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No title.
(2013-02-04 - 2013-02-06)
No description.
Something we horribly wrong, that is all CHIEF could remember in the black void of his own mind. It was like one moment everything was fine, then something just snapped. The helmet stopped working, it was like whatever data it was trying to send him his own systems ignored. In the cross communication he could feel his own code rebooting sections, rapid firing code lines.

Then it went all black. He could feel something, hear something.. but see? See was something he couldn't remember beyond bits and pieces. Yet it didn't make any sense. Just warnings-- so many warnings.

Then it all become cold. Cold and dark. His systems completely froze, they froze and ceased function. He wasn't even sure how long he had been like this. Frozen, black, how long has it been? Perhaps this is what death is like for a program?

There was a voice though, a very, very faint voice. CHIEF then slowly tried to open his eyes. They flickered with data streams of gold. The voice was still so faint. The lights above in the room seemed so bright. Data flickered in his vision, fields of code streamed by along with static. Data lines moved to and fro and his vision attempted to correct itself. A few errors here and there popped up as the targeting HUD tried to reestablish, before a flicker of more errors came up. He could feel the darkness trying to claim his vision again. He could almost make out someone looking over him, but who.. who he wasn't sure.

It just went black again and his systems went back into shut-down yet again.

CHIEF once more found himself in this same position, but the room was very dim, only the glow of the red lines lit the room around him. His senses of feel told him he was laying on something soft, where before it was cold. His hand slowly slide up over his face as his tried to open at least one eye. The data was still trying to correct itself, but there was no errors now. He took a deep inhale of air, before closing the eye once more. His hand coming to flop along side him. His energy lines weak in color as he laid there on the bed. His body felt heavy. Just-- what did happen?
CHIEF The muffled sound of impact and the tones suggesting anger without enough audibility for the words to be distuinguished. Argument. A tense silence and then another muffled sound of impact followed by more silence. These sounds from.. vaguely above? Pacing footsteps in the space outside.

Not the same place he had been assigned before. No windows. The black room is sparce and dim even by grid standards. Everything is precisely arranged to be symmetrical almost to the nanometer. HEIMDALL stands at a wall console, fingers swiping panels while his other hand manipulates a control surface set across a wide black counter that neatly adjoins one corner of the room. The dancing light map shivers and rotates, a thread of silver bouncing from point to point with speed that must be manually slowed to follow.

The program gives a clipped nod as the silver thread loops around to the 'beginning' of the pattern, bypassing darkened regions that have been colored the darker hues of tainted honey. AESIP leans against the door to this sparcer cluster of servers and simulation equipment, arms crossed as he stares down at CHIEF with an unreadable abstraction that lightens into a genuinely amused smile. 'Flyboy.' falls into the silence of recogition as CHIEF slowly reboots himself and the military program glances to HEIMDALL who continues to ignore both of them. He shunts all of this accumulated data to the side, passing across a red line to disappear to another terminal somewhere else.

"Go get her before she wears a hole through my patience. Then go bother someone else." is his only words to AESIP, who raises an eyebrow and smirks at the logistics program for a long time of silence. "This is what you get when you allow bean counters to make policy." he says to CHIEF, sotto voce. "ECHO will bring you up to speed. Short version: You went FBN (AESIP's gentile moniker for Fragging Bug Nutty, a more-- colorful variation of Rogue Process Online) suddenly and violently and all over the place. You were stopped. CHALK took some damage. LANCER and Master Control are in.. conference."

AESIP snorts at that and steps out of the room. "Looks like he's online again now." ECHO steps into the server room and HEIMDALL ignores her and CHIEF entirely, running another silver thread that he traces and traces, lines on his neck flaring softly as he considers the information on the screen. "Hey." ECHO murmurs softly, coming to sit down not too far away.
CHIEF glanced around the room. Those gold eyes trying to examine what he could. He has never AESIP only a few times, and mild, very mild smirk played over his lips, as he eyes just examined back up at the ceiling.

Slowly CHIEF does glance over at HEIMDALL's work. There was a curious furrow of his brows, but as he tried to look closer his vision blurred for a moment. Yeah, zooming in on something not a wise idea right now. He just went back to laying his head down. Staying silent, but he did give AESIP a thumbs up as he explained stuff, at last speaking up as his hand slumped back down. "..always with a bang.." His voice sounded a little horse, even to himself.

He must have-- really fragged something up.

When ECHO enters the room. He looks over to her, his gold eyes stare at her for a moment before he just looks back up. He slowly moves to rest his hands over his stomach area, clasping them together. His thumbs gently tapped together a few times in thought as he simply replied back to her. Thinking. Thinking...

"Hey... went over the top I guess.. huh?"All this was starting to slowly prove his own theory right. No program could 'fix' him. He told a medic that. No program could fix him. Only a user... and even then, why should he trust a user. Yet, yet.. just maybe.. but..

His thumbs stopped tapping as he closed his eyes. "... I am sorry about your friends."
CHIEF ECHO looks haggard and intensely irate. A muscle in her cheek jumps, lines under her eyes flaring as she grits her teeth together against whatever thought process came and so quickly was filed away. The concern is there, but it does little more than stoke the coals of her bottled fury.

ECHO looks down at the ground then up at the ceiling, sliding back where she sits in a kneeling position so that one hand propped her up as she just glared bitterly at the ceiling, then over at HEIMDALL for awhile, glaring a hole into the back of the program as they worked. "Probability analysis after the proper decision gate is a waste of resources, ECHO. If you have finished reassuring yourself that CHIEF has not egressed for our own good, please relocate elsewhere. Take our guest with you. My simulations are complete at this juncture." is his calm, even handed response to her glare.

ECHO looks like she wants to throw something at him but finally decides to just ball her fists up in her lap in silent and hopeless frustration. "Come on. They'll be fine. We knew what we were taking on here and LANCER beating himself up just keeps his ego from hogging all available memory." She extends a hand to CHIEF as she slowly uncurls like a poisonous flower to offer to help him up.
CHIEF stares at her hand for a moment. His eyes don't show really any emotion, his face is actually rather neutral, before slowly his brows crease with some hint of disdain. Though to who or to what is not known.

Though the military program takes ECHO's hand and allows her to aid him up. He grimaces a bit as he stands, feeling his body ache from every joint located. Honestly, if he was to compare it with something. It would feel like he been hit by a tank himself.

He does glance over at whatever HEIM was working on, before he looks over to ECHO. Letting her lead the way on out and where-ever they were going to go. "So just.." He paused unsure of how to phrase what he was thinking. There was a ton of stuff he was thinking, so his mind try to figure out just what would be the best question to /ask/. "..Just what damage did I do?" He furrows his brows. "Beyond the fact the big sprite decided to let me know I went off on a rampage."

"I-- honestly don't remember anything." He brows furrow with a hint of anger in his eyes. "It has never been /that/ bad before. Typically I know what I do, even if I can't stop it. I am aware." He then raises an eye brow glancing at her. "..and what is this about you pacing and me not egressed?" He then looks ahead, before muttering with a seething sound in his voice. "I guess I am beyond repair." With those words leaving his lips his hands tighten up into tight fists. Anger was apparently, but it was controlled anger at least.
CHIEF When the blow comes, it is a surprise even to the owner. ECHO has her mouth open slightly, already half way through the first sentence of an explanation. One hand very lightly on his shoulder as she guides him out into the cellar corridors underneath the complex. "Well. Boss showed me the file and from what I caannn-- YOU STUPID FRAGGER." Two knuckles slightly extended she slams a punch into CHIEF's abdomen, following it up with a sweeping foot as she pushes him with arm and elbow into a wall hard enough to be heard as a resonating 'boom' up and down the corridors.

"You half-rezzed, below baseline assemblage of code without the sense or the user-cursed patience of a bit, how can you even RUN such a routine? We're here, in the place where nightmares and urban legends mesh into some strange reality that makes them all trivial and mundane and you have the absolute fragmented GALL to draw a long face. Do you think Master Control would ALLOW such a waste of resources if you couldn't be helped? HERE. Have the fragging file. I hope you choke on your self-righteousness, you chain smoking bastard. YOU have all the answers, right?! Boss isn't even from your OS and he still ran circles around you. If you wanna go off because it's easier to protect people by being in the middle of user damned nowhere and go off like a databomb, FINE. You do that. Tell me how that works out for you. I have WORK to do."

ECHO thumps CHIEF hard, hand crossing from shoulder across chest to arm as she blows past him. There was a video file left in the receiving hopper that detailed all the available security footage-- which is apparantly extensive.. because what plays on the video file-- is caught from multiple angles all the way up to the metal on metal impact of a helmeted figure, most likely AESIP from build and posture, slamming a headbutt into CHIEF that sends him sprawling.
CHIEF didn't even have time to register anything that was happening honestly. It was a bam, slam, thank you ma'am. The sheer force causes him to cringe his teeth and when she hands him the pad, then slams by him. His corner vision caught the footage, but his eyes were honestly trailing here.

He grimaced again at the pain, followed with a cough. Then there was a frustrated growl, before he just tossed the visual info to the side about the time it ended, chasing quickly after her. His foot steps probably echoing down the hall as he started to pick up his pace. Those energy lines flickering as he pushed his systems to give him the strength he needed in a time it wasn't ready to give.

5t"ECHO!" He called out to her, before trying to stop her, to take her arm and stop her. "Look, you were right! I am sorry!" If the blow came to slam into him again, he would try to deflect it, if she tried to walk away; yeah; he was going to follow. This wasn't going to /end/ like this. Not like this. Not.. like.. this..

"I'm.. just tired and running..." He grits his teeth before hanging his head slightly. "..and running scared.. I have a reason to maybe live.. and I don't want to see that shattered. Not again. I know.. I honestly know everyone is doing what they can and I know this isn't easy on /anyone/. Your right, you are completely right. I shouldn't have processed that line, but I did.. I did because.." He already said why, he knows this and he at last steps back, away from her.

Those gold eyes stare at her. Though they were dim, lost. Lost in what to say in such a fragile moment. Lost because he screwed up and maybe ruined something. "I know I have done wrong by you, but don't.." He places out his hands by his side, palms exposed, before he raises up his shoulders and just slumps. "...don't..." He then just lowers his head, those gold eyes staring at nothing. "..don't leave, because.. that is when.." That is when what? It all happened? He grits his teeth before he suddenly barks out, with his eyes glowing bright gold. "I need you!"

Those green lines suddenly flicker rapidly before he crashes down to his knees, lowering his head. He expended to much energy trying to keep it together. To chase after her. To stand before her like this. He just closes his eyes. His mouth opens to speak, but no words can seem to form right. What else could he possibly say, and his mouth gently closes. He wanted to say sorry again, but he already did. He wanted to say something positive, like I wont do it again! But that would be a lie, he could always stumble down this same road. Was he always like this? So frail? No. No he wasn't. He use to be always positive, just now-- now it was so hard. MCP was doing this on his own free will, she was right and he was foolish to think other wise. How far has he fallen? ".. What can I do to make it up too you, ECHO. Tell me and if its in my function, I will do it.. and when we get this resolved. I will give every ounce of my function to fulfilling that wish."
CHIEF is twice deflected and the look that ECHO has on her face is the flat, business like expression of a soldier sizing up the potential threat of a stranger. She turns him away and leaves him behind, striding several paces down the corridor when he calls out behind her and crashes onto his knees.

ECHO takes two more steps, arms loosely gathered with the fingers of one hand clasping her upper arm which hangs at her side as she slowly turns. The lines of her silohuette and her face flare brilliantly, eyes sparking with electric intensity as she stares straight into his face. She listens to him talk. She waits for the humming electronic silence of the cellars to fall over them both like a shroud, boots chuffing smartly against the bare concrete as she approaches again. One step and then another, holding herself carefully-- so carefully. Shoulders back, chin up, perfectly in line with only her eyes pinning CHIEF to the floor with an expression in them like an oncoming system crash.

She slows. One more boot in front of the other before she stands in front of him, fingers sliding down her arm and letting go so that she just stares down at him. The scene holds like that, a hand slowly raising as if it were swimming through thick syrup to slide fingers over his shoulder. File transfer request.
A joyous smile. ECHO at the controls. Other programs are cheering around them. They had performed excellently. The test flight was over. Just one more pass and then back to base. One more pass.. and the waiting would at last be over. They would be greenlit. It would all go forwards. ECHO turns around, groaning and laughing at the same time. She whacks the military program of the file on the shoulder, snatching the cigar from his mouth and holding it a little out of reach, jinking to one side and then the other. Keeping it away.

An explosion.

ECHO's fingers slide very slowly toward the connection between neck and shoulder, files tripping every centimeter. Many of them are incomplete. Video without audio. Sound without context. Flawed data but preserved. So very carefully marked and indexed.



The virus. Screaming without sound. The presence, the oozing yellow an inch and a half away from her nose, cruel and malevolent eyes going glassy with delight, then with pain, then with terror. ECHO had closed her eyes-- and tried to will him to be here. To come back. To say the words she needed so badly to hear.


Red lines. A vast network over which recognizers regularly patrolled. A world of order and purpose. A world of precise function in which she struggled to belong. Struggled to make good on her second chance. The virus had damaged her. She couldn't concentrate. If she couldn't focus, she couldn't do her job. If she couldn't do her job, then she didn't have a function. If she didn't have a function-- she might as well go back in the box...or to the games.

He was not there.

Subroutines nested within subroutines.
He was not there when the recognizer crashed and cost many programs their lives.
He was not there as she lingered, helpless, while SARK demanded her sentenced to the games.
He was not there when The Crash took everything away.

ECHO reaches around to the back of CHIEF's neck, fingers digging into the back of his hairline. Her expression is still that calm mask, lines flaring, eyes sparking with intensity. She had lost her function.. but she could still fight for a purpose. He was not there when the users went silent. In the panicked riots that followed, where she stood shoulder to shoulder with those who had manipulated and twisted dictates and shattered so many lives in the name of a free system. When the heartless nearly stole their world out from under them.

Subroutines nested within subroutines.
She could not fly anymore, but she could focus enough to fight. Memories flicker, far too many cycles flicker and wither and are spent. She never forgot him. Never that.. but she put him away. So carefully, because he was the only memories she kept of the time before and even they have shown the wear and tear of fragmentation. She made a life for herself because no user had deigned her good enough to the one they gave her. LANCER was the first, and the oldest, although it would take a long time to know that. To know more about this small group, this small project sequestered away as an elite. As those who hunt anomalies in which the worlds beyond their own were the greatest of all anomalous data.

And then they had to go back into the box, and he was not there when AESIP held her as she weeped. It was neccessary. Master Control explained to them the instability of the system. The possibility that they would be needed, and system resources hidden beyond this grid could not be tapped by anyone but himself. He would need them. He would need them, and they had prepared. They had been trained for this. To act independantly should there be systemic system corruption or another crash.
And with the heartless.. there was the very looming threat of both.

"I hadn't thought about you in gigacycles." ECHO whispers softly. "But there you were, as I was powered down.. there you were. Your ugly, frakking mug haunting my stasis cycles." And there is a rush of emotion, as much a powerful fear for him as a tinge of fear of a different kind filling her eyes as she locks a hand under his arm, pulling him up one handed onto his feet, other hand drawing his head down as she kissed him-- all joy, bitterness, hope and despair, fear and fierce resolve coming out as the past and present collided-- with static dominating an unknown future.
CHIEF sat there. He kept his head down now, his eyes closed. He could hear her moving closer. Step by step. Yet no words were being spoken. None at all. He was waiting for a slap perhaps. Maybe even bitter words. Instead what comes, causes him to open his eyes slight and stare at her with minor confusion.

Her touch on his shoulder, causing him to stare in some minor confusion, yet.. when the request was sent. He did not deny her. If that was what she wanted to do, then he would not deny her this. The visual data was coming in, the words, the explosion. It caused his jawline to tense for a moment. A twinge perhaps of his own memory of that very moment.

Something that went horribly wrong. Something-- she got blamed for.. wasn't it? Always blame the programs, never the user-error.

As her hand trailed upward along his neck, his power lines almost shimmered slightly with the touch. His gold eyes flickering softly as his mind was trying to make sense of the information. The information she was showing him. The hard-aches, the pain, the troubles. All the things he had missed. All the things he wish he could now have been there for.

The image of the virus, causes him to almost sneer as he lowers his head.


Was the only name that came to mind; The only Virus he even dealt with so far, and yet she here watched as they consumed. He heard her say it, but to now see it. To see /all/ of this. He goes to speak, yet his words are held still. Those fingers moving into his hair line, looking into her eyes. He wanted to say he was 'Sorry'. He was 'Sorry' for not being there. He was always there until then. Until they took him away.

"..echo.." He said very softly at last. However whatever was going to be further said did not need to be said. He was realizing this. He was realizing this in a very small fracture of a moment. The emotions, the feelings. He had been weak, when he was once strong. He had fallen, yet he could rise again. They were like Phoenixes. They would always rise.

As she lifts him up, he does not fight, but follows. Strength renewed enough to stand. Strength found in the moment. Her lips touched his and he closes his eyes, and draws her in closer. His lines flickering softly as he keeps her close. His thoughts simply. His thoughts short.

His thoughts hers: 'I wont leave you. I promise. I wont ever leave you again.'

He held her there for a moment, before he broke his lips away from heres, reaching up to brush her hair away. Those gold eyes staring into hers, before he went to rest his forehead against her forehead. He smiled warmly. "..Thank you." He said gently, perhaps gentler then he has ever spoken any words. "..and I will keep my promise. Glitch-be-glitched. I /will/ keep it." He then moves his head away before inhaling deeply.

CHIEF then grimaces a little as he then closes one eye and stares at her. "Just next time you want to make a point, don't be so rough." He gives her then a playful smile. "You could have broken something there. Beyond my ego, but I think you broke that some time ago." There was a playful chuckle. Yet if the connection was up between them, she may have sensed it. Sensed that loop starting to circle. The dangerous loop that has haunted him since they did what they did. It was starting to turn, click into place. Codes starting to fire off slowly. One by one. Connection points made. Orders being requested; yet he was trying to deny those requests. Over and over again.

He closed his eyes and then shook his head. "I dropped the pad back there somewhere." He jabs his thumb back behind him. "..and I should go head up back to my room. Maybe you can give me a proper briefing, hm? As in.. lets try that again?" The loop continued, yet still more denying. Slowly though, she may find herself being closed out now. A move to protect her perhaps. A move to keep her from harm when it starts to snap.

He then opens his eyes once more, before moving to rest his hand on her shoulder. His finger tips starting to slide off from her shoulder. His breath for a moment ragged. His right eye flickering as he looks away form her. Then he starts to walk away, limping at best. But heading back for the quarters they gave him.

This scene contained 9 poses. The players who were present were: CHIEF.