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A L Bertand
Old Wyrm
Old Wyrm

Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 316
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Jobs: City Guard, Gumshoe
Can Be Found: RhyDin, Teobern, Sainte-Ouen or the great outdoors
15882.26 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Situation Reply with quote

Zoe LaRocca prowled down the long hall leading from the armory to the lift leading up to the multitiered beehive of activity that was the Tower during the day. She was feeling both vexed and smug, and the combination bothered her deeply.

As soon as she was above sub five and the signal would connect, she patched in through her comm to the switcher, and connected to the secure line to Greyshott Place that technically didn't exist. Light flashed from the shaft each time the plexi panel front of the lift passed a globe lamp marking levels. One last flash and the interior core of the Tower dropped below her as the elevator continued to rise.

The line rang.

Saleh picked up the phone. "LaRocca," he breathed through an all-but-suppressed sigh. Didn't much like dealing with her. "Situation?"

"Serious. I need to talk to him." Her cool voice shimmered with a fraction of her growing unease.

It was serious. She didn't even pause to make fun of him. "Alright." Ten seconds later, Alain picked up. "Zoe. What's up?"

"I got a call from Ratliff, so I went to your toybox," her voice got a tiny bit acerbic, "to check. Your Dr. Harper had been there."

"What'd she take?"

"Got something to write with?"


"Good. It's quite a list." Drily. "One Colt 6920 automatic with a magpul and rails, ten additional magazines, a red dot scope, an MOS 500 tactical CRU breech rifle, ten extra magazines for that...."

He let out a Newbreton curse. "Where is she?"

"Oh. I'm not done." She took a dramatic, told-you-so breath and continued. "A Balkan grenade launcher, a belt drum for the Balkan and a crate of ammunition."

While she continued on the list, then, Alain hissed Saleh's name, giving him some very rapid instructions in French. Call Seamus. Coordinate with Colt. Find Harper.

"She apparently didn't have time to let him fit her for body armor. Just loaded the equipment in the back of that P.O.S. she drives and took off."

She paused for effect. "Three hours ago."

He was writing, too. "E-mail me a list of all records she's accessed in the archive in the last two weeks. And get the pilots we have on call... We've got three right now, yeah?"

"I'll have the list to you in five minutes. We have two available pilots. Selznik is off having a baby." She was walking now, her voice hollow in the open space along the railing overlooking the atrium.

"Goddamnit. Call our friend the boy wonder - Rodovic - and tell him it's from Harper, a search-and-rescue job. Six grand. Send him northwest, Holt north, and Jiesin away south. And put that effing bloodhound on the line."

There was a pause. "...Please tell me you've already tracked him down."

"We'll call him at home." That was a no. "I called you as soon as I got the pull list for the equipment. I thought you might like to know Armageddon was here," a hint of smug sarcasm there; she really didn't like Harper, "before I told anyone else. It'd be like spoiling Christmas otherwise."

"I'll call him. We're suspending your narc job. No time for it now." He hung up, then started dialing.

"I swear to God, I'll nail his balls to his ears if he doesn't pick up," Alain muttered before it started ringing.

Colt did pick up on the ring before his phone dumped the call into voicemail but his voice didn't immediately come through the line. That didn't mean there was silence on the other end, though. The usual rowdiness of the Busted Knuckle came through the line to greet Alain before Colt could step out the door and speak up.


"Harper's gone off the reservation with enough guns and ammo to start an insurrection. You know anything about this?" Straight to the point.

"No, no, no. I dropped Harper off at her place 'bout midday. She said she was gonna spend the night in," he reassured quickly but with each passing word, his stomach sunk further. ”Crap!"

"She's packing a pistol with a scope, a tac shotgun, a grenade launcher, plenty of ammo for each and no body armor. I know what's been happening lately, what happened to Nagadari, but..." He licked his lips. "I'm less worried who she plans to kill, more worried that she doesn't plan to come back from it. That's your top priority, bring her back alive. We'll take care of whatever mess she's out there making."

He shifted the phone to his shoulder, hissed another few words at Saleh in French, and continued, "She left from the armory in her jeep, three hours ago."

"I'll get her." He spoke quickly and it was clear by the way the phone was shifted that he was already on his way to his truck, digging his keys out of his pocket. For once, he wasn't trying to slip in insults to Alain. His entire focus was on his immediate supervisor. "Any idea of how much of a head start she has on me?"

"None. No direction." Dammit. Had Colt been cleared for the Division, told about the Tower? It doesn't matter, he decided in an instant. "She left from the corner of Hull Street and Drachaven Way."

Someone in the distance shouted his name but Colt didn't respond. The cab door of his truck gave a groan as it was yanked open. "I'm on it. No big deal. Anythin' else?"

"Shay's gonna be calling you. Keep him posted when you can. And bring her back alive... That's all." Click.

"A-hole," he muttered as he flipped the phone shut and tossed it into the passenger seat. The rumbly engine was revved to life and quickly shifted into gear.

((Based on live play with Alain DeMuer and Colt Daniels. Many thanks!))
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Colt Daniels
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time Harper had gone there with Jo, they'd stopped halfway and spent the night at the sort of roadside motel you might find in the middle of the desert in New Mexico. It wasn't far off from that, the road to Cadentia. There were old billboards, still. Joe Ray's BBQ five miles, one said. Five miles later, there was nothing but a memory of a shack on the side of the road. Westshire County Faire, boasted another, Prize Boars, Jellies, Dances.

She didn't stop to rest. She didn't stop for gas. It was, on that afternoon, like some large, unseen hands had taken two points from the map unfolded on the passenger seat of the jeep, RhyDin City and Cadentia, and simply folded the paper into fine accordion pleats that brought them near one another. It was like it was destiny.

The jeep never let her down.

Until the day it did.

Two miles outside of town, the buildings began popping up. Not as thick as they had been the last time she'd been there, and not as well-kept. Some essential illusion was giving way. But there were eyes watching her all the same., She could feel them. Something in the engine went 'ping'.

Then there was steam, pouring thick and white from under the hood until it seemed like she was driving through the fogs of dockside at night. She pulled over under the stony eye of a mid afternoon sun in the desert and watched her jeep gasping its last.

An hour and two burnt fingers later, she gave up on trying to get it going again. The saints in her pocket had fallen mute, and no friendly faces emerged from the few buildings strung along the road near her to assist. The sensation of being watched never abated. A gray slant of a look took in the angle of the sun, and she started unpacking the crates.

Both rifles slung over her shoulders, her pockets weighted down with all of the magazines she could cram into them, and she started walking, the Balkan and the rest of the munitions left behind.

The air swam actively. The only way it could when that hot, hot sun beat down upon asphalt. And the mind could play tricks on itself in the interim. Maybe an oasis here. Or a oncoming car there. But it was only desert and the abandoned jewel amongst it that had been Cadentia. The buildings still stood in disarray and disrepair, not even disturbed by looters or animals. But a fine layer of dust over everything. "Movement." A team said, tracking the vehicles on the road with a scope from far in the distance. They hadn't seen anyone in days.

Where Harper went, Colt followed. It was the nature of the bond. A dog and its mistress. Although, it would have caused him physical pain to put it in those terms. He couldn't even count the number of miles he had followed the smell of leaking coolant. His fingers tightened around the steering wheel, silently cursing Harper to pay attention. When the pick-up finally slowed to a stop behind the carcass of a jeep, it was clear that she had not.

Quickly he pulled a SIG Sauer from the glove compartment, holstering it as he slid out of the cab of the truck. But even as he approached, he knew it was too late for the jeep's poor engine. The smell of melted pistons might not be apparent to the average nose but Colt didn't have to look under the hood to know that the engine had seized up in an angry fit.

There was good news. He was faster on foot than Harper so he might finally be able to close the gap. And, considering his day thus far, he was eager to grasp a hold of the sliver of hope. Grabbing his pack from the back of the truck, he shouldered it, needing only a brief moment to find Harper's bouncing energy wake. It wasn't something he saw. It wasn't a scent. It was a feeling. One specific to Harper. Camping under an open sky. It was confirmed with a deep inhale of her scent and exhaling the citrus smell of her shampoo from his nose, he plunged ahead in the direction she'd left.

The sun was ferocious, the wind sere. It beat relentlessly down on her head and scoured the evaporating moisture from her skin before rivulets of sweat could ever begin to form. She blinked at sundevils through the lenses of her sunglasses and forged ahead. One mile, two. The buildings grew more frequent, and still not a soul. There was the corner where they'd asked directions to the hotel, before. There, ahead, was the bar and grill where they'd eaten and been drugged.

The heat in Georgia was that humid type that made it almost hard to breathe. Colt had always thought that worse than dry heat. But what Georgia had that this landscape didn't was the blessing of shade. Lots and lots of shade by way of big tall oaks that had been standing since the days of Sherman's infamous march. He'd give anything to have been in the Georgia woods rather than this hell.

Yet, in a way, he had it easier. He didn't have to concentrate on direction. Instead, all he had to do was focus on that bounding energy trail and he would follow in Harper's wake.

He wasn't even sure how long he'd been walking when he finally spotted her form. The brim of his baseball cap was tugged down further to help reduce the glare as he narrowed his eyes to confirm it wasn't his eyes playing a trick.

But, no. That was definitely Harper. He didn't trust his voice to carry far enough call to her. Instead, he whistled while extending his stride.

The sense of being watched was overwhelming. She pulled one of the guns off of her shoulder and checked the magazine, thumbing off the safety, before she stopped and turned.

"What are you doing here?" she said in a voice too low to carry. They were all around them now. She knew it. Her eyes darted left, right, up along rooflines and down at window level. Nothing moved.

There was a growl to his voice that grumbled low in response. "What the hell do you think I'm doing here?"

"You're going to get yourself killed." Her unhappiness was a raw, throbbing thing, palpable. "They're everywhere here."

"This sort of death would be better than the one that would be in store for me if you died without me." But there was less growl and none of the usual pain that entered his voice whenever memories of Yaya surfaced because he was already too busy testing the scents that danced around in the air. Desert. Sand. What anyone would expect out in the vast open space between Rhy'din city proper and the abandoned desert town.

A huff of an exhale was released as a glance was stolen skyward. "We're leavin'. Let's go."

"No. Not until I see it for myself. He's still here. I know it." Her face was sunburnt and flushed, and she was just shy of heat exhaustion but there was steel in the silver flash of her eyes.

"I don't have time for this crap, Harper. You don't have time for it either." Frustrated and tired, the growl easily slipped right back into his voice. "Look, I'm sorry your dip **** of an ex-boyfriend died. Really, I am. But this can wait. While you're out here being distracted there's demons runnin' crazy in RhyDin. We will deal with this after we deal with that. Let's go."

She stared at him for a minute, just stared. It started as a huff of breath that turned into a giggle. The giggle turned into a laugh in the windy silence of the desert.

"We have all the time in the world for this, Colt. This is all there is." Her shoulders shook with it. "Don't you see? They did all of this."

Another curse was released under his breath at her hollow laugh. It felt unearthly given their surroundings. He allowed another glance around at the question. "I don't care, Harper. I really don't care. Obviously you do. I get that so I'll be right there with you when you get your revenge. But he's dead so all you're after here is revenge. We have people we're supposed to be keepin' safe. You need to come back now."

It faded the same way it bubbled up, evaporated in the heat and the wind and blew away. "I was supposed to be keeping him safe. It's why I wouldn't date him for so long. I knew everything was going to fall to pieces, but I couldn't even do that. How am I going to protect anyone else?"

"He didn't die because of any of your demons." A hand wrapped itself around her upper arm as the laughter died, seizing onto her to beg for clarity. He dipped his chin to meet her eyes, lowering his voice further and letting it settle in calmly. "He clearly had his own stuff going on. You cannot protect everyone from everything. Like Yaya. Like how I couldn't protect her. You told me it wasn't my fault. If you believed that then you have to accept that this isn't either."

Whatever the link between them was, it connected, her shoulders sagging. "He killed him. He cut him loose when he knew what would happen, and then he sat back and just watched."

As her shoulders sagged, he released his hold from her arm and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. His eyes already moved in the direction he'd left the truck. "We'll come back, Harper. I promise you. We'll come back. But I need you to concentrate. I need you to get through this with me. Not just me. A lot of people do."

The wind moaned down the street, battered the back of the building across the dusty street. She looked up, looked around. Nothing was moving but an opaque wisp of cloud that would amount to nothing. She nodded.

And then, suddenly, there was movement. What should have been a sandstorm was military issue HUMVEEs rolling in a caravan from far in the distance, the rattle and whine of their engines loud. Men operated the .50 cal turrets that were aimed squarely at their destination. On the other side of the road was exactly the same, heading towards them from both directions. Overhead a chopper whirled past, not even bothering to hover.

Beads in the distance, only. But the line was coming and they were clearly greatly outnumbered and outgunned.

((Based on live play with the players behind Jochin and Harper.))
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A L Bertand
Old Wyrm
Old Wyrm

Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 316
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Jobs: City Guard, Gumshoe
Can Be Found: RhyDin, Teobern, Sainte-Ouen or the great outdoors
15882.26 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colt hissed a string of white-hot profanity under his breath as the air filled with sand. His arm remained around Harper's back, while the hand clutching her opposite shoulder tightened to draw them to a stop. "You keep quiet. Do you understand me? Just keep quiet and do not reach for a weapon. I'm not dyin' today."

After a deep breath in and a slow exhale out, he started them off in the direction of his truck. Just two people walking in the middle of nowhere. Loaded for bear. Not that it mattered at this point; they’d been spotted.

"If they're who I think they are," thready panic flavored the words," they work for a man named Cavanaugh. He's a handler for the Masons on Jo's Terra. I think he's gone crazy, too far away from home for them to keep close tabs on him. Jo and I came here about six months ago, following a trace from my phone. I had a friend - May - it sounded like her calling, but garbled. Strange. All we could get was that she was in some kind of trouble."

She kept an eye on the dust clouds, the storm approaching. "Jo'd slept with her, got her pregnant. They killed her sometime after that, but her body was hooked up to a machine... lots of other people, too, maybe missing people, maybe clones. I don't know. Whatever they were doing, it wasn't right. Jo shut it down."

The helicopter made another pass. "After that, things got bad for him."

Colt elongated his strides as far as he could without requiring Harper's shorter strides to need to break into a run to keep up. Despite the heat bearing down on them, he kept her close and focused on anything but Jo. "We're only a mile and a half or so from my truck. And it looks like I'm gonna get my wish. Gonna have to find you a new jeep."

She wasn't fooled. She knew what he was thinking. "I'm telling you this so you know who we're dealing with here." She'd dropped to a whisper, pushing her strides to their limit to keep up with him.

"Great. Consider me informed." He huffed under his breath, the line of his jaw set with a combination of worry and anger at being lied to earlier.

"I'm sorry," she added and fell silent after that, focusing on getting as close to the truck as they could in the time they had. The sun beat on and the dust cloud grew. Uncomfortable silence ate up the distance towards the broken-down hulk of her jeep and his truck behind it.

"We just want to leave," Harper said aloud as they passed the broken shamble of an old feed shop. "All we want to do is leave."

He hadn't bothered to lock the doors of the twelve-year-old Dodge; he never did. He threw his pack over the bed and she made a show of doing the same with her guns before climbing into the cab. Colt fished his key out as he opened the driver’s-side door. "Let's go." It had to be the fourth time he'd used that phrase.

The caravan grew, no longer just spots on the horizon. The chopper passed quickly overhead. The noise the blades made, dulled by the engineering of stealth, crescendoed once they were directly overhead. A sandstorm kicked up crystals of silicone that stuck in the tires. The vehicles came to a stop just behind the truck about the time he got his door shut. Helmeted men wearing reflective goggles leveled those turret-mounted weapons at them while two others in body armor, both carrying M249s, jumped out of the back of one HUMVEE.

Passing around the oncoming caravan, a black Cadillac with tinted windows pulled forward and stopped right behind those two faceless men. The door opened. Out hobbled a man no taller than 5'4" using a quad-cane with tennis balls on the tips, shuffling forward slow. Harper sat perfectly still in the passenger seat, back ramrod straight, and focused on controlling her breathing as she watched the devil himself hobble toward the truck.

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, it said under his chin.

Colt breathed in Harper’s fear, one hand on the steering wheel. He hazarded a reassuring pat to her thigh with the free one before settling it on the wheel in the two o'clock position.

“Boy.” On the opposite side, a tall, raven-haired man with café con leche skin emerged and approached the truck. Dreds hung down to his chin, framing the white slash of his smile. Despite his broad shoulders and heavyweight boxer's build, he heeled just behind the old man as he was called.

"Annie-Love?" Cavanaugh called. Boy didn't say a word. He just smiled and crossed very thick forearms over his chest. "Are you gonna come out of the car? You came all this way here I imagine to talk to me about what happened to Jo." Cavanaugh, in plaid, and gray slacks with suspenders, pulled a handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiped his glasses.

"Harper," Colt pleaded quietly. "Please do not get out of the truck."

Her hand slid to the side just far enough to touch the tip of her pinky to Colt, trying to reassure him. She left it there. The connection closed a circuit that gave her a little comfort, a little strength, the nerve to answer without letting her voice shake. "Kinda tired after that hike." She poured on her mama's drawl, the same honey-sweet tenor the old man had received the very first time they met, before she knew what he was. "You wouldn't mind if I stayed put, would you?"

"Can't exactly talk to you face-to-face that way." There was a touch of Ohio in Cavanaugh's All-American grandpa schtick. Sweat dropped from sparse gray hair to his brow. "It'd be downright rude if I didn't offer you my condolences on your loss face-to-face. Terrible thing that. Jochin," He pronounced it Sho-keen perfectly. Harper’s jaw clenched in response. "Well, he was a damn fine man and it's a tragedy he's gone. At least give me the opportunity to remember him with you."

Colt curled his finger around hers but kept his eyes straight ahead and his other hand on the steering wheel. Nothing was said. He didn't dare move. God, please do not let her get out of the truck.

"He was a good man. I see you have a new...helper." She didn't so much as twitch from the shoulders down.

"Someone's gotta take the mantle when the other Hunter goes rogue, ya know." Cavanaugh leaned heavily on the quad cane and ambled forward. In unison, the two men carrying SAWs moved forward toward the vehicle, weapons up and leveled at the ground. "Don't make me have to ask unkindly, Annie-Love. This is where our paths go in completely opposite directions so long as you stay off mine. Come out. Let’s talk. Then you go on and have a wonderful life forgetting I ever existed."

"Whatever you decide at the end of this, you let this man go free, unhurt," she said. "He didn't bring any fight to your door. He just wanted to shake some sense into me and take me home. Still wants to, and I'm amenable to that." Her eyes ping-ponged between the two side mirrors. "I'll have your promise before I do."

"Harper." Colt’s voice rose in a desperate hiss of a plea again.

"I'm a family man myself. I've got no issues with that gentleman." The safeties were off. That much was obvious. "Boy, why don't you help Miss Harper out of the car?" And Boy went. There was nothing gangly or untoward about the way he walked. It was all deadly grace, inherent danger. He moved the way a wolf moved after sick, old, or young prey.

"It'll be okay," she murmured under her breath. "He doesn't want me dead. Promise. Just stay put." She reached between them to clasp Colt’s hand and gave it a tight squeeze before her door swung open at the hands of the Masons' newest Hunter.

((Adapted from play with Colt and Jochin. <3 ))
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Colt Daniels
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dark man held his dark hand out to Harper, a broad, wolfish grin smeared across his face, and nodded to Colt in reassurance. He still didn't say a word. His dark eyes were unsettlingly lifeless.

"It'll be okay," she said again, and swung her legs out of the truck, dropping down out of the cab on her own, without taking the man's hand.

Boy didn't bother to walk behind Harper. He let her approach the old man alone, crossing his thick arms and watching Colt with a huge, inviting smile. Come and get some, it said. You know you want to.

Colt's hazel eyes ticked away from the steering wheel to narrow in on the large man. A growl bristled deep in his throat, but he stayed put with a pale-knuckled grip on the wheel.

Behind the truck, Cavanaugh approached so he could speak quietly over the desert winds.

"You know Annie-Love," he said like he was giving her a lollipop without her mom and dad knowing. "Normally when the Hunter goes rogue like Jo did, the Freemasons are supposed throw everything they have into killing him. But I was so close with the boy that all I did was convince the Priests to revoke his Blessing. If that’s what he wanted, that normal life, then I wasn't gonna keep it from him. I always saw him as a grandson, ya know. Molly would be right tore up if I had to come home and tell her I gave the order to have poor Jo killed."

"You knew what would happen to him." She wasn't buying into the grandpa Walton act. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, as if that could help her squelch the anger pressing out against her ribs. The wind was blowing hot and hard into her face, air and sand making her squint at him despite her sunglasses. "You knew he'd fall back into his addictions. You didn't warn him. You just cut him away and then sent those men."

"Oh, honestly, Annie-Love. Think. He was drunk most of the time. You really believe we would have done it like that? A spear, with everyone seeing? We could have just pushed him into the ocean and everybody would have thought he fell in. We could have sent a round through his head anytime we wanted to. No witnesses. No fuss."

"If it wasn't you, then who was it?" She still wasn't buying what he was selling, but something in her tone allowed for the slim possibility that he might - for once in his miserable life - be telling the truth. She glanced away for a moment to check on Colt and the Ape-boy. Neither had moved.

Cavanaugh pulled off his glasses and wiped the perspiration from them again with his handkerchief. "No idea. His enemies were our enemies, but he wasn’t a threat to anyone anymore. They should have left him alone, but that doesn't mean they would have.” He paused a beat to let her think about that.

“And ya know, Annie-Love,” he continued as he stuffed the handkerchief into his pocket. “All of that aside, who’d make me pay for it if I was responsible? You think all those guns you brought with you would've done anything in the end?"

"We'll never know," she answered sweet as sugar.

"You're right." He smiled jovially but his eyes were calculating. He took a step back from her and the men with the large automatic weapons stepped backward with him.

Cavanaugh turned grandfatherly again. "Have you found the body yet? Because if you do let me know. Jo always told me he wanted to be cremated."

She clamped her mouth shut around the response she wanted to make to that, and spat out nonchalance instead. "Do what you want if he turns up. He broke up with me the night before it happened."

He clucked his tongue at the news and gestured toward the guards flanking him. They lowered their weapons and slung them across their chests. The men manning the turrets at the HUMVEES, however, remained in place.

"Boy, help Miss Harper and Mister Daniels get on their way properly, you hear?" Cavanaugh turned and slumped his way back to the black Cadillac. Boy stood and waited for Harper to climb back in.

"Touch me and I'll break your teeth," she told Boy as she backed away from Cavanaugh and toward the truck.

Boy let Harper pass by him and climb into the truck. When she was settled, he reached for the door like he was going to close it for her. Instead, he grabbed it by the handle, and with a grinding twist and snap of metal, pulled the entire door off the frame. Dust billowed where he tossed it to the ground. "HaHA!" It was the first and only sound he’d made through the ordeal, crowned with that big smile before he turned and simply walked away, climbing back into the Cadillac the old man had returned to.

Colt frowned past Harper with a single shake of his head "What a dumb sh*t," he muttered under his breath as he fired the great rumbling engine of the truck to life.

She pulled her seatbelt across her lap and snicked it into place. "We need to get out of here before he changes his mind about letting us leave." Before she changed her mind and went for Cavanaugh anyway, hung in the gap between them.

The HUMVEES roared to life and the entire caravan, like a train, turned off of the paved road and headed out over the desert. The turret-guns stayed trained on them as the vehicles fell into line, and sank into the distance of the horizon.

Colt leaned over and hit the button to unlatch her seat belt once again. "You need to blow up the jeep."


"It overheated to the point that the engine seized. It's dead. You've got to let it go and we aren’t leaving that stuff to fall into his hands. You want to go back and tell Alain that you let some bad guy type get his hands on his weapons? 'Cause I sure as hell don't. Blow up the jeep."

Clean up your mess.

She checked the caravan, gauged the distance on the arms they were packing, and propelled herself back out of the cab, making a show of crouching and lifting the sundered door, tossing it into the back of the truck. "Get turned around. We’re going to want to run."

Keeping her head low, she ran for the back of the jeep, pulling herself up and hopping in. She was going to need the tire iron to get the crate open. In it, grenade rounds for the Balkan waited, lined up in foam packing like a delivery from the Fruit of the Month club.

"Colt!" She shouted to be heard about his engine. He’d thrown the truck into reverse and three-pointed it around.

She plucked a grenade out of the crate and held it in her hand like an apple, staring at it. The wheels in her head turned. It would be really easy. Except...

"The sooner, the better, Annie-Love." He called out the open driver's window. That’s when he saw her face reflected in the side view mirror. He knew that expression. It only took a moment to place it. He knew that expression because he'd seen it in the mirror on his own face in those long months after Yaya's death in which he was locked away. Because with Yaya dead, they didn't trust him not to hurt himself. The sight of that very same expression on Harper's face rattled him to his core.

His voice deepened urgently. "Now! Let's go!."

She set the round carefully back down and jumped from the jeep, leaving the tailgate open and making a run for the bed of Colt's truck and the rifle waiting there. "Go!" she hollered as soon as the solid thunk of her landing rocked the truck.

With her command, an exhale of relief was released and his foot transitioned from brake to gas and he began to put distance between them and all of the mess that had just happened.

Count to ten. That's how long it took her to sight the jeep and adjust to the bumping jostle of the hard-packed desert road. She held her breath.

Three. Two. One.

Now. She squeezed her finger.

Hell exploded behind them.

((Based on live play with the players behind Jochin and Harper.))
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Colt Daniels
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm

Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 786
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Can Be Found: RhyDin
27915.86 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They'd put her in something like scrubs once they'd processed her. No metal. No leather. No belt. No bra. No pockets to hide anything in. Just blue cotton drawstring pants and a blue tunic with an orange stripe down one side. The sunburn looked worse, now that they were indoors, and she'd avoided being strapped down for fluids by promising to drink everything they'd brought her after the exam. She was sitting on the edge of the platform protruding from the wall of the holding cell in a sub-basement at the Tower holding a collapsible plastic bottle of water and staring at the floor just beyond her bare feet between sips.

"The Baron asked for you to wait for him here." A matronly woman said to Colt in a tone that demanded no rebuttal as she escorted him into a dimly lit observation room.

He wasn't sure how many minutes ticked by as he waited, watching Harper stare at the floor through the one-way mirror. Maybe she would feel him there. The connection had seemed to be getting stronger between them just as it had with Yaya, and Yaya had always said that she felt stronger, more secure when he was nearby. Maybe she would know he was close, maybe she would know how badly he needed her to be okay. Maybe if he stared at her hard enough and threw out enough positive energy then maybe they really would be okay. Thus, with arms crossed over his broad chest, he watched her.

She was calm. Her eyes flickering across the floor like she was seeing things that no one else could: patterns and possibilities shuffling and resolving. They'd taken her saints with her other possessions. Her mind was still in overdrive. She took another sip of the water, her lower lip wobbling for a minute like she -might- cry, but she sucked that down with another sip.

It had been ten minutes and change when Alain slipped into the room, pressing the door shut behind him. He turned the deadbolt, and the sound instantly caused Colt’s shoulders to square. No one could walk in on them and he was alone in a room with a man who’d wanted to kill him months earlier. Maybe he still did.

Alain spared a moment to assess Colt and the expression of his face as he crossed the room, before he turned shoulder-to-shoulder with the man to face the window and Harper. He wasn’t sure where to put his hands, so he pressed them against the sill. The cool metal felt strange on his right palm. "Was she like this when you found her?" Alain finally broke the silence.

Colt’s eyes went back to the very vulnerable looking woman on the other side of the glass. "Hardly. She was ready to take on a small army of men all on her own. I guess Jo was into a whole lot more than I ever realized."

Alain tightened his jaw. If you listened closely, you could hear the teeth grinding. "Did they...?" He cooled himself off with a headshake, leaving it unfinished. "And on the ride back?"

"No. The old man said he didn't have anythin' to do with Jo's death. She didn't believe it.” He sucked a weighty breath. “She was like this on the way back."

Tap-tap-clink-tap. Four fingers tapped on the edge of the sill, the third of them wearing a ring that belonged to a demon-slaying king. "Do you think..." Alain licked his lips and, out of old habit, moved to click a tongue-ring that had been missing for five years. "Is she a danger to herself? Any more than she has been already?"

In the holding cell, Harper’s bare toes clenched, curled in, splayed again on the tile. She took another sip of water. Her eyes focused just past them, widened with a momentary horror as some realization occurred to her and she leapt to her feet in a surfeit of agitation to begin pacing the length of the room.

Colt’s hands clenched his opposite arms harder as Harper leapt to her feet. There was glass between them, he reminded himself. He couldn't go to her. The pause alone was telling but eventually, without tearing his eyes from Alain, he admitted what he hadn't wanted to say to anyone. "I can't say that she isn't."

"Our people own a private clinic nearby... I'm having her checked in for the next few days," Alain said, already headed for the door. He couldn't watch any longer. "We'll keep her under observation... make sure she's safe."

An inhuman grow poured out of Colton, entirely canine. "You're not takin' her away from me, you son of a bitch! I found her and I'll watch out for her!"

Alain's hand stopped on the doorknob. He cursed silently, swore at God as he stopped himself going out just yet. This was something they had shared twice, he and Colt... "I was going to save her," he said, slowly. He let that hang for a moment. "Sonja. I had a plan."

Sonja. Yaya's name, even if it was her proper name, being introduced into the conversation rocked Colton as if Alain had closed his hand into a fist and struck him in the gut. It pushed free a surprised exhale of breath as his arms dropped back to his sides. "Well, you failed. We both failed. She's dead."

Behind the window, Harper took a step forward, and another, her eyes narrowing as she reached out to run her hand over the textured surface of the wall. Another step brought her close enough to the wall to press that arm flat against it, from palm to elbow. She leaned in and pressed her cheek and ear to it. Listening? Or trying to get closer? Her lips moved, but she was facing the door, not them.

“You didn't. They didn't give you a chance to save her... I had it." Alain cracked out a laugh at that, and banged his fist against the doorframe as he leaned into his arm, then looked back at Colt. "Anyway, I thought I did. I'd wanted to from the beginning... it was the damnedest thing. I'd already met plenty of people claiming to work for 'the light,' the side of good, Heaven..." He shook his head, dismissing it. "Plenty of those people... but Yaya was the first one I'd met who was innocent."

"She cared what happened to the people who ended up on the wrong side of these demons. Hell, she even cared about me, saw that I was just a young dumb detective who'd gotten in way over his head. So from the beginning, I was leaking information. That's what the old families wanted, information on this upstart baron in RhyDin. I figured... if I leaked enough sensitive information her way, they'd stop using her as an undercover agent against Morana and the Architect, start using her as an informant. We even had a plan for the big fight at the casino, conveniently getting her out of the way on a false lead while we faced down the Architect, assuming she survived that long."

The faint smile fell. "But she didn't. I couldn't save her."

Colt’s eyes darted to Harper almost instinctively. A hand clenched up into her fist as his attention swiveled back to Alain. That was his Yaya. Their Yaya. She had that way of making everyone feel she cared. But she really had. She had been the best of all of them. "Why are you telling me this?" Are you intentionally trying to hurt me? his tone demanded.

"She's innocent, too." Alain looked over at the window, at Harper leaning against the wall. "It's my fault. I shouldn't have brought her in... Part of me wanted to believe she'd be safe closer to me than further away, but we know that's not true now. There's no getting her away... but there's getting her through this."

"She'll live," Alain was firm. "As long as you're alive, watching her back, catching her when she falls, she'll stay alive too. So you're going to grow old, Colt. Become an old man... have grandkids... retire..." There was a hint of a smile, just a ghost of one. "So that she'll live."

Colt's face remained impassive. Maybe in different times, if circumstances hadn't unfolded in the manner in which they had, they might have been able to become friends, bond over the loss. But now? All they shared was a love for the woman on the other side of the glass. "Her livin' is all I care about."

That was as open as Alain was ever going to be with Colt, and likely never again. His expression was mastered once more, though the tracker now knew the motive behind his instructions: "Then stay alive, and stay close to her. We'll set up access or accommodations for you at the clinic."

They would never be friends, so in lieu of a pleasant farewell, all Alain left him with was, "Watch your back." The door shut after him.


(Adapted from live play with Alain DeMuer and A.L. Harper)
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Sofia DeMuer
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 88
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Can Be Found: Teobern, St. Aldwin or New Haven, RhyDin
5083.74 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the outside, the 'Tower' was a nondescript factory building in a nondescript area crammed with more of the same. To the casual eye or the unaware visitor, it was on the inside exactly what it appeared to be from the street. But if you knew the right entrance, and had the right clearances, it was like stepping through a force field from one reality to a twisting other. For those who passed safely through to the other side, the non-existent Division was very much alive and well. S.P.I.'s reach went deep into the roots of the earth there, and spread far wider beneath ground than one might have imagined.

It also lived up to its name. From the center atrium, it was an M.C. Escher hive of stairs and tiers that climbed to the height of the building, all bustling with a sense of purpose, activity, mystery. Harper had one of the glass-windowed offices ringing the upper tiers, almost directly beneath Alain's. She was there now, buried in the details of a file.

To say that Sophie would have preferred to visit Harper anywhere but here would have been a huge understatement. Sophie was comfortable leading troops into battle, negotiating peace treaty with unruly dictators, and buzzing around a wide variety of social circles but spy work was not her thing.

She typically preferred to meet with SPI personnel at the New Haven home and, considering she was a baroness and was Sofia Rhovnik even before she was Sofia DeMuer, it was awfully hard to tell her 'no'. So out of touch was she with the building that she had to be led to Harper's office by a prim-looking woman who had little to say on the walk to Harper's office. Sophie didn't mind. She never had much to say this week in June. The woman motioned to the door and disappeared back down the tiers as Sophie lifted a closed fist to knock.

Harper didn't look up. The back end of her pen continued to move in a line across the lower edge of a row of text, which she was comparing to something in an open book at her left hand.


The brisk command actually caused Sophie’s lips to flicker up into a brief smile. There weren't many people who had ever spoken to her like that and there were a whole lot fewer these days. It felt nice, even if it was only because her identity hadn't been confirmed.

Stepping through the door, she drew it closed behind her. Her head tilted to the side slightly at the view out the windows and instead of a greeting, she immediately launched a question at Harper. "How many floors up are we?"

Beyond the railing, people moved back and forth about their business: up, down, around. Harper looked up, surprise prompting a momentary break before she answered. "Ten."

She set a marker down where she'd left off in her painstaking translation work, set the pen beside the notepad, and waited. Such a visit, unprompted and unexpected, had a reason behind it. It was all about waiting for things to be revealed these days.

The Baroness folded her arms across her chest as pale blue eyes dropped from the view out the window to Harper. She remained on her feet for now. "I came to see you for myself. I'm sure you understand considering how often my husband trusts your judgment and that I will be off world for the foreseeable future."

Brows lifting slightly at that prelude, Harper motioned to her guest chair. She didn't stand. "Here I am."

Sophie unwound her posture to take a step forward and sink into the chair. Her hard lines eased as she did. It was exhausting keeping up pretenses this week. "You're the psychologist. I'm just an art history major. What am I supposed to ask?"

Harper’s head tipped to the side slightly, the ghost of a dimple ticking at the corner of her mouth as she eased back in her chair. She looked exhausted, controlled, focused. A couple of packs of gum decorated her desk, mostly empty wrappers, and a bottle of water stood by them. Her trashcan was full of unused, wadded or shredded tissues. But she was calm, and that flicker of humor was lurking there.

"I think the first question I'd ask is 'what is the purpose of modern art?', but that's just me."

The laugh was sudden and it finished off her icy entrance. Sophie was no Elsie Rhovnik. The act could only be propped up for so long before it crashed down around her. When her laugh died, she drew in a deep breath, releasing it in a measured exhale while reaching down to pick at imaginary lint on her skirt.The quiet extended for a moment until she trusted her voice enough to speak. "The anniversary of my sister's death is tomorrow."

Annie-Love’s mind ticked back through the file, a sudden flash of mental rolodex that filed everything away, possibilities and realities tumbling until they resolved on the memory of a page in a file and the truth of that statement was a shocking blow to her gut.

"Ah." It took all of her breath to say it.

Blue eyes lifted to watch the reaction play out across Harper's face. She hadn't known, which meant that Colt hadn't brought it up. Typical. Her hands curled around the curves of her knees, ankles crossed. "I didn't come here to talk about Alain. I know you'll keep him as safe as you can. And I certainly didn't come here to lay my heart out to the only therapist I would trust with it on the eve of the anniversary of Yaya's death. I'm not that enlightened. I came here because of my trip to New Brittany and because I don't know if I will make it back. There are some things that I haven't told you, things that I haven't told Alain. And you deserve to know."

Harper’s chin lifted; her shoulders straightened and her posture communicated without a word spoken her wary permission to continue. She was listening very closely now.


"I'm the one who pushed Alain to pairing Colt with you. I knew what would happen because it happened with Yaya." Her fingers spread out wide across her knees as a release of restless energy but her eyes remained locked on Harper. "I can't believe she has let you live this long. It may not be much back-up but I knew that if the bond was made, he'd lay down his life for you. I did it for your protection."

"And when she decides not to anymore?" A flash of that same anger that had burned in her belly when she'd confronted Alain about it flashed in Harper’s eyes again. "What happens to him then, Sophie?" Her fingers splayed flat on the top of her desk flexed but stayed put. "Because you know that it's coming. I know that it's coming. I've always known."

"I guess you'll have to work really, really hard to stay alive if you care, won't you?" Steel infused Sofia Rhovnick’s words. The same steel she'd had when she had made her 'victory or death' pact the year before with Seamus. But it ebbed as she continued on, forcing her shoulders to relax. "This is what he's wanted all along anyway." Her pause was only a beat long. "Has he told you what happened when Yaya died? My grandmother didn't pass on very much information in his file."

"Not much." Steel met steel as their eyes touched. It was the truth, but Harper wasn't offering over any of his confidences to Sophie, knowing how he felt, either. Her mind was still whirling. How much did Alain know about her, and how much had Sophie gleaned? The pairing with Colt was nothing short of a tragedy in the making, with Jo stirring the hornet's nest of Morana's jealousies. "I read the file, what there was of it."

Not much, she would have been quick to tell Harper should the question have been voiced. Particularly lately. Since the attack, Sophie had cut herself off entirely from it. It needed to be over. "Colt knew before I did. My grandmother sent a team to pick him up as soon as she had word from Ad Lucem that Yaya was dead. She was instructed not to tell me. This whole meeting between Alain and I was planned by Ad Lucem from the very beginning. It was all a set-up. Had I known that she was going to pick him up.... well, I would have stepped in. But I didn't know. And he was a mess. If they hadn't have done something, he would have found a way to kill himself."

Harper hated herself for asking. It was the flinching skirt of her eyes that admitted the pain of it, her tell. She was worn very thin for it to be so obvious. "And what did they do?"

"I don't know all the details. I was so wrapped up in finding Yaya at the time. And I blamed him for not being able to find her. And then when I found out she was dead, I blamed him for that." Admitting the hollowness of her own anger caused her to rise to her feet, arms crossing back over her chest once more. "He was locked away for months; they used electroconvulsive and chemical shock. We don't understand what he is so they didn't understand how to treat him. I suppose they were in so much of a rush to get him back into the field that they immediately leapt to the outrageous."

"Well." Annie-Love exhaled, anger bleeding into sarcasm. "Maybe I should be thankful I'm not quite so valuable a tool."

"I didn't kn--" But before the angry statement could be fully released, it was sucked back. Her eyes lifted from Harper out the window beyond again, fingers tightening their hold on the opposite arm. "I've got somewhere to be. I just wanted to make sure that he had what he needed to get through tomorrow. It'll be his first anniversary without the Rhovniks around."

"Sophie." Annie-Love stood, the tips of her fingers planted on the edge of her desk, anchoring her through the rising heat of her agitation. Not just anger, worry. An impatience now to be where he was that had been rootless before the visit, but present all day.

"We don't know what he is,” the Baroness spoke slowly, contemplating where her loyalty lay exactly.

Maybe she'd said enough. Maybe it was on Colt to say more. But deep down... she was worried too. He had been so much less of a concern in some ways when he was under Rhovnik control. “They don't know how to cure the broken bond completely. From what I understand, they did the best they could but they still have to sedate him around this time of year. The entire week is what they did last year. I wanted to make sure he'd been able to get his hands on something strong enough."

It broke a little bit of the tension, the rueful gust of breath from Harper at that. It should have been a laugh. "I don't think they're going to let me check anything out of the quartermaster's for a while here."

"I'm guessing not." There was a knowing sliver that slipped into her tone. Let Harper see Colt curled up in a ball mourning Sonja like she had died just the day before and then they would see how much they had to worry about whether or not she was a danger to herself. Sophie was playing Harper's very own Ghost of Christmas Future in a way. "Call me and I'll have something sent over if he hasn't prepared appropriately."

She took a step back towards the door, her arms falling back down to her sides. It was easy to avoid tomorrow when she was concentrating on other things but she was running short on them
suddenly. "Take care of yourself, Harper."

"Yeah. I will." Until the end, she'd sworn once. It wasn't so far away now, be her reckoning. "You, too. And... thanks."
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