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Gathering Materials [1/3]

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After the ruins a fire still burns.  @MagReberta - Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Mina reborn

There was nothing beneath her as she fell, the world looked like hell fire as a burning sensation fired through her limbs and loins. An not for the proper reason oh no; the reoccurring nightmare of the draconian's foolish fire chased her nightly. Mina however would not let this shake her training; she focused herself deeply and directed the emotion else where. A gentle shift in the course of the speedy airship brought her to her senses allowing her optics to illuminate in the darkness. Mana weaved itself across her body like a cocoon of safety. 

With a gentle exhale the kunoichi rose from the sheets allowing the woven threads to break. The raw energy poured out across the room before flowing back into her pores with ease. Her bronzed skin glistened with sweat against the lights which illuminated the floor as she stepped out of bed. It was time for a shower no doubt the trip was about to begin and she could not afford to be walking the planes of dream land. Or perhaps was she exploring the lines of technology that now surrounded them. Ever since her incident with the cur she had gone in to reclusive training to improve herself. The forge was a dream to come true and like herself the rest of the Empire would benefit from its works. Reaching up she pushed back her long strands of hair with her bandaged left hand. She still had not cut her hair but it did not matter at this point. The once pigment-less strands were dyed black while her once pale optics held an iris unlike before. Contacts which she would use to disguise herself during the future missions. 

Stepping one foot in front of the other she moved to her own personal bathroom with ease. The wound she had sustained had healed marvelously and of course she practiced to not only return to normal but improve her abilities. Never again would she be made of fool of by a cur child with emotional issues. Keeping the lights off she was comfortable in the darkness as a bare hand turned the nozzle for cold water to wash over her skin. The sensation sent a vibration through her body as she woke up even further her hair standing on end. Mina placed her face beneath the flood then her hair next and began to wash herself hair first body next giving the shampoo time to sink in.

The feeling of being clean was something the woman cherished above all else; how could one possibly know this? To start she enjoyed clean places and her clothing was always as white as her hair, unfortunately it would not be so this time. Once her shower was concluded she exited the stain glass cube and stepped out into a towel. Drying herself she then wrapped her hair allowing the remaining dye that did not stick to flush itself out. Opening the closet the woman was not herself anymore; or rather one could say she had changed immensely since her time in recovery. 

Reaching into the thicket of clothing options the woman chose a black chain fish net body suit. Wearing nothing beneath it she pulled her hair back and up into a pony tail. When she slipped the suit on it hugged her hips and chest tightly before she pulled on a set of thigh high boots designed to look like thigh high socks. A smile cross her lush lips as she looked in the mirror lightly, there was no helping the scar that marred her bronzed face from the public. Looking around she scoped out her backpack and a small box she had brought along with herself. Walking over to the box Mina pulled out a second binding wrap to place around her right hand that matched the one on the left. She would not be calling Bane on this trip, his duty was to guard the treasures of Koji and execute all who bothered the harem. The Arch Elemental would do exactly as instructed for his will was now Mina's own. 

Keeping the binding firm her expression turned from a gentle smirk to one of slight insanity. A gentle giggle left her throat as she bit her bottom lip gently. The next toy she picked up was a small magic tech orb that began to float beside her. Mina had wasted no time in picking up materials from Samul the tiefling to use for her benefit. Chuckling the toy had a few tricks up its sleeve which she would enjoy using while within the lands of Alterion. Grabbing her backpack the pack was not something so simple either. As she slipped it on the top opened and a flood of shadowed hands popped out looking to grab and stock the nearest thing. The bag was bottomless and allowed for her to store virtually anything at the time. Quick and effective for their current mission at hand. Grabbing her cloak she slipped it around her body and smirked once more, her ample body was no longer clear for all the view. She appeared to have no weapons but that was another trait she had picked up as well. Something to be shown off at a later point. 

Once she had checked herself and things, Mina hung the towel up lightly and closed the box. Exiting her room her feet made no sound as she strolled down the hall into the main bridge. Looking left and right no doubt she'd find Dove possibly in the divers seat, she was not one who liked her toys on auto pilot. This current shuttle was going to get a remodel once they found items to outfit a better and faster ship that would be the lead for all of their missions and adventures. 

"So.. Dove.. How long till we are ready to dock?" Her voice remained lush and vibrant with life however her eyes screamed death for all who dared oppose them in the future adventures.

Edited by Chappu

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Dove always liked flying. There was a bit of je n’ais se quoi in it, or perhaps it was just the emptiness of the sky that she refused to name for fear of sounding ordinary. It was the emptiness, at least partially. None of the chaos that followed in the tracks of men on the earth were here; none of the dramas that dog human emotion, no screech of crickets and cicadas, no heady sunlight on the rustling of leaves and the distant roaring of winds through mountain valleys. The sun beat down starkly from up on high. The cottony clouds muted all semblance of sound and shrouded away the surface of the world below. It made it easy on the eyes and easy on the soul. Here she was – alone!

She sighed into the rumble of the engines and her seat held her cozy as the ice sparkled on the other side of thick, insulating glass. Flying was a little piece of peace, an iota of idyll. One lived in a world of one’s own possession. You didn’t need the universe to be infinite and vast. You just needed to be able to grasp it all at once in your eyes to be God.

It was a fleeting touch of divinity, but nonetheless she was thankful for it.

The gigareactors of Izral had grown from specks on the horizon to spires somewhat closer, and already Dove saw the climatic engines’ distortions on the stratosphere. She’d read somewhere that they functioned like great siphons that stretched and pulled at the clouds about the city, and she felt it now as the winds shuddered through the hull of her plane. A beckoning, though not meant for her, towards the agricultural centers of the city. As they went, the air grew heavier with cold and below the clouds pressed together until they were full and grey-bellied. Water beaded on every surface outside the protection of her cabin. Someone had decided that today would be a day for rain. Bare wisps slipped atop the windows. Before long, they were curtained and blind, the plane descending into the artificial cloud layer.

“So, Dove. How long till we are ready to dock?”

“Not so long. Don’t be so impatient.” Dove closed her eyes and breathed the chilly air deeply. It smelled of leather and metal and the tell-tale whiffs of the city. “Slow down. Enjoy the quiet.”

Her voice was deeper, clipped, concise. The well-traveled from the great cities would recognize it as method acting, immersing oneself into a part to be played until the self and the lie was indistinguishable. Ludovico had always been a good actor. He had acted for seven centuries, acted until he forgot all about who he’d been in favor of being who he was. The loss didn’t bother Dove too much. She didn’t esteem the past too highly.

But of course, this was not Dove that was speaking to Mina at this point. She still had the old appearance, the hair and eyes and dress, but her headspace was now dominated by an imaginary copy of Ser Eleazar Lhedale, an old and landed lord in new Himmelfestung. Eleazar was a gentle-spoken man who was intent on making the most of the rest of his time and fortune in the world, and he intended on doing this first by making the Lhedale House the pioneer of Himmelfestung’s airship business. To this end, he had personally come to Alterion (accompanied by a female confidant – a secretary? A niece? Need-to-know basis, friend) to negotiate purchase of airship materials that would be necessary for his engineers to begin their designs.

This, at least, was the story that was writ on the card that Dove fished from her pocket. She stuck her hand over her shoulder, making it clear that Mina was meant to take it. “This is your briefing on our roles. You know what we’re here for.”

Dove turned in her seat and smiled kindly at Mina. “This is the last bit of calm we’ll be getting for a long time. How was your nap, dear? Feeling alright?”

“I’d sure hope so. Don’t be too stressed, love.” Dove laughed and spun the controls to the left, letting the aircraft coast on the eddies of the gentle vortex around the city. “We’ll be landing in, what, two minutes? And that’s when business begins. Hope you’ve got all your stuff sorted out.”

The clouds broke before them then, and the grandiose Izral sprawled out before them, gunmetal and green, gilt and bronze and shimmering hot where the reactors spun. Dove adjusted the controls yet again, and the plane tilted towards the Aureus Airstrip in the southwest.

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A narrowed eyed expression was all Mina gave Dove to start as she gazed at the transforming sky. Pulled and twisted by the concept of the cities magic tech and weather patterns Mina only understood so much of what she was sensing thus far. She wasn't impatient at all it was just a question no doubt; but Mina had gown to understand Dove's love for the skies and thus their current expedition. Mina rather enjoyed the flight herself and with the coming of the Empire Dove would need more tech works and magic to help the missions come true. She was in light terms the harems main handler. Reaching out slowly the woman took the note card and observed the content of it with ease. "Himmelfestung.. Ser Eleazar Lhedale.." Tuning her accept to fit the proper dialect the woman smirked before repeating the words several times in a row till it was near perfect. Acting was after all a practiced art among the kunoichi and shinobi. 

"It is rather nice up here.. " Mina commented as Dove noted their last bit of calm before the mission was set to go upon their landing. A quirky smiled crossed the woman's lips as she held back a hearty laugh. Mina often forgot that despite their occupations and skill set there were in fact living beings with emotions. "It was as restful as sleeping on clouds. I would like to sleep like that every day. I might have to build myself a room in the upcoming ship just for resting purposes." Winking at Dove she nodded her head once more addressing the reactors that now came into view. "I am not worried dearest.. It's just a walk in the park like always no?" Mina spoke out with ease and calm as she felt a level of familiarity between herself and the now old man who sat before her. As the ship descended down towards the airstrip Mina was sure to take her seat tucking away the small floating orb into her cloak. Buckling herself in for the landing the foundations of her training took over once more. The once emotionless face gained a small semblance of a friendly yet serious guise. 

Without fail Dove landed this beauty of a plane down upon the strip like clock work. Reaching into her cloak she rose up from her seat and pulled out the orb. Two ear pieces were produced from the orb before it ascended to float at her left shoulder. Quickly handing Dove the next ear piece Mina place the other in her own ear. Thanks to her contacts she was able to retrieve that data that the  A.I orb brought up into her main view.  Without fail they were both greeted by men and woman in black with a security detail of the Poor Sons and several other outfits she did not recognize. The orb itself went digging through all available networks discretely looking for the said outfits. Within minutes of the search the information on the remaining unknowns was brought to Mina's attention. They were mercenaries for hire by the Poor Sons themselves it seemed.  

Looking over their armaments these people were no joke, there was a mix of M S2's and M BA outfits with a every person armed with a U9 as a primary or secondary weapon. This somewhat made Mina feel safe or should she say less safe for the actions soon to come. It would be a good thing if she grabbed a suit off of a few of the men in order to remodel and use for herself in the near future. The world was no longer just swords and guts there was technology. A feverish smirk crossed her lush plump lips as she followed a step behind Ser Eleazar Lhedale as an assistant would. Keeping her hands at her sides, the woman finished her sweep of the people before entering the SUV as gestured.

"Please, if you would." A woman in black said lightly giving Mina a gentle smile; without a word the woman ducked into the blacked out vehicle right after Dove. "Thank you." Was all she said keeping her accent in check she straightened her jacket out with the backpack still on her back. [ Yes I am editing her attire seen as it felt asinine to dress her all dark age when shes from an up and rising tech city.] Once they were both in the back seat the woman gave the side of the SUV as a signal to go. The engine roared to life as the SUV began its trip to the place of rest for the bidders to come. "Please.. Mr. Lehdale.. We will be taking you to the hotel where you will be stay for the duration of the trip. Unless you would prefer to go to the auction early and get comfortable?" The voice rolled out gently from the speakers in the tanned leather interior.

This thing was a beast and nicely furnished for a war tank of a civilian transport. While they were in the back see there remained more space before them that held three armed Poor Sons not to mention the two in the front seat. The A.I drone on her shoulder had begun recording their route from the airstrip the moment the car started. Speaking up for Dove Mina pushed herself further into her role. "Mr. Lehdale would like to go directly to the auction please. He is very excited to see the products before hand." Smiling gently she removed her hand from the speaker button to allowed the man to respond to their request.

"Roger that. We will arrive in 10 minutes." The man said lightly before the speakers cut out. Taking a moment to wiggled her toes in her boots the woman was ready to get this thing on the road. Goal one was to establish a outline of the building and the guards within. Next would be the guests to account for and anyone who hid in plain sight; they could not afford to have people on their trail from the jump. Considering everything might be held in one room she had no doubt there would be much sneaking to be done unless she could get her hands on the surveillance feeds upon arrival.  


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The car ride was inconsequential. Eleazar grunted and shuffled his body into the back of the SUV and waved dismissively at Mina to do the rest. They – the Poor Sons escort that the businessmen had seen fit to provide – well understood that his secretary was his eyes, ears, and mouth. An old man had to save his senses for the things like sunsets, his children, business contacts – the things that mattered. Hired help and mercenary hands did not.

Ser Lhedale drew a cigar from the inner pocket of his jacket and held it expectantly to the side as he leaned into the back of the seat. Mina would light it, because she was a sweet little thing and because she was a passable actor (as all the elites of the harem were) who knew her role well. He closed his eyes and took a long, long draw, filling his lungs with the musky, nutty scent of Renovatian tobacco.

The cigar was real; the lungs were not. Minor details. Dove cracked open a cheery eyelid to wink at Mina, and cheeks puffing at the smoke, blew a ring from his mouth. It flew into the faces of the mercenaries, innocuous enough to be unintentional. They did not flinch. (Dove and Mina traded glances, probably. Tough crowd.) Eleazar hacked up a cough that might’ve been a laugh, and straightened up the seat. “Oh, pardon, pardon me. Where is my manner? Could someone open a window?”

Someone opened a window.

“Thank you.”

The air picked up as it fluttered in and out of the car, trails of smoke shuddering in the roaring wind. It roared and roared and roared right there beside the car as it sped down the highway into the heart of Izral.


“Ah,  this world is so, so dreary. All,” he searched for words as Mina helped him out of the SUV. “Metal and electronics and grey. No bright reds or oranges or yellows, even in this season!”

His boots splashed feebly into a puddle and his overcoat acquired the dull matte of moisture amidst the sigh of the rain. It had begun in earnest while they were driving, and now the air was thick with the smell of wet asphalt and steam from a faraway land. The heights of the grey high-rises across the street disappeared seamlessly into the low clouds above; and if those were high, then the building they were about to enter rose to touch the top of the sky. Even the marble skyscrapers of Aureus seemed to be pushed down and pressed low against the ground by the dismal air. It was as if the world bunched in on itself when it rained, like a child in the cold. There was claustrophobia afoot.

His secretary handed him a cane, which he snapped straight with a nod. The wood was polished black, studded with rubies every so often as a reminder of wealth. Eleazar did not like overstating things, but certain things had to be stated. “They have class in the cities, but they don’t have love. No love for the Great Mother.” He tapped the end of the stick on the pavement disapprovingly and stared up at the sky at the point where marble met mist. “All hostility, no peace. No wonder. My children are always complaining about the stress. No wonder.”

Eleazar waved impatiently at the escort idling its engines behind them, then offered his elbow to Mina with a thoughtful frown. “But that’s the future. Airships and steel, none of this old-fashioned business. Shall we?”

Dismissed, the transport peeled away from the curb and sped away towards its next destination. The duo proceeded into the lobby without fanfare.


“The Tellus Seed, I’m certain, is kept either in the heights of the building, or the vaults. Maybe the vaults are in the heights, maybe vice versa; I don’t pretend to have perfect knowledge of this building.” Dove scowled as she paced around the elevator. Mina’s technomancy was useful in the ways that mattered – locking elevator doors, freezing all observational devices. It gave them a room to breathe in, when every other room in the building recorded everything down to their breaths. The tactician turned to Mina. “That’s what logic states. Nobody deviates from this rule unless they’re trying to win a bet. Too bad. Logic narrows it down to two places we don’t even know exist. Maybe they’re keeping it in the labs. That’s nice. At least we know where those are.”

The auction was to take place on Floor 47, above forty-odd floors of stores and labs and meeting rooms and barracks, and beneath another hundred-fifty of bureaucratic offices.

“I could scry its location, but it’d take a long while, and this is an unfamiliar land. I would want weeks for this. But that’s what impulse buying gets you, hm?” It really was for the airship parts at first. A short, quick, diplomatic affair. Then, not 24 hours ago, Dove decided she’d like to grab one of Alterion’s national treasures on top of it. Life was long, and one had to make it interesting somehow. Sometimes, interesting meant crippling mission intelligence and going into an heist blind. Past-Dove thought so. Present-Dove was irritated.

The light blinked past a flashing “23.” They had a little ways before them still before Eleazar needed to return.

“So, there are a few solutions. Prefer any one of them, Mina?”

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It's time to hunt..Run the Shadows : Photo

A spark of interest

With swift one swift flick of a motion Mina had the black zippo out and light for Ser to light his cigar. When the job was done the zippo closed with a click before vanishing from sight. The Poor Sons and mercenaries stared uneasily at her, their tech was unable to even follow her movements. As it should be a Elite should not be tracked in their movements nor would bother to show them any comfort. As the smoke fill the room Mina watched with concealed amusement as Dove blew smoke in their faces to no avail. As she expected they were not entertained and she indeed traded a small chuckle and glance with Dove at the same time. 

When they had arrived at their stop; Mina slide out of the vehicle and adjusted her coat which looked almost like a mini skirt on her due to her thigh high boots. Moving around the SUV the woman listened to Ser speak as her eyes gazed up at the clouded sky. "Dismal." Was her only response as she handed him the cane before taking is arm in hand to walk into the building. It was a pity this place could not be more lively than it was now; however she could not focus on such a serene photo right now. There was a mission and hand; any moment of hesitation or lack of focus would mean death. 

When they crossed the threshold the eyes of the building instantly became her own. A seamless take over that didn't even trip the security set up. She was unsure if it was A.I or human based but if it were A.I than her own toy would indeed remain seamless in the transfer of control. It was a blanket effect that held no pressure or presence when in effect. As they entered the elevator Mina smirked as she ushered some people back from entering with Ser and herself. "Please.. Wait patiently for the next elevator.." Her smile seemed harmless at first but as it reached its peek her lips quirked at the corners making the other patrons step back a few steps. The Mr. Lhedale had arrived and so their mission began in haste, time was of the essence and Mina had been scouting the building while staring blankly ahead. "According to your theory we have a total of seven hundred and fifty guards stationed through out the building. Our current access gives us range to all but one level which.."

As she spoke they passed level 39 which didn't even do anything when pressed. The camera's within the elevator remained on one repeating image of Mina and Ser standing arm in arm while in reality Mina had flicked the button open. "It requires a key.. Which narrows it down to about.. Five people who have this key access and the rest are just grunts for the most part. Sixty percent of the guards here are mercenaries which leaves the last bit to be Poor Sons in charge of handling the equipment. Our search with be small but spaced out no doubt.." Closing the little key section she resumed her spot and smirked a bit more. Reaching out she gently handed Ser a set of glasses so that during their meeting she could slid over the constructs to the building and the floors. 

"Please wear these Mr. Lehdale.. You must keep in mind the doctors words.." Mina said shortly as the doors began to open, when Dove had put them on she linked their arms once more and stepped out in the red carpeted room. The place was somewhat filled already with various CEO's and Presidents of other cities and countries.. It was a nest of viper's pretending to act like Honey Badgers.. Without delay Mina began drawing out several plans of actions, looking at the vent systems and the buildings inner lay out she found several hidden hallways within the walls. Making them out on the schematics she moved that information over with her mind; Dove's glasses indicated that he needed to touch the frame to active. "My guess is that they are here and here.." The image updated with two drawn sections and screen shots of heavily guarded doors. Four in total meant there were four chances to see what was held in each room. Which mean they had to do a two out of four and be content with their findings. "I want to acquire some of the armor from a few guards and their side arms.. This way I can sample and use them in the future.." Speaking to Mr. Lhedale with ease she kept her voice low enough for only him to hear her speak about their desires. The AI orbs muted all audio on the camera's to prevent the security from picking up on their conversation. 

Mina continued to draw out some idea's for them to follow, becoming a bit Tom Clancy with her ideas. It was almost as if she thought this place was a video game tower for an invasion. "We still have time to roam the floor Mr. Lhedale would you like to go across to the art gallery?" Raising the question she gestured towards a large room a little ways away. On the map that was were the first door to the inner tunnels was located. No doubt there might be security lurking with in, the tunnels connected to every single floor. However was Mina did take note of was a big empty chamber space that lined the inside of the towers core. Was it an elevator shaft? What the hell rested within this giant chamber? Every inner room on every floor and a door that connected to the place. Yet the labs had bay doors as if they imported and exported material from the shaft. "I believe here is where they import and export their experiments to finished products." Wrinkling her nose she kept up her act as she whispered to the man while taking up a glass of alcohol for the man to drink. Mina on the other hand took a glass but she would not drink it..



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Aureus Corp did not claw its way to the top by having unsecured networks, weak AIs, and laughable security. Sure, some days it might lapse more than others, and some days the Director AI woke up on the wrong side of the power-banks, but always their protection was absolute and complete. And constant – yes, that was the key. The Director had eyes everywhere, his eyes had eyes, and those that were blind were a festering, glaring error in his perfect network.

So when Mina blinded the few in the elevator, when she pulled the building schematics from the topmost layer of the metadata, somewhat falsified, and scanned through every permission granted to the public in the system, the Director knew. He would not have a fledgling AI such as hers, who was naïve and knew nothing more than to greedily grab everything in sight and on site, rampage in his property without consequence. His was built upon a decade of experience, of destroying lesser things and integrating their novel solutions into his own neural networks. There was little that the Director could not comprehend.

Eleazar Lhedale and his assistant were well within that margin.


There were many diplomats who routinely tried to hack everything they touched, just as a combat of wills, a recognition of digital strength on either side. It was harmless, and each had left Aureus feeling humbled by the vastly superior ability of their ever-growing machine. Lhedale and Mina were of no concern.

But as a machine, protocol had to be followed. The Director AI lived protocol, he breathed protocol. His existence was predicated upon protocol. So forgive me, Messrs, but the rules dictate that, however futile your attempts at comprehending Aureus’s strength was.

Still, the AI had long since learned the value of fun, and the fun in playing with one’s food. Mina could do as she wished. She would simply meet with locked doors at every eventuality.


“…of course, Himmelfestung was crazy! Just mad! Very recently, yes, with the transition from tyranny into…something much better for business. But House Lhedale survived, even in the hard times. We thrived, you know, while the fools died.” Eleazar said with a wink and a hearty laugh, the businessmen of Alterion laughing along with him. “So I felt that it was time to take the big stage, with fine gentlemen like you helping pull us into the bigger world. There’s money, there’s trade, there’s fine culture and women. Renovatio has it all, friends. You won’t regret it, promise.”

Mina appeared out of the crowd with their drinks, and with a tap on his shoulder pulled him from the crowd.

“Ah, thank you!” Eleazar received the glass with a gracious, hearty smile. To the businessmen: “It’s been a pleasure. I do hope we can cultivate a long partnership. But it seems my niece wishes to see the grand sights of Izral – just an amazing city, nothing like home – thank you for your time.”

The duo hobbled together off towards the gallery, slowly at first. Dove wrinkled her nose and down the whiskey in a single go. It was bitter and paired poorly with the drumming of the rain thrumming through the windows. Alterians were a depressed lot, felt like, and the lich was sick to death of that noise. Their liquor was nothing like the fruity Genesars, or the spicy Terrics.

It was what it was, and it served a purpose even in its misery. Dove ran her own numbers as they walked, rough sketches of their situation. The map pieced itself together in her vision, laid atop the map that Mina had constructed, and the instinctual attraction of great wealth led her heart upwards at first, then downwards towards the core. Something slumbered at the heart of this building.

There were, however, differences, enough for Dove to narrow her eyes.

“Mina. Watch yourself. Your map is incorrect.” On the large scale, all seemed right; but there were small details, crucial ones. One hallway led itself into a dead end, while another promised direct access into the core of the thing. “Mine is neither complete nor accurate nor detailed…but.”

“Be meticulous. It would be a damn shame if we were killed out of naivete.” Eleazar shifted the glass to his other hand with a grunt. Reflected in the crystal was the warped, distant image of a Poor Sons soldier. Inconspicuous, but clearly watching them. “Looks like they know we’re here.”

“Come, dear, let us see what we came here for. A man can wait for pleasure, but work is pressing.” Eleazar raised his voice in reprimand, the sort of tone saved for lecturing beloved daughters who didn’t know better.

Edited by Mag

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Frowning lightly the small orb flickered red as it marked out the incorrect maps at hand. Looking around she could not help but feel rather excited about the Director A.I. Would she be able to beat him and get their supplies or? The question was left unspoken as she followed Eleazars lead to go scope out their prizes. 

Disconnecting her A.I for the time begin she would have to do another scan of the area as best she could. The Director was no joke and if anything she had already thrown them into the frying pan. Glancing at the Poor Son troops she adjusted her jacket and placed a thumb under the shoulder of her bag. This would be the perfect thing to help her snatch some bodies..

Hooking onto Dove's arm she leaned into her lightly. "Director has taken note of us.. I will be more careful.. I'm not sure where else to begin just yet for now we watch.." Narrowing her gaze she frowned deeply at her own folly. Taking the seat beside the man, Mina  sat upright in her chair and faced forward while placing the full cup of alcohol on the table before her. 

The bustle of oncoming people could be heard as diplomats here and there too their seats. Mina smiled kindly and nodded to a few people gently waving back every now and then. Her gaze however flickered left and right noticing the various pods of Poor Sons on the sides and back. 

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“Five hundred thousand credits.”

“One million.”

“Two million.”

The offers crop up like weeds, too many men with too much money and too much riding on this. Of course the auctioneers began with a lowball – just a hundred thousand for a one-ton flawed Alterna – and they’d begun to double with each. Dove, for her part, never learned economy, nor did she study commodity and market value. She was the worst of the bunch, the worst of the businessmen there with the most money. Genesar Bloodstone was a prized thing in foreign locales. Alterion was an outlier in that regard, in the best way: hybrid Alterna crafted with raw bloodstone was a vast and untouched field of experimentation, and Riva knew that the Four Great Companies would each stop at nothing to out-innovate the others.

Eleazar raised his hand with a bit of struggle.

“Twenty million credits.”

Dove had arranged to sell for a hundred million before they had come here. The Nobleman of Himmelfestung had money to throw around, and the sharp intakes of breath around the room spoke to the size of his resource. They presumed that he was funded by the new regime in the stabilizing nation. They presumed that the dictatorship would stop at no cost to thrust their country into the new age at the height of power. They were not incorrect, and the true Eleazar might have fought equally as bitter a battle to secure his nation’s airship industry – but as it were, it was all Dove and selfishness.

“...Twenty-five million.”

“Thirty-five million,” Eleazar answered smoothly, then took a gulp of whiskey and sat back into his plush chair with a smile all around, looking at the slightly defeated and certainly irritated crowd of buyers that stood throughout the room.

“Money is not the most important thing in the world, you know, dear,” he muttered to Mina, “and it’s because it’s so disposable that we need so much of it. And don’t worry about the small things. Every little step counts. Make a lot of little ones, and you’ll be a lot further along than you were, no?” Eleazar winked, making it clear to Mina that she should carry on – play a game with the Director, but never pose a threat. Take as much as you can, Dove seemed to say, without letting him know that you want it. In this way, he’ll let you take as much as you want.

"...Forty million."

Eleazar stood back up with a grunt and thumped his stick on the carpeted ground. "Fifty."

Edited by Mag

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Apologies!!World of cyberpunk, Nana Dhebuadze on ArtStation at https://www.artstation.com/artwork/8owkE

How does one say sorry?

When the sought items of purchase were exposed the crowded was drawn in as Mina slowly began to zone out. Crossing one leg over the other she remained in her seat letting Dove do the work while appearing to take note mentally. Of course she was recording all of this on a separate cam not attached to her first AI unit. Back home she had another piggy backing the first AI in order to view all things around. It's presence was a complete ghost even to the Director. Simply because it meant no harm thus the Shell did her best to just mind her own business as Mina worked. For book records Shell was set to record and document the events in order to gather what happens and monitor security. 

Allowing herself to connect with the first AI her world turned to black. The room raced with neo lights and electro magnetic pulses that rippled through the building. As she tethered into the main systems she entered a world like Tron. There she appeared pixel bound before the Director AI, clad in all black she kept the unknown persona she had cast from earlier. It was the only thing logged about her after all for the time being. "Greetings Director.." Mina said lightly in a gentle voice before the man. He was indeed something else something more intimidating than she had imagined for an AI program. Her real body remained frozen in place a well practice freeze that she used to fake death. 

Getting down on her hands and knees inside of the serve the woman bowed before the man lightly. Groveling at his feet slowly she bowed her head low. "I apologize for playfully hacking your systems.. I made light of the situation and thought it would be amusing to tinker with things.. I apologize..." Closing her optics Mina offered up an apology about her actions prior to the meetings beginning. "I was ever curious about the building and wanted to know of its construction. I am told it is the most elite by unknown speculations. I started digging channels and finding other AI in order to hear about one of the best security places around.. You came up.." Looking up she sat back lightly and gazed at the AI with knees while on her knees. Standing up slowly she glanced down through the floor looking in the Auction room lightly.  

"I should get going.. I know I tried to take from you without permission and I apologize.. I just wanted to learn a bit more. Perhaps improve some how while here.. For a short moment." Laughing once more she disconnected herself after listening to what he had to say.

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The Director AI, in all his long years of crushing threats both digital and physical with overwhelming might, had never been apologized to. One might question whether he had even the programming to understand what an apology was meant to be, whether an AI could comprehend such human things as remorse and regret. Certainly he was not designed with those things in mind, but just as the Director had engraved a peculiar, custodian arrogance into his circuits, so did he learn to laugh, and think, and perceive. A program makes himself into a man, then a king, and a king is well-prepared to handle gratitude and groveling alike.

So it was that when Mina thrust herself into the chaotic fold of bits and bytes – the Director’s own godhead and domain – and folded in the digital approximation of a bow, he was at a loss for words for only 0.33 seconds before laughter boomed out across the interior of the digitized world.


He paused, and Mina would feel the weight of his full attentions – billions of gigabytes of memory devoted to dissecting her – press in upon her presence in a rolling wave. She was pondered thoughtfully.


He did not know what he was doing, did not understand this emotion that rushed through him like pleasure, only that it felt very much right. The subroutines gave favorable output; the protocols were fulfilled to a great degree. He was happy with this, whatever this was.

Somewhere in subspace, a note was made to catalogue this emotion and cross-analyze with sentient dictionaries afterwards.

He lifted his “gaze” from Mina and towards a faraway place; she might perceive the Director to be staring into the past. I HAVE MET A THOUSAND OF YOU, BUT YOU ARE THE FIRST TO APPROACH POLITELY – EVEN IF YOU SPEAK THE WRONG LANGUAGE. AMUSING. THE OTHERS WERE MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND. THEY, HOWEVER, BROUGHT ONLY THREATS.


The Director had yet to learn the very human concept of being “buttered up.” All he knew was that the threat class of the opponent was insignificant beyond reckoning, and they needed to be saved from their own technological ignorance, and that he felt an eagerness inside him to parade his own storied skill.

And so Mina would be flooded with the first suite of tools that any Alterion hacker would know – door unlocks, dictionary attacks, every basic vulnerability under the sun that legacy systems had yet to patch. The Director was particularly generous on spilling Daius and Proteus secrets, as was underlined in protocol. All of it took less than a second in reality, but Mina’s mind was stuck there for an eternity as it restructured itself to accommodate the purer language of information.

When she awoke, she might find herself in nigh-shock; a great headache, unable to think for hours, scatterbrained and unsteady on her feet. But when it faded, with the dying of the sun, she would find a polished artifact nestled among the folds of her brain: a more efficient method of thought. She would perceive things at the speed of semiconductors, and still there was enough of human left in there to respond creatively.

Perhaps most importantly, Mina had entered the ranks of competency. Perhaps it was the most base – but it was a step.

And the Director was damn proud of himself, and left the meeting humming tunelessly for, to him, no reason at all.

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Splinter Cellartissimo


As she came back down her conscience came screaming back to her bones as her mouth slowly opened wide. There was no sound as her eyes clenched together before her body seemed to slowly hunch over placing one elbow against the table the hand covered her eyes while the other covered her mouth to drowned out any smell from reaching her taste buds. The world and voices echoed from afar and near the building itself began to speak to the woman as her optics seemed to become more vibrant. The pale hue shimmered and rolled with force despite lacking a pupil. Her body seemed to be electrified as her limbs began to spasm in place causing a light groan to pass through her athletic figure. Pain pinched at her brows as this was beyond her usual capacity for a mental breaking or even rebuilding. Her brain screamed at her thousands upon millions of signs and words she some how understood that she did not understand before. Mina's vision soon changed as she looked around through the slit in her fingers, each person in the lobby with a device turned either green or red with easy or encrypted access she might find trouble with. 

The area turned from the real world to the matrix a place of code and configurations that shook her to the bone. 'What the fuck?!' Was all the tried to put together before another roll of pain set her up right and still keeping her breathing calm and placed naturally  to try and sooth her rapidly tapping foot.  The meeting was drawing to a close thankfully having Eleazar sweep the floor with the other bidders for their merchandise. The airship pieces were theirs and that was one of the three pieces to the main puzzle; now it was almost time to saddle up and hunt the two sub pieces of their own designs!

[ Time Skip. A couple of hours later. ] 

When Mina finally came around back at the hotel her entire persona had almost seemed to change. Looking left and right she closed her eyes and just let herself breath. "I think he liked me.." Mina said hiding her smile as she gazed at Eleazar lightly the entire room was now her own domain. Shutting down all possible listening ears through back doors and gentle plug ins that moved in line with the rest of the programming she was learning. The be seamless in her works she made little to no jumps at this point in walking through the access points mentally securing their line of surveillance inside and outside of the hotel. Looking at the AI orb she smirked and poked the little ball with ease. "Phantasm shall be your new name.." Her eyes had remained closed however the world of technology was ever visible to her third eye. 

"We have several hours to make our way back to the hotel. Yet, we must be on our best behavior.. The main Silo is still a properly placed point. Yet I am not sure about the rooms just yet as she pulled the information down from Phantasm the area before herself. Energy hummed between her finger tips as the pixels burst into existence from the mana alone. Closing both fists she maintained the visual data of the lifting shaft from the bottom to the top. "Now.. According to the Daius and Proteus the item we seek is held somewhere on the floors within the twenties perhaps. This information could be wrong I did snag it from the Director my first run through, but I was a child at this point. So my thought puts them on the inner most of rooms. Possibly concealed to look like a normal meeting room with transparent side doors towards the back." Ambition and fury swirled through her pale naked eyes as she spun the entire image around. "The Poor Son's will be guarding heavy in position upon our arrival; unless we are gestured back for pick up the Director will be on his best behavior when we arrive. No doubt the guard will have doubled from my stun from before." 

Clearing her own throat the woman paced around till she stood beside Eleazar. Floor 57 is our safest gamble, some of the more transparent lines run to this central. Thanks to Daius  I can locate the guards especially, opening new doors and obtaining entrance to moderately higher level rooms. The Director would be watching no doubt, some how she had to make those extra eyes of the AI her own so she could view their own progress without him butting in. Yet again never the less perhaps there would be no need to encounter the AI once more if she manage to utilize both new underlining programs given to her by the seed. "Let's hope for amazing weather shall we?"

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Tmi5JXs.png“Let’s hope for amazing weather, shall we?”

“Yes, let’s.”

Eleazar died there in the hotel room. The visage of the old man exploded into a mass of seething dust, from which emerged a blond-haired woman of short stature and shorter temperament. Dove yawned and stretched, as if she was undressing after a day of wearing a particularly uncomfortable suit, and dropped into an armchair. “My. I never liked businessmen. A bad combination of slimy and prideful with other people’s money.”

The auction invoices were dropped onto the desk in a puff of dust, and the woman threw her legs up beside. A pair of threads rose out of her back towards the window and snapped the blinds closed. Mina’s newfound talent had the hotel robbed blind, and they were at no risk of observation by physical means. Eleazar and his niece had disappeared into the shadows of Alterion – not an uncommon occurrence, given the dangers of visiting foreign nations for nondiplomatic reasons. Nobody needed to bother themselves suspecting a thing about the duo.

Now all they needed to do was wait. The materials would be loaded at dawn the next morning, and their expected departure was at noon. Thus, Dove had seven hours to satisfy her own impulsiveness and Mina had seven hours to put up with the Advisor’s hare-brained schemes. The Tellus Seed would have to be located, retrieved, and extracted onto the plane in that time. They could not act before, for they risked losing the shipment of Alterna. It was frustrating, being limited by the actions of others, but it gave them a night of rest.

Dove needed no rest. She had not needed to sleep for seven centuries; she only did so for the sake of seeming just a bit more human. In times of duress like these, it was an extra font of time with which she could stave off the inevitable, if only for a few hours. Those, however, could make all the difference. She flipped through the papers she’d brought with her – half-scribbled thoughts and plans of action – and the quiet rustle of these things were all that echoed inside the room. Pages were turned, ideas were formed and double-checked with maps and discarded and revised.

The lich was, suddenly and abruptly, bored.


Dove’s eyes peered out from above the manila folders fanned out before her. They were flat, but they had always been that way; what changed now was that they were pointed in a direction they had yet to look, towards Mina. She had never concerned herself with the royal harem, because she was given their safety and nothing else. Mina had been brought along by request, and because Dove had been in mood to humor requests at the time.

And here they were, two who had never really met and whose paths never really crossed before.

“Who are you? You know who I am, yes?”

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BondingAnime 2079x2953 original characters long hair white hair black dress rain flowers anime girls anime

Foundation of Friendship

Starring out into the growing night Mina was completely zoned out as her brain and AI assistant surfed the codes of the city. Hacking in jump point to jump point to practice her skills and improve on what she could. At this distance she was already a few buildings down looking of finances and other broken down AI's who offered her tips and information. Perhaps she could start her own safe guided network that could at one point absorb the Director or perhaps even make him her own at one point. Such an excellent teacher no doubt, some day the student should surpass should she not?

Yet when Dove called her name after freeing herself of the businessman get up the woman would turn in a half pivot. Quickly unplugging herself from the networks she allowed her AI to go one ahead and map out the other cyber lines that ran through the city. She red flagged anything that might over lay with the Director AI himself or anything at his level of power. It was best not to tamper with anyone else while here, especially in the comfort of their own hotel room.

"Yes..?" Raising a brow the athletic woman stepped away from the window. Her hair remained back in a tight pony tail. Unlike Dove there was not much for her to step out of. She had pre dyed her hair for the occasion silencing her white haired roots. Taking a seat upon the bed she crossed one leg over the other and leaned back into the mattress. The question itself was a rather deep question that was not to be answered lightly. 

What did she know about Dove? Pray tell there was little besides some connection before Koji and herself. Then their trials and Whispernight... Other then that Dove seemed to be more of their guardian while making her own place within the Empire. "One might say you were the Guardian of the harem dearest.. Others still might call you an helper to the Emperor with your own agenda.. For me.. I know of your name simply the rest to me is unknown. I try to glean some substance from people while in their presence nothing else. So pray tell I know very little but I desire to know more.." Speaking plainly Mina had left the contacts in for the time being. They were a special kind which could be kept in while asleep as well. Taking a moment to switch legs she sat up and leaned forward so her hands rested in her lap.

"You know my name.. As for where I come from.. I was born in the darkness of Oo'Xora beneath a household of shinobi.. Some real blood thirsty shit really.. Death of ones opponent was the only way to graduate and death of a teacher was the only way to pass.. You could say its a very small family for sure.. Not many make it past the age of fifteen while being able bodied.. Others who do not wish to continue flee and leave.. I do not remember how I came under Koji's banner.. What I do remember was the look in his eyes and what he stands for that made me continue following into the Harem under the Emperor and Empress. While he indeed leaves much of the capable work in my hands I do not find myself to be that great of value yet." Laughing lightly her body was still untouched unlike most of the others in the harem. He duties to the Empire and Emperor kept her up at all hours of the day and night and never near Koji's bed. 

Looking down there was no hint of sadness only a deep tie to the duty in which she must complete. "What about you Dove..? Who are you and what are you doing here?"


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Sing to me, oh muse, of a complicated man –

He who, by the musings and whimsy of fate,

was twisted and turned ‘cross the years…


Mina, no last name given, relates a tale that is much like any other. The overcoming of the monster; man (or woman) vs. society; the creation of a veil of tragedy that muffles memory that is summarily snatched away by hope. Dove’s read these stories before. She’s written them before. The white-haired woman has revealed much, perhaps, about the world she has grown up in and the circumstances surrounding her being. She’s talked about setting, about plot.

She has not, revealed much of her character. What are you hiding beneath your history, Mina? What’s the stuff that shinobi are made of, and what are you made of?

Dove raises an eyebrow and flips another page.

 “Follow who you will, Mina, but I think that the self is the most important being there is in a world like ours. Whatever your reasons are for submitting to the Emperor, I hope they’re good ones.” She glances up at Mina knowingly. “I won’t ask, though, since I wouldn’t share if you asked. And being fair seems important, don’t you agree? Between…friends, that is.”

Her tongue touches that word gingerly, ready to recoil at a moment’s notice. Dove doesn’t know whether she’s being generous, or lying. Maybe it’s a mixture of both. Which of them is the one being lied to? The white-haired woman she was playing friends with, or the lich who’d been alone for so many centuries already?

She is a collector of stories, nothing more.

“Still. Only tools measure themselves in terms of value. If you consider yourself a tool, feel free, but I’d rather associate myself strictly with the interesting.”

“What about you, Dove?”

Dove waves her hand dismissively. “I’m asking the questions, and I don’t like talking about myself.”

“Surprising as that might seem,” she adds after a moment. “But I’ll indulge you if you indulge me enough. I don’t care much about how Koji’s been. Tell me about your childhood. Have any favorite memories? Least awful memories?”

She sits forward in her seat. “Or maybe – the worst memory?”

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The Bigger Picture.メディアツイート: あずき(@azuki_taste)さん | Twitter

'Surely, Dove was one of the few and the first to Question me..

One of the braver ones who dismissed my silly aims and reminded me how to live.

The first to really help me remember where I come from.

Something in the way she sits brings me some measure of Reassurance..

My tale is my own no one else could write the story..


Dismissed as expected. 

The woman remained ever elusive of questions that would require her to answer about herself. What was she even looking for really? Did she really desire to understand who she was and how she functioned. Pale optics seemed to flex as the questions rolled over and over like fresh dough in her brain. Was she begin real right now? Or just the functional Dove who wanted to make conversation at this point?  No there was a truth behind those eyes Lich or not, there was a desire for more..

A gentle exhale left thick lips as the Nelrosis rose up gently and sauntered to the window. Then turned back around to face Dove fully. Her dark skin slowly morphed from normal human skin to partial regions of her body being covered in scales. The once pure white hair now revealed a set of horns where ears should be. "I am a Nelrosis... Izagi Noi is my birth name.. My family and I never experienced much together before I was taken to become a shinobi. The name Mina was given as a way to strip my identity.." Laughing lightly a scaled tail lashed out slightly from between her clothing.

"I was born in Oo'xora closest to the ocean.. I still remember the scent of the sea during the morning and evening tides. My mothers lullabies during the stormy nights while my father played the drums. I am an only child an orphan almost.. I have very few memories of my family.. From relaxing on the sea to sitting in a field of lavender and flowers." Chuckling lightly her smile was real unlike most that she gave. Genuine emotion not manufactured to fit a setting or specific moment. Within the confines of the room her energy sparked and crackled as she relived the memory. "I remember sitting in the fields and just being.. Breathing and enjoying ever single minute the sun beat down upon my skin." The flow of electricity crackled and popped before she spun around slowly. "You ever.. Touched the ocean water in the twilight? Ever been caressed by the ocean while the sky whispered starlight.. No distractions or people to bother you for miles." A smile crossed her lips as she sat down on the edge of the bed.. "It ended in flames and blood when they found me, no one should have had to die when they came.. Yet somehow they were just gone when I came back to shore. There were no answers and a black bag. From that point I became Mina.. Izagi seemed to have die or went to sleep on the shore cradling two dead bodies in bloody sand. I wouldn't call it tragic because death is apart of life as well. Whether we go violently or passively is not always up to us." Quirking a brow she slowly opened her left hand lightly. The mana in her palm quaked then crystallized into the shape of a wild flower she had often seen in her dreams. 

"Several years later.. I remember standing in the field.. At first I was alone.. Then there were a few before there were many people lining the field.. What once was a safe haven turned to a blood bath.. Blooded lavender.. When it was all done I felt so alone knowing that I had taken the lives of many.. For what I questioned after? Was it the stress? No.. My teacher told me; ' We are all born demons within human flesh. Some of us deal with the past in different manners.'  At first I never understood what he meant. It wasn't until graduation did I understand what he meant. The undeniable presence of death and glee to kill. Like some Seraph of Baal, even those I had grown close to calling sisters and brothers fell that day. Yes it hurt at first then.. The pain ceased to be a thing, only an action repeated that brought a smile to my face. The smell of blood and lavender are forever present for me to this very day. My desiring goal is the establish a group of my own under the man. Then when time comes I leave and take them back home to Oo'xora and take over.. My graduation day there were two of us who made it out alive.. An I intend to remove her in the end of it all. The shadows will become mine and when that happens.. The rest of the world will come to know who I am and my shadow will stretch through the world. Till all sit within my palm."

The pale optics gazed off as she spoke. Looking over at Dove Noi offered a small smile before looking back out the window.

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