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Tyler

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Tyler last won the day on January 13

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About Tyler

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  • Gender
    Recognized as female by a Supercomputer. Still definitely more female than Zashiii
  • Location
    Frozen underground bunker command center
  • Interests
    Star Wars. RPing. Computer Games. Star Wars. Movies. NFL Football. Star Wars. Art. Legos. Star Wars. Lovecraftian Horror. Religion. Star Wars. Politics. History. Star Wars.
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    Graphic Designer

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  1. Yeah. Having the partners work toward the goal and meet-up along the way does sound like the best way. Only problem for me and Zashiii is our characters know each-other already, so we don't really get to relationship build with new acquaintances like the rest of the group. lol
  2. "Well, it won't hurt anything, so long as she doesn't strain herself," Mara shrugged. "It won't matter anyway," one of the Norkotian soldiers stepped forward, though based on his stance and tone it was pretty obvious that it was someone else in his body speaking, one of the Forsthaven folk, "I mean, I want her healed if you can; she's my aunt. But even if you do, don't ask her to try and cloak all of us for that long." He looked at Davidson, the militia leader. "We all had just kind of met today, so I don't blame you for not knowing her limits, but she was already at those limits when she was cloaking... what was it, ten of us? And that was just for fifteen minutes. There's double that many people now and she'd have to do it for hours. I don't doubt she'd try, but she'd kill herself doing it!" he stated in a worried tone, "I mean, if you can heal her, please do so, but don't ask her to do that." "Perhaps we could suggest it only as a last resort?" Davidson considered. "She wouldn't be able to hold it for very long..." Val's nephew shook his head. "You'd need to find a good hiding spot to begin with then," Mara shrugged, "I still don't think that's the best plan anyway. If the priority is getting this "Ace" outta town, I think it'd be wiser if Zack and I split off once we recovered it. Hopefully we'd draw the Tin Man after us instead, and you lot can let Miss Mayor lead you out of the tunnels. Sure, we still can't protect you, but at least you won't have the artifact potentially drawing interested parties your direction." "Couldn't we just blow the stupid thing up?" Tessa asked. "I mean, we could try. But you run the risk of cratering this entire city and kill everyone in it," Mara responded, "Or maybe it just dies in a poof of magic sparkles. These artifacts are all different, and unless anyone here knows how it'll react to getting detonated..." She looked to Cordoza, but the older lady shook her head to indicate she had no idea. "..then it is best we avoid the possibility of vaporizing everyone in the region. No, we have to get it out of town somehow, it's just a matter of how." "I have a better idea," the zealous Norkotian suggested, "This should be obvious, but the best thing to do is bring the artifact to us. I mean the Norkotians, of course. We have an army to use against the Tin Man, and we control the city for the most part. Wouldn't it be better to work with someone who has all the escape lanes covered rather than against them?" "Not an option," Davidson growled. "I'd as soon turn the city into a crater as give the Vessel over to the likes of you!" Layla added in an angry hiss.
  3. Much to Taylor's surprise, the door gave way very easy when she charged into it. The resistance to her impact was so light, in fact, that she went flaying through the doorway and tumbling onto the floor of the room outside. In those few seconds between when she burst through the door and when her face impacted the carpet, she caught a glimpse of a human silhouette juxtaposed in front of the open door on the far side of the room. She let out a gasp in surprise, even as she was still coming out of her crash landing, while a similar vocalization of surprise emanated from the figure. Taylor scrambled back to her feet and put her hands up defensively, but when she had a moment of stillness to get a better look at the figure of the shadow-cloaked person just outside the room, she realized she had a pretty good idea who it was. The movements in response to her arrival were also defensive, not aggressive, and which left Taylor concluding only one thing. "J-June? Is that you?" Her appearance had apparently scared the shit out of her friend, but after a moment June recovered enough to identify herself. Taylor let out a sigh of relief at that, thankful that she wasn't alone anymore and that at least one other person was okay. Admittedly, she would almost have preferred the first person she found to have been Maat or Quill, just since they were more capable and confident than either Taylor or June were, but it was still good to know her friend was with her now. "You check the room over at all?" Taylor asked, getting to her feet and looking around. This cabin she found herself in seemed a bit dusty and unkempt, but surprisingly not as putrid as the bathroom had been. In fact, she promptly closed the bathroom door behind her to shut in the smell and lock away those moments of terror and disgust she had just escaped from. She then began to look around the room, throwing back the covers on the bed first. Turned out the sheets were actually very clean, which was as welcome a sight as she could have asked for. "Nice... If only I could trust the tub in the other room, I think I'd just lock the doors, take a bath and go to sleep..." she muttered longingly. But the memories of all that had led her to this point continued to flow back, reminding her that this was no place to get complacent. For now they were safe, but she doubted that would last forever. Even so, she was still wet and cold, and the thought of dry, clean, warm clothes was overpowering. Seeing the dresser in the room, she quickly moved over to it and pulled it open, revealing several aging, but folded up coats. Why there were coats in the dresser instead of on a hanger or in the closet, she wasn't sure, but that didn't matter to her in the heat of the moment. What mattered was that they were warm, dry clothes! Pulling out the stack and looking through it, she found a beige zip-up jacket, which was a bit too big for her but nonetheless would get the job done. Much as she wanted to ditch her still damp t-shirt, she realized they were bound to have to go back out into the rain anyway, so it'd be a wasted effort. What's more, she didn't want to get caught in a situation where she had to abandon the oversized jacket, only to leave herself completely topless. Thus, she threw it over her t-shirt and zipped it up, placing her shivering hands in the dry (for now) pockets to warm them up. "This feels so nice..." she sighed, before her hand brushed against something in one of the pockets, "What the..." She realized what she was fingering was a key. A small one, not large enough for the doors, but possibly the key to a desk, dresser or small safe. "Huh," she pulled it out to get a look at it, before deciding to scour the room for a lock later. First though, she searched the rest of the coats and the dresser drawers, hoping to find anything else of value. The only things she found were two small bullet cartridges. She could easily identify them as handgun rounds, but pretty low-caliber given their size. They both looked quite old too, as though they'd been in there for quite some time and were designed for use in an older gun model. "Huh... hey June, get a load of these. Where there's bullets..." she stood up and began rifling (no pun intended) through every other piece of furniture she could find in the room, "There's gotta be a gun..."
  4. I think all I need to know for now is whether the door will burst open when I go to slam into it. lol
  5. "Heh," the (not) soldier let out in response to Clive, "Me ol' pappy used to say somethin' similar. Quoted some ol' "good book" that said stuff about how 'those who live fer violence are doomed to die by it' or somethin'. I always figured that was just basic logic, not supernatural karma. Ye put yourself in enough situations tuh die, sooner or later fate's gonna cash-in." At this point, one of the army officers had noticed that soldier's inactivity, and was approaching the pair. "Not that I ever sought out violence, but it just comes with the territory if ye dare venture outside the safety o' the city. Or if ye live in the wrong place in certain cities, I s'pose," the old soldier concluded, before noticing the approaching officer, "Eh, great. Guess junior finally found me." "Flanagan! You're supposed to be outside stacking sandbags with the squad!" the young lieutenant snapped, "Not fraternizing with mercenaries!" He paused, seemingly having had to force out the confrontational words against his own nature, as the next thing he did was turn toward Clive and offer a few words in a more conciliatory tone. "Uh... no offense, mercenary." But once he had done that, he looked back at Flanagan and put his hands on his hips, prompting to the old sailor to sigh and push himself away from the wall he was leaning on with an achy groan. As he began to leave, he turned to Clive one last time. "Keep the bottle, cowboy," he said, with a tip of his boonie hat, "Maybe someday, fate-permittin', we'll meet again and ye can owe me a better drink. Heh heh." Mara shook her head at Zack. "Much as I'd love to get inside that airship and wreak some havoc, that idea is not going to work. Maybe if it were just the two of us and we already had the artifact, but you're banking on these folks here being able to hide with it and keep it hidden and protected while we're gone. If the Tin Man has any more of that Spire tech that we both know he has, he's almost certainly going to be able to trace the signature of the artifact once its above ground. Even if he doesn't get to them, the Jockeys or Norkotians have a good chance of doing so instead. We could be gone for multiple hours if things go awry, or maybe things go very awry and we don't get back at all. Then what?" "I'd say we could have Val cloak us," the militia leader sighed, "But she's so far gone I'm not sure she could feed herself without assistance right now." Mara raised an eyebrow at that, then all at once realized what the man was talking about. "Oh, meta powers, right," she mused, tapping her chin, "Hmm, that's worth consideration though... How many of you are metas and what sorta powers ya got? And don't give me any "ya don't have a right to ask" shit." Layla shifted a little uncomfortably, but Mara's eyes had already moved passed the younger woman and toward Delson, whom she figured was likely a meta too, given that his wife and kids were. The bounty hunter didn't say anything to him, but her expectant gaze was enough to indicate that she expected an answer.
  6. "Combat? Sure, I suppose. I used to be a freighter captain out in Stahlburg, been in my share of bar scrums and gunfights... fought of pirates a few times. Nothin' on this scale though, I ain't no soldier." He took out another bottle, getting the sense he wasn't getting the one Clive had back, unscrewed the cap, then took a swig. "And I still wouldn't be, 'cept I killed a man I wasn't s'posed to. He had it comin' mind you, but I got caught and thrown in the brig for it. Then they come around and tell me I can work some years off my sentence if I play soldier-boy for a few years, so why not?" He took another swig, then screwed the cap back on and put the bottle away. "Thought of trying to ditch 'em all here, but everyone is so on edge with this... the hell they call him? Tin Can? I dunno, some mercenary boss that we're now apparently fighting instead of the locals. Figure if I tried to make a run for it now, I'd just get a gullet full of lead for my trouble." "The group that I ran into was at least a dozen-strong, key word being was. But regardless, the way the Jockeys operate, their ship is bound to be somewhere over the city, probably spewing out more jet teams to every corner of town to pick it clean." "Who are the Jockeys?" Tessa questioned. "Air pirates," Mara responded, "Thieves and cutthroats who'll steal from anyone or anything they can get away with stealing from. Pretty well-connected too, so it wouldn't surprise me if they know about the artifact." Cordoza sighed and rubbed the side of her face, visibly frustrated and saddened that yet another outside entity had arrived in her city to pillage it. "The only good thing I can say about them is that they don't get along with the Tin Man... but then again they don't really get along with anyone. They're a wild card in all this mess," Mara concluded.
  7. The soldier in the corner had a definitively more relaxed look than many of the other soldiers in the area. Most were either rookies who were still on-edge, or were well-trained men who knew better than the slack off anyway. But this man looked a bit older, probably only in his early forties and just barely young enough to be a regular footman, but he had an aged, weathered look like a fellow who'd seen plenty of action of some sort before. "Hm?" he tilted his head and looked at Clive, lowering his little bottle and smacking his lips slightly, "Ah, this?" He gave Clive a once-over, easily recognizing him as one of those "drifter" types that roamed the deserts between settlements. But more than that, he could see by the look in Clive's eyes that the man was a fellow drinker, one dying for a sip of the stuff. "It's..." the old soldier drawled his words, smirking slightly, "Medicine." He glanced around to make sure nobody else was watching, before he rather slowly offered it to the cowboy. "Go ahead, I got plenty of it." Ironically, when the soldier spoke of medicine, he was not joking or being facetious. The moment the liquid reached Clive's taste buds, he'd recognize the sickly sweet flavor of nothing less than common cough syrup. But it was rather high in alcohol nonetheless, and it seemed to be the old soldier's solution to the restrictions on more legitimate beverages. His chuckled slightly the moment he saw Clive react to the realization. "Good stuff right?" he laughed, "My platoon medic owed me a lotta favors, so I called 'em in just before we got going today." He pulled his uniform tunic aside slightly, showing he had several more bottles of the same type in his pockets within. "Sure, it ain't Old Ickey's Spiced Rum, but it's better than that shit water they gave us," he muttered. "The hell are you doing...?" Tessa looked confused by Zack's antics, and she voiced as much, but Mara understood his sudden panic. The Tin Man was well-connected to both the Spire and the Underground, so he'd have plenty of access to all sorts of devices that could track, record and transmit way all sorts of information. However, as Zack went from option-to-option, he eventually came back to Mara, and by the time he started asking for cues, she already had recalled the brief, almost forgotten event that occurred just before he departed. "Yeah, there was something odd that happened," she said, "Some... projectile or pod or something came dropping out of the sky and ricocheted off his armor. Whatever it was went past us all and over the edge of the rooftop, so I didn't get a good look at what it was. I can tell ya that as soon as the Tin Man got a good look at it, he recognized it immediately and blasted off in the direction it came from. I'm guessing he was tracking the thing's flight trajectory or something. Dunno what that thing had to do with you, I'm guessing there must be something if you're the "punk" he was muttering about."
  8. Biggest ship I've ever been on was a houseboat. lol Like this but uglier: I have seen "lakers", aka Lake Freighters out by Lake Superior though. Those are pretty big.
  9. Tynes, Krieger and the other Norkotian officers didn't do anything to stop Clive as he wandered away from their company, in search of more "normal" company and more importantly a heavier drink than the heavy dose of water everyone had been getting. The soldiers in the building were a mix of both Army soldiers in their grey get-ups, and the Guardsmen in their black outfits. The Guardsmen were notably more serious on the whole, having received more intense training than the regulars. Probably out of recognition of that fact, the soldier Clive happened to stop was an Army private. "I wish," the private shook his head, "I could drink a bar dry right now." He fidgeted a little before the clanging sound of some of the machinery caused his head to snap in that direction. He clearly looked to have worse nerves than Clive claimed to have. "I don't see what harm there'd be in letting us have just a little..." he continued, realizing that the sound was just the automations doing what they were doing, "Just a little to keep the hands still..." If Clive hadn't figured it out yet, he would eventually figure out that protocol prevented the soldiers from carrying alcohol on them, save for the medics who had disinfectant. Unless Clive wanted to drink that, of course. Though if he searched around enough, he eventually found an older soldier hiding in the corner, drinking from a small bottle of something that was definitely not water. Tessa kept getting the sense that too many unfriendly eyes were on her, no doubt a side-effect of the fact that she was now the de-facto leader of the Norkotian squad (the officer who had been bodyswapped got swapped into a body that died soon after), as well as the only one in said squad who still had her own body. But she never wanted to be a part of this war, or any war for that matter, and yet it seemed like all the hatred was being directed at her. And yet, she said nothing. That didn't stop the more argumentative soldier from attempting to counter though. "Yeah, and if we hadn't--" he began. Zack spoke over him, and since he was a bit distance from the ones talking, he hadn't been heard. He tried to move in closer to the conversing group, while Zack spoke again. Mara didn't seem to mind though, as she knew as well as anyone that sometimes dark or sarcastic humor at moments like these were what people needed to keep their wits and stay sane. "Aw, you really think he likes me?" she jokingly fluttered her eyelids while turning toward Zack, "So sad that neither of us are really each-others type." Her tone then turned serious as she also glanced back, then shook her head after thinking about it. "You're right though, he should have overtaken us a long time ago. The Tin Man might have recalled him, probably once he lost track of... well, he left in a hurry to go find some punk. I'm gonna take a real wild guess and say that's you. But once he lost you, he probably realized he needed to find the mayor again, only for her to evade him too. That means he's either searching for any of us three, or he went back to the last player he knows the location of, and that's Executor Tynes. If he did, they're probably all dead by now. If not, then I'm guessing he's still searching for an entrance to this place."
  10. Tynes remained facing away from Clive, silent for a moment or two in contemplation. It was true, he had considered it risky to set-up on the roof. He had ultimately gone with that choice because he hoped to have anti-air in place so that spotters on the rooftops could pin-point and fire upon the Tin Man before he got into range. However, while the walkers and smaller emplacements were in position, the flak cannons had not yet arrived, and what was worse, the storm seemed to be continually intensifying, further obscuring visibility. "I suppose you are correct, Mister McTeague," he finally admitted, "I was hoping to be in a better position to get the jump on him, but in spite of what all my weather reports predict, the skies are not clearing." With that, the stepped back toward the map table, which was currently covered by a hastily constructed canopy to keep the rain off the maps. The men inside looked up as their superior approached them, and what Tynes had to say, while contradictory to his previous orders, was nonetheless welcome. Nobody really wanted to stay out here in the wind and rain. "Pack it up and bring it inside, the storm doesn't seem to want to break. We'll keep sniper and spotter teams posted on all the surrounding rooftops to keep an eye out, but relay orders that they are to report-in only and not fire unless given authorization. We will reconvene downstairs." Krieger may not have considered it entirely seemly how quickly Tynes gave-in to the advice of a non-military asset, but he couldn't argue that Clive's logic was sound. Krieger hadn't really seen the Tin Man himself, so he didn't understand the full breadth of capabilities, but he did know that any precision aerial attack, whether by the Tin Man, the Jockeys or another not-yet-reveled party, would be deadly effective against crowd crews whose visibility was as impaired as theirs was right now. And as such, the Norkotians moved indoors, leaving little trace of their presence on the mill roof, though nearby buildings still housed some camouflaged sniper teams that lie in wait to report any activity in. And of course, the walkers and talks on the street were still quite visible. "And you said not to spook them further," Mara chuckled at Zack, somewhat amused at how he had only added further reason to be afraid of their common adversary. Just after she said that though, she stepped back to where Geena was hiding and motioned for her to come back out. "Coast is clear, sweetie, you can come out." In any case, whether Zack had heard Mara's sarcasm or not, the younger mercenary promptly began pacing back and forth, talking and brainstorming as he did. It was the first time Mara had seen him do it, but to those who had already spent some time in Zack's presence (Cordoza and Tessa) it was not apparent it was a character trait. At last, Zack finished and looked up at Mara, inquiring about the number of Jockeys she had seen. Before the cyborg could answer though, Delson suddenly interrupted. Cordoza turned her attention to Delson, having recognized him and the other civilians as likely Forsthaven citizens. People she had deliberately kept in the city rather than allow to flee to the promised Norkotian refugee camps. Even if she still couldn't trust Tynes's motives, she now believed that action was one of her many costly sins that had brought more misery to her people than needed. Even so, the mistakes of the past were in the past, all that could be done now is try to save the future. "It's very real, sir," she answered in a somewhat regretful voice, "It is safe to say that you all have seen enough now that hiding anything would only be of detriment to us all." "Hey, I hate to interrupt what I sense is going to be a long-winded exposition scene," Mara suddenly spoke-up and hiked a thumb back down the tunnel her party had come from, "But we have a killer android hunting us somewhere back there, so maybe if you could talk while we walk, that would be for the better." Cordoza nodded, then motioned for everyone to follow her lead back the way her group had come. There was a Y junction some ways back, with one of the branches being the way that Cordoza's group had come, the other being the direction they now needed to go. As they proceeded, Cordoza began to explain things as best she could. "This city was founded not long after the Breach by an organization, you could call it a secret society, devoted to hiding and guarding the artifact we know today as 'the vessel'. In truth, what it really is or what it does has largely given way to myth, but whatever it is, those people believed it too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. The catacombs are a mix of artificial tunnels and natural caverns, built on top of one-another over the centuries. Some of the artificial tunnels even predate the breach, as this area was once heavily mined for gold and silver. The... well, we call the founders of the order the "Robes", mostly because in the ancient days they dressed like monks and conducted all sorts of secretive rites, but the Robes chose this spot as their main headquarters due to its seclusion and natural defense against attack. The mines and caverns were a labyrinth enough as it was, and they only added to it as their order grew. It's hard to say if the city was founded by the Robes themselves, or started on its own and was simply taken-over, but every mayor save for a few accidental exceptions has been a member. I myself took the final oath at twelve years old." "So, you're basically a cult-like shadow government," Tessa remarked. "Not entirely, the order is smaller now, made-up of a few well-guarded families who are sworn to absolute secrecy. We don't do whatever stuff they used to do down here in the catacombs, but we retain a few of the rites and traditions to enforce our oaths of secrecy. Unfortunately, I guess we've grown too lax, as too many rumors were allowed to form... rumors that have drawn outsiders in to claim the supposed prize." "Yeah, so why were you working with the Spire?" the one accusatory Norkotian pointed-out. "They expressed interested in certain economic and trade deals, as well as cultural exchange. My predecessor turned down most of their overtures, what with their reputation and all. I did too early on... but I'd heard that some places benefited from it, and despite its history, Forsthaven has always been welcome and open to new people and ideas. I figured the secret was not at risk so long as the members of the order kept to their oaths."
  11. As Maat went to talk with Iomar, Taylor stood near the door, waiting and watching, though she wished to have enough peace-of-mind to be able to just sit down and doze-off. But between the smell of fish and oil, the blood soaking the floor, and the ferocious storm outside, there was no way sleep was to be had right now. Besides that, she needed to be ready whenever the moment came that they had to run... or fight. The blast of the foghorn in the distance startled her regardless of how much she tried to stay alert and aware. The foreign sound cut through all the other, more repetitive ones with distinctness, and whether it was from hypothermia setting in, or something more elusive, Taylor felt a renewal of the sensation of chills running up her spine. Something about that sound was unsettling, when it should have been reassuring. As Maat moved to the door, Taylor braced herself for what she was expecting to be a desperate sprint through a horde of abominations. She wasn’t sure if her feet could handle it, given she had only the tattered fragments of her shirt to hold cuts and scabs in place, but she had to hope that adrenaline and willpower alone would give her the strength to power through it. Unfortunately the time spent resting in the garage had allowed the adrenaline rush from earlier to wear-off, which only meant her feet hurt now even more than when she first bound them. “Let’s go,” she nodded as Maat went to open the door. As soon as that portal was cast open, Taylor let out a grunt as she plunged forward into the gale outside. Amidst the chilling rain and wind, she managed to somehow keep her footing despite the pain shooting up her legs with every step. What might have seemed a misfortune to others, the soft, muddy complexion of the ground thanks to the downpour, was a gift from above to Taylor, as it padded the impact of each footfall. Drawing her attention away from the pain in her feet, and the fear of the lurking horrors behind, the river beckoned before of them. While Maat may have only caught a few glances of the river when he had just arrived, leaving him understandably second-guessing himself about its size and shape, Taylor and June had followed that same river for over a mile before arriving here, so they knew quite well how large it was supposed to be. In the dim twilight before the sun had set and the rain began, they had taken-in the visage of the river from a hilltop overlooking it, and hours later, once they reached its banks, they knew they could still clearly see the far side amidst the brief illuminations of lightning. Taylor hadn’t noticed any real change in its width even once they had reached the ferry station, distinctly recalling the outlines of trees on the opposite end of it as she stood there shivering in the cold during the first meet-up. But now, the trees on the far side were… missing. Even when the lightning flashed, which it was doing with frightening frequency now, she couldn’t make out the features of anything but dark, endless water. The river itself seemed more of a lake now to Taylor, or perhaps something even more than that. She had no idea what she was really seeing right now, and part of her was thinking that she was growing delirious thanks to the cold and pain. Then, out of the rain-cloaked darkness came an outline of gargantuan proportions. Taylor had only seen ships of this size a couple times, during visits to the Great Lakes back home. Those lake freighters were the largest boats she had ever seen, but there was no way such vessels could possibly have fit on a river this size. Or at least, the size she remembered the river being. But yet, here it was, a freighter barreling toward shore, in place of the ferry that they were expecting. “It’s… it’s not stopping!” Taylor realized with horror as she skidded to a halt. Try as she might, Taylor at once knew she had gone too far and gotten too close to the shore. The metallic titan was moving in too fast, and as Taylor tried to pivot and start sprinting away, one of the bandages on her foot finally unraveled, and the pivoting motion tore a scab of lacerated skin clean off from her sole. With a shriek of pain, she stumbled and went splashing into the mud. Crawling and gasping in desperation, she tried to pull herself forward, as the sound of crashing and crumbling grew louder behind her. Then all at once, the earth seemed to suck her in, plunging her into a murky blackness that enveloped both her body and her conscious mind. When Taylor awoke, it was due to the reflexive motion of jolting upright and gasping for air. Immediately she choked on the fluid still in her lunges, causing several minutes of helpless sputtering and coughing, which clouded out thought and sensation of all else around her. Once she finally had managed to regain her breath, Taylor realized that she was still surrounded by nothing but darkness, though at least she no longer was she underwater. Indeed, she wasn’t even outdoors, as the acoustics of her surroundings revealed she was in a small room, rather than in the open air. Then, all at once, the smell hit her. It was horrid, enough to cause her to gag and pull her shirt entirely over her face to block it out, but it was nonetheless all too recognizable: rotting fish. It had been ever present at the ferry station, yet here there was no benefit of airflow or a larger room to escape into. The rancid stench was stale and unchecked, and without the ability to see, she did not know how to escape it. Worse still, the only sound other than the faint wind and rain somewhere far outside, was that of filthy obnoxious flies buzzing blindly through the dark around her. Flies most likely drawn to whatever was making that horrible stench. “Why… why did this have to happen…?” she sobbed aloud, pulling her knees up in front of her face and resting her forehead against them. It seemed that every time she thought she had mustered up enough courage to go on, something else knocked her back down and reminded her how useless and helpless she was. And thus, for several minutes she sat there in that pathetic state, wishing she would just wake up from this horrible nightmare, and yet unable to do so. At last though, she gained enough wits to tell herself that the situation would not get any better until she acted to change it. And so, she finally reached out and began to feel around for anything of use. The first thing her hands managed to touch were the sides of what felt like a bathtub, directly to her right. It was cold and slick, but she couldn’t tell whether she was happy it was not covered in chunks of things or not. Reaching around in hopes of finding a faucet where maybe she could just let out a little, hopefully clean water, her hand slipped a little into the tub, coming in contact with the cool, wet contents. It was only filled with water, thankfully, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to just put her hands fully into it. Giving up on the faucet idea, she retracted away from the tub, wanting no part of whatever could be floating within. Instead, she stuck out her hands directly in front of her, finding a wall there. With that in mind, she pivoted around in place, finally spotting the first flashes of light in this veil of blackness. It was nothing more than a slit close to the floor, about two or three feet in length, and only briefly illuminated by the whitish glow of the lightning outside. The light was enough to give-away the outlines of the tiles on the floor directly in front of the slit and nothing more, but it did tell Taylor that the door was that way. Figuring quite accurately that she was in a bathroom of some sort (and definitely not the one from the ferry station), Taylor finally made the effort to stand. Her feet were both bare again, the other bandage having been lost in the river, but the pain was at least somewhat numb now. Or it was until she put weight on them, which made her regret that decision and drop down forward. Her right hand came down upon something soft and dry, yet faintly tacky. The object felt like a robe or towel of some sort, which was somewhat comforting in a way. However, the height of what it was sitting on left Taylor to conclude, to her disgust, that whatever this was was sitting top the toilet lid. Thankfully, after feeling around a little using the towel as a block between her hand and the toilet, she determined the lid was indeed down. Confident she knew where the position of the toilet was, she removed her hand from the towel and began to crawl on her hands and knees toward the apparent door. “Come on… come on…” she hissed to herself, feeling around the frame for a knob. At last she found it, but it refused to turn. What’s more, the lock, for whatever reason, appeared to be on the outside of the door, not the inside like a bathroom door should be. “No… no no no…” she huffed, trying to force the knob to turn, then trying to pull the door open, neither to any avail, “Damn it… damn it, damn damn damn…” At that moment, she remembered the most obvious thing that she should have searched for first: A lightswitch. Feeling around the sides of the doors first, she was pleased to find that there was indeed a panel with a couple switches just to the side of the doorframe. Alas, flipping the switches did nothing, not even create a faint hum of energy. It seemed that there was not even power being pumped to them. “Typical,” she grumbled, as she turned attention back to the door. Here she decided to stand up again, after which, she leaned her ear against the door to try and perceive if there was anything on the far side of it. The distant sound of stormy weather was a bit stronger, though still muffled enough to indicate that whatever was outside this door was still an interior room. With no other course of action, Taylor took a few steps back, then braced her herself for impact. “This is a bad idea,” she said aloud to herself, “But ‘eff it.” With that, she lunged into the door in an attempt to break it open...
  12. Not sure. I actually didn't remember there being a set posting order really, so I think I was just going whenever it seemed logical to go. lol Anyway, I'll start working on the post today, but it'll probably be out tomorrow sometime. 👍
  13. "I am aware," Tynes nodded, "However, if he does come back, I intend to lead the men here against him." He also looked out over the city, which was smouldering in many spots, but the rain was rapidly dousing the fires of war. The sound of gunfire and explosions was dying down, creating an almost eerie silence despite pouring rain. "What sort of example does it set if I hide indoors and leave these men to take the first blows from an error that I made?" he added, "You both can get out of the rain and get some rest though, I'll call for you if I need you." "When we started coming to, he was gone. Same with you, actually," the militia leader, who we'll dub as Davidson, answered. "It almost turned violent, but I persuaded everyone to calm down," Cordoza continued, "I still needed to get that message out, but I couldn't in that big man's body. They managed to revive the the old man long enough to switch me back--" "And us," Layla cut-in. "But he unfortunately died before he could get to everyone else," Cordoza shook her head, "I got the message out though, and then convinced everyone to follow me into the tunnels before the Tin Man came back. I've tried to explain what I know to everyone, and I think we're at least in agreement to get to the Vessel before he can get to it." "I still don't get why this Tin Man, which is a stupid name in my opinion, is that big a deal. He's just another goon that these imperialists," she pointed an angry finger at Tessa, "brought into our city to destroy and loot it. The same as them, who we are for some reason leading right to this vessel thing." "I already told you, we're here because we were ordered to," Tessa shot back. "And it was you guys who were buddying up with The Spire!" one of the other Norkotian soldiers (though he was still in the body of one of the militiaman), added in retort. "I don't even know what The Spire is, and why it even matters!" Layla snapped, "You people are all the same, and I don't see--" "The Tin Man is not the same," Mara's low, harsh voice spoke up for the first time since the others had arrived, "This world is filled with warmongers and thugs, but the Tin Man has made it is life's mission to stretch the levels of brutality that mere men are capable of." Layla scoffed, not convinced. "The Tin Man is wanted in a dozen cities, and would be wanted in a dozen more if they weren't nothing but ruins now. He's worked for and with the worst people this planet has to offer... The Four Families, Dathan Vollstrecker, The Spire... And those are just the ones I know about. Most of his clients wind up mysteriously vanishing from existence, or suddenly imploding and tearing themselves apart under mysterious circumstances. He enjoys killing, and he makes no excuses or justifications for it. He does whatever he wants, when he wants and how he wants, and he revels in how much pain and suffering he can inflict while doing it," Mara continued. She took a few steps toward Layla, her own menacing frame serving to emphasize her words, which while seemingly directed only at the edgy teen, were meant for everyone present. "But worst of all, he's smart. He's no brainless savage. People underestimate how dangerous he is because few people survive to tell of his atrocities, and because he's just good enough at fooling people into thinking he's a reasonable guy that they fall for his gambits. But make no mistake, if you are no longer useful to him, or if he simply decides it at a whim, you're dead."
  14. Ooo this is intriguing! Can't wait for my turn!
  15. Tynes didn't immediately respond to Clive, partially because he didn't really want to answer the beer question, given he though the answer should be obvious, but also because he wanted Krieger to clarify what value the captured jockey actually brought. "I already obtained some information from the prisoner. It seems the Jockeys are also after this artifact, which means whatever it is must be valuable. I am turning the Jockey over to you for further interrogation, but take care with him. Even low-ranking Jockeys know valuable information about many different underworld organizations, so keeping him alive to reveal that information will be worth it to you in the future," the colonel took the prompt and elaborated. "I see," Tynes nodded, "And the Jockeys aren't working with the Tin Man?" "The Jockeys work for the Jockeys," Krieger replied immediately, "They will steal from anyone if they can get away with it. It is unlikely the two are willing to share whatever it is they are after." "If this artifact is the reason the Tin Man was after Cordoza, then we may have already lost," Tynes shook his head, "We received a hurried message broadcast from her about a half an hour ago, requesting the militia forces in the city stand down against Norkotian soldiers, but continue to resist mercenary forces. After that, nothing. I've spoken to every command, and the commander in charge of the lifts indicated he sent Cordoza to a radio tower in the area, but neither she, nor her escorts, returned. When he sent a squad out to find them, they found only mutilated bodies and no sign of the mayor." Mara kept her eyes squinted to avoid letting too much of the glow out as she stared down the corridor before them. Switching to infrared, she spotted just what she could hear, a group of about a dozen individuals processing down the tunnel toward them. A couple had electric torches and at least one had a traditional torch, the latter of which showed-up quite brightly in Mara's current vision mode. She was already leveling her pistol on the leader, when Zack suddenly called out to them. The entire party stopped in their tracks, before the apparent leader stepped forward and called back. "Zack?! You're alive?" the older woman's voice seemed surprised, yet a bit overjoyed. Mara held her fire as Cordoza rushed forward, followed in delay by several of the other lead members of the group. In the light, Zack would recognize Tessa and Layla among the first people to arrive with Cordoza, along with the Norkotian soldier who had been "possessed" by the militia team leader. Despite the fact that the only reason for that individual to be part of the lead group would be if he was still being inhabited by said militia leader, Tessa, Layla and Cordoza all seemed back to their normal selves. "I thought you'd been disintegrated or something," Cordoza said to Zack, finding that after thinking him lost, she realized how much she valued what he had done for her and the city so far. "Looks like they tried," Tessa noted, shining her flashlight over Zack and observing the blood that absolutely coated him head-to-toe. "Does anyone else notice the mechanical lady right here, or is it just me? No? Just me then?" Layla muttered, pointing at Mara, who now relaxed completely and stepped away from the wall. As the others joined them, Zack would notice Val was present, but she seemed... off. She was being led by the hand by one of the soldiers, and she had this look of shellshock in her eyes. She kept looking around mad fear, particularly back into the dark tunnel behind them, as though she expected something to come out of the darkness at any moment. In fact, it almost seemed as though all reason had left her and all that remained was mindless terror.
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