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Better Than Gore

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  1. Arthur was determined and was proving to be quite the formidable opponent. No matter what he did, Arthur had an answer. Ryker needed to play some offense, which seemed almost impossible due to his opponent's relentless assault. Perhaps it was time to put something into play that would turn the tide and save him from being knocked unconscious so early in their encounter. Ryker's jaw clenched as an overwhelming pain introduced itself, thankfully it wasn't from his opponent's kick, but instead what laid just beneath Ryker's surface. An ear piercing sound emitted from his body as skittering became noticeable once more, it continuously grew louder until Ryker's true potential was evident. Arthur's leg aimed to once again connect with the side of his head and would once more be blocked by Ryker's closest arm, but this time it was reinforced, by what appeared to be bone. It exploded from his arm and intricately weaved itself around the entirety of his arm until it was fully encased. Arthur's shin would be on the receiving end this time around as bone connected with bone. Hopefully this caught Arthur off guard and would allow Ryker to advance. As Arthur's leg connected, Ryker would immediately burst forward aiming to collide with the Mage and topple him over. Allowing the force of his opponent's kick to adjust his posture enough to lead with the right side of his body. Ryker would likely end up falling with his opponent as they collided, from there his ground game could be implemented and he just might end up surviving for a little while longer. Of course, that was Ryker betting on the fact that Arthur's grappling was inferior to his own. @Voldemort
  2. Megan's identity was on a need-to-know basis; after all, she chose not to introduce herself, even though Theo hinted more than once for her to. Then he decided to take a seat next to her and even went as far as draping his arm over her shoulder. "Make yourself comfortable." Megan's statement certainly didn't lack sarcasm. Taking a moment to consider his offer, she nodded in agreement, she was likely going to need one if she wanted to gab until Ryker made his presence known. "Whiskey, on the rocks." Her gaze shifted onto Theo's companion, giving her a tasteful once over before falling back to the stage performance. "It shouldn't be too long, he's just powdering his n---," A loud noise interrupted her. A very familiar noise of someone being tossed from Ryker's office. A loud bang cue'd in right as the current stage show ended, forcing everyone's attention to the dispute. "Get the fuck out of my club before I change my mind," Ryker boomed, dusting his hands as he came into view, wild-eyed and grinning. This happened quite often, so it came as no surprise, that much was evident as the inhabitants went back to their business. After watching his personnel escort the individual out, he slowly but surely made his way to the VIP section. "I assume you've been properly introduced, Theo. This is Me---," "Miss Sade," Megan chimed in, interrupting Ryker. "Quite. Miss Sade, my new head of security." He added with a smile. @Witches Brew
  3. "Good evening, Mr. Sloan." Mason retorted with a nod. Theodore Sloan regularly spent a fortune while in the presence of Fatal Seduction's finest, so his name was one of many on the guest list. Normally a guest was patted down before permitted entry into the infamous Gentleman's Club; however, this particular patron had quite the reputation and with said reputation came a higher standard. "How could I forget? Stay out of trouble you two." A wink. Mason's hand sought an intercom positioned on the wall adjacent to the entrance, with a buzz, the door unlocked and Mason nudged it open for them while simultaneously keeping an eye on the forever growing line. Per usual, Fatal Seduction was thriving. There was hardly any room to walk, let alone sit, among the diverse crowd were many of Ryker's armed security, keeping a watchful eye in case they needed to intervene. Theo's usual spot was reserved, roped off and accompanying said rope were two rather large men. Although, tonight there was someone occupying a seat, a woman. Leather adorned her lower half, the attire looked as if it had been painted on. A pair of black stilettos embraced her feet, and a white shirt barely covered her bust, with the aid of a push-up bra her bosom was practically exploding from the small crop top. An assortment of ink decorated her bronzed skin, vibrantly colored, stretching from her digits and up onto a vast majority of her neck. A single facial piercing, gold in color, hugged her septum firmly. Her eyes were like a wildfire, piercing, yet very inviting. Her hair was tied up in a pony tail, black in color and shaved on both sides. "Theodore Sloan I presume? Ryker's been expecting you, he'll be joining us momentarily, he's attending to some business." Her voice was like honey and her smile was intoxicating. @Witches Brew
  4. Ryker's counterattack was successful; but it seemed that Arthur was always one step ahead of him, Ryker watched as his opponent swung his closest elbow up and over his own attacking arm and aimed to connect with his face. Elbows were extremely dangerous, but not in a traditional sense, they hurt of course, but they were also very sharp. A well placed elbow with enough force would cut more so than bludgeon. There was likely no avoiding it entirely; however, mitigating some of the damage was possible. Ryker rotated his hips with the follow through of his punch, allowing him to transition his weight onto his farthest foot and lean backwards, letting Arthur's elbow whiz past its intended target. Ryker felt the air between them displace as his opponent's attack flew by. It was if time came to a stand still, or perhaps it was just the massive amounts of adrenaline coursing through his veins. Ryker was in trouble and he needed to back his way out of the corner he had found himself in or it might end badly and soon. Upon feeling his punch connect and coming to the realization that his head almost got taken off for a second time, Ryker back peddled, aiming to create a small amount of distance between the two of them in order to reset. Assuming Arthur didn't immediately close the gap, Ryker took to a southpaw stance and awaited his opponent's next move. @Voldemort
  5. Ryker had underestimated his opponent; an oncoming blow to the head made that pretty obvious, luckily for Ryker he would be able to absorb a majority of the blow by practically replicating Arthur's own technique. He wouldn't fully commit to the jab, the very second he saw Arthur's weight shift he knew it wasn't going to land, so instead of fully extending his attacking left arm he simply pulled back. Just in time too, as Arthur's shin collided with the arm, more specifically the forearm. This wouldn't stop the kick, per say, but it would absorb the brunt of it. It still hurt, a lot, and forced Ryker to stumble a bit to his right. Immediately circling, Ryker's right arm fired in the form of a stiff uppercut, aimed to connect with Arthur's exposed side. @Voldemort
  6. Arthur closed what little distance they had between each other in the blink of an eye; Ryker had little to no time to react, so he let basic instinct take the wheel. Ryker needed to reopen that gap so he could act accordingly, so he preformed a go-to Muay Thai fundamental known as the teep, or front push kick. His forward right knee rose and the remainder of his leg lashed out, simultaneously moving his hips and shoulders backwards to add a little more oomph to the attack. Ryker's foot aimed to make contact with Arthur's abdomen. There wasn't enough force for it to hurt per say, but certainly enough to stop his momentum and leave an opening for Ryker to follow up if Arthur's advance continued. Assuming Arthur didn't reconsider his approach, Ryker was ready for him this go-round with a hand combination. Starting with a basic left jab. @Voldemort
  7. Arthur spoke of fate. "Who are you?" Ryker added in before Arthur continued. It had been quite sometime since an outsider stumbled upon Absalom, let alone actually stepped foot inside. "Couldn't say, nobody has explored the entirety of the Sarcophagus and lived to tell the tale." At this point Ryker was just feeding into the superstition surrounding the crater, all anyone had to go off of was tall tales. Some believed an ancient alien civilization crash landed and inevitably died off, only for their technology and weaponry to be scavenged by those brave enough to step foot inside. There were many variations of the story, of course. Most believable was that the technology helped contribute to building their beautiful City. "Now you're starting to piss me off." Ryker clenched his jaw. Taking a final hit of his joint, it would be flicked onto the floor and snuffed out via boot heel. "Tell you what, if you manage to beat me in say... hand to hand combat, I'll accompany you to the Sarcophagus." It was at that very moment that a shuddering chill crept up his spine. A chittering like noise broke the silence of their stare down. It was starving. @Voldemort
  8. "Did Miguel lace me again?" Yes. It had happened on more than one occasion. Ryker's gaze fell upon the joint betwixt his fingers, contemplating whether or not it could have been tampered with. That was really the only possibility, otherwise there may have actually been someone in his establishment demanding to be taken on a tour. Ryker stared at it for a good moment or two before returning Arthur's stare. Then it dawned on him, it unfortunately wasn't some psychedelic experience, Arthur was real. "Well, this is officially the last time I volunteer to close." Ryker sighed and shook his head in disappointment before taking another hit from his re-appropriated cigarette. "You must be referring to the Sarcophagus. It's supposedly ancient and alien in nature." Ryker made sure to express the word alien exaggeratedly with his hands. Or at least that's what all the stories foretold. Why they decided to build an entire City just above something so mysterious was still a mystery. He personally thought the Matriarch must have been touched in head to come up with such an idea. "Do I look like a god damn tour guide to you?" Rhetorical question. @Voldemort
  9. Owning and operating a nightclub meant you were the first one in and the last one out. Closing was tedious--correction, closing properly was tedious. Cleaning up after a night full of booze, drugs, and many other vices was very time consuming. Most of the time Ryker had help, but not tonight, as considerate as he had felt he was now regretting that decision. If uninterrupted, preparing the Club for the morning shift would take him a couple hours. So as soon as the last person stumbled out the front doors, he went to work, picking up every bottle and glass, disposing of them properly. Glass wear went into the sink behind the bar and bottles went into the trash. Once that had been accomplished, out came the washrag, wiping up the tables and bar top with a combination of bleach and soap. Then came the chairs, placing them neatly atop the tables. Last but not least, sweeping and mopping, which was probably the most time consuming out of all the other tasks. People were messy. But before he could truly close for the night, Ryker had to enjoy a vice of his own. Taking a seat at the bar, he would withdraw a nicely rolled joint from his jacket pocket. Placing it firmly between his lips before lighting it. It didn't take long before a majority of the club reeked of potent cannabis, as plumes of smoke were exhaled from his nostrils only to forever linger. "What a night." A sigh of relief escaped him as his eyes slowly but surely glazed over. @Voldemort
  10. "Leaving it up to me, eh?" Ryker chuckled. A hand snaked down and patted Pyrrah's rear only to grab a handful. "What do you think, Pyrrah? Do you want Celine to watch?" Ryker's gaze hadn't drifted from Celine, even as his hand sought something much more delicate, playfully rubbing momentarily before returning to his lap. Ryker was already set on letting Celine stay, despite what his newfound pet may have wanted. "I assume you can close up tonight, #3?" --- "Absolutely, sir. Enjoy." Nodding in acknowledgment, #3 left the office, closing the door behind him. Escorting Celine's money to her vehicle, he would stand watch at the bar and would probably have to break up a fight and or throw a customer out that got too hands on with a dancer. "Well then," Ryker added just as the door came to a close. "Let's see what you have hidden under there, shall we?" Another snap echoed. Creating some distance between the desk and himself via scooting his chair back a bit, his leg would return to its original resting place atop the other, getting comfortable once more. "Make yourself comfortable, Celine." Which could have meant numerous things. @Witches Brew @Houndy Poochykins
  11. "Quite the find." Ryker's gaze lingered for a moment or so after her spin concluded. "That's correct, Pyrrah." His hand gestured for them to sit, allowing them to get comfortable before returning to his own seat. Now that he had seen the merchandise, it was time to conclude their business. Once seated, his closest hand would open the top drawer of his desk and feel for his lock box. Hastily entering the combination, the locking mechanism would click open, permitting him access. "Same arrangement as before, I presume?" Celine wasn't dumb. Pyrrah was a rare find and unfortunately with rarity came a much higher asking price. A brief chuckle followed his question, he knew ahead of time what her answer would be, but it didn't hurt to ask. Taking a moment to eye what he had stashed inside, he closed it with a sigh, before she had a chance to interject he stood up and made his way to the wall just left of his desk. Placing his hand against it, a bright red beam traced the outline and the wall unveiled a safe. Entering yet another combination, the door to said safe opened exposing a large stack of neatly folded currency. "That should do it." Hopefully. "You can count it if you'd like," Ryker assumed Celine trusted him by now, despite his borderline sociopathic behavior and line of work, Ryker was a man of his word. "Now the real question is, what exactly should I do with you?" His gaze turned to Pyrrah. Ryker didn't have the slightest clue what she was capable of, he was trusting that Celine had done her research before coming to him. Was she educated enough to do payroll? Or did he just hire another pretty face? "Ahhh, now that's an idea." Apparently he had already made up his mind. Making his way back to his seat, he situated himself and snapped his fingers, demanding that she come to him. It was probably better to assert his dominance in the presence of Pyrrah's present owner, if that's what she considered Celine. "Come lay at my feet for the time being, I'll better assess your skills once we're alone.. unless of course you'd like to observe and or participate Celine?" Another smile. @Witches Brew @Houndy Poochykins
  12. Their escort was stationed just outside of the main entrance, prepared to greet them upon arrival. He even went as far as opening the car door for them once their vehicle stopped. "Ah, Celine. Mr. Albrecht has been expecting you." His hand was offered for assistance. Around his neck was a lanyard that read #3, the number itself didn't have any relevance, Ryker's memory just wasn't what it used to be. #3 and the rest of the security personnel inside were all dressed alike, a white n-neck shirt that was probably too small for their massive frame, black cargo pants and steel toed boots. "On our way, sir." Leading them inside, they would have to navigate their way through the crowd, which wouldn't prove too troublesome as the patrons seemed to scurry upon noticing his approach. Fog billowed from machinery and snaked across the floor, some found it a little on the extreme side, due to having to practically wade through it. Aesthetics were everything to Ryker. If the fog didn't make that evident, then the strobe lighting and random laser shows would. Granted, every performance had a different stage effect. Had to keep them on the edge of their seat, right? Every once in awhile #3 looked over his shoulder to ensure he hadn't lost Ryker's company, he'd have his head if so. Upon reaching Ryker's office, another security guard would promptly nod and open the door for them. Inside was an entirely different atmosphere, it was a lot colder in this room, for obvious reasons. It was practically bare, save for a couple paintings on the wall, presumably lineage. There was a much smaller stage stationed in the center, equipped with a pole, and speakers sporadically placed. Then a desk, with two rather comfortable looking chairs placed in front of it, and the head honcho himself. Seated in an equally comfortable chair, with one leg folded atop of the other. Ryker was dressed much fancier than his hired muscle, he adorned a slim fitting black suit, equipped with a vest and a royal purple tie. Dark brown hair was half-assed styled into a fauxhawk, high faded on both the sides and back. Hazel-green eyes observed their movements, with an occasional twitch. His fingers racked the desk repeatedly as they approached, out of impatience or habit was for them to decide. "Celine! How's business?" A smile greeted the duo, a flash of silver from capped canines. Standing to properly greet them, Ryker stood at 5'11" and was athletically built. His sleeves were rolled up just below the elbow, showing off his vibrantly colored tattoos, stretching from the tops of his hands up onto his shoulders and beyond. Stubble coated a chiseled jawline, likely out of laziness. Bags laid underneath of his eyes due to his habits, he had probably been up for days at this point, which persuaded him even more to bring on an assistant. "What do you have for me today, hm?" He gave Celine's companion a once over before making his way around the desk to get a closer look. "Do a spin for me, will ya sweetheart?" He even incorporated a hand gesture just in case she didn't understand his inquiry. @Witches Brew @Houndy Poochykins
  13. Fatal Seduction was thriving; which was a double edged sword, on one hand clientele increased significantly and on the other hand they were slowly but surely expressing less interest on the entertainment the establishment had to offer. They wanted variety. They wanted exotic. Ryker agreed and sought out entertainment the City of Absalom had never seen before. In order to work for Fatal Seduction, an entertainer had to go through a screening process, assuming they passed they were placed on a probation, so to speak. An entertainer had a preset amount of time to make a certain amount of money to be considered for full time employment. With his high standards, most didn't make it through the screening. It was rather simple; if a potential employee could turn him on, his customers would be putty in their hands. Which spelled money. Ryker's schedule was hectic, if he wasn't interviewing, he was off running his other line of work. Perhaps a secretary would be beneficial. That was something he often pondered, but it would have to be someone he could trust. Someone who was capable of running his club in his absence. Sure, there were plenty of people on his payroll that could fit that role, but there was one problem with that, they were all men. Hired muscle to do Ryker's dirty work. He couldn't trust them to keep an eye on his beloved Club, or to put their noses where they didn't belong, among many other things. It would have to be a woman. So that's what he was looking for today, a secretary. But at the same time, they had to fall under the same category all of his employees did. They had to be beautiful and above all else, exotic. Just his clientele seeing them would put their wandering imaginations at ease. "Sir, I believe your interview has finally arrived, should I escort her to your office?" A brutish voice came to life inside his earpiece. "Please." Ryker answered. And so he waited. @Houndy Poochykins @Witches Brew
  14. Geography The Arcology is a colossal megastructure comprised of scintillating agri-domes, elegant spires, and graceful monorails - encompassing a microsociety of about ten thousand souls. Its towering heights lord over the desolate remains of a once pristine alpine forest, the only point of light in the sprawling wasteland. Holographic advertisements loom over the churning industry of the surrounding badlands, acclaiming the virtues of this jewel of self-sufficient civilization. Organization Absalom is divided among its shareholders, with the position of owner and leader granted to the majority stake. While some maintenance of the overall structure is maintained by the owner, individual levels and wings of the arcology are the responsibility of their private holders. As such, interior aesthetics of one area may vary drastically from another. Because the fundamental right of a citizen is property, those that own no property, or whose property, including their life, is rendered forfeit by incurred debts, are stripped of citizenship and relegated to servitude and slavery until such a time as the debt is repaid. In reality, however, because a lack of means to protect one’s assets is commonly considered forfeiture, even those completing their contracted enslavement often immediately find themselves back in bondage just to be able to feed themselves. Free citizens, but whom own less than 1% of the arcology, are a fragile middle class that dwindles daily, and are only replenished by new arrivals to this futuristic ‘utopia’. Government and Politics Law Contracts rule all but the most informal of exchanges. Because there are no non-private adjudicators, private middlemen almost inevitably favor the party with greater influence in disputes regarding these contracts, making justice a hopeless pursuit for most. When adjudication fails, squads of private security forces are deployed, leading to brief but incredibly violent shareholder turf wars in which one party will attempt to seize the assessed debt it feels it is owed. The common result is total seizure of assets, to cover the ‘cost’ of the operation, and subsequent enslavement. Somewhat paradoxically, the average day is relatively peaceful and secure for the bulk of the arcology’s denizens, as the threat of wholesale destruction and the ubiquity of high-powered personal weaponry make most sane people strongly reconsider the use of physical force, or attempting an unlawful act. Nonetheless, criminal elements do exist, inseparably entwined into the fabric of the ultra-capitalist society, functioning as yet another tool for ambitious holders to undermine their peers. Foreign Relations Absalom's foreign relations are currently still formative, but are generally cordial. The owner recognizes that national governments, even those with inferior technology, command resource monopolies that a neofeudal city-state cannot hope to match in open conflict. Trade and diplomacy are conducted openly to import what little the arcology cannot produce on its own, and to market its own products far and wide. Military The Arcology’s armed forces consist chiefly of the private security forces hired and outfitted by the aggregate of the holders. However, the owner separately employs a full company of mercenaries loyal to herself, as well as a fleet of 200 semi-autonomous armored drones that can rapidly deploy anti-riot ordinance as well as lethal munitions if necessary. Economy Absalom's economy is a complicated mix of give and take. It's a lucrative locale for companies or governments to contract out the labor necessary for product manufacture, being that labor is so cheap and available here due to the prevalence of indentured servitude. In a way you could say that Arcology City's biggest export good is labor. Workers of all sort are exploited within the territory of Absalom. Factory workers, laborers, programmers, and sex workers are the most common types. A sizable portion of the population is under some contract or another, often the indentured servitude kind, binding them to a term of unpaid service. These terms, and by extension the people for which they are made, can be bought and sold. In the sprawling slums that comprise the hinterlands around the main tower there are dozens of industrial sectors dedicated to the processing of raw materials. These factories are populated largely by the lowest rung of Arcology caste, and as they are indentured their labor is sold cheaply. Moving within the tower, scores of programmers are bought and sold from one corporation to the next. The trade of indentured servitude contracts is common with workers that have special skills. Another practice is for companies to own nothing but these contracts, selling or renting the rights to various corporations as freelance indentured servants. Absalom produces high tech and completed goods. Anything from portable electronics, to medical prosthesis, or even fully functional life auxiliary Androids. These kinds of goods are what most companies in Absalom sell abroad for money and goods. The main import of the city is raw materials and food stuffs, as these things are difficult to find or produce. If you can dream of something and there is a way for that thing to be manufactured then you can probably find it in Absolom. Just don't think about the exploitation that built it and you can sleep easy. Canon and History Completed Threads History The origins of Absalom are hardly a secret. While the average citizen might not be aware, anybody who goes out of their way to research the subject will quickly run across local folklore. Absalom is not a nation, not in the sense that a traditional nation is. Rather, having no actual governing body, it is a microcosm of individual organizations attempting to live in proximity. It is generally agreed between corporations that a certain respect for common law is necessary, but why do all of these groups choose to operate here? The reason is simple, and it has a name; The Sarcophagus. The Sarcophagus is a structure that exists, buried deep underground at the very heart of Absalom. The only portion of this structure that exists above ground is a vast open hole - a hole over which the main body of the city is suspended over. It has been speculated that this structure, The Sarcophagus, is actually a ship from some unknown space faring civilization that crash landed in the wilds of Fracture. Nobody knows for sure how it got here. Back when the city first formed, it was occupied by tomb raiders and grave robbers who went into this opening to look for treasure, and what they found was both wondrous and terrifying. The Sarcophagus was filled with autonomous machines, hyper advanced technology, unheard of metals, and most perplexingly it was also stuffed to the brim with the living dead. They aren't Zombies, so to speak, but rather their organic components have been commandeered by the very technology that built their home. These early adventurers waded into the depths of The Sarcophagus. Those lucky, or skilled enough to return came back with tech that had previously been unseen and unheard of. It was these few who began the very first corporations of Absalom. These days, ventures into The Sarcophagus are rare and dangerous. It is less profitable than it was in the beginning as an understanding of the tech within has been reached. With the ability to replicate the tech laying inside, it's seen as a net loss to send people inside, even if they do return alive. Even so, it is estimated that a mere five percent of the structure has been explored with untold miles of corridors and Chambers laying unseen beneath the wasteland below, and around Absalom.
  15. Chapter 1: Imprisoned. “Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torment of man.” — Friedrich Nietzsche The cell’s darkness was massive and palpable; it robbed those inhabiting it of their sense of direction, they stood motionless and afraid to budge. They were accompanied by a sinister silence broken only by the gnawing and scurrying of rats. The gnawing only grew louder and nearer, filling them with dread lest the starving rats attacked their bare feet. One prisoner in particular leaned against a stone wall and slumped down, exhausted. Only to feel the slimy creeping of an unknown creature on his face. Horrified, he rose and determined to pace in the tiny cell. A guard finally arrived to deliver a slice of bread and a cup of water — the prisoner was outraged that three days had passed without a meal. The guard offered bad news; only one day had passed, his sense of time had vanished. Located in the Church was a dimly lit basement — two narrow side-by-side cells, they appear to be about four feet wide and eight feet long. Rust has eaten away the edges of the cells’ steel doors. Cracked paint, stained with filth, covers the walls. The heat was virtually intolerable and the aroma was terrible. Within one of these cells was the empty shell of a man, a once proud and noble Knight, stripped of his nobility and pride. Left to rot once the governing body of Temple City uprooted themselves to somewhere more worthy of their attention. On the brink of starvation, carcasses of rats and other creepy crawlers littered the cell’s floor. His hair and beard unkempt. His face sunken in and skin taut. The sound of footsteps and voices could be faintly heard above him. “Down here!” He shouted probably to no avail. Hope. @Spooky Mittens & @Witches Brew
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