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Power Play: Supply and Demand
(2014-01-30 - 2014-01-30)
The logical place to look into a power shortage is the local energy distribution station. The energy control grid is usually a heavily guarded place, but what secrets could it hold to explain the outages in Purgos?
Zero-One The power outages contine in Purgos, even becoming more severe and spreading towards Argon City. As energy is life to Programs, this is a serious issue. Rationing has been put into effect in the cycles since the confrontation, and violence has grown in Purgos, despite the arrival of the military.

But if you want to get to the bottom of a situation, one needs look no further than the power distribution station of Purgos, the hub which helps to allow the old, run-down city to exist.

Except the military detatchment sent to check into the location has gone silent. Those who are paying attention might notice that it's a good time to go in and look into the situation.

This also means, for those paying attention, that whatever caused the military group to go dark is still there. Nevertheless, the multi-level complex lies still and silent, humming loudly with the surge of energy running through it. There are entrances at the bottom floor, and the outside os covered with interfaces that assist with the distribution work. However, there is a strange timbre to the humming. The timbre slows, occasionally stopping. At those points, that is where everything goes dark.

This is clearly the place.
Avira The Power Distribution Station of Purgos! Avira, after checking in with Mara, learned that this may be the likely source of the outages. Not only that, but the teal-haired Program had pretty much insisted that she lead her and whoever came with her to the place.

Trusting the Argon native, Avira follows Mara. Much like before, she has the full face-covering helmet down over her head to obscure her identity. When she speaks, her voice comes out in distorted warbles that make it difficult to even tell her gender.

The Spine remains 'hidden' on her back, melded with the white-lined suit she wears. She hasn't said much since meeting up with Mara.
Deelel Deelel has also come with Avira their meet up with Mara, who'd made up her mind to follow along. She'd conviced Deelel to back her up on this, as Mara would know more how to handle what might have been done to the station, than Avira or Deelel would. She couldn't argue the point thankfully Mara has got her helemt up to hide who she is, and Deelel has done much the same this time, as she keeps up.

Mara likewise has been quiet, there's not much to talk about, they know where they are going and what they have to do, they have to stop these power drains.











"HAH!" Comes a triumphant shout. It draws exactly no attention; triumphant shouts were pretty common in this shady, run-down, h4rdc0r3 internet cafe, usually as a result of people doing something wildly illegal. Most of the people there were doing wildly illegal things, and didn't want to be disturbed in the process of doing said wildly illegal things, so naturally they had no interest in finding out what wildly illegal things other people were doing.

Even when said people are a giant grey man in red-and-polka-dot robes and clown pants, and a giant green dog made of rock, gold, and common sense.

Whatever, thought most of the hackers. It's New York. Weird stuff happens.

But back to the triumph at hand.

"HAH! I finally managed to get back onto this webbernet thingy!" The huge grey man exclaims. He turns in the tiny, tiny computer chair and bends down to look the massive green dog right in the eye. "Enkidu, do you see? It's just like that trustworthy gentleman in the back alley described to us! This world has put the full sum of its knowledge, experience, and shopping venues into this magical box! With this 'webbernet' at our disposal, we can do anything! ANYTHING! Why, with just a push of a button, I can set up a savings account! I can win a free uPod! I can save fifteen percent or more on my automobile insurance, AND get a free quote!"

The huge grey man stood up, the chair falling over behind him. "WITH THIS, WE CAN BUY ALL THE SWORDS WE WANT ONLINE! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!"

The massive green Rock Hound lets out a sigh. He doesn't know how this is going to go wrong. But he's pretty sure it's going to go wrong. It's that sixth sense...seventh...eighth..ninth of those senses that he's picked up over years upon years of dealing with his bestest friend ever. He just sort of expected that, when Gilgamesh started talking, there were about to be problems.


Here it comes, Enkidu thinks.

"-WITH THIS!" Gilgamesh brandishes a small red-and-grey hunk of plastic, waving it in Enkidu's face. Enkidu stared at it for a moment, disbelieving.

It has his face on it. It has Gilgamesh's face on it

Sweet Aeons, this was going to be catastrophic.

"THIS, Enkidu, is the 'program' I purchased from that incredibly helpful man wearing the trenchcoat and little else! With this 'program', when I insert this 'floppy' into the 'drive', it will unleash a buying spree across the entire webbernet, purchasing the entire webbernet's worth of weaponry in an instant! Then, Enkidu, we'll have all the treasures of this world...AT THE PUSH OF A BUTTON! ISN'T THAT GREAT?! BWA HA HA HA HA!" Gilgamesh throws back his head and laughs, a hearty belly laugh from the Treasure-Trove King Of Swordsman Heroes.

The manager looks up.

"Those can't take floppy," he says slowly, completely unconcerned by the rest of the description. "Got one in the back for that."

"O-oh," Gilgamesh replies, pushing his foot against the floor. "Alright, then."
Gilgamesh The manager leads the King Of Swords and his giant dog into the back room. There, sitting in the back is an incredibly ancient computer. We're talking DOS ancient. Do you remember DOS? It's what people thought of as computers for like ten years, before we invented Windows. It's what certain movies somehow translated into people inside the computer. Heck, cartoons, too. The eighties were weird.

Gilgamesh sits down at the computer. It's a tight fit, this room, and he's kind of a giant. His shapeshifting ability has sort of...well, he's forgotten about it at the time being. He does that. Consistency is not a trait of Gilgamesh, except for consistent insanity. That's definitely a trait of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh raises the disk, an 80s Cartoon Villain gleam in his eye. "Soon...I'LL HAVE EVERY WEAPON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!"

"GILGADISK, LET'S GO! FLOPPY BOOT!" Gilgamesh slams the disk into the floppy slot.

The computer sits there, blinking. The manager looks over his shoulder for a moment. He's curious, now. Sure, it was New York...but maybe this was just a LITTLE weird for New York. Maybe.

"You gotta enter the path," the manager offers, "To get to the files inside the computer."

"They're *inside* the computer?!" Gilgamesh references a movie he's never seen. The manager raises an eyebrow, and Gilgamesh nods eagerly. "I SEE! THEN I'LL JUST HAVE TO-"

Enkidu pushes his paw down on the enter button.

The program uploads.

An 8-bit image of Gilgamesh downloads itself onto the Grid. A couple Programs give it a weird look as it beeps at them, then wanders off in search of weapons.

Military detachments have weapons, right? And they hang out in dungeons, right? Like abandoned power plants and stuff?

The 8-Bit Icon Of Heroes boops, and makes its way towards...*the plant*.


"This is so boring. If I'd known getting all the weapons ever was gonna be so DULL, I wouldn't've even BOTHERED! C'mon, Enkidu, let's go beat our money out of that reliable naked trenchcoat salesman guy." Gilgamesh sighs. He stands up and wanders away from the keyboard.

Enkidu glances at the keyboard for a long moment.

That's gonna be trouble for somebody, the King Of Rock Hounds decides...but at least it's not trouble for me.
Aeschere Childs Where /did/ Warden go? This is a very serious question... the Grid is about as far out of Aeschere's depth as she's ever been, and she brawled with a kraken on the literal sea floor once. Even the method of getting here was horrifying; she'd experienced teleportation once or twice in her life, but it was nothing like the atom-by-atom parsing that she received coming in here.

She stands, wary, dark against the gleaming background, and watches the flow of traffic with apprehension. A lot of work gets done right here, obviously, and she knows she isn't a part of it.
Zero-One The location continues to be quiet, as if daring the investigators to come in and look. Time is a factor, too: As soon as word gets back, Tessler will undoubtedly send in the heavy artillery to deal with the problem (much like he deals with most problems: Overkill).

The stalemight might seem to last forever, until a beam of light fires from the upper floor, narrowly missing Avira. A look up reveals a glimpse of a thin Program, quickly moving away holding a foreign weapon.

More beam fire follows as a couple Programs lean out of the door, spraying the gathering groups with bright purple beams. Oh God, looks like they're not going to wait for you to come in.

But one thing's for sure. Those sure are weapons right there...
Gilgamesh Beepbop, observes Gil.bat, boopbeep. Beepbeep, it observes once again. It doesn't have much RAM, you see. Or maybe it does! By the standards of the original Grid, it has a whole 124 kilobytes! That's almost a tenth of a megabyte! Surely that will be enough!

Gil.bat makes its way forward with incredibly cheap animation. It doesn't even have a walking motion - it just sort of moves forward on a 2D axis, stops, turns, and moves forward on another 2D axis. Then it waggles its hands as the laser blast fires from the upper floor.


Gil.bat turns, becoming utterly invisible except for that single line of pixels, and heads towards the Programs firing out of the door.
Avira Nothing unusual so far, it seems. Clearly, Avira thinks, the solution is to go inside. An infiltration using stealth and-

Poink. Poink poink poink.

"What the heck is that noise?"Avira mutters, looking back to see a sprite. A literal 8-bit sprite which looks savagely out of place amongst a 32-bit system. "You've got to be kidding m-"

A white blast of light shears by her face, barely missing her and the huntress whips around to spy the glimpse of the Program up there. "Go! Split!" she warbles suddenly, motioning to Deelel and Mara to go in different directions.

Figuring if they're going to cheat with their weapons, Avira is going to cheat in her own way. Previously she had avoided using her magic here since it would probably be suspicious. Right now, Avira gives zero frags about not being suspicious. Making the motions of holding a bow in her hand, Avira summons up a trio of ice arrows to fire upon the door.
Aeschere Childs /Blood/ ash and rain, that can't be Avira, can it? It's just not possible. Chera isn't even trying to follow her this time!

Feeling exceedingly conspicuous, the girl maneuvers herself behind a couple of busy little utilities, and works on as stealthy an approach as she can manage.
Zero-One The incoming ice arrows prove to be a surprise. The shattering ice causes the Programs at the front of the door to fall back.

And then there is another deep flicker, everything going dark for several moments. There is a sense of something moving...

And then screams, modulating into static as it sounds like someone or something just got derezzed... inside.

The door lies undefended now, open to those who have the wherewithal to enter. Some, such as the 2D Gil.BAT, give zero frags. There are weapons to acquire!

Within the power distribution plant is a massive, open space with terminals evenly spaced around a central power column. A large pool of Energy shines deep beneath the grating of the center vat, which almost detracts from the piles of voxels lying around everywhere... Red and blue.

A masked Program stands near the central power column, one arm holding a strange long rifle. Some might recognize the make of the weapon from earlier times, a Line of Light digital sniper rifle.

In his other hand, he holds a long, sleek Light Katana. Weapons, indeed.

Far away, a being shrouded in darkness observes the proccedings. There is a thin smile. "Now."

A shadow descends upon the power station, the pool of Energy below swirling as something changes. The man on the grating looks down, moments before there is a hoolow roar and an eruption. The Program screams just before a massive cascade of power consumes him, a long, sinuous form crashing throughe disinegrating cloud of voxels and wrapping around the central power column.

Looking like nothing so much as a massive digital centipede, the monoptic creature swings its gaze around upon the intruders, and unleashes a deep roar, energy cascading down a thousand spines along its back, framing the Heartless symbol.

The Light Katana spins through the air, becoming wedged in between a couple digital plates on the creature's back. Inconvenient for someone who wants it...

0<0================================> - <X3 - <=================================0>




0<0================================> - <X3 - <=================================0>
Gil.bat, demonstrating far more intelligence and philosophical comptence than its original owner and operator, considers this problem of self-worth and self-existence exactly long enough for his proper code to kick back in. With pain in its near-immediate future, Gil.bat advances towards the Light Katana.
Warden Thache Some people prise stealth on the Grid. Some people prise anonimity. They try to blend in. They try to work within the system. Stealth is their friend. They aquire Disks. They aquire proper attire. They aquire the right codes and keys and everything else that lets them keep their true forms a secret.

...then there are those like Warden Thache.

Who just doesn't give a <Goosehonk>.

Dragon-skull and crossbones on a long black cloak. The energy lines of green faded with just a touch of yellow. The man stands out in a way that is dangerous for anyone to stand out. He obviously doesn't care much about that either.

Danger just makes it all more fun.

"I /knew/ this would be better than just plain drinks!" He comments from his spot on a roof near to the power station. "I think I see Chere donwn there as well. I supose that makes us fashionably late..." He murmurs before he smirks towards his compaion. "...shall we? Wouldn't want to keep anyone waiting! And who knows. There could be something valuble inside!" A pause. "Or something worth the hunt!"

After Avira fires she and Deelel might just find a familiar golden energy construct slam into the ground nearby. A rope and grappel. This is followed a moment later by Warden sliiiiiiiding down said rope to land with billowing cloak nearby.

Just in time for a giant effin' centipede to erupt out of the station.

"...huh..." A pause. "...well I did say there might be something worth hunting." A pause again. "Also dibs on that rifle the poor blighter had if there is anything left of it."

He may be late, but at least the entrence is impressive.
Deelel Deelel is unaware of Gilgamesh for now, she is so unaware of just what's going on in the cafe. Gil's hunt for swords has hit the realm of Ebay, who knows the power of the charge card that the master of swords has in hand? She has no idea that Gil.exe is about to make life interesting. She looks back to Mara and Avira for a brief moment, but it's but keeps moving until they come face to face with some hostile programs.

"Looks like your glitching out humm?"

Deelel's voice is warped and Mara while able to fight is going to hang back as they get ready to move in. She's knows she's here as tech support.

Deelel meanwhile? Is arming her light staff she's become fond of, perhaps due to it having less lethal options than disc, she'll make use of it but not just yet. She sprints for the door with Avira making the attack.

That's when things go to hell and back when something bad happens. She's just about inside as she sees the arrival of the Power-Eater she just has a look of mute horror on her face under her mask, and Mara is taken a back herself she's never seen anything about it. Avira was right there is another virus lurking about the grid aside from the mysterious black ones that news has spoken about.

Deelel boots up several run time commands, that would help both her and Avira. Avira might feel a bit strange ass the code takes effect on her.
Artemis Eurus It would appear Artemis doesn't do the whole blending in thing either. She arrives beside Warden, her normal armor merely transformed into something one would see on the grid, deep blue with gold energy lines, including the mask she wears over the top portion of her face.

Lips quirk as she turns her head toward Warden, her hand resting on the hilt of her blade in a way that implies she is both comfortable and alert. "Mmm, could be," she says, looking around herself. This is easily the most alien world she has visited yet. How completely bizarre it is! Not to mention the process to get here. She'd been sceptical, but obviously she'd been talked into it.

Suddenly, a giant centipede creature bursts into view and the Huntress leaps back gracefully, drawing her blade from its sheath in one smooth motion. Now, she smiles. "It would seem that you are right Warden. This will be fun," she comments, lips spreading into a grin as she centers herself and prepares for the fight.
Avira "Move in!" Avira calls out once she sees that the ice has given them a chance to get by without getting shot at. But seconds later, the power stations go dark and the Programs within start to scream. Avira hesitates.

She is also wholly unaware of Chere's presence.

Avira moves in swiftly without another word, reaching behind her to peel the Spine off her back. Those who know her for the weapon would certainly recognize that, yes, unfortunately, this is Avira.

Right away, she's looking around, observing the inside of the power plant, eyes drawn to the piles and piles of voxels. Eventually she spies the Program near the central power column with a gun she definitely does not recognize. "Hey you! Stop right there!" He's masked, he's suspicious, he's-

...likely dead seconds later, consumed by that gigantic shadowy centipede. A shadowy centipede with the familiar Heartless crest. Which pretty much counts as a virus here.

"Don't get too close to it, Mara!" she warns, "This is a virus!" Warden sliiiides his way in and Avira scowls. "You! Just don't get in my way!" And in an instant, she's off. Avira is fast, to her credit, and not afraid of getting up in the face of a giant Heartless-almost as if she's done this a few times before.
Aeschere Childs Change of plans, CHANGE OF PLANS! If there's anything remotely resembling cover available, Aeschere makes a dash for it. Even if it isn't actually cover, honestly. Once (notionally) concealed, she makes a tentative reach for the lance she's not carrying; normally she aquires one thusly, but things are a little strange here.

There are enough stray bits around to fashion something workable, though. By fell and arcane means-- running around and grabbing a bunch of voxels-- her magic has a frame to work with, and from these voxels she fashions a lance and a breastplate, and searches for Warden.
Zero-One The giant Heartless creature looks upon the enemies prepating to attack it. There is little in the HEartless playbook that most would consider significantly tactical, considering it's a massive, feral, energy-devouring bug. The creature unwraps itself, a series of green, familiar-looking spheres building up around tis mandibles before it roars, launching a seires of explosive viral weapons into the middle of their enemy. There is an explosion of light that fans out into a mild corrosive haze, causing occasional glitches. That might be more of a problem when crackling bolts run off of the massive beast, trailing along the systems and causing small explosions as they arc around.

Things get worse as the central monoptic begins to glow, charging up. Beams of disruptive energy fire out, smashing and eating away at anything it finds.

The perceptive might notice that one end of the HEartless rmains in the central energy pool. The Light Katana remains wedged int the creature's back, hanging over that pool. Taunting Gil.Bat. Go ahead. Try to get it.


Its devastatingly witty retort delivered, Gil.bat begins to make the incredibly tedious crawl up its back. This is made far more difficult because Gil.bat has neither arms nor legs, just squares.

Avira Those green orbs the creature is producing, Avira recognizes those. One of them went off in an alleyway via those goons. "Were they seriously extracting viral weapons from a Heartless?" she remarks, running at a ninety degree angle to the beast, her speed further enhanced by Deelel's code.

Gosh that felt weird.

Unlike last time, though, Avira actually feels the pain of that viral weapon and stumbles for several steps. Her stagger actually helps her a little bit as she ducks beneath a beam blast. As she continues to circle, she sees that one end of the giant centipede dips into the pool.

"Dee! I think this thing is drawing power into itself through the plant! We need to separate it!" A wild guess on Avira's part but she'll gladly act on it, swinging around to that end of the monster and launching several enormous cleaving shockwaves of ice magic at the tail end.
Deelel Mara "I know!"

She also knows she doesn't need to tell the anti viral program about the dangers of contact with a virus. She's going to hunkle down, but she does get her disc and arm it, she's ready if something gets close. Mara has to wonder how did this get past the system monitors?!

Deelel meanwhile has stowed the staff asn ha the disc powerd up and in hand.

"A heartless? How in the name of my user..."

She knew the grid had heartless problems but this was on a whole other level of things. She now leaps up running on a wall before fliping off and launching her disc at the creature before she falls away drops rolls and then flips back.

"Come on bit for brains you want some of this! Come get me!"

Deelel is already moving again aiming to turn the building into one giant free running park.
Warden Thache If Aeschere wants to find Warden, let us be honest. The Pirate isn't that hard to find in the least. He is the only pirate that /looks/ like a pirate on the Grid he's sure.

"I was just about to tell you the same thing, Lady Wolf!" He calls cheerfully towards her. "So nice to see you around again. Excellent disguise by the way." The mocking tone of voice is there there, wrapped up in the laughter that tinges the edges of his light comment. He can feel more magic wash over him as he glances back to the darting from of Aeschere with that bright smile and those brillinat glowing green eyes that the Grid seems to have imparted to him. He might not look like a cat-man anymore, but his manner doesn't change in the least. "Sorry I'm a touch late. Glad you made it!"

The pirate faces front again as the monster starts to move and each hand dips down to rip a pistol from the bandolier he wears. "I told you I'd take you someplace fun." He adds towards Artemis as he starts to stalk forwards, his pistols snapping up to fire one bright energy round towards the oncoming green globe aimed towards him. Energy disperses energy as he keeps walking forwards. "Ware the green ones. It functions like some sort of acid here near as I can tell." The words ment for both Artemis and Chere.

A smirk again as he taps his toe of his glowing boots to the ground before launching himself towards the thing. Energy ropes snapping out as he flings them towards its head, meaning to tie it to itself. Make it a bit more difficult for it to shoot things at him.

He doesn't appriciate getting shot.

"Men have been known to do stranger things for profit, Lady Wolf!" he calls out towards Avira on he heels of a fulsaide of pistol fire.

And suddenly disc lines all over the place!


Those hurt. He knows.
Aeschere Childs It wasn't very effective cover, was it? The shock wracks her body, like in fact a perfectly ordinary murderous electric shock, but lightning spells are many mages' stock in trade, and Aeschere's armor is well-grounded. Thus she avoids being fryed on the spot, but the jolt leaves her shuddering, her knees weak, and her vision near red-out.

Blindly she flings her lance in the thing's direction, sure to strike /some/ part of it, and indeed she does. This small coup must be heartening, for she regains her footing, and her lance, and prepares an attack in earnest. Again she gathers herself, and now she springs clear of the monitor and launches two more javelins, in quick succession.

Now, only, she has time to hear. "K-keep moving! Don't b-bunch up!" She puts deed to word and lets her leap carry her clear of the captain, all focus on the beast again.
Artemis Eurus All those spheres of viral weapons avoid her, not that she knew what they would do to her anyone. Safe to assume it wouldn't be good however. One comes close to Warden, but the agile pirate easily evades, as light on his feet as he had been during the Wild Hunt. She follows his gaze and his taunts toward Avira, unrecognizable save the blade she wields. Artemis notes this curiosity, remembering the woman fairly fondly even for their short acquaintence. Then, there is Aeschere. Artemis frowns gently with concern. "Be careful fellow hunter," she says.

Artemis turns back to Warden, letting out a low laugh. "Aye, that you did," she comments before nodding to him gratefully for the information he offers. "Well then, lets begin," she says, then bursts from her position toward the giant creature, a blur of blue, gold, and cold steel as her katana slices swiftly in an upward diagonal line, followed by a quick and brutal downward cut.
Zero-One The icy shockwaves hammer into the Power-Eater, making Gil.Bat's effort to acquire the Light Katana even more deadly as it is knocked backwards, thrashing around the central power column and wrapping itself back up. This just gives Deelel more room to maneuver as she leaps around, hitting the Heartless repeatedly with her Disc. Armor begins to voxel off of the creature as it howls in pain. Warden continues the fusillade, the pistols locking the creature down and bracketing it, keeping it from moving. It doesn't seem to be too interested in leaving the pool, regardless. As Aeschere strikes, it twists, putting the armored back full on against Aeschere's attack, aht the weapons strike, deflecting off of the giant bug's thick armor. Artemis, however, lunges forward and ravages into the beast, slashing repeatedly and leaving long trails of voxels in her wake. Battle Tea, indeed.

All of this simply seems to make the bug mad. The power of the area seems to drain, the hum dying as everything begins to go dark, leaving only the neon lights of the Programs themselves and their weapons to provide sight.

And then the monoptic opens, burning crackling gold as a feral shriek rumbles through the building, and the dripping mandibular maw begins to seethe with liquid flame. A moment later, the massive beast opens its maw, the energy pool draining significantly as incredible amounts of power is drawn into the beast and is expelled through said maw, creating a deadly stream that blows straight through walls, voxelling anything it touches with raw brute force.

And then it begins to draw those voxels in towards itself, repairing itself with the remains of what was destroyed.

This could be inconvenient.
Aeschere Childs That was highly suboptimal. Aeschere prepares for the retort that must follow that effortless deflection, and sure enough, hellfire and damnation rains from the beast's maw. There's nothing for her to do but flee and dodge.

Being on the very fringes of the battle already, she does manage to clear the blast zone, /just/ in time. Temporarily safe in the far corner of the battlefield, she pauses to catch her breath.
Gilgamesh Gil.bat continues its relentless climb up to the weapon! While it's not going terribly well, on account of being shot at and stuff, the tiny little 8-Bit Sprite has managed to reach the precious sword in the most classic, time-honored manner imagineable.

A *platforming level*.

Now that he's reached the to remove it?

Oh, wait. There's some kind of giant laser bea-


The 8-Bit Sprite hops up and down, beeping loudly in distress. Then it adds the Katana to its inventory and prepares to leap off the side!
Avira "Why do I even bother!" Avira sighs, bemoaning her lack of hidden identity. "Seriously though, are you following me? This keeps happening." She continues to hack away at the worm, trying to disconnect it from the power source of the plant. It doesn't seem to be working very much at all.

There is nowhere for her to really dodge when the blast is unleashed. She'd almost swear that it had been centered right on her too because it hits her dead center and blasts her clean through the wall. If she was a Program, she would be voxels right now. Since she is not, she merely bleeds and lies in a lifeless heap amongst the square bits and debris of the plant that the centipede just blasted away.

She doesn't get up, leaving her in a terrible position when the worm starts feeding on the debris by drawing them in. She's going to wind up /inside/ the damn thing in a few moments.
Artemis Eurus The lights go out, and Artemis laughs. Oh, this just got /fun/. The lines of the programs move through the dark, weapons shining beacons. Artemis has never fought a battle like this before. She is out of her element, but that is what makes it a challenge. That is what makes it a thrill.

The masked woman decides not to pull back when the beast grows angry, prefering to take her chances in the melee. This ends up /very/ painful. The samurai watches with a sort of detached fascination as voxels fall from her body rather than the familiar crimson of her blood.

Is this just another dream?

Isn't it all?

A growl builds low in her throat. She reaches up to slap her hand against the blade of her sword, setting it aflame. Darkness begins to radiate from her person in spectral wisps, cold as the grave, seeming to take form into beasts then disperse into mist in the blink of an eye.

The darkness swirls, flowing to her blade as she disappears with a crack of muted thunder, appearing again like a nightmare above the beast and falling hard upon it, in a stab, hoping to find its brain, twisting the blade if she pierces the tough hide.
Warden Thache The funny thing about charging dragons.

They have breath weapons.

This might not be a dragon, but the catagory is similar enough. Its also something that Warden learns mch to his folly. The pirate's eyes widen a moment as that annilihating beam tears out from the thing. It catches him, not quite full on but even a nick from that thing sends him flying into the wall.

Voxels scatter as shards of his cloak is eaten away from him. He glances down at the rents torn in his avatar from the attack before letting a slight frown roll over his features.

"I really like this cloak you overgrown weevil."

His eyes slide over the combat. They check on Chere, hurt and hiding thankfully. On Artemis, who seems to be enjoying herself. On Deelel who is...well...thats a hell of a lightshow. Then on Avira. Who is apparently about to get /eaten/ by a /bug/.

Eyes narry before he is moves. With speed. Fast enough that he is hard to follow in the light show of the various attacks.

He lifts his foot, thin air seemingly as firm as stone under his boots and quite litteally runs up the air towards the giant bug.

As he passes Avira he smirks. "You arn't getting out of our wager /that/ easily."

Then he's past her using the suction of the thing to help his leap. His pistols are traded for his swords as he leaps into the air before attempting to bring both blades down hard against the creatures eye, even as Artemis attempts to put a sword though its brain.
Zero-One To Avira's benefit, at least it's remaining hidden from the people who matter here. Although with her current situation, it might not matter soon! Meanwhile, Gi.bat acquires the LASER KATANA. There is a low jingle of chiptune as he holds it up.


Oh god, the tutorials, it's not ending, and they're not going away. ARE THEY UNSKIPPABLE!?

Artemis, meanwhile, draws on the Dark, and the Heartless responds, looking directly at the samurai woman. She vanishes, and the Heartless is distracted as she reappears, whipping through the Darkness to strike like thunder. The blade pieces into the creature, and it rears, howling as she twists, driving th blade deeper in an attempt to find a vital point. Voxels fly everywhere, spilling off of its body as it begins to disintegrate. This isn't helped as Warden strikes for the eye, cleaving in deep and sending lightning everywhere as he cuts.

Meanwhile, the Power-Eater appears to be exhausted itself after the discharge of that much power and its mounting wounds. There is a low hiss of energy as it emits a few sparks at its opponents, attempting to weaken them for the kill with sizzling bolts of weak lightning.

Oh, and also cutting the lights again.
Aeschere Childs Her armor is scorched and sizzling, it hurts her just to breathe, and Aeschere grins madly. Let this beast learn about the law of threefold return.

Staggering, slightly, the little knight leaves her cover, to face the hideous worm full on; her hands crackle, but not with shocking code. A chill mist rises from her, as the traces of the Grid dim, and

And, she does nothing. She makes no move, just one pained gasp, before a blue-black torrent erupts from her, washing over the battlefield towards the heartless subroutine. Three waves, and it subsides, and so does she, sinking to her knees and paling.
Deelel Deelel has clearly got the thing's attention, the Power-Eater sure is going for Deelel along with everyone else it can get it self into. Deelel is caught by the attack as she's breaking into a run. She's feeling power being pulled from her, he's basically sucking the life out of her. She staggers gasping, out of mimicked reflex of hanging around with humans for so long.

"It's just going to keep eating everything. It will come to threaten the entire OS!"

Deelel again attempts to recover, from the hit. She's hurt pretty badly, she's still got her disc at the ready and she throws it.

She's able to deflect the worst of the strike on her. She's still in the game for lack of a better term. Worse off her helmet has been shattered into so many voxels exposing her identity to anyone who might have been watching from the shadows. She notices the wounds she takes her disc and he charges right at the heartless viri. She's got her disc and she's letting out a cry as she closes in to just drive her ID disc right through the thing.

"Game over."

She pulls by making sure to give the thing the full force of her disc's powered edge, when she does an attack she certainly puts her heart soul into it.
Artemis Eurus Warden's interaction with Avira hasn't gone unnoticed to the samurai. Very curious. Is he in love with the girl or something?

Artemis leaps from atop the thing, surrounded by what amounts to gore in this place, guarding against its final thrashing with the darkness she channels, soaking up some of the damage from its last attack.

The masked woman stand back, watching the beast now as others finish it off. That was interesting, to be sure. The hunting is this place was as weird as everything else, but she's pleased to see swords still do their job.

Artemis sheaths her blade and watches Aeschere wield the darkness curiously as she walks back toward Warden, and perhaps Avira if she's still nearby. She has a few hi-potions, though she doesn't know if they work the same in the place. She offers them anyway, to Warden, Avira, and Aeschere. "Not quite the drink we came for, but I think it will satisfy," she comments.
Gilgamesh U-Unskippable tutorials? During a cutscene attack? Oh nooooooo-

The King Of Sprites is flung away from the center of the attack, spiralling off into the sky. There's a gleam of green light.

The computer literally explodes from the inside. The manager peeks his head in the door and frowns. Oh well. That computer was old anyway. Needed to be replaced.


"Hey, Enkidu!" Gilgamesh booms, "I feel like I've gotten another weapon in the vault! Maybe I've..."

Enkidu looks up.

"Maybe I've.......?"

Enkidu raises an eyebrow. Who knew dogs had eyebrows.

"Maybe I've..............................."

And then the dialogue box was cut.

It's okay. It wasn't anything important.
Avira Avira, almongst the debris, twitches. Warden might not be able to see her face but it's pulling into a scowl as he talks to her while he runs past. "It's not like that...!" she tiredly warbles, coming out of a mild concussion to more or less find the worm right /there/.

A growl of annoyance escapes her and she pushes herself up to her feet, dragging the slightly-glowing Spine from the ground she had been lying on. With a hot-blooded yell, she charges forward.

Without warning, there is a strange burst of silvery light behind her. With a leap, she launches herself after Warden, though her strike is considerably lower. With a mighty smash, she tries to impale the spine deep into the area beneath the Heartless's mouth.

Leveraging gravity and her own body weight, she tries to drag the weapon downwards to tear the heartless virus open and wrench her serrated weapon free at the same time.
Zero-One Darkness battles Darkness as Aeschere draws upon her power in order to strike at the HEartless with the terrible power of the Black Wave. There is an impact, and then another, and then another as it rears backwards, exposing its vulnerable underbelly that Deelel takes full advantage of. The Disc, weapon of the Grid, is launched forward, punching into and through the Power-Eater, screaming straight through the Grid HEartless and leaving a voxel-hole through it. Avira follows up as well, driving the Spine into the creature and leaving a long slash into the creature, beginning to cleave it open from stem to stern.

It's too much for the Heartless to take. It finally dissolves, turning into a fountain of dissolving, evil-looking voxels that quickly derez into puffs of Darkness.

The Power station goes quiet, and peaceful, the entire area humming once more... And then there is anothr flicker. Even with the destruction of the HEartless, something is still... drawing power?

But now the terminals activate, allowing those with the knowledge to try to get essential information.
Warden Thache The pirate flips off the things head, snagged by the lightning on the way down the man either doesn't notice or doesn't care to show just how much that hurts as it burns though his voxels.

He lands on the ground near the pit that the thing crawled out of, raising his blades to rest them on his shoulders. "Well I /could/ be following you," He calls tauntingly towards Avira as he watches her nearly rip the thing in two. "But I'm not. I just thought it would be fun to see what was causing the problems on the Grid is all. Fun and profitable."

He smirks just slightly at that, glancing at the dissipating Heartless with a considering look. "I'd say it was that."

Fun or profitable. One of the two.

Though just why he's intrested in the Grid might worry her, if she cares to think on it.

"Now I'm more intrested on if there are any more of those fine rifles lying around. Because /that/ looked like a pretty piece of musketwork." He adds as he glances around the ruined station before the power drain catches his eyes.

"Huh. /That/ didn't fix it? I always thought killing the big monster fixed it." He shrugs. I mean thats how it is in all the stories.

He pulls something out of his coat however, walking over to hand one bottle towards Chere. A second towards Artemis. A third? Well thats tossed to Avira. She needs to keep her health up.

"Don't worry. Just potions. Nothing more enjoyable." A pause. "I /did/ bring some of that too if anyone wants some."
Avira Once she's wrenched her weapon free, Avira backs away and remains in a defensive position. She doesn't relax until it has dissolved into Heartless Puffs. Even after that, she remains on her guard. Fortunately, her low-level regen spell seems to have taken care of the wounds she received from taking the blast dead-on. Useful since something as simple as bleeding was a big deal here.

Looking around, she pauses when the lights flicker. "Fun and profitable, huh. Well that's a relief. If you were following me, I'd have to do something about it." Still, what's /this/ guy want with the Grid?

Avira moseys on over to one of those terminals and starts to fiddle around with it. Maybe there was something left behind, but after a few seconds she realizes she has no idea what she's looking for and calls Deelel and Mara over.

Awkwardly, Avira catches the thrown potion, but not after flailing and juggling it between her hands for a few seconds.
Aeschere Childs Aeschere takes the bottles gingerly, taking care to avoid her benefactors' fingers, for some reason. She's going to develop an addiction to these things, at this rate, but that probably won't do her much harm.

"Oh, definitely we fixed this place," she says, after downing one. Aagh, does he have to make everything out of rum? "Don't look to me for how to fix it, I don't know even how my clothes work here." She brushes stray voxels from her shoulder, the last remnants of her makeshift armor.

"Now. Avir-- hey." She almost whines it, as her quarry wanders off to poke at a screen instead of getting confronted. It's not /fair/. She stomps off toward Warden instead.
Deelel Deelel seems to have been getting the heck beat out of her on her home turf but this time her self repair functions kick in and she's healing a bit, she'll need some more care but she's not as bad off as she was last time. She looks about the station for a moment as she puts her Disc on her back, locking in n place.

"Good everyone call in, we didn't get anyone cubed did we?"

She's looking about for a moment and notices with the power's still being drained and she flags over Mara who pops out of hiding, and she's looking a bit stunned, at the level of power everyone here threw out. She may have some questions for certain people later. For now she's getting up to the controls and looking it over trying to figure out where the power drain is going. Her eyes dart over the data. Mara finds where the energy is going. The virus was just a guard from the looks of things, so far as she can tell, she mnaipaklte the diplay checking data then sets down her own disc to copy the information she's found here for safe keeping and she calls over.

"The power's just being relayed from here to another location."

Deelel is meanwhile just recovering.

"Heartless, this means only one things."

Deelel grimaces for a moment as she looks to Warden and company.

"I'd not stay long unless you want to be up to your necks in Blackguard and Sentries."
Warden Thache "Well we can have those drinks later, Artemis. They will keep. Giant bug monsters though? Oh that doesn't stay there forever!" Warden seems to be in excelent spirits for one who just nearly got murdered by a Heartless.

"Personally I don't have any idea how it works either, but I'll leave that to the experts. How to /use/ it however..." He glances around. "...powers of Neptune. I love new worlds." So much fun to plunder! Once you figure out how at least.

That'll come later.

And yes. He does make nigh everything out of rum. Its medicinal!!

There is a touch of amusement as Chere attempts to accost Avira once again before he shakes his head. "They are right. I'm sure whatever passes for the Royal Navy here will be down soon. Unless they simply decide that a cannonade is a better solution."

Leaving might be good.

First however...

His grin is pure /feline/ as he winks once towards Chere and Artemis. His footsteps carry him over towards Deelel and Avira. Once near silent step takes him up behind the distracted Spine-wielder before he slides an arm around her waist from behind and leans forwards to rest his chin on her shoulder.

Personal space? Whats that?

"So," He drawls slowly on the heels of Deelel's statement about 'Heartless, this means only one thing.' "...just what does that mean?"

Oh he might get punches/stabbed/elbowed for this. The look on her face might be worth it though.
Artemis Eurus Artemis quirks a brow beneath her mask as Warden invokes Neptune. Interesting.

"Aye, I suppose we should be going. That was quite interesting however," she remarks with a small shrug, hand coming to rest at her hip.

Warden winks then wanders toward Avira, getting up close and personal. "Tch..." Artemis doesn't look particularly amused by his trollish behavior toward Avira. "It was good to see you again, Avira. Perhaps someday we will hunt together," she says, probably before the woman breaks Warden's nose.
Avira Only now does the face-obscuring helmet she had on slide backwards to expose Avira's face-well, mostly so she can drink that potion. She steps aside too so Mara can look into the power plant controls a bit more closely.

Avira hears Aeschere say her name and looks up. "...what? Oh, you...look, now is a bad time, especially after that fight. We're going to get interrupted." And Deelel wouldn't stand for her being arrested or whatever.

She turns back to lean over the consol. "Where's the power being routed to?"

Warden slides up behind her and leans. She gets the distinct impression of a cat simply plopping himself down wherever he wanted. There is a beat of annoyance before she suddenly slams a low elbow back behind her, right for his gut. "You knock that off right now!"

She turns into him and shoves him away with both hands afterwards.

"Maybe we will...Artemis." she remembers. "It has been a while."
Artemis Eurus "It has indeed. Take care," she says, then gives Warden a look. Even witha mask she seem to convey her meaning of 'are you coming or what?'.
Warden Thache OOPH!

The air wooshes out of Warden's lungs as Avira catches him with that elbow. Oh he knew it was coming, but apparently by choice or by happenstance, he didn't quite get away in time. He's rubbing his side as he is shoved, stumbling but slightly under that helpful strength before catching himself. He rubs his side absent mindedly while his eyes dance with amusement.

She's just /adorable/.

"I didn't know you two knew each other." He adds idily with that half-smile still on his face before he waves a hand. "Yes yes, I'm coming. I'm coming." he adds lightly as he turns to wave over his shoulder in Avira's direction. "See you soon, Lady Wolf. Lady Brightstaff!"

Like they were friends or something.

Parish the thought.
Aeschere Childs Aeschere will allow as how this is not a great time for either of them to be starting crap; there's plenty of crap to go around already. She gives Avira a somewhat confused nod, and returns her attention to the captain as Avira takes the wind out of his sails. Heh.

However, he's still her ticket out of here, and she very much wants to get out of here. "Take care of yourself. I still have to collect." Who even honestly knows what the state of that particular contract is, though. Is the Queen even offering it, still?

Whatever, she can worry about that later. "Warden. Out. Please?"
Deelel Deelel says "Shadow Lords in all likely hood. You'd be wise to avoid them, there's no profit in dealing with them. You'll just likely get eaten by one of those things dead, or worse."

Deelel is just looking strained then again she's been pretty beat up from the fight with the heartless. She's kinda binary in her understanding of the world, Heartless are user space virus and those who deal with them are basically that world's version of Lexus. It's how she's able to understand something so far beyond her world.

"Thanks for the help."

Mara looks over to Avira as she asked another question.

"A location just outside the limits of Purgos. I have the data here. We need to go, Pavel's men won't miss something like this. It will be enough to bring them into this part of the city."
Avira Avira makes an annoyed growling noise at Warden until he backs off and slinks away. Her face seems to be red with embarassment from the encounter.

"Is it really necessary?" Avira asks as Chere walks away to join...Warden? So they're more formally working together? That's certainly not good.

"...interesting. Yes, let's split and let the 'proper authorities' handle it. I don't want to run into Blackguards."
Artemis Eurus Artemis nods to Deelel, waving farewel. She even manages to keep a straight face.

The mask really helps.
Warden Thache "Of course of course, out now sounds like a fine thing. Don't worry Lady Lancer, you'll collect one day!" With that and a last amused look at the growling Lady Wolf the pirate turns and starts back the way they came.

Still entirely unafraid of looking different.

He's a horrible person like that.

...or perhaps he's just distracted by just how /nice/ a pirate flag would look on one of the gridships.

...just a thought. Just a thought.

This scene contained 51 poses. The players who were present were: Gilgamesh, Avira, Deelel, Artemis Eurus, Aeschere Childs, Zero-One, Warden Thache