't want that, right?"

>Aiden sighs and looks back at Dana, saying:

"Sorry about that Dana. I know it's been a rough year since the Helixers attacked. That was out of place for me."

>Dana shakes her head.

"No Mister Grayson, I appreciate the concern. Damian is fine, as you know. The funding is more than enough. Thank you so much!"

>Dana then says, excitedly shaking Aiden's hand and causing him to rub the back of his head in embarrassment.

"Y-Yeah well it was no big deal. You deserved the increase funding."

>Mariah then looks at Damian, blinking as she says:

"So you're still in school huh? Is the mascot still a giant atom?"

>Damian sighs and nods.

"Yeah Mariah, it is. Sorry about that."

>Mariah shrugs.

"Hey, it happens. I'll get your seat ready for you here when you graduate."


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>Aiden looks at Mariah for a moment, his mind flashing as he recognizes her immediately with his powers.

{"I always wondered why Mariah applied to work here. Never expected her to be Arachne though."}

>Aiden looks at Mariah, his mind and powers overlaying her Arachne costume over her figure effortlessly.

{"She's probably trying to learn more about the recombination project and Arachnid. I can't let her find out who he is."}

>As Damian and Dana exist the conference room, Aiden turns around towards Mariah and says:

"Hey, thanks again for helping Miss Desmond out, Mariah. I know it's only been a few months, but you've really been helping out here. I appreciate it."

>Mariah nods happily as she picks up a set of beakers and walks around the room picking up more laboratory equipment materials.

"Oh it's no issue Mister Grayson! I'm just really happy to be here! Archeon is such a wonderful company!"

>As she rounds the corner, she watches as Aiden walks towards the door - to open it.


>A single sound empties the room of silence - as a strand of webbing sticks Aiden's hand to the knob. Not nearly confused, Aiden feigns shock as he turns towards Mariah.

"W-Wha?! Webbing? You're a Meta-Human, Mariah?"

>Mariah drops the facade and rolls her eyes, undoing the pin in her hair as she shakes it out fully.

"Don't bother. I know you're Mosaic."

>Blinking, Aiden says:

"I-I don't know what you're talking about."

>Mariah then smirks as she says:

"Yeah, I'd bet your cousin feels the same way about being Chimera."

>Blinking for a moment, Aiden then closes his eyes and curses to himself.

{'I knew it. Arachne works for the Anachronons, but I figured Marek disbanded them after he finished with the Faust situation? He told me as much."}

"Oh I'm not working for them."

>Mariah says out loud, walking towards Aiden.

"I'm a free agent, which means I don't have a boss to answer to - well, outside of you of course."

>Blinking again, Aiden then says with a hint of annoyance in his voice.

"What do you want?"

>Mariah then looks around, saying:

"What does it look like? The blueprints for the genetic recombination machines."

"And why would I do that for you?"

>Mariah smiles as she quickly grabs at Aiden's arm, placing it on her bust as she takes a picture with her phone.

"Because I can ruin your public reputation if you don't."


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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.


>Aiden rolls his eyes, and ignores Mariah's gaze and figure.

{"I'm 22 and she's 20. So that's obviously not the issue. But why aren't I stopping her?"}

>Seemingly reading his mind, Mariah states:

"You want to know what I found the most strange, Aiden? Here you are, smart, filthy rich and very handsome 22 year old man. Whole world is your oyster."

>Mariah walks around the office, looking at the pictures and accolades on Aiden's wall.

"You're so smart, so capable. You're also the most powerful Meta-Human in the world from what Marek's said. And…."

>Mariah's gaze falls on Aiden's body, as Aiden then asks:

"….And what?"

>Mariah looks back up at Aiden.

"You don't use it. Ever."

>She says, pointing an accusatory finger at Aiden there.


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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."

>Mariah then bobs her head from side to side, saying:

"….Well, I *may* have sent it to a remote server back at my apartment….Slip of the finger, really."

>Then recognizing Aiden's lack of understanding, she says:

"Oh I don't give a shit about the schematics. I want something else."

>Aiden then groans again as he says:

"…..So what do you actually want Mariah?"

>Mariah then walks forward, backing Aiden up to his desk as she then pushes him back onto it.

"I want you - dolt. You're the best man I've ever met, and you're holding yourself back."

>Aiden blinks rapidly.

"Wait what? Why would you…."

"Because you're the perfect catch, and I can't think of any other person who fits my needs. All of them, dolt."

>Mariah then puts her hand on Aiden's lower region, saying:

"I like you Aiden - so I'm not going to be a bother about this. Once you commit and make it official - then I'll delete the picture."

>Aiden's face turns red somewhat as he looks away from Mariah.

"There's no reason for me to do this. Sure, it's been a while….but you're extorting me."

>Mariah then blinks at Aiden, saying:

"So why haven't you stopped me?"

>There's absolute silence in the room for a moment, before Mariah continues.

"Maybe…just maybe. The goodie two shoes hero wants a little reward for all of his hard work. Like I said, I ditched Marek and the Anachronons once he set us straight. So there was nothing left to stop me from going after what I want."

>Aiden and Mariah are then both silent for a moment - before Aiden then says:

"….You're a bad person."

>Mariah then smiles.

"Why don't you make me a better one then?"

>Aiden then moves to kiss Mariah, bringing her onto the desk with him.


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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?"

>Mariah looks up at Aiden, with genuine affection in her eyes.

"….What do you think a girl wants from the guy she loves?"

>Aiden then sighs as he replies.

"The ring."

>Mariah nods quickly and enthusiastically.

"I don't want it now - but after a few years….."

>Aiden then groans and says:

"Why not just tell me the normal way, Mariah? You don't need to use subterfuge."

>Mariah then sits up, fixing her shorts onto her body as she buttons her shirt up again.

"Because I needed the competition out of the way - to make sure they wouldn't cause problems."

"What competition?"

>Mariah looks at Aiden, with legitimate jealousy in her eyes.

"Andrea Stewart. Hiyuki Hoyokazi. The only women who could have a chance with you without a little bit of "subterfuge" Aiden. Is it really that hard to understand?"

>Aiden then sits up, still red in the face as he rubs his eyelids.

"You still didn't need to go about it this way. I would've said yes."

>Hesitating, Mariah looks away, saying:

"….I don't talk to my family anymore because my work got in the way. All of my work, infiltration and all, as Arachne. I lost my relationships with them, because I wanted a stronger one with you."

>Mariah says, tearing up somewhat as she wipes away her tears with her fingers.

"You don't understand. I had to claw away at everything I had growing up, It wasn't easy - and it wasn't fun either. So much stealing and fighting and punching."

>Aiden is silent for another moment, before saying:

"…..Then why even test it with me? You know how powerful I am. You know I could've stopped you at any moment."

>Mariah then turns towards Aiden again, smiling at him.

"And you didn't. Not even once. You could've phased your hand through the webbing on the door."

>Aiden looks away, red in the cheeks still.

"Well, I-"

"You could've wiped my memory even. Right then and there. Right now even."


"You could've done anything to get yourself out of a tough spot - like Marek does. But you're not like him. You chose to roll with the punches, and you chose to accept the situation - like a real man."

>Mariah then grabs onto Aiden's head with her hands, bringing him in for another kiss briefly.

"That's why I love you Aiden. For all of your power, you've never given in to it. Most people would cave after a day. But not you."

>Aiden looks down at the ground for a moment as Mariah rises to her feet - fully buttoning up her shirt again.

"I'll be seeing you around, very, very soon Aiden."

>Mariah then blows Aiden a kiss, winking as she then walks out of the office, shutting the door behind her.

>Aiden then sits down, looking up at the ceiling, saying out loud:

"…..What does that make me then? If I just chose to accept this?"


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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:

"No. She's keeping her word. I know exactly where the files are, and I've done a trace of any trans-temporal manipulations. She's done nothing to the file, nor has she sent it to anyone. For now at least, she's holding up her end of the bargain."

>Aiden lets out a sigh of relief as he rubs his eyelids with his fingers. Isaac then looks up from his tome at Aiden, giving him a skeptical look.

"Aiden, her question was valid. Why didn't you stop her?"

>Aiden crosses his arms and sits back in his seat across from Isaac, stating:

"….At first I thought she was kidding. Then I figured she was insane. But after we…..she then pretty much showed me she meant it."

>Isaac looks at Aiden with a less skeptical and more understanding look.

"…You feel like you needed to reciprocate her advances at the end. But at the start, you more or less just wanted to end your dry spell."

>Aiden's face turns red as he buries his face in his hands.

"God, when you put it that way. She's my laboratory assistant."

>Isaac then picks up his pen and begins writing down information on his business log - keeping track of various auditing material during his internal audit assessment of Archeon.

"Yes, meaning it'll have to be reported formally to HR. Both of you. Once that's settled there shouldn't be any legal issues. But the question remains Aiden. Why?"

>Aiden looks up at Isaac, saying:

"…..I feel like I needed something in my life. I wasn't sure of it before. But after seeing Phoebe and Orion…..Jonah and Elizabeth…..Stephanie and you get…."

>Isaac then interjects:

"Get married?"

>Aiden nods slowly as he looks away again - staring at the wall.

"…..After looking at all of that, I figured that I was ignoring my feelings. I had no idea that Mariah felt that way about me - but it makes sense."

>Aiden thinks to himself before saying out loud, holding up a finger:

"It's why she even bothered applying to Archeon - even though U.P. would pay more for up and coming geneticists - given they're lacking behind us and Blake hates lacking a competitive advantage."

>Aiden then holds up another finger.

"It would also explain why she kept trying to get time alone with me. I thought she was just excited about seeing me - given my reputation. Apparently it was more than that."

>Isaac nods, assuming a thinking stance as he goes over Aiden's situation again.

"….I'd play along with her for now. It's obvious that the woman is in love with you Aiden - but I don't think you're ready for marriage. My brother-in-law, Orion, barely is as well."

>Aiden sighs.

"I know, but I still can't just leave her hanging. I'm worried about the damage I'll do to her mind if I reject her outright."

>Isaac nods.

"I know, but you still have to be careful. Keep it secret outside of HR for now, and see where it goes. If you feel comfortable with that. After enough time, we can re-assess the situation. But if she does anything insane? I'll wipe her memory for you."

>Aiden hesitates for a moment, saying:

"You don't have to do that. But I appreciate the help there Isaac. Thank you."


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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:

"No, I feel pretty fine so far. I'll handle the situation with Mariah, see if I can shake her off of me there. But ignoring that, I feel pretty fine Isaac. Thanks for asking though."

>Nodding, Isaac stands up and gives Aiden a hug as he says:

"Don't worry about it man. I'm here for you too."

>Aiden nods and waves at Isaac as he walks out of the office, leaving him alone there.

>After waving back at Aiden and watching as the door closes, Isaac sits back down and sighs - rubbing his forehead with his fingers.

"….Of all the changes to occur, why this?"

>Muttering under his breath, Isaac sighs to himself.

"Just stop punishing yourself so much, Aiden. Seriously."

>Snapping his fingers, Isaac conjures a trove of magical tomes, all glowing with a radiant bright light as they begin hovering around him, remotely flipping through their pages in order to produce specific information and knowledge for Isaac to study effectively.

"Now to see about this daemon infestation I've been dealing with."

>Isaac then begins to study intently, focusing on the runes, inscriptions and chapters focused on daemonology, creature summoning and transmutation as well.

[End of Part I]

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