/simu/ - Simulacrum

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>Date: September 15th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Business Sector
>Time: 10:00 AM

"Just hang on for a moment. I told you, I'll be there soon."

>Marek then ends the call and places his phone back in his jacket pocket. Looking at the other side of the limousine, he sees Miranda adjust her hair slowly - dragging a strand of hair behind her ear.

"What, you're trying to look pretty for the Director? We're not here to see him."

>Scowling, Miranda flicks a small blast of compressed air at Marek's face - which he absorbs with his fingers. Smirking in satisfaction, Marek then speaks with a sarcastic tone to his voice.

"Ohh~ Touched a nerve~?"

>Miranda continues firing bolts of compressed air at Marek, while Jakob sits on the opposite side - typing on a laptop computer.

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>Aiden shakes his head, still not looking at Miranda and instead staring out across the city once more.


>Surprised, Miranda gives Aiden an incredulous look - utter confusion running through her mind as Aiden continues to divert his attention towards the skyline before him.

>His blue eyes rapidly filter out visual information, as his ears hone in to the sound of auditory stimuli and phenomena - doing so with an inhuman degree of precision and efficiency.

"There's a gas line that's been ruptured in a firefight between Brigadiers and Autonauts. Three miles out from our location, southwest. Given the diameter of the ruptured line - it'll leak out aerosolIzed gasoline at a rate sufficient for a potential explosion in about three minutes."

>Frowning, Miranda understands Aiden's intent behind the statement - choosing to make her next statements count regarding speed and efficiency.

"What do I have that Marek lacks then?"

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>Aiden raises his eyebrow behind his sunglasses and looks at Miranda.

"You don't think having an eight out of ten rating - for thousands of different abilities is formidable?"

>Miranda gives Aiden a light smirk as she crosses her arms, feeling a sense of self-righteousness over her inevitable reply.

"Not if one of your abilities is telepathy, and that's at an 11 on the scale."

>Looking back out over the horizon, Miranda then states:

"Do you have any idea how boring life is, with power like that? I can ensure that virtually no one disagrees with me on anything. I can have almost anything that I want - with a glance. Secrets don't exist to me. Almost everyone is an open book."

>Miranda leans forward once more, now with a slight frown on her face.

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>Miranda allows the term to marinate in her mind for a few moments - basking in the relief that comes from a simple name - a designation for what she's been feeling for years.

"…..At least I know there's something to it. This…..'Siren' nature…..Is this the reason why I was born with my telepathy? While Marek and Jakob weren't?"

>Aiden nods.

"Assuming my guess is correct, then yes. You likely have the psionic imprint, just as Aunt Ophelia likely did. That would explain why she left - and why you didn't manifest your abilities until your teen years."

>Aiden takes a moment to stop speaking, in order for it all to sink in for Miranda in her mind. After figuring that she's ready to continue, Aiden keeps going.

"It was likely done in a bid to protect you from Dyskrasia's presence, since she knew he was lurking around her family. She probably assumed it found its way into Uncle Eli's mind - and she took the necessary precautions to suppress your powers until you reached adolescence."

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>Miranda's eyes widen in surprise at the statement. She then laughs suddenly, unable to contain her response to the absurdity of the statement.

"Haha! Aiden I'm not magic! I can barely meditate, much less perform hand signs and speak incantations! I don't have any potential for magic!"

>Aiden shakes his head as he taps her forehead with his finger. After a moment, a bright surge of rainbow-colored energy emanates from Miranda's eyes.

"Wha?! What did you do?!"

>Miranda begins frantically placing her gloved hands over her face - covering her eyes as bright lights begin to cover her vision.

"Just focus and breathe, Miranda, Calm down."

>Miranda nods and slowly begins to take deep breaths - in and out. After doing this five times in a row, Miranda then readies herself and opens her eyes.

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>Aiden then gives a soft smile as he stands up and dusts himself off.

"The Sorcerers Supreme are busy people. I'm not sure they'd just see anyone - especially someone who sees the world in an entitled manner."

>Miranda narrows her eyes in response to Aiden's provocative statement.

"Oh? So why did they see you?"

>Aiden gives Miranda a sheepish look of innocence, feigning surprise and confusion at her accusation.

"What do you mean, Miranda? How are you certain that I actually met them? This could all just be a story I made up to convince you that I'm able to help you - just so that you'd be more receptive to demands from me."

>Miranda immediately sees through Aiden's bluff by pointing out the issues.

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>Date: September 14th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Archeon Complex
>Time: 5:00 PM

>A sense of frenetic tension courses through Arachnid's body, as his swinging becomes more and more erratic. The strain of his muscles begins to further weigh down on the silk adhesive - as he continues to swing through the interlocked arrangement of skyscrapers that comprise Sanctuary City's Business Sector.

{"Damnit! How the hell did someone figure it out?! This isn't good….Shit!"}

>Unable to think throughout the entirety of the day, only now after his classes have finished - can he begin venting in his mind.

{"I still need to finish that report on the microalbumin cultivation. The peptide bonding and substrate creation data needs to be cleaned up too…..Ugh."}

>Twisting like a corkscrew through a large arrangement of construction work, Arachnid continues swinging. His pace and speed begin to pick up rapidly as he then thinks to himself:

{"If somebody's figured out who I am, then what about Mariah? Jay? Aiden?"}
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>Location: Kyoto, Japan - Tasogare Castle
>Time: 10:00 PM [Relative to SC]

>Inside of the main gathering area of the large historical castle - two women are continuing to stand in place, before the throne of the Tasogare family ancestral home.

["He was too strong. We had no idea that Ryozo had requisitioned help to such a degree."]

>Hanabi says, as a man remains standing with his back turned to the two women. As he continues staring at an ancient mural on the wall, he then speaks.

["Preparation and proper execution is a hallmark principle of our family lineage, Hanabi. For you to be disarmed by a single punch is almost shameful."]

>Hanabi's eyes lower to the floor as she closes said eyes, then exhales lightly. Now mumbling to herself, she allows Asami to speak up instead.

["Older brother, you were not there! The strength and speed of the one they call Mosaic….It was unparalleled!"]
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>Akito then makes a quick gesture with his hand - as he materializes a brief plume of black and red smoke. As the smoke subsides, a large black and red katana appears in his hand. The katana is imbued with a powerful energy - strong enough to make Asami and Hanabi instinctively step backwards.

["The sword passed down through generations. The blade which imbued us with the power of the ancients. The Gods."]

>Looking at the blade with an almost entranced expression on his face, Akito continues speaking.

["The weapon that bestowed upon us our birthright. Our claim to Japan's future."]

>Turning back to Asami, Akito then asks her a simple question.

"Do you know what happens when someone outside the Tasogare family is penetrated by the sword's power?"

>Asami looks at the blade for another long moment, feeling a sense of deep and primal fear. Her hindbrain and the amygdala of her brain immediately begin to scream at her - begging for her to step away. To run, hide or otherwise avoid the blade.

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>After a few seconds, footsteps can be heard as an older woman appears in the room. The woman has midnight black, shoulder length hair, and wears a white outfit. While she appears older than Asami and Hanabi, she has the appearance of a woman in her mid 30s. She also has a striking resemblance to Hanabi herself.

>Immediately noticing the woman, Hanabi turns around and starts running to her.


>Hanabi's mother is then startled, as Hanabi gives her a big hug. Patting her on the back, she then responds.

["I am so glad to see you have returned home safely, Hanabi. Please do not worry me like that again."]

>Hanabi pulls back from the hug and laughs.

["No promises mother!"]

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>As silence fills the room, Hifumi's demeanor completely changes towards one of seriousness.

["Akito, if their report is correct, then we are in grave danger. The one they encountered…they speak of him as if he demonstrates your level of strength! Combined with potential magic and…."]

>Akito raises an eyebrow as he walks forward, moving to Hifumi's location.

["Finish your statement, Hifumi."]

>Akito stands directly before the older woman, a few inches taller than her, though not by much. As Hifumi feels the imposing nature of his presence, she can feel the power radiating from him.

["Are you certain that none may here us?"]

>Having made a gesture with his hands, Akito watches as a surge of black and red energy pulsates through the room. After a few moments - Hifumi realizes what has happened.

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>As Akito waves his hand once more, black and red energy pulsates around them - leading to the room being reversed to its original state.

>Once the pocket dimension is removed from existence, Akito then dissipates the Eien no Yoru into a cloud of black and red smoke.

"Now for the planning and preparations. Ryozo will likely regroup and redouble his efforts to press an assault. Should that be the case, then we need to prepared to retaliate."

>Hifumi wipes away her tears as she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Steeling her resolve, she then opens her eyes and states:

"….I will ready the Shadows, they will await your command, Akito."

>Nodding, Akito then turns to leave the room as he says:

"Secrets only serve to divide us. We must maintain unity among our familial ties - if we are to prevail."

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>Date: September 14th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - UP Tower
>Time: 8:47am

>Located at the top of the UP Tower, the CEO of UP's office looks out across Sanctuary City, commanding an impressive view of the city thanks to the majority of the surrounding city having been built by the same company as the tower itself, granting the tower the privilege of being one of the tallest buildings in the city.

>As the morning sun rises over the city, the windows of the office adjust, allowing more natural light into the room while simultaneously blocking out the glare from the star, diffusing the light into a comfortable level for the occupant.

>Watching the city below, Bella Blake stands near one of the windows, her position giving her a view out to the sea. Her thoughts are soon interupted, however, as a woman enters the room, neatly dressed and holding a package.

"Ms Blake, this package came for you. I've had it scanned like you require and nothing was detected. . ."

"Thank you Anne, put it on the desk and I'll handle it."

>The woman, Anne, nods and places it on Bella's desk, leaving the young woman to her own musings.

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>Sent tumbling backward, Arachnid then quickly flips up into place, groaning in pain as he does so.

"Ugh. Why do they always go for the back…."

>Rubbing his back, Arachnid slowly walks over to Apex and looks down at the metallic head on the floor beside her.

"…..So it was remote controlled? That's…actually kind of anti-climactic honestly."

>Looking back up at Apex, Arachnid then says:

"So if this guy's using Tenacium just because you're starting to get close to the Crimson Tide….I would say that you're doing a good job so far - right?"

>As Arachnid speaks, a shadow can now be seen cast over the both of them. Looking upward, Arachnid now sees the hovering shape of his aerial hypersonic flight vehicle - the Aurora.

"Took you long enough to get here. Sheesh."


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>The disembodied head begins laughing.

"Clever. Very clever. You're more than you seem, Bella Blake - after all, you didn't read that signal with any equipment."

>Apex picks herself up, taking out a gun from her belt and aiming at the head.

"Ah, no need to bother, I did my job, all I was paid to do was send a message, so I'll be leaving you now."

>The head joins the rest of the armour, disolving into a pile of dust, and Apex lowers the gun, looking at Arachnid.

"The Crimson Tide calling in outside help is a good sign, yes."


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>Arachnid blinks for a moment behind his helmet then crosses his arms.

"….I still think you were way over your head with this. Seriously."

>Muttering to himself, Arachnid then asks:

"Still, the fact that they know who we are is kind of a problem. I'd have to imagine that they're not far off from figuring out who my boss is too."

>Cracking his knuckles in frustration, Arachnid says:

"What good is a secret identity if it's seen through like an X-ray?"

>Giving one last exasperated sigh, Arachnid then looks up at the Aurora and asks Apex:

"…..So do you want a ride back or…."


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"That one was smart, smarter than the rest of the Crimson Tide, although it's a good lesson in needing more precautions around these things."

>Apex thinks for a moment.

"While it'd be best to keep an eye out for ourselves, I suspect our 'friend' here today didn't tell the others - too much leverage for them otherwise."

>Apex kneels down, gathering up some of the dust and placing it into another container.

"And no, I don't need one, I need to wrap up some things here first."


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>Somewhere across the city, in a Crimson Tide safehouse. . .

>The lights in the safehouse flicker as a complex machine sparks, returning to their full brightness as the machine powers down, the mass of cables present on it shifting as something occupying it moves.

>Across the room, a blonde man claps, and begins talking tot he machine.

"Well, that was a waste of time, I mean, all that money we paid you two and you didn't even manage to kill a pair of brats."

>The man sighs, shrugging.

"I didn't even get to flex my acting skills.

>Beside the machine, an older man looks across at the blonde, sizing him up for a moment before deciding against doing anything.

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>Date: September 20th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Downtown Sector
>Time: 7:30 AM

"….So you do have the card, right?"

>A pair of MRD officers sit on the front of their hovercraft, both reminiscing about their past experiences with playing cards.

>One of the MRD agents agents slowly sips his cup of hot coffee through the exposed part of his helmet. His partner sits on the other side of the vehicle's front, scratching the back of their neck.

"Yeah well, it's a vintage collectible. They don't make the pocket creatures like they used to."

>Scoffing, the other MRD agent then responds.

"You said that card was for your kid, James."
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>Location: Archeon Complex
>Time: 7:40 AM

>As Mosaic's figure quickly flies like a rocket across the skies, his arms remain crossed as he thinks to himself.

{"I'm still not sure what exactly caused that monster to appear. Was there a dimensional fissure that occurred somewhere? A summoning ritual from some underground magician? No that's impossible. Isaac said that magicians more or less kept to themselves in different dimensions."}

>Now reaching the top of the Archeon Complex main building, Mosaic then thinks to himself:

{"Oh right, my car. I need an alibi for how Aiden Grayson got here."}

>Kneeling on the edge of the building's rooftop, Mosaic uses his enhanced vision and other senses to ensure that no one is looking at his target location. After a few seconds, he then snaps his fingers - as his car slowly fades into view in his designated parking spot.

{"There, now that's dealt with I can-"}
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>Doing a double take, Mosaic then stands back up and crosses his arms.

"So you're also psionic. That makes it more believable that you're responsible for this."

>The boy looks up at Mosaic, still pouting.

"I wasn't trying to hurt anybody! I just wanted to see you fight! You're the hero right? That's what you do!"

>Craning his head to the side, Mosaic keeps his arms crossed as he says:

"….You realize that you could've harmed a lot of people if I wasn't there, right?"

>Now crossing his own arms, the boy still pouts and looks away from Mosaic.

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>Aesop then laughs as he continues looking at his notes in his notebook.

"Let's see here. Right!"

>Tapping his pen against his cheek, Aesop begins to think.

"You're Aiden Grayson, also known as Mosaic. You always had your powers, but they finally activated after your lab accident-"

>Mosaic interjects:

"How did you even find out about that?"

>Aesop ignores Mosaic and continues reviewing his notes.

"Your twin sister is Phoebe Grayson and she's way more awesome than you. Your twin brother is Jonah Grayson, and he's way more polite than you….."
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>Mosaic takes a moment to absorb the information, but only a moment, before he finally says:

"So do you know the future or something? Because that'd be pretty useful to know."

>Aesop shakes his head 'no' and starts hovering in the air, writing in his notebook as he starts floating around Mosaic.

"Nope! I can only know what's already there - and only if it impacts someone else. That's what a narrative does, remember? It's a chain of events that leads to an ultimate conclusion!"

>Flicking his finger to move to the next page, Aesop then asks:

"Anything else you're curious about while I'm here? I'm booked for my next few visits. All of you blank spots are something else!"

>Raising an eyebrow behind his helmet, Mosaic then says:

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>Mosaic then crosses his arms once more as he thinks to himself:

"OK, so to recap. You're the Astral of Narratives and Stories, and you're aware of anything that could have narrative significance to anyone else."

>Aesop nods in affirmation as Mosaic continues speaking.

"You're interested in me, and six other people because, for whatever reason - we're essentially gravitational bodies when it comes to narratives. They just seem to swarm around us."

>Aesop nods again, excitedly.

"Ya huh! You're getting it so far!"

>Mosaic then makes a set of gestures with his hands, to explain his thoughts as he speaks on them.

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>Date: September 13th, 2017
>Location: Kyoto, Japan
>Time: 11:00 PM [JST]

>Thundering sounds crash against the skies of the dark and rainy night. The city remains eerily quiet, with only the noise of the rain and thunder filling the skies above.

>Two figures quickly rush across the buildings of the city, weaving in and out of air ripples powerful enough to rupture the rain. Brief pockets of air serve to repel the rain droplets, a result of the sheer air pressure of the strikes being landed.

["Give up you fool! You will not deter me from my goal!"]

>An armored figure speaks in Japanese, with a distorted pitch to their voice. An unnatural and almost eerily calm determination can be felt in the figure's words - although their opponent remains ever resolute, steadfast in their resistance.

["Your aspirations will doom not only your family, but our entire country! Cease this nonsense Akito!"]

>Shirai, the supernaturally powerful shinobi, then leaps into the air - blasting the armored figure with a burst of condensed air.

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>Kagemusha spends the next few minutes slowly searching the lower levels of the city streets of Kyoto. Despite all of their combined noise, the city still seemingly remains oblivious to the occurrences around them.

["Come out, Ryozo. I will spare you if courage is demonstrated."]

>Hidden behind a dark corridor with a series of steps, Shirai continues patching up his body - healing himself with a supernatural energy that he generates. Gradually, his body begins to heal itself - perfectly regrowing his arm and his clothing.

>Panting slightly, he then looks at his clone who nods - charging the severed arm up with faint blue energy.

>Kagemusha then gets tired of walking, and instead remains in place, crossing his arms.

>Then, he sees something.

[''….Wonderful. You have heeded my advice."]

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File: 1712358854462-0.png (1.6 MB, 1485x1026, Kagemusha.png)

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>Shirai and Kagemusha then continue their clash once more - both of them moving so quickly as to completely shatter the sound barrier. Their movements, now faster than the human eye can even perceive - continue fighting across the streets of Kyoto, flipping and vaulting across obstacles in their way.

["How much longer do you believe you can continue your rebellious ways, Ryozo? That Narukami family were always our closest confidants. Your family was the collective sword - which we used to strike down our shared enemies!"]''

>With a quick flicking motion of two fingers - Kagemusha generates a powerful surge of thin red light, powerful enough to completely slice through the large concrete wall that Shirai has just summoned with his powers. As the dense object falls into two bisected halves, Shirai moves back once more.

>With another series of hand gestures, Shirai then generates a massive plume of water - seemingly from nowhere. The massive surge of water then begins to quickly carry cars and vans throughout the street towards Kagemusha.

["Another admirable effort, Ryozo. However, it is not enough."]

>With another another swiping flick of his hand, Kagemusha generates another bright red thin slash of light - which cuts through the mass of water itself.

["What?! Impossible!"]

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>Irritated, Shirai then looks at Kagemusha as he states:

["This has gone on for long enough, Akito! If you will not relinquish the sword, then I will take it from you by force!"]

>Quickly moving towards Kagemusha with a surprising burst of speed, Shirai then draws his sword once more, now charging it with flames.

>Caught slightly off guard by the maneuver, Kagemusha raises up his sword to defend against the attack. As their blades collide, Kagemusha then says:

["I would rather avoid spreading more bloodshed. Pledge your loyalty to me and my family - as your father once did. Or face the penalty of betrayal on behalf of the entire Narukami family - and perish along with them."]

>Straining against the force of Kagemusha's strength, Ryozo instead opts to amplify the strength of his supernatural flames - pushing Kagemusha back slightly.

{"He is far too strong for me! I must retreat! But he can sense my energy as long as he does not break contact…."}

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>The blade then removes itself from Shirai's back side, quickly hovering over to Kagemusha's outstretched hand - where it rests in his grip. Now holding out the blade in front of Shirai's weakened form, Kagemusha then says:

["I ask you again, Ryozo Narukami. Renounce your allegiance to the Hoyokazi family - and honor the last pledge of your father. If you do not? Then I will make demands of your matriarch - Hiyuki Hoyokazi."]

>Now stabbing the blade slowly into Shirai's shoulder blade, Kagemusha watches as Shirai begins screaming loudly in pain.

["Either Hiyuki becomes my wife and integrates the Hoyokazi family into the Tasogare family - or the entire Hoyokazi family perishes by my blade, one strike at a time."]

>As Shirai is still screaming from the blade slowly cutting through the side of his body - his vision starts to go dark. Only for him to see his remaining clone quickly leap into action.

["Again you miscalculate, Ryozo."]

>Not even looking, Kagemusha makes the same flicking motion with his fingers as before - completely slicing the Shirai clone in half. Kagemusha then watches as both halves of the Shirai clone then disappear into smoke. However, a single object finds its way towards Kagemusha from the smoke.

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>As the dust settles, a glowing energy barrier surrounds Kagemusha. As it slowly dissipates, the armored samurai figure then looks around.

["It seems that we have an uninvited spectator, Ryozo."]

>Looking up, Kagemusha then sees an armored figure crouching on the side of a nearby rooftop. Their gloved hands are arranged in a specific way as to seemingly activate an effect. The new figure's ornate and spider-like webbing pattern immediately identifies him to Kagemusha - who laughs in amusement.

["….Hah, Weaver. I should have known."]

>The figure, Weaver, then holds out his hands, performing a quick series of gestures. As he mutters something, a series of lights begin to form around Shirai's body - protecting him.

["False prism - scatter."]

>With three simple words, Weaver then causes the entirety of the Kyoto city streets to shatter into fragmented prisms. In that moment, the truth is revealed - with the true Kyoto making itself apparent.

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>Date: September 18th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Archeon Complex
>Time: 12:00 PM

"I can see why you said this would be a bit difficult."

>Aiden says, as he carries a large crate in his hands. While moving through the interior of the hangar, he then turns his head to the side - seeing Amber as she walks beside him.

"You're the one who wanted to do manual labor."

>Amber says impatiently, as she looks at her datapad. While she's checking the inventory for the supplies, she then speaks up once more:

"I hope you know what you're doing, Aiden. We're giving them a lot of stuff."

>Giving an amused scoff, Aiden then places the box on the ground - near the shipping container. Dusting his hands, he then looks up and turns to his chief technology officer.

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>Curious, Sun takes the paper from Sua's hand and slowly rolls it open. Once he sees the contents of the message, he narrows his eyes as he reads it out loud.

"Treasured spawn, or blighted progeny. Whichever you see yourself as. Take upon yourself the initiative to reclaim what I have denied you."

>Sun looks up at Sua, pausing for a moment as she nods.

"Keep going."

>Sun reluctantly returns to reading the passage.

"Should you find yourself lacking the will to achieve those ends - you will be left asunder, rendered helpless before the proving….."

>He then squints, as he realizes who wrote the message - all while finishing his reading.

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>Sighing, Sua then looks at Sun, crossing her arms in concern as she states:

"Sun, I think he wants us to find it."

>Rolling his eyes, Sun then states:

"A mystical and metaphysical artifact, with no record of existing. A font of power and wish granting to immense, as to completely remove one's self from the purported 'wheel of fate'? It is utter nonsense, Sua. It does not exist."

>Meanwhile, footsteps appear from the edges of the compound's interior doorway. As a man with black hair and black clothes walks out of the interior - his piercing blue eyes look groggy and sleepy.

>Yawning, the man rubs his eyes, and then sees Sun and Sua standing in the middle of the compound. Waving, he then goes:

"Oh hey! 'Sup guys! I guess I overslept again, haha!"

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>Hayden thinks for a bit, ruffling his hair as he normally does - when he's using his brain.

"Uhh….They created Democracy, right?"

>Sun nods, as he then speaks up.

"My sister is referring to the Pythagoreans - the followers of Pythagoras. In their attempts to understand the nature of reality, they came to believe in something known as the 'Monad'. The singular and indivisible point in existence - from which all things are derived."

>Looking immediately confused, Hayden then looks back and forth between the two siblings, asking:

"….So it's like God, or something?"

>Sua then chimes in to respond:

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>Sun sighs as he then waves a dismissive hand in front of them.

"It does not matter. My father and his nonsensical views has done nothing but ruin the lives of others - for countless millennia."

>Looking down at the fingerless gloves and wraps around his hands, Sun curls his fingers up for a moment, examining them as he states:

"Would he have ever considered accepting his responsibilities - he would not need an easy escape - in the form of an imaginary artifact."

>Sua then walks up to Sun and places her hand on his shoulder. Sun's eyes close as he sighs - exhaling deeply.

"You are not responsible for his mistakes, Sun. That I completely agree with you on."

>Sun waits for the inevitable 'but' to her statement.

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>Location: The Axiom - Nexus of Magic
>Time: Indeterminate

>Half of the cosmic expanse seemingly inverts in color - as a maelstrom of randomized effects begin to strike the platform down from above.

"Just remember, Aiden! A single scratch, and you're done!"

>Andromeda says with a maniacal smile on her face, as she continues her orbital bombardment of magical energy blasts. Hovering in the sky above the platform of the combat arena - she then casually summons large meteorites that fragment into thousands of smaller projectiles.

>Each of the projectiles begins to cause a spatial warping effect, seemingly inverting the space around them into 'negative' space. The effect leads to areas of space-time that rapidly pull together with a strong vacuum effect.

"I noticed. Good job with that one."

>Mosaic moves at speeds far too fast for the human eye to process - carefully weaving his way through the projectiles themselves.

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>Date: September 16th, 2017
>Location: Haven City - Wyngarde Manor
>Time: 8:05 AM

"Yes, I will be ready to visit you shortly. Fret not, I am genuinely considering the large capital injection that you have requested."

>A redheaded woman finishes putting on her coat, adjusting her gloves - as her eyes stare at the mirror in front of her.

"Yes, Mister Blackburn. As I said, the preparations have already been made. I'll assist you in the site scouting. We will discuss the details when I arrive."

>Now placing a hat on top of her head, the redheaded woman then assesses her attire once more. Craning her head to the side, she notices a slight patch of white hair behind her reflection.


>In an instant, the white patch of hair is now a deep red - matching the rest of her appearance. Satisfied, the woman then turns around and begins walking out of her room - into the larger corridors of the manor.

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File: 1707878484043-0.jpeg (138.31 KB, 850x1298, Rafael - 2.jpeg)

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>Rolling her eyes once more, Rafael pats Jack on the head as she states:

"Yes, yes. Another time, Blackburn."

>Turning her full attention to Aiden, Rafael then speaks with a tone and stoicism to her voice, rivaled only by military commanders.

"I asked you a pertinent question regarding our current circumstances, Grayson. Your anomalous properties have given you a physiology identical to that of Samael - and that of myself."

>Pointing a finger at Aiden, Rafael continues speaking.

"You have made yourself a Chronarch - in the vein of the founding Chronarchs, no less. Such a circumstance is beyond the capacity of a mere 'Meta-Gene'. So out with it. What is the mechanism you have procured to allow such mutability within your physiology?"

>Aiden stares point blank at Rafael behind his sunglasses and says:

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>Aiden nods at Rafael and Samael, before he then turns to Samael and says:

"Yeah, we'll have to work on this later. Also, we'll have to see how this ties into Ouranos's plans-"

>Rafael interjects, her eyebrow raised.

"Ouranos? Did I hear that statement right?"

>Aiden nods slowly, as he states:

"I figured I would tell you before we headed out. He's here on Earth as well, likely masquerading as the new head of Eukaryon."

>Closing her eyes in annoyance, Rafael curses underneath her breath.

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>Phoebe stands up and examines the perfect duplicate of herself - down to the exact hair follicles that make up her wig.

"You can copy inanimate objects too? Non organic matter?"

>Rafael gives Phoebe a smirk as she lowers her sunglasses.

"You're asking this question of us? Beings who are billions of years old?"

>Rafael continues speaking in an exact copy of Phoebe's voice.

"Of course, a psionic scan is enough to approximate physical features. If I want an exact genetic match, however - a DNA sample is recommended."

>In an instant, Rafael is back to her normal appearance with white hair.

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>Jack immediately does a double take as he stammers a reply.

"Thanks….Wait, WHAT?!?!"

>However, Aiden and the others are already gone by the time he processes the situation.

>Silent, Jack then looks at Slipstream, who's already waving at Jack from behind, stating:

"I see you've got a bunch of spare rooms here! Nice! I'll go make myself at home then!"

>Before Jack can protest, Slipstream has already made her way down the hall.

>Now feeling an awkward tension between himself and Rafael, he then speaks up first, stating:

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>Jack then feels his face entirely flush red, as he then coughs into his fist.

"H-Hey! I wasn't going to ask you that!"

>Looking amused, Rafael then flicks Jack on the nose quickly - knowing full well that it won't actually hurt him. Even so, the sudden gesture takes Jack by surprise as he states:

"Still, that was out of the blue…."

>Jack instinctively turns to look away, unsure of how to proceed with the situation. However, Rafael casually grabs him by the chin and steers his head back to face her.

"Why do you think I went to you first? Yes, I could've easily done reconnaissance on Grayson and his compatriots - if I really wanted to confirm my suspicions that 'Virgil' was Samael."

>Leaning in, Rafael then gives Jack a kiss on the mouth - a deep one that causes Jack's eyes to widen. As Rafael then breaks away from the kiss, she then has a satisfied expression on her face.

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>Date: September 13th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Archeon Complex
>Time: 12:30 PM

"Are you sure this is the place?"

>A hooded figure says, hovering in the skies above the Archeon Complex. Beside him, is another hooded figure - standing on an amorphous mass of black smoke.

"You can sense him, can't you? No shit it's him."

>Blinking, the initial hooded figure then responds:

"We've only got one shot at this, Rampage. You know that right? Boss isn't gonna be happy with us if we screw this up."

>The larger and bulkier hooded figure - Rampage, looks back at his ops partner and speaks:

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>Aiden gives Orion a look of disappointment and slight frustration - as he withholds the urge to immediately respond.


>Closing his eyes and sighing, Aiden then opens his eyes again as he says:

"Alright then. If that's your wish. I just…..I just wanted to…."

>Jack nods at Aiden as he speaks up.

"He just wanted to spend more time with you - but he knew deep down that he'd be asking you to risk your life for this."

>Aiden, still looking downtrodden and somewhat defeated, then looks away from Orion and Jack - instead staring out over the horizon.

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>Orion shrugs and turns to leave.


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>Now pacing back and forth on the rooftop, Aiden finds himself deep in thought - until he hears Jack's voice again.

"Um. Aiden? Do you have any suggestions? Anyone else who can help us here?"

>Looking up at Jack for a moment, Aiden gives a slightly quizzical expression as he states:

"Not necessarily. While Speedrunner is capable - her powers seemingly disrupt magic, at the expense of annihilating the target. Even I have to be extra careful around her."

>Jack crosses his arms as he then mulls over the other Meta-Humans that he's aware of.

"What about your sister? Phoebe."

>Aiden then speaks up in response to the suggestion.

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File: 1706909091385-0.jpeg (158.01 KB, 850x1201, Aiden - 57.jpeg)

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>Aiden's eyebrows raise as he turns around. Jack does the same in that moment.

"I don't think I'd survive if I said 'no'."

"Wait. When did she…Who….."

>Stella stands on the rooftop, a few feet away. Hands on her hips, she looks visibly annoyed with Aiden. Her long blonde hair shines faintly as she starts walking towards the two of them.

"Hey, Stella. I wasn't going to-"

>Stella then reaches Aiden's position and quickly flicks him on the forehead with her finger - doing so at a surprising speed.

{"Wow. She's definitely fast, On part with me it seems."}

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>Aiden initially tries to brush past the question.

"Stella, I know that Eidolus is out there. He's too powerful to let roam free, not without some sort of countermeasure."

>Stella, immediately recognizing the deflection, puts the discussion right back in focus.

"You already promised that you'd never keep secrets from me ever again. Remember? So if you're a man of your word, and if you do care about keeping your word with me?"

>She then steps forward and gets directly into Aiden's face - giving him a look of intensity with her blue eyes, that he hasn't experienced before.

"Then tell me the truth, and nothing but the truth."

>Jack looks away, feeling awkward as his sense of being a third wheel starts to manifest itself.

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>Trees rustle as a fall breeze cuts through the twilight sky, the sound spooking away some rabbits below, as well as a young girl, the presence of two vulpine ears and a tail indicating her Meta-Human status in a way that’s difficult to hide. Gulping, the girl calls out:

“G-guys? I’m done hiding now. . . y-you can find me now guys. . . Joshua? Hayden? Finlay. . ?”

>The girl jumps again as something jumps about through the bushes.

“I m-mean it guys. . . it’s getting dark. . .”

>Another breeze picks up, shaking the trees again.

“Mom said I’m not allowed out after dark and I don’t know the way back. . .”

>The rustling continues and another voice, with an invisible owner, joins the girl’s calls.

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"Lucy. . . Lucy Stone. . . You see, Lauren. . . Lauren w-was the ghost. . . Lauren always wanted to travel outside of South Salem and would tell me about all these different places she found online so I was thinking I could use this as a chance to. . ."

>Lucy nervously gulps.

"To. . . well. . . s-see new places. So please don't send me back to Salem just yet. . ."

>Ceri gives Orion a smug grin, making sure Lucy can't see it.

"Well, I don't see any issue with that, in fact, Orion was just telling me how I should make sure to help you. . ."

>Ceri thinks for a moment.

"It's dole-ares in this country, right? Do you have one of those little devices that everyone is obsessed with, the ones you touch?"

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>Orion stares at the phone, and then stares at Ceri.

"I'm not even going to ask where you got all that."

>He looks at Lucy again, and then lets out a pained sigh.

"If you don't want to go back to where you're from that's fine. I can help you find a place in the city."


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"Just a little bit of trickery, I don't know why Stephanie's partner bothers with the whole company thing, really. Besides. . ."

>Ceri shrugs.

"I won't pretend to understand how your system of dole-ares works, but if gold is still valuable, I likely have access to more than that, vaguely."

>While Ceri has been talking, Lucy appears to be looking over things on her phone in the background, her ears perking up at Orion's comment towards her.

"O-oh. . . thank you. . . I just need a hotel. . . or something. . . I don't want to stay in Sanctuary City forever."

>Sensing an opportunity, Ceri starts to step away again.

"I suppose you don't need me for this, so I'll be leaving now. . ."


File: 1703624548803.png (691.25 KB, 565x1109, Orion31.png)

"Yeah. I can show you where a hotel is."

>Orion watches Ceri as she starts to turn away.



File: 1703625135856.png (466.16 KB, 588x1000, 782e0b1356728b85324fcbd424….png)

>Giving Orion one last grin, Ceri steps through the door, taking a moment to process the noise of the city outside of his home.

>After a few moments, she reaches into one of her pockets and takes out a trinket of some kind, looking it over before putting it back away and taking a step forward.

"Well, I suppose I should collect my payment now. . ."

[The End]

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