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  1. Grace nodded and gave Patrick a squeeze on the shoulder. "Yeah, about that. I was going in a little hot. Lets find our people before we start opening cans of beatdown. Alright, lets regroup here." When everyone was together, rather than split up on either side of a doorway, she looked at the others and added, "Whatever anyone may think about this situation, we're playing it straight. Maybe you think it's an exercise...doesn't matter. We have the book, we're going by it." "Alright, can't do an area mind scan...what about vitakinetics? We're looking for the only large living things around here that aren't us. What about scent? Tracking. What have we got in the toolbox?"
  2. Ah, quite so! I shall post asap Monday. Thanks for the boot to the butt!
  3. Peeking just a little around the corner when the 'flashlights' vanished, Grace saw the clanks starting to lumber away. The urge to take them by surprise was strong. There were hostages to consider though. As much as she might want to mix things up, once the first shot was fired it couldn't be unfired. The frames might not execute hostages at the first sign of difficulty, but then again...they might. Once they knew shit was going down, the power was in their hands. Not ideal. As long as the AIs didn't know there were people in the area, the people had the power. If they could find hostages first, that was the time to strike. They had to keep looking. Goddamnit. Grace looked at Zoe and tapped her temple. When she felt the telepathic presence she sent, Have Patrick get clear, get back to us. We're trying to find hostages before we make our move. It was risky this way too. The longer they took poking around, the bigger the chance they'd get caught. A call had to be made though and this was it. They'd keep looking.
  4. Ah! I had the impression Patrick went through a door farther down the hall, and we were clear of it. Thanks for the warning!
  5. Grace nodded at Zoe's message and looked around. No other movement in the hallway. That was something at least. The operation was delicate, but they couldn't just sit around all day. Three frames were bad news...three frames with no hostages to recover was even worse. All right. Review the parameters of the op. Eleven hostages, unknown frames...amend that to at least three. It wasn't specified that the frames holding the hostages would execute them immediately, but it wasn't specified they wouldn't. Assume worst case scenario, but don't freeze up. We have firearms. I have a rifle. If it's suicide to use them, that makes no sense. She looked at Zoe. <Have him sit tight, don't move. Everyone else, clear the door, weapons out.> She demonstrated by getting to one side of the door way and crouching down with her rifle ready to fire. <Vasquez, you've got my back. Zoe and the doctor go next and Shaw has rearguard. We're giving the frames five minutes to see if they cycle out of scan mode so Patrick can get clear. If they stay scanning, or look like they're getting too close to him, we take our chances and rush the frames.>
  6. Grace held up a closed fist suddenly, without even thinking about it, to signal all stop. The lights shining through the little viewport...moving around like searchlights. Shit. She looked back and held a finger to her lips, shaking her head. It was impossible to know how sensitive their hearing would be, but when they were scanning they'd be much more alert to any kind of disturbance, not just visual. If they hadn't already started signaling others, or shooting, they hadn't found Patrick. If he kept cool, and they didn't find him, they should return to whatever they'd been doing before fairly quickly. Multiple frames, can't really tell how many just from the lights. Patrick may need a distraction if things get hotter. Grace turned around and locked eyes with the redhead, Zoe. She tapped her temple, then made a circular gesture, indicating the group. They needed some silent communication here that couldn't be tapped into by a machine-mind.
  7. Grace watched the drama between the doctor and Vasquez unfold with skepticism written plainly on her face. Combat enhancer drugs were risky in this kind of situation to her way of thinking. Usually they revolved around kickstarting adrenalin or aggression until someone couldn't feel pain or fear...but by then they couldn't necessarily plan more than two steps out, or stick to a plan either. Not really what you wanted on an op like this, test or no test. But then again, doctors were crafty as fuck, and Machiavellian in their manipulations. Especially combat docs. "Alright. Patrick. Scouting. Find us targets."
  8. Grace gave Patrick a gimlet eye for a second, then nodded at the others. "Shaw. Vasquez. Patrick. Like she said, I'm Grace. Four years in the Fifth Legion." She looked up and down the hallway and went on, "What we have here is what I'd call a critical lack of intel. No clue where the hostages are, or where the frames are. If we start kicking doors in, we're going to get people killed." "Patrick, you're an 'intrusion expert.' Can you do us some scouting without being seen, and without your biokinetics?"
  9. Grace looked around, taking in the nightmarish hallway. Red lights, debris...doors lining each side. Wires dangling from ripped out light fixtures. Compared to the rooms they'd woken up in, it was night and day. She shook her head. "Not really. Lets stay on task. Eleven hostages. Unknown number of frames. What kind of combat experience do you have? Have you seen anyone else yet?"
  10. "Quantum resonators?" Grace frowned at that. AI-tech...but then again they were talking about AI frames here so all right. "Good thing I didn't try to break the mirror, I guess." She leaned down and offered Zoe a hand up. "Nice staff. Didn't catch your name."
  11. "Shit!" Grace looked around, immediately bringing her rifle back to firing position, then hurried to Zoe's side. "Look at me," she said, trying to get eye contact. "Focus on me. Are you hurt? You've got to bite down on that shit. We aren't secure here."
  12. Grace backed up from the mirror a step, then looked up and around as the voice boomed out, outlining the parameters. There were a lot of levels none of this made sense on, but on another level it was perfectly clear. Take out the AI frames, prevent civilian casualties. The specifics could be dealt with later. The sound of a panel opening attracts Grace's eye to the spot between the two doors where a supply closet is now being revealed. Carbon-fiber reinforced plate armor, rifle and sidearm. Ammo. A knife. She chuckled to herself as she went over to collect the gear. Christos, it was one of these. The armor fit awkwardly over the hospitalwear, but she made sure no cloth was sticking out in a way that'd prevent her from moving, or catch on something. It had a sort of built-in holster suitable for the pistol...vanilla Banji model. Rifle was conventional slugthrower too. A little irritating. Grace preferred laser weapons. She could use those to fire through her own barrier. But the first rule any soldier in a combat situation learned was that you grab what was at hand and thank fuck you had anything at all. Spare ammo fit into loops on the waist of the armor. Knife sheath had buckles she could attach pretty much anywhere...she chose her forearm. Then she walked out the lone door and into the hallway beyond, rifle at the ready. Almost immediately Grace saw movement up the hall and crouched down, bringing her weapon up to aim. Human-looking. Redhead. Pistol in one hand, a long rod in the other like a staff. Looked scared. Civilian? "Ma'am, stand down," Grace said calmly. She slowly let the rifle down from aiming position, the barrel sliding away from the redhead. "I'm human, on your side. My name's Grace." Though she was still holding the rifle with one hand, it was no longer pointing at Zoe, and Grace's other hand was up with the fingers spread to show it was empty.
  13. wake up Grace's eyes opened, and saw only white. She winced a little and, moving her head as subtly as possible, looked around. There were variations in brightness...corners between walls and ceiling. She wasn't blind. A good start. Her eyes kept roving around as she sat up. No one else in the room. Three doors. Mirror. Bed. What was this? There was fear. Confusion. Grace stuffed those dissonants into the back of her head with all the training the Legion had seen fit to bestow on her. Focus on the things happening now. What could you see now? What were you feeling with your body now? What could you do now? Fear wanted to dredge up old memories, or imagine wildly horrible possibilities. Stapling yourself to now defanged it, at least for awhile. She felt a little stiff, but there was no pain, no sign of injury. The gown she had on seemed like the sort of thing a hospital would provide. Grace frowned a little as she probed her memories. Walking home, she thought. Walking somewhere. Daylight. Had there been trouble? Grace didn't think so, but if she'd been drugged then memory would be a frail and tattered thing to trust. Her bare feet made no sound as she slipped off of the bed and made her way across towards the mirror. A long ways, really. The room was way too big for a prison cell or a hospital room. The 'clearance required' signs seemed military to her, or maybe paramilitary. So...laboratory? Research? She pressed her face to the mirror, cupping her hands around her eyes to block the light out, in hopes she might be able to see through the one-way glass.
  14. Real Name: Grace Reyes Nature: Survivor Origin: Outsider Marital Status: Single Known Relatives: Date of Birth: March 19th Nationality: Colombian Occupation: Soldier Allegiance(s): Aeon Proteus Physical Traits Gender: Female Ethnic Background: Latina (South American) Age: 25 Height: 5' 7" Weight: 140lbs Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown Handedness: Right Appearance: Grace is a young latina woman with dark eyes and a mocha complexion. She has deep chestnut-brown hair that she lets grow out to her shoulders when she lets it grow at all...she's equally fond of shaving some or most of it. Grace often wears hats and clothes that conceal her face and figure from casual spotting like scarves and coats and similar, and she's fond of darker-toned neutral colors...eschewing clothes that would make her stand out, or be easily visible in a crowd. Personality: Direct, and greatly favoring the 'KISS' principle, Grace's persona was born out of a life of struggle and honed in the pragmatic practices of the Legions. She understands the need for diplomacy and intrigue, but hasn't got the patience for such subtleties herself. Give and demand respect when it's earned, honor your loyalties, and never back down from your responsibilities. Grace is impulsive and a bit of a hothead so she doesn't always live up to her own ideals, but she always takes responsibility for her shit when it happens. She has a soft spot for downtrodden folks who are genuinely trying to make their way through a world that's not giving them a chance, for children and for animals that won't try to eat her, and for music played by the human hand. That synth shit can go fuck itself. Background: Grace was born in Cartagena, on the Colombian coast. Her father, Mateo Reyes, served in the national military until he was honorably discharged after suffering crippling injuries in the line of duty. It was hard for him to find work after that, and his wife Carla tried to pick up the slack by looking to the Norca for work. Grace grew up in the slums, learned to be quick and quiet and fast with her hands. She loved and respected her parents, but they simply couldn't be there for her very often. At first she tried helping out with money through a combination of odd jobs and petty theft. When her mom finally sought the Norca out, Grace followed suit taking on runner and courier work around the city. It was when making a delivery to one of the Biokinetics that she was discovered to be latent. At first, it seemed like a good thing. It all got complicated quickly though. For one, the Norca biokinetic who 'discovered' her, a European expatriate who took the name Dante, took a liking to Grace. As he introduced her to the Norca in Cartegena and took charge of her pre-dunking instruction, Dante also started up a kind of breathless whirlwind romance with the young latent. Grace was so caught up in all the change, all the novelty, all the overwhelming attention, that she barely noticed any of the warning signs. So what if he always wanted to know where she was? Cartegena was a dangerous town, he was looking out for her. So what if he seemed really jealous? That just meant he had real feelings for her. Grace's latency was confirmed, but there was a blow dealt at the same time. Her psychic affinity was for psychokinetics, not biokinetics. She could be triggered for biokinesis, but it would squander a significant portion of her strength to overcome that predisposition. As far as the official Norca authorities went, it was Grace's choice. They had no issues if she wanted to pursue her gift elsewhere. As far as Dante went, that was simply unacceptable. He exerted tremendous pressure on Grace, trying to convince her to trigger her gift to Biokinesis and stay in Colombia with him. She seriously considered it too. Just to make sure she knew what she was giving up though, Grace went to the local Legion recruiting center to talk to them and let them test her as well. Dante, who was having her followed, found out about it and things took a sharp turn downward. He found Grace's mother and had her moved to the drug-testing duty, personally making sure that she was a subject in one of the more dangerous studies. When she succumbed to a semi-catatonic state from the effects, Dante used her condition to try to tie Grace down. He lied and said she'd elected it freely without telling anyone because the pay was better, and that she now needed constant care that only the Norca could provide. And if she was gone, and her mom was invalid, who would look after her father? It very nearly worked. Someone working for Dante, Grace still doesn't know exactly who, tipped her off though. She did some nosing around, caught her tail and beat some information out of him, then went to find Dante. When she found him all the accumulated venom of the past several months came spilling out. What started out as a screaming match devolved into violence...and while Grace had overpowered the blank Dante had sent to keep an eye on her, she was no match for a trained biokinetic. However, Dante wasn't the only one keeping an eye on Grace. Her former lover, bruised but with plenty of fight left in him, had Grace by the hair. She was dazed, semi-conscious, unable to defend herself as he mulled over what her fate should be. Suddenly the door burst open as the guards Dante had posted were hurled bodily through it. Three men stepped through, grim-faced, and demanded that Dante stop immediately. It wasn't his inclination to obey, but he found his arms restrained by something invisible. Grace was saved. And then the Norca arrived, and things got complicated again. After a tense stand-off, Grace had a chance to explain what had happened in front of Del Fuego himself. He listened impassively, then asked Dante for his version. Dante launched into an impassioned speech about Grace being an innocent who belonged to the Norca, being misled by foreigners who wanted to abduct someone who should be in the family. He didn't specifically refute any of Grace's story however, knowing better than to lie to the Proxy. The judgement was rendered. The Legion, though acting to protect Grace, had attacked the Norca. They would close their recruiting office in Cartegena and vacate the city until further notice. Grace was free to go, and could take her parents as well...that was between her and the Legion at this point. Dante, in many ways the focal point of the entire mess, needed some 'counseling,' before he could resume his duties for the family. And that was that. Grace did take her family to Australia at the Legion's invitation. Mateo got some training and found work, and now takes care of his wife...while Grace takes care of both of them, as best she can. She joined the Legion and served her first term in the Fifth Legion, mostly in the constant conflict raging in Central America between Honduras and El Salvador.
  15. It was a relief to get away from the tension at the table for a little while. Here, in the music, with the people, she could forget who she was...what she was. Craving for blood might have overtaken her hunger and thirst...but it did nothing to limit the power that music had. The beast cared only for flesh and blood. Desires and pleasures of the mind were unscathed. Her sire had scoffed at music...at least at music as humans practiced it. He preferred the sound of insects and animals, the howl of wind, and of course...silence. He was big on that too. Lily could remember all the times he'd muttered that she was little better than 'one of those Toreador idiots.' But in the end even he had to admit that everyone met undeath on their own terms. Everyone made their own peace...or failed to. She found herself watching the werewolf. She couldn't help herself. The creature looked so normal. The irony of this, one monster in human guise marveling that there was another monster in human guise, was not lost on Lily. Do they have it better than us, I wonder? The old man said they were practically slaves to their rage, but he may have been full of it. Besides, how is that different from what WE are? At least they're still alive. Lily found herself with many, many questions. Things she'd never articulated to herself because they were as impossible as musing about if one could walk on the surface of the sun. You'd never get there, so why bother? Werewolves hated vampires, said her sire, and there was no fooling them. Was he wrong about that too? Abruptly she became aware of someone else approaching. Lily jerked around on instinct, eyes widening as she prepared to fight or flee...then relaxed a bit on seeing who it was. One of the vampires from the table. The one with the hard to pronounce name. Erza...something. Shit. Probably better not to try to wing it with a nickname. Vampires could be really touchy about that sort of thing. She gave Erzsébet a nod and even a little smile. "Hey."
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