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RP XCOM: The Story of Defiance.

Discussion in 'X-COM Role Playing' started by MarineAvenger, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Taxor_the_First

    Taxor_the_First Well-Known Member

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    In Her Prime

    Medical Ward, Battleship “Arkbird”
    4:15 PM, January 5th

    Samantha rubbed her head tiredly. “So you’re saying I’m psionic now?”

    The doctor across from her shook his head. “What? No. You were psionic before, the device simply awakened that potential. What’s more, if my ideas are right, you’ve skipped those early stages of generating your psionic pool.”

    The door whirred open, and Isaac poked his head in. “Samantha, glad to see you’re up.” He frowned at the doctor. “Who the hell are you?”

    The doctor bristled slightly. “Why does nobody know who I am?” he lamented. “My name is Dr. Mordus Solin. I work in the more theoretical areas of many of the sciences. Everything except environmental. Right now, I’m working on your friend here.”

    “Who’s suddenly been told she has mind powers,” the Huntress said, shaking her head. “Do you know what colors at least?”

    Mordus frowned and checked his clipboard. “Green and blue. You’re not quite majoring in either, but there isn’t enough power left over for a minor. They’re somewhere in between.” He noticed the blank look on both of their faces. “Which is rather unusual,” he elaborated.

    “Hang on, hang on,” Isaac butted in, “I feel like I’m missing something here. When did you –“

    “When I shut off that device,” Samantha answered, anticipating his question. “Remember how all that glowy shit poured into me? That’s what did it.”

    The doctor gave her an irritated look. “That’s not to say it gave her psionics,” he corrected. “One is born with psionic potential. That device merely awakened that potential.”

    Isaac felt a chill run down his spine. That could have been me. “If that device had worked the first time, would I…?”

    “No.” Mordus said. “From what I’ve been able to work out, that device only reacts to psionic users. Hence why it didn’t work with you the first time.”

    “You what?” Isaac frowned. “Why would it only respond to psionic users?”

    “Think about it,” the doctor said, getting up and beginning to pace. “Why would the Ethereals design a device that worked for those without psionics? Such an individual would either be a failure to them or not Ethereal. Also, there’s the practical matter of the shut-off switch causing any leftover energy in the device to transfer to the one who shut it off, which would fail on a non-psion.”

    Samantha and Isaac shared a glance. “Can we get back to the ‘I have mind powers’ thing please?” she asked.

    “Oh! Of course,” Mordus said, seating himself again and folding his hands together. “Like I said, you seem to be a blue-green psion. Aside from that, you appear to be fine. Might get a few bouts of light-headedness for a few days while your body tries to accommodate the extra energy, but aside from that you are healthy.”

    “Thank you,” she breathed, though whether it was due to the prognosis or the fact that she could finally go was anyone’s guess. Rising, she beckoned to Isaac to follow. “Come on,” she said, brushing past him and out the door. Shrugging to the doctor, he followed her out into the corridors.

    They walked in silence for a while. “The Tribe won’t recover from this,” Samantha said at last. “We’ve lost too many people.”

    Guilt for having brought them here in the first place panged in Isaac’s chest, but he quickly dismissed the feeling. “I’m sure the Overseer will find something for you to do.”

    “I don’t doubt it,” she replied, smiling. She kept walking, not noticing Isaac had stopped.

    “Samantha,” he said, causing her to turn.

    “What?”

    The Judge hesitated. “When Minos had you held up… while he was taunting me. He said something.” He folded his arms. “’Perhaps as much as you mean to her’, I believe it was.”

    Samantha’s eyes darted to the wall. “Did he say that? Really?”

    Isaac’s eyes hardened slightly. “I thought you said you’d gotten over that,” he said coolly.

    “Says the man who’s spent over fifteen years hunting his wife’s killer,” she snapped, suddenly defensive. “You of all people should know that we have no control over what we get over and what we don’t. Besides, what was I supposed to say? 'Yes, I still have feelings for you, now lets spend a month just on our lonesome in some random hotel room?'”

    “Don’t you dare bring Helen into this –“

    “She’d dead, dammit!” That stopped him. Swallowing, Samantha continued. “You’ve been hung up on her for too long. You should be happy, but you’re wasting your life making yourself unhappy.”

    “This ‘Lester’ asshole messed with my daughter,” Isaac said. “And he was behind Helen’s death. Killing him will be my happiness.”

    “Then let me help you,” she said, almost pleading now. “The Tribe’s done. I’m useless to anyone otherwise. Let me help you put this to rest.” Noting his suspicious gaze, she hastily added “I swear I won’t use the stripper cover again.”

    “You better not,” he muttered, “I don’t think you’re young enough to pull that off anymore.”

    “Meanwhile you’re old enough to walk into one of those clubs without raising any eyebrows at all,” Samantha said, shaking her head. “Circumstances have conspired against me yet again.” Isaac merely scowled, causing her to laugh, the situation defused. “Come on,” she said again, “I’ll get you a ride off this ship.”

    “How would you…”

    “We came in our dropship,” she explained. “Now that there’s less of us, we can take an extra passenger or two. You and your daughter.”

    “Your dropship?” Isaac’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t tell me you still have Moreau.”

    “What’s wrong with him?”

    “He’s a jackass.”

    “And a damn good pilot.”

    “With super osteoporosis,” he said. “What happens if one day he needs to bail? He’s boned.”

    Samantha frowned. “Very funny.”

    “The point stands.”

    “And is ignored,” she said, walking away again. “You can come or you can stay here when the officials start doing their thing. Your choice.”

    Isaac considered for a moment, then sighed in defeat, and started following again. “Rock and a hard place…” he muttered.
     
  2. Adrammalech

    Adrammalech Well-Known Member

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    // WAITING ON FATE //
    Jack “Dallas” Stewart / Nika Orlov
    Novyy Meditsina Klinika
    Moscow, Russian Federation
    January 8, 2019 - 9:15 AM


    Jack sighed sadly, reading the one magazine imported to the clinic from America. Even then, the 11th read of the October edition of rock climbing and survival tips was little comfort to his mind. He had only been able to see Emily once back on the Arkbird, barely conscious and unable to speak or recognize him. That visit was only afforded to him by his status as well, as she was barely into rehabilitation. She slept almost 20 hours a day, running through tests, procedures, and therapy nonstop for the rest. Every second without her was spent wondering if she’d still be able to move, or if she’d ever be the same. He felt sadness creeping in and tossed the magazine aside, picking up one of the colorful Russian magazines. He hoped trying to work out the words would be distracting enough.

    “Looking for an art show?” Nika smiled, touching his shoulder.

    “What?” he replied, flipping through random pages and trying to figure it out.

    “It’s local entertainment. Old European photos, concerts, modern art, that kind of thing,” she explained, sitting next to him and opening up a cup of dry cereal. “Did I miss anything?”

    “Nope…same old silence,” he stared at the door.

    “We’ll keep waiting,” she nodded. “Know where Kieran went?”

    “On an adventure of some kind. Think he took the train somewhere.”

    “Think he went to St. Petersburg? I messaged my mom earlier, told her I would hopefully see her again soon. It’s nice being so close to civilization again.”

    “That’s good,” Jack smiled lightly. “How about Sven?”

    “He’s been with the officers ever since Morrigan announced the new project. If he’s not already signed on, he probably will be before midnight.”

    “Sounds like him,” he chuckled.

    “I’m still on the fence. How about you?”

    “Aya offered me a promotion…pretty high up…but I declined.”

    “Why?”

    “I wish I could say Emily won’t be battle-ready for a while, and she’ll need me, but honestly…I need her. In the end, it’s up to her, but she’ll be out of action for at least a month or two. If she comes back, I will too; but I’m hoping our fight’s over.”

    “I know you already have a house picked out,” Nika smirked.

    Jack smiled, imagining a calm and stable life with his loved one. A stone’s throw from his family, in some cozy colonial suburb. It would take adjusting to, but it seemed perfect in the confines of his mind. He looked towards the door and a frown grew on his face, knowing she wasn’t totally out of the woods yet.

    “You don’t need to wait here just for me, you know?” he sighed.

    “I do, to make sure you don’t go crazy,” Nika sighed. “We’re going to make it through this, all of us.”

    “But she might be paralyzed…or worse…” he shook his head, “I never should’ve let her go off without me.”

    “There was nothing you could do. She was with plenty of people, and we were holding the bridge for the civilians. It’s not even remotely your fault.”

    “Then whose fault is it? Someone has to take responsibility…”

    “Well, a big green genocidal asshole, he was probably the worst of all,” she replied. “I know you want to blame yourself for everything, Jack, but it doesn’t work that way. You can’t always take a bullet in all of our places just because you’re the leader.”

    Jack sighed and hung his head. Nika gave him a pat on the back.

    “She’s going to be fine. She’s made it through hell and back already,” she assured.

    His ears perked as one of Emily’s many doctors emerged from her room, then dropped again when the doctor’s face fell, the frequent expression he got when he couldn’t see or hear her. The doors leading out to the freezing Russian winter whipped open and a worried looking couple of girls burst in, an older blonde woman in a thick wool coat clutching a young teenage girl. They grabbed the first doctor they could see, shouting in rapid Russian.

    “Orlov! Nika Orlov! What room?” the older one cried.

    “Th-there’s no patients with that name, ma’am…” the doctor replied, flipping frantically through her clipboard.

    Nika got up and approached, smiling widely.

    “Mom?”

    “Nika…what is wrong?” she asked. “Why are you here?”

    “Nothing’s wrong, why?”

    “You told me that you are in a Moscow hospital and that you can’t talk! I thought you were hurt!”

    “Oh…no, one of my friends is hurt, we’ve been watching over her for a few days. I’m sorry,” Nika said, looking down at the smaller girl by her side. “You brought Klara too! How's my favorite cousin?”

    “Good, alright,” she replied shyly.

    “Yes, I was babysitting when I got the message…then went straight for Moskovsky.”

    “Did you kill all the aliens?” Klara asked, rocking on the balls of her feet.

    “Just about,” Nika smiled, looking aside and catching the clock. “Oh…crap, this isn’t good timing…”

    “What do you mean?” her mother wondered.

    “One of my friends is about to finish a big surgery, I wanted to be there to support her. Can we meet back in an hour or so?”

    “I guess…”

    Nika turned to Jack and waved him over. “Coming? Ammy will like to see you too.”

    He frowned and looked towards Emily’s room, shaking his head. “I can’t. I’ll see her another time.”

    “Come on, you won’t miss it.”

    “Sorry,” he sighed.

    Nika looked around, not being able to think of anyone else who could come. Sven was already at Aya’s heels, signing up for whatever campaign came next, and Kieran was nowhere to be seen. Her mother walked out of the hospital doors, headed to feed her cousin with whatever restaurant was nearby. She remembered the only time she had visited Moscow in her school years, and smiled thinking of the places she could visit. She resolved to see them all again with her family, like the good old times; just as soon as she hopefully celebrated with her old roommate.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  3. Dahlexpert

    Dahlexpert Well-Known Member

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    A new look for a new soldier

    January 1 2018

    Eva carries Desmond the medical team who but’s Desmond on a stretcher. Make sure he’s secured don’t want to drop him know.

    Don’t worry miss Agerter, he’ll be fine will take good care of him.

    Good that’s goo…. Eva falls to the ground hitting her head on one of the stretchers. Eva! EVA EVA Hay get her on board big sky quickly. The medical team quickly got Eva into a stretcher and got her and her team on to Warship Jupiter, and quickly moved her to the med bay.

    The doctors put Eva on an operating, table and strapped her to a heart monitor. Ou man her heart rate is 20 beats a minute, were losing her.

    Eva opens her eyes lightly and whispers to the doctors. T..t.h.e ….g..r..a..y case under….u…nder my bead is the only thing that can help me.

    The doctors rushed to Eva’s room and found the gray case she was talking about, when the opened it the found three containers with some kind of red liquid inside them. A note fell on top of top of the containers. What’s this? The note was not in Eva’s hand writing. “If you find this and you’re not Eva that means Eva must have gone to fare with her restrictions, and beyond. Listen your regular medicine will not work for her, by now Eva has advance herself to were the regular treatment would not work on her. This red liquid is the only thing that can save her. Listen the red liquid needs to be electrified in order for it to work.

    The bottom of the note looks like it’s in Eva’s hand writing. “Once the vile is electrified take me to them meld containers and mix it with the meld. I would also require a new augmentation a secondary heart, I fear my heart will not be able to handle what’s in that vile after what I’ve been through.

    The doctor grabbed the vials and brought them to the med bay. I found this in Eva’s room apparently this is the only thing that can help her. The doctors looked over the note and looks in confusion Sigh very well let’s take her to the meld tanks. The put Eva into the tank and filled the tank with a mixture of meld and two of the red containers. Now we just wait to see what happens to her.

    January 9 2018

    The container opened and Eva fell to her knees, Eva start’s cough “We..Where am I?

    You’re in the science wing, you um Eva your heart was severely damaged it’s amazing that you were even able to pick up Desmond and get him to us lit alone stand up.

    I was that bad? Eva got up and looked into a mirror and sees something weird. Hay doc what happened to me? The bottom of my hear is now black and my eyes, there blue but I also see some purple in them?

    Well over the last few days your body started to change, we had no Idea what your body was doing. We feared that if we took you out of there you would die.

    Hum Eva waves her arms and twists her body. Huh I feel great, better then great I feel better than I ever been in my life.

    Well you should, we found the container containing some kind of red liquid and we mixed it with the meld inside your blood. Well let me say that again, the red liquid went into your body and fixed your body alongside the meld and well did that to you.

    Hum I see well I’m alive and kicking, thank you doctors for everything now if you excuse me I need to go check on my family and more I’m portly my husband. Eva thinks for a moment and sees there’s not a lot of scientist. Um how long was I in there?

    A week

    A WEEK! Eva screams in shock I’ve been in treatment for a week?

    Your injures were very, server your lucky to be alive.

    I see, well then thank you dock and thanks for saving me. Eva walks out of the labs.
     
  4. BMPixy

    BMPixy Well-Known Member

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    BMPixy and DarkGemini24601: “Tainted Peace”

    XCOM Headquarters, Arkbird
    1023 Local Time; Jan. 08, 2019
    Room of Albert Foulke

    Slowly Albert folded the motley array of clothes he had brought with him, placing each piece into his trio of rucksacks with measured ease. Soon enough, gonna be outta here, he thought as he rolled up a Hawaiian T-shirt. Then, home and maybe a normal life.

    “Well, as normal as can be,” he muttered out loud, briefly running his synthetic hand through one of the gray patches in his hair.

    A gentle knock came on the door. “Foulke?” a familiar voice asked. “I was hoping I’d have a chance to see you off.”

    “Door’s open,” Albert replied, stuffing his well-worn copy of Starship Troopers into the bag, zipping it closed.

    Emma opened the door carefully, and stepped into the room. “As expedient about leaving as Desmond is, I see,” she observed, looking around at the bags and otherwise empty room.

    “Of course, I’ve been away from my wife for what, eight or nine months now?” Albert analyzed, still working away at putting his personal belongings in his bags. “As much as I love being on this ship, can’t help wanting to get home and onto my retirement.”

    “Certainly understandable,” the shadow operative replied, leaning against the wall slightly. “I look forward to working from the Canada branch of Exalt Enterprises. And although my field of expertise lies in engineering and robotics, I do remember Lily mentioning something about a potential ‘serum that could slow cellular aging’, so your retirement may last longer and be more enjoyable than you realize if she reaches a breakthrough in that field with Elene.”

    At this Albert ceased in his packing, turning to face Emma, leaning against the bunk. “Really, huh? Hmm, might make up for certain losses…” Shaking his head, he continued, “Never mind, though let them know I wish them luck in that enterprise, both of them.”

    “I shall, and if they do succeed, the serum will reach wherever you are of course. We have no intentions of hoarding it, after all,” Emma asserted, shaking her head. “Unlike how some governments may have if they had been the ones to come up with it… speaking of which, I regret to inform you that we will not have a major outpost in the United States.” Looking around absently, she added, “There might be… reasons for animosity at the moment. Something about lost F-22s being destroyed in the Pacific.”

    “Eh, bloody Yanks deserve a knock down a peg every now and then,” Albert joked, relaxing slightly. “As long as you eventually get a branch somewhere in the UK, that’ll all be fine by me. Still, good to hear that you’re not going down the route of some other big medical companies, especially with a breakthrough of that level. Just be wary of crackpots blaming your serum for any number of maladies.”

    Emma nodded slowly. “Indeed… we will do testing to ensure that there are no ill effects, of course, but people find a way to blame their problems on a scapegoat somehow. We’ll have an excellent lawyer, among others, of course. I have to thank Vee for convincing that Thomas Burrick to work with us.” The shadow operative smirked, knowing just what had convinced him.

    “Aye, but some people don’t care about petty things like the law or science,” Albert countered, shrugging slightly. “Regardless, that’s besides the point. Figure you have more reason for dropping by then just letting me know we’re getting one step closer to immortality, right?”

    “Well, I consider us friends, and I wasn’t about to let you leave without saying my farewells,” Emma explained, shrugging her shoulders slightly.

    “Suppose that’s reason enough.” Stepping to the side slightly, Albert pulled open one of the drawers by his bed, grabbing a handful of scattered objects. “Y’know, I never realize how sentimental I can be until I have to pack up.” Grabbing a partially molten bullet from the pile, he held it up and added, “For instance, this is the Avenger round that nearly brained me when that A-10 accidently got the wrong firing coordinates for the air support it was supposed to be flying.”

    Emma tilted her head slightly. “You kept an item that could have resulted in your death? Interesting…”

    “More so in remembrance of the two people it did kill,” the Amero-Anglican explained. “The fact that it was embedded in the wall next to me was just a happy coincidence.” Shrugging, he put the bullet back into pile, taking a plastic bag and slowly shoveling the contents of the pile into the bag. “I can’t even count how many times I’ve narrowly avoided death, only for someone else to take a different bullet. Makes me wonder how many lives mine is worth.”
     
  5. BMPixy

    BMPixy Well-Known Member

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    “Well, the past cannot be changed, so it is better to at least make that life count for something.” Emma shook her head. “Well, aside from what Vindicta helped pull off.”

    “Suppose. Just glad I won’t have to worry about that anymore once I touch down in Heathrow.” Albert slid the bag of memorabilia into his last rucksack, zipping it closed afterwards. Pausing for a moment, he asked, “Hey, how do you guys feel about campaign contributions?”

    Emma raised an eyebrow. “We could help out… planning on running for office, are we?”

    “Nah, I have no talent for politics and a few too many skeletons in the closet,” Foulke explained. “Talking to my wife about helping her along with her dream, figure I might as well find help where I can. Waving the bloody flag might help a bit early on, but once we hit the big leagues, might send a letter or two your way, if you catch my meaning.”

    “I understand,” Emma confirmed. “It would be nice to have a world government that doesn’t view us with fear and suspicion. Somehow I get the feeling that Vee’s duties as a bodyguard to Elene may not be entirely uneventful. Not that the former would complain too much about it.”

    “Hey, who knows, might get that wish sometime in the future, if we ever decide to go the one world order route.” Albert leaned back against his bed, and added, “Though I don’t see that happening for a few decades yet, some people like their individual nations a bit too much to let go of them quickly.”

    “And there is the issue of how so many disparate peoples would be able to come under one leader or one council of leaders. The Council that once governed XCOM is certainly an example of how that doesn’t work out well,” the shadow operative mused. “Though that is what the XSDF is for. A defense force and world power that answers to no nation in particular, and has the power to do what it needs to. You can count on Exalt Enterprises being a backer.”

    “Aye, but who watches the watchmen?” Albert asked, raising an eyebrow. “No ‘ffense, but a supra-national defense force was fine when we had a real and tangible threat to face that required it. But a force like that in peacetime? I’ve read enough science fiction to see where that might go.”

    “Well, there are two considerations. Obviously, while we will support the XSDF, if their interests become… unsavory, we will reconsider our involvement. And besides… humanity beat the overwhelming force of the extraterrestrials with ballistics to start off with. I wouldn’t put it past us to take down a smaller force of rogue soldiers that are wielding plasma and pulse with the rest of the world utilizing lasers and gauss if worst comes to worst.”

    “But the X-Rays had a plan, and slowly stepped up their forces to match ours. A rogue XSDF might be closer to Viktor’s EXALT on steroids, with twice the subtlety,” Albert replied, a worried expression growing on his brow. “As much as I hope that doesn’t happen, I still have to fear that the organization I once worked for becomes the force that subjugates the world.”


    “It’s unlikely, especially considering XCOM simply doesn’t have the manpower to take over everything. They’d need mass produced automatons for something like that, and well…” Emma shook her head. “Exalt Enterprises is not going to draw the ire of the world by expanding our scale of production too much for our own aims. World domination isn’t our desire, and neither is it the goal of Commander Brea. I believe you worry too much sometimes, Albert. Caution is good, but don’t lose your mind over it.”

    “Hey, I’m the crusty old man of XCOM, trying to adapt to a world that’s drastically changed over a short period of time,” Albert replied. “Can’t help but be a bit paranoid and conservative, even if I’ve been wrong nearly every single time.”

    “Of course. We were born into this reality, so it’ll be the easiest for us to adapt to the way the world changes. And that was one of our primary directives, after all. Advance science,” Emma spoke. “And we will always strive to make sure that, within reason, the advancements are made available to all. I’m not so sure gene mods need to be expanded to the population at large, but cybernetics will revolutionize prosthetics.”

    Emma smiled. “And the motto of Legion isn’t for nothing. ‘Humanity reigns’, and that means humanity as we know it, not as some tyrannical interstellar empire like the Ethereals constructed. As long as the Exalts stand, the important things will remain recognizable, I assure you.”

    Albert gave a faint grimace, but quickly dismissed it with a shake of his head. “I’ll hold you guys to that. Just recall what they say about good intentions, and take care to avoid following the path Viktor began taking EXALT down. If you guys do, well...” Albert glanced down at his shoes uncertainly, thinking over what he was going to say next, before continuing with, “No ‘ffense, but I’ll be ready.”

    “Then I shall ensure that day never comes.” Emma turned, beginning to walk towards the door. “I would not want to be on the receiving end of your hand cannon.” Before leaving, she added, smirking slightly, “Nor would you want to be in my sights,” before vanishing around the corner.

    Albert sighed, closing his eyes and resting his head against the top bunk for a short moment. “And another point for the idiot in my brain,” he muttered, turning back to his packs and picking them up. “Here I thought I’d be able to avoid voicing such commitments so vocally.” Shaking his head, he turned back to the room, examining it for a moment, before turning and leaving at a measured pace.
     
  6. ZombieSplitter53

    ZombieSplitter53 Game Master Staff Member

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    X-COM/XSDF Headquarters
    Moscow, Russia
    Main Lounge
    Jan. 9th, 2019
    1400 Hours

    "You get a chance to ask Mary to come with you to America yet?" Sunny asked, sipping on some apple juice.

    Ayame shook her head, and Alexia scoffed. "Hey, give me a break," Ayame said, chugging a beer. "She's had to have a lot of bones patched up, and she has Ammy to worry about. Not exactly easy adjusting to sight, you know."

    Alexia held up her hands. "Okay, take it easy." She chuckled and took a drink from her own apple juice. "Just... you know. I'm bummed you're going to be halfway across the world as it is. And Jessie is bummed about Ammy."

    "But you can come visit whenever you want," Sunny insisted. "Alice and I will be working at Cross Tech while living with Emily, and Ayame will be nearby so she can help me and Atka as needed."

    "And with the personal craft I'm working on, it'll be all the more easy to pick you up," Alice added.

    "Exactly," Alexia said with a smile. "All the more reason to have Mary there so we can visit you all together."

    "I'll ask her, don't you worry." Ayame leaned back and smiled. "Nice to not have the stress of imminent death distracting me all the time."

    Sunny nodded, and jumped to her feet. "Well... I have some final notes to gather. And I need to finalize some things for our MEC soldiers. Alice?"

    The android woman nodded, and the two departed for the new base's engineering section. As they reached the darkened section Sunny worked in, the automatic lights turned on, and the pair jumped at the sight of the man sitting there. Alice stepped in front of Sunny, charging her weapon systems and pointing a finger at the man. "Who are you!? What are you doing here!?"

    The man chuckled. "That finger loaded?" Alice grinned, the tip of her finger glowing, and the man frowned. "Well... at least she is prepared."

    Sunny placed a hand on Alice's arm. "Alice, this is... um, Jabberwock."

    "I prefer Zero," the man said. "But whatever keeps you from shooting me."

    Alice nodded, approaching Zero and extending her hand. "Nice to finally meet you in the flesh. Literally."

    "Indeed." Zero shook her hand, marveling at the feel. "Remarkable. I remember when you were just a program on a computer." He nodded at Sunny. "You do fine work. Can I get one?"

    Sunny laughed. "I don't even want to know what you would do with her." Zero glared at her, and Sunny only laughed louder. After a few seconds of silence, she walked up to him, and hugged him. "I... I can guess why you are here."

    Zero nodded. "You sure about this?"

    "I am," the small Russian girl answered. "Emily makes me happy, and I know she and Dallas will keep me safe. I... I'd like to keep traveling with you... but I..."

    "But you deserve a stable home. One I can't provide." Zero slowly stroked her hair. "I want you to be happy."

    Sunny sniffled. Looking up, she asked, "You'll come to visit... right?"

    Zero wiped a tear from her eye. "Of course. Need to keep an eye on you. I... I'm proud of you, Sunny. I'm sure your mother would be too."

    Sunny smiled, and squeezed him tightly. As he rocked her a bit, she reached around her neck, a lightly gripped her pendant. "Thank you."
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  7. DarkGemini24601

    DarkGemini24601 Well-Known Member

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    DarkGemini24601 & ZombieSplitter53: “Parting, but not Forgetting”

    XSDF HQ, Moscow, Russia
    Science Division, Genetics Research Laboratory
    Jan. 10th

    Jessica sighed as she downloaded the last of her files, looking up at the gene tanks with a bit of disappointment. She looked at her reflection in the computer as it turned off, too put off to even remember her own phobia.

    “What’s wrong?” Alexia asked, raising an eyebrow.

    Jessica sighed. “Is it… is it weird to have feelings of nostalgia when this stuff is new, and the original stuff is in a crater right now.”

    Alexia grinned. “Maybe… a little. But I know how you feel. I’m gonna miss it too.”

    Jessica smiled softly. “Regret us giving it up to go live with Modya?”

    Alexia shook her head. “Not in the least.”

    “Yeah,” Jessica agreed. “Same here…”

    The door opened with a pneumatic whisper, and Atka stepped inside, approaching the green-haired scientist. She cocked her head to the side for a moment, hearing what sounded like Jessica talking to herself until she realized what was going on. “Hello Jessica, Alexia,” the Inuit woman announced.

    Jessica swiveled around, her cheeks flushing slightly. “Oh, Atka, I… we were just… reminiscing. What can I do for? I… most of my stuff is packed up, but if you needed something from the lab, I’d be happy to help you with it.”

    Atka shook her head. “Nothing from the lab particularly, I just wanted to say goodbye to you. Won’t be making a ton of cross-continental trips immediately after heading home, after all.”

    “Oh… of course.” Jessica laughed in embarrassment. “I… I’m glad you came, actually. I feel like… like we never got to thank you properly. You basically saved Alex’s life, and I was afraid I might miss my chance to thank you again.”

    Atka shook her head. “I owe you too, you know. If not for you, I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of my shell and met Jake.”

    Jessica chuckled. “What… what are you talking about. I… never… I didn’t do all that much. I just… wanted you to be happy. N-not that I… thought you weren’t happy before. But I… I’d like to think you are even happier now.”

    Atka smirked. “If you’re going to compliment someone you have to be able to take compliments yourself.”

    Oh, look… someone else telling you what I’ve tried to tell you for…

    Yeah, yeah…

    “You… you’re right, Atka. Thank you.” She stood up, and dusted herself off. “So… what now? Back to Canada, right? I’m guessing by the smile plastered on Jake’s face and the three girls that they are still going with you?”

    “Yep,” Atka replied quickly. “Them, my family, Ayame to some extent… with… uh, Mary, probably,” the Colonel listed, not seeming entirely thrilled about the last person on the list.

    Jessica giggled. “Mary’s not that bad, if you get around her… promiscuous side.” She looked up at the ceiling, as if staring up at the sky. “As for me… I’m staying here in Russia. St. Petersburg, most likely. I… I never came here expecting to really… hook up with anyone, but I wouldn’t give it up for anyone or anything.”

    “Neither did I, naturally.” Atka shrugged. “I’m just glad things are working out. You get to go with Modya, and Jake will come with me.” The Inuit woman frowned. “I just feel bad, knowing the reason he’s not to attached to going back to Japan is because of what… happened to his parents.”

    Jessica frowned. “I… I’m sure that has something to do with it. Same for the others. But I think there is a more important reason that they want to move to Canada. There is something important to all of them there.”

    “I know… I just hope having my parents around doesn’t… make him feel bad or anything,” Atka explained.

    Jessica laughed. “Are you kidding? I mean… have you met your parents!?”

    Stupid question.

    Shut up.

    “They’re great people, and they treat everyone they meet like family. I’m sure he’d be thrilled to be around them… assuming they have no problem with you… you know…”

    “I think my mother will be more relieved than anything that I finally found someone,” Atka replied with a laugh. “And father will just have his more muted approval to give.”

    “Good. I’m… I’m happy for you, Atka. It is what you both deserve.” She brushed her hand off, and offered it to Atka. “It was a pleasure to work with you, Atka. I’m glad I could help you, and you’d be crazy to think I won’t do all I can to visit you every now and again.”

    The scout clasped her hand over Jessica’s gently. “I’ll be looking forward to that. Good luck with the twins.”

    Jessica nodded, placing her hand on her belly. “Thanks. Good luck with the girls, and… you know. Any other kids that might… come along, if you know what I mean.”

    “I’m certainly considering it, but I don’t think I can handle more than three at once,” Atka responded honestly.

    “Food for thought in the future. After all, they’ll be eighteen in a few years, anyway.” Jessica gathered up her notes, and walked past her. As she went, a deeper, more seductive voice likely belonging to Alexia whispered, “And it is kinda fun making the kids…”

    Atka reddened slightly. “I figured…”
     
  8. BMPixy

    BMPixy Well-Known Member

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    MarineAvenger and BMPixy: "XIX - The Sun"
    XCOM Headquarters Aboard the ‘Arkbird’
    11:00 A.M., January 10th, 2019
    Room of Minato Origawa

    Minato watched as his friend slept on his bed, Saka wanting to take a nap, for whatever reason, in his room. The shinobi had grown accustom to dealing with his friend, having finally accepted that he wasn’t getting rid of her anytime soon. Before she had gone to sleep, she had given him a proposal that he had been thinking over in his head in silence as the teen girl slept away on his bed.

    A gentle series of knocks echoed from the door, followed by a familiar voice, saying, “Min, are you in here? Wish to speak.”

    Minato got up, walking over to the door and opening it up. “Yeah, come on in.” He turned around, walking with a slight limp and he sat down on the bed opposite of the one Saka was sleeping in.

    Fay stepped inside, gently shutting the door behind her. Quickly scanning the room, she noted Saka’s sleeping form. “Unaware you had guests,” Fay said in a voice barely above a whisper. “Apologies for my intrusion, merely wished to check on your health.”

    “Oh no, I don’t mind. She was just tired and asked to take a nap in here. Leg is still a little sore from the fight. I...may have bruised it when I landed wrong dodging a grenade. A little embarrassing but it is better than having my leg blown off at least.”

    “Indeed,” Fay replied. “Would be unpleasant to lose a limb in the last battle of the war.” The sniper rubbed her chin in thought, before adding, “What of mental state? Look pensive.”

    “I’m...I was just thinking...about the future.” He told her, looking over and patting the bed on the spot next to him.

    Fay took the hint, sitting next to Minato. Tilting her head slightly, she asked, “Penny for thoughts?”

    “You...you said you would follow me, correct?” He asked, staring at her. “No matter where it was?”

    The sniper nodded, replying, “Of course. Where did you have in mind?”

    “Well...Saka asked me something. I...am not sure what to say to her.”

    Fay gently placed a hand on Minato’s shoulder, locking gazes with the shinobi. “What was her proposal?” she asked, raising her eyebrow slightly.

    “She...wants me to take her to France, to where she was born so she can live with me. She wants to learn about her past.”

    Fay was silent for a long moment, biting her lip as she thought. Leaning back and letting out a brief sigh, she said, “Question: Doing this because you want to, or doing this for her?”

    This time Minato was silent, looking at the sleeping figure. “Both, maybe. I have dealt with her for so long, wanted her gone for almost the same amount of time but now...I don’t think I could just let her go on her own.”

    “Then we shall go, if you feel so strongly,” Fay answered simply. “At least until you feel comfortable leaving her on her own, if that time comes to pass. Will have to learn French, however.”

    Minato looked at her a little surprised. “Are...you sure? I mean, you don’t have to do this for me.”

    “No, I don’t.” Fay stretched her arms over her head, adding, “Want to. After all, said I’d follow you, and realize that Saka means a lot to you. Would not be good for relations if denied you this, especially after your revelation.”

    Minato put his arm around Fay and leaned against her head. “She is like a kid trapped in a teenager’s body, you realize that right? Living in the mountains didn’t really help develop her right, so I guess we can look at it as our own kid for a while, huh?”

    Fay tensed slightly at that, before allowing herself to relax. “Suppose, though doubt how skilled of a mother I could be. Didn’t have much in the way of role models there.”

    “Maybe that will make you just all the more better?” He stated as encouragement. “Besides, I can’t imagine how many others throughout time have said the same thing. I have confidence in you.”

    “If it is said,” she said, shrugging slightly. “Though that brings up the question of any we might have for ourselves.”

    “A question for a later date perhaps. For now, we should just enjoy our time together. Both in and outside of bed.”

    Fay nodded serenely, accepting the answer. “Very well, look forward to continuing this.” Glancing over at Saka, Fay shook her head in a mental reprimand. “Though the bedded state shall have to wait for now…”

    “Oh I wouldn’t be so sure.” Minato looked at the end of the bed, grabbing his pillow and chucking it at Saka. It hit her square in the face and she jumped right up, looking around. When she saw Minato, she tilted her head.

    “What?” She asked in a tired voice.

    “I heard that they were ending breakfast soon. Might want to go get some before it is gone.”

    “What!? Why didn’t you tell me!?” Saka ran out the door, closing it behind her and Minato looked at Fay.

    “Breakfast ended an hour ago. But it will take her a while to figure that out.”

    “Best work quickly then, just in case,” Fay said, a devious grin on her face as she nearly leapt upon Minato, moving for a greedy kiss.
     
  9. Dahlexpert

    Dahlexpert Well-Known Member

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    Dahlexpert & ZombieSplitter53

    XSDF HQ, Moscow, Russia
    Science Division, Psionics Research Laboratory
    Jan. 10th, 1300 Hours

    “You sure about this?” Jean asked, gathering his supplies and raising an eyebrow at his sister.

    “I am. This… XSDF needs someone knowledgeable about psionics, and with Jan’tiala leaving.” Jeanne smiled. “Don’t worry about me. Go enjoy yourself with your soon-to-be wife.”

    Jean nodded, but his shoulders slumped. “I will… assuming she ever wakes up…”

    Jean headed towards the science wing of XSDF, where he visited Eva daily. He was surprised when the doctors told him that Eva left the area and was in her room. He goes to Eva’s room and knocked on her door. “Yes, who’s there. Oh, who am I kidding. Come in Jean.”

    Jean quickly stepped in, rushing over to Eva. It was only when he was about to grab her that he realized it might exacerbate any remaining injuries, so he simply looked her up and down. “Eva, I… are… a-are you okay?”

    Eva walked up to Jean and hugged him tightly. “I’m one hundred percent better. I mean, hell, I was in the a meld tank for week, I’m fully healed now.”

    “Good… good…” Jean let out a sigh of relief. With her safety no longer on his mind, his expression darkened, and he stepped away from her, clearly upset.

    Eva looked at Jean with confusion. “J.. Jean what’s wrong, have I done something wrong? Did something happen when I was out?”

    “Eva, you… of course you… how could you push yourself like that.” He turned back to her, his expression angry, some moisture welling up in his eyes. “You… you could have died! You almost did! Why would you try to go toe to toe with that beast in any condition, let alone with how injured you were from the fight before? Then carry Desmond when your ribs were practically shattered. Eva, please, I… I can’t take it! The thought that you could… do something like this, and I… I-I’d… lose you…”

    “You forget I'm a soldier. Yes, I admit what I did was reckless. But I would do it a million times over! You know why? Because I’m a soldier. My job is to save not only my team but since i’m with this project the entire world! And if that beast completed his mission, you would be dead right now! You, your sister, your family and mine, along billions of others! So what I did might have been reckless, but if it was to save the Earth and you, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t care if I would have died there!”

    Jean stared angrily at her for a few moments longer, but his expression quickly turned to one of grief. He slumped into a chair, and placed his face in his palms. “It… it isn’t fair,” he whispered. “I… I don’t want to worry if you’ll come home to me, Eva. I… I love you, Eva. It… it isn’t fair…”

    Eva looked at Jean and hugged his head. “Sigh… life isn't fair, Jean. That’s just how things are. However, the war is over and my mission is done, so I can now live the way I want to know. I can live a normal life know.”

    Jean smiled, and wiped his eyes. “Do… do you think you can give it up? I mean… being a soldier for so long.” He looked up at her. “Please… please don’t do it for me. If you do it… do it for yourself.”

    “Sigh... me giving up being a soldier... I was going to tell Morrigan that I was going to resign. But if X-COM needed me, they can just call me for more important missions, not clean up. So I can live with retirement. Hell, I think I would love not fighting anymore.”

    Jean chuckled. “Yeah… you might surprise yourself.” He shrugged. “And you have other work to do, you know. Thanks to the Ethereals, you have quite the collection of collectables to recollect.”

    “Sigh, yeah, which reminds me. Jean, do you remember what you said at the christmas party? That you wanted me to get reconnected with my family?”

    Jean nodded. “Of course. I…” He held up his hands. “B-but… but it is your decision. I wouldn’t want to force you into anything you are uncomfortable with. I just thought… you might… try…”

    “Jean, I want to see them again. Yes, it’s going to be weird for them since the thought I was dead. Also, for me to return with not only with a fiance, but with three kids that are in their twenties. So that’s going to be fun to explain.”

    Jean grinned. “Bet returning from the dead will distract them from all that.” He grasped her hand, squeezing it gently. “But I’ll be there for you, Eva. I wouldn’t even think about not being there.”

    “You better be. It would be embarrassing if I show up to my parents place and say that. ‘Hey mom and dad, I’m getting married, but my future husband isn't here because he’s scared of you dad.”

    Jean nodded, his smile fading a bit. “Is… i-is you dad… a scary man?”

    “I don’t know, let’s see. He’s a general in my country's military, and I’m the only girl in the family. And every boyfriend that I had went missing when the met my dad.”

    Jean swallowed slowly. He cleared his throat, theatrically cracked his knuckles, and with a slight squeak in his voice, said, “Bring it on…”

    Eva smiled at Jean’s nervousness. “Jean, he’s not going to kill you. Hell, I’m a grown woman, so he’s just going to see if you right for me. So you shouldn't worry, if he sees the man I fell in love with, you will be alright.”

    “I know. I just…” Jean laughed nervously. “I guess I’m just projecting. I… I was a little… overprotective of Jeanne recently, so the thought of someone being as big a bonehead as I was being… but I’m sure I’ll be fine, as long as you’re there.”

    “Yeah, you'll be fine. Off topic, because I’m going to get to your family in a second, but Jean, did you notice anything different about me?”

    Jean looked her up and down. “Y… yeah… now that you mention it… your hair looks a little different… and your eyes… you going for a new look or something? Looks interesting.”

    “No, you can call this a side effect of the treatment I’ve been a part of. So yeah, let’s just say that you no longer have to worry about me going nut’s or anything like that.”

    Jean nodded. “Good. Though… gotta say. It looks good on you. Very nice.”

    “Yea, I have to get used to this. Now then, should I be worried about your parents?”

    Jean scoffed. “Are you kidding? They’ll love you. And do you know why?”

    “No, I would imagine looking the way I look they would think I’m a... well, a delinquent or something like that.”

    Jean shrugged. “A few years ago, maybe. They were really pushing for a nice French girl, and didn’t like ninety percent of the girls I brought home, even if they were French. Now? They’ll be happy you have a pulse. They seemed to have resigned them to the idea that I’ll be a playboy for life and never settle down. The fact that you managed to reign me in means they’ll pamper you like a princess.”

    “A playboy huh. I seem to recall that you were nervous on our first date. And was shocked when I slept with you. I want an explanation on your past now, since I told you so much about mine, Mr. playboy.”

    Jean chuckled. “Not much to tell, other than that I… liked the women. But I… never took anything serious, and they usually didn’t take me very serious. When you did, I… I was scared. I thought, ‘hey, this girl seems to like me. And… I kinda like her. Oh God, I like you. But my relationships usually last a week at the most! What if I screw up?! What if I say something stupid?!’” He shrugged. “What can I say? I was… smitten.”

    Eva laughed. “Yeah ,I think your parents are going to like me, if not love me. Hell, they might die of happiness. But we’re going to have a lot to do once we’re out of here. I mean, we have to find a place to live, where to host the wedding, how many people to invite and...” Eva’s face started to turn red. “Jean, do you want me to… have your kids?”

    Jean grinned, standing up and pulling her close. “Oh… only a few. How does nine or ten sound to you?”

    “Like lunacy.” Eva passionately kissed Jean. “You know, I haven’t had my victory sex yet. And you know I was thinking, maybe we could do some baby making, some back door stuff followed by more baby making. Point is Jean, I’m not letting you go until I’m pregnant with your kids. Hmm, I can’t wait to see what they look like nine months from now.”

    Jean laughed loudly. “Direct as always, Eva. I love it.” He walked over to the door and locked it. “Shall we then?”

    Eva gave a devilish grin “Heh, always the gentleman. I would love to, my darling. And it’s going to be a long night, dear.”
     
  10. Adrammalech

    Adrammalech Well-Known Member

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    // ALMOST CHRISTMAS //
    Dr. Benjamin Ceymotch
    XCOM Safehouse #16
    St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
    January 9, 2019 – 8:32 PM


    Ben looked around the large wood table, all of the patients seated in various stages of worry and excitement, looking down at plates of real food and clad in ordinary clothes. The girls looked at the real, home-cooked food with apprehension, not having seen it outside a hospital tray in several months.

    “We’re here today to celebrate your progress,” Ben smiled, “you’ve all been incredibly brave and strong in the face of a terrible tragedy. Even when we had to move here, you all stuck together. That’s why we’re all here now. No closed rooms, no medicine bell, no worries…just all of us together for a few hours with a perfect meal, just like a holiday.” Ben smiled. “I’m incredibly proud of you all.”

    Sybille bowed her head and cupped her hands, saying grace briefly and then taking up one of the corn muffins Ben had made, smiling at the others. The women all picked up tongs and ladles, grabbing slices of fresh ham and turkey or scooping up stuffing and potatoes.

    “Ben, I heard…is it true that we won?” Sybille asked politely.

    “Yes,” he nodded, “the aliens will all be gone soon, including the ones that hurt you. Dead or fleeing scared.”

    “Does that mean we’re going home?”

    “I believe so, very soon.”

    Sybille smiled broadly, remembering her home in Rouen as it was before the invasion, hoping she could find some place that looked the same.

    “They’ll come back…” murmured one of the other girls, Lena.

    “They’re far too wounded to even try, and if they do, we’ll be ready,” Ben replied firmly. “Nothing like that will ever happen to you again. But we’re not here to talk about that tonight.”

    Lena nodded shakily and began nibbling on her food, smiling a little as the buttered bread crumbled in her mouth. Ben began slicing up the brown sugar ham when the door creaked open, Kieran nervously entering in civvie clothes and a large winter coat. He vaguely recognized the other women as the ones that Emily rescued from mental conditioning.

    “Am I…interrupting something?” he asked.

    “Just having a dinner, what’s up?” Ben replied. “I thought you’d be in Moscow with the others.”

    Kieran pulled out a sheet of paper and whispered towards him. “Well, Emily got to talk to everyone before the mission, but was worried she wouldn’t get a chance to say anything to you…so she gave me this letter to give you in case she got injured or…”

    “I see…you don’t think she’ll…”

    “I hope not. She’s woken up a couple times, so that’s good. I’m not a doctor, though.”

    “Alright…let’s see it.”

    Kieran handed over the note and Ben unfolded it, trying to scan it neutrally so as not to panic the girls.

    Hey Ben,

    I’m writing this in case I don’t make it, we never really got to say goodbye as the base was attacked or as we went to take the temple ship. I know most people see our relationship as some…weird thing where we jump into a closet and tell each other stories, but it means so much more to me than that. If you hadn’t convinced me to keep sharing my memories, I may never have opened up to so many people here. I’d have spent my time in my room, scrunched up and lost in the memories I saved for you instead. So thank you…and I’m glad that before we had to leave, I could convince you to do what you wanted to do, because it’s what you’re meant to do. And you better keep at it, or I’m going to haunt your ass!

    Sincerely,
    Emily

    Ben smiled a bit at the punctuating line, knowing Emily must’ve tried hard to keep the sappiness at bay. He tried not to frown at the idea that this might be her last message to him, and quickly tucked the letter away. After all, this was a day of happiness for the others, not one of moping for him. He looked over to see if anyone had noticed and was glad to see they didn’t, most of them chomping happily away at the feast before them. Only Linnea seemed bothered, tapping her head over and over for some reason.

    “What’s wrong with her…” he mumbled.

    “These are…the girls who had the drug conditioner things on their head, right?” Kieran asked.

    “Yeah, but they shouldn’t still be irritated.”

    “It’s because she feels happy and free, she’s seeing why there’s nothing stopping her from feeling that way,” Kieran suggested.

    “That’s a pretty good theory,” Ben nodded.

    “I’ve gotten used to reading people…kinda have to when you roam around like me.”

    “Emily was the same, now that I think about it. Hey, why don’t you stay and eat? The exposure to someone empathetic would be good for them.”

    “Well…sure, I guess I could,” he smiled slightly. “Why not.”
     
  11. MarineAvenger

    MarineAvenger Operator 21O Staff Member

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    MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53 “Perfect Ending: Part One”

    XCOM Headquarters Aboard the ‘Arkbird’
    4:00 P.M., January 9th, 2019
    Room of the Elites

    Hawke walked into his room, flipping on the light and looking around, seeing none of the other Elites present. He walked forward to go lay on his bed, pausing as he looked at himself in the mirror. The sniper had a bandage wrapped around his left eye, still able to see once it was healed but it would leave a bad scar over that immediate part of his face. His left arm was in a sling, having broken it when he landed wrong as well as bandages where he had gotten burned, the light armor on his arm doing little for the plasma burns. Finally, the massive burn area on his chest, not being able to wear a shirt because of it. He sighed, still wondering to himself whether he should have left Eva to fend for herself rather than suffer through the pain, even though he knew it was selfish of him to think.

    “Hawke?” Aya’s voice came softly as she walked in. “I’m… sorry I haven’t… I came to visit you, but you were out cold, and I’ve… had a lot of duties… are you okay?”

    “I’m fine.” He said hoarsely, his voice a little rough from not speaking for a while until he cleared his throat. “I don’t blame you.” He kept his back to her, even though the majority of the bandages could be seen. “I’ll live.”

    “Well… you don’t sound fine.” Aya slowly approached him. “I… I know what happened, and… we all owe our lives to you. And you were hurt saving an ally. I… know it doesn’t feel like it, but you should be proud.”

    He nodded his head. “I know. Just doing my duty, huh?” Hawke sighed, shaking his head. “I’m not mad...if that is what you think Aya.”

    “I don’t think you’re mad,” Aya whispered, placing her hand on his shoulder carefully. “But you have a right to be upset when you’re as injured as you are. So please… talk to me.”

    He winced slightly, finally turning around and showing her the brunt of his injuries. “Doesn’t look as bad from the back, now does it?” He asked with a slight grin, however hollow it was.

    Aya looked down, though her eyes were more sad then put off. “I… I-I’m sorry, Hawke. It… it should have been me there. I shouldn’t have…”

    Hawke held up his good hand and shook his head. “Don’t even try to turn this around and blame yourself. You were out cold, so don’t even attempt it.” He smiled softly and nodded his head. “Though the sentiment is duly noted.”

    Aya scoffed. “Please. If I wasn’t so… for years, I shunned my power. Did practically nothing to learn more about it. And look what happened. All this power, and yet I get mind controlled like rookie, even with a mind shield. And then… you…” Aya rubbed her forehead. “I… I’m sorry. This isn’t helping, is it?”

    “Not really.” He told her. “But...it is nice to vent, isn’t it?” Hawke walked over to his bed and slowly sat down on the bed, wincing as he accidently stretched his burns.

    Aya quickly sat next to him, being sure not to brush into him. “I… we’ll fix it, Hawke. Don’t worry. With the MELD, we’ll make sure you are as good as new, with as little scarring as possible. We just need to wait for the gene and med labs to get up to full speed.”

    Hawke shook his head. “No.” He told her simply. “I need this.”

    Aya’s head darted up, her face wrapped in confusion. “You… what? Why? Hawke, please, I… I don’t understand.”

    “I need this. I don’t want to forget. I can only walk away from this stronger. I won’t take the easy way out.” He said, having to turn his entire body so he could look at Aya with his right eye.

    Aya looked down slightly, but nodded. “Alright. I… I mean, it just shows how much you’ve been through, right? All those battle scars strike fear in the hearts of your enemies. Besides… you’re still just as handsome with them.”

    Hawke looked at Aya and rolled his good shoulder. “Now I know you are blowing smoke up my ass.” He said with a slight smirk.

    Aya resisted the urge to punch him in the arm playful, and instead settled on a smile. The smile quickly faded, however. “Hawke, I… I need to talk to you about something. I… I’m not sure if you heard, but we have a new organization building off of X-COM, and they… they asked me to…”

    “Be their next commander? Not that hard to figure out.” He asked, raising an eyebrow. Hawke was silent before closing his eyes. “Do it.” He told her.

    Aya slowly nodded. “I… I will. They need someone, and Morrigan is burnt out. Brigid needs her. And… and I want to. This is a good cause.” She slowly looked towards Hawke. “Did… are you still going to… leave?”

    Hawke shrugged. “I might stay longer than I intended due to the injuries. Afterwards...I am not sure. I might stay. If not, I might go out and do some solo work. I like being a sniper, not sure if I want to give up my skills completely. Besides, could you see me in a normal, civilian life?”

    Aya chuckled. “Maybe not. But don’t underestimate your adaptability.” She inched her hand towards his. “If… if that is the case, our time together might be finite. And if it is… I’d like to put it to good use.”

    Hawke smiled but his smile quickly fell. He reached around the back of his head, taking off the bandages on his head and face and looked at Aya with both eyes. “Just promise me that if this doesn’t work out, we still remain good friends. I don’t want to lose my drinking buddy after all.”

    Aya smiled, and gently kissed him. “Of course, Hawke. You couldn’t get rid of me that easily.”

    “Good. Wouldn’t want all of this to be for nothing after all.” He put his good hand on Aya’s cheek and rubbed it slightly. “Just be gentle...well, as much as possible.”

    Aya chuckled, and kissed him again.
     
  12. ZombieSplitter53

    ZombieSplitter53 Game Master Staff Member

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    Part Two

    XSDF HQ
    Office of Commander Brea

    Morrigan gathered the rest of her personal effects, ready to transfer them to her slightly smaller office down the hall. Brigid, too, carefully gathered her drawings and paintings, several of them hovering over her head as she folded some papers, her tongue sticking out of her mouth ever so slightly.

    Chief had stood leaning against the doorframe of the open door, staring at the two with a smile as either of them didn’t hear him approach. He considered saying something, but wanted to see how long it took them to notice. Brigid lightly brushed her nose, raising her head slightly before letting out a loud sneeze. One of her paintings shot towards Chief, his excellent reflexes the only thing allowing him to catch it before it smashed into his head. Brigid looked up at him, her eyes widening. “Oh, Mr. Chief! I… I’m sorry!”

    Chief chuckled, walking over to Brigid and handing her the painting. “No problem Brigid. Oh, and bless you.”

    “Thank you.” Brigid grinned widely, and continued her work.

    Morrigan stood up, walking over to Chief and wrapping her arms around him. “Come to help?”

    “More to see how you were holding up. Do you need some?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Nope. None at all.” Morrigan grabbed her heaviest box and pushed it into Chief’s arms. “But because you insist…”

    He held it with ease, smiling. “I went from leader of a top secret squad of super soldiers to a pack mule all for a woman. I think I am enjoying this more than I should be.” He joked.

    “I hope so. Ex said I was too pushy. Last thing I need is to push another to hard.” She lightly punched Chief in the arm as the three headed out. “But you’re so tough, I think you could handle two of me, huh?”

    “I wouldn’t leave you for something so trivial as you being too pushy. Besides, I say it makes your personality less boring. Though the little one is going to be a force to be reckoned with.” He looked down at Brigid and stuck his tongue out.

    Brigid jumped up, hovering near his head long enough to stick her own tongue out at eye level before dropping back down. Morrigan laughed nervously, muttering, “Not… looking forward to those angsty teens years…”

    “At least she is getting better,” He noted. “From what I heard, she didn’t have this much control when she first got them.” Chief looked forward, cracking his neck as he tilted it to the sides.

    “No… took a lot of people, and a lot of training. Acedia said she technically got psionics around the age Ethereal children start to develop them, but in a much more rushed fashion, so it was harder on her.” Morrigan smiled. “But starting to look good now. And it helps that she’s well behaved. Have her father to thank for that for the most part. Glad she isn’t like I was at that age…”

    “What were you like?” He asked cautiously.

    “To put it simply? A brat,” Morrigan answered. “A more complicated answer? An angry, constantly fighting brat. Military school did wonders for me. But… but for Brigid, I…”

    “I hope I can fill those shoes.” Chief stated, looking at Morrigan. “I know I am not the most likely of person someone would turn to to raise a kid, I know I don’t have all that much confidence myself but the best I can do is try and be there for Brigid. I decided that once me and you are done here, I won’t pursue a military career. I just don’t wish to do that any longer. If I am going to make this work, I also want to be there...for both of you.”

    “Thank you,” Morrigan practically whispered, a sad look in her eyes as they walked into her new office. She watched Brigid set up her paintings in silence for a minute before continuing. “She… she deserves something else, Chief. I… I was a troubled child. The military worked for me. It was the best thing for me. But I don’t want that for her. Once I help this new organization get off the grounds, I want to distance myself from the military… for her sake. If I don’t… she’ll follow in my footsteps. I don’t want that to happen.”

    “I would say you didn’t turn out so bad, but I see the merit in what you say.” Chief put the box he was carrying down and reached over, grabbing Morrigan’s hand. “So what will you do instead? Stay at home mom or something else?”

    Morrigan shrugged. “I don’t know? Sounds like that might drive me up the wall. But I have a nice little nest egg thanks to my time here. Maybe volunteer work to get this planet back on track.” Morrigan squeezed Chief’s hand, her eyes darting away for a moment. “But… I know I don’t want to… to go it alone…”

    “Morrigan, I already decided I am staying with you two. You don’t even need to ask.” Chief gave her a warm smile. “Maybe I will become a teacher. I have a lot of knowledge, and I am already a pretty good leader.” The Elite looked over to Brigid. “You hear that? You might have some help with math homework.”

    Brigid nodded, pointing. “Good. ‘Cause it is really hard, and when I get good at it, mommy keeps giving me harder math.”

    Morrigan chuckled. “Only because I don’t want you to fall behind.” She scratched her chin nervously. “Though, you… might be a little ahead now. Might… have gone overboard a bit…”

    “See, if nothing else, you are a pretty awesome mother.” He leaned in and added with a whisper, “And a kick-ass girlfriend.”

    Morrigan grinned. “You ain’t so bad yourself… Chief…”

    Chief smiled wide. “Pretty soon it will be John. Will have to get used to that one. Just like I have to get used to that infamous accent I have heard so much about.”

    “Oh, aye. Jus’ ‘ive me a bit te remember it, love?” Morrigan gently kissed him, and placed her head against his chest, sighing calmly.

    “I have a feeling we have a lot of time to do so.” He told her, kissing the top of Morrigan’s head and sighing in content.
     
  13. ZombieSplitter53

    ZombieSplitter53 Game Master Staff Member

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    Part Three

    X-COM HQ, Arkbird
    Room of Aya & Eve Brea

    Eve placed a few effects into a large box. She paused for a moment, smiling down at the various pictures she had managed to hold on, her face captured almost perfectly in several of them. “Finally over,” she whispered.

    In the corner of the room, Fox sat drawing some more on a new sketchpad he was able to get a hold of. His tongue was sticking slightly out of his mouth, concentrating hard on what he was doing.

    Eve glanced over, and smiled sheepishly. “Anyone ever tell you that you look cute when you concentrate?”

    “You have...multiple times in fact.” Fox grinned widely and he put the eraser end of his pencil on the corner of his mouth. “You like dresses, right?”

    “Dresses? Yeah, I do.” She twirled a bit, as though she was wearing one. “I love a nice, fancy dress. One of the things my sister and I differ on. Haven’t worn one in a while, obviously. Glad I didn’t bring any of my good ones to the base…”

    “Alright, perfect…” Fox stood up and with an exaggerated sigh, he finally said, “I have a surprise for you.”

    “Oh?” Eve folded her hands. “Should I close my eyes?”

    “What? No, not that sort of surprise unfortunately, but it is a big one.” He said with an excited look.

    Eve shared his excited look. “Okay. What is it? Don’t leave me in suspense.”

    “Well...I was talking with another girl I had become friends with and I shared with her my love of drawing. She told me that she knew someone who could help me make something with my talents and well…” He turned the pad around and showed an intricately and meticulously designed dress. “She suggested I become a fashion designer. It took a bit of time but I finally got drawing just clothing pretty well. What do you think?”

    Eve’s expression turned to that of a snobby critic, though she was clearly hiding a smile. “Well… the color is… acceptable. And the design draws the eye.” She sighed. “I… I guess I’ll buy these from you. But I only want a hundred thousand dresses. No more!”

    Fox fell over, groaning to himself. “A hundred thousand? I swear...you are trying to kill me early.” Fox looked up and added, “You are evil, that is what you are! Evil! Working a poor defenseless woodland critter with no hope of defending himself...how do you live with yourself?”

    Eve shrugged. “I have supermodels rub my back on my bed made of money. It isn’t easy, though. Sometimes the supermodels rub too hard. It is hard being super powerful and rich sometimes.”

    “Ah...more competition…” Fox complained, covering his eyes. “I could never top a supermodel.”

    Eve rolled her eyes. “Oh, don’t you worry, my little Fox.” She leaned down in front of him. “You’re all the super I’d ever want. And if those models ever cross you, you could arrange a little… wardrobe malfunction.”

    “Have you seen some of those people? They don’t need my help screwing up their wardrobe, but I see your point. Oh, but from what I heard, fashion designers make a lot of money, so you might actually be rich one day.”

    Eve rubbed her chin. “Rich, huh? That sounds nice. Too bad I don’t care as much about money as long as I have you.” She clapped her hands together. “But this is awesome. You have a set goal. And the talent to back it up. I’m so happy for you!”

    Fox nodded, stretching his limbs out. “Thanks…” He put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes. “I like this...no worries. Just you and me, like we dreamed about. I am glad things will be like this all the time.” Opening his eye, he smiled and jumped up, grabbing ahold of Eve and pulling her to the ground, squeezing her tightly and rolling around.

    Eve giggled, staring into Fox’s eyes. “We’re going to make it, aren’t we? We have a plan. We have the means to make things work. And… we have our love. Things really worked out, didn’t they?”

    Fox giggled with her. “Yeah...I think everything will be just fine. I...I-I am glad I gave you another chance, Eve. I know I shouldn’t bring it up, but I just wanted to tell you. It might sound childish, but I don’t care, because I love you and that is all that matters to me.” He said stubbornly.

    “I know… and thank you, Fox.” Eve squeezed him tightly. “That you remember it but look past it… it means a lot to me. I… I promise, I’ll never leave your side. Not… a… chance.”

    “Cho...king...me…!” He managed out. “He...lp!”

    Eve quickly let him go, and looked him up and down. “Oh, Fox, I… are you okay?”

    He coughed a bit and smiled. “Absolutely perfect.” He told her.
     
  14. Adrammalech

    Adrammalech Well-Known Member

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    // UNBREAKABLE //
    Emily Fischer / Jack “Dallas” Stewart
    Novyy Meditsina Klinika
    Moscow, Russian Federation
    January 11, 2019 - 5:30 AM


    Jack was within a shallow dream, going through the minor details of life in his sleep. A loud clatter shocked him awake and he jumped off the thinly-cushioned chairs of the waiting room, his eyes darting towards the source. A blonde nurse gave him a guilty look, leaning down and recomposing a tray of tools she had dropped. He looked around the empty waiting room and out the windows into the dead of night, sighing at the realization of another incomplete night. He laid back into the seats and closed his eyes, only to be jarred again by the wood doors of the room swinging open and hitting the backstops. As he looked up, he saw Emily’s door open down the hallway.

    The nurse wheeled Emily out carefully, turning her through the cramped hallways. She looked up, her lips curling slightly when she saw Jack walking towards her. She groaned a bit, using her arms to push herself out of the wheelchair, the nurse worriedly coming to her side and forcing a cane into her hands. She limped forwards quickly, smiling a little more every inch he closed in. She dropped the cane to the floor and wrapped her arms around him and he did the same to her, both holding each other as if they were anchoring the other to the ground. Tears formed in her eyes as she pressed her head against him.

    “I love you so much,” she sobbed, a slight slur in her voice.

    “I love you too…I missed you, Em,” Jack replied. “How are you feeling?”

    “I’m fine as long as you’re here…did you stay here the entire time?”

    “Basically, since we landed. I didn’t want you to wake up alone.”

    “You never want me to wake up alone, hm?”

    “That’s my job…”

    “Big softie…” she smirked. “Let’s go home.”

    “Well, we still have house shopping to do, you know…our old home isn’t really there anymore.”

    “She’ll still have memory gaps and trouble moving,” the nurse chimed in. “She can move around and maybe go offsite for a few hours, but the doctor insists she stay close for at least 2 or 3 weeks for continued physical therapy.”

    “I’m fine, I just wanna…” Emily stumbled as she tried to move without her cane, going back to relying on Jack, “just leave.”

    “They know what’s best,” Jack replied. “It’ll be fine. You’ll get the help you need, and then every day I’ll be here, and take you wherever you want.

    “You always have to be so patient…”

    “And you always have to be so stubborn,” Jack shook his head.

    “The sun is rising, you could take her for a little walk outside,” the nurse suggested.

    “Too cold,” Emily mumbled, looking down at her gown.

    “Right…well, a little walk inside?” the nurse said with a shrug. “Take your time.”

    The nurse walked away and Jack helped her back into the wheelchair, walking behind her. As he tried to take the handles, Emily grabbed the wheels and pushed forward, garnering a head shake from him.

    “Don’t do that.”

    “Too fast for ya?” she taunted, repeating the process again as he approached.

    Jack grabbed her left hand before trying again, causing her to only push forward with her left, swiveling her wheelchair in a full circle and into his legs. Emily gave a guilty smile as he recoiled.

    “Oops, sorry,” she grinned.

    “It’s fine…” he groaned holding onto the spot the metal hit his lower legs.

    Luckily for him, she let him grab the wheelchair without injury the third time, starting to wheel her down the hallways of the hospital. It was oddly relaxing being pushed around, and she leaned into the back of the chair, trying to relax her arms and mind.

    “Did anyone visit me?”

    “Everyone,” Jack nodded. “The whole squad, Morrigan, Luxuria, a lot of people from the ship…”

    “Did I miss anything?”

    “They had a peace summit for the Ethereals who survived, and Morrigan renamed the project so people wouldn’t feel bad about leaving. Our position is…still open, if you wanted.”

    Emily thought for a moment, trying to remember the stressful parts of her job. “I think I’m ready to go home, wherever that might be.”

    “Me too,” Jack smiled. “We’re free to go when you’re feeling better. Although a lot of people are probably going to beg you to stick around. Hmm, what else…Ammy got a new set of eyes, real eyes. Nika said it was a beautiful moment, but I stayed here with you.”

    “I wish I could’ve been there…stupid dickhead and his bomb…”

    Dallas wheeled her into a small rec room in the outpatient clinic, with wide and clean windows for watching the sunrise.

    “How’s this? Just like old times…minus the bar. And the pool table…”

    “It’ll do,” Emily chuckled, “about as home as a hospital’s going to feel for me.”

    He moved her over to a bench with a good view, watching the yellow and purple hues break across the Moscow cityscape. Emily smiled a bit, remembering how long it had been since she had appreciated a sunrise, especially a human one.

    “How are you feeling, honestly now?”

    “It’s…difficult,” Emily said with resignation, touching the parts of her face that still remained slightly limp, “obviously I’ve had better days physically. Then sometimes I feel like I know exactly what I’m talking about, just for someone to tell me I’m using month old information. I feel like I’m just…half-fried out.”

    “I’ll be here as long as you need, for whatever you need. Anything that’ll make you feel better.”

    “I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” she replied.

    He leaned in close, giving her a kiss and a sad look, afraid she would try to escape her room or make some kind of statement that she was healthy.

    “You don’t have to be brave with me, you know.”

    “I’m not being brave, I’m being resolute.”

    “What’s the difference?”

    “My willpower’s always been the strongest thing about me, Luxuria made me realize that,” Emily replied, staring into his eyes. “I changed my world, I survived alone, I killed men and saved men, I beat a dozen phantoms in my head, including her; and I did it all because I wanted to. I will not be broken, not by any human and certainly not by any alien. So when I say I’m going to get better and we’re going to go home and have the best damn life we can think of, you can bet on it.”

    Jack smiled widely and kissed her again, holding her tightly for a few moments. “I believe you.”

    Emily was glad to feel his arms around her again, and just as happy to have hers around him. As he pulled away, she noticed the sun had finished breaking, casting its white light throughout the cold Moscow streets. She pulled her wheelchair back a bit and spun around, backing the handles towards Dallas.

    “Let’s go get breakfast, hm? You think they have cinnamon rolls here?”

    “I'm sure we can find out,” Jack cleared his throat and chuckled, trying to quickly wipe away a tear of his own.
     
  15. ZombieSplitter53

    ZombieSplitter53 Game Master Staff Member

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    Adrammalech & ZombieSplitter53
    "Friends Across the Galaxy"


    Moscow Heritage Garden
    Moscow, Russian Federation
    January 11, 2019 - 10:45 AM

    Jack wheeled Emily through the walkways of the park, letting her get a healthy dose of the outdoors during her time away from the hospital, despite the winter cold. She smiled a bit at all of the signs and lampposts, covered in fresh snow. Although she hated being bundled up as she was, the sight of all the snow was worth it.

    “So, who wants to visit me already?” Emily asked.

    “Sunny, who else?”

    “You make a good point,” Emily smiled.

    “They should be here any minute, in fact,” he said, looking over at the roads nearby.

    As they watched, a large humvee pulled up. From the back, the short engineer jumped out, wearing a large, encumbrance jacket, looking like a walking, pudgy snowman. Behind her, Jake slipped out, wearing heavy clothing, though not nearly as heavy as Sunny. The pair quickly approached, Sunny wrapping her arms around Emily as soon as she was within arms length. “Emily! I’m so… I… I knew you’d be okay!”

    “I’m glad,” Emily smiled, hugging her as tightly as she could, “you’d be surprised how many people are silly enough to worry about me.”

    “I’ll give you two some space,” Jack smiled, making sure Emily had control of her chair and then walking over to another part of the park.

    “How are you doing?” Emily asked to Sunny.

    Sunny rubbed the back of her neck. “I… I-I’m okay. I just… I’ve been worried. I’ve been packing things up, expecting you… I knew you’d be alright, I did, but… but when it started to take a while, I… started to worry a little.”

    “Bah, just baby nap,” Emily replied in a poorly conceived Russian accent.

    Sunny smiled faintly, though it was obviously forced. “You… you are always so strong. But… but sometimes it scares me. Like… you don’t know how to show weakness. I… I just hope Jack is making sure you… you know, are not pushing yourself.”

    “I know, trust me. I don’t plan to do anything like that again…and hopefully I won’t be put in a position where I need to,” Emily explained more seriously. “I’m taking it easy…the faster I get out of the hospital, the happier I’ll be.”

    Sunny nodded. “We… we have a family life to start, right. Together, in a much more peaceful setting then this. Away from all this… senseless fighting… and killing…”

    “That’s right, we’ll have a slice of the old life again. Hopefully the area Jack and I are looking at isn’t too burnt up…for more reasons than one…”

    Sunny nodded in agreement. She looked around herself, as if looking for something that wasn’t their, as Jake stepped forward, offering his hand. “Hey, Em. How’s the old noggin’ doing?”

    “Not bleeding anymore,” Emily managed a smirk. “So pretty good, as far as mine goes.”

    “Good to hear.” He rubbed the back of his head nervously. “I, uh… I’m shipping out soon. And I’m glad you woke up before I did. I owe a lot to you, and it would suck if I didn’t get to thank you one last time before I left.”

    “Shipping out? Where are you headed?”

    “Canada,” Jake answered. “Going to help with the rebuild effort, and maybe start a more stable life with the girls and… well, with the woman I might never have found the courage to talk to if you hadn’t helped me.”

    Emily smiled. “That’s great, I’m happy for you two. Where at in Canada? You know, Jack and I are likely going somewhere very close to the border.”

    “Probably back to Nunavut to help Atka’s people get back on their feet.” Jake frowned. “Their homes were pretty much decimated. They might have to move onto a city life, but I’d like to help them rebuild what they had. If not, we might head back to Toronto, where Atka lived before X-COM.”

    “Ah, thats a good ship ride away from us…still, we’ll send some Christmas cards,” Emily chuckled. “You’re gonna freeze in Nunavut though, you know that right?”

    “Tell me about it.” Jake shivered a bit. “Wouldn’t give it up, though.” He smiled at Sunny, and said, “We have a lot in common, Jack and I. Both of us found the love of our life in this turmoil. Both of us plan to start a family, with at least one lovely girl as a daughter. And both of us… almost lost our love, only for them to come back to us.”

    Emily smiled towards Sunny, not interested in rejecting the label if she wouldn’t. “Yep, we both have good stories. We should write a couple of books one day.”

    Jake nodded, and glanced to the side, grinning at what looked like a collection of snow floating in the air, as if it was sitting on something unseen. “Hey, lets… give Emily a second to rest alone while we talk to Jack, Sunny.” He looked at Emily and nudged his head to the side before the two walked off.

    Emily blinked rapidly at the anomaly. “Hello?”

    Tiala slowly came into view, shivering slightly despite the protective shield she was using. “H… h-hello, Emily. I… I was not sure if you… I… too wanted to see you before I left.”

    “It’s good to see you,” Emily replied. “How are you doing? I never really got to see how everyone held up in that room, given what I was up to…”

    “I am well, thanks to you. You… you saved me, but… but it was all I could do to stabilize you.” Tiala bowed her head slightly. “I… owe much to you, Emily. As do the entirety of my race. It is… ironic, considering how we first met.”

    “Indeed, you yelled at me if I remember right,” Emily squinted, trying to remember correctly. “Must’ve been funny working alongside the person you were afraid would be released.”

    “It was, though in the end, it was I seeking her forgiveness.” Jan’tiala slowly shook her head. “I… had hope for you people. But you… I-I looked down on you for your connection with Luxuria. As if there was something wrong with you. It was foolish of me, and I never properly apologized to you. If it hadn’t been for people like you, and Atka, and Desmond, and even Ammelia, I… would have remained by Conquests side, and shared his fate.”

    “You did the right thing when the time came, you saved my life from the sound of it, and I assume you’re going home to spread the cure,” Emily said, “as far as we go, we’re good on all counts. Friends, even.”

    “Friends… I like that. And I hope we will remain so for a long time. Should I… when I return, after our world is destroyed, we can… do something… human friends do…” Tiala tapped her chin. “Have you… ever had something called a chocolate shake?”

    “A milkshake?” Emily thought back, “God, I haven’t had one of those in forever. But yeah, all the time when I was a kid.”

    “Then we have a plan.” Tiala dropped her small shield, shuddering as a cold breeze blew across her, and extended a hand. “Until we meet again.”

    Emily shook her hand, smiling towards her. “Until next time.”
     
  16. Adrammalech

    Adrammalech Well-Known Member

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    Adrammalech and Frostlich1228: The Doves of Parting
    Moscow Zoo
    Moscow, Russian Federation
    January 12th, 2019 - 12:45 PM

    Jack moved over the decorative pathways of the Moscow Zoo, smiling at the marsupial exhibit on either side of them, a couple of kangaroos hopping around on the left and possums climbing large, branchy trees on the right. The zoo had reopened only days ago since the Moscow attack, making it a good spot for their meeting. Better yet, a flash of an XCOM patch was more than enough to get through the door. Although winter made for less of a crowd, there were still plenty of other visitors. A group of kids and their parents rushed around them, screaming with excitement for the next exhibit down the path.

    “Not as quiet as the last one,” Emily noted, the sound hitting her head a little harder than normal.

    “You’re the one who wanted to see the zoo,” Jack smirked.

    “I just wanted to see if they had a chryssalid exhibit now…so I could throw things at them.”

    “I think that’d still be against the rules.”

    “Bah…”

    Emily swiveled around towards the entrance, hoping to see her visitor.

    Ammy stood straight in a long white dress with a thick, furry scarf wrapped around her neck. She regretted not having anything fancy in her closet that wasn’t white, but she’d just have to deal with something a little more plain. Ammelia smiled as she walked up and brought her arms around Emily, “It’s so good to see that you’re alright.”

    Emily hugged her back. “Good as new,” Emily joked, moving her wheelchair a bit to contradict herself. “It’s good to see you again. The ship was a little less personal than our old room.”

    “Yeah, I wish I could’ve saved all those pictures that Fox drew of me. Would’ve really liked to see them now I can, well, see.” Ammelia added.

    “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind drawing more, if you can pull him away from Eve that is.”

    “I don’t think I’m that strong.” Ammy replied, giggling a little before looking over at Jack, “Enjoying the zoo?”

    “Yep, feels like forever since we saw an actual peaceful animal,” he replied, looking around. “I trust this Moscow visit is going better than your last?”

    “It’s nice to see everything relatively normal after that. They’ve been pulling the repair money to good use.” She stated, looking around at all the buildings.

    “And kids are actually running around, having fun,” he noted.

    “A good reminder of what we did,” Emily smiled. “Not all killing and bombing, but making everything safe for the average civilian.”

    “Well then, let’s go see the animals. I’m really looking forward to the toucans, I remember someone telling me that they’re really colorful.” Ammelia responded happily.

    “That’s right,” Emily wheeled forwards on her own, Jack walking beside her, “we have to see all the colorful animals. Peacocks, toucans, all those crazy birds. I wish I could’ve been there when you woke up…”

    “Well, you’re here now.” She smiled, “And besides, I was just ogling all the different colors in the room the whole time, anyway.”

    “I’m sure, not many people could know what that feels like. Still, I’m happy for you. Seems like yesterday we were all moving in together, scoping each other out before that Kyoto mission. Time gets weird in an underground base, I guess…” Emily thought out loud.

    “It may have went by fast, but I wouldn’t trade a second of the time I spent with you all away.” She replied.

    “Me either,” Emily replied, smiling as they passed the primate exhibit and looking at the swinging monkeys. “So, are you going to Cross Tech once it’s all said and done, or sticking with the group?”

    “Mmhm, I’ll be going back to Cross tech with Buniq. I’m hoping XSDF will have some sort of reserve I can join if they ever need me again, though.” She answered, watching the adorable chimps closely.

    “That’s great,” Emily smiled. “I’ll have to hitch a ride on Alice’s craft sometime and visit you with Sunny.”

    “Speaking of which, where are you guys going to stay?” Ammelia asked, looking over at the nearby Panda exhibit.

    “Somewhere around the edge of New Hampshire, haven’t picked an exact place yet though. We want to be close to my parents and his parents, and also somewhat close to New York too, for Sunny’s sake. Of course, they all have to be in different directions.”

    “But with Alice’s new plane thing, it should work,” Jack noted.

    “Hopefully. Might take some adjusting, but we’ll figure it out,” Emily nodded.

    “I just wish Jessie was staying closer to the rest of us, but I understand why she wants to be with Modya here in Russia. Maybe I could convince my dad to open up a new branch of Cross Tech here… I wouldn’t want Jessie’s talents to go to waste after all.” Ammy explained.

    “No way, you’re not allowed to go that far from us,” Emily replied in a joking tone.

    “I know right? It’s almost like she’s a grown woman!” Ammy stated jokingly, “But in all honesty, I just don’t want to miss her. I’m going to miss a lot of my friends after we part ways…”

    “Yeah, it’s going to be hard. I’m still not in that ‘it’s all over’ mindset, still got adventures ahead once I get out of this chair. Just those adventures are… much different than the old ones.”

    “Speaking of adventures… Are you two going to have… you know…” Ammy asked, trying to get them to understand without exactly saying it.

    “Kids?” Emily thought for a minute, “I don’t know, honestly. We have Sunny, but…maybe, later on down the road. We still have to move, and get married properly of course.”

    “Me and Buniq talked about maybe... Adopting one, or cloning one some time… But it’s going to be a while at the very least….” Ammy said, rubbing the back of her neck.

    “Really?” Emily’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you were that serious yet, to be talking about it. I didn’t even think you had gotten ‘intimate’ yet.”

    “Well, we haven’t… But I told her that we didn’t have to be intimate to love each other…” She said, “But that doesn’t mean we’ll never be intimate, I just want to go at her pace.”

    “Oh, that’s sweet,” Emily smiled. “Reminds me of Fox, kind of…”

    Ammy laughed a little, “Is it weird that I’ve already got a few names in mind?”

    “Not at all,” Emily grinned. “I do too, and I don’t even know if I want one…”

    “Yep, same here,” Jack said, returning from the railing of the polar bear exhibit.

    “I can see so, sooo much further now... “ Ammy said looking around and then straight up, “I swear when I saw the sky for the first time I almost passed out...”

    Emily looked up as well. “It is pretty great. I could show you the Ethereal sky, but it probably wouldn’t be so amazing when you’re not even used to this one.”

    “I was thinking about taking Buniq with me for my first Sunrise, like that time we sat in the Holo-room at the base… The first time I realized how I truly felt about her…” Ammelia spoke, sighing slightly.

    “I’m sure you two will be very happy, wherever the next few months take you,” Emily assured.

    “And I’m sure you two will as well…” Ammy replied, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, “Now let’s go see those toucans!”

    “You heard the lady,” Emily said to Jack with a dramatic fingerpoint, who grabbed the handles on her wheelchair. “Race to the toucans!”
     
  17. ZombieSplitter53

    ZombieSplitter53 Game Master Staff Member

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    "Full Circle"


    X-COM HQ, The Arkbird
    Room of Ammelia & Mary
    Jan 13th, 1400 Hours

    As Aergian rounded a corner, her helmet in hand, and made her way towards one of the last people she wished to say goodbye to, she was surprised to see Tiala already outside the door, hesitating to knock. The older Ethereal places a hand on the younger ones shoulder, and without a word, the two nodded at each other, and Aergian knocked on the door.

    Ammy smiled as the door opened, stilling getting used to the bright hues of Aergian's outfit, "Aergi, Tia. It's great to see you!"

    "And you, Ammelia," Tiala responded with a how.

    Aergian tilted her head. "Is your... sister here as well?"

    "She's using the ladies room right now, she should be out in a minute." The sniper answered.

    The two Ethereals nodded, and stepped into the room. Tiala glanced at her companion and said, "I believe we are here for the same reason. With the Temple ship poised to leave, we... wish to say farewell."

    Ammy's eyes widened, "Wait... You're leaving? I didn't know..."

    Aergian nodded. "I am afraid so. I have much to do with the others if I am to prevent my people from falling back into their old ways, and to help correct the atrocities caused by my research."

    "And I want to help my people clean the psionic illness off of our planet," Tiala added. "I hope to return here some day, but I must complete this task first."

    Ammy lowered her head slightly, but understood why they had to go. "Well, just keep in mind that your cycles are just a little bit longer than our years. I don't want to be an old lady the next time I see you."

    "I can assure you, Ammelia, it may be a while, but we will see each other again," Aergian assured her. "Once I have helped I have helped my people form a more stable government, I will return to visit my...my first true friends."

    A few tears rolled out of Ammy's eyes and she brought them in for a hug. Mary took a few steps out of the bathroom and witnessed the scene. "Aergian? Tiala? 'At're ye' two 'oing 'ere?" (Aergian? Tiala? What're you two doing here?)

    "We... we are saying goodbye before we return to our planet to help it recover," Jan'tiala answered.

    Mary nodded slowly, "Yer' 'eaving, huh? Prob'ly 'or th' 'est, who 'ows 'ow th' 'eople 'ere 'ill 'eat ye' 'ow at th' war is 'one, an' 'omeone 'eeds te' 'ive th' rest of yer' race eh' 'ood boot forwards." (You're leaving, huh? Probably for the best, who knows how the people here will treat you now that the war is done, and someone needs to give the rest of your race a good boot forwards.)

    Aergian nodded. "You always have a direct way of looking at things. While I do look forward to the day I can see you again, I hope enough time passes that my people will not be stoned on sight, regardless of who much we deserve it. We are a good people, but were led astray. But I believe with the other's help, our people can be led back down what the Path was meant to be."

    Tiala dipped her head a bit. "I... I do hope that... there are some now that... that know we are not all bad..."

    "'Ell, eh' 'ow eh' do." (Well, I know I do.) Mary replied, smiling.

    "And so do I..." Ammy added, looking up at Aergi.

    Aergian nodded, though privately she said, As... silly as it might sound, I believe Tiala seeks your approval. As I understand it, the three of you did not meet on the best of terms, and has done much to follow your advice in proving her trustworthiness.

    "Both of you have done so much to redeem yourselves... I'm sorry I ever doubted you Tiala..." Ammy said softly.

    Jan'tiala's eyes widened, and she gave Aergian a suspicious look. "What? No, no, I... I only... you... you had a right to doubt me, Ammelia. The... my actions to not change the deception of my cohorts, or my assistance in their crimes. I... I would thank you for your doubt. It... i-it motivated me. Had you and Mary not suggested the inhibitor, I may have never earned anyone's trust in time."

    "You should thank yourself, Tia." Ammy smiled.

    "Ye' 'id 'eat te' Aergian, ye' 'id 'omthing te' 'ix yer' mistake 'stead of mopin' 'bout it. Je' 'ook at 'at we 'ere able te' do 'anks te' you." (You did great too Aergian, you did something to fix your mistake instead of moping about it. Just look what we were able to do thanks to you.) Mary spoke.

    Aergian bowed her head. "I believe we all have something to be proud of. And I would thank you for your part in taking down our so-called Exalted leader. Considering your condition afterwards, it obviously was not easy."

    Ammelia sighed, "I'm going to miss you two... Is there anyway we can contact each other? The Honored overseer must've had some way to contact his homeworld."

    "Indeed," Jan'tiala said. "We plan on keeping in touch using our hyperwave relays. However, the number of them and their use will be limited. They are quite delicate, and made of materials that must be regulated by the XSDF." She smiled. "Of course, one has already been given to Cross Tech for their role in the war and their part in the XSDF's future. So... it will be a simple matter of asking your father to use it."

    "Then I'll make sure to contact you at least twice a month. Wouldn't want you to get lonely out there." Ammy replied cheerfully.

    Acedia scratched her chin. "You... you jest, but I could use someone to talk to with... all the work..." She smiled at Ammelia and Mary. "I... I had a proposal for you two..."

    Ammelia tilted her her while Mary raised her eyebrows slightly. "What is it?"

    "Well... in a few years, when our world has returned to its former glory, could you two... maybe visit it? I... I would bring you there myself, and it is quite lovely..."

    The request seemed to surprise her a little, but she quickly considered it, "I'd love to, assuming your kind wouldn't harbor any grudges against humans."

    Mary considered it too, taking a little longer to reach a decision, "Eh'... Eh' 'uess eh' could... Beh' eh'm 'ot 'ure Ay'me 'ould 'ant me 'oing te' th' 'thereal 'omeworld without 'eing 'ere te' 'protect me." (I... I guess I could... But I'm not sure Ayame would want me going to the Ethereal home world without being there to protect me.)

    Tiala nodded. "Of course. I would only be for a while. Maybe a few months. And she would be welcome."

    "It is, of course, something for future thought." Aergian extended her two right arms. "It was a pleasure to have come to know you. I owe much to you... and I look forward to the day we see each other again." Tiala nodded in agreement.

    "So do I, Aergi..." Ammy said as she wrapped her arms around the Ethereals once more, turning her head to give Mary a inviting look. The gunner sighed, smirking as she walked up and joined in, making sure not to crush them with her modded arms.
     
  18. Adrammalech

    Adrammalech Well-Known Member

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    ZombieSplitter53 and Adrammalech
    “Farewell For Now”

    Friendship Park, Outside of the Ethereal Temple Ship
    Moscow, Russia
    January 14th, 2019 - 4:00 PM

    The last of the exchanged Earth technology was loaded onto the Temple Ship as the last of donated Ethereal technology was moved off. A large number of the remaining X-COM soldier and staff came to see the Ethereals send off, as well as a number of civilians from across the country, some even from other parts of the world. Many had angry expressions, prompting the local authorities and XSDF official to watch them carefully. Many others looked relieved. The majority simply looked up at the massive hovering ship with awe.

    Morrigan offered her hand to Carthigi, who cautiously accepted it. “So… straight home?”

    For the most part. We must first stop in a star system… Carthigi paused to do some quick conversions. …approximately 1.34 parsecs from here. We have forces engaged with a planet known as Tamear, and naturally, we must tell them to stand down. Fortunately, their impressive defense-focused resistance has resulted in us doing less harm to their world then yours. We can only hope their logic focused society means they will be at least as accommodating as you have been.

    We will then head back to our home. We will not rest until until our home is completely habitable again. Sapentia bowed his head. And, of course, we shall remember our agreement to assist all who have been subjected under our former Commander.

    Provided you keep up your end of the bargain, and make sure they do not retaliate against us. We can not very well help anyone if we are fighting to defend our civilians.

    “You have our word.” Morrigan shook Sapentia’s hand. “Until next we meet.”

    The pair of Ethereals nodded, and turned back to the ship. Morrigan walked over to say her farewell to Luxuria, a little surprised to see who she was talking to.

    Luxuria stood at the foot of the light staircase going up to the temple ship, knowing she had said goodbye to most of the humans she had met, other than one. Jack pushed Emily close, and then she leaned back and grabbed his hand. Emily nodded towards Jack and he let go, allowing her to wheel herself over to Luxuria. The violet-eyed twin turned towards her and gave a sad smile, happy to see her moving but sad to see her before she left.

    “So, this is it,” Emily sighed.

    “Yep,” Luxuria replied, trying to hide her pained expression. “I’m going home…for the first time in what feels like forever.”

    “I heard you got a new job.”

    “Yes, I will be a chancellor, one of the leaders of the new government. Along with Sapentia, Acedia, and someone else.”

    “Someone else?”

    “Some apologist named Carthigi, the shadow of the old guard as far as I’m concerned,” she crossed her arms, smiling a bit.

    “You don’t seem very angry for those words…”

    “Because I’m not, it’s been a long time since I had a good rival,” Luxuria grinned. “I can’t wait to crush her in some debates…it’ll be just like old times.”

    Emily smiled back. “Sounds like you’ve got it all worked out. What are you going to oversee?”

    “Diplomacy mostly, although I’ll be very vocal in any decision I can get my hands on. An overhaul of our schools of thought is needed, from education to philosophy. I will provide that overhaul…whether they like it or not.”

    “Don’t become a dictator, now…you don’t want your message to morph into the one you’re erasing.”

    “I’d be worried if I was still the old me, but I know the line now,” Luxuria paused, staring sadly at Emily. “I have…changed so much since then. You gave me a second chance when I didn’t deserve one. You didn’t look down on me and try to tell me what was right, you simply guided me there.”

    “Luxuria, please, I didn’t…”

    “You gave me this,” she voice cracking as she looked down at her body. “I am beautiful now. I love and am loved. I think freely and burn brightly, and it’s all because of you.”

    “You changed me too, Luxuria…you gave me something good to work towards, something powerful to use. You made me think about how I looked at people…and I began connecting to them and relying on them. You don’t owe me anything…it was…”

    “A mutually beneficial arrangement?” Luxuria smiled wistfully.

    “I believe your first term was ‘an informal relationship,’” she chuckled.

    “And now it’s a friendship…something that meant little to either of us until now. I can say with no doubt that you are my best friend.”

    The massive ship began humming louder, generators kicking on for shielding and engines. The thrum of the hull intensified, the ship preparing to lift off the ground. Luxuria walked back towards Emily, the latter struggling to her feet. They hugged tightly, and Luxuria began to cry.

    “Th-this isn’t goodbye…” the ex-Ethereal sobbed.

    “Just farewell for now,” Emily assured.

    Luxuria pulled away and started heading up the stairs, a tear forming in Emily’s eyes as she watched the light fade away and the doors closed, her dear and unlikely friend preparing to vanish into the galaxy.

    Luxuria wiped her eyes clean and tried to shake off the overflow of emotions, briefly despising how hard it was to say goodbye now. She looked around the halls and decided to head towards the main laboratory, where Jan’tiala was crafting enough of the cure to restore their home planet. She opened the doors and knocked lightly on the alloy walls.

    “Hey…got a minute?” Luxuria asked, hoping she wouldn’t notice her reddened eyes.

    Tiala jumped a bit, having to catch a vial with her telekinesis. Oh… y-yes, Chancellor, what… can I do for you?

    “At ease,” she smirked. “This is a social call.”

    I see. Tiala moved her equipment to the side, a turned to Luxuria. What did you need?

    “How are you doing?” Luxuria asked. “You were free long before me…I imagine you made many friends before we got to this point…”

    Tiala’s eyes darted around. I… I suppose given my position, you might have cause to believe… that… She turned back to her equipment, fiddling with it a bit. Though… I quickly came to find that… that I was almost as much a tool to them as the others. Even Conquest… despite his initial kindness, eventually came to use me as well. I… I believe I only truly had one friend before coming to Earth… and I was afraid I would be alone when Conquest took him from me…

    Luxuria looked surprised. “I suppose that’s something we have in common than…that and we both got to watch him suffer.”

    Yes… but it… it did surprisingly little to make it better. Besides… I have not forgotten that it was not by his direct hand that Avaritia died…

    “About that…” Luxuria sighed, “I wanted you to know that I forgive you…for your part in that.”

    Tiala gave her a surprised look. You… I… w… w-why. I… I do not… feel it is something that can be forgiven.

    “Maybe not forgotten,” she replied, “but you were not the mastermind, the one who was is gone, and you are trying hard to remedy your mistake. You don’t deserve to shoulder the blame further, or think that I despise you.”

    Oh… I… th-thank you… I… Tiala diverted her eyes. And I… I promise to… to rid us of this vile disease. I will… make sure the deaths of our closest friends were not in vain. I… will make my people proud.

    “I trust you,” she said softly. “We all do, when it comes down to it.”

    Tiala wiped her eyes before turning back to Luxuria. So… I guess I have a lot of work to do. Aergian has agreed to help me. I… only hope she is not setting herself up for too much work, considering her… work ethic.

    “I think she may surprise you,” Luxuria chuckled. “I’ll see if I can track her down for you, if she’s not doing anything important.”

    Tiala nodded. Thank you. She turned back to her work. There is much to do… and less time to do it in.

    Luxuria smiled and turned away, heading back through the ship and looking for her newfound and work-shy friend.
     
  19. MarineAvenger

    MarineAvenger Operator 21O Staff Member

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    “From a Void of Dark to a Heart of Gold” Part One
    MarineAvenger solo with special guest cameo from ZombieSplitter53


    Outside XSDF Headquarters
    Moscow, Russian Federation
    January 12th, 2019 - 9:45 PM

    As Asher stood outside the headquarters, two armed guards standing by his side as they waited out in the snow, a few streetlights lighting the road as the snow fell around them. Asher wore a long trench coat, the ends lifting up slightly with the breeze. Scratching his head, the operative looked at his escorts. How much longer for this bodyguard of mine for the evening? When I said I wanted to get off base for a little while, I didn’t mean stand out here and freeze. He asked using his telepathy. A couple of days before the original XCOM base had been destroyed, Asher had been granted permission to enter the psi pods. Luckily, he was a match and he was unlocked the purple variant, not having much in the way of actual powers but he was finally able to speak freely for once without relying on a pad, and he could do some special things as well.

    The clone held out his hand, a strand of wispy purple psionic power flowing from them, coiling around his arm and dancing around in the air. It wasn’t anything combative or otherwise useful, but he found amusement in controlling the strand of power around himself and others.

    “He will come when his ride gets here. Now pipe down, we don’t like this anymore than you do.” One of his probation guards stated.

    Asher rolled his eyes, looking excited as a plain black Sedan pulled up to the curb, the door opened and a wave of heat rolled out. Inside, the large bald man looked up at Asher. “Well, get in.” Asher looked confused at the man, never seeing him before but he quickly got in and closed the door. One of the guards walked around the side of the car and leaned down as the window was rolled down.

    “You sure you can handle this guy? He has taken down guys around your size before...and Moscow is a big city.” The guard looked at Asher and side, a look of both sympathy and worry on the young man’s face.

    I could have taken down both of you in the snow, and I didn’t, now did I?

    The younger guard tensed. “No...I guess not. Here, take this just in case.” He handed the man what appeared to Asher as a Guass Pistol and the large man put it in his coat.

    “I can handle him. He will not run.” The driver assured the guard.

    “Alright...if you say so.” The guard’s eyes looked at Asher and he gave him a slight wave. “Have fun, stay out of trouble, and remember the curfew is midnight.”

    Asher nodded and the guard smiled. “Alright, he is all yours Bull.”

    Bull nodded and he rolled up the window, driving away from the base and down the deserted road back into the inner parts of the city.

    As they drove on in silence, Asher watched the city from the window. Some people walked the streets, heavy coats covering themselves. Some of them were heading into camps set up for people without homes and others just enjoying the night. As the car came to a stop, Asher broke his gaze from the city and looked at Bull as he pulled the keys out of the ignition. “We are here.”

    Where? The operative asked, looking around for anything significant.

    “Nowhere major. We are keeping it low key for tonight.” Bull exited the vehicle and Asher proceeded to do the same, stepping out into the snow and closing the car door as he walked around and followed Bull into a small place stuck in between a blown out diner and an apartment building.

    Surprisingly, the bar Bull had taken Asher to was fairly well kept, the immediate impression blowing away the outside look. There was a moderate amount of people inside, the T.Vs playing some old black and white movies with people speaking in Russian, some of them having captions. The air had a slight smile of cigar but mostly just the smell of greasy food, a weird mix in Asher’s mind.

    Bull sat down at a booth on the far left wall and Asher sat across from him, an older woman walking up to the two and asking what they would have in Russian.

    Bull shifted in his seat and said, “Dve svetovyye kofe i nekotoryye pustyni , yesli u vas yest'.” (Two light coffees and some desserts if you have any.)

    The waitress nodded with a slight smirk, walking away towards the kitchen.

    YA ne ponimayu, vy govorili po-russki . (I did not realize you spoke Russian.) Asher said mentally to Bull, smirking a bit.

    “I speak quite a few languages.” Bull said simply. “All of the Elites do. Just not a lot of people didn’t speak English during our time at XCOM, so there was no need. Though I could say the same to you.”

    Never know when it could be useful in the field. Though strangely enough I can understand Latin so...not really sure where that would come in to play but I have it regardless.

    Bull crossed his arms and leaned back to get comfortable. “So what is your story?”

    Asher tilted his head. Could you be more specific?

    “How you were made, what sorts of things do you know, stuff like that.” The heavy told Asher.

    I don’t see how any of that is your business…

    “It isn’t, but do you really want to sit here in silence the whole time? I imagine you have had quite enough of silence.” Bull retorted.

    You are strangely observant. Almost misleadingly so.

    “No one suspects the big one to be smart. That is one of my best qualities. Now are you going to talk or what?”

    Asher stared at Bull for a few moments, a small semblance of a smirk on the corner of his mouth. Alright...where to begin? I was created for special operations, mostly assassination. Although the leader of EXALT at the time ordered me to be made, my creator was an older woman. All I really know about her was that her name was Hazel. Whether it was her first, last, or just nickname I am unsure of but regardless, she was the one who oversaw me.

    Bull nodded. “Do you want to find out more about her?” He asked.

    Asher looked at the table and picked at a crack in the table. I’m not sure. Maybe. Though without knowing much about her to begin with, I would have no idea where to start.
     
  20. MarineAvenger

    MarineAvenger Operator 21O Staff Member

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    “From a Void of Dark to a Heart of Gold” Part Two

    “There are probably records of the staff from the EXALT base that wasn’t destroyed. I am sure you could at least find something in those. Since you are somewhat close to the Legion woman...uh, Elene...yes, that was her name, you might ask her for assistance.”

    I could. Though I am...unsure how she really feels about me. I swear she is an infuriating person to read...like staring at a blank wall...even though you know something is there.

    “Maybe you aren’t as good as you claim.” Bull suggested.

    Are you trying to earn my ire on purpose? Asher asked annoyed.

    Bull chuckled. “No, I suppose not. Though I would like to ask about how your other relationships are going?”

    Asher hesitated. You...I swear you are playing at something here…

    Bull held up his hands. “I am not playing at anything. You might not understand but this is actually how people socialize in the real word. Might help if you weren’t so resistant.”

    Really? People do this on a regular basis? Maybe my cell wasn’t so bad...I think this will drive me crazier.

    “Was...is that supposed to be a joke?” Bull asked.

    You tell me. Asher asked, unsure himself.

    “This is more weird than I thought this would be...I can’t tell if you are being serious or you are actually playing a fool…”

    Is there a difference either way? Pretty much everything I say at this point is a mix of the two. I wasn’t born yesterday but a couple of months ain’t that far off.

    “We aren’t that far apart in actual age you know.”

    Yes, but different creators, different personality developments.

    “Touche.” Bull smiled as the waitress returned, placing their coffees down as well as a variety of cakes, pastries and other sweet treats. As she walked away, Bull reached for some sugar and put it in his drink, stirring it and taking a sip of the hot beverage.

    Okay, even I am not that competent but even I know coffee tastes bad without cream. Asher stated, looking at Bull’s drink with distaste.

    “What...I like it?” The heavy stated, taking another sip and pulling over a small plate with a brownie on it. “This place is better than I first thought. More like a family restaurant than an actual bar.” He took a bite and smirked, placing down his fork and taking another sip of his coffee.

    Something caught Asher’s eye, the operative pulling over the mug and looking at it. What is this? He asked, picking up a spoon and poking at it.

    Bull raised an eyebrow and looked over. “Ice cream.”

    What is it?

    “Just shut up and eat it.” Bull said.

    Asher did so, his eyes widening and the operative slowly putting the spoon down and pushing the mug away. T-That was...something. He blinked a few times, eyeing the dessert a few times but keeping his eyes forward.

    Bull raided an eyebrow again. “Uh...you okay there?”

    Fine... Asher bit his lip and looked around.

    The heavy shook his head and sighed. “Stop being modest and just eat the damn thing.” He said finally.

    Asher nearly jumped, shoveling in as much of the treat into his mouth as he could before he grabbed his head. Aaaaaaaaaa….the h-hell…?

    “Brain freeze. What happens when you eat something that cold as fast as you did.”

    W-Well it was...g-good...very… Asher shook his head and let out a cooled breath.

    Bull nodded, putting his chin against his hands with his elbows on the table. “So...back to my question...how are your relationships going?”

    Asher rolled his eyes and sat back. Well...Poinsettia...my girlfriend...has been busy. We have had some good times together but she is largely a free spirit. Something I both admire and fear...she is another woman I have trouble reading.

    “Do you love her?” He asked nonchalantly.

    I like her-

    “Not what I asked.” Bull said with a smile.

    Fine...I do love her. She is a little stubborn and brash but I enjoy her company. We are not exactly a trophy couple but I don’t think it would last any other way than it is now. For once, Asher smiled wholeheartedly and he scratched his hair.

    “Good. I don’t really enjoy rocky relationships. I have had enough drama like that for one lifetime...even though things turned out for the better. What about friends?”

    Not...many. A few people I know but none I would really call ‘friends’.

    “Well you know your template don’t you? What do you think of him?”

    He is a wimp.

    “Really? Wouldn’t that make you one as well?”

    Would all the security details and prolonged incarceration really brand me a wimp?

    “A fair point.” Bull noted.

    Asher sighed. He is a wimp...though from what I have heard, he has a big heart. The people who know him talk warm things and I have not really heard many bad things. Asher’s tone almost sounded neutral, but something was off.

    “You sure about that? I feel you are leaving something out…”

    I swear you must have a green wig in your back pocket. Asher growled slightly and shook his head. I...must say I am a little jealous. When I hear of how people think of them I can’t help but wonder how the same think the opposite of me.

    “Give people time. Things were not always so smooth when we first arrived but views change. If more people saw you like this, I am sure some would want to be your friend just for this.”

    If people say me like this I think I would die...are you sure you aren’t someone in disguise? You talk just like… Asher shook his hand. Never mind. I don’t even wish to think about her.

    “About who?” Bull asked, sitting forward.

    Drop it…

    “You sure?”

    Yes! Geez...you are just like Jessica…

    “Ah...that is who you were referring to. She worked in the gene-labs if I am not mistaken. A nice woman.”

    She is the devil incarnate, that is what she is. She is the most pushy, irritating, god damn...errr...I don’t even want to speak anymore about it, it makes me sick. Asher spit out in distaste.

    Bull nodded. “So your best friend?”

    Asher looked up to the ceiling and shrugged his shoulders, tilting his head and nodding. Mmm...pretty much, yeah.

    “See, some people care about you.” Bull glanced at the clock and frowned, taking a final sip of his second cup of coffee and sucking some chocolate off of his fingers. “We should get going.”

    Asher took in a deep breath and exhaled, Oh, alright. Let us depart.

    Bull and Asher got up from the booth, the former throwing a couple of bills onto the table, leaving a generous tip and the two walking out back into the snow, entering the black Sedan and driving back towards the HQ. Around halfway back, Bull stopped the car and put it in park, looking at Asher. “You could go. I wouldn’t stop you.”

    Asher looked Bull surprised and furrowed his eyebrows. Wha...no...this is obviously a test. The operative crossed his arms and shook his head. I can’t believe this.

    “This isn’t a test.” Bull unlocked the doors and took the pistol out of his coat, handing it to Asher who took it cautiously.

    W-Why? Asher asked. Why do this for me?

    “Let’s just say you remind me of a couple of people I know. Now are you going, or not?”

    Asher stared at Bull for a few moments before he undid his seatbelt, opening the door and stepping out into the snow. Asher closed the door, Bull opening the window and handing the operative a relatively fat wallet. “That ought to keep you on your feet for a good while, at least until you are able to stay on your feet by yourself. Though if I were you, I would stay away from anything XCOM related for a good while.”

    The operative nodded in acknowledgement, Bull smiling as he rolled up the window and drove off down the road. Asher stood there, watching until the taillights of the car disappeared. Asher still stood, watching to see if the car would return for a good while. When it did not, Asher scratched his head, his hair caked with a bit of snow, the operative turning and walking down the street in the opposite direction of the XSDF headquarters.