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Thread: CROWNLESS (IC)

  1. #61
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei

    "Winning against this fellow, who must be someone of note, was only step one of this approach. 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?"

    Lynd smiles.

    She speaks in a low voice. “Within thirty minutes. That’s about the time they’ll take before they send someone up to you.” She frowns, for a second. “Given that you don’t have a cyberbrain, they’ll probably find you through your phone. Keep it on.”

    As you walk, your Regalia notices eyes on you, though no one appears to approach for the moment. Some of them are simply onlookers, gossipers, marveling at this mysterious newcomer who’d won that game, but others aren’t so innocuous. Nothing malicious, yet, but it’s keenly clear that you’re being watched.

    She speaks up, now, a normal volume. “Garcia. That’s the name of the man you’d just beat. He’s a well-known celebrity, here, you know the type.” A voice of mock disbelief, of awe. “Unbeatable! Invincible! The man who’s never lost a game! Well, of course, that wasn’t true before and he knows it, and it’s even less true now. But he has that sort of reputation, and is even acquainted with the owners. There’s no way they wouldn’t take an interest!”

    She leans in and looks into your eyes and whispers. A breathy voice, that no one else can here. Her words entirely betray her expression. “He’s a Knight of the Second.

    You feel a buzz in your pocket, and notice files uploaded into your smartphone, by her just now. Her gathered intel.

    Everything’s a jumble, scraps of information cobbled together. A basement below the facility, transport routes to some district out in the industrial parks. VIP records of powerful men from powerful companies. Timelines of disappearances, databases of employee records. Maps that trace their cyberbrain activity, tracing them back here. They come here, work, and disappear.

    Almost none of them are Espers.

    It’s a lot to take in, that you don’t think you could easily filter through without a cyberbrain. You might as well ask her what specifically she may know.

    And you arrive at your destination. A deceptively humble place with the finest wines, and oddly empty at the moment. Lynd raises an eyebrow at something. There, you see speaking to the bartender, is that girl who caught your eye before.


    PENANCE
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    Straight to the point. The bartender raises an eyebrow, at first, at your straightforwardness, but he nods.

    “A wine like this?” He frowns, taking a look at it, and then laughs. He seems to recognize the thing. “You’re a lucky girl, you know. Ice wine that dates back to before the War’s a hell of a time to get your hands on. A product you can only find at establishments such as ours.”

    “A man had dropped by, earlier today. Filled a goblet, and then kept the rest on reserve. Said to save the rest for later. I suppose, then, it must have been for you?”

    “Now that man, he was something else. Quite young, too. I’d never seen his face around here before, and here’s a place where every VIP is well-known. But he just came up here, just like that, and bought the whole bottle! Without batting an eye! Though,” he says, raising an eyebrow now, “Ah. Looks like he’s come back.”

    And you follow his gaze, to the entrance of the bar, seeing a man with a girl on one arm, who looks your way.
    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. #62
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Felix Leiter
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei

    "This is the place, Vesper. A moment, if you would."

    Half an hour. Not nearly enough time to digest all of the information she'd dumped onto his phone. Fontaine would be miffed, if he were the complaining type. Instead he took it in stride.

    Fontaine guided PHOENIX to the bar, where he saw two familiar faces. To the first, the bartender, he nodded hello and returned his empty goblet. "The wine was excellent. My commendations to whoever picked it. We'll be having the rest in two - no, three glasses. Only fill them to half this time. I'd also like a table for two with a window seat and some cold hors d'oeuvres, dealer's choice." He separated his arm from his date's waist to slide an appropriate amount of money - of which he now had an excess, onto the counter. Then he paused, decided the wine really had been good, and added another bill as a tip.

    Only then did he turn to the other familiar face, to which he couldn't attach a name or personality.

    "Felix Leiter," said Fontaine to the sharp-eyed girl. Though she didn't seem nearly as lost as before, she still stood out from the crowd. His invisible eyes flitted down to her empty glass. "It's good that you enjoyed the drink. Something sweet helps in a place this sour, doesn't it?"

  3. #63
    すきだ Katie's Avatar
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    PENANCE
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    “Kristina Scriabina,” she replies, voice firm yet calm. It’s as if she’s speaking to her flock, appearing strong, lying so that they would not notice weakness within. May He forgive her for her fragility. May He forgive her for her lack of honesty. To bare one’s self was dangerous, she knew, and so she had to take the utmost precaution to prepare herself.

    “I suppose that is the case,” Kristina says, answering the man’s question. She isn’t sure about the woman—if this were a mere womanizing spectacle, it would be odd if she had been dragged around for nothing. Someone else? An acquaintance, perhaps, or just a friend. “Though I try not to frequent places like these, no matter how nice they are.”

    She places the empty glass on the counter, using the motion to think about what she wanted to do next. This act of charity would not go unrewarded, she supposed.

    “As thanks for the drink, is there any way to repay you? I suppose it may be rather old-fashioned, but I do not like receiving gifts without giving in turn.”
    [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

  4. #64
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Felix Leiter
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei

    She was a sharp one. That was good, but it was only a start. It meant Fontaine wouldn't have to beat around the bush, not that he was ever going to.

    Fontaine ignored her offer for the moment, instead deigning to answer the question she hadn't voiced. "I first noticed you because you wear that dress well," he said. "A cut that humble is inspired in an upper class establishment and the choice of fabric goes well with your hair - but I sent you this wine because you stand out far too much. Forgive any assumptions, but it's your first time here, isn't it? In a den of debauchery, Kristina, the honest woman is a sought-after rarity, and not one that tends to last. Particularly tonight, when the sharks are roaming in full force."

    Fontaine knew he was being perhaps a bit too honest, but it wouldn't be enough to arouse suspicion from his surroundings. Casinos being scum was a well-accepted fact among the scum that frequented said casinos, and those with enough clout to do as they wished weren't afraid to admit it. At worst he might be thought of as soft-hearted.

    "There is no need for repayment," he said. "But if you insist, I would ask that you bring someone with you the next time you decide to break your habit of not patronizing casinos like this one."

    At the end of the day, Frederick Fontaine was an emissary of Justice. He couldn't sit back and leave an innocent to the wolves.

  5. #65
    すきだ Katie's Avatar
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    PENANCE
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    “I thought it would be easier to find who I was looking for if I came alone,” she says, a half-smile forming at her lips. Just a smidge confident, yet hesitant all the same. Much of this so-called-plan revolved around her being enticing enough to serve as prey, but if she stood out too much, perhaps her idea was simply wrong in the first place. “Though, I’m well aware of the dangers presented to me if I did such a thing.”

    “I merely thought I was more than capable of dealing with such a problem when it arose,” Kristana says, as if it were matter of fact. “It is one thing to be cautious, and another to be paralyzed by fear. Though, perhaps I’m merely reckless instead.”

    She nods to herself, as if affirming a fact. Her course of action was certainly quite reckless. But even so, He only gave to those who sought for it.


    [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

  6. #66
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    Felix Leiter
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    "In that case, accept this as apology for my needlessly interfering in your business."

    Fontaine slid over one of the three glasses of wine the waiter had delivered. The other two were for himself and Vesper.

    "I do hope you find what you're looking for, Katarina, and that your recklessness goes unpunished. As for me, I'm not nearly as brave as you are. I'd stay and chat, but people will be expecting me. Have a good evening."

    Fontaine mentally shrugged as he nodded goodbye to the distinctive girl and returned to Vesper's side. His concern from before had vanished the moment he realized that Katarina too was looking for something here. There was a chance her goal was the same as his, but then again, perhaps it wasn't. Either way, she wasn't an innocent girl out of her element, so he had no reason to be worried and no reason to waste her time.

    "Excuse the distraction," he said to PHOENIX as he signaled for the waiter to guide him to his seat. "Now, you were saying?"

    It was strange, to be leaving so abruptly after he'd led Katarina on such a merry chase, but Fontaine really didn't have the time. The hors d'oeuvres wouldn't eat themselves and Vesper only had a half-hour at most to debrief him before the hotel staff arrived to fetch him to the back room. In that time Fontaine needed to absorb as much information as his brain could hold.

    That wasn't to say that he was hanging Katarina completely up to dry. Underneath the base of the wine glass he'd left as a parting gift was a piece of stationery.

    On it, Fontaine's phone number.

  7. #67
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    LILITH
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby

    The Madame looks back, face impassive and expressionless. Her lips thin. She looks to the man at her side, contemplating something. Weighing her chances, multiple factors. Before either of you can come to a decision, another message comes on, from your hacker.

    One section of the casino's got five more players then we were expecting.

    The connection remains, but falls silent. She leans in to the man’s ear, and whispers words you barely pick up.

    “One of our own has picked up activity from an unwanted party. I’m sending LILITH to track them down.”

    Alright. Go. Keep an eye on him.

    Oddly accommodating. Perhaps she’s worried about the hacker, but she’d already given him rather free reign. And yet, she likes to keep a leash on you, too, but now she’s willing to let you out of her sight?

    As you think over it, they enter the lift and exit, elevator taking them to the top floors. And you’re left alone again.

    A ping in your cyberbrain. In your peripheral vision, you’re given an audio and visual link to the situation upstairs, and a location tracker giving a general direction of where they are. You can only presume that they have the same for you. But that’s not your primary concern, now. You have a hacker to find. The signals from his cyberbrain should make this easy enough…



    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor


    You take your chips and bail before anyone’s any wiser of your interference, daydreaming of all the dumb figurines you’ll spend this cash on in lieu such petty things like food or rent, and monitor the comm signals. From the looks of it, the Madame and her Knights have taken the lift upwards, but another signal remains on the ground floor. Approaching you. The grumpy one, if you recall.

    As you wait for the elevator, you take a quick look over the software to which it’s connected. Of course, a common security issue nowadays is the neurotic need for everything to connect to some sort of network, and this works to your advantage. There is a monitoring system linked to the elevator systems, likely to help security identify who’s going where, and you identify a few paths downward, below officially mapped venues. Likely janitorial or storage facilities, but possibly something else.

    A ping on your drone, it receives a packet. Standard stuff. A Non-Disclosure Agreement apparently from the IRS, containing legal warnings and other drabble regarding the sharing of information of their presence, auditing in case of violation, and so on. Relatively tame, for what you’d been expecting.

    Among all this, you notice the other Knight’s signal a lot closer than you last noticed, and look up to see her standing right behind 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.

  8. #68
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    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Aries Security Cyberspace


    Jack in.

    What’s it like to describe such a feeling? Humans were not born to perceive the Net. They have organs and partitions of their brain to process sensory information, of sound and light and chemical matter, but when it came to the Net, of radio waves and electromagnetic signals, humans had to adapt, each developing their own way of perceiving that which they would ordinarily be unable to perceive. Some perceive it as an analogue of the real world, of images and spatiality and sound, while other perceive it in abstraction, yet navigate it all the same.

    How do you, then, perceive the Net?

    Regardless, you now find yourself within the private network that oversees these facilities. If you take too long, your presence will probably be picked up by attack programs and then compromise, but in the meantime, you can tinker around.

    The security cameras are the easiest. This gives you a general overview of the complex, allowing you to map the thing and the distribution of the guards, the video feeds of the cameras being fed into your visual systems. You notice that deep within the other facility, the level of security seems much tighter, all about a general area of which you have no visuals, though from the looks of it, it’s a storage facility.

    From the casino, you don’t pick up much, save for a notification from some program that monitors the activities of the gambling hall— one had just scored a jackpot, while another had beaten a casino-aligned overseer at cards— as well as some unauthorized access to the elevator network that nearly went undetected.

    Otherwise, you now have access to many of the casino’s resources. Multiple private comm channels hosted by the facility’s servers, most belonging to the security hired by the casino, the sources of their signals concentrated underground, and thus somewhat faint. Logs and records of transactions and shipments, many from outside the Sector, though incomplete and difficult to read, as if these are just the remains that survived deletion. A cache of emails from their internal network. Locks and controls for various parts of the facility, mostly pertaining to access right and so on.

    Whatever you do here, you have a feeling that while looking around won’t garner much attention, trying to directly affect something will go less unnoticed.
    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.

  9. #69
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    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby


    People are starting to stare.

    It’s only momentary, but they quickly move on. At least, they appear to do so. However, you realize, you may have drawn undue attention to yourself, if someone is watching.

    The man looks clearly alarmed, now. In the sense he still attempts to maintain a mask of professionalism, but you can practically see him sweat beneath it, panic and anxiety settling in. He stares back for a moment, wordless, as if contemplating on his options. His mouth thins.

    In his tone of polite detachment, he replies. “Right this way, Miss.”

    You follow him through halls and down floors and elevators, past bars and restaurants to some place probably underground beneath the basement, as the crowds of people thin out until practically empty. You arrive at a more sparsely decorated room, an empty, spartan thing, labeled Staff Only. A wholly suspicious area to bring an ordinary casino-goer, but at this point, it seems, there’s no pretending anymore.

    He turns to you, dropping any pretense of professionalism and calm. You see real fear in his eyes, something like panic or exhaustion or the sense that he’d be anywhere but here.

    “Before we begin. Who are you, and what do you want?”
    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.

  10. #70
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    The hors d'oeuvres, by the way, seems to be some sort of liver pâté on toast.

    Lynd smiles as you take your seat. “Picking up girls while on the job? You really are enjoying yourself, aren’t you?”

    She takes a glass of wine and sips it, apparently enjoying herself as much as she says you are, and crosses a leg over the other. She looks about her for eavesdroppers, and frowns at the girl. Otherwise, there seems to be no one else in sight. She sighs. “You know, this would just be so much easier if you just got that cyberbrain implant already. Oh well. To business, then.”

    She speaks, quietly enough so that others would have difficulty eavesdropping, but casually enough to not rouse too much suspicion. “I’m sure you know the general gist of this thing, all abductees and Harvesters and all that. We didn’t know much before, so we’ve kept an eye on this place for a while. But we’ve managed to find something, hence you.”

    “The documents have most of the information you need. Just search up queries, whatever you want to know, and it should pop up for you.” She nods to you phone.

    “But anyway. The Sector’s also had their eyes on this place for a while. I’ve seen one of their agents snooping around here, but recently, she’d stopped. And after she stopped, the security here started ramping up. So I’m thinking she got caught, or blew her cover, and now they know they’re being watched. They seem like they’re being cautious. Actually, from the looks of it, they’re dialing down their activity. I’m hearing talk of mergers or buying out or transferrals of power or whatever, but we’re worried they might actually pack up and bail before the hammer of the Sector’s Knights comes slamming down. Destroy all their evidence and traces of their ill work to save their hide. And given who we’re dealing with, you know what this evidence means.

    “But here’s another thing. One of our boys in the Sector tipped us off. They’re already here tonight, to make their move.” She grins. “This is the decisive night.”

    And as she speaks, earlier than you expected, your phone begins to ring.


    PENANCE
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei


    And so he leaves, along with another glass of wine. He moves on to some other table, speaking quietly with some other woman, and you’re left alone again.

    You’re not sure if you’d like to drink this or not.

    As you lift the base of your glass, you find a small piece of stationary scrawled with a phone number. A strange thing, given that phones had been apparently phased out for years, phone numbers were largely a thing of the past, mostly analogous to the cyberbrain serial numbers used nowadays. Indeed, they practically serve the same purpose. It’s this that you can use to your advantage.

    Such serial numbers contain information about them. They have to, in order to connect to the greater network. As you register in the phone number into your mental database, a few things pop out to you.

    Namely: it appears to be a fake.

    Not fake in the sense that it won’t connect to anything; if you tried connecting to the number, someone would pick up on the other side, and there’s a good chance that it would be that man. What’s fake about it is that it’s falsely registered. As these numbers often correspond to a cyberbrain, which naturally are unique to each individual that carries one, this appears to be registered to something else. A counterfeit; a false identity, if you will.

    It’s not enough of a giveaway that it’d be detected in mundane, everyday usage, but whoever this man is, there’s more to him than meets the eye.

    You consider your options. Whoever that man is, he likely knows something you don’t. You could eavesdrop on him, or confront him. As for what other leads you have, you know some of your congregation who are employed here. They might know something, but you’d have to contact them first. At least, you have a database of who’s here and whatnot.

    As you leave the restaurant, you nearly bump into two nondescript suited men, heading down the hall. Before you can apologize or speak or protest they sweep past you, ignoring you, heading for the restaurant.
    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. #71
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace — Amadei

    Quote Originally Posted by Vesper Lynd
    “Picking up girls while on the job? You really are enjoying yourself, aren’t you?”
    "My intentions are pure, I assure you."

    Fontaine's words were sincere, but more honest was the cheeky smile spreading across his face. He sampled the liver as Vesper spoke and found it a bit too cold for his liking. After three bites he laid down his fork and took out his phone.

    The device in his hands was clunky. Archaic, even by modern standards, and yet he needed it to keep up in a world where most of the population could transmit and store information with a thought. As Vesper spoke, explaining his mission further, Fontaine's fingers tapped on the screen, querying the database in the device for the relevant information.

    What then did he search for?

    All of it.

    The moment a file appeared on the screen Fontaine scrolled from the top to the bottom, giving himself the smallest possible time to internalize the information before moving on to another file, another dossier, another invoice or memo. Names and faces and money trails and locations to ship to. His fingers moved quickly enough for input lag to set in, and he privately cursed the limited frame rate of his device. Even with a cyberbrain translating visual feedback to memory was slow and inefficient, but for Fontaine, whose mental processes could be augmented by a certain Strain, it was possible.

    He'd have a bitch of a headache later, though.

    Someone would be making their move tonight, meaning his suit was virtually guaranteed to need washing afterwards. Not that Fontaine minded.

    Just as he finished absorbing the last file, Fontaine's phone rang, and he stilled. She fell silent as well.

    The tone rang strangely through the air, like the mating call of an extinct species of bird. The number that had triggered it was not on Fontaine's contact list.

    "Vesper," Fontaine said as he picked up the phone and held it to his ear. "Dinner was lovely. Enjoy the rest of your night."

    He answered the call. Who else could be ringing, but fate himself?
    Last edited by Bloble; January 2nd, 2018 at 04:11 AM.

  12. #72
    EGLANTINE
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Lobby


    A group of socialites side-eyed the pair, their eyes lingering on Rose. Rose threw a harsh glance back at them, making the group hurriedly move away. The commotion she caused was mild, but uncomfortable enough to make the male employee anxious.

    Visibly distraught, the man motioned her to follow him. Before letting go of his arm, she gave him a gentle push, accelerating his walking speed just a bit.

    As she followed him through the Aries complex, she kept an eye out to the people around them. All around them were guests mingling among another, laughing and flirting. These people are my safety net, Rose thought. Even if someone gets wind of me, nobody can harm me amidst these civilians.

    The first floors were comprised of the chic establishments the Aries Palace was most famous for, its restaurants filled with men dressed in expensive looking suits and jazz music that revoked the feelings of vintage James Bond movies. The simplified luxury of these establishments was immensely popular among the poor and the rich, albeit the former was not able to indulge in that lifestyle regularly.

    And yet, hiding in all that glamor and fashion was the lowest scum of Alexandria, preying on Espers in the very places they think they were safe. The thought that Harvesters could be around her in this moment made Rose sick. Even the very Aries Palace employee leading her could be directly involved in the kidnapping of Espers like her.

    The further they tread through the building, the slower the man’s movements became, signalizing her that they were nearing their destination. Eventually, he led Rose to a floor vacant of any guests and customers. Immediately she noticed the air had gotten significantly colder, and the welcoming music that filled the rest building with warmth was replaced by sterile silence. Although just two floors above her were Alexandrian citizens partying, she couldn’t hear one sound of them.

    With her safety net gone, and she needed to establish a new one quickly. Her cyberbrain created a link back into her unit’s voice channel, capable of redirecting all surrounding sounds directly to DOMINION, as well as her partnered agents at will. If she felt endangered, she could at least notify her unit of the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Male Employee
    “Before we begin. Who are you, and what do you want?”
    Sweat dripped down the man’s forehead, and his from stress dried out lips quivered with fear.

    “My name is Rose Lewith. I’m an investigator.”, she answered dryly, her identification screen showing up next to her face. “No need to return the favor, telling me your name will suffice.” To the other side of her face, a holographic image of KHAMSIN appeared.

    “I want to know every single thing you know or have heard about this woman. Why does her face scare you?”

  13. #73
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    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor

    2D glances at the Knight, raising an eyebrow. "The fuck you want? This isn't Evangelion and you're a terrible Misato."

    "Wouldn't that make you Shinji, 2D?"

    "Shut up 01."

    2D turns away, staring at the packet, an eyebrow slightly raised. "Apparently your boss isn't the best at timing, though. IRS is here too. Or at least someone doing a really good job at pretending to be them. 00, ping informing them that we acknowledge their presence, but also remind them that the previous inspection was two weeks ago, and we came away clean. I wanna see how far ahead this guy's thought this out, or if he really is IRS."

    Glancing back at the Knight, 2D rolls his eyes. "Anything you wanna help with? Do you know anything about hackers? Think you can jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace?"
    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.


  14. #74
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    Aries Palace — Amadei


    Names pop out to you. KHAMSIN. Ilios Corp. Various gangs of Harvesters. A man named Baldwin, no first name given. You quickly scan through all the information, as quickly as you can scroll through the files, and as your accelerated mind can keep up. However, absorbing all this info at this rate without a cyberbrain doesn’t do wonders for your head, and you feel a slight ringing in your ears. But you get the gist of it now.

    Vesper whispers to you as you scan through it. “I’ll be following right behind.” You pick up the phone.

    A man’s voice speaks up over the phone. “Good evening, Mr. Leiter.”

    You don’t know how they got this number, or even your name, but you do suspect. You know that in some areas, as a security measure, online cyberbrains are automatically tagged and tracked by the network; hence the protocol in some groups to run themselves in closed-shell mode, offline. You suspect that this is a similar case, just tagging your phone in lieu of a cyberbrain— though, of course, these days a phone is practically just a cyberbrain dissociated from one’s actual brain. As for the name, they may have just used what it was registered as.

    The alternative here is a virus that operates off a similar principle, and bugs the systems within its range, allowing them to hijack their auditory or visual systems, allowing hackers to listen in. You wonder if this is a similar case, though your phone’s upgraded security should’ve been able to mitigate such a thing. That they used your pseudonym over your real name, you feel, must point to something.

    However they found you, the man continues to speak.

    “I assume you know the reason for this call?”

    “We at Aries host an exclusive club, for players of a particular calibur. For those seeking greater challenges than you can find off the common gambler down below. We saw your performance against Mr. Garcia, and what we saw did not disappoint. Thus, our invitation. We would like you to join us.”

    And at that, you see, two nondescript suited men— black ties, sunglasses, the works— enter the restaurant. And they walk up to your table.

    As you raise your head from your phone and look around, you realize Lynd is gone.
    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.

  15. #75
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    Aries Palace — Amadei

    They had good timing. Fontaine wasn't going to be able to finish the rest by himself. Somewhere along the line his stomach had started twisting into knots, and not because of the liver.

    "I'd be honoured," he replied, and ended the call.

    Fontaine rose and pocketed the phone, but not before leaving himself a mental reminder to have it looked at later. Even the possibility of it having been compromised was too troubling to leave alone. PHOENIX was gone, which meant she could take care of herself and he wouldn't have to worry about protecting her. It was him and the house of horrors, just the way Fontaine liked it. Walking into the devil's den had been the plan from the start, after all.

    Dimly he was aware of the danger inherent in the the invitation. A possibility existed that he'd been found out, and instead of information he would only be given a bullet to the brain. But that was an acceptable risk.

    "Gentlemen," he nodded to the two suits. "Shall we go?"

  16. #76
    ARBALEST
    Evening
    Aries Security Cyberspace

    Jack in.

    The world disappears into a singularity, devoid of anything before exploding into being. Frozen orbs hanging all about her, interwoven with icy tendrils connecting them, some delicate strands other massive conduits connecting the nodes. A moments thought towards one reveals an image in the pristine surface, a glance as to what lies deeper in that system. A touch would allow her to draw more information, and interact with the node. Or she could dive into the node itself.

    Allowing herself a cycle to settle into the network she spreads her senses out, quickly flitting her thoughts through over the nodes, skimming what information she can. Seeing what systems are likely to be weaker to breach, and what would have the highest value.

    The ping from the unorthodox drone was shunted aside, redirected to the government site listing rules, regulations, and fines for interfering with government communications with barely a moment of thought.

    The distribution of the guards and map of the complex is shunted towards the two knights moving their way in, a heat map overlaying the physical layout so far as she can put together quickly. Her targeting softwares well suited to generating dimensions from scant information.

    As she moves through the nodes with a feather light touch she leaves behind small gleaming crystals, frozen little caltrops loaded in case she was discovered. Each containing a package capable of slowing down at the least, most standard defense packages. Barely noticable they would remain hidden until activated, otherwise they would melt away once their set time had elapsed. Ignoring the obvious access nodes for a moment she does a search for the lesser options, drawing in reads from climate control, lights control and even if the toilet had been flushed recently. With everything connected in this digital age often she had lined a shot up on more than one target that didn't think to secure the access point for their vending machines.

    If nothing comes of her search she turns her attention towards the partially deleted files, such restoration not her specialty, but she has the processing power to do what she can on site with them.
    Collection of cherished moments
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  17. #77
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    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor

    You hear 02 get about four words into calling you more pathetic than Shinji ("idiot!") before you mute its comms, drowning out its screeching for the moment.

    The Knight stares at you, mouth slightly open, wearing an expression like one regards a particularly large bug crawling on the table. You could swear that, under her breath, she mutters something along the lines of ‘The fuck’s an Evangelion?’ or ‘Console boys?’, but she otherwise seems to ignore your remark. Not an uncommon reaction; one you’ve seen many times before. She’s probably never even heard the name Misato before. This is what it means, to be a weeb in the-year-of-our-lord 2090. She shakes her head and moves on.

    “The Madam,” she says, though you notice her make a face like swallowing something bitter at that name, “Wanted me to keep an eye on you.” She speaks tersely like she has something to hide, though it doesn’t seem like it’s from you, at least.

    You unmute your comms. In the back of your mind, you communicate with drones deciphering the responses, receiving a ping in return redirecting to a government site. Rules and regulations, fines and penalties for interfering with government communications, that sort of thing. You receive no further signals from this presence.

    The Knight continues to speak. “I have no knowledge in hacking or the IRS, or networks or that sort of thing in general. I don't know what her plan is, but she thought that it’d be better to send you with some muscle from here on out, and that’s what I’m here for.” She crosses her arms and stares at you, a scrutinizing look, and waits for your response.
    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. #78
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    Aries Palace — Amadei


    The men nod stiffly, their faces like frozen masks, and begin to walk you out of the restaurant. One in front, one at your back, alert and ready for any sign of resistance. Not that they’d have to worry, and not that it’d help. You sense faint Crest signatures from each of the men, but they feel unrefined. Amateurish. More likely Pawns than actual Knights. They lead you to main foyer, down a gated hallway at its very back, the din of the crowd fading with each step. At the end of hall is an elevator, more ornate than the others in the main entrance. This is it. You can feel it.

    They usher you in and stand sentinel at your sides. The gate shuts. It moves up the floors, no sound among you but the ticking of the floor lights and hum of the lift. One of the walls is a glass face, giving you a view of the other floors as you pass by. Crowds of gamblers and suited men at poker tables, roulette wheels, the crowds thinning as you move up the floors, until you reach your destination. It slows to a stop, nearly— but not quite— at the top. The gate opens.

    And you step out, without them needing to lead you.


    Aries Palace — VIP Floors

    You look around the room, the walls and pillars decorated in an ornate Old-World style— paintings and statuettes and hand-carved furniture. Compared to the crowds of the lower floors, this one is relatively sparsely populated, the number of occupants numbering no more than sixty— men and women in formal attire seated at tables, and the occasional Knight standing behind, bodyguards most likely. Yet despite the floor being markedly less populated, every seat at every table is occupied.

    Save for one.

    At the very far end, your destination. A table with a single vacant seat, the eyes of its occupants on you. The two men lead you to the seat.

    Aside from you, three other people are seated at this table. To your left, an anxious man, who looks like he’d rather be anywhere but here, the Knight behind him looking solemn. To your right, a cold-looking woman, who raises an eyebrow at your approach and mutters under her breath, “A Knight without a Master?” Two Knights stand behind her waiting, eyeing you carefully.

    And at the far end of the table is a man, his expression that of a venomous serpent, who grins as you take your seat. The poker player you faced from before stands behind him, looking irritated at something, but resigned nonetheless. Taking his loss poorly? Maybe, but he nods absently at your presence. Possibly annoyed at something else instead. The two men who had been leading you all this time stand themselves behind the man. He smiles, and opens his arms in welcome.

    Welcome, Mr. Leiter, to our Palace.
    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.

  19. #79
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Aries Palace Gambling Hall, Lower Floor

    2D ignores 02, and stares at the Knight with a lazy grin. "An eye on me? Listen, you're about as useful to hacking as I am in any serious combat scenario. Unless you know where we need to fucking go, then you're just dead weight see? What the fuck is the Madam doing that she needs me being watched anyways, I'm not about to go work for her arch rival. You know, because it would make the organization look bad."

    He winks at the girl, before turning around. She was a 6/10, anyways, although if she had at least known Evangelion it would be a solid 7.5. TYOOL 2090, and people don't know fucking Eva. Casuals, the lot of them. Comms rattle, and a redirection to a random ass government site. Yeah, yeah, blah blah fines and penalties for interfering with government comms, implying I'm that stupid.

    "K, so the IRS or someone pretending to be the IRS wants to muscle in on this shindig. Sounds like the Madame's gonna have a couple more issues then just taking over the operation, but whatever. I'm not paid to deal with her bullshit. 00, ping off 02 and pretend to be a local police head and ask for permits. It's not like they can trace it back to me anyways, so trying to nail me with a fine is pretty ecks dee, eye em oh."

    Another pause, and a sigh. "Alright, don't tell anyone you saw this."

    And then 2D activates his regalia, and smashes his hand into the elevator, watching as it sparks and overwrites itself with 2D's own genetic code. The Black Hats, are, as a unit, fairly impersonal. It's easier to hack from range, to break through firewalls while not being there. 2D is one of the few who doesn't bother with that asinine horseshittery, because his Regalia is broken.

    Not 'broken' as in 'fuck, it doesn't work'. No, broken as in, 'imma just rewrite all your fucking code with my goddamn fingernails, IDIOTS', which makes him one of the only Black Hats who ever really does onsite-hacking.

    "Alright, you goddamn second-class piece of trash dragged out of the fucking stone-age, show me the mainframe."
    Last edited by Frantic Author; May 27th, 2018 at 11:43 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.


  20. #80
    🔫 Kirby's Avatar
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    CADUCEUS
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    Harvester Facility Basement


    Tonight was supposed to be business as usual.

    You find yourself in a facility like an underground warehouse, industrial and barely decorated, shipping containers and stasis pods lining the walls. You sit on a container like a coffin, the body lying inside visible through a transparent pane, hair billowing in transparent fluid, eyes closed as if asleep. A body, and nothing else. The back of its head has been opened up, the cyberbrain already extracted and stored in the capsule you carry in your arms. Where its brain would have been, there is instead a modular device temporarily installed to keep its bodily functions active. Harvesting, after all, needs flesh alone. The cyberbrain is yours to keep— though it didn’t seem to contain any useful information.

    It’s your haul, after all, and you’re here to sell. The usual procedure. Come down here through the tunnels, hand over a body, watch them perform the inspection, complete the transaction. Shake hands and be on your way, your figurative wallet a bit fatter. The works.

    And yet you find yourself alone, the facility silent save for the eerie hum of machinery, the gentle bubbling of fluid in stasis tanks.

    What the hell’s taking them so long?

    A road bump at step three. The inspection. They had sent someone down to do the job, but just as quickly as they had came, they ended up hurrying back upstairs. They’d apologized to you, mentioning about some commotion, something they had to check, reassuring you this wouldn’t take long. Won’t take long, your ass. It’s been a while now, twenty minutes, and you’re starting to get impatient.

    Given the flares of Crest activity you’re detecting some floors above your head, you can guess what’s going on. Come to think of it, there doesn’t seem to be as much security here now than there usually is. Spread thin? Wiped out?

    A problematic situation. But an opportunity nonetheless. This particular organization of Harvester was quite rich, and was rumored to have acquired some rare material, stored deeper within this facility. Rumors of Aberrant control and the Crownless King come to mind, though the thought of this gang stocking up Purger weaponry makes you involuntarily cringe.

    And so you consider your options; to escape intact, to save your business partners, or to acquire some new material you’d never get a chance at again.
    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.

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