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A bowl of lukewarm noodles was sat in front of Pilot, for which he nodded his thanks. Although he did not posses the olfactory system necessary to properly appreciate the fare, Pilot still found that their presence satisfied an emotional component essential to his affectations. It was a personal, self-satisfying pretense, but Pilot maintained his fantasy, his enjoyment, of life. He reached out a hand to the bowl, causing the metal digit to clink softly against the ceramic as the two touched; Pilot moved the bowl by a fraction of an inch, and then nudged it again after a moment of silent appraisal.

Sharpmate ignored him, as did the three other customers in the restaurant. Pilot ignored them too.

It was a quarter before nine and the sun had already set in Palgard. Outside crickets chirped alongside the distant noises of city life, dogs barking, people shouting, and a scream or two just within audible range. These sounds Pilot had come to associate with the city, as the sound of Palgard's beating pulse, not a thundering crescendo, but a low, quiet murmur as the city struggled in its recovery. For all its metal and cement, the city was as alive as the people inhabiting it, Pilot knew. It was as alive as he was.

His adventures this evening would lead him into that dormant city. Him, and several others. The first of whom should be arriving within the next minute.

Pilot ceased his attempt at finding the best possible position for the bowl, and turned his thoughts instead to his recently assembled team, to Finn Cavalcante, Babette Marx, and the twins Candie & Sunny Scarborough. The former, having been sponsored by Pilot in the past, was whom he was most familiar with. Finn Cavalcante had not only proven himself useful, but integral to the successful completion of a mission in Yh'mi some time ago; it had cemented Mr. Cavalcante's position as an associate of the Handymen. The other three he was not familiar with, but they had been contracted through the regular channels; they possessed interesting aspects each, and the necessary skills for the job; Pilot was excited to observe how they performed tonight. Taken with the idea of adding to the CISH repository a handful of capable freelancers.

But those thoughts would have to wait. In the mean time, the dullahan stared at his noodles with intense concentration, and then slowly slid the bowl to the customer directly beside him, displacing the man's drink as he did so, and, having received no response, the two continued to ignore one another.

The entire team would need to assemble before Pilot could give his briefing, and afterward he would deposit them on location, less than a city block away from their objective.

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"Is this the place?"

"Looks like it."

"We'd better introduce ourselves, no?"

"Do you even know how he looks like?"





It was a rather cold evening, damp and becoming dark within the next few minutes. The songs of crickets accompanied the pleasant scenery,  with the sun setting down and filling white clouds with pink hue. 

It was a perfect time for theft.

The doors of the room slid open with an audible creak, moaning with weight and filling up the dead silence in the area. There at the entrance stood the Scarborough twins, checking out the vicinity that laid across for them. They entered with no haste, walking into the restaurant and attempting to locate their.. Pilot.

The undead twin Sunny had an horrible eyesight, (due to her decayed physique) so looking for the man was difficult. So the blonde -- the older twin, nudged her sister towards the right direction when she almost made way for the wrong guy. Pilot seemed to be having a conversation with a rather interesting individual. Was she a magician, perhaps? She seemed lovely, and looked quite professional. Maybe they'd work together in the field.

The chaotic duo approached the two in unison. Sunny smiled with glee, hands kept on her skirt and fixing the ribbon on her collar. Candie crossed her arms and nodded with a slight smile, looking on with a lazy gaze and messy bedhair.


"Good evening!"

"Pilot, was it?"











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Pilot managed to intone only the beginning of an explanation about the relative difference in his eyesight compared to that of a human's, but the moment passed too quickly, pushed onward by the djinn herself, so Pilot allowed it to pass on, forgotten. Instead he followed the woman's eyes to the distraction, and, with no desire for a confrontation, Pilot gestured absently.

The other patron's acknowledgment came in the form of abandonment, of complete disregard for not just the bowl Pilot had shoved his way, but of his own food and drink, which had sat, for hours now, untouched. The man cleared the room in a few quick strides to disappear behind the thick, greyish blue curtain that acted as partition between the store front and whatever lay off limits to the public.

“Excellent timing,” Pilot said, turning to regard the Scarborough twins with the cyclopean eye of his face. “Pilot, yes,” He answered Candie. Allowed a moment for his answer to settle and then continued speaking again.

“Candie and Sunny Scarborough, Babette; Babette, Candie and Sunny Scarborough. Excuse me, but we will cut short the introductions. Our final associate will be delayed briefly; I will presently transport us to the target location, and Mr. Cavalcante will catch up with us there.”

The armored man separated himself from his seat at the counter and traced the path the previous fellow had taken, stopping just before crossing the curtained threshold. Pilot gathered the curtain into his hand and pulled it back, away from the doorway, and then motioned with his free hand for the three to go on through.

“Hands and feet to yourself, please. I am not liable for any damages to your persons during transportation.”

The room behind the curtain was indistinct, as close to 'nothing' as it could be without existing as a portal to an abyss, or else as an entryway to another plane. Rather, the details of what lay behind the curtain held no hooks by which it could stick in a person's memory. It was a blank spot, a white-out, occupying just enough of a person's short-term memory so that they were aware of their passage but not of the specifics. The exception being the general discomfort often associated with passing through one of Terrenus's many Way Gates, like being pulled apart and then reassembled, a topsy-turvy, awkward feeling in the gut before normality reasserted itself.

And when indeed that normality settled back over the group, they would find that they stood in an abandoned field. Tall grasses had taken over here, nearly at knee-height now, and ahead of the group was a treeline thick enough to obscure them from street view. Pilot examined their surroundings, noting, needlessly, that they stood at the center of an area designated as the 'goal', with the faint tracings of a white chalk outline still visible beneath the grass, close to the earth.

“Captain Leonard Clover has fortified a home nearby,” Pilot began speaking as he strode forward through the grass, toward the trees. He expected the group to follow. “Our target lay in his possession. His collection is sizable but ultimately irrelevant to my interests. Specifically, I require the Eye of Mogonto; it is acceptable for each of you to claim whatever else catches your interest in his collection. He is particularly fond of spy gadgets, so our intel suggests he has an extensive catalog of TITAN surplus, bombs that look like pens, functional eye prosthesis with paralytic runes carved into the irises, and other such gimmicks. There.“

Pilot pressed through a gap in the tree line and emerged nearby a neighborhood street. He extended his index finger, directed eyes toward the street, and then continued the gesture so that his hand carried their eyes down the street, where the gray asphalt terminated at a house whose parameter featured four guards on either side of a large terrace.

“The Captain's psyche profile suggests some degree of Paranoid Personality Disorder,” Pilot deadpanned, “and he contracts security from the nearby Welander district. Allegedly their motto is, 'Red equals dead'; they switch to infrared and virtualization implants after nightfall.

“There are three possible points of entry. We can storm the front, which comes at considerable risk; we can insert ourselves through the nearby garage, which is secured mainly by electronic surveillance; or we can circle the parameter and breach the house from the rear.”

Pilot could circumvent security equipment in proximity to himself, but could not, without drawing unwanted attention, produce a blanket effect on the good captain's security measures.

“We will proceed once Mr. Cavalcante has arrived, and after we have come up with a plan of insertion. There are several more security cameras inside the house, as well as an additional compliment of armed guards.”

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She was hoping to pick that patron's pocket before he was prompted to act. What kind of a wingman are you, Pilot? Her brows were still sharp when she transitioned to the dead girls, shifting to and from each, reluctantly looking to food nearby and gauging the distance. Is no one going to say anything about this?--are there no health regulations here? As if on cue, a fly that had been buzzing about Sunny's head now divebombs into the bowl of lukewarm noodles. Gross!--the glove stops waving to hang for an awkward second then slips back onto hand as if sword into sheathe. She tries to replace a sourface with fake smile then starts sniffing, but chokes a bit and stops sniffing. The fake smile remains. They seem nice enough but this might not be so easy to get away with.

It was tempting to swipe as many salt and pepper shakers as one could reach at the mention of keeping hands to yourself, until Babette realized that she'd be stepping through first. She eagerly motions along. The djinni crosses the threshold and is redrawn in the field with minimal affect, standing straighter than most would once rematerialized--it's not an uncommon experience to someone who is more enchantment than they are human. During Pilot's briefing she hardly moves from her initial placement and stares at the nighttime sky, surprised by the clarity compared to Last Chance. There's hardly any light pollution around a decimated Palgard; which is where she assumes to be near; so the stars are much more colorful than she'd ever noticed before, having hardly ventured beyond the sister districts of La Opportunidad and Fortuna. It wasn't until Pilot finished that she'd actually look to the ground.


"I mean it's not like a problem or anything it's just--," wait don't say that, "uh..."

The glove shamefully sinks, casually tossing the wilted flower down before retreating out of view behind her. She gulps, looks to her company in whole, then heavy blinks out of this trance and turns the weight of body sudden, her latent attention now shooting from target to target and absorbing the surroundings at once. Yet the daisy would again call to her, though only visually or in implication, so she decides to atone in the next moment of silence by planting a new one. While stepping to a balding patch in the grass she would kneel and cup her bare hands to the mouth, whisper something secretively, close her hold of it like carrying a live animal and now burrow it deep into the soil. The hands withdraw as the gloves pat more onto the mound, packing dirt into a triumphant little hill; she now dusts herself off, stands tall, proudly looks at the seed. Rumor has it that by next harvest, passing travelers might hear her voice carry with the wind.

Without having voiced any preference for strategy she would eventually challenge Pilot, crossing her arms and trying to look tough-shouldered, "Listen here, Jack. I don't do business with people who hide their faces." She hasn't grasped Pilot's character yet, and assumes a man who walks around fully armored in noodle shops is just as paranoid as their target--plus that could be rather noisy. "So how 'bout you take off that mask." The brows are low and the voice didn't raise to a question.

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Nana would, in Finn’s childhood, often come to housesit for his family in the suburbs of Hell’s Gate and he remembered even now the sour fear on her lips that greeted him every time young Finn tried to give her a hug; she hated housesitting. Even with, especially with, because of the news networks of the modern era that had boomed their modern gospel out of the Crook, she developed a crippling fear of family life near the cities. Vespers in suburbia, she knew, meant thugs, delinquents, murderers and thieves, rapists, terrorists, criminals of the highest caliber equipped with the highest caliber. Every pedestrian was a vandal and every car, criminal equipment; “The worst crime wave in recent memory,” she quoted, and refused to remember that her memory was going already. Reassurances failed to take hold – in the end, after many no’s and “We’re in the safest community in Terrenus, Nana,” the Cavalcante family simply learned to put up with an old woman’s paranoia and yearning for the nostalgic days spent wandering the rural pastures. Grannie could believe what she wished about the criminal geography of Terrenus, because Finn could shake his head and sigh and know that nothing interesting, criminal or otherwise, ever happened in the suburbs.

Oh – well, the boy’s eating his words now. Nana, hope you’re laughing up there in heaven. Nothing ever happens and of course that’s untrue, particularly today. All it takes is a setup that, to Finn, is all too common now: an object of interest on the other side of legality, and the curiosity of the Handymen. Go.

Iridescent wind rustles the leaves of the trees of the neighborhood, and a white-haired young man steps out of a chalk circle into a group that is still innocuous, if motley and loitering. Very quickly veering towards outright felony, however, Finn murmurs and raises his arm in a nervous, excited wave as he sees Pilot a short distance away, shadowy under the evening trees and likewise surrounded by shadows. “E-everyone’s here, that’s cool.”

“You guys can call me Finn,” he smiles sheepishly as he shuffles over, unaware that he’s cut into Babette’s attempt at confrontation. Of the things on his mind, the cross-armed crossness of the other goes unnoticed; he thinks too much about himself, his tardiness, and his relief at being reunited with Pilot, his one anchor in a world to which he still can’t seem to get accustomed.

Underfoot, the daisies are trod into the dirt. Uncaring, or perhaps unseeing?

“Please; sorry I’m a bit late, but what’s the plan?”

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The blonde noticed the dijinni's forced smile in an instant, groggily lifting her eyes up to match the woman's with a sheepish smirk. But because of her bed hair, Candie had to brush away her yellow locks away from her eyes to atleast make eye contact with Babette. She didn't have to pretend -- awkwardly coughing and sniffling with every chance she could get to look away. Was she shy? Perhaps avoiding communication, maybe? Whatever it was, it left the cursed amused.

Sunny, oblivious to the swimming insect, smiled and nodded her head with a polite notion. It wasn't surprising, for an unsuspecting bug to be attracted to a living corspe. Poor thing must've been terrified! But then again, it wouldn't really think about that at all.

Once Pilot stood up, their lingering gaze turned to the room behind the curtain. It was like something from out of a horror movie, an ominous hallway of death-- quick transportation to the target. They eagerly followed -- Candie striding lazy steps with crossed-arms, and Sunny pacing with a gracious manner.

"Hey! If I stuck my hand into a portal -- and it closed, would my hand disappear?"

The zombie girl whispered excitedly to her sister.

"Why're you asking me? Go ask the armor guy."

As soon as the blonde replied, she skipped to go ask Pilot. Trotting in-between the dijinni and the armored man, her squishy face was pressed against their arms with a childish smirk. It awkwardly settled in for awhile, until she opened her mouth with a thrilled gasp, eyes zooming into Pilot. But before she said anything, they were transported to the abandoned field that laid across the group. She was distracted by the sudden change of atmosphere, so Sunny slid away and pressed her cheek against Candie's shoulder.


The scent of fresh air and rough grass -- was everywhere! Wind caressing against dry leaves, and plants swaying with flamboyant grace. There stood the target's location, but the demon simply looked on with confusion. Weren't they in a restaurant awhile ago? Candie wasn't going to question it, and her sister hummed with an audible; 'eeee'.

"Oh! There's his house! Let's go geddim'!"

The zombie cheered, comically marching to the area before being pulled back by the dozing twin. She walked in place, held back by Candie's grip on her skirt. It didn't take long for the action to settle in.

"Hmm? Not yet? Okay."

Finn's arrival made the two look at him with unison, then they waved together with opposite expressions.

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Pilot briefly ignored the djinn's question, and instead slowly shifted his posture to regard Finn as he arrived behind them, his delay a slight one. Raising an index finger, Pilot gestured absently in Babette's direction.

“Finn,” Pilot favored the young man in as warm a tone as his modulated voice could convey. “We were just about to discuss our insertion, but one moment, please.”

Pilot turned toward Babette again, speaking as he did so, “This is my face,” He informed the woman, evidently not put off by her question, or her suspicion. He ran a hand down the length of his jacket to brush away dirt. He spoke again, “and this is my body; I am not one to dissemble,” Pilot told the woman, “nor disassemble, so, sadly, I will not be removing my head to satisfy your curiosity. But, to alleviate the root of your concern: this armor is not a disguise, nor a weapon that has been adopted for the upcoming mission; I inhabit it.”

That was more digression than Pilot would have liked. He greatly enjoyed conversing with others, as it went hand-in-hand with his preferred affectations, yet their window of opportunity tonight would surely close if they dallied too long. Still, suspicion had a habit of festering, and the infection more often than not led to treachery in the end, and so he hoped his openness would assuage further concerns.

“Now,” He intoned, spreading his hands wide as a flat plane of energy, solid in color, an opaque off-white, more Grey than yellow that hovered in the space his hands hand passed through. Finn's arrival, late though it may have been was a fortuitous one as it allowed for the possibility of a visual display to help the team get its bearing.

Pilot nodded toward the other man with an obvious inclination of his head, encouraging him to cast that magic of his that had interested the Handymen enough to extend an offer past their time spent in Yh'mi.

The pane became textured, filled in as the 'land' took on the surrounding details, a collection of trees and buildings, and then the landscape began to scroll as Pilot quested outward, not relying just on the aspect of Finn's magic, but on his own ability; Pilot appeared to zone out for a moment as a portion of himself settled along the arcane workings of the electronics, and then the map began to fill out with the remaining details. Pilot lassoed the security measures he had mentioned before in red.

“I would like a suggestion from each of you before we continue, with an explanation of reasoning, if you please.”

Pilot was new to heists, but felt, personally, that having an option from each member of the team to consider, with an explanation of the why and the how, would ultimately lead to an increase in flexibility should something go awry. A plan of insertion that was rejected might prove useful in attempting the opposite later on tonight, and it would give Pilot an idea of what the team's capabilities, besides.

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Bang bang


bang bang bang

With a camera behind, it'd look like she was pointing at them. She wasn't. It was the mime'ing or literalization of an old gang expression, 'shooting the wind,' in reaction to Pilot's response. Her gut is to interrogate further: 'well then how do I know that you're not remote-controlled or somethin'? --yeah but how would *you* even know? So if I pulled your leg off (already reaching to) do'ya spill out? I've seen toys bigger than you--I'm not here to get played with, Jack,' but while holding in all these verballistics, can't stop the visual parade. Her whole face scrunches; there are way more questions than answers at this point; and she scowls instead of continuing, deciding to study him more closely for signs of antennae, listen for any distortion in his voice as a tell of long-distance transmission, and definitely to chuck a rock at the back of his head once he turns for confirmation of being hollow. Didn't seem like he was lying, but he definitely could be--that's the same kind of answer a good con gives you: organic redirection.

Before any of that though, a new player arrives. Babette is relieved that he appears to be wearing gloves, only to be disillusioned immediately when he opens his mouth--and it wasn't what he said but how he said it, coupled with the comical timing of Sunny being held in place by her sister and nearly jumping the gun on all of us. Her confidence appears instantly shaken in the effectiveness of this team, eyes wider than usual and with a disconcerting scan up and down Finn as if checking for lumps in his clothes or posture. Seems like a tourist on a first time gig. She would've followed with the same scrutiny of the sisters--and actually attempted to--but is far too off put by the sight of a maggot, or some kind of bug, she didn't get a good look because seriously, gross, how do you live like that hygiene-is-a-virtue I'll-have-you-know. Gross. Wash your hands, at least, while anxiously washing all four of hers and looking away. Its in this context that Pilot regains her attention and responds, but she's awfully quiet after that. It was somewhat a comfort to see the familiarity and prior experience that Pilot and Finn seem to share, though that's what good cons do too, and she reacts favorably to the arcane display at hand.

Her voice seems different, but only because this was the lowest matter-of-factly her range would allow, "It's bad luck to talk about the job right before doing it." Every one knows that. If you don't know why you're here, then you shouldn't be here, this is your Last Chance, etc. Real pros will brief weeks, if not plan months and years ahead, gestate and fantasize about it in their heads to play out all the things that could go right or wrong, they improvise within a loose framework just like musicians do while in the moment. She notices the reaction of her team to this sentiment and follows it with a snobbish raising of her nose, giving a cold, pretentious I'm-too-good-for-this sideface. It would only be as the next person began to speak that she'd purposefully interrupt to barrel over them: "--All right fine, I can take two at a time--three if their faces are exposed. I'd plan for bodies to stay where they're posted; the more movement, the more trouble; so neutralizing these two pairs along with the station that has visibility," pointing at the guards on the exterior and the one in the terrace, "simultaneously; (as if she feels obligated to explain, and specifically looking, or trying to look, at Sunny) synchronized at the same time, (then to Finn) happening at the same time, (finally to Candie) all at once, now every one understands what I mean right; is highest risk management. At that point the cameras wouldn't matter unless there's an alarm or safe room." She uses three hands to trace the potential paths, the two gloves hug the exterior of the house and jump each respective corner, the final sneaks through the garage to the entrance then takes the guard by surprise through the door.

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"Psst. What's she doing?"

"Hell if I know."

They whispered. The dijinni seemed to be.. shooting the wind? Whatever she intended to say, it definitely caught the twin's attention. Sunny clingily held onto her sibling, the blonde leaning back to avoid tripping on an open field. Gleefully, the undead began to ruffle her pale hair, and began fixing her sister's bed hair. It frizzed, curled by the end, and brushed over her blue orbs. So gently and playfully, Sunny retrieved Candie's ribbons and tied them together to make a messy ponytail that jolted off the demon's end.

To finish it off, the girl pecked the twin on the cheek, with the other groaning in discomfort. The younger girl was often affectionate to her relative, nuzzling and hugging the cursed with every chance she could get. Although Candie didn't mind the sisterly love, the numb, cold dead skin was unsettling to press against. Her heart dosen't beat, so touching Sunny was the equivalent of pressing your face against cold metal. Decorated with strings and fabric, the only thing keeping her sister together was an ungodly contract.

The black-haired's attention averted to the white-haired boy, who was seemingly the last member of the group. Happily, she waved at him with stitches on her wrist. The other twin was more focused on Babette, listening to her plan -- but still nodded at Finn as a gesture of respect.

"The target's in a bedroom, right? Looks like we gotta avoid makin' a ruckus for him to find out. Anybody who's watching those cameras could get suspicious with a bunch'a blackouts, but they'd probably notice some poor suckers on the floor. Where's the guy with all the screens? I'll geddim'!"

"I can assist with clearing the area. If the Eye is within the target's room, we might have to lure him out."

Spoke Candie, chucking a silenced revolver back with a stern look. The zombie cleared her throat, before kneeling down, and exhaling a peculiar lavendar mist that flew from her lips. The colorful fog reached to any deceased insects around the vicinity. Surprisingly, a couple of bugs squirmed, and the few who managed to still fly, buzzed and flew to nearby cameras to block any visage of the areas.

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Pilot produced from the air a vast plane of grey – like a magician, top hat and gloves and cane unnecessary (Finn deliberately avoided glancing overmuch at Babette) – as the associate inserted himself into the fold. It was a canvas for which the boy was grateful, because so long as an artist is engrossed in his art nobody wonders why his eyes are playing hooky with the rest of them. The peculiarly self-absorbed and aware would follow his eyes and realize that not once were they looked at; not longingly, but even hardly with interest more than fleeting. An “oh,” and he moves on with his life and leaves his observations. It’s not an accidental act, but it’s not not accidental. He’s scared. His shoulders are hunched up and his fingers dance around with one another and his blind spot follows around the strange people that have coalesced in the name of crime as they move through the world. It is a very hard effort, let him assure you, to maintain such a level of ignorance of those around him.

Friends, allies? Who needed those? Finn had himself and a sinking feeling that all was going wrong in his world and two mechanical arms to replace the two that had been freshly severed on the last misadventure he’d been sentenced to by chance – and that was all he needed. It was more than he wanted, and he in particular did not like what he saw now with him: a woman who had her two arms but two more on top of it – the ghost of limbs past began to itch – and a pair of twins who seemed to be more aptly described as sacks of flesh than as humans, if he wanted to be generous in their appraisal. It reminded him that the two were very much the same when it came to things like guns and bears.

And of course, there was Pilot before him still. Not an unwelcome face, but a reminder of aforementioned prior misadventures in dismemberment. The boy noticed the shiny chrome-steel arm that they’d installed on the dullahan, a replacement for what was once a gaping wound of sputtering circuitry and bottomless, soul-sucking void.

 “Oh, I like the new arm, Pilot.” Hah.

He winced.

Finn pressed his gloved hands to the smooth medium that Pilot had conjured and the surface exploded into shimmers, rupturing like the surface of the sea beneath a cannon-shot; then it began to take familiar form. His fingers carved walls and windows, palm sliding across the smooth indentation of a garage. Beneath Pilot’s distant oversight, a car came into view, and potted plants and couches and carpets and KitchenAids in the kitchen and, as if those were not horrifying enough reminders of the wanton domesticity the group was about to desecrate, the cameras and outlines of guards came into view.

The dullahan was satisfied with their efforts. Behold the cutting edge of geographical academia, put to flawless use in something that barely qualified beyond petty crime. The living, breathing map of the complex was complete, every security mapped out before them. Knowledge was half the war, and this was won.

For his part, Finn felt that the other half was more difficult, “not dying.”

The painter turned from his canvas and the subject of his portrait, which was perched on a hill against the starlight of the eastern horizon, and abruptly came face-to-face with the violence of Candie and Sunny and Babette. Gut ‘em, they said, take them all at the same time, there was never a problem a bullet or a hand or a knife to the face couldn’t fix.

And of course it was all true, but the boy “believed” in something with a bit more “elegance.” That is to say, what Finn did was chuckle nervously, let out a shuddering sigh, straighten his lapels and with his hands raised emphasized the virtues of cowardice.

“It’s best not to attract any attention.”

He might’ve been projecting a bit there.

“When we get the eye, we’ve already won. The cameras can’t see us, so escaping should be easy – especially if they don’t know we’re there. So anything we trigger now will bite us back doubly later.”

Finn took a deep breath. The air had begun to chill, feels like.

“All we need to do,” he touched his hands together, fingers brushing against one another, and then threw his arms to either side, the space in-between seeming to stretch and contort upon itself. A firefly alit upon his right hand, then took off; and suddenly it was at his left, with no indication of travel. “Is make an entrance. I can take us into the house, or close to it, at least, so long as there is an opening.”

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Pilot regarded Babette flatly, or as flatly as his eyeless dome could muster in its expressionless state. He would need to install a mechanical alternative in that regard. In the form of projectors, maybe. He had heard of a camouflage mesh that could be worn over the face and disguise the wearer. Remembering that, Pilot made a mental note to check into it later, purely to facilitate the communication between the Handymen and opinionated third parties, in cases where a breakdown in the classical hierarchy of the client-agent paradigm has occurred, and a mundane means of communication—face-to-face—need be employed. A meanwhile observation was made in regards to Finn, and the anxiety he exuded, topping, or so Pilot believed, the young man's nervousness in Yh'mi.

After a moment of thought, with his regard for Finn splitting the attention he was putting into his response for Babette, Pilot concluded that Finn Cavalcante must be excited to be back on the job. It was a good thing that Finn had come to mind when Pilot posted his intentions to the C.I.S.H.

“This is the window of opportunity open to us,” Pilot stated, with little give in his tone, detached as it was from emotional strain and stress. “That presented itself only recently, and, as you are coming to understand, I am not a burglar by trade, so I am not a real pro.”

Briefly, there was some suspicion on the automaton's part that Babette was just shy of reneging on the contract, quiet as she had grown when the twins began speaking, but the djinn appeared to acquiesce, if only to interrupt the other two. Nodding, Pilot recorded her suggestion.

“Security is based out of this room,” Pilot gestured at his diorama of the home, spinning the model so that a specific part of the house was directly before the twins, the other parts falling away slightly, separated by thick bars of color, isolating the section Pilot was referring to. The room was large enough to allow multiple occupants, partitioned partway by two walls, with a camera on either side; a red, vaguely man-shaped silhouette occasionally shuffled in place, in real-time.

“However,” Pilot continued, “I agree with Finn, and would prefer to avoid committing ourselves to a violent engagement. We are close to the military district, and the full capability of the security team here is unknown, as well as what, if any, reinforcements exist to their relief.”

Pilot tapped the side of his head, thinking. Another affectation. As he had said, a violent confrontation was not something he wished to indulge in. The issue was not one of morality, however, but of resources; Handymen were, by nature, a pragmatic bunch.

The model of the home returned to its default state, and then began to shift again. Pilot made note of three locations, a set of stairs leading to the home's basement, the bedroom (complete with another red silhouette of a man), and another area, this one for storage, mostly, Pilot knew, for some of the captain's larger pieces in his collection.

Our prize is presumed to be in any of these three locations, one of which being the basement; it lacks cameras, so I only have eyes on the stair access itself. We appear confidant in our ability to neutralize a guard or two,” Pilot continued, “but we should avoid a direct confrontation; a frontal attack will unnecessarily raise alarm.”

It was good that Babette and the twins shared a confidence in their ability to deliver violence with precision, Pilot decided. Despite the former's reservations regarding the discussion, it had provided ideas worth considering, as he had hoped. Pilot shook his head with sympathetic irritation, not directed at any of the would-be criminals gathered, but at a portion of his far-sight clouding over.

My suggestion: We skirt the parameter along the western side of the house; Candie will give us an opportunity to pass the first window and camera (using her bugs?), and I will disrupt the second camera for as long as necessary to breach the interior. We'll enter from here,” Pilot said, pointing at the second bedroom they would come across, with the first being occupied. The bedroom he designated lacked a camera, but it did have a large window through which they could enter the house. “Mr. Cavalcante appears to have a way into the home, provided an access point, so, unless there's an issue, we'll leave that to him; Sunny will neutralize the security room, as she suggested; Babette, the occupant of the bedroom, if you'd be so kind? Preferably alive, as they are possibly a special interest. With the security room disabled, we will have a brief moment of freedom to search the three designated points of interest, before withdrawing from the home, hopefully before security effects a shift change. I will take the stairs with Finn, Babette and Candie the westernmost bedroom, and Sunny the eastern storage.”

It was not a meticulously planned affair. They were not overthrowing a nation, but burglarizing a home; Pilot considered that it was possible he was underestimating the capabilities of their opposition, or overestimating the abilities of his team, but this was hardly comparable to the events that had transpired in Yh'mi, and this time there was no illusionary, dakness-spawned horror capable of penetrating his armored body, or so he hoped at any rate.

As the contract stated, you are free to take into your possession any of the Captain's collection that you find, and are able to carry out with you, in the home. Are we good with this?”

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It's never actually happened (and who knows if it could to an Arcane Intelligence, her stomach's just for show) but that doesn't make it easier not to think about. So it won't happen, she thinks, as long as she doesn't think. See, it really is good to brush your teeth and it really is bad luck to talk about the job, honest (though I'm no planomancer, nor a dentist) for any moment you could be comfortably giving valuable advice yet the next, stars having been crossed, dry-heaving and getting your pants all wet. Where did things suddenly go wrong, where the turn to rather omenous? --or just gross?  And all for what? ...More bugs?! Oh god I think I'm gonna--


Okay, you got this. Just keep your eyes on the only regular one here; he'll be the anchor of normalcy and harbinger of decent reality. Just don't look, don't breathe, and don't think. Simple.

She collects herself to rejoin the group, eyes guiding each woozy step. Babette now stands unevenly, punch-drunk from nauseating hits, and stares at Finn with milky eyes--bewildering eyes--maybe even wild; crazy; a gaze with twitches and ticks but not one blink. The djinni is now sick and functionally inebriated; which is quite rare as they can smoke and drink all day to no effect; and is mid fever-dream of alienation among the sober, dead-sober, and hollow-sober company around--she is not used to this. Djinn never get drunk. They're lightweights (or darkweights, let's not get political) and hardly feel anything but the straight and ne'er owe. She hangs this solely on Finn for the Time Being, staring through the boy as voices float aimlessly about.


Babette, the occupant of the bedroom, if you'd be so kind?

(Startled) "YEAH-YEAH-SURE," the reaction is involuntary and these words burst forth. It isn't clear how much or how little was heard prior, but she does manage to actually look at Pilot and will connect most within the new found context. Right, don't kill or re-kill people, shift change, westernmost bedroom, steal anything, bathroom first. There's a bathroom, right? I should get a map. I could make my own map right now if I found a cluecumber or something. I could do it really quick maybe. She's not breathing, not moving--looks kind of locked in place or frozen in time--still staring at Finn instead of the map.

With only a slight variation: "YEAH-YEAH, SURE," we're good with this, probably. Maybe? I think/not-think. Maybe. probably?

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As Sunny began to finish up with resurrecting a few bugs of the living dead, she coughed a bit of mist with a balled-fist and an breathly exhalation. The corspe jolted up, promptly brushing off dirt that collected into her laced skirt, and charm a deathly smile to her dear sister. The blonde nodded with a firm look, but her attention was mainly focused onto Pilot, and Babette. Pilot firstly, because he was giving up the plans -- and Babette, because she looked like she really needed to throw up her guts. Really, was she okay? Aside from the green face, Candie was concerned about the way she flailed about, and struggled to keep her back straight without hunching and trapping both hands to keep her vomit from pouring out.

Being all woozy in the middle of a stealthy mission was a deathwish, but it obviously wasn't her fault to force some puke down her throat with gloved hands. Was it because of the corspe's magic? Truly, the fiend understood, because it definitely smelled like dead fish and rotting rat, but she never knew it could make the dijinni sick and filled with nausea. Babette had amused the demon all night, but this was quite the most amusing. You-do-you, Candie thought -- averting her attention towards the others whilst approaching the group. Sunny, with a playful giggle, hopped over beside Finn. She smiled at him with a welcoming grin, fixing her black socks that held dangerous blades under her skirt, and pushing her heels onto the floor to enable and disable another set of blades under the shoes. In general, it just looked like a child fixing her dress.

On 26/09/2017 at 2:54 AM, Paroxysm said:

Candie will give us an opportunity to pass the first window and camera (using her bugs?)

A slight brow raised in question.

On 26/09/2017 at 2:54 AM, Paroxysm said:

Sunny will neutralize the security room, as she suggested.

"Hmm? Hey Mister -- to make things clear," The corspe pointed to the blonde, "that's Candie," then to herself. "and this is Sunny. Sorry to interrupt bud, go on!" Looking on by with the same expression, her twin charmed the girl with a thumbs-up -- with a face that resisted from laughing. If Babette's nausea kept up, it could mean bad trouble. So for now, Candie snickered, and every so often return her stoic face once the dijinni would look at the fiend.


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He becomes aware of the sensation rather quickly, having been a sensitive boy all his life (and still being a sensitive boy with the exception of his prosthetic arms). It’s like a puff of breath on the neck, something spotty like that almost invisible in the everyday world full of sun and sensation but peculiarly obvious here when they’re all quieting down and ready to become one with nothing – so far as the cameras are concerned, anyway. They don’t need to shoot too high for Nirvana, just convince the guards with a good fake. But there’s a problem here, and that’s that the boy realizes that he is being watched intensely. The weight of a gaze, like gossamer, is on the back of his neck.

Finn locks up, looks up, looks around, turns around some more. Sees Candie and Sunny and their inhalations, pales (he was raised by good, evangelical Gaians, so he’s a bit weirded out by the Unnaturals still) and smiles gingerly and swerves his eyes in the other direction, any other direction. The transition is abrupt. Without warning, he finds himself looking into Babette’s cosmic eyes.


Immortality looks awful funny to an ordinary boy like him, looks like infinity and timelessness and a slight tinge of green. As quickly as it comes, it goes, and Finn looks away from his accomplice, trying to scrub the gape-mouthed shock from his face. He’s shaking, like he saw a ghost. Or a Djinn.

He doesn’t know the Proper Noun “Arcane Intelligence,” and the last bit of undergrad impudence in him isn’t really thinking of the word “intelligence” at all when he hears the tell-tale traces of dry heaving from behind him (some days in some places, the wind blows south. Finn doesn’t know what the big deal is). It’s a bit of an irony because there was and is currently a great, manila folder back at HQ labeled “INTELLIGENCE,” that contains a meticulous dossier on their accomplices. Lots of pictures, lots of big words, lots of threatening red circles and living addresses and family members’ names, if they exist. Pilot’s Handywork.

The Handyman in question is still composed. Finn takes a deep breath, which catches when Sunny stands beside him. There is a moment of confusion while his throat figures out whether he’s inhaling or exhaling at the moment and deciding hard reset is the way to go. A nervous nod of acknowledgement becomes a nervous coughing fit.

“UH.” He holds up a gloved hand while he ruins his sleeve. “So, um, you’re Sunny, right?” Finn kneels and makes sure to breathe through his mouth and forgets to keep his eyes from darting back and forth and looking everywhere except her beady, black eyes that are still those of the dead even if they don’t look it, “And you, you have your bugs. Your dead bugs.”

He’s not at a loss for words, they’re coming to him just fine. But these are not the words he’s looking for. Finn swallows and tries again. “About these. Insects. Of yours. Could you look – give us a look into the bedrooms, when we get there? I don’t want to jump us on top of the man’s sleeping wife. That would be –“ he searches for the word with a pause, “bad. Awkward, too. But mostly bad.”

“Well,” Finn stands, and to Pilot, “let’s get a move on then?”

“If Miss Babette’s okay.” He shoots another look at her. She’s looking at him again. He starts thinking about Mr. Clover’s wife. If he had one – Mr. Clover’s fictional wife. And again to Babette, who is still stuck on him. Finn thinks to himself that he should perhaps make new friends.

He waves and looks at Sunny there beside. “What’s wrong with her, do you know?

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