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closed; ooc Location – Martial Town; the Purple Penguin There was a lot of music here, and it was loud. There were a lot of people milling about, stampeding throughout the nightclub to the pulse of the techno-beat, on occasion broken through like when a shoal of fish meets a bear claw, whenever a known pusher happened to walk by and attract a line of customers like they were belting out hypnotic music themselves. Eldwine liked drink, and drugs, and music. Some of the time he even liked people. This was all just a bit much though, which is exactly why he had chosen it. The loud music would drown out the nuance of his anticipated conversation with a group full of mercs and marauders, the swarm of bodies would hide his own, obscure his features, make him one of a thousand; an isolated alleyway couldn't do that for you, and neither could a diner. He suffocated signal with noise. He put the word out through various shadow brokers, a time, a place, a vague and general idea of a fee structure – he had heard back that five soldiers of fortune would be interested in discussing details, and three of them were willing to meet him in his venue of choice. So Eldwine rented an elevated corner both, whose vantage provided him an unobstructed view of the sea of people, the marked exits and the unmarked service entries, and put his back to a wall so he wouldn't turn around to find a knife or a needle stuck into it. A bottle of wine arrived. Eldwine inspected its label in the Penguin's fluorescence, and smiled a little smile just for himself when he saw the Dali name on it; their Biazo vineyard was really making the rounds. He left the wine in its ice bucket to on side of the table, pushed the tray of finger foods to the other, and waited with his hands under the table, shoulders slightly hunched, legs relaxed but alert. Any minute now.
NOTICE Hub in Use MTPD The Buffer MTPD Headquarters (Martial Town Police Department) Detective Parean Parean Music The Drain Detective It had taken a sloshing crater of a puddle to convince Parean to put his cigarette out beneath his umbrella. The latter had done enough to shield the flame but getting his shoe soaked had ruined his appetite to smoke. It was pouring out, the night cold, with the stars a hazy overhead amid the city’s smog and sure to remain that way these few hours past evening. Reaching the sidewalk after crossing the street, he checked his watch: just past nine o’clock. I’m on time. At least that’s something. On time, the first time, and the first night in Martial Town. It was every bit as vibrant and lethargic, dead and lively, as he had heard. A paradox. Just like me. The city’s suburbs had been quite a contrast to its central areas. All of Martial Town was walled on the outside, some parts in, while the outer wall was as much to protect the people inside as the people outside, though which one was more than the other Parean didn’t know. There was a lot to hear and a lot to say about this city, most of it not great. The settlement’s small handful of gates at the wall were guarded checkpoints. Tunnels in their own way, they posed a kind of duality between these access points into the city proper and the surrounding districts and neighborhoods that were clearly suffering the worst; neglected, abandoned, the residents left to ‘police’ themselves. As a visitor, Parean was still working out what to make of it all. Amid all of it, though, it was a night like tonight that the Neon City really shined. Lights of its nicknamesake were lit up everywhere, from the outer limits to the inner. A giant, flickering lightbulb. Those peripheral areas were simply and collectively referred to as the Peripherals. They led deeper into the city—a ring of blocks called the Buffer, an evident shorthand for “Buffer Zone”. It was a fitting name. This area was largely neutral, serving as a wedge between the Peripherals and the heart of Martial Town: the Core. The latter was its own walled district, militarized and policed by the city government’s own armed force. That left the majority policing of the Buffer to the Martial Town Police Department. There was much and more to learn about this city that never sleeps, but Parean only really needed to know that which pertained to his being here. Standing beneath the roof of the MTPD Headquarters, a complex of drenched buildings, he lowered his umbrella, content that the rest of his outfit, including his best friend of a brown trenchcoat, was hardly hit by a drop. Debating with himself whether to light up his cigarette then and there, Parean grumbled over his own refusal. A few hoodlums were looking his way as he pocketed the unlit cigarette between his lips, but they weren’t worth any effort either. On his way into town, he had learned that the crime rate of the Buffer rested somewhere in the middle between the high end of the Peripherals and the low end of the Core—it was certainly still there, a deal more so than in other settlements, but no idiot was going to start a fight outside of a police station. Of which I better waste no more time and head inside. Ambience Through the doors, Parean was greeted by the hustle and bustle of police hands just like one would be in any law enforcement station in a big city like Martial Town. Unintelligible conversations were strung together like split wires, phones were ringing like a symphony out of sync and keyboards were going tap-tap-tap amid the click-click-clack of unpolished shoes. If the lobby was this busy, the offices on all floors that exceeded ten were likely no different. “Hey, hey hey!” Parean’s brow perked at the voice of a man coming his way with rolled sleeves and a tie as loose as his own. “What’re you trying to do, drown the building!? Ezmo, get this guy a towel, will ya!?” Parean could only blink as a lobby hand, some twenty-year-old named Ezmo, chucked a towel at his face. He caught it before it hit his face but still felt confused. The speaker just stood there waiting, shaking his head, then nodding in the way that one wants to hurry someone else up. Finally, it all clicked. “Oh. Right. Sorry about that. Damn puddles.” With that, Parean went about drying off his left lower leg and the dress shoe at the base of it, though his sock would have to suffer. “Thanks. Here you go.” He chucked the wet towel back toward Ezmo. It hit his face. “SHIT! YA JERK!” Parean shrugged in apology. “All right, all right, knock it off!” The first man spoke, still standing there with his hands on his hips. Must be the bouncer around here. “Ezmo, go get those files I asked about twenty minutes ago! And make sure that pot is brewing, damn it!” He looked Parean’s way. “The hell you doing still standing there!? This is a police station. Either make a police case, or go station yourself back in the rain. I got work to do! Sheesh!” The man walked away and that was that. Parean just stood standing, his umbrella in one hand, his free hand slick with rainwater. Well, guess I better find the captain who decided that it was a smart idea to hire me as a private investigator. He had caught a job through his PI connections of a serial killer on the loose in the Buffer. It was a rainy season, and this particular animal liked to drown his victims, or so recent reports went. Parean would find out soon enough as he made his way throughout the lobby and headed toward the elevators, smelling coffee along the way. One cup. It won't hurt. No more than a wet sock.
It had been a while since the teenager had settled in. Her sights were not only set on conquest of the remains of Palgard, but on other things far greater. On her spare time the engineer turned over rumors, manuscripts and other information from various sources. It was mostly technical information and reports on prospective enemy forces and the success or failure of a given operation, but other mysterious goodies were peppered throughout. Most of this allegedly extraneous information was simply passed over, but there was one item that gave a chill to her nerves. There was a log of a ship that came into the industry controlled port, but a physical description of the individual who allegedly departed the craft was missing. Taking up a techno-magical tablet she browsed through the surveillance footage to the given log time. No person was seen departing the ship for the entirety of its visit. Was there an intrusion into the surveillance network or what other trickery could potentially be at play? Sanu knew a few things about sailing craft and potential mysteries they could bring, but so unfortunately he was on an extended vacation. This anomaly would need to be investigated, but another just as important event would occur first. What could that possibly be? A lunch meeting of course! The Direktor had eyes and ears all over the city. The surveillance which not limited to the industrial district found an individual of interest. A particular blue haired mercenary whom she'd briefly met before. Curiosity bade discovering what the individual was up to. Caerula would receive an invitation to meet with the General'ny Direktor in a private upper floor of the Zephyrus tower. Should Cae accept and approach the tower at the appointed time she would be met with an armored and armed escort consisting of firearm equipped soldiers. Soon taken off the path of the regularly traveled lower levels a lift would take her up and up and up. Once they departed the lift the lead soldier would direct Cae to a door which slid open upon approach. Hana could be seen sitting at a table with two settings of food and an empty chair across from her. "Welcome back. Things have changed a bit since we last met."
NOTICE ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Where the neon lights are as bright as the hope for the future is dim. LOCATIONS DISTRICTS LIST OF DISTRICTS The Core The heart of Martial Town, its most central area, is called the Core. Here is where the Martial Town Government is based, as well as some of the most prominent and most wealthy residents of the city. Crime rate is at an all time low within the Core, at least depending on a particular interpretation of the word "crime". While the Core is quite the opposite of the Peripherals, the outer city limits overrun with organized crime groups, anarchic syndicates and street gangs, the government employs its own full-standing military force to police the city's center. This comes with a price. Crimes against the citizens are still committed. Unsanctioned home invasions. Random street inspections. Abuse of evidence and general abuse. It is all contained enough to minimize the threat of riots, but everyone knows it happens. It is something of an accepted reality. Nonetheless, such actions are largely limited to those residents of the Core who make up the general population of the militarized district, versus it's higher class citizens. One need not be particularly esteemed or rich to live here. Maybe you have a particular trade or skill that almost forced you to be relocated. Often, it is just a matter of behaving well enough to remain, or proving so and heading through the gates from the Buffer. A number of people do so gladly. Given the tradeoff, they would rather live under the eyes of a camera and listen to boots marching the streets, wondering if a knock would come on their door and a soldier would show up, compared to a knock on their door and thief or a murderer showing up who was not kept in check. Additionally, residents of the Core have an opportunity to work their way up to better living standards, including within the ginormous skyscrapers at the heart of the heart itself. While some of these great towers are owned by and dedicated to the government and the most powerful corporations, others are self-sustainable complexes that provide the greatest security, sustenance and seclusion from the rest of the city. Living in the Core really boils down to a matter of preference and permission. As long as the city government allows you to, you are allowed to. As long as you would rather live under the thumb of the government and its military than the MTPD, the corporate paramilitary forces or criminal elements of the Buffer, or worse, the endless gangs, rebel groups and crime groups that overrun the Peripherals, then the Core just might be for you. ZONES LIST OF ZONES GRAFT Center (Genetic Research, Augmentation, Fortification and Transformation) The GRAFT Center is the headquarters of the GRAFT Corporation. "GRAFT" stands for "Genetic Research, Augmentation, Fortification and Transformation", a broad series of terms that cover a broad variety of functions. While GRAFT clinics are spread throughout the city of Martial Town, from the Core to its suburbs, the GRAFT Center contains the most sophisticated and state of the art technology to service its clients. It fulfills a variety of needs for cybernetic limb and organ replacements, and cybernetic enhancements, such as infrared eyesight. However, GRAFT is not limited to just 'technology', as with mechanized or digitized features. The former is its primary identity, but it also supports a full-fledged magical enhancement program; a nice alternative to any technophobes, though the reverse also applies. Additionally, the GRAFT Center, located in the militarized heart of Martial Town, is where the bulk of the corporation's research is spearheaded, among all levels, including both magic and technology. The Purple Penguin Amid the night life of Martial Town, where the streets are lit up by neon dancers merely in the way the advertisement signs blink and flash and glow, The Purple Penguin represents the pinnacle of that night life. Located on the 'border' between the Core, the militarized heart of Martial Town, and the far less policed areas that serve as its outskirts, the nightclub receives a diversity of visitors, from regulars to newcomers looking for a good night out after a hard day's work. Amid its trademark purple lightning that basks the entire building, inside and out, day and night, The Purple Penguin boasts three public floors and a fourth VIP floor that includes management. The floors beneath this one cater to a wide variety of music, with soundproof walls offering additional sections and bars. The Purple Penguin offers more than music and drink, however. It is almost impossible to forget or forgive the drug scene running rampant, though this in turn provides any would be do-gooders with a morally questionable source of intel. The CyberFunk Cafe Located nearer the Core, amid its most lively shopping centers, The CyberFunk Cafe is a cybercafe said to always be filled, but always having an empty seat available. This paradox of a statement is in part due to the ear-splitting arcades located beneath the soundproof floor of the main cafe. On the main floor, guests can enjoy a latte spiked with caffeine to see their eyes through a deep dive into their favorite VR program, or simply a soothing cup of tea while they surf the web on a laptop for a fine leather trenchcoat on sale. Whatever the customer's desire, the cafe itself can probably cater to it, with cakes and scones aplenty. In its own parallel, however, the arcade rooms below ground have a much quicker pace. Down here, gamers of all kinds can sit back and relax, or sit forward in highway-racing tension, as they play video games of all types. Sometimes that may mean looking at a screen from feet, or inches, away. Other times, it may mean plugging a cable into the back of your head and closing your eyes while your mind enters a world like in one of those Sword Art Online games. KAWAAIII!! However, what most people are not aware of is that The CyberFunk Cafe has a third level—one beneath the arcade floor, accessed only by a secret door and express permission. This is where an underground hacker club, called ILLusive, plays a whole different game, one with real stakes, and real thrills. Pal's Guard Pal's Guard, obviously a play on "Palgard", is not at all anyone's idea of a playful bar. This drinking establishment is owned by the well established Vilad Circle, one of Martial Town's most ruthless and powerful organized crime groups. Headed by the elven Vilad Family rumored to hail from Palgard since around its inception, the Vilad Circle, as the overall crime syndicate, has since employed other species of all kinds to do its bidding and dirty work. Thieves, assassins, hackers, black market merchants, drug dealers, prostitutes and other colorful careerists come here already under the Vilad Circle's ring or as fresh folk looking for a new career path. Whatever the case, whatever the face, the Vilad Family usually doesn't care who, how or why. They are only concerned with profit and power, two paramount aspects that are inseparable as far as they believe. However, probably not a good idea to come to Pal's Guard for a beer and nothing else. There are nicer, friendlier, cleaner bars out there. Enter at your own risk, and remember where the nearest GRAFT clinic is! MTPD Headquarters (Martial Town Police Department) Where the Core of Martial Town is chiefly policed by the government's military force, along with the private military companies of certain corporations, it falls to the Martial Town Police Department (MTPD) to keep the greater extent of the city in check. As with many things in life, however, that is a task that is easier to write than to carry out. Only the bravest, finest and most able and capable souls sign up for the MTPD, or else those with a death wish, a low IQ or a streak of psychopathy as they seek to abuse the badge and beat the victims being repressed by it. Meanwhile, the farthest suburbs of the city would be hard pressed to find an officer on patrol, unless they're really just strolling toward some crime lord so that they can receive their bribe money. There are, though, those who firmly believe in the badge and what it represents. Then there are those hired by the badge, bounty hunters and private detectives, because, when it comes to Martial Town, the MTPD needs all the help that it can get.