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Messages - Riven

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Beacon Academy / Re: The Beacon Holiday Formal and Party (Open to all)
« on: December 16, 2017, 12:08:12 PM »
Budonoki mentally kicked himself when he heard Merletta refer to Samantha as 'my wife' -- it seemed that his assumption that the two had mertely been teammates and close friends far missed the mark, and he hoped he hadn't come off as insensitive in his ignorance. Accepting the offered flask with a nod, he attempted to save face. "I'm sure you meant well by it -- I shall have to have a few words with him myself. And... if there is anything I can do, Merletta, please don't hesitate to ask. Whatever the situation, I cannot help but feel that nothing good can come from tinkering with life and death so."

Lillia's laugh had certainly been a surprise; Rory's cheeks had flushed in embarrassment, but at the same time he felt the edges of his lips start to turn upwards. It was her laugh -- it wasn't judgmental or mocking, it just was... and it was infectious, too. What started with an embarrassed chuckle quickly turned into the young shield fighter laughing along with her without even rightly knowing why he was laughing. And for that simple and silly moment, all his discomfort and angst suddenly seemed so far away.

Maybe this would be a good holiday after all.

Alec waved Calen off. "Ah, I'm a washed-up old has-been. Had my day; the world is better off in the hands of the pros and people like you kids, honestly. Best advice I can give you? Live while you've got it. Don't let any old fart like me look down on you because of your youth, and take time to really enjoy the opportunities that life presents. The world has too many cares and worries, and things like that attract Grimm -- people need to remember to laugh, love, and be a little crazy now and again. But as far as hunting Grimm is concerned?" He leaned in a little closer, as if getting ready to share a secret. "If you're ever out there on your own and you find a coil of molted snake skin the size of a Bullhead... RUN." He took a sip of his mulled wine. "King Taijitu can get a lot bigger than people realize."

It was right about then that Luna had her incident with the punch bowl. Rory and Chadwick found themselves looking over as the musician, soaked with fruit juice, left for the solace of an empty table. "Ah, one sec Calen. Be right back." Pulling a clean towel from an underslung supplies drawer in the baked goods carts, the jovial baker brought it and a blackberry danish over to Luna and offered them to her with a soft smile. "Rough start to the night? Been there, trust me. Alec Chadwick, former huntsman and proprietor of 'Fabled Goods' bakery. You looked like you could use these."

Beacon Academy / Re: Physician, Teach Thyself (OPEN to FIRST YEARS)
« on: December 16, 2017, 11:33:19 AM »
(OOC: Sorry about the long-delayed response -- it's been a hectic week.)

This one seemed to be stumping more of the students, it seemed. Budonoki understood; without obvious physical signs the condition became something of a riddle. He gave a nod when Sandy and Helena raised their hand to answer. "Yes, mister Smoke and then miss Chlophyll. Your thoughts?"

Cordell glanced away, eyes scanning a side-screen showing data on the CRG 212. "Should be able't, yeah. And I greatly appreciate th' escort. See you in a few."

Ending the transmission, Cordell plotted an approach trajectory that would put her ship down close to the hatch then set to work continuing to stabilize her ship's wounded systems. Trailing smoke from some of its wounds, the Red Corsair swung around to fly mostly parallel with the large cargo ship while gradually moving into place. As the pirate ship touched down the magnetic clamps secured it to the outer hull; a few minutes later the main walkway slid down and Cordell, looking only slightly worse for wear, escorted the first set of crates down the ramp on a loading trolley.

This had been a near thing, and the damage to her ship clearly showed as much. Del and the Gears would do what they could but she could already guess that several systems would need an overhaul before the Red Corsair would be back at its best. When she spotted the CRG's crew she gave a short wave, gesturing to the crates. "Feel free t' have a look -- everything's on th' up-an'-up. Least I can do fer you folks after all that."

The Vale Region / Re: Songs of Peril [Closed]
« on: December 15, 2017, 05:46:49 AM »
"I'd pay good Lien to see that, honestly." Rory, careful to mind his volume, responded. At the same time he had an ear to what Carafe was blathering on about -- from the fat man's perspective, giving Navo what they were asking in trade was a bridge too far even though, by his own admission, the safety of his people relied entirely on heavy turreted guns that his farmers could neither supply nor maintain. His stubbornness bordered on the suicidal, yet he just kept stuffing himself. "...But you know we can't." He was sure someone like Camelia would understand the reasoning. Satisfying as it would be to violently knock two-chins down a few pegs, the scene would almost certainly start a fight between them and the village's guards -- a fight that would cause people to panic, a panic that would attract Grimm.

... Grimm that would easily get over the wall, now that Gaud had disabled their machine gun.

Glancing back towards the gun emplacement, Rory was keenly aware that they needed to be tactful here... regardless of how vile their host might be. "I've got an idea on how to handle this guy; with any luck, we won't have to be around him for long." Walking over to Carafe -- far closer than was actually comfortable -- and putting on his best poker face, Rory addressed the glutton with all the restraint and calm he could manage.

"Unfortunately, sir, your gunners opened fire on us as we approached the gate. We had to disable the weapon just to make it inside alive." He kept his voice down, knowing how words would catch and spread after Carafe's rant. He also made sure not to mention it was Gaud's doing -- she was their connection to the villages and, at the moment, their best asset here. "Unless you have the means to repair it, your village is currently in exactly the predicament you just described. Even if you have the means to fix the gun, it sounds like your defense resources won't last forever... and I suspect the last thing you'd want is for your people to become fearful under such circumstances."

"Since the gun is so vital, and since it was damaged on our account, we should be the ones to remedy the situation. Your people need the protection of more assets from Navo anyway, so let us go to them and see if we can secure aid. As students from Beacon we can serve as impartial intermediaries, negotiate a deal -- perhaps even arrange for the school and the kingdom to chip in towards new arrangements between the villages."

"This stalemate is dangerous, as you clearly see. Let us go to Navo under your authority, see if we can end the impasse... before it becomes fatal."

(OOC: Rolling for Diplomacy check!)

Everywhere Else / Re: The Things We Do For Love [VCVS]
« on: December 13, 2017, 10:34:25 AM »
Juno's response was harsh, but admittedly he was right. The WF had a gun to Caja's head and any rescue attempt would be flying dark, without support, at great risk. "You don't have to apologize. This is a nightmare scenario... but we'll figure it out. We have to try. I barely know Caja, but the way you've talked about her I doubt she'd want us to let you both end up in front of a White Fang firing squad."

If the Fang didn't know that Juno's armor was broken, that was something they might be able to work with. Rory stood and thought on Juno's words for a moment, realizing that there might be something they could work with in that. Somehow, he guessed Juno was thinking along similar lines. It was one hell of a bluff, but it might get them one step closer to freeing Caja or at least learning where she was being held.

"... As long as we don't know where Caja is, we're at a severe disadvantage. Changing that needs to be our top priority. I have an idea that might help, but I need to do some research to know whether it will work." He put a hand reassuringly on Juno's shoulder. "However you decide to handle this, I'm with you Juno. We all are."

The Vale Region / Legends of the Hidden Temple [SLVA ~ CLOSED]
« on: December 12, 2017, 04:27:08 PM »

The Emerald Forest has always been a site of archaeological interest, featuring many ancient ruins scattered about its verdant expanses and the promise of greater finds below the surface. One such site has recently been revealed: a long-forgotten temple. The research team at the site was making remarkable progress in understanding the pre-Kingdoms culture which once thrived in the region when they happened upon what they described as a 'treasure room' of relics and valuable artifacts. Two days later all contact with the team was lost, and efforts to find out why have been hampered by increased Grimm activity in the area. That was a week ago, and Beacon has decided to step in. Your team, supported by Doctor Budonoki, has been tasked with investigating the site and recovering the research team if possible. Don't worry about clearing the area of Grimm -- simply get to survivors and extract them, as prolonged activity is certain to draw in more Grimm.

 - Learn what befell the research team
 - Evacuate any survivors
  Optional bonus objectives may occur during the course of this mission

In the research team's notes the area was simply known as 'site 173', which said a lot about both the sheer volume of archaeological efforts in the Emerald Forest and how little the expedition had been expecting a find of the scale and interest that they'd actually unearthed. From the air it certainly looked no different from any other verdant stretch of trees and undergrowth -- it was only as the Bullhead carrying Team SLVA came in low to drop them off that it at all became clear they were in the right place. The base camp was little more than the remains of shredded tents and trampled supply crates with gouges and small craters suggesting the fervor of the fighting that had left it ravaged. Strangely, and hopefully, the only bodies to be seen were those of robots -- the archaeologists had elected for rent-a-droid security instead of hiring along a Huntsman or Huntress to protect them. Needless to say, they would not be getting the deposit back.

Stepping off the Bullhead, Budonoki surveyed the area with a critical eye. "No dead among the wreckage -- promising, that. We may find the research team alive and well after all." He turned to the group of students. "Keep your wits about you. Something in this area has been agitating the Grimm, and they are indeed prowling about. We cannot afford to be careless. The dig site is just north of here, and the most likely place that any survivors would go to seek shelter."

"Now, then..." The sagely old Faunus looked to his four charges, hands laced atop his gnarled wooden staff. "I'm not here to lead unless absolutely necessary. This is your rescue mission, Team SLVA. Time to show this old hand how the younger generation handles themselves, hm?"

Cordell gave a weak smile. "Would'a been even more one-sided if'n ye hadn't stepped in. Looks like they were targetin' me engines an' fuelin' systems -- an' knew just where t' hit me, at that. I'd probably be in th' water right about now if not fer those shots ye fired."

She quickly glanced across a few different panels, checking her status somewhat more closely than she had before. "I think I can get patched up well enough t' limp back t' th' northern coast, as long as there's no more surprises 'twixt here an' there. If ye be headed that way, mind if I stick close 'till we're over land? I don't much fancy gettin' shot up again, truth be told."

"Now, I owe ye some Dust, don't I?" Cordell leaned back slightly in her chair. "I'm a pirate an' all, so it's fair if'n ye don't trust me t' dock with ye. I can drop-line th' crates if ye'v got th' means t' receive 'em, or drop 'em off for holdin' at any o' a dozen ports-a-call. I'm a scoundrel what honors her debts, an' I owe ye proper fer today, mate."

The Vale Region / Re: Songs of Peril [Closed]
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:48:11 PM »
Anov couldn't have been more different from Vona, as near as Rory could tell. Vona had an air of desperation about it, a bitter and stubborn determination that brought to mind plants growing up through cracks in the concrete... Anov may as well have been a rich-soil flower bed by contrast. The people seemed content and, if Carafe was any indication, well fed, but that was to be expected when a village was both fully enclosed and self-sufficient for food. Still, Rory didn't really feel any more at ease here than he did in Vona, regardless of the chief's generosity. The persistent feeling of something being off was the one thing Anov and Vona definitely shared.

Still, the fact that this village's chief liked to run his mouth so much was advantageous. As painful as it was to listen to him chew with his mouth open, the shield fighter learned more about the situation from the chief's offhand comments than he'd been able to get out of the chief of Vona. Gaud had already mentioned that conflicts here involved both fighting and a bitter trade dispute, but from here he could start to see the outlines of how that came to be. Anov was the region's bread basket, its main source of food; Vona, then, seemed the village best outfitted with warriors and weapons. What Navo contributed he could only guess at, but it seemed abundantly clear that these three communities each had something the others needed... and weren't willing to trade away lightly.

The thought that Anov might be slowly starving out the other two -- well aware that they were doing so, at that -- put Rory instantly in a sour frame of mind. Carafe's shameless comments towards Camelia didn't help either. He kept an eye on her to see how she responded, ready to back up however she chose to handle this double-chinned lech.

Sixty thousand Lien. Sixty thousand, all of it in various small-denomination cards that would make spending it without drawing unwanted attention that much easier. Back aboard the Red Corsair Cordell couldn't help but take a peek inside the huge case as she sorted the received supplies; she had to admit, the sight of so much money at once was nearly enough to make her giddy, at least when she wasn't considering what she was being paid to do. More practically, she made sure to systematically sweep the almost-a-suitcase in search of hidden signal or listening devices, using her Semblance to double-check the work of her eyes. It seemed clean and clear...

Once back in the ship's cockpit, Cordell wasted no time in sending out a call to the transponder she'd given Rachael. "So, Ms. Mysterious, seein' as ye just hired yerself a pirate an' all, it seems fittin' we chat en route t' th' job site before th' weather starts degradin' th' signal. Just who's runnin' this show'a yours? I get that some clients prefer anonymity, but most of 'em don't also have secret island bases an' intent t' throw a wrench in th' works'a equally secret weapons programs. Forgive me sayin' so, but this shindig has 'spy agency' or th' like written aaaaaaaaall over it. Th' resources, th' methods, th' whole shebang, like somethin' outta comic books. Am I wrong?"

"Either way, it's time I knew about you lot -- and th' target. What am I stealin', exactly? Bomb? Mech? Airship? Some sorta toxin? Please don't say it's a toxin..."

"Well... crap."

Aside from attacks by Grimm and... well, pirates, there was arguably no greater danger to any airship than a Dust-infused storm. Natural ones were bad enough, highly unpredictable with a nasty penchant for destruction, but when any sort of mined-up Dust -- even the unrefined stuff -- got mixed up in a weather pattern it stood to make things just that much worse. They were mercifully rare, but she'd seen one of the odd occasion over the course of her career. That said, the one displayed on her screens right now was an absolute monster by comparison. Flying into that would basically be suicide. She could likely get onto the target ship before it sailed in... but getting out afterwards? That would be a trick.

"Okay... so, here's how we're gonna play it." Cracking her knuckles and then stretching out her fingers, Cordell laid out a low-to-the-water approach trajectory that would but them directly behind the transport. "Get me in close enough for boardin' via zipline, then withdraw to... here." She marked a small speck of an island about thirty klicks southeast. "Land, bunker down, and wait fer orders. If ye come under threat, use th' standard protocols."

"With any luck this won't be nearly as crazy as it looks."

"I still calculate the risks of this mission as being exceptionally high, captain. I urge you to be careful." Del paused, a pair of new markers suddenly appeared on the local map. "Captain, sensors just picked up two more craft: a large transport boat and a small armed escort. They appear to be heading for the storm as well."

"Could be part o' this weapons test business as well. Have they spotted us?"

"I cannot be certain. These weather conditions are helping to conceal our approach but the weather anomaly is also causing disruptions to our stealth systems. I estimate their current effectiveness at between forty and seventy percent."

"So we can't rely on surprise... speed it is, then." Rising from the pilot's seat, the captain checked over her approach trajectory one last time with a slow, hopeful nod. "Okay, bring us in Del. Here goes nothing."

Seen from outside, the Red Corsair was a crimson shadow cutting its way through the winter gale, sweeping in low and riding just above the churning waves to avoid the worst of the storm winds. The main hatch of the jump room slid open as the pirate airship closed in on the transport, a large harpoon gun on a large mechanical arm lowering from the opening to take aim. Inside Cordell operated the targeting controls, her hair whipping about freely as the bluster from outside swept in; she'd have to keep her beloved hat tucked away for now or risk losing it to the tempest.

She'd need to be close to pull this off anything resembling safely. Fortunately the big boat didn't have any onboard guns so there was no risk of getting shot down at this range, but close quarters under these conditions was still not a simple thing. She watched the rangefinder tick down, knowing that the longer this boarding maneuver took the greater danger there would be from the storm. 250 yards... 200... 150... She was close enough now to paint the target of her landing zone, then hand it off to Del for windspeed calculations. 100 yards... 50 yards and closing...

With a loud burst of compressed air, the magnetic harpoon fired and sailed through the air, anchoring itself to the hull just above one of the exterior doors. After a moment the line went taut, the airship matching the speed of its target. Pulley-hook in hand, Cordell stepped up to the line and took a deep breath. There would be no turning back after this.

"... I must be outta me damned mind." She muttered. A few moments later she was sailing through the tumultuous air, speeding down the long metal cable as snow whipped across her face. The landing was rough; the boat's hull came up quicker than she'd thought, having to squint just to keep her eyes open in the storm, and as a result she didn't have nearly so much time or space to slow down as she would've preferred. Cordell hit the wall in a crouch, letting her legs absorb the impact before letting go and dropping onto the narrow, ice-slicked exterior walkway. Oh, she'd feel that come morning. Quickly picking herself up, she signaled her arrival and Delahaye deactivated the harpoon's magnet, reeling it back in before veering away from the impending Dust-weather.

"Okay," Braving the elements just a bit longer, Cordell pulsed her Semblance to make sure no one was waiting on the other side of the door, then pulled it open and made her way inside. "Belly o' th' beast time."

For several long moments Jackson's ultimatum was met only with silence, a slight crackle of static being the chief confirmation that the comm line was in fact open. Then, just when it seemed no response was coming, a badly distorted and re-rendered voice came across. "This doesn't concern you. Stay out of our affairs and you won't get hurt." With that, the channel was cut.

The Red Corsair ans its pursuer continued to close, continuing to pull maneuvers to stay ahead of each other as they did. There was one noticeable difference following the captain's message, however: the attacking ship, until now only firing it's energy cannons in tightly controlled bursts, became more aggressive in its bid to take the pirate down. What they gained in rate of fire they lost in accuracy -- those shots which did hit were mostly glancing blows skimming across the hull, with only a comparative few landing direct strikes on the Red Corsair's rearward systems. Despite their big talk, the attacking Arrowhead seemed increasingly eager to end their chase before the CRG 212 could bring its guns to bear, and it was making them sloppy.

As the first warning shots came the Red Corsair, in a moment of daring reckless, banked hard towards them, only boosting away from the munitions at the last second -- a clear message from Cordell that she was willing to maximize the fire support from her impromptu ally for all it was worth. That seemed to give the attacking ship second thoughts; peeling away briefly, their attempt to re-engage came up short as the added distance allowed Cordell to whip her ship around and bring her own guns to bear for the first time since the engagement began. Trading fire as they darted and wove, the two Arrowheads moved closer and closer to the cargo ship's effective range. It made for quite the spectacle for Jackson's bridge crew to behold, each of the nimble combatants tracing ribbons of cyan light from their engines as they danced in deadly spins and pirouettes.

Just before it would have crossed over into CRG 212's combat range, the attacking airship abruptly banked hard left and boosted away, dodging retaliatory fire from the Red Corsair as it went. The ship's instruments would detect a long range transmission from the fleeing ship as it left, but the signal would sound like randomized noise.

Even breathing heavily from the exertion and g-forces she'd endured, Cordell managed a sigh of relief as she watched the other ship become a speck in the distance. That had been far too close. Even just a glance at her instrumentation made it perfectly clear that several systems had been compromised and the hull was likely pockmarked with holes, and that wasn't even a proper status check. She was alive, at least, and her ship, though battered, was in one piece and still sky-worthy. Taking a moment to catch her breath, she throttled back the engines to a nominal speed before switching on the comms.

"Red Corsair t'," She quickly checked the cargo ship's public IFF. "CRG two-one-two, thanks for th' assist. Ye really saved me bacon back there. Sorry t' get ye messed up in all that; th' blighter straight-up ambushed me an' I couldn't shake 'em till you stepped in. Godsdamned nightmare, that."

Rory found himself with a slight blush at Lilla's reminder to him, though whether it was from recalling his own awkwardness or the unexpected attention he couldn't quite say. He did his best to shrug it off as everyone made their introductions and explained where their combat strengths lay, focusing himself by doing a quick mental tally and assessment. Wisteria and Isabelle sounded like mid-to-long range fighters, while Blair seemed the up-close-and-personal type. As for Lilla, he wasn't quite sure what she meant by "making sure we don't run into each other" -- tactician, maybe? It was always good to have someone organizing a group effort, certainly.

Half an hour to the LZ, another half hour to reach the inn; like Mr. Mordred said, plenty of time to chat. "Seems we've got a pretty solid group overall. Looking forward to fighting alongside you all."

The Vale Region / Re: Within Nature, Within One Self (CLOSED)
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:43:31 PM »
(OOC: Gonna go ahead and keep this moving.)

Seeing the students well under way towards setting up the camp, Budonoki confirmed that everything they would need was in the supply drop and then began making a few preparations himself. Seven small nondescript pouches were taken out and placed atop the crate, and following that the old Faunus waited, observing. When everyone had their tents set up -- or seemed ready to give up trying -- he spoke up.

"Gather round, students." Sitting cross-legged with his staff across his lap, he gestured to the pouches. "As you know, this isn't simply a recreational camping trip -- out here, among the amber leaves, I'll be working with you all, both individually and as a group, to help you develop into the Hunters I know you can become. Our first exercise is a group one. Each of you, take a pouch -- gently -- and then find a spot nearby on the grass."

When everyone had their pouch, the doctor took the last remaining one and opened it. Inside were an assortment of raw crystals, uncut Dust in each of the four core elemental varieties: fire, ice, lightning, and wind. "We know Aura as a manifestation of one's soul, of the spirit within lending its power to the body and to whatever tools we wield. An awakened Aura, however, is merely the first step -- diligent practice makes using it second nature, but the path to unlocking the fullness of power within each of you is not down to simple repetition. You must know yourself, deeply and truly, just as you each know the weapons you wield. This is the work of a lifetime, a long and twisting road which no one can discern except you... fortunately, there is some guidance I can offer you."

"Dust, in its base forms. Simple. Elemental. Primal."
He held up the blue crystal, letting it sparkle as it caught the light of the sun. "Our Auras can awaken the power sleeping in these stones, as you know... but have you truly considered what that means? The power within us, and the power within Dust, respond to each other. It's easy to take for granted; in the modern age all you need do is pull a trigger or exert your will, but the first peoples who discovered Dust surely did not find it so easy. No convenient technologies, no schools or experts to train them in what to do -- it was trial and error from the start. But there is something for us to learn from the crude methods they must surely have employed."

"Here, then, is the exercise. Clear you minds and, one crystal at a time, slowly, in the smallest degrees you can manage, direct your Aura towards the Dust -- not enough to cause a full reaction, but just enough that the crystal begins to glow."
He smiled softly. "It may take several tries, but you should notice that one of the four is easier for you to connect with than the others -- one element that hardly takes any effort whatsoever. This natural affinity towards one of the four elements reflects upon the nature of your Aura, your soul, who you are as a person. What you discover may surprise you; I was around your age when my teachers in Mistral first had us perform this exercise and fully expected that my affinity would be towards the wind Dust, given my deep connection to nature. However..."

Closing his eyes, Budonoki breathed slowly in and out -- at once, the blue Dust in his hand began to glow with a brilliant cyan radiance. Eyes opening, he smiled at the familiar light. "Mine was ice. It took me some time to understand what that said about me -- at first I was convinced that it was a mistake, but when I stilled my mind and let Aura and Dust connect naturally the result was always the same. Some of you will get exactly the result you may expect, others may be like me. In either case, you will have something very important to think on as we go about the rest of our trip's lessons." Letting the light from the Dust fade, the teacher placed the Dust crystals back in his pouch and set them to one side.

"You may begin."

(OOC: Minor tweak to the Dust types to better reflect the known info -- I had them somewhat inaccurate in the initial post. Sorry about that.)

The Vale Region / Far From Home [CLOSED INITIATION]
« on: December 09, 2017, 12:53:17 PM »
S C E N E ~ M U S I C
by Lucas King

Mountain Glenn. The ruined skeletons of once-proud buildings cast jagged shadows in the early morning's light, making the desolation seem even more shattered and broken than it was. This was a place of ghosts, a graveyard of hope and a testament to what happens when the best of intentions go awry. From above, gazing out the window of the Bullhead, Budonoki took in the terrible scene with mournful solemnity. He hadn't been here before, either before or after its fall, but he could remember the hope that had accompanied its golden days... and the dread that came with the announcement of its fate.

Drawing in a deep breath and centering himself, the Faunus doctor turned to the young students he was accompanying. This team was literally just starting out, having been freshly assembled such that a team name and and roles hadn't yet been figured out. This would be a proving, to be sure. His gaze traveled from one to the next. "We're close now to where we'll touch down. As most of you already know, Mountain Glenn is very dangerous -- not only the creatures of Grimm which stalk these ruins, but all the natural hazards that come from crumbling infrastructure. Somewhere, somehow, there is a child clinging to life in this forsaken place," He pulled out his Scroll and displayed for them a grainy, blurred reconnaissance photo; it was clear that the child was young, had messy mid-length dark-colored hair, and wearing some sort of tattered poncho or dress, but not much else was clear enough to make out. "And our duty is to bring them safely within the kingdom's walls if at all possible. I know your team is still finding its way, and you aren't likely used to working with one another yet, but I believe that we can do this -- if we work together and watch each other's backs."

He pocketed the Scroll, then hefted a backpack with a prominent first aid kit strapped to it up onto his shoulders. "Remember, this is a child. Sounds of gunfire and fighting may attract their attention, but could just as easily scare them away. Defend yourselves as necessary, of course, but try to avoid combat when possible. I've read each of your files, so I know what the school knows of your capabilities; each of you has knowledge, skills, and talents which may prove useful to our endeavor. I have every confidence we can succeed here."

The Bullhead began to turn, vectoring towards the roof of a squat two-story building as the door lights shifted from red to green. As the hatches slid open Dr. Budonoki leapt out, gnarled wooden staff in hand, sticking the simple landing without issue despite his years and gesturing for the team to follow. Their mission had begun...

  S C E N E ~ M U S I C 
Seeking The Truth
by Atom Music Audio

How had this happened? Everything, everything, from that fateful day onward, had been done to avoid this...

Gripping the flight controls with desperate urgency, Captain Cordell of the pirate airship Red Corsair willed her ship and herself to maneuver faster and more deftly than she'd ever done before. The stress of constantly shifting momentum would have battered her senseless against the cockpit had Delahaye not deployed a safety harness upon the first reckless maneuver Cordell had performed... and she was now somewhere between her fifth and her twelfth, having well and truly failed to keep track as her heartbeat thundered in her ears. Yet the enemy was keeping up, move for move... and an abrupt shower of sparks and warning klaxon going off suggested they might even have the upper hand.

"Starboard fuel injection system has been hit." Delahaye's computer-generated voice was perhaps the only calm and collected thing in the cockpit right now, standing in stark contrast to the ill-tidings she bore. "Ring circulation compromised. Main engine efficiency dropping to 85%."

'Damn it all!' Cordell thought, sweat mingling with blood on her forehead. The enemy had come seemingly out of nowhere, their sensor baffling leaving the Red Corsair blind until the first shots struck -- a complete surprise attack, and one that included a nasty collision with a bulkhead for the young pirate. She'd been too bold, too careless, especially to come this far north over open waters. Now it seemed painfully obvious that the rumors she'd been chasing down about illegal shipments of military-grade hardware from Atlas had been nothing but a trap from the start.

Well, not entirely untrue. There was, after all, that other airship. The one keeping up with every twist and turn she made, tracking every tight zig-zag and calling the bluff on every feint. The one that looked almost exactly like hers -- a cobalt-blue and smoke-gray painted devil straight out of hell. She knew Atlas still had old V-21 Arrowheads mothballed in storage, sure, and it wasn't impossible that the military could have upgraded them to the level pursued by Project Thunderbolt. What she was looking at through the rear cameras was entirely possible... but it was also entirely wrong. The other airship had no military markings, in fact it had no markings whatsoever. There had been no call with a demand to surrender; Cordell knew Atlas military protocol, and her attacker was not following it.

This was why her father had stolen the prototype and destroyed the plans. This was why she'd never stopped poking about in the black market to see who would have wanted it in the first place. This -- a swift, potent combat airship potentially ending up in the wrong hands. Apparently it had all been for nothing.

They hadn't prevented it. They'd just given it a target.

"Del, is there anyone else in local airspace? Anyone? Even a gods-thrice-damned Atlas patrol?" She quickly keyed up the manual shut-off to the damaged connections and routed in the emergency backups, one hand dancing across buttons and flip-switches while her other jerked the flight stick hard left.

"One. A cargo carrier, ten clicks out. Scans indicate they may possess moderate-to-heavy armaments."

"It'll have t' do. Lock in their coordinates an' send out th' following distress signal on auto-loop." He paused for a moment, focusing to pull the Red Corsair into a steep climb as she hit the under-slung wing thrusters at full tilt. "Whomever's receivin' this -- this is Captain Cordell o' th' Red Corsair. I've come under fire from an unidentified airship an' sustained significant damage. Help get this bastard off'a me an' there's fifteen crates o' industrial-grade Dust in it fer ya, no questions asked. FIFTEEN. CRATES. Onboard me ship, goin' down with me if'n this backstabber gets their way." Despite whipping into a corkscrew and diving hard left, the Red Corsair took another hit from the enemy ship's guns, causing the Red Corsair to shudder from the impact and Cordell to lurch forward against her harness with a pained grunt. "Damn iiiiit!"

Turning in the direction of the cargo ship, the pirate switched off several safeties and accelerated for all her ship was worth. Gauges spiked, needles shot into the orange and teetered on the brink of red. She knew her ship could take this, even in its damaged state... but not for long. If this didn't pay off then she'd risk burning out the fuel cells and induction coils -- the Red Corsair could literally overload and go dark, plunging into the churning, frosty waters below.

It was time to roll the dice...

Everywhere Else / Re: Hunt for the Howling Storm {CLOSED}
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:43:06 AM »
Solar's defensive bash of the Necro Gigas' claw managed to send bones and blades scattering across the floor... briefly. A few moments later the materials of the lost "hand" rattled, glowed briefly, and leapt back into place, the Geist-form flexing its digits menacingly before reeling back for another blow.

It stopped when it saw Alizarin leap in to catch Solar, its arm relaxing slightly. Instead, a whirl of dark energies suddenly began to flow into the mouth of the canon, building to an ominous point of orange light. The Gigas seemed quite keen on an opportunity to attack two targets at once -- it would fire in a matter of moments if not interrupted.

'What're these references she keeps making?' Cordell wondered to herself as Infrared began tossing remote charges to the rest of the team, leaving the pirate to rub the freshly-punched and relocated arm. Confusion aside, it was clear that the rabbit Faunus had a plan -- a pretty good one at that. With the Geist-thing's chest canon starting to glow, however, it seemed like the plan needed a little help -- specifically, a distraction.

Switching out her ammo types as quick as she was able, Cordell opened fire on the Necro Gigas with a full volley of double-shot. The C-04 rounds weren't particularly damaging, especially since most of what they hit was just bones, but the coating of ice they left behind was enough to make it hard for the Grimm cadaver to move -- and draw it's attention. When its burning eye turned in her direction the captain was quick to fire the blade of her cutlass into the cave ceiling and zipline up and away from Infrared. "I'll distract it -- you make sure yer plan works!"

More ineffectual frost shots rained down as Cordell swung above the abandoned pirate outpost; the Necro Gigas, determined not to have its "body" frozen in place, shattered the ice layer from Cordell's shots and turned to fire at her. It's first round blew a hole in the side of one of the larger buildings just as she swung by it -- and like a struck pinata, a shower of gold coins, glittering in the explosion's brief light, flew from the freshly-made gap. The pirate couldn't help but gasp at the sight; the Geist's aggression had just revealed the hideout's treasure depot. Now their group just had to survive -- preferably by winning -- long enough to collect the loot.

There was something else that caught her eye, however, as she rose towards the cavern roof. In the distance, barely discernible in the gloom of the cave, was what looked to be an elevated platform of some kind... and resting on it, barely a silhouette to the eyes...

... was the outline of a ship.

Shoved into a tiny, dark, stale bathroom. If it weren't for the sounds of battle outside his current predicament would have been shameful... yet Quisling hunkered down and made the most of it, hoping desperately that the old building wouldn't come crashing down around his ears from an errant shot -- or just a board jostling loose. He closed his eyes and listened attentively, trying his best to make out the flow of events.

He was close now. So close to the treasure he sought...

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