/simu/ - Simulacrum

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File: 1707591644892-0.jpg (128.28 KB, 1280x621, Haven City - 2.jpg)

File: 1707591644892-1.jpeg (421.14 KB, 1920x768, Wyngarde Manor.jpeg)

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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.

{"Apologies in advance, Mister Blackburn. But you are the most effective proxy to my end goals."}


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File: 1707592239563-2.jpg (1.13 MB, 1920x1080, MRD - 3.jpg)

>Location: Sanctuary City - Downtown Sector
>Time: 8:05 AM

"Can you watch where you're going?!?!"

>A group of armored criminals quickly speed off - attempting to reach a getaway van parked around the corner of a nearby Caduceus Bank location.

"Shut the hell up and help me get the bags in!"

>A criminal says, staring daggers through his helmet at his partners.

>Scoffing, one of the criminals continues opening fire from the side of the van - aiming at the MRD troops on the other side of the street.

"All of you shut the fuck up and get the cargo in! Now!"

>As their leader screams at them, the criminals nod at each other and silently start shoving bags inside of the car.


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Residential Sector
>Time: 8:05 AM

>A weary gaze looks on at the television screen before a blonde man, as he sits in place on his couch. Despite not having much furnishing still in his home - Jack instinctively reaches for a couch pillow.

{"Oh, right. I still haven't ordered them yet."}

>Jack then sighs out loud, before thinking to himself again.

{"Should I even get involved? The MRD should have this under control…"}

>Having just put the phone down after speaking with Melissa Wyngarde, Jack then lightly cracks his finger knuckles - demonstrating his gradual anxiety.

{"No, if I do that, then I'll put more of a target on my back. There are enough vigilantes in this city anyways."}

>Jack then falls silent once more, slightly wincing his teeth before he then exhales.

"To hell with it."

>Speaking with almost a whisper, Jack then says a single word, with an inhuman cadence.


>Immediately, lightning then spontaneously discharges from Jack's body - bright blue and white in color.

>The radiance of the lightning strike completely blinds the living area of the house - enveloping the interior in its entirety.


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File: 1707592990718-1.jpg (24.83 KB, 600x337, Vehicle.jpg)

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File: 1707592990718-3.png (3.3 MB, 3000x1688, MRD - 2.png)

>Location: Sanctuary City

>As the criminals continue to load up bags into the van, they look around, checking their surroundings.

>More MRD agents are coming onto the scene, although they've been kept at bay with the group's heavy artillery.

"Load another RPG! Keep the bastards back while we get ready to move!"

"We're running outta payloads, boss!"

>The leader of the group then curses under his breath, as he then looks at his watch. Realizing that they're running out of time to secure an evac route, he then improvises.

"Alright! Get your asses in here and let's just go!"

"What? No planned evac?!"

"No! Instead we'll plow right through 'em!"

>Shocked, the criminals look at each other, as they then finish up loading the bags into the back of the armored van. After getting inside and closing the doors - they then watch as their driver floors the gas.

"Hang on!"

>As the vehicle blasts off onto the street - the leader of the criminals looks out from his shotgun seat. Aiming his RPG - he then fires it off at the MRD blockade in front of him - causing a massive explosion that sends them and their vehicles flying backwards.

"Holy fucking shit!"

"Damn MRD pricks! That's what you get!"

>The criminals then laugh as they drive off into the city streets - with the improvised MRD blockade completely decimated.

>Now coughing, one of the MRD agents slowly sits up - barely conscious. With the last of his strength, he's able to radio to the larger MRD network.

"Delta squad is down. Subjects are en route through Morrison Avenue. Send….reinforcements….."

>The MRD agent then loses the last of his strength and falls backward, unconscious - only for a pair of white gloved hands to catch him…..


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File: 1707593578576-1.jpg (24.83 KB, 600x337, Vehicle.jpg)

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File: 1707593578576-4.png (1.31 MB, 1280x687, Lightning.png)

>A SCN news helicopter continues to pursue the criminals as they evade the MRD behind them.

"What are they escaping in? Is that some kind of hovercraft vehicle?!"

>The criminals' getaway vehicle is a seemingly futuristic machine - covered with sleek silver armor plating and electronic circuitry. There's an almost impromptu nature to the machine - almost as if it were put together under limited time and circumstances.

>The vehicle itself also has two exhaust ports at the rear - with bright white light shooting out of them.

>The newscaster and reporter then continues to speak, as the cameraman keeps their focus on the vehicle below.

"As you can see, the getaway vehicle is demonstrating unusual speeds and maneuverability! We're barely able to keep an eye on it from this vantage point! Whereas the MRD are seemingly struggling to catch up!"

>Now looking back at the camera, the reporter then states:

"Is this some new experimental technology finding its way into the underbelly of Sanctuary City's criminal networks? Or is this some prototype machine stolen by criminals - and used for their own nefarious ends?"

>Down below, the MRD are attempting to catch up to the vehicle in their hovercrafts - attempting to maintain their elevation while also keep track of its projected flight pattern. As the vehicles glide across the roads of the city, the MRD gets more and more agitated.

"What the hell is this vehicle?! It's even faster than our own hovercraft!"

>The driver of one MRD vehicle mutters a response, trying to focus.

"If you don't calm down and let me drive? We won't have much of a hovercraft left!"

>Getting the message, the MRD agent in the shotgun seat sighs and crosses their arms across their armored chest.

"Either way, this is bad. This is the third bank site that's been hit this morning. Eyewitnesses mentioned a vehicle with this exact description before. If we don't catch them now? Who knows what else they're going to do with that vehicle."

>Suddenly, both of the MRD agents see a bright flash of blue and white lightning in the periphery of their vision. Taken aback, both of them speak.

"Wait. Is that?"

"Oh hohoho. If that's who I think it is? Those criminals are in deep shit now."


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File: 1707594332732-1.jpg (24.83 KB, 600x337, Vehicle.jpg)

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>As the vehicle continues gliding forward at rapid speeds, the blue and white lightning bolt appears beside it.

>Dumbfounded, the criminals look on in astonishment - each of them doing a double take.

"What the fuck is that?"

"A Meta?"

"Just keep driving!"

>Then, the lightning bolt dissipates to reveal the flying form of Paladin. White gloves cross his biceps as he stares down at the criminals with his glowing white eyes. Although his hood and shadow effect hide his identity - his glare is undeniable in its intent.

"One chance."

>Paladin says to the criminals, seemingly through the glass and into their minds directly.

"I'll give you one chance to do the right thing. That's what you deserve at least."

>Feeling the unnerved fear building up in the hearts and minds of the criminals, Paladin presses forward with his psionic message.

"If you don't? Then I'm not liable for what happens to you next."

>Sensing a sudden weight in his throat, the leader of the criminals finds the strength to reflexively gulp - before shouting:

"Drive the car! Get as far away from him as you can! We'll take a detour through the business sector to lose him too-"

>In that instant, the vehicle is suddenly shaken with a massive force - causing it to come to a halt. At the same time, the criminals are knocked up into the air - slamming into the ceiling.



"Where is he?!?!"

>As the criminals continue screaming in panic and fear - the car is then suddenly slammed down, with enough force to knock the criminals down to the ground.

>Groaning, they slowly get to their feet - realizing that the vehicle is now suspended over the top of a skyscraper.




>All in a frenzy, the criminals then instinctively run out of the vehicle and onto the rooftop of the skyscraper - barely catching themselves as the vehicle falls down from the skyscraper.


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File: 1707594728997-1.jpeg (57.32 KB, 618x800, Paladin - 2.jpeg)

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File: 1707594728997-3.png (1.57 MB, 1703x806, Criminal - 8.png)

>As the criminals rush to the edge of the rooftop to see the vehicle - they instead watch with horror as it stops falling.

"…..Oh shit."

"Fucking hell, man. You picked the worst fucking job to pick."

"We're so fucking dead."


>The vehicle then slowly rises up - foot by foot; until after a few seconds - it's reached the edge of the rooftop.

>The criminals can only watch in sheer dread, as they see Paladin raising up the entire vehicle with one finger. Despite the incredibly small surface area of his finger - Paladin manages to perfectly balance the vehicle with no effort.

"I told you. There was a chance given to you - a chance to do what's right."

>The criminals then begin to cower, reflexively putting their hands up to their faces as they begin pleading for their lives.

"Please don't kill me! I'm only doing this for the money!"

"I've got people depending on me!"

"My sister's got nobody but me either! I'm sorry man! I'm sorry!"

"Just let me give my family something before I'm gone!"

>Silent, Paladin sighs to himself as he casually tosses the vehicle onto the rooftop behind the criminals. Despite his throw - no force is seemingly exerted on the rooftop itself.

"I never intended to kill you. But now you hopefully understand the dangers of attempting criminal activity in this city."

>Nodding quickly, the criminals then hold their hands up in surrender.

"I figured as much. Good."


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File: 1707595122528-2.jpg (24.83 KB, 600x337, Vehicle.jpg)

File: 1707595122528-3.png (1.57 MB, 1703x806, Criminal - 8.png)

>As the criminals are bound by rope - seemingly created by Paladin, the hooded figure then turns his attention to the vehicle itself.


>Hovering over to the vehicle, he then stands before it. Tracing his gloved hand across the surface of the machinery, he then turns back to the criminals, asking them questions.

"Where'd you get this? I don't recognize the thruster designs. Both cleared for use, and outlawed - it's nothing like the designs I know of."

>Immediately responding with a tinge of panic in his voice, the criminal leader says:

"Black market! Some chick with a visor gave it to us!"

>In seeming disbelief, Paladin then reiterates:

"I'm not in the mood for poor taste jokes."

>Shaking his head, the criminal leader starts pleading.

"I'm dead serious! She showed up to us one day while we were making our way to Haven City! We were already contracted for an extraction job! Mineral recovery from Haven City's refinery!"

>Somewhat interested in the story, Paladin then focuses his gaze on the criminal leader, asking:

"Alright then. Say I believe your story. What did she say about herself?"

>Sighing, the criminal leader then states:

"She just told us to use the vehicle for our next score - so we said yes! Didn't ask questions!"

>Paladin scoffs.

"You didn't ask why a mysterious woman with a visor would suddenly proposition you with an experimental vehicle?"

>Shaking his head, the criminal leader then says:

"You've gotta understand, man. We're just trying to get from contract to contract. We don't ask questions!"

>The criminal beside him then speaks up, still bound in rope as well.

"We don't get paid to ask questions. Grunts like us."


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"They are very useful for that reason. Wouldn't you agree?"

>Paladin then spins his head to the side, instantly bringing up his gloved hand to catch a small metal projectile in-between his fingers.

>Stunned and startled by his sudden movement, the criminals are even more terrified once they realize what he's caught with his hand.

"Oh shit! Are we marked?!?!"

"Fuck! Get us outta here!"

>Paladin, ignoring the criminals, immediately directs his vision towards that of a figure standing on the side of a nearby skyscraper. Placing one hand on her hip, the woman with long hair gives Paladin a salute - along with a wry smile. She also sports an ornate visor on her face, covering her eyes.

"…….Stay here. The MRD will pick you up shortly. I'll deal with our intruder."

>Before the criminals can even protest, Paladin has already disappeared in a flash of bright blue and white lightning.


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>As lightning appears before the woman in the visor - she looks up, already anticipating the response.

"Took you long enough. I figured you were on the sharper side of the tools."

>The woman nonchalantly examines her gloved fingers - seemingly ignoring the spectacle of bright lights before her.

>As Paladin moves forward, attempting to grab the woman - he suddenly finds that she's instantaneously in the position to his immediate left.

"What's wrong? I thought you were going to 'deal with the intruder'? Get cold feet, snowman?"

>Maintaining her wry smile, the woman watches as Paladin continues to try and catch her - moving at faster and faster speeds as he does so.

{"Time manipulation? No, I don't detect any spatial-temporal warping. So instead it must be…."}

>Out loud, the woman with the visor keeps spontaneously changing positions in space, apparently warping around Paladin, left and right.

"You're probably thinking that it's teleportation. Don't you? A good choice, though you're not thinking fundamentally enough."

>After Paladin's most immediate move to grab the woman - she instead appears above at the very top of the building.

"Hey. Tall, bright and mysterious. Up here."

>Taunting Paladin with a finger movement, the woman with the visor then walks backwards from the edge of the rooftop - as Paladin flies upward in an instant.

>In less than a millisecond, he's reached the top of the building.

"I'll admit, you've caught me by surprise. But I'll figure out your means of evasion. Eventually."

>Scoffing again, the woman then makes a faint gesture, before the space behind her seemingly 'breaks' in a fractal pattern. After a few moments of rapid shimmering - a chair seemingly appears from nowhere.

>Now sitting down in the chair, the woman does the same thing. Making a gesture with her hand, she causes a fractal pattern of 'slides' to appear in front of her hand - before a soft drink appears in it.

"Well, don't keep me waiting. Use that big brain of yours and figure it out."

>The woman makes a slight head nod before she says.

"Oh, I'm Slipstream, by the way. Nice to meet you."

>She then takes a sip from her drink again, waiting for Paladin to respond.


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>Paladin stops for a moment, as his eyes glow with a faint white light. After a few more moments, his supernatural intuition and powers from Minerva have kicked into high gear.

"Oh. That's what this is. Alright then."

>Suddenly, Paladin's processing power begins to increase dramatically, as he now simultaneously processes his surroundings twice over. With his psionic power, he then projects out a field, which allows him to essentially 'view' his surroundings in two different ways.

>Then, Paladin makes a move - rushing to Slipstream and grabbing her by the hand.

"What the-?!"

>Shocked, Slipstream then drops her drink as it then spontaneously fades out of existence. Now looking up at Paladin with an annoyed expression on her face, she then states:

"You actually figured it out then? Didn't you?"

>Nodding, Paladin states:

"I'll give you one chance to tell me who put you up to this."

>Giving Paladin a wry smile, he then says:

"Well, if you can figure my powers out, then I'll bet you can figure that out too. Can't you?"

>Silent, Paladin then suddenly feels a dimensional pressure rupture the space before him - separating him from Slipstream.

>The entirety of the area around them seemingly rips apart - with a multi-color rupture in space time emanating from the space itself.

"Still, I can't let myself lose that easily. It'd defeat the entire point."

>A fractal pattern appears around Slipstream's hand as she traces a line through the air. In an instant, that pattern turns into a katana with a unique handle.

>Readying a defensive stance, Slipstream then looks at Paladin, stating:

"Let's see if you're as good as she says you are."

>Blinking, Paladin then states:

"I'm sorry. She? Are you referring to your boss or-"

>Slipstream then rushes forward, instantaneously moving from position to position - seemingly teleporting at an instantaneous rate of movement.

>Paladin is initially caught off guard by this - until his body starts rapidly increasing in speed, moving beyond conventional limits in order to match her instantaneous movements.

>Their attacks start to collide in real time - causing ruptures in the fabric of reality across the skies above Sanctuary City.

>After a few seconds of infinitesimally fast attack skirmishes, both figures disconnect from the fight - each of them seemingly 'standing' in the air above Sanctuary City's downtown area.

"Oooooh. She was right after all! You are different from a Meta-Human. No wonder she's so interested in you."

>Confused, Paladin then says:

"Wait a minute. This entire thing was bait? For me specifically? How did you know that I'd be the one to specifically respond? At this specific moment in time?"

>Keeping her wry smile, Slipstream then says:

"Because my boss knows who you really are. And I think you know who she is too."

>Paladin feels a clump of dread form inside of his heart, as his mind reaches the natural conclusion - far before his supernatural intuition ever does.

>Under his breath, he then whispers.

"…..Melissa. No. Why you?"

>Shaking his head, with a feeling of genuine frustration in his mind, he begins to think:

{"Were you just using me all along? Is that what this was? Subterfuge? If so then…why me?"}

>Looking up at Slipstream for a moment, Paladin's supernatural intuition kicks in once again - giving him the answer that he really didn't want to know.

{"Because it's not about me. She's after someone else. Someone that I know. Aiden? Or someone else…"}

>Sighing loudly, Paladin then raises up his hands and assumes a defensive combat stance once more.

"It doesn't matter. I'll confront her myself - after I'm done fighting you. If you're so well informed on me, then you'll know that I'm not giving this my all."

>Slipstream is slightly taken aback by this, though managing to retain her cool as she laughs.

"Yeah well. I thought you'd say something like that. So I've got a bit of insurance, just in case that happens to be true."

>Slipstream then takes out a small device that she holds in her hand. It's a small circuitboard like device with a set of glowing wires and switches.

"I'm not really in the mood to pick a fight - not when my job's done. I got what I wanted from you. So I'll see you around then."

>Pressing the button, Slipstream then disappears in a warp of space-time. Then, she's gone, leaving Paladin standing alone in the air above Sanctuary City.

>Silent for a moment, he then sighs loudly as places his gloved hand to the base of his mask and hood.

"….Why did you have to use me? For what purpose?"


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>Location: United States - Eastern Seaboard
>Time: 8:10 AM

>A jet continues its path, flying across the skies of the Northeastern United States.


>Melissa continues reading her book, while sitting in her chair. The window beside her showcases the cloud formations, right below the wingspan of the jet.

>In an instant, however, a figure seemingly pops into existence in the seat across from her.

"Assessment, Slipstream."

>Slipstream then gives a shrug, while wearing a disappointed pout on her face.

"He wasn't that great. I was surprised by his speed though. Definitely tougher than I thought."

>Melissa flips through another page of her book. Still not making eye contact with Slipstream, she then replies:

"He's holding back against you."

>Confused, Slipstream then speaks up.

"What? Why? He doesn't have a reason to hold back. For all he knows, I could've been trying to kill him."

>Cracking a slight smile, Melissa then says:

"The restraint isn't because of you, but rather me."

>Finally looking up at Slipstream, the aristocrat then speaks.

"You've done a fine job of riling him up, Slipstream. Retreat to your post - I'll deal with the situation myself."

>Slipstream immediately begins to protest, as Melissa raises up two fingers of her gloved hand.

"My order is absolute. I am still your commanding officer - am I not?"

>Sighing, Slipstream then stands up from her seat and looks at Melissa.

"Yes, commander."

>She then walks off towards the back of the airplane - getting something before disappearing in a ripple.

>Melissa then tosses her book down on the desk before her, adjusting her cap and her jacket as she stares out at the skies beyond her window.

{"You're finally going to answer for what you've done to me. Nowhere to go, and nowhere to hide."}


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Central Park
>Time: 8:30 AM

"….This is a pretty nice view, honestly."

>Virgil says, as he continues sipping his coffee. His legs are crossed as he continues sitting on his side of the park bench. As he looks over the public space, he sees everything from pets to frisbees. He also sees the occasional Meta-Human using their powers, albeit in a safe manner.

"I told you, it's nice to get out of that prison you call a home."

>Phoebe continues eating her breakfast - a croissant and some fruit, all in a bag. At the same time, she's looking over the park as well.

"….I've been meaning to ask you."

>Virgil speaks up, as Phoebe turns her head to face him.

"Yeah brainy? What is it?"

>Even though Phoebe is still wearing her sunglasses, Virgil can feel her gaze on him - causing him to become somewhat flustered.

"….I was wondering….Just…."

>Virgil hesitates for a moment, before he continues speaking.

"….Are you sure that you're fine with me? I have a lot of baggage."

>Phoebe gives an amused scoff as she flicks another strawberry into the air - catching it in her mouth and eating it.

"Join the club."

>After a moment, she then gets serious.

"We all have skeletons in our closets, Sam. The sooner we come to terms with that, and accept it? The happier we'll be."

>Phoebe then moves to put her hand on Virgil's own, gripping it somewhat tightly.

"It's good to have people who care about you."

>Virgil, at that point, can't stop his cheeks from flushing red.

"…..I don't deserve you."

>He mutters to himself as he sips from his coffee once more.


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>At that moment, time seems to begin rapidly slowing down around the park. As everything seemingly comes to a halt - Phoebe instinctively speeds her body up, allowing her senses to accommodate to her new surroundings.

{"What the hell?!"}

>Immediately spinning around, Phoebe and Virgil start to realize that the park has been altered in some way. Everyone has stopped moving, completely.

>Out loud, Phoebe then begins scanning the area rapidly, her superhuman vision not picking up signs of any external anomalies.

"Sam. What's going on?"

>Virgil looks around himself, but closes his eyes and begins to focus on his temporal senses. After a moment, he instantly understands the nature of the disturbances.

"Residual psionic traces….Someone's tampered with the flow of time, relative to the park."

>Raising an eyebrow, Phoebe then asks:

"So something like a time stop of sorts?"

>Nodding with a worried expression on his face, Virgil then immediately takes out the Quantum Tuner device from his jacket pocket. As he begins using it to scan for traces of quantum fluctuations, he then speaks up.

"Time dilation effect. The lack of sentient behavior from everyone else implies a cessation of psionic functioning."

>Startled, Phoebe then replies.

"Someone's messed with their heads and stopped them from thinking?"

>Now more cautious, Virgil then says:

"Yes. Whoever's done this has a remarkable amount of control over their psionic abilities. They also seem to have a strong awareness of temporal manipulation…."

>Virgil's heart skips a beat as he begins to grow more and more worried.

"…..Oh no…."


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Downtown Sector
>Time: 8:30 AM

>As Paladin continues flying throughout the city, he continues his psionic relay connection with Mosaic, stating:

{"So this person. Rafael…."}

>Mosaic interjects, speaking to Paladin in a clear and concise tone of voice.

{"Rafael Thaumiel. She's Samael's older sister. The co-founder of their civilization. This is what I was worried about when you said that Melissa Wyngarde had come to you with a business proposition."}

>Groaning and muttering under his breath, Paladin then replies:

{"God. I was such an idiot! I led her right to you! And to him! Aiden I'm sorry! I didn't know-"}

>Mosaic interjects once more.

{"Jack, it's fine. Just keep calm, and keep an eye out. If you're right about Rafael finally putting the pieces together, then she'll be appearing eventually. Chronarchs can suppress their psionic signatures effectively - but even she'll register with a psionic scan eventually."}

>Suddenly, Paladin looks up and sees a spontaneous force barrier appearing all around Central Park - a massive barrier a kilometer across the park's length.

{"Distortion field! Central Park!"}

{"What? Right now?"}

{"Yes, Aiden! That has to be her! Who's in Central Park right now?"}

>Mosaic thinks for a minute before he replies.

{"Only my sister Phoebe and……."}

>Paladin squints his eyes as he states:

{"And who, Aiden?"}

>Mosaic then replies:

{"…..Samael. Shit. She already knows. The question though is how?"}

>Shaking his head, Paladin then states:

{"Well, either way - I'm going to go stop her. It's my fault she even got this far. It's only right that I stop her now."}

>Before Mosaic can respond, Paladin has already flown towards the distortion in space-time - right through the force barrier.


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Central Park
>Time: 8:30 AM

>Phoebe and Virgil continue walking through the distorted version of Central Park - taking note of every frozen person there.

>As they continue walking, Phoebe then states:

"I can't get through to Aiden. Whoever's doing this is jamming my phone's signal."

>Virgil sighs as he states:

"Multi-dimensional compression factor. Whoever's behind this is rapidly expanding space from a single point, and looping it around back on itself. Any electromagnetic signals are just going to intercept your phone again."

>Gesturing out with his hand, he then states:

"By my rough estimates? There's a dilation factor here that's equivalent to an hour per second."

>Confused, Phoebe turns back to Virgil, who says:

"I'm a Chronarch remember? Intuitively understanding time is one of my specialties."

>Looking back out at the distortion of Central Park, he then states:

"Unless someone already knew to look out for this? It's going to take hours to get help. We're on our own, Phoebe."

>Sighing in annoyance, Phoebe then shouts out loud:

"Whoever you are? Get the hell out here! Show yourself! Now!"

>Phoebe says, as her eyes begin to glow with a red radiance, beneath her sunglasses.

>As if on cue, a swirling vortex of purple energy seemingly manifests in the area before them.

"I'm not liking the looks of this, Sam…."

"Me neither……"

>The purple energy then coalesces into a purple sphere of light - as a figure steps out of it.

>The figure is a woman who has red, shoulder length hair - tied into a bun at the back of her head. She has an ornate attire, complete with a jacket and a hat. Her eyes are a piercing purple as she stares down Virgil.

"There you are. I've waited so long for this moment."

>Upon contact with her eyes, in direct line of sight - Virgil's psionic abilities kick in as a Chronarch. Understanding immediately who the woman is, he begins backing up rapidly.

"Oh no….NO! NOT YOU!"

>Stumbling onto the ground, Virgil's face is one of sheer petrification and terror. Panic begins to grasp his mind, as Phoebe runs over, kneeling down to help him to his feet.

"Come on Sam! Snap out of it! I'm right here!"

>The woman turns her attention to Phoebe and narrows her eyes - a murderous glare flickers from her pupils.

"One chance, reprobate. Remove yourself from the area, or I will make an example of you."


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>Enraged, Phoebe looks up at the woman and blasts through her sunglasses - completely destroying them.


>Phoebe shouts, as her heat vision barrages the unknown woman with two massive streams of bright red light.

>The woman doesn't move, as instead a bright purple sphere forms around her once more - seemingly deflecting most of the energy blasts away from her position.

>Raising an eyebrow, the woman then says:

"Interesting….Your energy signature feels…familiar…"

>Phoebe's eyes widen as she then remembers where she's felt the unknown woman's presence before.

"….No. You're that woman from the mental projection!"

>Phoebe says as she stands up, ready to fight the unknown woman.

>The woman herself seemingly has the same realization, scoffing lightly to herself.

"…..You. So you were the psionic bridge that connected me to Samael. How quaint."

>Phoebe then rushes forward at superhuman speeds - attempting to punch the woman in the face.


>The woman then catches Phoebe's strike with her same purple forcefield - causing Phoebe's blast to redirect itself in a different direction.

>Phoebe then attempts to blast the woman once more - only for her to instantly disappear.


>Confused, Phoebe can't see the woman anywhere, until she speaks out from somewhere beyond the park.

"As crude as you are predictable. No wonder he chose to hide among your species."

>Phoebe is then crushed from all sides, by a wave of omni-directional psionic pressure.


>As the psionic pressure directly attacks her mind, Phoebe is forcibly brought to the ground - the mental pressure of the psionic attack completely breaking her spirit, as she collapses on the ground, screaming in pain.


>Phoebe then continues writhing in pain, as she can barely keep herself conscious enough to see the woman slowly walk over to Virgil. As the man is still paralyzed in fear of the woman, he can only muster up the courage to say a single line.


>The woman then gives a wry smile as she says:

"Yes, Samael. Me. Now I'm going to do what I should've done a long time ago."

>A surge of psionic pressure begins to wrap around Virgil, surrounding him as it also binds him in place. Virgil begins screaming in pain, much like Phoebe herself was - as Phoebe looks up at Virgil.

>Raising out one hand weakly, she musters up the mental strength to scream one last time:


>Phoebe's vision then goes dark as her head falls back down on the grass below.


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>The woman then turns back towards Virgil - watching as he continues to look petrified. Still screaming in pain, he then manages to speak:

"Let her go damnit! ARRGHHH!!!!"

>Still wincing in pain, he watches as the woman begins to laugh in a low voice. Hanging her head for a moment, she says:

"Oh all the nerve. The audacity to pretend as if that little insect is even worth acknowledging…."

>Slowly turning her head back to face Virgil, she then laughs:

"You always were a bit on the slower side, little brother."

>Narrowing his eyes, Virgil then looks between the woman and Phoebe's unconscious body on the floor. The sheer thought of her being harmed is enough to send him into a mental tailspin.

>At the same time, a large rumbling can be heard from inside of the distortion - catching the woman by surprise.

"An incursion? Now? Impossible. Even if aware, none should be capable of breaching the field, unless…"

>Turning back to Virgil, the woman then snarls.

"….Blackburn. I suppose he is fast enough to pass through the event horizon. Oh well. It doesn't matter."

>Placing a gloved hand to Virgil's face, the unknown woman squeezes his cheeks together with a tight grip - her voice becoming slowly more unhinged and enraged as she does so.

"I'll only ask this once of you, Samael. The transmat codes. Now."

>Still writing in pain, Virgil looks at the woman, straight in the eyes - and then says:

"….Go to hell, Raf. I'm sorry for what I did, but none of that justifies revenge. Not on the scale that you're planning."

>Rolling her eyes, the woman then turns around and speaks:

"Then I'll burn apart every square inch of this backwater planet until I find it. Now that I know you're here - your capsule must be as well."

>The rumbling continues to get stronger, as the aftershocks of the quakes gradually build up in force.

"He's almost here. Typical. I should've had Slipstream keep him preoccupied further."

>Virgil then grows silent, focusing internally as a bright blue light appears before them all.


>The woman, Melissa, then gives another smile as she slowly turns around to face the new arrival.

"Oh, there you are, Blackburn. I was hoping to continue our discussions at a later date."

>Paladin stands in place, hands balled into fists as he stares the woman down.

"Preferably under more….charitable circumstances."


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>Paladin points a gloved finger at Melissa, clearly irritated for the first time in a long while.

"Our entire agreement was just manipulation? All of it?"

>Melissa then bursts out into a fit of hysterical laughter, barely containing her amusement at the statement.

"You utter braindead buffoon! Of course it was! Do you honestly expect me to enjoy the company of you backwater primates? Your entire planet is comprised of sapient and sentient amoeba as far as I'm concerned!"

>Gesturing to Phoebe's unconscious body, Melissa gives a dismissive wave of her hand, stating:

"That one for example. Her mind won't recover - not without a psionic substrate. But only a Chronarch can apply the necessary conditions to her mind to begin that process…."

>Nodding behind her, she then continues:

"A shame, we're both preoccupied at the moment…."

>In that moment, another figure appears beside Paladin - placing two fingers on his mask.

>Immediately recognizing the figure, and detecting their energy signature, Melissa narrows her eyes.

"….You, the other anomaly."

>Without even speaking, Mosaic makes a gesture with his hand - compressing the space around Melissa's body. As the space continues to contract rapidly, it immediately becomes a small black sphere - the size of a marble, hovering in space.

"I'll get Phoebe. Go help Mechanicus, now!"

>Nodding, Paladin immediately runs over to Virgil in the blink of an eye - holding out his hand and using his own mystical energies to tear apart the psionic bindings.

"Hold still. I'm also sorry about this. It's my fault."


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>Virgil shakes his head as he then responds:

"No. I've been in a state of passivity for far too long. I could've stopped her sooner, if I wasn't afraid…."

>Wincing once more, Virgil finally begins letting go of his mental restraints. His hair begins to rapidly turn white, as his eyes flare with psionic power.

>One more shout of strained effort is enough for Samael to rip apart the last of the energy binding constructs around him. Landing on one knee, he pants lightly as he looks up at Paladin. Nodding quickly, he says:

"Thank you, Jack. Your arrival distracted her long enough for me to focus."

>Turning towards Phoebe's unconscious body across the floor, he then screams:


>Rushing over to her side he sits beside Mosaic, showing a panicked and terrified expression on his face. As his voice begins to falter in sheer panic, he speaks to Mosaic.

"Aiden! You need to know psionic locks we use in mental attacks! They're based around psychometric encoding principles-"

>Mosaic holds up a gloved hand as he places his other hand on Phoebe's forehead. Touching the tip of her forehead with two of his fingers, he then says:

"I know. I'm a Chronarch like you, remember? I know what to do."

>Turning back to Phoebe's unconscious body, Mosaic then says:

"I'm not leaving my sister in this state. Go keep the spatial compression stable. We can't risk Rafael breaking out of it before we've contained her permanently."

>Shaking his head, Mechanicus then speaks.

"I'm not leaving her alone. Not again."

>Silent, Mosaic sighs and then turns to Paladin.

"Jack! Apply psionic pressure to the sphere! Stop it from expanding!"


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>Paladin nods as he begins holding his hands out - generating pulses of purple and blue energy from his hands. His psionic bursts are powerful enough to keep the marble contained in its size - for now.

>Meanwhile, Mosaic continues his work, using his experience and abilities to begin slowly piecing together parts of Phoebe's fragmented psyche. As he does so, Mechanicus places two fingers on Phoebe's forehead as well.

"I need to help you with this. Sorry in advance."

>With Mechanicus's aid, the work speeds up at an exponential rate.

"Guys! You need to hurry! I'm not sure how much longer I can keep her contained!"

>Wincing, Paladin keeps his arms outstretched, as he begins to breathe with slight pain.

>After a few more seconds, Mosaic then looks up at Mechanicus.

"….See if you can wake her up. We'll know if we've done it if you can."

>Nervous, Mechanicus then slowly raises Phoebe into his arms - as he sits on the ground beside her.

"Phoebe. If you can hear me? It's Sammy. Please…."

>Lowering his head as he continues holding her in his arms, he begins to speak in a weak voice.

"……Please wake up honey…."

>A few seconds pass in silence, as Paladin looks on - worried. He's still containing the sphere, but it's now starting to slowly increase in size.

"Guys! We're running out of time!"

>After a few more seconds, Mechanicus almost loses hope and starts closing his eyes in despair - until he hears a weak voice from out in front of him.


>Eyes flickering open in an instant, Mechanicus looks down at Phoebe in his arms. Seeing that she's awake, and slowly coming to, he then begins tearing up.


>Bringing her close for a tight hug, he then tears up even further - while holding her tightly.

"Oh God….I thought you were….That you were almost…."

>Phoebe then gives Mechanicus a weak smile as she states:

"….Don't worry about me….Go kick your big sis's ass."

>Looking up at Mosaic, Phoebe then gives him a weak thumbs up.

"Good job, little bro."

>Mosaic nods at Phoebe and says:

"How much time do you need to recover?"

>Phoebe already begins moving quicker - now standing up and getting onto her feet properly.

"A minute or two, maybe. You did a good job patching me up again."


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>Phoebe looks at Paladin and waves at him.

"I guess you're the reason she got distracted. You saved my ass here, J. I'll remember that."

>Paladin shakes his head, still straining against the slowly expanding sphere.

"I appreciate the gesture, Phoebe. But your brother and Samael did the work. I was just the support."

>Mosaic then turns to Phoebe and places a hand on her shoulder, and another hand on her forehead once more. Now whispering an incantation, he then pulls back from her.

>A series of bright multi-colored sparks appear around Phoebe briefly, before they dissipate.

"Protection spell?"

>Mosaic nods as he turns back to the sphere, rapidly growing in size.

"It'll protect you from psionic attacks."


>Phoebe closes her hand into a fist, as her red ring glows with a bright red light. In a flash of red light, Hyperia appears where Phoebe stood - cape fluttering around her.

"Now I'll pay her back ten fold."

>Mechanicus then snaps his fingers, as he begins using his powers to manifest his armor through dimensional manipulation.

"We'll neutralize her together. I was afraid of taking her on myself, but thankfully - it's not just me anymore."

>In that moment, the sphere grows larger once more - as Paladin quickly backs up, hovering near the others as he prepares to fight.

>A powerful rupture appears from the sphere - ripping it apart as a woman with long white hair steps through. Preparing for a fight with a battle uniform, the woman then scoffs once more as she states:

"If you gnats really believe yourselves to be capable of 'neutralizing me'? Then so be it."

>Generating a massive plume of psionic energy and power - the woman completely ruptures the fissure holding Central Park in stasis. She then raises her hand and says:

"I am not a mere Chronarch. I am the progenitor of the Chronarchs! Confront me at your own peril, Samael."


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Downtown
>Time: 9:00 AM

>An entire city block of Sanctuary City is nearly imploded as the force of another space-time compression attack ruptures the area. Folds in space-time itself seem to violently ripple out from the point of impact, as Paladin is sent flying backwards into the ground.


>Easily catching his own fall and regaining his balance mid slide - he flips up back into the air with a single, powerful surge of force.

"You need to stop, Rafael!"

>Paladin then fires another psionic blast at Rafael - watching as it barely cracks her psionic shielding.

"I don't answer to humanity. I left you all behind eons ago."

>Suddenly, Rafael is blitzed from the side by a blur of red and black - with a series of continuous strikes pummeling her in the face.

"Say that to my fists, you bitch!"

>Hyperia then pulls back her fist, winding it up for a powerful strike - before letting it loose.


>Faster than Rafael can react, Hyperia slams her fist squarely into Rafael's chin.


>The force of Hyperia's strike is so powerful, it ruptures the fabric of space-time itself. The Chronarch is barely able to redirect the energy from the strike - using her psionic powers to do so.


>Nonetheless, Rafael is sent spiraling backwards - crashing through multiple cars as she skids to the ground in a large crater.

>As she slowly rises to her feet, Rafael's body begins glowing with a faint golden light. Her bloody cuts across her body begin to heal, as she spits blood out from her mouth - her expression clearly irate as she stares down her opposition.


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>The cars around the battle slowly see reverses to their damaged states - as Mosaic hovers down beside Paladin and Hyperia. Standing in place, he then crosses his arms as he speaks.

"You need to stop this, Rafael. You can't win, and I don't think your heart's really in this fight."

>Rafael pants lightly as she balls her hand into a fist.

"You can't even begin to conceive how great my convictions are, human. I-"

>Mosaic then interjects

"You want to get revenge on the Thulcandran council for the things they made you do."

>Rafael freezes in place - utterly dumbfounded by Mosaic's statement. Although she quickly regains her composure, Hyperia and Paladin catch on it.

"Wait, what? She's doing this for revenge?"

>Hyperia says, confused.

>Irritated, Rafael then quickly makes a psionic signal burst with her mind - sending it out across the planet to its recipient.

"Uh oh. Mosaic, she's sent out a beacon!"

"I sensed it. Let them arrive."

"You're sure about this?"

"Yeah. I think I know who it is, based on what you told me."


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>In an instant, a being seemingly 'flickers' into existence in front of Rafael. A young woman with a visor and an energy sword appears, seemingly to protect Rafael from her opponents.

"Stay away from the commander!"

>Slipstream then moves forward, teleporting at a seemingly instantaneous speed as she rapidly converges on Mosaic's location.


>Mosaic catches her strike in the middle of his fingers - snapping the energy beam in half with a casual motion.

"What the fuck….."

>Still stunned - Slipstream then looks up at Paladin, finally realizing the true importance of Rafael's statement.

"You were holding back all along….."

>Paladin nods slowly, stating:

"There's a reason why we're the good guys."

>Paladin looks at Mosaic.

"It's because we learned the value of mercy."

>Mosaic nods slowly at Paladin, then turns back towards Slipstream.

"We're not trying to kill your commander. I know what she's really trying to do."

>Slipstream looks between the vigilantes, and Rafael for a moment. She then steps aside slowly, as Mosaic walks forward.


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>Rafael prepares to continue fighting - charging up massive amounts of psionic energy in her hands as she braces herself for the fight to continue.

>Entire cars, buses, trucks and other large structures begin seemingly hovering into the air - for miles. The sheer psionic force of Rafael's abilities begins to grow at an exponential rate.

>The force around her is enough to seemingly crush carbon into diamonds - nonetheless, Mosaic continues walking forward.

"Stay back! I'm warning you!"

>Mosaic then keeps walking, even as the psionic pressure continues to build - now reaching the entire city.

"You want revenge. I get it. After what they did to you - after what they forced you to do? For the sake of your entire planet? Anyone would break under those conditions. Even you."

>Rafael feels emotion well up in her mind, instinctively. Tears start streaming down her face, as she realizes what's happening.

{"Psionic resonance? That can't be!"}

>Rafael begins to see a flurry of memories flood her mind. Memories she knew that she had kept buried - beyond the reach of her conscious mind.

>Falling down on one knee, Rafael places her hand up to her forehead - screaming from the pain of her memory retrieval. Her psionic pressure is now also negated - as the city slowly recovers from her immense power.

{"The resonance effect….it can only happen when two sets of identical memories are…."}

>Rafael then shoots up - looking at Mosaic. Tears are falling down her eyes, as she realizes what has occurred.

"…..You have my memories?"

>Mosaic crosses his arms as he responds.

"You gave me no choice. It was the only way to make you see that I know. I understand what this is really about."

>Mosaic then lowers onto one knee to meet Rafael at face level. His voice growing quieter, he then says:

"You just needed to reach out - and ask for help righting a wrong. Taking your anger and frustration out on innocent people is never the answer."

>Pausing for effect, Mosaic then places a finger at Rafael's neck, slowly lifting it to match his eyes behind his mask.

"I know that from personal experience. So does Paladin. So does Hyperia. And so does Mechanicus. We all know what you're going through - even if it's not on the same scale."


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>>Off on the side, in a nearby alleyway - Mechanicus remains cloaked, with an energy rifle aimed squarely at Rafael. He hesitates for a moment, before sighing.


>Trusting in Aiden's judgment, he dematerializes the rifle and slowly walks out of the alleyway. Having taken a backseat in the fight for the past 30 minutes, Mechanicus had positioned himself ready to deliver a surprise attack - had the opportunity presented itself.

>The opportunity did present itself, just then. But in the name of his growing humility, he chose not to go through with the attack.

>As Mechanicus reaches the area where Rafael is sitting - in the middle of the streets, he then keeps his distance. Hesitant to confront his older sister, he instead remains cloaked.

>Paladin, however, doesn't hesitate. He immediately walks towards Rafael and holds out his gloved hand for her to take.

"….More than anyone else here - I understand what happens when you go down a dark road. It never ends well. I can tell you that."


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>Silent for a moment, Rafael then looks up at Paladin - taking a deep sigh, before speaking.

"….To hell with it. I knew my chances of victory were slim to none anyways. Very well."

>Taking Paladin's hand, Rafael slowly stands up. Feeling herself aching in pain still, she quickly stumbles on her feet and falls forward - only for Paladin to catch her in his arms.

>There is a dead silence in the area for a moment, before Rafael stammers.

"….You can let me down now!"

>Silent for another moment, Paladin then looks at her and says:

"….Actually, this is kind of nice. You're not really that heavy."

>Rafael feels her face flush a bright red, as she shouts and blasts Paladin away with a telekinetic surge.

>Although the force of the surge is powerful enough to rupture buildings outright - Paladin tanks the attack, still holding onto Rafael as he does so.

"Hey. I'm not going to drop a woman on a whim. I like to think I have more class than that. Besides - you still owe me a business proposition."

>Paladin then leans in and says:

"Oh, and that dinner you promised me too."

>Rafael's face is still burning red, as she mutters to herself. Cursing profusely under her breath, she remains there, with Paladin holding her in her arms.


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Residential District
>Time: 5:00 PM

>Rafael then places a small spherical object onto the table of Jack's living room, watching as it projects a massive 3D hologram of the solar system.

"The solar farms were extracted and placed near the Kuiper Belt. I'll take them back, before any of your astronomers and scientists get any ideas."

>As she speaks, Rafael continues to cross her arms as she sits in her seat. Slipstream is sitting upside down on a chair beside Rafael - eating an apple taken from Jack's kitchen.

"Oh, and…."

>Looking at Phoebe from across the table, Rafael then says:

"….Sorry for the psionic attack on the neural interlinks of your brain."

>Phoebe sighs as she then states:

"I'll accept your apology, if you actually promise to start working to reform yourself. No more evil villain antics, Raf."

>Samael sits beside Phoebe - his white hair perfectly matching Rafael's as he remains completely silent.

>Rafael, taking stock of her younger brother's demeanor, and Phoebe's staunch declaration - can't help but smile a bit.

"You seem to be the more dominant figure in your relationship with my brother. Very well then, Phoebe. I accept your terms."

>Looking off to the side, Rafael then muses:

"You remind me of myself - somewhat."


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>Phoebe scoffs and crosses her arms, stating:

"I'll take that as a compliment. As long as you're not trying to take over anything? I'll cut you some slack."

>Rafael turns towards Samael and says:

"I understand if you are the most untrusting of me, Samael. However long it may require to regain your trust - I will adhere to that time frame."

>Samael looks down and sighs for a moment. He then speaks with his head still staring down at the floor.

"I'm sorry for not helping you, Rafael. I could've stood up for you and risked my own freedom. I could've-"

>Holding her hand out, Rafael then speaks, interjecting.

"You did solely what was within your parameters of action - based on your judgment. You acted in precisely the way I trained you to."

>Samael looks up, wearily at Rafael - then is surprised to see a smile on her face.

"I will admit, a part of me still desires retribution for the transgressions placed upon me. However, my ire will be directed towards the Seraphim Council itself - not the people of Thulcandra."

>Samael then speaks up in response to that statement.

"The Seraphim Council will become even more labrynthian in their operations - once they are made aware of your survival. You were tossed into Sagittarius A, Rafael. The very idea of you surviving that is…"

>Rafael rolls her eyes as she looks down at her fingers, examining them.

"You of all people understand the depths of my psionic power, Samael. Even a gravitational anomaly of that magnitude is not enough to contain me. Nothing is."

>Aiden then walks past Rafael, entering the room as he speaks:

"….Almost, nothing."

>Rafael scans Aiden as he walks into the room - locking eyes with him.

"As for you. I would ascertain your anomalous properties to be the greatest mystery of all - Grayson."

>Sighing, Aiden then speaks:

"Why is it always the last name basis with me when it comes to bad guys? First Jack, now you."

>Rafael looks at Jack, raising an eyebrow, as Jack nervously scratches the stubble of his chin.

"Yeah well…that's a long story."


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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:

"I honestly don't know, and I wish I knew. Because if I knew that? Then I'd know a whole lot more about myself, and why I'm the way that I am."

>Sensing a complete lack of deception in his tone of voice, Rafael then sighs once more.

"Disappointing. Such a mechanism would prove instrumental in combatting any contingencies created by the Seraphim Council."

>Phoebe then interjects.

"Speaking of which. What exactly is this Seraphim Council you keep referring to, Rafael?"

>Turning to Phoebe, Rafael looks somewhat hesitant in her facial expression, before she regains her composure and briefs her.

"To grossly oversimplify the complex details - the Seraphim Council is a group of twelve Chronarchs within Thulcandra's higher society. Think of them as an administrative body who delegate all of the immediate tasks within the planet's society."

>Giving the others time to process the information, Rafael continues speaking.

"Thulcandran is a one nation government. The entire planet is unified, due to various sociopolitical factors."

>Samael then speaks up.

"The Formican Wars. The Traentorian Uprising. Countless intergalactic conflicts that we had to intervene in."

>Rafael nods as she continues speaking.

"Either way. Those twelve Chronarchs serve as the status quo of Thulcandran Society. The sooner they're stopped, the better. They're responsible for some truly heinous acts of political malfeasance. All instigated by unwitting pawns - just to maintain their power and status."


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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.

"Selatiel, you complete and utter buffoon!"

>Everyone then turns and stares - everyone besides Aiden.

"Oh right, none of you knew."

>Rafael sighs as she turns to face Aiden.

"You have my memories now, correct?"

>Aiden nods in response.

"Only as a means of last resort - to convince you to listen to us, but yes. I do. I know exactly who you're referring to."

>Samael looks on in utter disbelief.

"….Selatiel is Ouranos?! Selatiel?!?!"

>Rafael gives an amused look as she states:

"You never wondered where he went after he left the Seraphim Council? I would imagine he attempted to find more power in his own way - and from what Grayson has told me? He clearly has."

>Aiden nods slowly, as he crosses his arms.

"Your cousin Selatiel is fast becoming a problem. He's already a magician, and he's learning more magical spells and incantations at a rapid rate. We also still have to deal with Eidolus…."

>Shaking his head, Aiden then states:

"Never mind that. As I said, we'll figure this all out later."

>Rafael then interjects once more, stating:

"Have you analyzed his blueprints? His morphological structure, if similar to that of a Chronarch - would give him a resistance against his own programming. A bio-mechanical physiology with us as a reference - more than lends itself to spontaneous mutagenic properties."

>Rafael then stands up and instantly shifts her form - turning into an identical copy of Phoebe by doing so.

"After all, morphological reconstruction is one of our main abilities."


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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.

"Naturally, the alias of 'Melissa Wyngarde' was very easy to fabricate with this ability."

>Adjusting her armor cufflinks around her wrists, she then muses:

"You can thank my early experimentation with genetic recombination and protoform structures for this ability. If only I still had the Index - that would be a better showcase of my original work."

>Aiden looks at Phoebe, who looks back at him.

"Jericho's watch?"


"Huh. Small world."

>Turning back to Rafael, Phoebe then holds out her hand, stating:

"Well, it's good to have you on board then - Rafael. Or should I say, 'Melissa'. Everyone added to the 'roster' of sorts, makes this a lot easier for us."

>Giving an amused scoff, Rafael shakes Phoebe's hand and says:

"Indeed. I look forward to collaborating with you in the future, Phoebe."

>Aiden then waits for Phoebe and Samael to each place a hand on one of his shoulders - as Aiden himself brings two fingers to his forehead.

"See you around, Rafael."

>Turning to face Jack, he then winks behind his sunglasses and makes one final statement:

"She's your responsibility now. Take good care of her, Jack."

>Aiden then teleports himself, Phoebe and Samael away in an instant.


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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:

"…..Why did you pretend like you hated us? Humans, I mean."

>Rafael raises an eyebrow as she crosses her arms - examining Jack for a moment before stating:

"Because I used to be one. Couldn't you tell?"

>Jack turns to look at Rafael for a moment, stating:

"Well, I assumed you were just an alien being who took the form of a human. I didn't know that you and your brother were-"

>Rafael then interjects once more, slightly irritated with the tip-toeing around the subject.

"We're artificially 'evolved' humans with billions of years of artificial selection to guide our development. Hence why we still look and function like humans. As the saying goes, 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it', no?"

>Jack gives a nod of acknowledgment, saying:

"Well, I suppose that works. But still…."

>Feeling himself turn red in the face, he then finds himself making it very difficult to speak - as he states:

"I-I just wanted to know if it was alright to call you a human like us. Given the circumstances and all.."

>Rolling her eyes and then sighing deeply, Rafael then outright says what both of them are thinking:

"Yes, I find you attractive - you buffoon."


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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.

"But I will admit, you were a more tantalizing option to converse with."

>Jack rubs his lips in disbelief - as Rafael continues speaking to him.

"You did a commendable job of hiding your experiences through subtext - when we first started to talk to each other. Your 'friend in rehabilitation' learned quite a lot from his reformation - didn't he?"

>Understanding now that Rafael completely saw through his act, Jack then accepts the full flush of red on his face, stating:

"…..Is your friend going to…."

>Rafael doesn't take her gaze off of Jack, as she then places a hand on his chest.

"She won't interrupt us. Unlike most, she can understand subtext very well."

>Rafael then kisses Jack again and pushes him onto the couch as she says:

"It's been a while, but I digress - so I'm also a bit impatient."

>Jack thinks to himself, remembering Aiden's words:

["She's your responsibility now. Take good care of her, Jack."]

>In his mind, he thinks:

{"He knew that she…… Of course he did. Unbelievable…."}

>Jack then moves to kiss Rafael once more - as Rafael remotely turns the lights off.

[The End]

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