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"How do we know we won't? Why couldn't we leave, just as Andrea got here? Or tried to get here. Right, Andrea?"

Andrea stared blankly at Alyssa as her earlier assumption was confirmed. Alyssa caught this look and continued.

"Yeah, I did it. How do you feel about it, Andrea?"


"Nothing," Andrea replied. "It's not important. Though once this wears off, my opinion will be different."


Alyssa silently admired the power of the serum. It was able to change their behavior, if only temporarily; something on that level of power was astounding. Not to mention terrifying.

3/16/2011 #301
Bleeding Perfection

"And how are we gonna go about that? Getting out, that is. We don't even know how far the wasteland goes."

3/16/2011 #302

Alyssa looked to Andrea, who spoke next.

"Off the top of my head, I could make a few suggestions. We could try a helicopter, or I could call for a VTOL, or maybe a teleport module. But that last one is experimental, and I don't have one at the moment."

She talked as if she were lifelong friends with everyone in the room. Which she might as well be, at least as long as the serum lasted.

3/16/2011 #303
Bleeding Perfection

"We'll assume that a helicopter would work, then," Alixa said, "But how do we go about getting one?"

She paused a moment.

"Oh, by the way, Andrea, you still have a Beta suit, right? I'd prefer the Sigma one you railgunned, but I'd like to have a Beta, if you still have it."

3/16/2011 #304

"I swapped it out on a VTOL earlier." Andrea looked at Alixa. "There's that, and you won't be able to use it like Sentinels do."

This exchange also reminded Alyssa. She fished around in a pouch, and out an Epsilon model, the same 6 x 6 black board she had to begin with.

"You know how to use this?" she said to Andrea. "And teach us how?"

"Yes," Andrea answered. "I know how to use all of them. But you can't use it; not fully."

3/16/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 3/16/2011 #305
Bleeding Perfection

"Sweet," she said, taking the board, "Andrea, refresh my memory, I've only seen this done once. How do I put it on, again?"

3/16/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 3/16/2011 #306

(This post assumes that your character follows these instructions.)

Andrea started the "tutorial".

"First, practice this." She took one of her hands and pressed her fingers on her stomach. Then she moved those fingers in an odd pattern, pressing them on her stomach at different points. It was a hard-to-explain movement that couldn't be done by accident. Once Alixa had memorized and copied this well, Andrea told her why she needed it:

"The suit requires a 'key' to activate; that key is the gesture I showed you. If you do it incorrectly twice, the module will scan you for the marker-- the DNA signal that you have had Sentinel conditioning. If you don't have it-- and right now no one in this group but me does-- the module will kill you."

She did not elaborate how.

"So memorize that movement well."

Alyssa had been watching and copying the movements as Alixa had been. Andrea did it once more for her and the others, who she assumed were following Alyssa's example.

"Place the module flat on your abdomen," Andrea continued the tutorial. "And then perform the gesture on it."

When Alixa had done this, the board came alive. It seemed to liquefy and adhere to her midsection, then expand upwards and downwards to cover her entire body with a viscosity similar to oil. There was a sharp sting of pain in Alixa's back, as it made the spinal connections. The pain quickly faded into a cold sensation.

When it finished, the coating began to swell slightly and harden, forming the skintight armor plating. As it did this, Andrea spoke.

"You don't have the conditioning, so your abilities are limited. The interface you will have is going to be 'corrupted'. You will be fine as long as you don't raise the output beyond 100%, or use the armor's unique ability."

The helmet finished forming and hardened, forming the visor. There was static for a moment, then the display formed:

The first thing visible was a EKG, on the bottom right of the visor. It was currently tracking Alixa's heartbeat, without the beep normally heard in EKGs from hospitals. Next was the output percentage; recognizable since it started at 25%, as Andrea explained next.

Alixa could see Andrea and the others through the visor. A green outline flashed around everyone except Andrea for a moment, then disappeared. Andrea had a half white, half blue outline that stayed.

Andrea explained what the output meant. "The human factor for the suit, the level that you normally perform on in terms of strength, speed, etcetera, is 25%. Which means that at 100%, you'll have four times more speed, strength, etcetera, than you normally would. That, and you will still have the advanced protection of the armor, which is strong enough to stop bullets at point-blank range and resist explosives."

Andrea rapped her knuckle on Alixa's armored shoulder. There was a barely audible sound from it, the emphasis that she had wanted to make.

"If you go beyond 100% or attempt to use the ability, and you aren't conditioned to handle the suit, it will either switch off, or kill you, as the first man that tested it died. The shut-down, though, is most likely to happen. If the suit shuts down, it recedes back into a six-by-six-inch board, what we started with."

Andrea asked Alyssa to hand her something. Alyssa gave her a package of bubble gum.

Andrea then placed this item on Alixa's hip, pressing it there for a moment. "There are other functions for the suit that you can also use," she said.

Threads of the suit expanded, wrapping around the package of gum and holding it in place as Andrea moved her hand away. More threads appeared, and inside five seconds, the gum was entirely covered and adhered to the suit.

She squeezed the pocket, and the process happened in reverse. Then she repeated the demonstration on Alixa's shoulder, and her back. "Anywhere you place it. The suit can even hold pistols and grenades."

Afterward, she gave the gum back to an astonished Alyssa, and then turned to Alixa.

"That green outline you saw when it started up was the mental projection mechanism. You mentally recognize them as allies, so the suit reads them as allies as well. If you think they are enemies, they'll have a red outline. If you haven't decided which, a white outline will appear. Other Sentinels are blue. Red and white outlines stay visible, while green and blue ones fade out. That feature can be deactivated or activated at will, along with night-vision, infrared, and energy detection. I'll explain that last one later."

"That covers some of the functions," she finished. "Any questions?"

3/16/2011 . Edited 3/16/2011 #307
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Aion watched the proceedings with interest, although not combative interest. He preferred more natural strength and he was good at adhering to what needed to be done to survive. He was also good at avoidance.

He glanced at Andrea, realizing she was an enemy, slightly put off guard everyone was so calm. He had the feeling, even though he'd only thrown a knife, that he would be on her list of people to get rid of, especially since he most likely in her way, in terms of whatever job she came here to do. Whether Alyssa got the information she needed, past this tutorial, or not Aion had decided to stick with her. It was better than being bored and edgy, stuck in a place of memory rather than able to live completely in reality.

3/16/2011 #308

Andrea caught Aion's glance and took the opportunity to smile with innocence.

"Something on your mind?" she said. The serum made her friendly to just about anyone.


Alyssa was not done yet. She still had a lot of questions to ask, and now might be the best and only chance.

She remembered the bomb. Once she set it off, the other soldiers here would back off for the most part. Then maybe she'd have some time to rest or do something equally important.

Alyssa took out the detonator. She flicked the top open, revealing a red button. She took a seat, one that hadn't been destroyed in the fight, and then pressed the button with her thumb.

For a moment there was no sound. Then a quiet thump. Then a growl that slowly rose into a roar.

The windows in the drugstore's front cracked and split. A powerful gust of air washed through the street, carrying with it a wave of dust and debris.

That blast had likely killed a few soldiers. Alyssa wasn't too worried about it, though.

She took out the package of bubble-gum from earlier, took two sticks, put them in her mouth, and chewed.

3/17/2011 #309
Bleeding Perfection

Alixa was about to ask, Yeah, how do I open the visor? when it suddenly opened. Apparently, it was mind-controlled.

"Sweet," she said, "So, now that our diversion had been set off, let's get going. Split into groups."

She moved toward the door.

3/17/2011 #310
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Aion titled his head. "I think we should remain together for the most part, especially if not everyone entering the city has the advantage of armor which identifies enemies or allies." He glanced at Alyssa. "I can fight on my own, but not against guns," he said. "And I am not doubting everyone entering the city has one." He wasn't experienced with his pistols, and although he was learning physical fighting styles from nearly the age of three, he was no where near what his dad had been.


Sarin glanced outside. "Perhaps we can find ourselves some prey," she said. "Waiting here makes us sitting ducks."

3/18/2011 #311

The roar of the explosion from Alyssa's diversion reached the church. There was a cloud of smoke several stories high off in the distance, visible beyond the surrounding buildings; though it was not high enough to be that of a nuclear weapon, it was still a powerful display.

Somebody had brought some heavy ordnance.


Bane turned to May.

"Thanks for your help," he said. "She got away, but now I've got time to think up a new approach."

He looked to the sky as two other helicopters arrived. One was the medi-vac he had requested.

"Get Kitsune out of here," he said to the fire team with him. "I'm doing this alone. You guys aren't ready."

He didn't say that he was ready, either.

A few minutes later, an explosion sounded off, kicking dirt and asphalt into the air. Bane judged from the size of the blast that it wasn't nuclear, which correlated with the fact that the Geiger counter on his person hadn't said a peep.

Bane tugged at his balaclava, watching the blast mushroom and rise into what used to be a clear blue sky.


"Let's go back to the cache," Alyssa suggested. Alixa and Dante would not have known about it; she admitted to herself that she should have said something. "We can get some Sentinel weapons there."

Alyssa noticed Andrea's incendiary knife on the floor, and took it. She put it in an unused pouch on her person.

If Alixa was still insistent on splitting up, Alyssa would go with her regardless of the other opinions. She wasn't going to just let the gear she had won leave through the front door.

3/18/2011 . Edited 3/19/2011 #312
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Aion gave a brief nod, taking a position in back of Andrea, an easy way to keep an eye on an enemy.


Sarin turned from Shahdo, easing out the window. "Are you coming?" she asked shielding her eyes from the roiling dust.

3/19/2011 #313

Andrea looked and met Aion's eyes for a moment. She was somewhat nervous at his movement, but turned back to face ahead after a full second had passed.

She awkwardly twirled a lock of her hair and stared at Alixa.

3/19/2011 #314
Bleeding Perfection

Andrea was staring at her. Probably a result of her suppressed personality conflicting with the drugs. Underneath, Andrea was probably angry and extremely unhappy that Alixa was wearing Sentinel Armor.

"Would the cache have modified ammunition?" She said to Alyssa, "I need shortened 20 gague shells."


"Hmm..." Shahdo said, "Maybe that's a good idea. But aren't you concerneed about your home being destroyed while we're out?"


May watched Bane silently.

3/20/2011 . Edited 3/20/2011 #315

Andrea kept staring. Again, awkwardly. It didn't seem to have anything to do with the armor.


"No," Alyssa said. "It's only got Sentinel weaponry, and as far as I know, they don't use ammo like that."

Alyssa hadn't noticed the stare yet. She was looking outside while Alixa had asked her that question.


"What?" said Bane.

Before May could answer, Bane heard a rumbling sound, something he recognized immediately.

He said an appropriate curse word and motioned for May to follow him, to the cover of the trees.


As if on cue, after Shahdo had spoken, there was a low rumbling near the church. A car alarm went off. There was a crunch of metal and broken glass, and the alarm died out.

A T-72 was the source; it rolled past the church, unaware of the two inside.

Now there were tanks. In a city.

3/20/2011 #316
Bleeding Perfection

Alixa moved toward Alyssa. She'd go to the cache.


"Oh, lovely," Shahdo said, "Now there's tanks. Still think we should go?"


May followed.

3/20/2011 #317

Alyssa saw Alixa's movement, and turned to face her.

"I assume that means you want to go to it, anyway." Alyssa stood, and spotted Andrea's stare.

"Andrea," she said, "stop staring at her."


Andrea obeyed and focused her gaze elsewhere.


"Let's go." Alyssa walked to the entrance.

Her stride was casual, until she looked to the left, through the front glass.

Then she cursed and turned back to the others. "Tanks!" She said in a half-whisper. "Get back!" She gestured with one arm.

3/20/2011 #318
Bleeding Perfection

Alixa receeded back into the store.

"Andrea, get your railgun on them," she said.

3/20/2011 #319

Andrea picked up the railgun, and walked to the front. She leaned out of the door to get a good shot.

There were three tanks, moving in a straight line. Soldiers flanked each one on both sides.

Andrea turned back and talked to them.

"The railgun isn't strong enough to completely destroy the tanks. All three would turn and open fire on our position, and we would likely die."

Alyssa stared at the tanks, as if she were trying to destroy them through sheer force of will. "What could destroy them?"

"The mod-swords' self destruct could wipe them all out. I have two of them."

Alyssa knew that she had two herself, as did Aion. She knew how to arm them.

Andrea picked up a mod-sword that she had thrown earlier, and tapped the hilt in two specific places. The bottom of the handle suddenly produced a small, red button.

She pressed this button, then walked outside and tossed the mod-sword at the tanks. She had a strong arm.

It landed in the middle of them, emitting a beeping sound as the soldiers looked at it in confusion.

"It's a good idea to break your line of sight with the explosion. Otherwise, you might get hit by debris." Andrea gestured for them to go back inside.

As the explosion rocked the drugstore, Andrea had oddly resumed staring at Alixa.

3/20/2011 #320
Bleeding Perfection

"I swear, Andrea, if you keep staring, I'll cap you in the face with a riot bullet."

3/20/2011 #321

"Sorry," Andrea said. She turned away and focused on a wall, her eyes blank.


Alyssa apologized as well. "I don't know why she's doing that. Maybe it's a side effect; maybe she likes you. I don't know."

Then to Andrea. "If you're going to stare at someone, stare at Dante. Maybe you can get him to say something." She meant this as a tease.

3/20/2011 . Edited 3/20/2011 #322
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Sarin titled her head. "If we don't engage them, they don't engage us." She glanced at the church. "I am assuming whatever has been destroyed recently..." She tapered off. "Wait a minute... " She turned back to him. "Andrea isn't around is she?"

Her eyes moved to the tanks and soldiers surrounding them. Perhaps they could get information from the soldiers about exactly what was going on.


Aion grabbed Dante's hand yanking him behind a steel cabinet. The blast from the mod sword shook the store. He glanced at Alyssa. "What would you have me do?" he asked. "I will take instruction." 'Besides questioning her won't do any good, not now that they know where we are.' He thought.

3/20/2011 #323

Alyssa met his eyes.

"I'd say we should get moving. There aren't any troops around now, but another squad might investigate soon. We should stay out of sight."

3/21/2011 #324
Fleur-de-lis Evans

I can get us back to the catch without drawing attention to our party," he said. He moved toward the slightly longer hallway, which would put them in the alley system. Then, he would begin weaving through the maze, until he found the door he was looking for.

3/21/2011 #325

Alyssa followed closely, assuming that the others were doing the same. She kept the mod-SMG ready in her right hand.

3/21/2011 #326
Bleeding Perfection

Alixa followed closely behind, keeping an eye on things behind them, in case someone or something was following.


Shahdo looked at Sarin.

"Should we check on her?" He said.

3/22/2011 #327

A chopper passed by over the group; Alyssa raised her SMG in alarm, but stopped when she saw the image of a wolf on the helicopter.

"Friendly," she sighed. Then she spoke to her teammates. "The Lone Wolves are with us."


Andrea stared blankly at the sky.

3/22/2011 #328
Bleeding Perfection

Alixa watched the chopper pass.

3/23/2011 #329
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Sarin looked up from the ground. "She was acting quite suspicious," she stated. "Come to think of it there weren't copters here until she showed up." She shrugged. "Well, least we can do if find soem prey. "


Aion slid down a rather thin alley. They would all have to walk single file. The ground sloped, and he reached forward, pressing his hand, which he made a small cut on against a door. He wrapped his hand in cloth and pushed through the tiny space. He was greeted with darkness, but his eyes quickly adjusted.

3/23/2011 #330
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