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A Gathering Of Hunters // Chapter 1

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Kassia

Kassia

𝓔𝓷𝓮𝓻𝓰𝔂 𝓥𝓪𝓶𝓹𝓲𝓻𝓮
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Character: Naomi
Player/Group: Aratone { @BennyQ } Maxine { @Fish is yum } Alyssa { @StylusWrites }
Location: Streets of Arcadia.


Maxine's kindness made Naomi nod in understanding. If she smiled, everyone in this tiny car would see her fangs, and while this was now a permanent feature, it was still awkward with how large her fangs actually were. She settled back into her seat, set her fists on her lap, and looked out at the lights of Arcadia. The city was beautiful. The neon-lit streets were warm, and the massive buildings' lights reflected the desert stars. Suddenly they were gone, and she whipped her head to look at Aratone and Maxine. Where had all the lights gone?

Even though she could walk the streets without fear now, she didn't like what walked in the darkness, and the idea of the motorway being lightless made her anxiety rise exponentially.

"What's going on?" She asked quietly, her voice quivering quickly, looking from Ara to Max as if they knew what was happening. She heard Max call in for Ollie, and then suddenly...She listened to the distressing words:

"Oh, for fuck's sake."

No.. no, no, no.
Naomi shook her head and grabbed the back of the passenger side seat, scooting to the edge of her own.

Kade and Eden weren't okay. This was her fault.

Aratone took a quick turn, making her body slide to the side and into the armrest and window, where she frowned in annoyance. The familiar feeling of her heart beating into her chest returned, even if it was only phantom beats. All she heard were intermingled words, phrases, and garbled words that filled the car as they tried to find a solution to the lights overhead.

Then... She felt the cab jump slightly as one of her own threw itself at the windshield.

"Uh... Guys!" Naomi turned in her seat and screamed. While she wasn't like the rest of the hunters, she wasn't tailored for fighting. She wasn't meant for these hard streets full of creatures who willingly threw themselves at the car and acted as barricades. She groaned and slapped her hands on her face." I don't wanna be here! I dont wanna do this!"

She tried to think of a place other than here and thought back to when she and her late boyfriend received the keys to their first apartment. It was a small place with no bedrooms, just a flat in a sunny part of Arcadia overlooking the City Center. Close enough for both of their jobs. They had settled into a routine fairly quickly, and she enjoyed that. Life in the light was beautiful, and this would be the best they could get for two orphans. There was comfort in that.

It was in that moment of focus she felt a shift. It wasn't an Earth-shattering shift, closer to a ripple, but she had realized that these creatures had taken the only thing she had ever wanted. She never really understood Kade, Eden, or Max's pain--or she felt she wasn't allowed to. But she did understand the loss. Had these vampires not ended her, she wouldn't have sought comfort in her boyfriend and then killed him.

" Alyssa, Naomi, take lateral fire. Maxine, you're on the sunroof."

Naomi slid her fingertips from her eyes and looked at Aratone's as he stared at her in the rearview mirror, she could feel his eyes on her this whole time, and she knew he was blaming her. Dammit.

Finally, taking her shaking hands from her face, she unlatched the holster and pulled out her handgun. Naomi paused; beside her, she could see these creatures trying to claw their way into the cab, and as her index finger hesitated over the button to roll down the window. She couldn't do this without some form of control and strength, but it seemed so tricky right now. So, she pressed her lips together into a thin line and called upon her own sane thoughts.

"You know, it's going to be reeeeeally difficult to shoot if you keep weaving around like this." She sighed, "didn't anyone ever teach you how to drive?" And in the snarky comment, she rolled the window down and aimed her gun. With her new strength, she learned two things.

1. Recoil did not affect her like it had when she was human, she was stone now, and as she pulled the trigger, the bullet slid from the chamber and knocked the vampire into an explosion of flames and screeches.

2. She had learned that she had more control over her body than she ever was as a human. Her balance was impeccable now, and she displayed this by leaning outside the cab while looking back at the tail light and then the headlight. Lastly, she looked over her head to see one of the vampires soring through the night towards the car. Quickly, she pulled herself out of the car, sat on the edge of the door, and held onto the grab handle. She regretted not throwing her hair up into a ponytail right now, but she aimed her arm and shot in the direction of the bat until she heard the magazine click. Using her calves to hold her firmly against the door like a bracket, she reached into one of the packs at her side, released the mag onto the cab floor, and replaced it. The sky lit up in sawdust, ash, and fire from the vampiric creature that she had to stare at for a moment to ensure that it was dead and gone.

Over time she would get better at aiming, but now wasn't exactly the time to be asking for lessons. Right now, she was basking in her newfound vampire powers; a smile slowly crept across her lips.
 

Xerxes I

Planetoid
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
Character: Ollie
Player/Group: All
Location: The Bridge Apartments.
Time: Nightfall.

Just as he got the lights back on, Ollie switched to the nearby cameras on the edge of the side road they'd taken, just in time to see the car get swarmed. Fuck.

He could hear the conversation in the car still, filtering through the media system in the cab, and so he could hear Ara organizing the team to fight off the ambush. As the plan formed, Ollie would have nodded, if he could. "I'm clearing a path for you. Intersections should green-light you as soon as you get near. I can't keep it up for long though, city traffic control is bound to realize something is up and kick me out after a little while." Reaching into the computer's storage, he pulled out a script, represented by a palm-sized glowing cube, and dropped it down onto the holographic representation of the car on the table before him. Just as he did, the RPM of the engine spiked on his screen. "No APD cruisers within 5 miles." The young operator reported calmly. "I'll do my best to throw up roadblocks behind you to slow them down, though I think that'll definitely get me kicked out of the network. Can't keep me out forever though."

Just as Ollie was assessing the arsenal of roadblocks and traffic control options at his fingertips, Kade's call came in, as well as a glowing diamond on the mental-digital map that Ollie saw before him. "Coordinates received." he confirmed, quickly grabbing a file from storage and opening it, scanning through for a nearby vehicle. The Guild had vehicles all over the city, but only some could be remotely driven and accessed. Finding a car two blocks away, a mundane grey sedan stashed in storage, he activated the auto-pilot and unlocked the garage, sending the car on the way. "ETA four minutes on the car." he reported. "We get what we needed?"
 

Fish is yum

Super-Earth
Joined
May 3, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Character: Maxine "Max" Conners
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia ), Aratone Palladino (@BennyQ ), Ollie (@Xerxes I )
Location: The City Streets by the Vin-Corp building on Ash Street.
Time: Nightfall

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"And I could be out on my bike right now running interference…"
Max grumbled, getting up and reaching forward as Aratone reversed wildly, pulling the button for the sun roof to open it. She let the '3030 dangle, instead pulling out one of her pistols, turning off the safety and aiming at the opening sunroof, interfacing with its in-built targeting systems, not going out the top right away. Two loud cracks, each separated by just a moment of ringing silence filled the car as the two vamps on the hood and the trunk tried to get in. They each got a sawdust filled bullet in the chest for their trouble, turning to ash and dust except for their glittering fangs. Most of the ash and dust stayed outside the car, but, once again, she was going to have to scrub her cloths. "Instead I am some damn swivel gun." Max continued, still griping. "And don't diss punks or you won't get a tip." Chrome teeth flashed as she grinned at Aratone through the rear view mirror before standing up, her green mohawk the first thing to leave the cabin of the taxi.

She holstered the pistol and went out the top, planting her feet squarely on the back seat and the front armrest, sitting on the shoulder of the passenger's seat to not totally block Aratone's mirror. She shivered, the more complex interface of the '3030 interpreted by the organic parts of her mind like an invigorating splash of cold water. She turned towards the truck barreling up the alleyway towards them. She hefted the rifle and her eyes focused on the targets, the front wheels, the headlights, the engine block, and the drivers seat. Each was highlighted, and the interface somehow "phrased" each as a question, outlining them in red lines. Well, it didn't really, but the interface between tech and organics always was a bit… odd. You know which one girl. Maxine thought with a smile, aiming at the drivers seat. The other outlines dimmed milliseconds before she squeezed off several quick bursts. The truck's horn blared loudly and it swerved into the wall of the building, bouncing along before crashing into a streetlight. Sparks from the wiring of the now dark streetlight lighting the pickup truck up enough for Max to see a dead body slumped over the wheel. Not a ash pile, but a dead body oozing blood. "Fuck… Thralls!" she yelled at the group. There was something that nagged her about that. Thralls meant something. She didn't have time to figure that out though.

Reorienting to face the squad of vampires she reached into her pocket and pulled out a mason jar, aiming the '3030 with the other, once again mentally configuring the interface of the gun to not only choose targets that would be lethal shots, but specifically aim for the chest. She didn't hit everyone on the first try aiming with one hand, but it was only for a moment as she hucked the mason jar into a large crowd of ferals. Shouldering the gun properly it wasn't difficult to shoot the jar, shattering it and spraying several of the mob and causing them to burst into flames, screeching and flailing about. "We don't want to go down the main route!" She shouted down at Aratone "Hughes was clear about there being some firefight gang horseshit!" She wasn't sure she trusted the mobster right then, but he had not been acting strange… so she felt like she would have to just trust he was still an ally until she gathered proof that he wasn't. Still… something was… important about there being Thralls here… something to do with the lights… Then it hit her, even as she blasted another vampire with another three round burst. If there were thralls, and Ollie managed to fix the lights, that meant that they had their own net runners.

She shouted to their tech wizard, screaming "Ollie! Fortress! Now!", dropping into street slang with her stress, worried that there might be someone poking around in the digital demi-monde, waiting to fry their own keyboard warrior. Even as she did so, warning icons flashed brightly across her vision, angry red triangles with explanation points inside them. "Fuck! Shit! Where-?!" Maxine scanned left and right, switching to infrared, looking for body heat. There on the roof! Her vision switched to "bright sun", dimming to near pitch blackness, but that didn't matter much. They had yet to get to the '3030. "Naomi! Cover my back now!" She barked, snarling in fury. She hated fighting netrunners. Little shits… Ollie was cool, but he never tried to fuck with her mods.

The DT 3030 was still a cutting-edge weapon of war. It was prized for its ammo capacity, its low recoil, compact size, and targeting suite and interface. Holding the gun made a hardwire connection between her and it, and so it calculated a firing solution. 75% accuracy chance. UOF mode recommended. Toggling the '3030 to full auto, Maxine shouldered the weapon and sent a veritable cascade of bullets upwards, utilizing the "Use of Overwhelming Force" (or as Maxine called them, U Oughta Fuckoff) protocols, her finger locking itself down on the trigger as the thunder and lightning of her gun split the night with vicious intent, the mussel flash glinting off her clenched and snarling chrome teeth. Suddenly her vision returned to normal, a large hole chewed into one of the buildings, and draped limply over the side, blood spattering onto the wall and ground below, the remains of the netrunner. Whoever it was looked like what was left of some of Luxx's dog-toys, full of holes and with pieces missing.

She didn't have much time though, because even as she ejected the now empty mag into the car a vampire leaped on top of her, though she managed to catch hits head in her metal hand. Letting the '3030 go so that it swung around her shoulders by its strap she grabbed the monsters shoulder with her other hand, getting slammed into the edge of the sunroof and being forced to take a step back. The vampire slashed at her, tearing the jacket, her shirt, and her shoulder as well. "Fucker!" She snarled, wincing in pain, her boot slipping so her leg bumped into Aratone, making the cab swerve for a second. She could hear Naomi behind her dealing with her own problems. The smell of fresh blood was strong now, but that didn't worry Max, what worried her was that the stream of updates from Ollie had suddenly cut off, replaced by static. She let go of the vamp's shoulder, pulling out the same pistol from before and just firing blindly into the monster, eventually rewarded by it turning to ash too.

She got back into the relative safety of the cab, opening up the first aid kit and, with some actual sadness, ripping the sleeve off of her jacket and t-shirt. Dumping coagulant onto the wound, slapping a huge adhesive band aid on top, and then doing her best to wrap it up she said "Well shit, sorry Aratone… Got the upholstery dirty." She chuckled, wincing a little.; It wasn't too bad, just a bleeder. That thought made her stare at Naomi, now worried about how the smell of her blood would effect her. "Got an ETA? We gotta get this done quick. Op's on his own right now." She slid a fresh Mag into the '3030, pulling the bolt back loudly, eyes still lingering on Naomi, but still swiveling occasionally. She didn't expect Naomi to just give in, but she did plan to be ready for if she did. Some vampires were running alongside the car, so she hucked another mason jar out the window, hitting one square in the face, shattering the glass and splashing another five ferals, immolating them almost instantly.
 
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sky.

ᴀɴᴅ ꜰʟʏ<҉3҉
Welcoming Committee
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Character: Eden
Player/Group: Kade
@Kassia
Location: || AM Tech ||



“ - Kade, you can’t be serious,” why is he dismissing me? Eden narrowed her eyes, a tinge of surprise and … hurt in the young woman’s voice. “No way, I’m not leaving you alone. Are you insane?” She demanded, giving her head a firm shake. This isn’t the time to be stubborn, we need that blood. Her boots shuffled against the loose gravel, still maintaining sight on the bats overhead. Luxx went about his own business, staying close to Eden along with catching whatever he could out of the air. The sicking tearing sounds reassured her companion was maintaining well enough on his own. Possibly better than herself now that Kade commanded her back to the apartments.

Unsheathing her dual blades she gave Kade a hard, unblinkingly stare. Out of everyone, he knew her best … knew what she was capable of during missions. What the hell has gotten into him? Eden sank her teeth into her lip - she knew better than to question his motives but the sting stayed. She wanted to see Naomi fed just as much as they all did, turning into the poor girl’s next meal wasn’t on the agenda. Eden’s knuckles turned white, grasping onto her weapons harder the more time passed. Of course she didn’t want to leave, if something were to happen. Eden exhaled deeply, easing the storm with her gut. I hate this, this isn’t right. He shouldn’t be going in alone. Cursing under her breath she called over the erratic sounds.

Hey … just. Don’t get killed, alright?”

Shit. Eden spun on her heel whistling for Luxx to meet her side. Before she continued she patted him down, checking him for signs of serious injury or bites. Planting a kiss on his head she patted his chest, change of plans. His head cocked to one side, trying to read his owners look of dismay. Without turning to look back at Kade she took the opportunity Ollie granted the duo - turn around, don’t let him do this. The mental battle was enough to drive herself crazy, going against what her gut told her. She had never … abandoned anything before, yet that’s exactly how it played. Despite it coming from a good place.

Sudden feet hitting the ground caused the duo to stop running, seeing two had left Kade to stalk her. More frustrated than before she didn’t hesitate, charging them at full force. Still want to play, huh. Eden looked to Luxx as they matched steps, that small smirk returning the closer they grew. Placing two fingers against her lips she whistled twice, moving Luxx to the opposite side and out of the way of her blades. Her knees met the pavement, slick pants helping guide the girl directly between the two vampires. One for each of you, her arms extended sinking both daggers into the back of their knees … “Luxx!” Eden rolled past the screaming, pissed vamps and jumped to her feet. Fumbling around her belt she fought to find the syringes of adrenaline. Common, hurry Eden. Hurry, her orbs watched the Doberman who took them by surprise from up high. Pulling one of them down to the ground with a single agile leap. Yes! Her hand met the long smooth tube, focus bouncing from the vampires to Luxx. Placing the cap between her teeth she spit it out without direction, plunging the needle into her thigh.

Imaging it how it must be for them, the fluid filled her veins with liquid fire. Her heart raced - feeling the full effect of the injection. With weapons still lodged into them she took to what she had readily available, her fists. Despite not being the most experienced with hand to hand Eden didn’t let it stop her, embracing the euphoric sensation pulsating throughout her body. Alright, let’s see if these sparing lessons are paying off, Eden bawled her fists, bolting to the vampire who made their way towards Luxx. Before the clawed hands reached for him Eden pulled an arm back - throwing all her weight into the hit. Both tumbled to the floor, the feral hissing and snarling even more. It was too late, her hands found the blade in his knee - just as he jumped on top of her Eden shoved the tip under chin. She squeezed her eyes shut, preparing to be drenched, though she didn’t stop there, removing the dagger and driving it in over and over. Not quitting until he slumped to one side, giving her the chance to kick him off and help Luxx end it.

Casually she approached them, Luxx having the upper hand, or paw, connected to the vampire’s jugular. Another deafening whistle called him off, giving him a smile she touched the point of his ears, “that’s my boy,” she whispered bending down to retrieve the second blade. Again, another sharp wail echoed against the night. Drawing any more attention would be bad, she had been given orders. Regardless of the debate between head and heart she would always obey orders. Always. “Let’s make this quick,” her voice calm, collective as she positioned both weapons on each side of the vamps head. Preventing another cry for help she sank them on each side of the feral’s temples. Right away Eden let go, watching this one collapse as well. Can’t be too careful. Placing a cigarette between her lips she took out a lighter as well as another bottle of blessed water. Flicking it with her thumb a gentle glow casted around her face, bringing the small flame to the end of her smoke. Letting the it fill her lungs she blew out towards the motionless bodies. Enjoying the small amount of time she had to take a couple drags she walked over each of them, pouring the water carelessly until satisfaction filled her. With the lighter still lit set them both ablaze, snuffing out the cig on the bottom of her foot.

Fuck, we need to hurry

Taking the back alleyways Eden didn’t stop until reaching her ordered destination, as Ollie said it would be a simple vehicle hid from plain sight. Opening the door for Luxx first she let it shut and crawled into the drivers seat. Thoughts raced back to Kade, was he okay? She hadn’t heard anything on her end. Leaning her head back against the headrest she ran her hands through her hair. Playing the recent events over and over again. Please be careful, everyone. She hated it. Not knowing what was happening on all ends. Yet, it came with the territory … one she knew well by now.
 
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Kassia

Kassia

𝓔𝓷𝓮𝓻𝓰𝔂 𝓥𝓪𝓶𝓹𝓲𝓻𝓮
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Character: Kade
Player/Group: Eden [ @sky. ] Oliver [ @Xerxes I ]
Location: AM Tech->modshop->The Bridge apartments


Kade stared into the polished floor of AM-tech; what would they do now? If there were a shortage of A-300, this would spell disaster for all of them; truthfully, while he disliked Naomi's kind, he didn't feel it was truly fair to set her up for failure.

Slowly he reached up to his visor and called Oliver." I got into AM-Tech, but they are out of '300. I'm headed to the Mod Shop to get this arm repaired. I'll think of a solution while I'm on the way there. Can you give me threat levels in the area and update on Eden?" He ended the call and removed his helmet to rub his face of the sweat and frustration. All this way, and for what?

The commotion outside had stopped, and he knew that the ferals had gone after her and Luxx. He flicked to the car on his visor screen once he had put the helmet back on and saw that it had left the desired location. Kade took in a deep breath; she made it. Eden fucking made it. He sighed with relief, his chest, which had felt tight, unfurled, and he felt like he could breathe easy. Now he just had to make the trek back to City Center and into the Mod Shop.

The doors to AM-tech resumed their unlocked position after the all-clear sound, and Kade disappeared into the night-- collecting the glittering vampire fangs in the piles of debris and ash; he set the fangs into a pouch on the side of his hip and continued down the alley and out into the neon-drenched city of Arcadia.

The walk to the Mod shop was quiet. Trash remained piled up against brick buildings water dripped from gutters due to the condensation on the roof from humidity. In the very depths of the alleyways that created a grid, he saw Repo men reclaiming their tech and mods from citizens who had forgotten to pay or were late on their bills. They didn't threaten him because he always paid, but it was unsettling to listen to the blood-curdling screams as their mods were reclaimed.

He had known nothing else except this world, and for a moment, while he stared at the stars that peeked through plumes of steam that tried to obscure them, he was glad that his daughter didn't have to see how this city had become. But he couldn't help but wonder what life she would lead if none of this had happened.

Cutting through City Center was easy. Vampires had learned their lesson when it came to City Center. They knew the Hunters lived here, and trying to pick a fight in the very den of a hunter was a bad idea. So, Kade entered the Mod Shop relaxed, removing his helmet out of respect for the establishment.

"Hey there, Kade," The Mod Doc, Spark, said as he walked into the lobby area of the shop.

"Hey, Doc." Kade started and set his helmet on the countertop and then his barely functioning arm. " Got attacked. Can you fix it?"

Spark looked over the arm and with a tsk, he turned it over gently. "Pretty nasty bite... Creator?"

"No, feral-- down at AM Tech."

"Ferals are definitely swarmin' right now, killed one myself the other day, came in here like so damn psycho looking for '300."

"I don't blame 'em, honestly. AM Tech is out. Got a vamp back home in need of it."

"for miss Naomi? I can spare a few packs. Let's get you set up in the 'room, and I'll take care of this situation."

"Got anything new for mods?"

"I got a few things" The doctor didn't have to ask if Kade was good for it. Either way, if it was needed for business, he knew the Guild would pay or Kade. There was no worry.

"Do..." Kade paused, he didn't want new mods, but he thought he would ask in case there was something worth researching. " Do you have any Synth-skin?"

"Synth-skin? Really? Not feelin' the mecha-style?" Spark laughed as he sat down on a small leather upholstered stool and wheeled himself and a cart of equipment over to Kade, who rested on an operating table. His forearm moved to the side and rested on another smaller table. Quietly the doctor worked, intently examining every fiber of Kade's arm to ensure it was repairable.

"I-- yeah, not my style."

"Hm, okay. Oh hey, I got some 'eye's for ya if you want, instead of wearing that helmet all the time."

"Kinda my thing, Doc, and it adds protection."

The doctor nodded. He was a master of creating "things" for people. That was his job; he took the ordinary and made them extraordinary. Everyone had a "thing" about them, and he could understand that.

Kade soon rested his arm under his head and closed his eyes. He knew this would take a while, so he might as well catch up on relaxation. He always slept better after a hunt.

After 4 hours, his arm was repaired, and the doc has placed a new Synth-skin on his arm. He almost couldn't tell it wasn't real.

"Want some tattoos or something?" Spark asked as Kade was on his way towards the exit. Kaden laughed and waved, then picked up his helmet on the way out. "Hey, dont forget those packets!" The doc tossed the packets to Kade, who caught them in his newly fixed hand, and packed them into his jacket. He then exited into the night.
 

InsaynePayne

Meteorite
Joined
Sep 14, 2022
Character: Vane
Player/Group: Kade [ @Kassia ] Oliver [ @Xerxes I ]
Location: The Bridge Apartments
Time: Monday | Late Night



With a relented sigh, Vanessa sat upright upon her bed, a look of supreme apathy evident in her face as she stared blankly ahead at the wall. She had slept for hours, but it had felt as though she'd only just laid down a instant earlier. The cranial augment she'd purchased last-year, which had been advertised as the cure-all for insomnia and sleep deprivation, had technically worked in the sense that it did allow its users to reach a state of unconsciousness, just as it had for her tonight. But, while she had for all intents and purposes, been asleep, it hadn't really felt like it at all. The semi-restful sensation it elicited paled in comparison to that which would be attained naturally after a period of regular old-fashioned human sleep. Of course, Vanessa had complained to her augmentation specialist, explaining that what she felt was more akin to what someone might've experienced while in a state of caffeine rush, and that it was a generally unpleasant result. But he had sworn to her that it was only a temporary side-effect, and that after enough time, her mind would adapt, and she'd start to feel the benefits in time.

As stated, that had been a year ago, now.

Glancing over to where Loki slept, curled up in a peaceful little ball, Vanessa felt a pang of jealousy run through her mind. "Little fucker sleeps like the dead." She remarked softly.

The lone benefit she'd discovered since having said sleep augment installed, was how she'd effectively lost her ability to dream. Or at least, she'd lost her ability to remember them anyway. Again, her augmentation specialist had promised that it was a rare side-effect, and that in time, she would resume dreaming. As it was though, Vanessa was grateful to be devoid of the myriad manifestations which tended to haunt and harangue her ceaselessly while slumbering. In fact, it was why she'd continued to make use of the augmentation, despite all its inherent cons, and hadn't truthfully attempted to sleep in a natural manner in almost three-months. The fear that her mind would wander and in turn assail her with the sort of awful nightmares that had plagued her most of her life, loomed with abject omnipresence.

At least, as far as she willing to bet anyway.

Slipping her slenderly long legs out from under the bedcovers, she allowed her bare feet to touch tenuously against the cold floor before slowly standing upright. She still hadn't gotten used to the different feel of the floors on this level. It'd been about a week since she'd moved onto this floor of the apartment building, having been forced out of her old domicile due to a lack of any live floormates which might've shared the space down there. It had simply been a logistical decision to move her some place else, and close-off her previous level until more hunters came along in need of rooming. Naturally, Vanessa was annoyed by this decision, as it meant she'd had to give up the one space she'd been living in for the last six-years. All of the little intricacies, and nuances that had made that room hers, were gone, now replaced by this new domicile that she'd have to try and make her own somehow.

As had previously occurred in her life, her home had been taken from her, and she was being forced to adjust and start all over.

"Well, at least he's settled in." She said again in reference to the peacefully sleeping cat over on the couch.

Peering over to the door which led out into the hallway, she heard the faint commotion of someone returning from having been out in the world. The realization elicited a reaction, in which she checked up on messages that had come in while she slept, and indeed there'd been call for a duo of missions. To an extent, she also knew that she likely could have, and probably should have been a part of one of those teams that had gone to complete said missions, but in her mind, she was still getting used to it all. She simply wasn't a part of 'their' team just yet. She was an outsider. Someone sent to live on this level against her will. But she also knew that sooner or later, she would have to swallow her pride, and make some form of a gesture of greeting. Otherwise she risked being cast out of the order, and back onto the street by her lonesome.

Nearing where her jeans from the night prior had come to a haphazard rest, she retrieved the tattered and torn garment and slipped each leg inside successively, the fit near skintight as she pulled the jeans up to her waist and closed her belt, a gawdy copper buckle which read 'Bad Bitch' on its exterior holding fast. "No worries, you stay put. I'll go out and make the scratch." She commented to Loki, who still slept peacefully in his little nook on the couch. Thankfully, she was off from her 'real-job' today, which meant she'd not have to clean herself up, and put on the prim and proper attire expected of a high-rise hotel concierge. She could instead dress in a manner more accustomed to comfort, and style, at least what she considered style. Specifically, her faux-leather jacket with an oddly embroidered set of gears within gears on it's right collar flaring.

From within said jacket she produced a packet of cigarettes, the cover of which was nearly covered by useless warnings about the health-concerns associated with smoking. The way Vanessa had always thought it, the whole point of smoking was to give into the idea that you didn't give a fuck about your health anyway.

"Oooh! Almost forgot!" she exclaimed as she approached the door, lit cigarette perched in her lips as she spun on heel and approached a nearby pile of clothing. "Where would I be without you, baby!" she said almost flirtatiously as she hefted her pistol and it's holster and fastened it behind the small of her back. Pistol always seemed like an inappropriate term, as it was more-so a hand-cannon, than anything else.

"Clean up while I'm gone, yeah?" she said as way of parting to Loki, who didn't react.

A second later, she emerged into the hallway, a trail of acrid smoke left in her wake as she casually made her way left, then through a door on her right, past one of the other rooms and into the common area. As it was, she assumed she was alone for the moment, save maybe anyone who might've still been lurking in their respective personal domiciles. It meant little to her, as she pulled open the refrigerator door, and peered inside at it's contents with an obvious sense of disapproval evident in her face. "Bunch of shit." She said to no one in particular as she took a long drag on the cancer-stick pinned between lips at the corner of her mouth.

"Nobody with any good taste around here." She added, closing shut the door before turning back to the island counter, not necessarily hungry to begin with, but clearly bored enough to try and find food.

Or, just bored enough to try and find something to bitch about.

Was anyone else even around?
 

BennyQ

αὐτοκράτωρ
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
Character: Aratone Palladino.
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia), Alyssa Queen (@StylusWrites), Maxine Conners (@Fish is yum). Oliver "Operator" Kromwell.
Location: Streets of Arcadia.
Time: Monday, Night-time.


Everything was hitting the fan now. This was the reality of combat. A crowded minute of events, actions, and searing hot emotion. Anger, fear, frustration. Gunfire resounded from above his vehicle and immediately behind his seat. But not on the opposite end. Not where Naomi sat, initially panicking, and Aratone had no time to soothe or babysit her. They should have left her behind. He expected this. There was no pleasure in a I told you so however, because being right only spelled more disaster. All he could do was flick his eyes up to the rearview mirror, catching sight of her, giving an equally matching snarl as the vampires, a mixture of both disgust and disappointment at her fright.

She looked at him. She must have seen it. Though his expression didn’t change, eyes flicking forward to the vampire trying to hang on to the hood, they shifted back to her. And softened a little. Poor girl. Maxine and Alyssa had the cool banter and discipline of professionals but Naomi? He remembered his first time battling a vampire. He had been by himself. And gone through all the emotions. Fear. Paralysis. And hopefully, like him, she would then feel the icy grip of total helplessness…and decide to rage back against it, rather than keeling over with a whimper.

She did it.

You know, it’s going to be reeeeeally difficult to shoot if you keep weaving around like this…didn't anyone ever teach you how to drive?

Oh she got jokes now, did she? He took his eyes off the road a moment to gaze back at her…then reached over and activated the cab meter in a silent reply. This trip was going to cost them now, because of her jokes. Gunfire finally erupted from all sides of their vehicles, as Aratone swirled and raced down the street, pursued by a large truck and mobs of vampires who leapt out of the shadows, attempting to clamber on. And there was the one in front, claws digging deep into the metallic hood that covered the engine. He seemed to be deciding whether to rip it apart and hopefully deactivate the ignition, or keep clambering up to the windshield and get at Aratone’s throat. But the momentum of the racing vehicle made it difficult for him to make much progress. He would have to be dislodged. Right now there was more danger behind them than in front.

Ollie radioed in and Aratone only caught some of the words through the gunfire and hum of the engine. Intersections should green-light…city traffic control is bound to…kick me out after a little while…APD cruisers within 5 miles…can’t keep me out forever…

Green light or no, they were going to run out of road soon. Eventually they might hit an T-intersection where they had to go left or right. There was no way he could make a safe turn at their speed without flipping the car. And if they slowed down…they would be caught, cornered, and torn to shreds.

There was an explosion. The truck behind them suddenly winked out and was consumed by the night. Maxine returned into the interior, bumping into Aratone, throwing his arm and steering wheel to the side, but at their speed, it nearly caused them to screeched and turn sideways, before threatening to roll over, but Aratone expertly swerved the steering wheel about, shifting left and right, until he reorientated the wheels back forward. Somehow, the vampire atop the hood managed to hang on. They seemed clear. It was time to handle this fucker. Everyone was back inside, in the backseat. Aratone didn’t give a warning for them to brace as he suddenly hit the breaks, the tires screeching to a halt, causing everyone in the vehicle to be forced forward with the momentum.

And the vampire went flying off the hood and rolled on the streets in front of them. Aratone unbuckled his seatbelt, grabbed his shotgun, and barked an order. ”Stay here, all of you.” Watch my back. He threw open his door and held his shotgun at the hip and fired one loud-ass blast at the vampire, blowing out his kneecap. Click-clack. Another shell chambered, a second discharge, blowing out the vampire’s midsection. Silver-encased sawdust. Must burn and be painful. Bits of the vampire’s outfit caught fire. But the creature wasn’t dead. They were very durable and had few fatal weaknesses. And Aratone…and deliberately avoided it. He paused in front of his cab, in the glow of the headlights, cracking open the shotgun and reaching into his pocket for two more shells, chambering them, while the vampire’s groans of agony serenaded his actions.

Aratone approached and stood over him, shotgun leveled at the creature’s face. Aratone could see him better in the light now. He looked young, as they all did, perpetually youthful. He must have been Naomi’s age, nineteen or twenty. A good looking individual to say the least. Groomed hair, surprisingly white teeth, full of energy and vim. Shame.

”Who sent you?” Aratone demanded.

”F-f-fuck y-you!” The vampire hissed. ”You a-and all your k-kind.”

”How’d you know we were coming this way?” Aratone asked calmly.

The vampire could barely move. His midsection was on slow fire. His kneecap looked severed. Did vampires regrow limbs and extremities? Aratone didn’t know, because most never lived long enough for him to see the effects of such an experiment.

”Your mother told me…while we was fuckin’ her!” The vampire continued to hiss defiance.

Aratone pulled the trigger, a third blast peppering and tearing apart the vampire’s other kneecap. Click-clack. The second shell chambered. Aratone pointed this at the vampire’s chest. ”Do it, you fuckin’ pussy! I know your mother’s was good! Do it…my kin will have your head on a spike! You and all your kind!” The vampire hissed, coughing up blood but managing to chuckle.

Aratone glanced around. The street was silent, except for the hum of the cab and the vampire’s agony. He then knelt next to the creature, digging through the vampire’s pockets and other compartments, though he found nothing that might be an identity. Just a knife, which he promptly tossed to the side. He then pulled out a cigar from his own inner pocket, using one of the small flames flickering on the vampire’s garment to ignite it. The vampire continued to hurl abuse.

”I’ll carve you to bits. I’ll feast on your blood. You’ll watch as I drain the bodies of all your whore-friends before I gorge your eyes out. It’ll be the last sight you ever see!” The vampire growled.

”Hmm.” Aratone just grunted in acknowledgement, puffing on his cigar. Should put him out of his misery now, right? Fuck his misery. Suffer.

He then stood…and walked back to the cab, leaving the vampire to writher about on the road. He put his shotgun diligently back on the passenger seat and rolled down his window, so as to not crowd the interior with cigar smoke. Both hands on the steering wheel, he glanced at the rearview mirror to catch sight of the three in the back, ending as always on Naomi. Then he looked forward…and drove right over the vampire, the cab lurching as the front wheels, then the back wheels, drove over the blood-sucker. They would hear his guttural sounds of pain and then silence. Aratone slowed a few meters ahead and just listened. There was no sound anymore. The creature must be dead right? He didn’t move. After a half minute of observing, Aratone finally continued to drive.

Peacefully. Slowly. Finally on to their mission. They had escaped the ambush.

”How many?” He asked the others after some silent driving. How many you girls kill, you think?
 
OP
OP
Kassia

Kassia

𝓔𝓷𝓮𝓻𝓰𝔂 𝓥𝓪𝓶𝓹𝓲𝓻𝓮
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Character: Naomi
Player/Group: Aratone { @BennyQ } Maxine { @Fish is yum } Alyssa { @StylusWrites }
Location: Streets of Arcadia, nighttime


The night air was rancid with vampire blood, and Naomi could taste it as she sat on the edge of the windowsill of the cab to scope out the remaining vampires who tried to end their path there on the road. She didn't have much left in her magazine. She pulled it from her handgun to inspect, then slammed it back before sliding back into the cab; she was left with two bullets and her boot shank due to her terrible shooting-- great.

Making a mental note, she knew she needed to bring more firepower or at least learn how to use everyday objects as a weapon from Kade. Naomi hadn't harnessed her abilities yet as a vampire. All she knew was her strength and precision, but she only knew a few physical fighting moves. Staring at her balled-up fists after she had placed the gun back into the holster, she looked up as the cab stopped abruptly, sending the vampire on the hood backward and into the street, their body blanketed in the glow of headlights.

Aratone stepped out. She could tell he was already in a state of annoyance. While she couldn't hear what the vampire screamed, she could see the hatred seething from its very frame. There was a moment where she felt a similar rage, laying on the alleyway ground of Arcadia while her Creator stood over her red glowing eyes piercing the darkness and Naomi's tear blurred eyes, she screamed out similar phrases in favor of the Hunters. She was angry, and who wouldn't be in her situation? She had done everything right. She had found love. She had found an apartment. She had found comfort in routines. Why was it her? She regretted not seeking out The Guild sooner, but she didn't want that life. She was pleased being a mail carrier during the day and going home before dusk. She liked what everyone else in the daylight had, it wasn't fair!

Naomi bit her lip and looked down while her glass-like nails dug into her palms. Maybe they weren't as different as she had thought. At the end of the day, everyone was just trying to survive, and only the strongest got that place on the throne.

Another shot rang out over the dark night, and she looked back up with wide eyes. Still, the vampire fought; their anger had become more feral, taunting. bitter. Aratone had let him live, and Naomi thought that it would be the end with each blow to the vampire's body. She had never seen Ara fight, and it scared her. He didn't show mercy, and she didn't want to be on the receiving end of that.

Could she do that? Could she turn off that part of her brain that made it possible to fight like this? Raw and yet somehow graceful. Sure, she had taken out a few of the forsaken creatures that trailed them, but they had burst into flames and ash. She didn't have to watch it wriggle around in the street, spewing venom-laced insults.

In the time since she had come to The Guild, she had read more about her kind to ensure she was keeping everyone safe and so she didn't have to face this reality that she was seeing now. Naomi knew that at some point, she would need to seek out the Goddess Erra, who would then host a sacrificial event where she would receive her full abilities. If she didn't, that would be it, and she would become something worse than a feral. The psychosis a vampire faced when not being gifted their ability was dangerous, and she could feel that intertwining into her own mental instability. However, she never got any clarification on when this was supposed to occur. She didn't know if she was supposed to seek out Erra for this or if, somehow, Erra just knew. Her stomach turned, and she felt like she might vomit out the A-300 she had taken before the mission.

There were too many uncertainties with her kind. Naomi didn't want to lose herself in it, but she didn't have a choice. She felt like the human part was dying to make room for the vampire version of herself. But she was conflicted on if she should give in.

Aratone was back, started the vehicle, and left the bloody scene. Naomi looked back at the body of her kind, blood pooling and reflecting the hazy moon overhead; this had been a mistake--she wasn't meant for this.Ara was quiet for a moment as they drove to the shipyard and then spoke.

"How many?"

Naomi narrowed her eyes and looked at him. Was he serious? He couldn't be serious. Didn't he feel anything? He didn't feel fear or anger or frustration after that. The vampire hurled insult after insult, name calling and wouldn't go down, and he felt nothing?

It wasn't about the fangs for her. She didn't care about the credits. All she carried about was how she was feeling and how no one seemed to understand it or even cared to. She was silent, refused to answer his question, and then after a moment, whimpered, "I think I'm gonna be sick."

She held her small frame tightly, slumped in her seat, and shivered. She couldn't leave this car, she didn't want to leave it, and she knew that even if Max was somewhat empathetic towards Naomi, she was a flight risk now without weapons. Why the hell had she been chosen in her family line to be a hunter when she couldn't even stomach it? What the hell did her family line do to receive that ability?

After a moment of chaos that swirled in her mind, Naomi set her forehead against the window she had rolled up and closed her eyes. This night couldn't be over soon enough; she couldn't wait to lock herself in her room and sleep this nightmare off.
 

Xerxes I

Planetoid
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
Character: Ollie
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia ), Aratone Palladino (@BennyQ ), Max (@Fish is yum)
Location: Cyberspace
Time: Nightfall

Max's street-slang rang out in Ollie's mind palace, and he threw up firewalls instinctively, closing off his server from the outside world. The scripts he'd launched would continue to run, but he was effectively blind while he had this space on lockdown. In a normal situation, he'd be able to manage what entered and exited those firewalls, carefully sculpting what could enter and exit, but with other netrunners, you never could tell how good they were. Ollie was good, but the biggest way to get fried in the business was to assume you were the best there was.

And soon enough, a cold spike drove into his firewalls, and Ollie felt it like an icicle being stabbed into his thigh. If he'd been physically real, he might have grimaced, but instead he focused on the intrusion. With a thought, he created a simulated device, throwing it into a box. Then, redirecting the incoming attack, he let it loose on the fabricated instance he'd just created, watching the glowing spike of light burn through red walls and into the cube that represented a simulation of himself. Once it was inside, Ollie snatched up the cube, crushing it and the spike inside in his hands, destroying the simulated instance and the intrusive netrunner inside, a little guilt ticking in the back of his head. If they were running with safeties off, like most netrunners had to in order to use complicated hacks, the feedback of an instance being deleted while you were in it... that was almost definitely fatal.

He'd have felt worse if that intrusion hadn't been loaded with code meant to fry his brain to a lump of coal inside his skull.

Adding another layer of firewall to secure himself, he began to craft a shield that was a little more refined than the universal block he had in place currently. With the way technology worked now, security was so much harder, as simulations and netrunning allowed for such creative hacks and attacks. He had a few pre-prepared defenses, and he launched those programs now, feeling a little more secure. He wouldn't be tapping into the traffic systems with those scripts running, but they'd keep him safe.

Coming back to the network, the speakers in the taxicab ceased their static hiss, as did any channel tuned to Ollie's frequency. Instead, it was replaced with the flat automated voice of the server: "Operator online." it reported, and Ollie piped up almost instantly after.

"Virtual attacker's been dealt with. If he lived, he'll be spending the next couple decades in a coma ward." The young hacker reported, spinning up the cameras in the area and doing rapid playback, essentially loading the cameras' memories into his head. "I see you're all alive... aside from Ara's wheels and brakepads."

"Are we aborting mission, or pushing on?"
 

sky.

ᴀɴᴅ ꜰʟʏ<҉3҉
Welcoming Committee
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Character: Eden
Player/Group: open
Location: || outskirts of AM Tech || en route to the apartments || training area
Time: unknown // late night, early am



Thank, Ollie.” Eden expelled another heavy sigh. He couldn’t hear her of course, but it didn’t stop her from showing immediate gratitude. With nothing to do while the normal looking, day to day vehicle piloted it’s way into the city streets, set on auto and a straight shot home she settled. You really out did yourself, Kade. She folded her arms across her chest - feeling the bitterness boiling inside. She hated it. Hated not knowing what was happening while she sped off, feeling like a damn coward. Over a dozen different scenarios played, had he been captured, injured, …..killed?

What the fuck was he thinking, huh?” Sending me off like some naive trainee,” her glossy hues moved to Luxx - who found a comfy spot on the backseat. He panted, slanting his head once more as her tone rose. Speaking to Luxx if he were human was not out of the ordinary, let alone venting to him. For a long time he was the only being she had. Old habits never did truly die. He released a grunt of his own, laying his head on top of crossed paws, giving her his upmost attention. Eden continued her meltdown without shame, fighting to get her gloves off she slammed them into the passengers seat.

Normally, this behavior was far from her nature. Saving these types of emotions for when they really mattered. The fact of it all was simple, it was Kade. He had never done that before - called her away. They had been on countless missions prior and not once was this the outcome. Hell, they had been in worse situations than tonight. Next came her leather jacket - balling it up to throw against the same seat. Every time something unwanted came off her body came a different curse word. “I swear if he comes back -,” she paused instantly regretting the words.

He will, he always does.

Eden pulled the elastic tie out of her hair, letting it fall into what wild position in wanted. Flipping open the visor she gave herself a small once over. Checking the damage to her face, minor cuts and bruises came with no surprise - perhaps a small gash above her left brow could use light attention if anything. Satisfied she flicked it upwards allowing her focus to finally meet the road ahead. They were already closer than she thought.

Anticipation would be an understatement. Her stomach tossed and turned each corner the vehicle took. Even Luxx took notice now sitting at a stance, dark copper eyes watching eagerly out the window. She couldn’t stop the smile, knowing he was mainly excited to see Pepper. Each time was a playful reunion around the apartment as soon as they walked in. For a moment, it lightened the mood as they made that final turn before stopping along the curb.

Uncertain of who may back Eden gathered her belongings into her arms and opened the driver’s side door. Luxx followed, commands no longer needed and the duo made their way inside. A part of her hoped Kade was still gone, not wanting to face him right away. The other wished to know he was at least breathing. She let her companion in first who did exactly what was predicted - went looking for his friend. Eden scanned the seemingly quiet place, letting out a single hardly audible hello to indicate someone had returned.

She took the opportunity to hustle for her bedroom desperately seeking the comfort of those four walls. Luxx was fine where he was - roaming around the apartment freely. A personalized dog door had been made for him, allowing him to come and go as he pleased. Eden basked in privacy, making her way to a large canopy bed in the middle of her room. Lips stayed pressed in a hard line as she went over the events, peeling off the rest of her blood and ash covered clothing. Grabbing a towel hanging from the doorknob she rubbed off what evidence she could only to smear and stain her pale complexion. Screw it, she huffed watching it soar to the furtherest corner. Guess I didn’t blow off enough steam back there, the blonde rolled her eyes, hinting at the frustration with Kade and the call he made.

Going for a simple grey tank top Eden tugged it from her closet. Pairing it with an equally plain pair of leggings and sneakers. I can sit here and stoop .. feeling anxious she exited her room and made way for the training area. Hitting the good ol’ punching bag was no better remedy than she knew of, not for this. Plugging both ears with headphones Eden turned the volume up enough to drown out the world.
 
OP
OP
Kassia

Kassia

𝓔𝓷𝓮𝓻𝓰𝔂 𝓥𝓪𝓶𝓹𝓲𝓻𝓮
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Character: Kade
Player/Group: Eden [ @sky. ] Vanessa [ @InsaynePayne ]
Location: The Bridge Apartments

Kade made his way through the lobby of The Bridge Apartments and held up a hand to wave to Jessa Harkin, their landlord.

"Hey, bruiser." She said, popping a bubble from her gum in her mouth. "late night scrappin'?"

Kade gave a weary nod and paused at the counter, knowing she had something to deliver to one of the other hunters anytime she piped up about his appearance.

"Got a thing for Oliver, have him call me. Some intel. Should be fun for the kid."

Kade blinked a moment and then spoke. " Don't you have a phone? Can't you call 'em?"

Jessa stared at Kade and let another bubble pop in her mouth. "Yeah, I could. But I won't. Just let the kid know."

Kade nodded and continued to the elevator; he slammed his bloodied knuckle into the glowing elevator button and waited for the doors to open roughly. Stepping inside, he pressed the button to the hunter's apartment and waited as the elevator slowly crept upwards, "Hey Ollie. Jessa down in the lobby wants you to give her a call. She says she has a gig or something for you to push out. I don't know."

Once the ding sounded again, the door slid open to their floor, and Kade walked out while adjusting his rifle on his back and pulling off his helmet to inspect it before he entered the apartment. To be truthful, he was nervous, a feeling he hadn't felt in a while, and he hated that his age was starting to soften him. After stalling a bit longer, Kade opened the door and locked it behind him. Down the hall, a little further than Naomi's room, he could hear the familiar jingle of chains. Eden must be taking out her frustration on some poor punching bag. Setting his rifle, helmet, and jacket on the floor next to the door and out of the way, so others didn't trip, he headed down the hall. There was no use in him trying to hide from her to avoid the confrontation.

Quietly he opened the door and allowed himself in. His arms immediately crossed over his chest, the same as he did when he watched new students at his own training center. He was constantly inspecting their form to ensure they wouldn't injure themselves any more than they already had. Eden's form was perfect, however. She knew what she was doing, and he switched to watching her footwork in deep thought. After a moment of pause and trying to figure out what to say, he stepped to the side where a small rack of equipment and picked up an available pair of sparring gloves, then moved back over to her where he flicked the headphone from one of her ears gently while patting her shoulder with the gloves. " Gonna fuck up your hands. Don't tell me you "enjoy the pain" because if that were the case, we would all be having vamps bite us." He smiled at her, though he knew she probably didn't want to hear his voice. Fair, he didn't want to listen to his voice either. "Probably feel better to punch me anyways instead of the bag."

Kade moved back to the rack, picked up a set of well-worn punching mitts, and returned to Eden, where he put his hands up to protect himself. " Are you so upset with me you have to listen to this--what is this... " He paused in thought to listen to the music through the earphone from a distance. She had it up so loud he could hear it at least 4 feet away, " I dont know what this is. You kids listen to weird shit." He tried to be light-hearted, which was easy to do when the missions were over. It almost seemed like his warm smile was unbreakable. Though truthfully, he wanted to make light of the situation, and if that meant teasing her about her music, the same music he listened to, then so be it.

His call was needed. He would have made it for Max, Alyssa, Naomi, and the new girl, Vanessa, Ara, and Oliver. While Eden was Special to him, he still couldn't risk putting her in that position. They were ambushed, and he hadn't expected it or seen it; they had fooled Oliver, and there could have been a lot more damage than just his arm, not to mention the fire the ferals had created.

"Just don't hit my chest. It's still filled with ash." He coughed into his shoulder to further his point and anxiously watched her—Ready for this session.


____________________________


Meanwhile, Pepper had noticed Kade had come home and wandered the apartment. She wasn't allowed in the training room due to the intensity of the matches, so she hopped down from the bed and walked into the living room where she saw Vanessa. Nervously Pepper wagged her tail low and looked for her basket of toys somewhere off to the side of the T.v. Grabbing a pink tennis ball she brought it to her and nudged her hand. Pepper had noticed that Vanessa hadn't left like the others in the group, Oliver was holed up in his room, and Luxx, who was much more trained than her, had left. She could bother Dave, but he just accepted her puppy terror, and it became less fun.

A knock at the door echoed into the hall and Pepper's ears flopped up to her head as she stared and saw another individual enter the apartment.

"Hello!" The woman's sing-song voice rang out. " Hi pepper!" she continued. The woman who had entered was Fiona, a traveling Mod Doc who had made her living making house calls for the Hunters in the area. In the process, she also specialized in tattoos just as a side gig, but she enjoyed it in the end. She had received word from the Guild that the night had been incredibly eventful and that some residents may need to be patched up. Spark had accepted Kade as his last patient, but Fiona was available 24/7.

"I'm surprised to see someone left! Usually, it's just Oliver." She refused to call Ollie by his nickname. Everyone to her was their full legal name. She banked on being the enigma of most situations, even though her appearance had already provided enough mystery. " I brought food, so take your pick. I only do this on ... well," she paused and looked towards Vanessa then. " Well, you remember, I visited your team once before. Sorry that you had to move, but happy you are still here!" She giggled sweetly and shrugged one of her slender shoulders.

Fiona stood at 5'7," and her stiletto heels only made her taller. Her clothing was angular and black, form-fitting yet made from a thick structured fabric that still retained some of its professional appearances despite the hem of her dress being 10inches above her knees. she wore her hair short today. In contrast, some days, her hair was long and straight. Her upturned eyes were lined with black liner and feathered out into a cat eye, while her lips were metallic purple. " Go ahead, honey, eat," Fiona said as she looked around the apartment and slowly made her way to a stool, her heels clicking on the surface quietly.

"I saw Kade's stuff by the door, and I see Luxx, so I assume Eden is home-- Any word on the others?" Her sing-song voice lowered to a gentle, calming purr while she rested her chin in the palm of her hand and watched Vanessa curiously.
 

Fish is yum

Super-Earth
Joined
May 3, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Character: Maxine Conners
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia ), Aratone Palladino (@BennyQ ), Ollie "Operator" Kromwell (@Xerxes I)
Location: Aratone's cab
Time: Nightfall

R8S1AAf.gif
Maxine was glad of her improved reflexes and response time as Aratone just slammed on the breaks, hard, ignoring her banter entirely. She caught herself on the dashboard before she broke her nose on it, though the force twinged her already injured shoulder. "Damnit!" She swore, wincing before glowering at the cabbie. Her red and black eyes shifted, following Aratone's gaze, and on seeing the vampire on the ground she didn't say any more. As he ordered them to stay put, she grumbled, saying aloud after he left the car. "Thanks for clearing the ferals off my cab Max, wonderful shooting that netrunner thrall Max… Ingrate." She looked over at Naomi, then reached for the fledgling's pistol, checking it herself, seeing that there were only two rounds left as well. "Welp Coombatta it could be worse." She slid the mag back in, then took out one of her spare pistols and a couple of it's mags. "Wait until they are closer, say, thirty yards. A pistol is good up to about fifty but you're new at this. Also don't forget those jars of holy water okay? With your new strength those might be a better idea if they are mobbed up like that." She looked over at Aratone as he continued to question the vamp. "Keep an eye on him, I'm getting the fangs." And with that she got out of the cab. She wanted some space. She hated having to be an example, the responsible one. Moreover she hated not just… doing whatever the fuck she wanted. She missed her old life… She missed Nicole… She needed air.

She didn't go too far, just to that last group of five, about a block back now. Moving quickly, utilizing her eyes targeting systems once again she quickly dug out five pairs of fangs. She could have been greedy, gone farther back alone. She had killed quite a few of the bloodsuckers… But that was stupid. She scanned rooftops, alleyways, shadows, making her way deliberately back to the cab, '3030 held firm in her hands, making a point of looking intimidating. It was a trick she had picked up working for Hughes, and it sometimes worked even with vamps. The trick was making the scanning and walking back look casual while at the same time looking competent and attentive.

It hurt to not go back for all those fangs, but splitting off out of sight from her group was frankly a good way to get got. There was a pair of snarls from the alleyway and she rolled to the side, coming up to one knee and rushing forward, bowling one of the vamps over with her uninjured shoulder, pulling her knife and ramming it into the chest of the other with a loud sickening crunch as she splintered it's rib cage, synthetic muscles whining softly as she did so. Twisting the knife as she ripped it out of the monsters chest she promptly kicked the second's head as if she was punting a football, sending it rolling down the street. "Gonk, you know who the fuck I am?" She said quietly with a snarl, chrome teeth bared. She grabbed the vamp's lower jaw, metal plated hands screeching as it tried to bite her. "I am the terminus of your post-flatline life, leach." Her grip tightened, holding it in place as her knife slid slowly in towards its heart. The smile left her face as she twisted again, destroying the heart and watching this one also collapse into ash. Collecting the other two pairs of fangs, bringing the total of collected pairs up to ten, she made her way back to the cab, getting in just before Aratone returned.

"Got any more of those?" She asked, flexing the hand that had been a vampire's chew toy for a bit, glad it didn't seem bent. She hadn't expected it to be, but best to check and make sure now.

How many?

"Total zeroed so far tonight? Well there are the three in the car, two just now, five just before that…" She paused counting up what she could remember. "Counting that gonk thrall netrunner something like twenty three? Maybe twenty eight. Some could have gotten away." She made a little 'gimme' motion with her scratched up hand, needing that cigar. What she really wanted was a drink. Not just a drink, a 'fuck off I am not remembering the rest of tonight' drink.

I think I'm gonna be sick.

Maxine looked at Naomi "No you're not, deep breaths kid. You can tough it out." It wasn't her best response, but Max was a bit more frustrated by her current pain and unmet desires at the moment. At least she could disconnect the pain receptors in her hand. Probably would have to see a mod-doc after tonight. "Only ten pair though." She added truthfully, meaning the number of fangs collected.

Just then the screen blinked: "Operator Online."

"Virtual attacker's been dealt with. If he lived, he'll be spending the next couple decades in a coma ward."

"I see you're all alive... aside from Ara's wheels and brakepads."

"Are we aborting mission, or pushing on?"


Maxine sighed in relief. "Nova. Good to hear you Op. We're all hyped up for the bonanza Choom. No way are we stopping now." The street slang was heavy now, but easy enough to understand. Max wanted to find the Creator and was pretty sure that the group was good to go, collect the 10k credit fangs and get to celebrating. She placed a hand on Naomi's shoulder, giving it a gentle reassuring squeeze. "You got this, nobody gonked enough here to think you'd be perfect at this out of the gate."
 

BennyQ

αὐτοκράτωρ
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
Character: Aratone Palladino.
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia), Alyssa Queen (@StylusWrites), Maxine Conners (@Fish is yum). Operator Oliver Kromwell (@Xerxes I).
Location: Streets of Arcadia -> Shipyard outskirts.
Time: Monday, Night-time.


A cold sheet of numbness had settled on Aratone as they drove onwards to the shipyard, after the ambush. They left the carnage behind. Not all too uncommon on the streets of Arcadia. Automated street sweepers and scavenger droids would be along with such obstacles were noted by the central authorities. They drove in a deepened silence, each left to reflect on what they had done, seen, and almost hadn’t done, and hadn’t seen. No one had to reflect alone though. That’s why Aratone asked. How many? Easier to cope when one understood they took a number of threats off the street, and less on the fatal muddling of their own souls and consciences in through such acts.

Maxine had a diligent count of her tallies so far. After announcing her count, she made a hand gesture for his cigar. He took a final puff and plucked it out his mouth, offering her a toke or two. In any case, they either finished it fast or put it out for a while, as they weren’t going to walk into the shipyards smoking that. Vampiric eyes would spot the ember flash from an inhale from much further than human eyes could. Might even smell it.

Naomi’s little voice came next. I think I’m gonna be sick.

Aratone hid his frustration. He knew this would happen but…well, the little bird couldn’t stay in the nest the whole time. We all get sick our first time. Suck it up, buttercup. Maybe it would have helped her to hear that words, that even he or the others had their falters and nauseum during their first rodeos. Anyone who said they weren’t scared were obviously bullshitting. There was no shame in having it. The real test was acting under it’s duress. Would she be made bold by it? Or would she freeze up and ultimately prove fruitless in such endeavors from here on out?

Maxine of course had more encouraging words and Aratone left it to her. Oliver’s voice buzzed through the interior comms. Operator online…Virtual attacker’s been dealt with. If he lived, he’ll be spending the next couple decades in a coma ward. I see you’re all alive… aside from Ara’s wheels and brakepads. Well, they couldn’t turn back now. Those Creator fangs with the bounty attached…that was going to pay for all of that.

Are we aborting mission, or pushing on?

Maxine wanted to push on and Aratone tended to agree. He was sure Alyssa was eager for more and Naomi…if she really did have the Hunter’s blood, would prefer to see it through the end, instead of having to be taken off the roster and held back. Or maybe such regret might spite her to try harder. Regardless, the ywere too far along. ”Pushing on. Whaddya got on the other team?” Aratone communicated back through the little comm unit attached to the cab meter, now ticking it’s way up to ten credits and more, since he turned it on.

They were already beyond halfway to the shipyard rally point, where they would park the car and proceed on foot. ”Ollie, is there anything at all about our target’s appearance? Identifying marks? I don’t care if the info might be dated before or after their transformation.” Aratone inquired, shifting the conversation to a laser-point focus on their target and their target alone. He parked the car in a darkened, abandoned backlot behind a series of commercial buildings, which faced across a wide, empty road and beyond that, the fence that separated the shipyard district from the rest of the city. Above the fence, the tops of structures, cranes, and other machinery could be glimpsed silhouetted in the darkness, occasionally illuminated by low lights.

Aratone parked the cab, cut the lights and got out, shotgun in hand. ”Alyssa will be on overwatch above.” He pointed to the row of buildings between them and the road, with the shipyards across the road. ”Maxine and I will approach on foot, flush the target out into the open. Naomi will watch the entrance and our backs.” By which he meant stay at the rear, hug the cab basically, where it was safest and least dangerous and unlikely to see any action. He tossed her the key. She may as well sit inside and wait for the adults to come back. Best suited based on her declaration of being sick right? Or would she grow a pair and overcome that?

A part of him thought it was wiser to keep the rookie with them. At least they could protect her more directly. Then again, this wasn’t a milk run. They were going up against a Creator. They might all get their asses whooped and needlessly killed. Yeah, it was better Naomi stayed back. She would just be fodder. And Aratone wouldn’t be able to forgive himself for that. Next time kid, with a foe more equal to yourself. ”You do what I do. Disengage when I say disengage. We aren’t going to get roped into any prolonged or sustained gunfights. If we lose our opportunity, we bug out. We ain’t here for a siege. We’ll come back with a better plan if we have to. Got it?” He voiced to the three, as he inspected his shotgun, ensuring he had two rounds chambered, and a pocket of about a dozen other shells.

He wouldn’t just be content with a simple acknowledgement…from Maxine though, that gun nut. ”I’m talkin’ to you most of all crazy head. You ready?" He gestured with his head, indicating for them to head out and make the road-crossing, cut through the fence, and enter the shipyards proper.
 

Fish is yum

Super-Earth
Joined
May 3, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Character: Maxine Conners
Player/Group: Shipyard Crew; Naomi Richardsen (@Kassia ), Aratone Palladino (@BennyQ ), Ollie "Operator" Kromwell (@Xerxes I )
Location: Shipyard outskirts -> Shipyard
Time: Night

R8S1AAf.gif
Maxine took a few long pulls off the cigar, leaving her mouth open slightly so that the smoke swirled lazily around visibly in her mouth. She exhailed, the smoke in her mouth billowing out and fogging up the back of the cab without her realizing. It only was for a second or two and she quickly reached over past both of the other women to crack the windows and let the smoke out. "Sorry." She said, giving Aratone back his stogie. "I'll need a fresh one after we are done with this. Real preem draga stuff yeah?" She said, indicating one of the first things she would spend her cut of the bounty on was expensive consumables.

She waited for Operator to answer about any detes that they had on this creator, eyes narrowing and all casualness leaving her expression as she seemed to be listening for something specific. Not hearing it she turned back to Naomi as Aratone outlined the plan. She silently agreed that Naomi needed to just stay by the car for the rest of this. They probably had moved too quick with her, not enough time on the range, not enough training to figure out her capabilities. They would have to resolve that after this. "Remember, thirty yards max. And they might try to draw you out, just stay by the car. Let them come to you." She smiled, chrome teeth glinting once again. "And huck those jars of smite at groups, but make sure you don't get any on yourself yeah?" "Smite" was what she had decided to call her mixture of holy water and capsaicin. She tapped her temple. "I'll have Op in the dome so just get him to yell at me if you need backup, 'kay?" She connected into the call, giving Ollie a test ping explaining her reasoning. She wasn't a 'runner like Operator, but she could still connect, and with him listening into the car Naomi could call for help and Ollie could daisy chain it to Max. Not the most efficient, but it had worked before.

As Aratone outlined the plan, emphasizing his words clearly just for her, Max rolled her black and red eyes, doing so again when Aratone addressed her directly. "I'm chilled choomba, you're just worried I'll klep the fangs all for myself." Maxine grinned again, clearly joking, as they always split the pay evenly amongst each other. There was no reality where Maxine would claim she earned the entire 10k all on her own and not share. She met Aratone's eyes, the punk's smile fading as she got serious. "I'll go left, be the lure, you go right, be the hook, yeah?" She hefted the '3030 "Once you're set good and snug, then you are the anvil." She grinned, not needing to say more than that. With that she said "C-YA", also signing it to highlight the spelling, making it clear it was not her saying goodbye, but rather telling them all to be careful.

She made her way left, eyes scanning the tops of the three rusty gantries, checking for 'goyles, vamps that liked to lurk at the top of structures and drop down on their prey, sometimes sitting motionless for an entire night before moving back to their coffins for the day. The shipyard would have been a horrible place to approach on foot, if it hadn't been full of vehicles and shipping containers. There was also a series of buildings lit by yellow sodium lights that hummed loudly in the quiet of the night. Off in the distance Max could hear the chattering clash of automatic gunfire, though it was several blocks back. So… there is a firefight going down, huh? She thought to herself. It sounded like it was in the direction of Crestfield. She took note of that, wanting to remember that for later. It made her think that Hughes hadn't betrayed them, just that he might have a leak somewhere in his organization. She slowly made her way from cover to cover, moving further towards the main building. This part was always spooky. The quiet… the dark… she hated it.

Moving farther still in, she caught movement and swiveled, putting her one side against a metal shipping container as further cover. Something in the dark sprung into the sky, sprouting leathery scalloped wings and flapping lazily in the night air. Not hesitating, the wingspan was well over ten feet across, Maxine let off a few chattering bursts of fire from the '3030. She hadn't seen the things face, but her job was to be purposefully loud. Her heart pounded, her brow sweaty as she continued to track the dark winged shape, also checking around herself for other possible targets. She rushed forward, heading for some concrete dividers that would be better cover.
 

sky.

ᴀɴᴅ ꜰʟʏ<҉3҉
Welcoming Committee
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Character: Eden
Player/Group: open

@Kassia - Kade
Location: || The Bridge Apartments ||
Time:

unknown // late night, early am


Sweat droplets speckled every inch of exposed flesh. Her muscles throbbing from the sloppy way she threw herself into the heavyweight bag. Eden imaged she looked wholly ridiculous - fuck, I’m glad mostly everyone is still out. Those who could easily walk-in on her, at least. Eden back off to give her fists a break, meeting the swinging sack with her powerful legs instead. That was where most of her strength came from - she simply couldn’t count how many times a quick defensive grip with her legs saved her ass. Eden exhaled deeply with each strike, occasionally allowing a vexed huff to escape over the blaring music in her ears.

Work it out and get the hell to bed - where she knew she would toss and turn relentlessly, over killing what happened tonight. It really wasn’t the deal she made it out to be. If anyone could actually hurt her emotionally … it was Kade. She had opened up, let her walls down not long after they met. As he did the same with her. Asshole, Eden glared at the training tool fixating her eyes on a spot high above her head. Planting her back foot into the floor she delivered another blow. Only now, she had a surprise guest. The blonde ignored him, acting as if she hadn’t seen him pass by while slowly bringing her limb back down.

Bullheaded as anyone, Eden took a second to catch her breath - reaching out to steady the bag’s slight sway. Don’t act like an immature child, she rolled her eyes, resting her forehead against the rough material. The song playing in her ear faded away as the earbud left. Her posture stiffened, lifting her head back up when the familiar feeling of the gloves settled on her shoulder. Next came Kade’s voice, still positioned in back of her she rested her hands on the protective gear, pulling them over her front. He was right, putting myself on the injured list would be foolish, allowing her unspoken words to linger on the tip of her tongue she wiggled a hand in, turning to allow Kade to help her place on the other.

Still, she avoided eye contact as long as she could, “maybe if you had asked me, um - I don’t know, about an hour or so prior. I might have a different answer,” a smile crept over, looking up at him briefly, “thanks,” she added after his assistance, checking the security of the punching gloves. Using her forearm she wiped the glossy lather out of her face, blowing upwards at a long lose strain of hair that had escaped her hair tie. Eden moved to meet Kade in the center of the room, he isn’t serious, she chuckled as he reached for the mitts.

So are we going to pretend that you didn’t call me off like some damn fool?”

Eden parted her feet, stepping into stance. “Listen, I’m not - questioning the call you felt you needed to make, but why,” she demanded for an honest answer. The entire thing didn’t make sense and she hated it, sitting in limbo on timeout. “Better watch what you say about my tunes, old man,” arching her brows she added, “especially against the one about to do the hitting.” Bringing her hands up her smiled widened, “ready?”

Without a proper chance to reply the young woman made her first punch. Hitting the center of the thick padding with surprising force. She wanted to hear what his excuse was, though knowing it wasn’t that simple. Kade would never do anything to intentionally upset her, or anyone else at that. His compassion for each hunter’s well being was obvious, not even in her pissed off state of mind would deny it. Eden tensed not fully expecting what he would say. Maybe she had been a liability? Had she not acted quick enough? The outcome wouldn’t make her respect him less, even if it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She knew she had a lot to learn going forward. Mistakes made it the past seemed to loom over her head like a full storm cloud.

She gave him another roll of her penetrating blues, a real laugh leaving her this time, “Not the chest, got it,” she beamed, moving her hand to a makeshift thumbs up. Just as the rhythm of synchronized punches began Eden thought she heard another voice, one belonging to a female, Eden arched her neck to gaze towards the door. “Did you hear that? I think someone’s back,” she let out a whistle and waited. Nothing.

Must be Fiona,” Eden jested, knowing her canine was completely smitten over the woman. Puppy love at it’s finest, although his tendency to cuddle with the women who came about didn’t end with only her. Any female who was willing to give him a head scratch instantly became a best friend. “Luxx, you hound,” she breathed lightly, wondering if they should make themselves known.
 

InsaynePayne

Meteorite
Joined
Sep 14, 2022
Character: Vanessa
Player/Group: Fiona & Kade [ @Kassia ] Eden [ @sky. ] Ollie [ @Xerxes I ]
Location: || The Bridge Apartments ||
Time: Late Night / Early Morning



Casting a pensive glance at the latest intruder, whom Pepper had reacted to in a slightly more enthusiastic manner, Vanessa offered a solemn nod of acknowledgement in regard to the mentioning of her hold team. And, while Vanessa didn't hold any ill-will toward Fiona as far as the sad fate that had befallen her former comrades, one-by-one piecemeal, she did still harbor some semblance of negativity due to her having been the one to effectively serve the eviction notice. Truthfully, Vanessa would've much preferred living in solitude on an empty floor, rather than moving up here with a group of unfamiliar faces. Then again, Vanessa also understood that Fiona had only been acting in a rational matter, when shuttering her previous level, as it made no sense to continue to provide both power and water to it, when it'd only play host to one inhabitant. Though, rationality had a way of diminishing when in the face of complicated emotions, which Vanessa most certainly possessed in spades.

"It's... fine. And thank you, but I'm not really all that hungry. Just... looking." She said simply.

Narrowing her jade green eyes, Vanessa paid the woman dressed to the nines for business a further measure of inquiry, as if to more closely get a gauge of her attire of dress. Striking, in a sense, would've been an apt descriptor of Fiona, though obviously in a different way than Vanessa, or any of the Hunters for that matter. Then again, she worked administrative duties, rather than the streets. Though, she could've certainly made a killing walking the latter if she'd ever abandoned the former as a career. Shaking her visibly so as to dismiss any untoward thoughts that might've begun to manifest in the darkest, deepest depths of her subconscious, Vanessa peered about her current surroundings before answering the question posed. "I'm afraid not." She said honestly, as she'd not even put an ounce of thought into her new teams' whereabouts.

"I umm... I think some of the others may have returned, I just... haven't seen them, myself." She explained, glancing back in the direction of the kitchenette behind her, all while simultaneously her neural link began to access the local server in order to download any messages and or mission updates she'd have missed while in her subconscious state. Once she'd received said updates, and hastily reviewed them without exactly appearing to do so, Vanessa cautiously slumped down into one of the stools at the opposite end of Fiona. Crossing one long slender leg over the other, though unlike her opposite, Vanessa wore a pair of tightly-fitting, worn and torn denim jeans that disappeared beneath her high-top pink and black checkered Chuck Taylors.

"Hey all, Fiona's round the common area." Her message, written and sent via her neural link, went out to any and all Hunters that were somewhere within proximity of the Apartment building.

"What brings you around?" Vanessa asked, taking another long drag on the still-lit cigarette lingering at the corner of her lips, the tip of which glowed a brilliant crimson-orange as oxygen fueled its ember. "I mean, other than dropping off some groceries?" Leaning back in her stool, she retrieved the cigarette and exhaled deeply, a plume of smoke jetting into the air above and to her right so as to avoid blowing it directly in Fiona's face. "Checking up on us? Keeping tabs?" she poised, an ever-so-slight grin peaking at the corner of her lips as she narrowed her eyes once more in examination. Again, it wasn't exactly a case of distrust directed so squarely at Fiona which was fueling Vanessa, but rather her general distrust of anyone, and everyone really. For, while she had grown familiar with her previous team, she hadn't ever really been close to any of them.

Sure, there was an occasional moment here and there, where they got along, perhaps even to a degree beyond traditional friendship, which may have extended to the bedroom, but for the most part, Vanessa had come off as cold, and dis-concerned.

A personality trait she'd not explicitly desired to have earned, but had nonetheless.
 
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