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Thread: After the Dawn (IC)

  1. #41
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Operator Vitro
    March 8 - 3:37 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Quote Originally Posted by Squad Leader Nuriel
    "Madam Muelsyse pointed out that we should have paperwork that would give us the full access to the facility... and the cooperation of the personnel present. As long as we do not, and there should be no need to uh... mention that none of Rhine Lab's higher ups have arranged for a proper rescue mission... all should be fine. We might even butter up the situation and add the prospect of an extraction team to ensure their honest cooperation, if required."

    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Handler Jordan
    "The survey team made note of a lake about two kilometers east of Rocky Mountain. That is the planned landing point. You can get your bearings after you land and make your way towards the city together before splitting up."


    With little reply to both but a nod and hum of acknowledgement, Operator Vitro mulled over their deployment and future interactions with Rhine personnel. Even if at the risk of losing the element of surprise, it would save up on wasting time reaching their designated location. …Taking the Pilosa into account, the Support Operator supposes it was for the best.

    Imperfect solutions for an already imperfect debrief, but ultimately nothing worth voicing one’s own concerns over. The fog of war is present throughout much of Blacksteel’s operations, and this was no different – the Liberi just had to work with what was here, as with his lifelong craft.

    Just as things are winding down, there were already mentions of how to spend the time before the mission. Some were expected, having poured their attention over the document, while others…

    Quote Originally Posted by Sniper Asura
    “Mind giving me the address of that bar later, Mr. Sting?”


    …Weren’t exactly so.
    Tempting as it was to familiarize with his prospective teammates, it was best for Vitro to now pull his weight. Operations like these are obviously high risk by virtue of unknowns, so better to stack the proverbial deck for his allies. It has absolutely no relation to the bar’s Siracusan affiliations, nor its very likely connection to the nation’s underworld.
    — - Call it paranoia, but better not risk an unpleasant meeting.

    Picking himself from the seat, Vitro let out a withered sigh. It was going to be another late night, but it will be worth it - - Any opportunity to save a life from prospects of death is an action worth taking.

    As the Liberi was making his way out, he decided it was best to notify his chosen squad leader before taking off. As he will not be part of the impending revelry, it would be best to let her know of his own devices.



    “As I am not needed at the moment, I shall be tending to preparations for tomorrow’s mission. So if you wish to contact me, I will be sadly occupied until then.” Vitro paused for a moment, before adding. “Looking forward to working with you and the rest, Specialist Nuriel.”

    Now then. To begin his work.

    = = =

    Operator Vitro
    March 8 - 4:13 PM
    Blacksteel Medical Ward
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship



    The stark halls of the already utilitary Blacksteel design gave way to the clear white of the landship’s medical ward. A quiet place in contrast to the rest of the compound, with only the hum of machinery and the occasional footsteps breaking said silence. Once upon a time, it would have been a place Vitro would marvel for the chance of stepping in its premises. He still found the atmosphere pleasant even now, but there was ultimately no beating the great outdoors.

    Striding towards the front desk at a brisk pace, Vitro waved at the personnel with equal gusto.



    “...An most excellent day to you, Receptionist~! Though partly muffled, Vitro’s less-than-quiet greeting still bounced across the ward’s halls. “‘Tis a matter of business again, so I’ll be needing the information of eight certain Operators pronto, huuu.”

    Was the mirth too forced? Perhaps. But the opportunity to spook the front desk of their monotony was never not enticing.

    Normally it was up to the records clerk directly to retrieve said files in question, but constraints of time and preparatory period have forced Vitro to cut through such nonsense. Rather brute-force, but it was in times like these the Liberi did prefer this Operator business over becoming medical personnel.

    “And before you ask, yes, I do have the forms filled on-hand — I will not endure another meandering trip navigating the records myself!”
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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  2. #42
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:41 PM
    Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "What news I hear isn't good. Not quite bad enough to call 'bad', but getting there, if you understand my meaning."
    A frown mirroring that of the bartender crossed Sting's face, as he too leaned in to hear the rest of the story. He understood all too well what the implications of the Lupo's words were.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Associates from different cities getting in each others' business. Payments going missing. Property burgled. A sworn brother here and there getting jumped by unfamiliar faces. No family is openly going after each other, but your average petty thug wouldn't dare target a made man. If some upstart were getting a little ahead of themselves, well, they'd be dealt with pretty quick."
    "And that's the news that you do hear, things might just be even worse than they seem," Sting said with a solemn look on his face, his attitude now a far cry from how he usually presented himself, "Unfamiliar faces? Targeting of made men? Bold. It wouldn't surprise me if they've even started targeting those higher up the food chain, if not done the wicked deed already. Wouldn't be good for appearances if news of something like that reached us here on the other side of the world..."

    Sting could only sigh and stare at his drink as he gave voice to such incredulous thoughts. The targeting of stock and file made men was one thing, but a hit on an underboss, or even a captain? It seemed unthinkable, and yet to him it all seemed so plausible based on what he knew about the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Been seeing a lot more new faces recently, too. People are catching on, figuring it's only a matter of time before something big happens. Getting out while they can."
    "Well I can't blame them. Though they're the lucky ones, what about the people that can't?" Sting remarked grimly while shaking his head, before proceeding to down what was left of his drink in one go, "Well after that news, I think I'm gonna need something a little stronger, Mister Torrio."

  3. #43
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operators Grapevine, Nuriel, and Grave Moss
    Meeting Room

    Jessica stared blankly at the second Sankta's sudden exclamation. How was a person supposed to respond to that, anyway? Well, someone else would probably have no issue, but 'someone else' wasn't her. Fortunately, Nuriel herself changed the topic before Jessica had to think of some way to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriel
    "I should focus more on looking for a map and some diagrams of the landship's maintenance shafts. I will look at some of the other documents you aren't using for now."
    "Uh, there's not much else left, actually. The closest thing to a map here is, well..."

    The feline showed the final picture to the group surrounding her.

    "..."

    Hand drawn by someone on the survey team, probably.

    "...I guess that's the lake there, and the red bit is the city entrance...?"

    Jessica didn't even try to hide her disappointment. Even calling it a map was pushing it, really. After frowning quietly at the map for a bit, a shiver went down Jessica's spine. Most likely unrelated to the documents on the table. More likely related to the Pilosa looming over her, though she didn't say anything about it.

    "I've been to the Rhodes office in Liberty a few times, actually. It's pretty far from the landship dock, definitely too far to walk."

    The feline looked back down at the 'map' again, and couldn't help letting out a sigh. Maybe a full schematic was too much to hope for, but this was still a bit...

    "Well, I guess we're pretty much done here. If you want, we could head down to the Liberty clinic now?"





    Operator Vitro
    Blacksteel Medical Ward

    "Good afternoon, Operator Vitro."

    The Liberi receptionist's tone was straightforward and professional, bordering on monotone. She accepted Vitro's request forms without a fuss and looked through them. Very thoroughly, at that, checking every section of every form individually even if they were all pretty much the same.

    "Emergency mission... Catastrophe zone... resistance expected..."

    It took a good 10 minutes, but eventually she pulled out a stamp and marked each one down as approved. Another minute or so on her computer, and the nearby printer whirred to life. One copy of each operator's medical records - the full record, mind you - found their way into Vitro's hands shortly after.

    "I doubt I need to remind you, but just in case: these are private records belonging to the medical team and are not to be shared without the written approval of a senior medical officer or the operator themselves. Please don't misplace them, either. Even if it's an accident, that's still a privacy violation. Was there anything else you needed, Operator Vitro?"




    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    Finished with the grim news, Luca stood up straight and had another look around the bar. The other customers seemed to be dealing with their own business, not watching or listening to the bartender's conversation. Not unexpected. It was rare for a customer to risk drawing the enormous Lupo's ire. But he always kept an eye out, just to be sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Unfamiliar faces? Targeting of made men? Bold. It wouldn't surprise me if they've even started targeting those higher up the food chain, if not done the wicked deed already. Wouldn't be good for appearances if news of something like that reached us here on the other side of the world..."
    "Mhm. I can't promise anything, but I don't think it's gone that far yet. Planning stages? With times being the way they are, I wouldn't be surprised. But if someone had actually done something, I probably woulda heard."

    The bartender had another sip of his drink, brow furrowing, while Sting polished off his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Well after that news, I think I'm gonna need something a little stronger, Mister Torrio."
    "Can't blame ya for that one, Mister Yamamoto. Hard times call for hard drinks. Let me get you something I've been trying lately."

    Back to the shelves he went. This time, Luca grabbed the bottles in record time. Like he actually knew what he was looking for, for once. When he finished, a glass of something kind of red was sitting on the bar in front of Sting. The same thing Luca had himself, maybe?

    "Here. Definitely more bitter than sweet, but the situation calls for it, I think."

    The bartender silently took another drink out of his own glass. Seemed like he didn't have anything else to say on the previous topic.
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 6th, 2022 at 09:35 PM.
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  4. #44
    [DA YO intensifies] arkturus's Avatar
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    Operator Valravn
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:37 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Valravn sat quietly as their client finally arrived and the real meeting finally began. What initially sounded like Rhine Lab reporting a waylaid mobile city for humanitarian aid was actually just an exfiltration job. She had heard of Rhine Lab--who hadn't in Columbia--they were such a expansive org that had fingers in almost every sector of industry and rumblings about shady experiments. Hiring a PMC like Blacksteel suddenly made more sense if the job was to secure a researcher with their highly confidential--and possibly illegal--research, especially with soldiers from a hostile nation nearby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muelsyse
    "The effects of Oripathy on the early development of fetuses and children. Sound familiar, Miss Rhodes Island?"
    "..."

    Yep. This job seemed super sus now.

    The smirk on the young Liberi's face became strained as she crossed her mutated arms, unconsciously squeezing her forearm with a talon. An uncomfortable feeling was starting to build in her stomach.

    Meeting Room
    March 8 -
    3:40 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Eventually the meeting ended and Valravn gave a sigh of relief. Now that they were off the clock she could relax. She was debating what to do with her evening when the lightly-dressed Savra walked up to her. She believed her name was Santonia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Santonia
    "Hey Valravn, we're gonna have a teambuilding thing later today! You free?"
    "Oh a bar? Sounds good! I'm down to get shitfaced."
    <Airen> I play hetero every once in awhile
    Spoiler:
    <~Katie> dude who gives a fuck about girls being gay, sometimes girls aren't gay and that decision should be respected

    Spoiler:
    [12:21.40] that might be a top tier post[12:21.45] frantic[12:21.47] post of the month, even[12:21.48] this right here[12:21.49] is MC [12:21.56] johnny has nothing on this dude[12:22.00] he's the MC of the nisio half[12:22.12] so wait[12:22.15] [ ] is, after all, my rival character[12:22.16] am i the gag heroine[12:22.20] yes

  5. #45
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:41 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    “Well, that’s settled, guess we three are going bar-crawling tonight.” Asura said with the same chipper tone. Shame she hadn’t been able to get the other two to come along, but it didn’t matter that much.

    Internally, she wondered if wandering about in a Siracusan bar was a good idea, now that she thought about it again. But the chances of being recognized were too small. She hoped, at least. But to the majority of BSW and Columbia, she was simply Asura.

    God, that code-name was so corny, she needed to think of a new one later. Not that she would be able to come up with anything that didn’t sound lame: naming never came easy to her.

    She nodded at the lizard girl, and drifted over to where the serious people were looking at the documentation, and seemingly not coming up with much useful information. She’d been keeping an ear on them all the while; they weren’t very far away after all.

    But all things considered, given Grave Moss’ response, Asura was starting to wonder why that woman had been picked to lead a squad. If she was fully honest, she was starting to feel a bit concerned regarding all three picks.

    Heh. Maybe that bar crawl was something she’d need, after all.

    “You know, given that it is a resort town and all, I’d think there should be people in the landship or in Liberty that have vacationed there before.” Asura suddenly spoke to the group there. Probably startled the hell out of most people, given that she had soundlessly drifted behind Nuriel, looking over her shoulder at the files.

    “Hard to do with the timeframe we’re working with, but it could be worth to try and see if any operator in the ship or any readily accessible civilian has some information about the town’s landscape. At least knowing a bit about the notorious buildings, which could serve as vantage points or sniping spots could end up being really useful down the road, for example.” She added, tone still cheery but a lot more business-like. “Just having some information about the town landmarks could help a lot with our planning. Although of course, this is a bit of a long shot.”

    Her right hand played around with a pencil, slipping it finger to finger, as she spoke.


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    Besides, I don't see what's so terrible about looting anyway. It's only property, they're not actually harming anyone.
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    when I say hero I don't mean hero in the spirit sense. I mean a morally grounded, good natured person who doesn't slaughter innocent people. No such person exists in the Nasuverse.
    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
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  6. #46
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six pinetree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valravn View Post
    "Oh a bar? Sounds good! I'm down to get shitfaced."
    Quote Originally Posted by RacingeR View Post
    “Well, that’s settled, guess we three are going bar-crawling tonight.”
    "Ace! I got some stuff to sort out and I imagine you do too so let's meet there at... Six or seven, see ya."



    Private Quarters
    March 8 - 4:06 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Santonia left the place and headed to her own quarters. The place was a mess, the bed was almost empty with so many sheets falling down to the ground. She didn't like using a pillow, so the poor thing was a squished and stained mess, having survived many nights being coiled by her secreting tail instead of under her head.
    She scratched her leg once again on the place she had wiped some mucus during the meeting, the place was now bright red and hurting. She shouldn't have scratched the thing.
    Behind the bed was her big harp. The savra started pulling the thing out of there but changed her mind at the last moment. They were expected to engage in combat almost immediately and she didn't have the money to afford another one. Better leave this here, she could just sing instead.

    The only other notable thing on the room besides her bed was a desk she had never used, with piles upon piles of stuff on top of it. There was a stack of opened letters, another of vinyls and another of pamphlets for many different shows. On the chair, a mount of clothes had covered some kind of trophy. The pile included all kinds of outfits, from casual to galla to stage costumes. Half of them didn't fit her anymore.

    Below the desk there were two more piles, one of them spilling out of a trash can. Most of these were legal notices from R.I.MAster Records and advisory letters from BSW, but there were unopened letters and payment receipts mixed in.
    One of the drawers was closed and locked, though the key was still in it. The other drawer was missing, probably broken and discarded some time ago.

    "Shit, am I going to have to pay for that when I leave this place?"

    She complained while taking something else from under her desk. Surprisingly, she had already filled a bag with everythign she needed: a change of clothes, some balm to help with itching, and a case that could safely hold about 10 vials of liquid. Yeah. She was prepared.
    She opened the case.

    "Crap."

    Nope. There were no vials at all in the case. She didn't even remember when she spent those things. Santonia went back to the desk and pulled the locked drawer open, five cans rolled around in there. 3 pepper sprays and 2 cans of sleeping gas.
    Not bad for your usual mission, but against military?
    Too late now though, she was still in the red after having to pay up R.I.MAster Records again last month. What she had was enough to use on the bar today and she definitely wasn't giving up on that. Maybe she could just grab a drink there and use it? She never tried it before but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitro
    "Huhuhuu~ Rest easy you're in good hands; 'what harms also heals' is my life's work, y'know."
    She suddently remembered the liberi's introduction. The cute little creeper had a scientist vibe to him, surely he could arrange something for her. At least medicine, if nothing else, since he was on medic duty for the other group.
    Santonia left her room and went straight to the Medical Ward, that was probably her safest bet on finding Vitro quickly.
    Last edited by pinetree; June 7th, 2022 at 09:31 PM.

  7. #47
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:45 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    I also need to request the medical records for the operators who will be participating in this mission, so as a warning, accompanying me is liable to be far more boring than just resting up at home.” Grapevine made a vague gesture. “Though if it’s no trouble, I wouldn’t mind the guidance.

    Regardless of whether it was professional obligation or nostalgia for her time at Rhodes Island that had led the Feline to assume the role of tour guide rather than just scribbling down an address, Grapevine didn’t mind, provided the girl knew what she was getting herself into. It wasn't like she was unaware of how her demeanor came across. Still, she wasn’t completely humorless.

    You might even stop me from breaking into the first hospital I see and accusing their staff of malpractice.

    Her delivery was awfully dry. Possibly because it wasn’t far at all from some of the trouble she’d gotten up to in Victoria before the head of the medical department had caught up to her. Not to mention, Columbian healthcare was one of the biggest disappointments of the developed world, to say nothing of the pharmaceutical climate-

    Hrm, Jessica Brinley could probably use some extra reassurance.

    A joke, Operator Jessica. I have the documentation to get into hospitals without breaking and entering anyway.
    Last edited by Egophobia; June 9th, 2022 at 05:00 AM.
    \(◕___◕)/

  8. #48
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    Grave Moss stares at the 'map'.

    It does make planning easy: she can appreciate that, though she isn't looking forward to the long hike.

    And for ease of communication, you can consider me your doctor. My usual work involves coordinating however many schools of medicine it takes to ensure a patient’s safety, so I am prone to speaking in specifics. Going forward, feel free to ask me for simpler wording at any time.
    "Ah~____Thank you Miss grumpy~____Grapevine~"

    Everyone always made things more complicated than they needed to be. Even the doctors explanation circled around the point entirely too long. The tall pilosa lets out a sigh, slumping forward. It always was a pain having to learn to deal with new squads quirks. One would think she should have already gotten used to this, yet somehow...

    Reaching around Jessica she starts gathering some of the pictures of snow up along with the 'map'.

    "Mnh~____Protection needed~?" She offers... not too long after the discussion of going into town to acquire some records of some type.

    "Anh~!" Sleepy expression perking up into something approaching enthusiasm, "Anh~!____Would you get ah~____tea things~?____When in town~?"
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  9. #49
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:41 PM
    Liberty


    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Mhm. I can't promise anything, but I don't think it's gone that far yet. Planning stages? With times being the way they are, I wouldn't be surprised. But if someone had actually done something, I probably woulda heard.
    "Mhm, well that's reassuring at least."

    Though he had no doubt that Luca's source on the level, his unease regarding what was happening in Siracusa remained.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Here. Definitely more bitter than sweet, but the situation calls for it, I think."
    "Appreciate it," He said in thanks, lifting the glass in appreciation before taking a sip. A slight grimace passed his face as the bitterness of the drink hit him, but that didn't stop him from taking another sip of it right after, "Yeah, you can say that again. So..."

    Sting turned in his seat and briefly scanned over the patrons in a similar manner that Lucca had. What he was looking for however was different, and soon he returned to leisurely sipping his drink.

    "So you mentioned seeing a lot of new faces around. Guess that means you've hard to deal with more troublemakers, eh? Actually with all these new arrivals..." He paused, and a stupid grin spread across his face as he realized the potential upsides of the influx of persons to the bar, "Lucca, pal, buddy, we've known each other uh... long enough, yeah. So you know I've got a real important question for ya. See you're in the bar all the time right, so you see who comes and goes, right? So, and no, don't give me that look when I ask..."

    He takes another swig of his liquid courage, before slamming the glass back down on the counter. There was an intense look to him as he now stared straight at the old wolf, making clear as to just how serious the matter he was about to broach with him.

    "Any fine new signorinas that now come by here on the regular as well?"

  10. #50
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Operator Nuriel
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:45 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship

    The place had become quite crowded. Grave Moss and Asura had joined the info-gleaning session that was going on here, and she wasn't sure if that many people crowding around Jessica was that good of an idea. Especially Grave Moss towering wordlessly behind the feline, though if one actually had a proper look at the pilosa, instead of feeling fear, they might just feel a sense of sleepiness invade them. Yawning was very contagious, and Nuriel felt like she wanted to nap now that Grave Moss was close to her and... exuding that strong aura of listlessness, like some sort of anesthetic pheromone. Very dangerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grave Moss
    "Anh~! Would you get ah~ tea things~? When in town~?"
    Ah yes, tea. She wasn't sure what kind of tea to get Grave Moss though... or was it even tea that she was speaking of, or instead addressing it in the broader term of 'tea time'. Biscuits, snacks, perhaps some toast and jam... yes, these would be good. Unfortunately, there was a little problem.

    "Uh, I unfortunately only have enough allowance right now to serve myself a basic dinner... so I am afraid I can't get any of these for you. Still, do we really have time to go have tea? Or is that for tomorrow while we travel? I don't think that Black Steel Transports are the best to have tea in... or did you mean after the operation is over? I'm sure a touristic place like Rocky Mountain should have some shops we can get some tea from. Uh, buy legally of course. Not loot or anything. That'd be illegal, and very unbecoming of us."

    Uh-huh. She had to admonish a few people back then when they didn't get the memo from both 'her' and 'him' that looting and vandalizing the property of civilians and innocents was a no go. A shame that so many others in Reunion ignored that and acted no different from the monsters they fought themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica
    "...I guess that's the lake there, and the red bit is the city entrance...?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    “You know, given that it is a resort town and all, I’d think there should be people in the landship or in Liberty that have vacationed there before.”
    She turns to the Lupo, who will be a future squad mate. Words fail to leave her mouth for a bit, and Nuriel can only awkwardly look at her while trying to sort her thoughts out, but eventually, she speaks up, doing her best to sound natural. This now, and that back then, are two different things.

    "That is an idea, seeing that uh... the scouting team's reports ended up being a bit different from what we thought they'd be."

    Nuriel had no real words for those strange maps and excessive amount of photos of just the... landscape that had been taken. Don't you usually just take pictures of the terrain that matters? Who the hell was even going to archive all this? The sankta massages her temples with her index fingers while trying to think of what she can do to help her tomorrow. Going back home and taking a breather would help, but that'd just make her look lazy, and in the end, she'd accomplish nothing productive. It was probably a good idea to follow Asura's suggestion and maybe mix it with Sting's invitation. Bars are a place where information ends up flowing quite freely, who knows, they might chance upon something good there... and Nuriel might get to know her squadmates in person better.

    "We can follow that Sting fellow then, and hope that alcohol doesn't make him even more of a troublesome figure than he currently is."

    Quote Originally Posted by Grape Vine
    You might even stop me from breaking into the first hospital I see and accusing their staff of malpractice.
    "Are the illegal practitioners here too?!" she asks, her eyes filled with righteousness as she has a Reunion with the notion that there is someone close by who may be doing questionable things... most likely to infected! Columbia was a 'haven' for them, but in the end most of it was masquerading as an exploitation scheme for most infected who either had to slave away or simply end up being abused by the system... the illusion of a better place!

    Well technically, it was much better than most other nations still. Perhaps it was true that hatred against the infected was something universal to Terra, no matter where one went. The more Nuriel saw of the world, the more she came to believe those pessimistic words from a certain someone.

    Coming back to reality, Nuriel catches herself from losing herself in a moment of excessive zeal. It might've helped that she heard Grapevine's disclaimer that she was of course, joking.

    "O-oh... don't mind me. A-anyways, Asura and I will go look for that bar Sting mentioned, and perhaps we will chance upon some interesting information there. If official channels don't give you what you want, there are always more esoteric ways to get intel after all."

    She didn't totally say that in a suspicious way.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; June 12th, 2022 at 05:41 PM.

  11. #51
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operators Everyone
    Meeting Room


    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    “You know, given that it is a resort town and all, I’d think there should be people in the landship or in Liberty that have vacationed there before.”
    "Oh, I've been there before, actually. It was a long time ago though. My dad took me on a trip after I graduated." Jessica scratched her chin, trying to remember something useful. "Dad hired a tour guide, so we didn't have to look around ourselves. It was really expensive too. I don't think you would find any random Blacksteel person who could afford it..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapevine
    “I also need to request the medical records for the operators who will be participating in this mission, so as a warning, accompanying me is liable to be far more boring than just resting up at home. Though if it’s no trouble, I wouldn’t mind the guidance.”
    "It's fine. We aren't on the same squad, but we can help each other out, right? Besides, if you tried to get a taxi straight there, the driver would probably kick you out, honestly. Thinking you're infected." Jessica frowned at her own statement, but it only lasted about a second before her eyes widened. "Then again, you work for Rhodes Island, so maybe you are? Well, what he doesn't know won't hurt him...?"


    Quote Originally Posted by Grapevine
    “You might even stop me from breaking into the first hospital I see and accusing their staff of malpractice.”

    ...

    “A joke, Operator Jessica. I have the documentation to get into hospitals without breaking and entering anyway.”
    Jessica's ears drooped and her face showed a mixture of worry and confusion. The followup didn't help. If anything, it made things worse.

    "Right. Yeah. Probably a good idea for me to go with you..."


    Quote Originally Posted by Grave Moss
    "Mnh~____Protection needed~?"
    Jessica tried looking up to respond, but quickly gave up and returned her gaze to the table. Not a fan of neck pain, most likely.

    "Uh, thanks, but we won't need protection, no. You could probably come if you want, though?" The feline glanced at Grapevine, checking for an okay. "There's a grocery store pretty close to the clinic, I think? It's an Infected neighborhood so they have a lot of their own businesses."

    It seemed everyone had mostly decided on their plan of action for the day, so Jessica started packing up. Moss took most of the pictures and Nuriel took most of the documents, so she put the rest back in their folder-

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriel
    "Are the illegal practitioners here too?!"


    -when a sudden outburst caused her to jump in her chair and collide with the Pilosa still looming over her.

    "Ow! S-sorry!"

    She rubbed the top of her head and shot a worried glance towards Nuriel. She was clearly a larger concern than Jessica's own health... or Grave Moss, for that matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriel
    "O-oh... don't mind me. A-anyways, Asura and I will go look for that bar Sting mentioned, and perhaps we will chance upon some interesting information there. If official channels don't give you what you want, there are always more esoteric ways to get intel after all."
    "...please don't do anything to get yourself in trouble, Miss Nuriel. Or arrested. Especially not arrested."

    Jessica scooted out of her chair in a rush, perhaps a panicked rush. Maybe she decided she wasn't exactly safe in the meeting room.

    "I'll go get changed, then. I'll meet you down at the landship dock, Grapevine. Are you coming too, Grave Moss?"


    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario


    Luca stared in silence as Kenji went through his little spiel. To the Lupo's credit, he was able to maintain his stony expression the whole way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    "Any fine new signorinas that now come by here on the regular as well?"
    All he could do was snort at the punchline. If it even was a punchline. It was hard to tell with Mister Yamamoto.

    "Buncha ladies fleeing their homes out of fear are not what I'd call the right group to go after. You'd more likely get a fight than a drink. Well, even more likely than usual."

    Still, the bartender's claws tapped against the counter as he considered the request.

    "Can't think of anyone. Most of the new blood keep to themselves and only visit occasionally. There was one girl I'd call a regular - Emma something-or-other? - but she doesn't show anymore. Came every night for a week straight, then said she wouldn't be in again. Got transferred up north somewhere, apparently."
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 12th, 2022 at 10:58 PM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  12. #52
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Operator Grapevine
    March 8 - 3:47 PM
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Well, fortunate as it was that Jessica Brinley had a solution for both the Lupo’s suggestion and the Pilosa’s sudden request for tea, the dark-haired girl seemed to have reverted to her previous state of alarm. Calling attention to it wouldn’t help anyone, though, and neither would commenting on the detail that apparently, in Liberty, an Infected couldn’t take a taxi. Ugh… it made her miss her time in Minos, sweating half to death in the villages bordering Sargon, shouting herself hoarse at local mercenaries who could recite the names of a hundred crossbow manufacturers but couldn’t handle even the simplest bandage job- the country was an absolute mess but it had still been less disappointing than this. Places like Columbia and Kazimierz, where an individual mattered less than their money but even then, there was a double-standard for the Infected. Whatever, time and a place. She nodded to the Feline’s offer to help, gave an “I don’t mind” to her invitation to Grave Moss, and-

    Nuriel’s outburst was… characteristic with Grapevine’s memory of her. She watched Jessica and Grave Moss to make sure that neither had caused the other to bite their tongue, then looked at Nuriel. The younger Sankta had reined herself in, but something she had said along the way bothered the woman. Immensely. Something to revisit when Jessica was done.

    Take your time,” she responded once Jessica made clear her intention to escape this mess of a meeting.“I’ll put in my requests to Medical and meet you there.

    She turned to Nuriel.

    Operator Nuriel, a word before you go.

    She gestured to the hall. She wasn’t about to ask the younger Sankta to divulge details about her lifestyle in front of everyone, but there was something she needed to verify. The girl was thin and that comment to Grave Moss was more than enough to reaffirm her suspicions. Allowance? Budgeting was one thing, but even with the cost of Oripathy treatments and Columbian living expenses, a Blacksteel Operator’s salary ought to be enough for the girl to afford her preference in groceries. It could be simple frivolities or, given her temperament, that the younger Sankta was sending the bulk of her paycheck to Infected groups- the cause was besides the point. What she needed to know first was if the girl was suffering from any deficiencies.

    Problem first, then circumstances.

    Without waiting for a response, she turned, nodded courteously to the room, and stepped out into the hall, a little ways from the door, opposite the direction she’d taken to get there in the first place. As much as she doubted it was the case, she hoped to find Nuriel had just been deflecting the sudden errand.
    Last edited by Egophobia; June 13th, 2022 at 03:39 AM.
    \(◕___◕)/

  13. #53
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Meeting Room
    March 8 - 3:45 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    “Hm? So, you don’t remember any particular landmarks?”
    Asura tilted her head slightly at the Feline, but given that she looked in a rush to get away, the Lupo decided to let her go without asking anymore. If Jessica had useful information, she’d have volunteered it already.

    She did seem fun to tease, however. Something to keep in mind for later.

    Nuriel’s words, however, caught Asura by surprise. Without thinking, as she examined the angel anew, she passed the pencil she’d been bouncing on her fingers to her left hand. That was a mistake. The utensil got stuck between the fingers of her left, as they moved and jerked awkwardly compared with the showy and even a bit too dexterous movements of her right, and ended up falling to the floor.

    “Well, Santonia and Valravn were coming to the bar with me, so why not join us? I think we can transform this bar crawl into an information gathering session, no problem.” Asura said, ignoring the little faux pass and grabbing the pencil from the floor, putting it back on the table. Well, the other two might not like that all that much, but it was a better use of the time spent.

    Of course, they weren’t that likely to get that much out of a Siracusan bar, but where there was one bar, there were two or three. If they moved on and wandered a bit, they were likely to glean something interesting. And people always let down their guard around cute girls.

    Which was something to consider. She examined Nuriel critically, one eyes closed as she considered. Well, the dress the Sankta usually wore was good enough, she thought, but… “Meet us at six or seven. Try to wear something a bit less severe, Ms. Sword Angel! Now, I believe our local physician wishes to have a word with you, hm?”

    She smiled slightly at the Sankta, before waving a “See ya!” and drifting away from the room with a nod to the other operators present.

    Her fearless squad leader didn’t look quite like the type to relax and take it easy. Which meant that this evening ought to become very fun. Even if Asura might have end up having to take the role of escort.

    Which would probably be even more hilarious.

    ----------------

    Private Quarters
    March 8 - 4:10 PM
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    The first impression one got of Asura’s room was that of a split personality.

    Three fourths of the room were an extreme amount of clutter, so full of various knickknacks, discarded clothing, bits of technology that had been fiddled with or collected as a curiosity, and the telltales of many, many hobbies she had picked up and then gotten bored of in a question of days.

    In fact, most people had issues with identifying the individual components of the mess, regarding it more as a whole entity of its own. Not that many entered her room in the first place, of course.

    Although Asura owned a room in the city where Blacksteel’s main HQ was at, she lived mostly at the Landship, given her tendency to constantly go from mission to mission without any vacation in-between. Much to the irritation of some of the superiors that actually worried about their operators, of course, but that situation did also have its perks.

    The other fourth of the room was the complete opposite of the rest. It consisted of her bed, still somewhat messy but tidy in comparison, and then the setup where she kept her equipment: her battle armor, her sword, and the stakes she used as her to-go weapon. All organized, clean and neat to military standards.

    Asura didn’t have much to prepare for tomorrow because she was always prepared. Whatever other equipment she’d need, it would be provided to her for the mission.

    Instead, she managed to sort of parkour through the clutter and reach the wardrobe, opening it and browsing the clothing within. And there was a lot of it, as she tended to just buy whatever caught her fancy.

    The upside of taking as many missions as she did. The pay was quite good.

    She extracted a pair of pants, a fashionable shirt, and the black-and-yellow jacket she usually favored. It was a bit more tomboyish than the usual girlish image she had, but it would suit her role today, if necessary.

    The Lupo left the clothes spread on the bed, and considered them. The baggy jacket allowed her to conceal a few stakes beneath it, which Asura was tempted to do. Paranoia had been a way of life for her for too long. However, it was always liable to cause her handlers an apoplexy if they caught her taking her weapons to town, so it was best to not do so.

    Well, she did always have a deadly weapon available to her, anyway. The nice thing about her arts.

    Not much else to prepare then. She had time to do something before going to the bar, didn’t she?

    Well, she’d eaten only a light snack at noon before the meeting. It was not a good idea to go drinking on an empty stomach.

    Time to get a late lunch at the cafeteria.


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    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
    [00:12] <~Katie> of gay memes

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  14. #54
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Asura
    Landship Cafeteria
    March 8, 4:15 PM


    Unfortunately, Asura was a bit too slow to catch a late lunch. More fortunately, the cafeteria started serving dinner at 4. So, early dinner it was. The day's meal: honey roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, cream corn, and fresh dinner rolls(still warm!). If the main fare wasn't to one's liking, there was always soup - cream of mushroom today - and a variety of deli sandwiches.

    That was one advantage of being docked. Sure, you could always head into town to eat, but the landship didn't have any shortage of the good stuff either. Just what an operator needed in between field rations and microwave dinners.

    A lot of people were stuck in training or the office for another hour or two, or planning to dine elsewhere, so the cafeteria was just starting to fill up. Most of the room seemed to be trainees who lucked out and had an early day, minor injuries from combat practice still visible. Only one person sitting on their own stood out. Jeremy Masters, with two plates, a bowl of soup and a stack of four or five sandwiches. Seemed like he just sat down before you got there.

    Jeremy Masters
    A Guard operator who works in security. Since he rarely, if ever, goes on field missions, he can usually be found standing around somewhere looking intimidating or helping instructors in close combat demonstrations. He's well known among trainees as a result, and he is not infrequently asked for tips by Guard and Vanguard trainees, but full-fledged operators know the truth - he has no formal skill whatsoever and relies purely on instinct and raw talent, making his advice practically useless. He was publicly reprimanded by an instructor he was helping when he told a trainee to evade crossbow bolts by swatting them out of the air.
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 17th, 2022 at 02:17 PM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  15. #55
    Operator Grave Moss
    Meeting Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    "Ow! S-sorry!"

    Grave Moss takes the impact from the smaller operator with about as much movement as from the thrown eraser earlier. Tracking as they run out of the room before blinking languidly.

    "Ah~"

    She... had probably done something wrong there. This much she had learned, people running into her - outside of combat - generally was her own fault. Maybe she was too close this time?

    "Tea stuffs from mmm~____location sounds goods~"

    Not having to bother going into town now sounded nice - she would be able to get a proper amount of sleep before the mission. As long as they didn't need her protection it would be fine, right?

    "Mn~____Don't die~"

    It would be very awkward if she lost her new squad before the mission even started.

    Returning her dictionary to the pouch she slowly leaves the meeting room, heading back to her own. Slowly.



    Operator Grave Moss
    Grave Moss's Room
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    The opening of the door to her room blasts her with a refreshing wave of cold air bringing a small smile to her face as she enters.

    Her room is covered with various kinds of soft furniture and stuffed animals. She grabs a bar out of the stack of boxes by her door, tearing the wrapper off of the '2k' bar she starts to eat, slowly chewing on it as she takes off her armored undersuit. Putting it into the closet she stares at the neatly ordered pajamas as the bar slowly disappears.

    Picking the light blue one she pulls the extremely soft pjs on before going over to the pile of pillows that seems to make up her bed and collapsing into it.

    A nice solid twelve hour nap before she needed to get ready for the mission... she sets her alarm before tossing it outside arms reach.

    "Good~________Night~________"

    This, was so much better than before. If only there were fewer meetings.... and paperwork.

    She still would rather be here than the desert.

    Pulling the large vulpo plushy close she curls into the nice pile of soft plushy pillow goodness as she falls asleep.



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  16. #56
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:43 PM
    Liberty

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Can't think of anyone. Most of the new blood keep to themselves and only visit occasionally..."
    "Damn it..."

    There was an audible thud as Sting slumped over and his head connected with the counter.

    He had hoped that his good old friend could provide some valuable information, but it seemed that today was just not going to be his day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "There was one girl I'd call a regular - Emma something-or-other?"
    Sting immediately sat back up as he heard those words, his attention once again completely focused on the words of the bartender.

    For a moment he had lost all hope there, but clearly he should have known better than to doubt his good...

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    but she doesn't show anymore. Came every night for a week straight, then said she wouldn't be in again. Got transferred up north somewhere, apparently."
    "Ah..."

    Those were the only words that escaped Sting's mouth as he blankly stared at the bartender, before taking his glass and downing what remained of his drink in one go.

    "I need a vacation..." Sting muttered as he leaned on the counter whilst shaking his head, "Although with what we just talked about, it doesn't seem like Siracusa is too an ideal a destination. Maybe a more local tourist trap then, colleagues at work kept talking about a place called Rocky Mountain, but eh...I dunno. You've been around though, right? You got any recommendations?"
    Last edited by Zagrin; June 18th, 2022 at 10:00 PM.

  17. #57
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    Luca gave the Entoma a pitying stare as the man collapsed on his bar. Only slightly pitying, though. He was moderately sure by now that Kenji was just fucking around, but it would be rude to just come out and say it, so he settled for the non-verbal method.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    Maybe a more local tourist trap then, colleagues at work kept talking about a place called Rocky Mountain, but eh...I dunno. You've been around though, right? You got any recommendations?
    "...Rocky Mountain? The hell kind of place you working at? Getting off by 4, people vacationing at Rocky Mountain?" Saying that, though, he quickly shook his head. "Actually, don't answer that. Probably wouldn't tell me anyway."

    The bartender set his glass on the table, a sour expression coming over his face.

    "Place is a goddamn racket is what it is. Rich coming from somebody like me, I know, but really. I was gonna take the niece there a couple years back. She's always been a fan of skiiing, y'know, but you can't exactly ski just anywhere. Turns out the whole fuckin' town is owned by one company, so they can jack the prices up as much as they want and ya can't do shit."

    Luca shuddered at the thought, and quickly got to preparing another drink to forget the mental scars.

    "You gotta book everything ahead of time; hotel, restaurant, tour guide, ski group, the works. I could already feel my heart going while I was doing the math, never mind actually paying."

    "Seeing her face light up when we got there, though, it was... almost worth it. Almost."
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 18th, 2022 at 08:47 PM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  18. #58
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Zagrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario
    March 8 - 4:43 PM
    Liberty


    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "...Rocky Mountain? The hell kind of place you working at? Getting off by 4, people vacationing at Rocky Mountain? Actually, don't answer that. Probably wouldn't tell me anyway.
    "Hey man, it's not like they give me the afternoon off everyday or anything." Sting muttered with a shrug, "As for Rocky Mountain..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Place is a goddamn racket is what it is. Rich coming from somebody like me, I know, but really. I was gonna take the niece there a couple years back. She's always been a fan of skiing, y'know, but you can't exactly ski just anywhere. Turns out the whole fuckin' town is owned by one company, so they can jack the prices up as much as they want and ya can't do shit."
    "Yeah...I just overheard some folks at work about the place, dunno if they were actually making plans to visit the place. Considering the fact it sounds like the owners would even be able to give the families back home a lesson on legal extortion, it sounds like that place is way outside of my paygrade."

    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    "Seeing her face light up when we got there, though, it was... almost worth it. Almost."
    "Pretty sweet of ya to do that, though I never knew you had a niece," Sting remarked with a grin, before taking a puff from his neglected cigar, "If I were in your shoes, I'd probably have done the same. Granted, I don't actually know much of anyone in my family, well extended that is. Nobody's come knockin', and neither mom or pops seem inclined to share much about 'em."

    Tapping his glass, he thought for a moment before deciding what to order next.

    "Let's try something a little more local for the next one, could you get me a Sazerac?"

  19. #59
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Operator Vitro
    March 8 - 4:13 PM
    Blacksteel Medical Ward
    Blacksteel Worldwide Landship


    Quote Originally Posted by Ward Receptionist
    "I doubt I need to remind you, but just in case: these are private records belonging to the medical team and are not to be shared without the written approval of a senior medical officer or the operator themselves. Please don't misplace them, either. Even if it's an accident, that's still a privacy violation."




    "Acknowledged, acknowledged, acknowledged. I'll thoroughly dispose of the papers once I keep their contents to memory. No need to be ruffled!"

    The Support Operator pulled a face beneath the mask, more peeved at the receptionist's lack of reaction than her nagging reminder. Did they swap the previous frontwoman with a more stoic one, or was she already so hardened by his entrances? Vitro knew not, but thoughts of revising tactics could wait another day.

    Vitro hummed, leafing and skimming through the contents to ensure all is in place, particularly for their physical information, among other things. It was the primary reason he asked for their records, after all.

    Although his application departs from the mainstream, the field of Toxicology is nonetheless tricky. Similar to prescribing fitting doses of medicine, factors such as the species, age, sex, health, height and weight can decide whether his ministrations were for good or ill. Granted, it was far simpler to deal harm with his craft, but Vitro was a Doctor before an Operator, occupation be damned.

    The precious lives of others are at his hands, and the Liberi ensured his teammates would finish this mission alive.

    Yet through a scan alone, a few details had caught his eye. Some were the perfect picture of health while some were remarkably less so; the rest possess a few particular factors to consider. Concerning? As a Doctor, yes. Fascinating? As a Toxicologist, also yes. Operator Asura's physical condition warranted a weaker dose of the G-Brew, as with Squad Leader Nuriel. And Operator Valravn…

    Thankfully, none of these additional factors were disruptive to his work. Vitro sighed in relief. Small mercies it may be, at least he can work his craft without much struggle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ward Receptionist
    "Was there anything else you needed, Operator Vitro?"

    "Huu…"

    The Liberi considered, briefly in thought. Glancing at Operator Santonia's page, specifically her peculiarity…



    "There is one thing in mind, actually." Vitro said, taking the chance. "Regarding Operator Santonia, are there samples of her toxins in store? If it doesn't inconvenience you, would it be possible to, say, acquire shreds of said samples for further examination? Under medical considerations, of course."

    The second reason behind acquiring his teammates' records, already bearing some fruit. Certain Terrans, commonly of Svaran or Archosaurian origin, possess a natural affinity to venom and the like. Although a rarer occurrence than wasteland naturales, most former have unique properties with uncertain but limitless potential. It was simply too good an opportunity to pass up and norequest further acquisition.

    If not, well…

    There's surely little harm in asking from the source herself. Certainly.
    Last edited by SleepMode; June 20th, 2022 at 12:04 AM.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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  20. #60
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Operator Sting
    L’Antiquario

    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    If I were in your shoes, I'd probably have done the same. Granted, I don't actually know much of anyone in my family, well extended that is. Nobody's come knockin', and neither mom or pops seem inclined to share much about 'em.
    "Mmm. Not too many Yamamotos in Siracusa. Can't say without having met 'em, but there's a good chance they have their reasons. 'Course, could also be that your parents were the assholes in the family. Who knows?" Luca shrugged. He couldn't know one way or the other, but if there were any experts on asshole families, it would be Siracusans.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sting
    Let's try something a little more local for the next one, could you get me a Sazerac?
    "Sazerac, huh. Pretty sure I got sugar cubes in here somewhere..."

    Back to digging the man went. Absinthe, bitters, whiskey, and cognac... with a single sugar cube, of course. Had to balance things out somehow. A minute of mixing, stirring, and straining to put everything together, and a bit of lemon peel on top to add some zest.



    "Here ya go. Don't eat the peel. Had some dumbass try that a few nights ago, spat his drink back up on the counter."


    Operator Vitro
    Blacksteel Medical Ward

    The receptionist sat almost entirely still and silent as Vitro pondered his response. Blacksteel was a company that prided itself on professional integrity, after all. To maintain composure at all times was par for the course.

    Well, it was supposed to be. It was in the employee handbook. But not everyone read the handbook, and there were also people like this receptionist who read the handbook back to front, four times, and took the whole thing entirely too seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitro
    "There is one thing in mind, actually. Regarding Operator Santonia, are there samples of her toxins in store? If it doesn't inconvenience you, would it be possible to, say, acquire shreds of said samples for further examination? Under medical considerations, of course."
    "Santonia?" The woman tapped a few keys and leaned closer to her computer monitor. "Right, the Savra on your mission. Mutated tail, difficulties with her natural toxin. Feel free to have a seat while I look through the inventory records."

    Back to work she went. The inventory was not, unfortunately, the best-kept section of the medical ward's records. It took the Liberi a few minutes to comb through the lists and documents to reach her goal. But that was still a fair sight better organized than the actual inventory. Blacksteel always had someone on hand for the express purpose of digging through the storage rooms and cabinets and freezers.

    "Sorry, Operator Vitro. Looks like there's nothing in storage. It's not impossible for something to be in there unlisted, but-"


    Operator Santonia
    Blacksteel Medical Ward


    The door to the Medical Ward whirred open, and who walked in but the Savra in question.

    "-oh, Operator Santonia. Good timing."
    Last edited by Elyrin; June 19th, 2022 at 08:41 PM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

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