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Thread: CROWNLESS (IC)

  1. #41
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    PENANCE
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    Finding a bottle of wine with nothing but a glass of it is a difficult endeavour, to say the least. Nevertheless, you’re good enough with people that doing such a thing, asking around and the like, earns you nothing worse than a strange look or two, and you’re eventually pointed to the right direction.

    It’s sweeter than you expect— an ice wine, apparently, as one Noble had told you as he prattled on about the various distinctions of wine and production and so on. Such wines like these are risky to make, as they’re made with grapes that have been frosted over on the vine. Another Noble you’ve met identified it as a pre-War product, originating from a place called Germany, which you vaguely recognize as a country that existed before the War. In other words, obscenely rare, and likely just as expensive. This being so, there’s is apparently only one bar in this establishment that serves such a thing.

    Amadei, so it’s called. The name of your destination.

    Many of the bars and restaurants in this section exude wealth and status in their appearance, grand aesthetics, emulating the architecture and decor of Old World styles that you only faintly recognize. Amadei, on the other hand, is positively modest, and yet it feels different. An aura of simple elegance and nobility. Whereas other establishment had to make themselves look noble, this one simply was.

    The bar is on an outside area situated by the balcony, giving you a view of the neon glow of the Lower City, away from the noise and clamor of the rest of the casino. A brief respite of quiet.

    The bartender looks up. “How may I help you?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  2. #42
    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino


    "Alright. I'm heading in."

    Rose stepped through the entrance. Glancing through the crowd, the identification channel in her cyberbrain sorted through the IDs of the various figures. The goal was to find relevant criminal records, but as expected, there was little to be found. To be able to maintain a slavetrade through this establishment, the person behind it had to have no record, she thought. Anyone with serious previous convictions was kept a stern eye on by the Sector. This has to be someone with a clean image. Possibly a Noble, even. But there's no easy way to find someone like that.

    The first step was to follow traces of KHAMSIN, she concluded. KHAMSIN must have left some marks here. During her investigation, there had to be a bunch of employees she spoke to.

    Through her cyberbrain, Rose accessed the voice channel to her colleagues again. "I'm going to try contacting the owner. ARBALEST, keep watch over ASCELPIUS and BALMUNG. The casino is safe for now."

    Overlooking the crowd once more, she made her way towards the first employee she could see. "Excuse me, could I have a moment of your time?", she asked.

  3. #43
    Now in Hi Def Bloble's Avatar
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    Frederick Fontaine
    Evening
    Aries Palace Poker Tables

    Fontaine sighed.

    The guy was good. Better than Fontaine himself in a straight game, even. If he kept playing it was bound to get dangerous. In fact, it already was. This was the nameless gambler's master stroke. Fontaine could already feel the pressure. The weight that came when one had to make a truly difficult decision. It had been building up for the past half hour and now it hit a climax, falling squarely onto his shoulders.

    Fontaine put aside his cards for a moment, and took a sip of room temperature wine.

    "Let's put an end to this game," the man had said, implying that this would be the last round for one of them. It was a significant revelation, even though Fontaine had nearly mistaken it for a bit of throwaway banter. Those words had been a declaration, a promise, a threat. No matter what happened one of them would leave the table after this.

    To counter that, all Fontaine had to do was fold.

    He didn't have that much in the pot. Fontaine could fold, as he'd done a few times before with awful hands, and let the hand pass. The man would win a paltry sum and then either leave as promised or be the target of some snickering as his words evaporated into nothing and the game continued. Either way, Fontaine's foe would be diminished or gone. This wasn't Le Chiffre: only money was riding on this match, nothing more.

    That, Fontaine realized, was the misdirection.

    The man had been sizing up Fontaine all game, getting used to the newcomer's play style. Those words were thrown out to poke at the player himself. Fontaine's chosen method had involved taking a few losses and building them back up by scraping away small hands from others. He'd never once directly challenged the king of the table or wagered the majority of his chips. In short, he'd established himself as tricky and evasive, but not a direct threat. Those words were meant to push him one way: away from this single hand.

    But for what purpose? It could not be a simple bluff. No one was insane enough to bet that much on nothing - except Fontaine himself.

    "Sure," Fontaine said. "Time was nearly up anyway."

    In the end it wasn't the astronomical advantage of probability that pushed Fontaine to call. It wasn't the knowledge that even if he lost he'd be able to stay in the casino with a few dollars in his pocket, nor was it the screaming strength of his powerful hand demanding to be played. It was not the desire to rub it in his opponent's face or even the hope that if he won at this table he'd be able to move onto the back room tables. It wasn't even the lingering trace of gambler's pride.

    Fontaine had simply spotted a familiar face in the crowd, and wanted to go talk to her at that very moment.

    "Dealer," he said. "However many chips I have after this - cash them out. I have somewhere to be."

  4. #44
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    LILITH
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby


    You return to your troupe, though over your shoulder, you see the girl disappear into the crowd. It’s frustrating, but it’s something. It was proof that a you who once served Nobility existed. You push those thoughts out of the way, as you make your way to the entrance. The others are just making their way into the lobby as you meet up with them, none the wiser (apparently), as you receive a message in your cyberbrain. It’s from 2D.

    “One section of the casino seems a bit too intelligent.”

    He disconnects shortly afterward, saying nothing else.

    Something bothers you about it as you try to make sense of it. A coded message? It’s too vague otherwise. Judging by the channel, he hadn’t addressed this to the others, only to you. As if on cue, one of the Madame’s other Knights speaks up over comms.

    “Hey. Our hacker’s disconnected?”

    An uneasy silence over the channel. The Madame continues to speak casually with Mr. Baldwin, but you’ve been with her long enough to detect her wariness. The girl speaks up over the channel. “Probably for some security reason, or whatever. Who knows how hacking or whatever works. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

    The Madame looks at you as you arrive with her group, as they begin to make their way upstairs., presumably to the upper floors. “Ignore it. We can send someone to tail him if need be, but in the meantime, we have shit to do.”

    Mr. Baldwin steps aside, as the doors to a lift open. He smiles, and invites you in. Beyond those elevator gates, you’d leave the casino behind. There was work to be done.


    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor


    The drink probably costs more than you make in a month (not really, but it’s a good analogy), but you can put it on the Madame’s tab, you hope.

    Sitting from here, you notice a bit of a commotion by the poker tables. A high-stakes game from the looks of it, a table surrounded by onlookers and a tense atmosphere. Almost like out of a movie, though one probably not for you. Though, that’s not too relevant to your job at the moment.

    Slot machines were bad news, as usual. Out of curiosity, testing out your luck for the night like one gingerly pokes a cold pool with one’s pinky toe, you dumped a bit of pocket change into one. Of course, it just ate up your money yielding nothing but a pittance, as expected of a literally rigged machine. They were always like this. Of course, you could do something about it, if no one pays too much attention to you…

    You snap out of your reverie, as a blip in one corner of your cyberbrain updates you on your drones’ statuses. 00 speaks up.

    There. On the skyscrapers. We’re being watched.”

    She feeds you a visual, and it’s a distant image, only barely visible against the dark skyline. A figure standing sentinel by the edge of the skyscraper, a body of steel and chrome glinting in the moonlight.

    As you watch the visual, you begin trying to tap into the Sector’s networks. Their security, however, is something else. You manage to intercept some of their comms, which in itself was not particularly difficult, detecting possibly four or five units in the surrounding area, but it’s all encrypted, unintelligible to you at the moment. This was the hard part. Cryptanalysis with nothing but your cyberbrain and 01 was possible, but given the level of encryption at work here, that would probably take too long on the processing power the two of you shared. It would likely be possible to crack it, but at a rate too slow to matter. You’d need a bit more power to work your magic.

    That aside, this attempt yields more than just possibility of intercepting their communications. At this rate, they’ve probably already picked up on your intrusion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  5. #45
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor


    2D nods amiably at 01's words, pretending to study the slot machine. "Stop the intrusion, but slowly, I want it to look like we're some no-good scriptkiddie messing around at the casino. Reconnect to the Madame's comms; shit's going to hit the fan and I bet it has something to do with why we're here. Drop a message - 'One section of the casino's got five more players then we were expecting.' Stay on the line for monitoring it. 00, do the thing where you pretend to be a security drone and ping it for confirmation that its authorized, lets see what kind of info we get back. 02, mark me, I need grocery money."

    Slot machines were a joke to break, and frankly, 2D felt a bit embarrassed that he was this low on money at all. Readjust some odds, fiddle with it a bit so that way he was making slightly more every few games then he was spending, then in an hour or two he could jack it all the way up and instantly jackpot and skive off to roam the casino, ignoring all offers to play other games, or 'follow these men'.

    2D knew very, very well that those requests usually ended up with a vague attempt at intimidation (which failed the instant they found he was both an Esper and a tech savant,) and then a night in casino jail, which he could break out of in like, twenty se-

    Wait.

    "...00, do we have schematics for the actual layout ​of this place, considering we have to find the goddamn mainframe? Is the casino jail anywhere near there?"
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  6. #46
    just monika Katie's Avatar
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    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    Germany. What used to be the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither of those adjectives. In particular, the fact that she had been sent such an expensive gift made her feel a bit guilty. Such luxury was wasted on her—it would be worth far more for any other woman. Others who were truly attuned to the pleasures of the flesh, unable to see beyond their shallow worlds.

    But even so, she was called, and whether or not it was a trap, it did not matter. She existed to take a stand for those who could not, and she would accept any invitation. The problem was that she was hardly an investigator. Her motives were simple and clear and her tact was quite little. If they were aware of her progress, they could easily keep misleading her.

    Nevertheless, she had a question to answer.

    “I was gifted a certain kind of wine from here, and I’d like to know the kind person who did such a thing.” She dredges up the quick facts she learned, that it was a German ice wine, and explains clearly. Best to make such a thing quick.

    Even if the locale had a pleasant atmosphere, she was still goal oriented.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  7. #47
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Lower City Skyscrapers


    Overwatch is not a fun role.

    For a bit, there isn’t much to entertain yourself with, other than watching the lights of the city pass by here and there. In the meantime, you watch the others.

    The team infiltrating the facility sends a steady stream of visual input to your end. So far, they’ve managed to evade all detection, as you watch the visual feed of empty warehouse corridors and snaking passageways, though strangely enough they haven’t encountered much in the first place.

    ASCLEPIUS speaks over comms. “We’ll probably see if they have anything like a server or control room here first, so you we can jack you in. Though, honestly, we don’t have a good layout of this facility. A lot of it seems to go underground, but the way to even deeper underground seems to be shut. From the looks of it, though, there seem to be tunnels linking this facility to some other warehouses, that go out even further. Looks a lot like a repurposed bunker.”

    “Seriously, though.” BALMUNG sounds irritated. “Where is everyone? I feel signatures, but I don’t see shit.”

    On the other side, at the casino proper, you see EGLANTINE gathering information, signs of her access to the identification channel, the Sector database of its citizens. She seems, for the moment, to be handling herself just fine.

    And on the last channel—

    Wait.

    Last channel? No, that’s strange. Other than you four, there should be no one else connected to this channel. And yet, there’s an extra connection. Trying, and failing to access your encrypted channel. An intruder, in other words. It comes from the Palace. You see its efforts peter out. Connecting to your channel is just the first hurdle. Decrypting the comms is an even greater one.

    As you wonder to yourself uneasily, if the operation’s been compromised, or if you’ve been detected, you see something in the distance at the Palace.

    Flying around its perimeter. Barely visible. Slightly garishly colored, too much so to be standard issue. Someone’s flying a combat drone around the skyscrapers.


    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby


    You look around for someone to talk to. The first thing that catches your eye is a waiter, who you see conversing in low voices with another, a janitor perhaps. The janitor leaves, and the waiter is left alone. An opportunity. In an establishment like this, it would normally be considered odd for one to speak extensively to the menial workers here, but speaking to a waiter is nothing too suspicious.

    You look the man over as you approach him, gathering whatever information you can before you engage. A man in his early-thirties, with an air of slight wariness, though he seems to be doing his best to hide it. From his speech you overheard, you detected just a hint of an accent. Your identification channel marks him as Marcial Andrés. A refugee.

    His files bring up little else in terms of information, other than that he has a wife and son, and much of his history is undocumented, but that comes with the life of being a refugee.

    You know, vaguely, that there are pockets of land outside the Sanctuaries that are still inhabited, ruins of cities or clusters of villages. You also know that they have been slowly disappearing over the years, as they’ve been forced to make the journey to the Sanctuaries, forced by either exhausted resources, threat from stray Aberrants, or desire for some sense of law. While the Sector’s stance on the refugees wasn’t particularly harsh— that, after all, was the purpose of its existence— many refugees nevertheless managed to slip between the fingers of its detection, into the cracks. Undocumented refugees such as this man were surprisingly common.

    Given that the man at least has a name, you know that he isn’t completely unknown to the Sector. Of course, the question remains, why so little of his information has been documented. Is he hiding something, or was it someone else?

    He starts, slightly, as you approach him, but he quickly gets over himself.

    He nods respectfully. “How may I help you this evening, Miss?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  8. #48
    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby

    Refugees from the ruins outside the Sanctuary usually had no choice but to work in low paying fields. Most came from places only hubris was left of and simply didn’t have the resources the citizens of the Inner City had. Without proper education, finding work was hard. As someone who spent most of her life in the Inner City as a student, Rose knew how harsh the requirements for jobs with decent pay were. Her mother always said that intellect and ambition can make up for anything, but that wasn’t entirely true. If you didn’t go through Neo Alexandrias schooling systems, you simply lacked the qualifications many companies required of you. Not even the smartest man in the world could change that. Of course refugees had access to those schooling systems, but in the case of those coming from places that were almost entirely torn apart, picking up the first job available was a sympathetic choice to make.

    That could be the case for this man, Rose pondered. If the Aries Palace was really involved in harvesting, they might even offer undocumented refugees decently paying jobs, creating a wall of easy targets to hide behind. Wouldn’t be the first time shady organizations used more vulnerable citizens to hide their crimes, she thought.
    Assuming this man was uninvolved, she needed to use him to get to someone who wasn’t, and to achieve that, she needed to provide him with a good enough reason to do so. She could walk up and introduce herself as an agent of the Sector, an action sure to earn her immediate respect from him, but that seemed foolish. There might already be someone keeping an eye on her for all she knew. No, she had to take a more covert approach. She had to stop being Rose.

    As the waiter turned to face her, the pale-haired woman greeted him with a smile. “Good evening. I'm looking for a friend of mine.", she said. “She went here a few weeks ago, and..” Her cheery tone was written over with shakiness, and her demeanor all but spelled out anxiety. Stroking her ring finger nervously, she tried to start speaking again but couldn’t get any words out for a few seconds. “I-I haven’t heard of her since. The last time we talked she was on her way here and then, she was just gone. I’m sure nothing happened to her, but if you’ve seen her or heard anything, please.” With her right hand, she took out a tiny metallic device, and upon tapping on its casing, it projected a picture of KHAMSIN. “Maybe she’s even in here right now. i just want to know she’s okay.”

  9. #49
    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Lower City Skyscrapers

    Having nothing but time as she watches the light gleaming off the towers of glass and metal ARBALEST starts tapping Sector One's access privileges for what she can gather. Pulling the records of the casino and the warehouse's power usage she compares the usage over time to see if there were any spikes, or changes. Perhaps something activated to hide the presence that the two agents are detecting.

    A frown crosses her lips as she detects the anomalous access to their com system, as well as the drone hovering about the casino. A query pulls no standard drone of that type, more likely than not a custom. Tagging its presence she she runs another sweep of the com system.

    "Possible third party in the casino. Combat unit tagged. No present threat."

    Her statement over the line flat, the assessment dry even as she runs the calculations to remove the target if need be.

    Boring then tense in a heart beat. Her metal hand digs into the cement of the building, this being the best spot she can be in for the unit, but so far removed from the danger and risk while they have to face it head on. Turn about is fair play though, as she is not lacking in her own e-warfare suite. Triggering a sweep of the coms in the area she searches for the unwanted guest.


    Collection of cherished moments
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  10. #50
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace Poker Tables


    The dealer nods in response.

    The air at the table seems to freeze at your words, the onlookers breathless and anticipating. Murmurs through the crowd. Did anyone expect you to come this far?

    The dramatic moment, like out of a movie. All eyes on you. Slowly, deliberately, you reveal your hand. The two missing Kings. Four of a kind. Your opponent doesn’t look surprised, like he had thoroughly expected you to play this hand. Like he’d known what you had.

    For the first time throughout the whole match, he begins to laugh. Neither a laugh of victory, or resignation, or even relief. No, it’s a pure thing, of genuine entertainment. He nonchalantly reveals his own.

    The first card, a Queen of Clubs.

    The second card, a Seven.

    A Flush. In other words, a loss.

    Like a balloon that burst. All the tension of the match, finally reaching its head. The crowd immediately breaks out into murmurs, electrified chatter, shock and excitement in this unknown man’s victory over the king of the table. You already hear rumors of you taking root, as the dealer starts cashing out your chips, and handing you your bills. Who is this man? How did he win? Your opponent still smiles, though now, it’s the real thing, not the leer from before, but of amusement and interest. A genuine acknowledgement on his part that he had been bested.

    That all, of course, is all secondary. With your wallet feeling quite a bit fatter, you make your way through the crowd, to the familiar woman you saw. She waves, as you she sees you.

    “So. Having fun?” A foxy smile. It’s her; you recognize that voice. The voice you heard over the phone, back at the warehouse. Another agent of your King, then.

    “Of all the places to find you, I should’ve known it would’ve been here. I’d admonish you for playing around with Miss Yuan’s funds like that, but,” she says, looking over your shoulder at the excited crowd, “I suppose I shouldn’t have worried.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  11. #51
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor


    02 audibly grumbles over comms, something about getting all the shitty jobs, and underappreciated talents. Nevertheless, it links itself up with the machine sitting before you, as it fiddles with the code and slowly trickles in profits, complaining all the while.

    Sure enough, the machine starts to slowly trickle in the chips that would become your lunch money for the next month.

    "...00, do we have schematics for the actual layout of this place, considering we have to find the goddamn mainframe? Is the casino jail anywhere near there?"
    A brief silence, as your AIs process this. 01 pipes up. Well, we have the tourist map, if that’s anything.

    So you do. It opens up in the corner of your vision, a basic layout of the place as seen by the common gambler, rotating in a 3D schematic. The gambling halls, the entertainment venues, the restaurants and nightclubs, the works. Nothing too interesting. More interesting than what it tells you, is what it doesn’t.

    Much of the schematic is quite detailed— descriptions of the venues and so forth provided in neat little expandable boxes. Some of it, however, is much vaguer. The highest floors described are the VIP gambling halls, but from the looks of it, there are even more levels to the building on the floors above, unlabeled and undescribed, other than the words office venues and other vague terminology. In other words, an unlabeled, closed-to-public gap between the penthouse and the highest level gambling halls. That, then, may be one candidate.

    On the other hand, from what you see of the elevators, there are floors below even the lowest public basements of this building, though they’re also unlabeled, save for the fact that it’s employee-access only, apparently for janitorial purposes and so on. There, your other candidate.

    00 speaks up. If we are to find anything more than what is available to the general public, we may have to search elsewhere. Perhaps from the employees, or terminals for staff-only use.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  12. #52
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor



    "The tourist map? You're joking. How unprepared for this shit was she?" 2D groans as he pulls the lever again, watching idly. "There's nothing on here to indicate which way to go. Fuck it, we're going down. 02, you're strafing the building. 00, keep trying to ping that guy and pretend to be a security drone."

    2D stands, watching the 7-7-7 that just showed. Jackpot. "Time to go."

    He grabs his chips, grins, and turns on his heel, heading for the elevators. "01, we've only got one chance to break into the lower levels. And I do mean one. If we fail breaking in, we're going to have to go in blazing, and that's without 00 or 02 backing us. Got it?"

    The AI whimpered in 2D's ear. "B-b-b-ut-!"

    "No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This is how it works."

    2D waltzes over to the elevator, staring at it for a moment, before reaching out and pressing the down button with a grin. "Nowhere to go but down."
    Last edited by Frantic Author; September 25th, 2017 at 01:52 PM.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  13. #53
    Now in Hi Def Bloble's Avatar
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    Frederick Fontaine
    Evening
    Aries Palace Poker Tables

    The victory - if he could he call it that - tasted sweeter than any wine. Fontaine nodded at his opponent and dropped his own slightly unpleasant poker face, exchanging a respectful nod with the player who'd nearly bested him.

    Such is the game. If his cards hadn't been so lucky, the tactic would have, should have worked. Fontaine knew himself well enough to predict that he'd have gone all in even with a regular straight or three of a kind, much more common hands to have at this stage. In which case he would be tasting the bitterness of defeat instead of the sweetness of victory. Perhaps it would even have been appropriate.

    But he'd won. Fontaine's skills may have been slightly inferior, but his Lady Luck was the extra King on his side.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX
    “I suppose I shouldn’t have worried.”
    "No," was the first thing Frederick Fontaine said to the girl once they'd met in person. He dispassionately greeted her, fixed his tie, and then cracked a slightly relieved grin, eyes glittering with a hint of playfulness.

    "Right now I need three things. One is more wine, which I will happily share." He gestures to the nearly empty glass in his hand, enough for a few sips. "The second is admonishment from a responsible woman. Otherwise this foolish gamble will go to my head."

    Fontaine never forgot a nice face, and he faintly recalled seeing her around his King a few times. That made PHOENIX trustworthy at least.

    "The third is the name by which I will call you as we proceed with business. Tonight, I am Felix Leiter, Miss...?"

  14. #54
    Trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday. Prix of Heroes's Avatar
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    LILITH
    Evening
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    Lilith hesitates, just beyond the elevator doors. She reaches out, staying them for herself. She looks at her mistress, her master, Madame. She meets her eyes and uses her cyberbrain the way she is permitted to, with the restrictions placed upon whatever it used to be able to do. Even that, it seems, has been made mechanically fuzzy.

    "I can do something. Send me. Unless..." She looks at Mr. Baldwin, smiling. "Sorry, you wanted me to come to?" she asks, a little warm beneath a veneer of dull professionalism that plays up her status as a subordinate. Pretending to be confused buys the few seconds that she needs to listen for Madame's judgment. She isn't quite sure which she was hoping for, but there is a part of her that is always, always looking for a way out. She just hasn't found one yet.

    Since ancient times, the moon has carried magic, women, and death.

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  15. #55
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    EGLANTINE
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    The approach you take is a blunt one.

    A direct attack, feigning ignorance. Better this, than to waste time dancing around a topic, trying to steer it into the direction you want. After all, KHAMSIN was no shut-in. It wouldn’t be out of the question for those who knew her to come looking.

    “Good evening. I'm looking for a friend of mine. She went here a few weeks ago, and.. I-I haven’t heard of her since. The last time we talked she was on her way here and then, she was just gone. I’m sure nothing happened to her, but if you’ve seen her or heard anything, please.”

    The man seems receptive enough to this, at least, nodding as he listens. He looks sympathetic, and his tone is relatively friendly.

    “If you’re looking for someone in particular, you may have better luck asking the receptionists, or someone who might have records of our visitors. They may be able to help. Perhaps at the hotel, or one of our clubs, or—”

    He pauses, as he sees the picture you produce. His expression changes.

    “Maybe she’s even in here right now. I just want to know she’s okay.”

    A moment of hesitation. At what? You wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking for it. He seems cautious now, his friendliness more of an act, looking almost frightened. He tries to continue as if unaffected, but you can tell he recognizes the picture, enough for it to elicit this kind of response.

    “—Or the receptionist's desk of the gambling halls.” He nods to you, a small bow, and starts to make his way to leave, a bit hurried. “Best of luck on your search.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  16. #56
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Lower City Skyscrapers


    You pull up records from the Sector Government of power usage on the buildings in question, from multiple sources— self-reported records for tax reasons, regulatory logs, and so on. The casino, from the looks of it, doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary, at least compared to the records you have on hand for other facilities of its type. No falsified records, either. The warehouse, on the other hand, is another story.

    You probably wouldn’t have noticed, if you weren’t looking for it, but your sharp mind notices inconsistencies in reported usage to the Sector. The long and short of it is, the warehouse seems to be using a lot more power than a mere storage facility should be. These consistencies go back to October, about half a year ago, in which the power usage has steadily increased over the months, reaching a spike up in January. Notably, it starts to plateau at the point where KHAMSIN began her independent investigation, and the recent usage has not increased significantly.

    While it’s unlikely this won’t turn out to be anything, at least you now have a case of tax fraud on your hands.

    As you search through the records, you notice that the intrusion into your comms stops. And starts again. And stops again. It looks like whoever this is trying to tap in is having a hard time. Eventually, it stops completely, presumably, having given up.

    You then receive a ping, a confirmation for authorization. An unknown recipient. It seems to be coming from the drone.

    You perform a basic sweep over the casino, looking for outliers. As expected, many of the casino-goers seem to be on private networks, and nothing there immediately pops up as useful. You identify one network as belonging to a mercenary firm, bigger than one would expect from a mere security company. Tracking the sources of the signals, you pin them down to not only the casino, but coming from the warehouse as well.

    The team at the casino pings you, and you open up a visual feed.

    “We found something. Well, not something, but something that’ll help.” BALMUNG nods towards his surroundings, a surveillance room, as an armored guard slumps over unconscious by the wall. Screens with the video feeds of security cameras adorn the walls. “Ready to jack in?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  17. #57
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace Poker Tables


    Felix Leiter.

    She frowns for a moment at this name, and then laughs, as if hearing a funny joke.

    “I see.” She extends her hand to you, and smiles. “Vesper Lynd, then. Will that do?”

    She looks over your shoulder, with a low whistle. “I must say, though. I’d never expected you to beat the likes of him.” Another smile. “I’d look out, if I were you. You’ve certainly managed to grab the attention of the players of this floor.”

    “But enough about that. You said something about drinks?” she says, enthusiasm visible in her expression. “Do you know a place?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  18. #58
    Now in Hi Def Bloble's Avatar
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    Felix Leiter
    Evening
    Aries Palace Poker Tables

    He smiled at the recognition of his reference. It was a simple, stupid thing to be glad about, but Fontaine had no reservations. It was rare to meet another fan of old world literature. Most of the other Wings hadn't been eager to bite when he'd offered to loan out his collection.

    "There's a small place on the second floor," Fontaine said. He'd spotted it on the way in. "Not as fancy as the others, but I think you'll enjoy the homeliness..." He put his arm around Vesper's waist and leaned in close, ostensibly to point it out to her but really to whisper in her ear: "...and the privacy. It also affords a good view of the casino interior." On that note, he allowed his Regalia to peek out once more. With the pressure of sportsmanship gone, Fontaine had no compunctions about being wary, especially with all the new eyes on him.

    As he led his date for the night to their temporary retreat, Fontaine made small talk about nothing in particular, only switching to business once he was sure they could get away with it. "Winning against this fellow, who must be someone of note, was only step one of this approach," he explained. "The ultimate goal is the higher stakes tables in the back, where I should be able to poke at this place's secrets more freely. Should the tables exist I expect an invitation shortly. If they don't - well, no harm, no foul. Other avenues exist. I presume you've been investigating them yourself?"

  19. #59
    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Lower City Skyscrapers


    Ah yes, tax evasion. Even after the world war that tore everything down at least one constant remains.


    Ah, now this is more like it. Signs of a heavy combat group, likely entrenched at both locations... and somehow stealthed or concealed at the warehouse. She could track their positions... but that would likely require her going significantly more active on her search, and certainty reveal her presence. A shame they seem to be practicing decent com silence and not broadcasting their location readily.
    "The two sites are certainty linked, shared security detail between the two of them."

    The sniper considers the ping from the drone, letting the request hover in front of her for a long moment before her lips quirk ever so slightly upwards. Perhaps that little tidbit of tax evasion might come in use now.

    With little effort she pulls, and then tosses the packet towards the drone containing a standard Non Disclose Agreement, tagged as from the IRS. Standard legal warnings and such for any sharing of information of their presence etc, including auditing may apply if violated.

    “Ready to jack in?”
    "Patch me in, I'll see what can be found."

    Pushing aside the rest of her findings she moves back from the edge of the building into more cover as she prepares to dive into the network. Perhaps a bit different than her intended focus but a slight mental shift rather than a paradigm shift required for this application.
    Collection of cherished moments
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  20. #60
    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby


    Rose followed the man's hurried footsteps. He must have recognized KHAMSIN, and she wasn't letting him walk away from this. You've seen her before, haven't you?, she called after him. She reached out to his right arm and took hold of it, forcing him to turn towards her. For a second, the grip squeezed the man's arm hard enough to hurt.

    What do you know about her?, she asked in a sharp voice. And if you know nothing, then bring me to someone who does.

    Her eyes pierced through his with determination. No trace was left of the distraught girl who approached him. Like I said, all I need is to know that she's okay.

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