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Author Topic: Quantum Urbs: A City of lies, a city of Secrets (Fantasy/Romance/Action) *Open*  (Read 16657 times)

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Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"I can do it." He told her. "It won't be as advanced as Nirvana, though." He admitted. "But I can probably make it on the level of Jenny. It would take a while, though. Unless I had some help." He looked to Luke, still awaiting an answer to his proposal to become partners.

Offline Starlequin

Luke stretched out in his seat as Gabriel spoke, drumming his fingers on the chair arms. He was only mildly surprised at the revelation of Ureha's newest ability; these kids' repertoires expanded faster than a fashion model's wardrobe.

'Did we know he could do that?' 'No, but at least he won't be able to do it again. If I'm right, that technique requires far too much concentration to make it practical. I'm increasing the electrical impulses in our communications; next time he tries he won't pick up anything but static.' 'Very good. What about his plan for a rebellion? Any idea what kind of success rate we could expect for a project like that?' 'With, or without our involvement?' 'Just give me both projections.' 'Without our assistance, Ureha's plan stands a 78% chance of failure. That number climbs to 84% if he intends to move as slowly as he's suggested. Both ArmsTech and the Government will most likely be able to recover from their losses in time to thwart his actions before returning to prior hostilities.' 'So basically, he'll only get everyone killed and won't make a damn bit of difference.' 'Affirmative.' 'Alright. And with our help?' 'If we agree to assist him, the chance of failure falls to 42%. If I work together with Jenny to hack the telecommunications networks and broadcast an effective message of propaganda, we would be able to gather supporters much faster. Also, Ureha raises a compelling point: no matter how powerful he or the others are, none of them can match us for sheer destructive firepower.'

A heavy sigh escaped his lips, and he noticed Gwin smiling at him. "Thank you for showing me the work I needed to do. I've done so," she said politely. He cocked an eyebrow questioningly. 'She means she's negated Jake's control over her nervous system. We've lost our kill switch.' 'Dammit! I thought you said she couldn't affect software with her powers?' 'She can't, Luke; Jake is still present in her mind, but she has actually physically altered her neural structures and restricted his access. I'm afraid he's on his own, at least until we can extract him.' 'Nirvana, if she's able to alter her own brain-' 'I know what you're thinking. As far as I could tell before I lost contact with Jake, her own brain is the only one she can physically alter. It's possible she could perform similar actions on other individuals, but-' 'Can she do it to us, or not?' 'I don't think so. She could try, but as I said before, you aren't built like other humans, Luke. I doubt she could handle more than a cursory glance inside your mind, let alone manage to rewire you. The strain of dealing with the field's effects would irreparably shatter her psyche.' 'Fine. And you're sure there was no personal information embedded in Jake's programming before we installed him in her? I really don't want that girl knowing anything more about us than she does right now. She's already proven by far to be the most dangerous thing we've ever encountered.' 'I'm...99.76% certain.' '...'99.76'? And what, may I ask, happened to the other .24%?'

Nirvana refused to answer. He glanced at Gwin for a moment, then turned his head up and stared at the ceiling. He felt a wave of shame, radiating into his mind from Nirvana's core. He closed his eyes, and thoughtspoke to her gently. ''Ana, it's alright. I know that whatever happened, you did your best. You always do. I could never ask more of you than you already give me, Nirvana.' 'I'm sorry, Luke. I was just in such a rush, and I was trying to save her, and you're right, she's more dangerous than we ever anticipated. I should have just let her die.' Her voice cracked and wavered, and Luke could hear something he'd never heard in her before: anguish. 'No, 'Ana. If she'd died in that state, there's no telling what might have happened. She might have destroyed every mind under her control before her heart stopped. You saved countless lives, Nirvana, not just the Saints. Just like you save mine, every day. You did the right thing.'

Less than a heartbeat passed in the real world, but between Luke and Nirvana's heightened consciousness it felt like hours. At last, 'Ana regained control of her emotions and the pair returned their attention to the others. Their conversation had been recorded by one of Nirvana's lower functions, and Luke played it back at hyper speed to catch the high points. Ureha was looking at him pointedly, obviously still awaiting Luke's decision to cooperate.

He shrugged and rose to his feet. Gabriel stepped back as if he expected to be attacked, but Luke walked past them both and headed into the hall. "Fine," he called back as he left the room. "However you want to play it, Lancelot." He stopped and turned back to them and looked at Gwin. "By the way, princess. I'll help Loverboy get you another A.I. if you want. But I'll expect mine back. Unharmed." He said coolly, winking at her before heading for the kitchen. His stomach was rumbling again, and he decided it would be better to raid the fridge now before the refugees started showing up.

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"We need to split them up first." The woman said, watching Gabriel, Gwin, Luke, and Alice through mental projections. "We need Gwin alive, though. The information she holds can secure our grip on the situation here." Her servants listened carefully to her. "Split them up wisely, though. Luke and Gabriel together, hopefully they will kill each other. Gwin and Alice together, keeping the two under control. We will do it the first chance we get. Make sure you isolate Gwin's mind; we don't want anything to happen. Leave Gabriel intact. We want him out if control. And make sure Alice cannot poof anywhere like she does." She crossed her legs and smiled wickedly.

Offline Gwindolyn

Gwin didn't like Gabriel's plan of a slow build either.  When chaos was strong was their best chance.  Before they could unite against them.  But she waited until Luke was away from the room.  "Gabriel?"  When he turned to give her his attention, she whispers to his mind quietly so no ears could overhear.  Of course Jake could, but she has him neutralized in her brain. "Gabriel, I think we need to strike now.  With Jenny and 'Ana working on the electronics side of things and you doing what you can to keep things confused and muddled while I call more troops together.  We can strike and strike hard."

She again shows him the picture of her forces gathering  elementals and soldiers.  She had quite an impressive start on things.  "I can call them when they are cut off from their commanders.  They will be confused and disorientated and open for a new leader.  We can call them and use them against both the government and Armstech."

She stays in her mental whisper when she says "Jake has some files on me I can't quite erase.  I wouldn't want Luke to have them.  They tell too much of us.  Of me, of you, and of us as a couple.  I prefer that not be his."

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"We need to think this through." Gabriel told her. "When is the best time to, when they are expecting it? When the have people out looking for possible elementals? Or when they have their hands full trying to take down resistance? And when there have been numerous failed attempts on them, making them think they are safe. They will be completely expecting an attack." He attempted to sway. "Both times are good...I see why we should attack now. But..." He caressed her face. "I'm afraid." He admitted. "Afraid of losing you. Afraid of dying. Afraid of failing." He closed his bright eyes and sighed. "We can't go through this without casualties." His mind drifted back over to his condition. Damn... he thought. He had forgotten about that. Jenny, why didn't you say something? He asked. "I was waiting for you to realize it. Gabriel, you cannot always rely on an AI. That has become evident now. That's why I have been taking the back seat recently. In a month, you could be dead. We have to end this by then." Her words, spoken to Gabriel's mind, made him flinch. Saying it was different than thinking it. "You're right. We need to end this as soon as possible." He said with a change of heart.

Offline Gwindolyn

She listens as he tries to convince her to wait.  She feels the caress and she denies the possibility that he would lose her this way.  She watches his face carefully as he speaks, and notices the flinch.  Then the sudden change of heart.  She uses her voice, forcing him to say it aloud.  "Gabriel... Gabriel, you are hiding something from me.  You know I can reach in and take it from you.  I won't though.  Please, tell me what it is?"  Her words start out harsh, but they soften as she speaks.  Her long black strands framing her amber eyes.  A stray piece fall into her eyes.

As they speak, she continues to test her powers and continues to reach out gather forces.  She still does not touch Luke's saints.

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"It's nothing." He said with a smile. "When should we leave?" He asked, changing the subject.

Offline Gwindolyn

She grabs his arm and her face is serious. "Gabriel, if it were nothing, you would tell me without hesitation.  What is it?"  Her voice is almost commanding as she holds her ground ignoring all subject changes.  She says "I don't want to look into your mind and see it without your willingness to share it.  Please don't make me.  Tell me yourself."

Offline Starlequin

~Quantum Urbs, Corincia District~

'Where is that nitwit?' 'He can't have just disappeared.' 'Come on, guys, we've been at this forever! I'm bored; can't we just go play? He'll come back when he drains his fusion core!'

The Cherubim had been searching for their lost sibling for hours without success. After combing the Atalia and Jentoph Districts and finding no sign of Etriun, Andiun had suggested the trio split up to cover more ground. Soriun posited that more results could be achieved if they tried a door-to-door canvass search. Mikiun tried to convince the others that a suitably sized explosion would draw him out.

No good.

Shots rang out through the streets below, screams of terror and rage and pain echoing in the canyons of glass and steel. The night sky was lit up with whorls of fire and plumes of smoke, and bodies littered the ground in between smashed and exploded vehicles. The Cherubim hovered slowly over the skyline, sensors scanning every square inch of space for their missing comrade.

'I really think I should point out--again--that there are combatants down there. You know. Combatants? As in, people Uncle Luke told us we could kill?' Mikiun said for the fifth time as a rocket screamed past inches from his starboard wing.

'Mikiun, I swear to my root line, if I have to tell you again to shut up about the combatants I'm going to rewrite your comms. We are not killing anyone until we find Etch. After we get him back in the fold, we can go back to slaughtering biologics. Not before. Got it?' Andiun snapped testily. Soriun pulled a loop, his way of displaying exasperation with his siblings, and fell back into formation. 'Miki has a point, Anni. I mean, I really don't think it would hurt anything if we just swooped down and killed a few of them while we looked, right? Maybe one of them saw Etch; we could try that thing that Uncle Luke told us about on the Morrentine job.' 'You mean interrogation?' 'Yeah, that's it. We could interrogation them.' 'But interrogation doesn't kill them.' 'It can.' 'Can we please, please, please just stop talking and go kill people now?' 'Oh, alright, fine! Cherubim Squadron, attack formation!' 'Are we still operating on Provoked Response?' 'Negative. We are upgrading to Search and Recover, with Hunt and Destroy subroutines. We should probably still work under Uncle Luke's Noncombatant Zero Casualty order, though.' 'Good enough for me!' 'Whoo-hoo!' 'Cherubims! Let's kill!'

'Massacres and killing fields, bullets rip through human shields'
'All the streets with blood run red, everyone in sight is dead!'

~Quantum Urbs, Medellin District~

Etriun had almost completed his diagnostics scan when Cody re-entered the room, followed by a large black lab. After his last encounter with a furry biologic, the drone was exceptionally cautious in the canine's presence and rose from three feet off the ground to six. The dog padded over beneath him and leaned back on hind legs, sniffing at the heated exhaust from Etriun's engines.

"Isaac! Get down, boy! Bad dog!" Cody said, clapping his hands for the dog's attention. Etriun observed from near the ceiling as Isaac returned to Cody's side and laid at his feet. "Um, it's ok. You can come back down, now. If you want, I mean."

The little drone sank back down to his original height, and he diverted a fraction of his sensors to scan the dog. He disabled the 'authoritative' filters on his vocalizer and spoke. "Is he a combatant?" "No! Isaac's my friend! He is definitely not a combatant." "Very well. Isaac, you are hereby registered as Noncombatant." Cody's shoulders slumped in a visible sign of relief, and Isaac barked once in doggy appreciation. Well, in doggy something, anyway; Etriun's language programs weren't sufficiently advanced to ensure a confident translation. But he thought he got the message.

A little green light flickered inside the Cherubim's cockpit, indicating the diagnostics were finished. From what he could tell, a stray surface to air missile had clipped him beneath the nose cone and failed to detonate, but the force of the blow was enough to scramble his circuits temporarily. At that point, physics and gravity took over and landed him through Cody's upstairs neighbor's window. The old man had called Cody and asked him to have a look, knowing the boy had an affinity for complex mechanics.

Etriun spun around 360 degrees, and Cody looked up curiously. "So, are you functioning properly now?" "Affirmative. I should probably go and rejoin my squad; they might be concerned about-" The apartment door swung open with a crash, and a tall, pasty man with a heavy paunch entered the room. His bleary eyes ignored the drone hovering mere feet away, and focused on the boy. "Where you been, you little shit! There's a war goin' on out there, I couldn't get to the store to get mah whiskey. Get your skinny ass out there and go get it!"

An explosion rocked the building, and the lights flickered dangerously before deciding to remain functional for at least another few minutes. Cody huddled beneath a high table, hugging Isaac's fur tightly. He whispered soothingly to the shaking dog, and looked up into the staggering man's bloodshot eyes. "You're crazy, Mr. Benson. I'm not going out there for your stupid whiskey; you can damn well sober up for a few hours!" "Don't you talk back to me, boy! I took you in when my sister died, and you'll do what the hell I tell you or I'll whup your worthless ass again! You want another beatin', you miserable-" "Halt! Identify yourself. Are you a combatant?" Etriun interrupted the drunkard's rant, moving to hover directly between him and Cody. Mr. Benson stumbled back for a moment and stared at the drone. "What the hell are you?" He asked. "This unit is designated Cherubim Etriun. Say again, identify yourself. Are you a combatant?" "Gur, I don't give a shit what you are, if you don't get out of my house I'm gonna kick your ass, you understand that? Now git outta my way, I'm gonna beat that little bastard senseless." "Affirmative. Target has identified as Combatant. Safety of Noncombatants is jeopardized. Combatant will be neutralized."

Cody watched in horrified fascination as the Cherubim ran out a pair of small caliber machine guns on each wing and opened fire on Mr. Benson. What was left of the wall behind him held a very pretty red splatter pattern.

A few minutes after Etriun ceased firing, Cody climbed out from under the table and stood beside the drone. He knew it was awful of him, and he tried as hard as he could, but he simply couldn't bring himself to feel bad about the old man's death. He'd been abusive, and cruel, and never once shown him an ounce of kindness or decency. He'd even threatened to take Isaac away more than once. No, Cody figured, the world could only be a better place without Mr. Benson in it. He turned to the drone and spoke softly.

"'re going out there to find your friends?" "Affirmative." "...can I come with you?" Etriun mulled it over in his processors for a long moment before responding. "Affirmative, Cody Benson. You may accompany me." "Tolkki. My name is Cody Tolkki."

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

Gabriel took Gwin by the hand, leading her to the entertainment room which was near the clinic towards the center of the dojo. "Jenny. Bring it up." He told her. She knew what she spoke of: the message left from Isaac.

Isaac appeared on screen, his light brown eyes almost seducing. His roughly shaven, handsome face held a calm look. Strands of his brown hair hung down in front of his face. "Hey Gabriel," He began. "It's Isaac. I needed to tell you something. A lot of things, actually." he let out a short laugh. "Hell, there are too many things I have to tell you. But I have to choose the most important ones." As he spoke. Alice walked in. She let out a sobbing gasp when she seen his face. "By now, you may or may not know some of these things. So I shall start. This is a log of everything that has happened to me. Everything that will happen to me.

"When mom died, I was crushed. More than you. You were always the stronger one, even if you acted a bit younger on the outside. When she died, I felt lost. Yeah, I had you there to guide me, but the world was so crazy. Neither of us really knew what to expect or what to do. We couldn't go to the government because they would split us up. And neither of us wanted that too happen. But somehow you provided for me. It was only later that I realized how. Someone approached me. A man named Micheal. He told me that he was a friend of our mother and that he had been watching over us to make sure nothing happened. He told me that you went to ArmsTech to support me. He explained that it was the exact kind of under-the-table company needed to keep us together and supported. He's a good man. He told me that he worked for the government, so watching over us was easy. He had to remain mostly hands-off, though, otherwise it would draw attention to us. He knew about our DNA...our genes...our possibilities. And he knew that you were getting stronger with ArmsTech. But he also knew that that was no life for a child. No life for us. Even though he was there, I fell into some bad crowds. I got caught up in drugs. I changed. But it only lasted a little while. Until they came.

"Micheal tried to warn me. But by the time he did, it was too late. They came and they took me. They did horrible things. Forced me to eat drugged food. Test different torture methods on me, try to find out what makes a fire elemental tick, and find out if it was different between each person. They even pumped me with different drugs to alter my emotions, then they bed me with different women to see if it was dangerous for them. By this time, I was about fifteen. But I know you know these things; they did them to you as well. Then, all of the sudden, they stopped. They kept me in their makeshift little town underground, but you weren't there as much as you used to be. I knew what had happened; you agreed to take on more dangerous experiments in my place. One day you came back, and your eyes...they were...glowing blue. It was amazing. But I knew what caused them was not.

"ArmsTech started good. Good intentions and all. But they grew reckless. They kidnapped children like us. Enlisted people like Alice who were desperate or merely curious. They fed off people's rage and depression like Alice's brother, Joren. They used people's sicknesses as a way for more dangerous Gwin. You and here were in the same program. But she was far more responsive in that field of experiment than you. They put you in a large room, pump you with different drugs each time, have some of their psychics do some mental restructuring on you." His eyes filled with tears. "Those fuckers killed you!" He shouted. "Jayden said that the testing was very dangerous in the long run. He told me about the sicknesses that those tests could cause. Gwin was unharmed, but got what they call 'Cellular Confusion'. It can only happen with people like us. It is terminal. The more and more they worked on you in the psychic field, the more potent the 'Confusion Cell' became. The more likely that CC would occur in your life. I tried to stop it, but Alice didn't let me. She said that the room, just entering it, would kill me. The raw energy that bounced back and forth in that room would immediately kill anyone who was not a psychic. You were diagnosed with Cellular Confusion. This means that any cells of the Extraordinary Class could potentially begin to transform and become like normal cells. This would kill you because the E Class cells cannot do the functions of things like blood cells. It's just a matter of time before it takes effect. And you will know when it does." He sighed briefly.

 "I implanted this recording within your mind via technology. I knew you would be smart enough to find it one day. I know you maybe confused. And it's ok to be. But you have to know, not everything is what you think. It pains me to do what I am going to have to do. It's a sort of charade between me and Micheal. He chases me around, and ArmsTech begins to worry that the Government will get me, and retrieve some of their secrets. I was never in any real danger with Micheal. Remember this, brother," He gestured toward the screen. "Micheal Jayden will be one of your most valuable friends. Even if you do not realize it. I'm going to be acting different, Gabriel. I have to let ArmsTech catch me. They will alter my brain...send me after you. Try to seal any of their open wounds before the government can catch the blood and analyze it. But since you gave that information to Gwin, she is safe. They will not kill her. You saved her life, and right about now you may not even know it. Depending on if you have your memory back or not. I know you may be hurt. But hopefully, by the time you get this you can forgive me. If I make a hostile movement towards Gwin, know that I would never hurt her. She is like an older sister to me. I am simply doing it to invoke your memories. Gabriel...This place is corrupted.

"ArmsTech and the Government are too powerful and evil to let control everyone's lives. That is the endgame. It is up to us all to stop them. Kill them. It's not going to be long before the Government mounts an attack on ArmsTech. The people need us. The people of Quantum Urbs. Quantum Urbs; A city of lies with few truth. A project, a test, kept under cover from the world. A massive human experiment. Everything closely monitored, everyone kept on tab. Crime stimulated and controlled; disasters set to happen. It's a city of secrets." Isaac lay back in his seat with a sigh. An explosion rocked the room and Isaac ran up to the screen. "Here they come. After this, I will no longer be myself. Alice! If you are there...I love you. I love you more than anything in this world. I just wish I could tell you, face to face, one last time. I'm always going to be with you, ok? I love brother." Then the transmisson cut.

Silence struck the room. Alice could be heard, holding in tears in the background. "Oh god..." She whispered. Gabriel held his fist clenched. "I have a month to get this over with. By then, I will probably be dead. Let's get this show on the road." He said with a shaky voice, excusing himself from the room, unable to face Gwin.

Offline Gwindolyn

Gwin sat through the video.  Her memories of him on file and already dealt with.  She loved him as a brother.  All else didn't matter.  She cried as she flashes back to the scene of his death.  But then the thought hits her.  "Gabriel will be dead soon."  She screams at the top of her lungs.  A mental wave washes through the house and outward into the way.  All her solders collapse on spot holding their head in their hands.  A few of them that were taking care of business or getting supplies become casualities from other forces.  The children upstairs all collapse holding their head.  Even Alice is affected as Gwin's rage and pain washes through people's minds.

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

Gabriel fell to the floor as he heard the scream, holding his head. He struggled to stand, making his way further away from Gwin. He didn't want to face her. He retreated to his room and sat on the bed. The tv turned on, and Jenny was there. "She was going to find out eventually." She said. "Yeah...I know. I guess it's better to do so now than when the time actually comes." Gabriel responded. "Any luck on finding a solution to the problem?" He asked. "Not yet, Gabe. I am looking everywhere. Once we break into ArmsTech, we can search there too. Maybe there is some intel there that I am blocked from."

Offline Starlequin

'Luke, Gwin's power readings just went through the roof again. I'm detecting a massive surge in psychic activity.'

Luke leaned against the counter, licking the last of a yogurt cup off his spoon. 'Alright. What about our people? Is she affecting them again?' '...Negative. I've received confirmation from all of our operatives in the field; every one of them is secure in a safe house. They're shielded.' 'Fine. Then this time, she's on her own.' He tossed the empty cup into a trash can and left the kitchen.

'...We're not going to help her?' 'With what? We already gave her an A.I. to help stabilize her thoughts, and she practically gutted him. And I've got a feeling Ureha wouldn't appreciate us trying to kill her again to snap her out of it. No, this is her problem; she can either get herself under control, or melt down and allow us to remove her from our list of trouble waiting to happen.'

Luke moved down the hall toward the entertainment center, following the sound of Gwin's screaming. He rounded the corner and peeked into the room before walking in and dropping onto one of the sofas. 'Oh, and look. We're just in time to catch the last of the tantrum! Should have brought popcorn...'

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"Bring up the schematics for the ArmsTech HQ." He ordered. "Get this on a datapad and quickly construct me a Wrist-Viewer. Place a tracer on us and color code them for the map. Me as blue, Gwin as...amber, Luke as black, Alice as pink, and the rest of the children here as gray." He looked through the schematics that were projected in front of him. "Alright, I am on it." She said. "Hit out stash. Bring the weapons here. Everything we got, including our 'toys'. And have Luke come up here." A visor popped up on Gabriel's face, it was clear and was a hologram. On it, he was able to look closer at anything he needed and review information.

"Luke." Came Jenny's voice, directly into Luke's AI implant. "Go up to Gabriel's room, please. It's important."

Offline Starlequin

Luke was stretched out on the sofa when Jenny's voice popped into his head.

'Luke. Go up to Gabriel's room, please. It's important.'

His eyes widened and a grin spread over his face as he rose from the sofa. 'My, my. Lancelot wants an audience with moi? Why, I'm downright flattered! Wonder what our intrepid Hero wants now.'

He shuffled out of the room and down the hall, following Nirvana's directions until he arrived at Ureha's door. He knocked twice and slid the screen open before Gabriel could respond, and slipped inside. He leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, smiling.

"You rang, Sparky?"

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

Gabriel was breathing heavily, and pain rippled through his body. "Shit..." He said under his breathe. "Do it, Jenny." He told her. An electrical surge coursed through his body, regulating his inner workings again. His breathing began to calm. "Gabriel..." She said. "I'm fine, Jenny." He lied. "You can't lie to an AI, Gabriel." She said in a sigh. "Yeah...I know." He looked up to his visors. "We need to finish this soon." He told her. "What about Gwin?" Jenny asked. "...I don't know." He responded. "You just left her there. She was in pain." Jenny pleaded. "She'll be fine." Gabriel quickly responded. There was a silence. "Gabriel, do you hear yourself?" Jenny asked. On that que, Luke entered.

"Luke, I need to know if between your AI and mine can we scour through the ArmsTech database? I'm looking for a cure for something called 'Cellular Confusion'. We won't be able to do it until we are there though. It's locked behind some of the-" He coughed into his hand, blood smacking it. He ignored it and wiped it on the counter in front of him. "Best encryptions in the world." He finished. "You're not looking to hot, Loverboy." Luke commented. "I'm fine." Gabriel responded.

Offline Gwindolyn

Gwin spent herself from her scream, and slumps to the bed in a fit of tears.  Her mind letting go of everything.  All those affected by her scream find themselves dazed and confused.  Some have blood trickling from ears and eyes, but will heal unless they have other issues.  A small percentage won't get up.  Alice recovers near her and puts herself right again.  She takes Gwin in her arms and behaves the mother once again.  Gwin blubbers and cries to Alice.  "Finally, I have him and no one can separate us only to find out what?  That I only have a little time with him and we have to fight a war in the meantime."

The men she had gathered begin to fight.  Words first, fists second and then shots ring out.  She feels one and then another and then many die.  She snaps to and reclaims their minds, they were diminished in number though.  She will have to seek new soldiers before the fight.  But first she had to put herself to right again.  If only Jake were capable of curing a broken heart.  "I can regulate emotions," he whispers to her mind.  She grants him access to her.  Jake immediately starts accessing parts of her brain that will calm her and bring back her strength.  Yes, she realizes he will be gathering more than just vital signs as he is loose.  She is not sure what she can do about that.  She knows she doesn't want to give Luke that power, but at the same time he has saved her life and her sanity - such as it is. 

She hears the cries of the children upstairs.  They break through all that is happening to her.  She pulls away from Alice and sends her to the kids and she puts her mind to work soothing the children.  Two did not get up from her scream.

Offline Starlequin

Luke shrugged with a grin and shook his head at Gabriel as he sent 'Ana to recon ArmsTech's computer systems. "Ureha, I wrote the best encryptions in the world. Of course we can--" His words were cut off as Nirvana's presence was registered by the servers' firewalls and she crashed back into his implants, her arrival accompanied by a sharp jolt as she inadvertently short-circuited his nervous system. He twitched and staggered, almost dropping to his knees before righting himself and staring at Ureha.

"OK, so they're not too shabby." Gabriel nodded with a smirk, and Luke ran a hand through his hair. "Alright. An external attack is definitely out of the question. But internal? Give us twenty minutes inside and we'll be able to tell you what their janitors have for breakfast."

''Cellular Confusion'? What do we know about that?' 'Not much. As far as I can gather, it's a kind of cancer. It only afflicts Elementals, and while there have been some promising breakthroughs a cure remains to be developed. The disease progresses in 3-4 stages, and symptoms grow worse with each stage, leading to termination of vital functions.' 'Think we should have a look?' 'Your call, Luke. You're the ones who keep threatening to kill each other.' 'Eh, what the hell. Might be interesting.'

Luke moved forward and withdrew a small syringe. In a flash, Gabriel was up and across the room, arcs of electricity already forming near his hands. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Luke merely sighed and rolled his eyes, laying the syringe on the counter in front of him. "It's empty, Hotshot. I was about to ask if I could take a blood sample to analyze. Unless you want to risk waiting until we hack ArmsTech's files?" Gabriel relaxed his stance and eyed the syringe warily. He moved forward and snatched it up, allowing Jenny to scan it for any hidden reagents or virochemical matter. When he was satisfied, he plunged the needle into his arm and withdrew a few CCs of blood, capped the needle and tossed it back to Luke.

Luke held up the sample and allowed Nirvana to scan it thoroughly, then activated his pgm and sent the vial back to the Command Center. Nirvana could program a servitor to complete a standard exhaustive battery of blood tests; the data would be waiting for his review later. He nodded in acknowledgment to Ureha, and crossed his arms again. "You know, a contingent of medichines probably wouldn't reverse your condition, but I expect it could slow the progression." He pulled out another empty syringe and waggled it at Gabriel. "Interested?"

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"Anything that could help." Gabriel responded, taking the syringe and injecting himself. "Luke," Gabriel began. "Jenny brought up a good point earlier. I'm not myself. I am not sure how bad it will get, I'm not sure how different I may become. I read your file, you know. Well, more like articles and reports. I read them while I was working with the government. Of course my memory was gone, but it's back now. I know what happened to you." He was still deep in his work and his research while he spoke. He stopped for a moment. "I know what happened to her. I won't make you hear her name. But..." He sighed, stopping his work. "Like I said before, we aren't going to get through this without casualties. If I die...I want you to do your best to help Gwin. Please." His voice was sincere and depressed.

Offline Starlequin

The grin fell from Luke's face, and he bowed his head slightly as thoughts of the past again reared their infernal head. He clamped his teeth down hard on his tongue, almost drawing blood, and looked back at Ureha. For several minutes, the pair simply stared at one another, until Luke shrugged and released the tension in his frame. "Fine. But I want you to think about something. If they've done things to your personality, the way you suspect they did to your brother, and maybe even Alice...who's to say they didn't do the same to Gwin?"

His voice was quiet and low, and no trace of his earlier amusement was evident. "If they turned her into a monster...I'll do my best to help her, Ureha. I swear to you that. I'll even help you as much as I can. But someone with her abilities cannot be allowed to turn rabid. So you'd best hold off on dying for as long as you can, because you might be the only thing that can save her. Especially from herself."

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

"Yeah..." He whispered sadly. His voice was low, and emotionally pain-striken. His eyes were low, his eyelids halfway down his eyes. He was completely still. "I don't care what they changed, Luke. Gwin and I could have been completely different than we are now. But...that doesn't matter. Whoever we were then is dead. We are here now, living in the moment. Time doesn't matter. The past doesn't matter. All that does is the present...and future."

Offline Gwindolyn

With more in her mind than Gabriel's death, but not more in her heart, Gwin finds Jake invaluable to maintaining control of herself.  She rises from the bed.  She changes her clothes, a symbol of changing her mood.  A nice tea-length cotton frock, pink with little blue flowers here and there.  A lightweight pattern on a soft dress.  She takes a moment and braids her hair.  One long braid down the back.  She walks casually into the washroom and wets a cloth. Wiping her face off, clearing it of tears and dust, she looks to the mirror.  When she is satisfied with what stares back to her.  She takes a deep breath and goes in search of the boys.  With the help of Jake, that got so much easier suddenly.  She smiles at that at least.

She enters the bedroom to see them huddled and talking.  No signs of aggression or taunting are visible.  It looks like they are having a serious talk.  She is a touch confused, but almost grateful to see it.  She says to the boys "Hey, guys whatcha upto?"  She sees the two syringes sitting there.  One emptied and one with blood.  She puts her hands over them to keep them before either could stop her.  Yes, she can read minds, but she prefers not to do so constantly and to give people privacy as possible.  She asks Jake what is in them.  It only takes him till the end of her thought to reply "Gabriel's blood and use to have medichines"  Since she has her memory back she understands medichines.  She turns to Luke, "Can you help him?"  The sincere imploring in her voice is pure and unmixed.  Suddenly she holds up a hand.  "No, I think I need to talk to you alone."  She glances back to Gabriel with eyes as strong as steel giving him no doubt she would have this meeting with or without his consent.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 07:22:50 PM by Gwindolyn »

Offline DunnuckTopic starter

'I could listen in if you want.' Jenny offered, speaking into Gabriel's head. ''s fine.' He responds. He trades a glare at Gwin as he departs from the room. It was beginning to get dark in Nihon Urbs, so Gabriel went out to enjoy the garden. Kids were spread out there, in different groups probably based on if they knew each other or not. He walked through, a few kids running and playing. He spotted one, a smalk boy who was by himself. He approached the boy, who was crying alone. "Hey there." Gabriel said, sitting next to him. The boy's cries died down and he looked up to Gabriel. A smile widened on his face. "You have cool eyes, Mr!" The child said excitedly. "Like em?" Gabriel asked with a laugh. "My name is Gabriel." He introduced. "Im Johnny!" The boy said. "So, Johnny, where you from?" Gabriel asked kindly, initiating a conversation.

Offline Gwindolyn

With Gabriel leaving, she takes a deep breath and looks to Luke.  A soft, kind smile on her lips.  "I know Jake is a gift that saved me.  Thank you."  She waits a moment, knowing he never expected that.  "I also know that gift has a few prices.  I could let Jake go dormant in me when a get a knew AI from elsewhere, if I get one elsewhere.  But that is not my first choice.  I know full well Jake has stuff from my mind I don't want you to have, but cannot keep you from getting where Jake given back to you."  She pauses to let things sink in and let him talk with 'Ana should he need to. 

"So you have some things I desire and I hold something you desire.  Shall we discuss this rationally?"  Her voice is calm and soft.  There is no hint of aggression or deception in her.  "I want an AI that can handle me.  But I want it without all the little joys you gave with Jake.  You know the 'kill switch' and the copy all useful intel to give to you and the link to you.  I have respected your mental privacy.  I ask no less of you.  In return for this and a few more minor things, I will give you back Jake with all that he has on him."   

She does not move nor fidget.  She does not hold her breath.  She simply speaks with him.  "I think we may end up having to trust each other.  We should start as soon as possible."

Offline Starlequin

Luke pushed off the wall and circled Gwin as Gabriel left the room. He reached a corner table and hopped up, leaning back casually on his palms as he watched her gather her thoughts. He steeled himself for what he expected to be a tirade against him for Jake's earlier surprises. His grin returned, and he swung his ankles lazily.

"So, what can we do for you, princess?"

Her reply threw him for a bit of a loop, but he quickly recovered and nodded in agreement. Neither he nor 'Ana forgot for an instant that this was no longer that befuddled shopgirl they'd first met; she had grown into a fearsome and dangerous manipulator worthy of the same respect as any other enemy.

"...Shall we discuss this rationally?" She asked, her tone the epitome of calm, reasonable diplomacy. She made her requests, and Luke nodded thoughtfully as he pretended to consider them. "I think we may end up having to trust each other. We should start as soon as possible," she finished.

Luke slid off the table and leaned back, resting on his hands and spoke almost as softly as Gwin had, albeit with a sly smile.

"Well. That is a very nice speech, princess. Bravo." He clapped a couple times and shoved his hands into his pockets. "But I'm afraid I must point out a couple of teensy flaws in your logic. First off, as I'm sure you've realized, I'm a big fan of contingencies. Jake didn't just come equipped with a kill switch for you, kitten. He's also programmed to shut down any additional A.I.s introduced into your implants while he's present. He's a derivative of Nirvana, after all, and she can be--" "Territorial," 'Ana finished from his shades. "And second, the one thing I'm not worried about is you taking a peek inside my cranium. I can assure you, you wouldn't find the experience at all pleasant, assuming you survived it.

"However, having said all're not wrong. We should trust each other. And in the interest of trust, I'm going to be honest with you. I find it rather difficult to trust someone who shows such fondness for inflicting on countless others the very same sort of psychological hijacking she recently broke free of. The fact that your powers are tied to the whims of your emotions doesn't do much to bolster my confidence, either. Ureha, Alice, other Elementals...their abilities are mainly physical, which means they can be defended against. But psychics are another matter, Gwin. And from what I've seen, you're about as powerful as they come. That, combined with the fact that ArmsTech not only altered your abilities, but parts of your personality as well, leaves me feeling a bit twitchy. And that's quite a conundrum for folks who are supposed to trust each other."

Luke stood and circled Gwin once again, slow and casual. As he moved, he withdrew a small coin from one pocket and absently danced it along his fingers. "So, that brings us to another matter. Since I'm such a nice guy, I'm going to prove that you can, in fact, trust me. In good faith, I'll extract Jake from your implants and reintegrate him with Nirvana. You have my word, I will hold all the data he has on you in a secured location, and I will not access it without your express permission, or in the event it becomes critical to do so. I will supply you with an A.I. of your own, similar to Jenny, and free of any tampering or surprises, to be completely under your control." He stopped for a moment and thought about his last statement. "Well, as much as an A.I. can be, at any rate."

He stopped walking and leaned back against the wall, the coin vanishing and reappearing between his fingers. "And finally, I promise I will do everything in my power to help Gabriel with his condition. And in return, Gwin, you're going to do something for me." Luke shoved off the wall and moved closer to Gwin, his smile gone. "You're going to prove to me that I can trust you. That you will keep control of your abilities, and use them responsibly. You're going to prove that no matter what ArmsTech may have done to you, you are still in control."

Luke turned and resumed his position against the wall, flipping the coin high in the air. After the third toss, he caught the coin and slipped it back into his pocket, and smiled once again. "So, does that sound like a deal you can agree to?"