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Monsieur-Dollface

Well, seems like disappeared from view. So much for trying to follow them.

We can catch up later, you know.

"Yea, yea...I know. Would've been easier, though to catch up now."

Celes was indeed still floating in the air, still, now that he had stopped walking, and began pacing.....the air. He withdrew Niko from his head and frowned. Now that they were separated, they couldn't communicate to each other. Sighing, he put Niko back on his head.

"I know that you probably think we should split up. I say no. You're defenseless by yourself, AND it looks like the big guy is in a tizzy."

Watch your volume. He can probably hear you. You're not that far off the ground much less out of range of any projectiles.

"That much is true. HEY. You're supposed to be the sensible one here."

A pout crossed his face, and he looked down from where he was hovering. The big guy seemed frustrated and was talking into an earpiece...and......some other guy was staring at him as if he was some sort of pyscho freak.

"You'd think they'd never seen someone floating before."

Probably not, Celes. Much less talk to a "hat". I told you that they'd think you're insane.

"All the more fun for us!!"

He wasn't planning in coming down anytime soon, so he fixated a somewhat of a cross between a friendly and pyschotic smile at the guy who was staring at him. As for the big guy.....

"Might not wanna talk so loud."

10/3/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/22/2011 #31
FierceOcelot

When Marlena realized what Orion was doing, she blinked and averted her eyes just as Malachi did. She could have given a little warning... She looked at the scars with disgust; not at Orion, rather at the $&@^&%& who did it. They reminded her of where her powers, and the letter and numbers on her arm came from...she didn't need a reminder like that.

Marlena scowled at the word "abnormality". This was why she hated humans. So quick to label what's right and what's wrong, and yet they ignored their own shortcomings and flaws. They were the abnormalities, not this woman, not Marlena herself. They were the real freaks.

While Orion officially had Marlena's sympathy, she still didn't have Marlena's willingness to go with her.

"I'm not going to a settlement," Marlena said bluntly, "And I'm not running or hiding from these people." She was being rather rude, she knew, but there was a limit to how far she trusted strangers. "And as for the rest of your concerns... One, you're too late. Two, I can heal myself. I just wanted an opportunity to get out of a public area."

With this, she took a few steps back and channeled lightning. This time it was visible, and then some. There was a loud crackling and blue bolts seemed to materialize from thin air around her, some arching into the ground, some into the walls. Anyone standing too close to her would feel their hair standing on end, coupled with a light wave of heat.

Marlena felt the bone begin to shift back into place, followed by a wave of pain stronger than before. She grunted and dropped to one knee as a loud pop filled the room.

The lightning faded quickly after that, and Marlena slowly rose to a standing position. She moved her previously broken arm in circles, testing it. No pain. She was finally back to full functionality.

"Three. I consider myself an orphan," Marlena finished. Hopefully they would understand the undertone and leave it at that. She looked to the two of them with genuine gratitude. "Don't take this the wrong way. Over my lifetime I've learned it's best not to lean on someone else. But I admit, this time's an exception; if you two weren't here I'd be dead, or worse."

"I appreciate the offer, but I have a lot of questions that need answering and double-crossers to be dealt with. It's business, as usual." She smiled. "I don't know who you two are, but I owe you both, and I'm not gonna forget it."

Marlena suddenly turned and looked to the wall that Orion had just led them through. She sensed something was... off.

______________

The hitman looked on as the three Spec-Ops passed him. One of them, a man about 6'3" who looked to be in his thirties, with a mohawk cut rather short, donned thermal goggles. Another-- this one a woman at an exact six feet that looked to be in her mid-twenties, blonde hair cropped much shorter than neck length; she could be mistaken for a boy, if someone saw her from a long distance-- had some sort of PDA-like device in her hands, pushing the buttons every so often. The third, a man matching the woman's height, held a scanner of some sort, though he wasn't doing anything with it.

The three all wore black BDUs, each with vests over the shirts and a multitude of small devices and weapons. The hitman figured they must have gotten here through an unconventional route, because they definitely would have caught attention going the normal route. He hadn't even seen them approach, for that matter.

This was beyond the scope of the hitman's understanding. These guys were like a whole other division. More than likely they worked under his client, as permanent employees rather than freelance.

The one with the PDA gestured to the hitman. "Come a little closer," she said, "we saw police on the way here, we'll need to erect a shield so we won't be bothered."

The hitman did as he was told, and one of the Spec-Ops men drew an odd-looking pistol. He first swept it in the direction further into the tunnel as if he was scanning for something, then turned and fired two of what looked like wads of black gum at the wall opposite of the group, then two on the closer wall. There was a loud fizzling sound after the fourth shot. As the hitman looked on, he noted that nothing else seemed to happen.

The woman responded as if she read his mind. "They can't see us, but we can see them; the only way someone could spot us is if they walk past the zone my comrade here just made. Keep watch for anyone approaching."

The gunman obeyed, pistol in hand. He screwed on a suppressor, and winced at the sting of pain coming from his hand as he used it; the #$%^$ had electrocuted him...if all went well and these guys found her, he'd make sure to get some payback, with plenty of interest.

_____________

Sergey looked on as the floating guy gave a weird smile back to him. He heard the last bit that the guy said. "All the more fun for us!!"

Was he out of his mind, making such a display?!

The people around Sergey murmured and gestured to one another, looking at the strange man. They suddenly parted after a voice cut through the air:

"Move! MOVE!"

Sergey turned to see what was happening; a small group of policemen stormed down the stairs, guns drawn. They passed Sergey and the crowds and rushed down to check over the area. Then they froze and stared at the floating moron.

"You...get down here..." the lead man said weakly, gun leveled at the man.

Sergey took the opportunity to sneak through the crowds and head toward the last place he had seen the big guy go. Oddly, he was gone. No way...Sergey would have seen him leave. What the hell was going on here?

He took a few steps forward, to the sidewalk of the tunnel as he debated what to do. The hitman was long gone. The chance Sergey had at a little intrigue was lost.

He heard a click, oddly enough, sounding as if it came from just in front of him. He made a confused expression.

And then he saw a giant arm fizzle into existence, grab him by the throat and pull him toward itself. To an onlooker, it seemed as if he was pulled into an invisible portal.

_____________

The hitman had gone against better judgement. He saw a situation and acted.

The man from earlier--not even that, he looked like a youth in his late teens-- had approached the shield. Too close for comfort. The hitman was standing mere feet away from him as the latter took a few steps

The hitman leveled his gun at the boy's face and pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing happened. What the #$%#?!

The youth heard it and made a confused face. Whether he was going to leave or not, the hitman didn't know, but he made his choice. He seized the youth by the throat and pulled him in, then promptly began to smash him into a pulp. The poor kid didn't even put up much of a fight.

The three Spec-Ops looked on blankly for a short moment, then resumed doing their own thing; one of the two men scanning, the only woman of the trio using her PDA. The third member stood guard with the hitman, though he didn't help to beat up the boy.

The hitman eventually dropped the poor kid, a bloody, bruised mess, onto the sidewalk, where he then kicked him in the side hard enough to crack a rib. The boy moaned and writhed.

"Just like before, right? You didn't see anything..." The hitman said with a cruel smile.

The boy nodded slowly, trying to wipe blood from his broken nose.

The woman grinned, looking up from the PDA. "We just got a power spike. Looks like from behind this wall--" she pointed to said wall. "Red, you know what to do."

The Spec-Ops man she referred to reached into a pocket and pulled out what looked to be a small black box. He pressed it on the wall and gestured for everyone to back away to the right, so they wouldn't cross the shield.

"Nano-shredder," Red explained to the hitman. "Anything within a six-foot radius is going to turn to dust when I set it off. And it won't make a sound, so there's no worry about the police."

The hitman complied, dragging the boy with him. These guys were the experts, he wasn't going to argue. But he was curious. "Just who are you people?"

He didn't get an answer. The three Spec-Ops soldiers readied weapons: The woman unslung her MP7A1 and extended its stock, looked through the red dot sight for a moment. The weapon had a suppressor attached. She was ready.

The other two readied their own weapons; the mohawk guy checked a UMP 9, also with a suppressor and red dot sight. The third used a FN P90, same accessories as the others.

10/3/2011 . Edited 10/3/2011 #32
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Orion nodded. "That's fair enough. If you follow me I can get you out at a safe point." She glanced toward the entrance they had come through. There was an inkling of foreboding, but she trusted that the cavern would hold. There was something strange about the space they had found, as if it weren't really attached to the tube tunnels. Instead, paths lead to and from the settlement, but structurally the settlement and tunnel weren't really in the walls, rather they were attached to them, but seemed to be apart of another version of the tunnels, from a separate time.

She turned toward Malachi. "The marking troubles you," she said. He was a man of the Lord, she could tell. Not just one of the people who faked pledging to him, but like her he truly was a faithful follower. "This city has degenerated into a mass population of people whose perception had been tainted by another force. They have been persecuting followers of the Lord for a long time now, and not just those who believe in Him, but also those who oppose their views. Our settlement is full of displaced and frightened people. But, the brutality goes unnoticed, as a majority of the population has fallen into the new way of life and prosperity the government of the town seems to be bringing the people."

She shook her head sadly. "If you follow me I will show you which paths you can take. The will let you out within the city, a bit of distance from the station." She began walking down the tunnel noticing how the pathway, which had been straight just this morning, seemed to dip and curve right. She wondered if the settlement was gently relocating as it had before. She kept her pondering to herself, stopping at a small crossroads.

"This path, to the left, will lead you up a slope to a network of streets behind the old church," she said. "The other path will lead you to the outdoor markets on the edge of town. You can find your way to the more modern parts of the city easily by making it to one of the main roads by the church."

She turned to the woman. "To get out simply touch your fingers in a triangle shape on the surface of the wall. As soon as you step out the wall will close." She tilted her head. "May I ask your names?"

10/4/2011 #33
Monsieur-Dollface

Celes looked down at the cops underneath him. The lead cop looked like he was going to faint.

"HA!! Are you serious?! Being up here is fun, you really should try it!!"

He looked down again, and noticed that the guy that was staring at him was gone.

"Aw, he left."

Something's wrong. I watched his movements...I'm going to see if I can follow him.

"How are you going to do that?! A hat following someone around??"

I have my ways.

From the back of the hat, two small floating batwings flapped quickly and he went to take off.

"Well....come back in one piece and be careful!"

Any reply from Niko was unheard, since he had lifted off of his head. Their communication was lost until they reunited.....IF.

Don't worry about me.

Niko's voice was silent, until he landed onto someone else's head or....he changed into his original form. He silently went into the direction he last seen the boy go.

10/5/2011 #34
MongooseDelta

Malachi instinctively shielded his eyes and took a step back from Marlena, squatting and minimizing his surface area. That's what he'd learned to do during lightening storms. So she wasn't kidding about having powers. Seemed she probably wouldn't need his help, either, which opened up the possibility of checking out this settlement. But he was uncomfortable with the cultic nature of it. He nodded at Orion's explanation but hung back, waiting to see what marlena would do. He didn't realize his left hand was resting on the hilt of the combat dagger that rested in its pancake sheath against his back, under his jacket and shirt.

10/6/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/22/2011 #35
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Orion new both people were carrying a weapon. She cased them out long before approaching them. Keeping a calm attitude and cool head she kept her eyes in contact with the man's. There was something pushing her mind toward the perception the man thought the group she was apart of was a cult.

"I know we may seem like a cult," she said. "But, in order to keep the people we're helping safe we need to be careful about who we take in."

She glanced at Marlena. "Like your companion." She indicated Marlena. "She's clearly in danger - from whom I don't know. But, I can tell she would have no reason to betray us. So, I reached out and helped you. Now, again I offer to take you to the settlement - if only to replenish supplies and ammunition, than so be it. But, whatever the case - we are here to help - no questions asked."

She tapered off glancing back the way they had come. There was now no pathway at all at the previous entrance. In fact the wall seemed to have filled in - as if brick - mortar- and concrete had always filled the area. The situation was swiftly changing, and Orion hoped it was for the better.

10/12/2011 . Edited 10/23/2011 #36
MongooseDelta

She could read minds, then. Good to know. Not the first telepath, or at least empath he'd met, but it had been a while. Malachi brought back into play the mental shielding he'd let slip over the last few years among "normals."

God wasn't saying otherwise and he was insanely curious. It looked like Marlena was good, and would resent his coming along regardless.

"Fine, I'm with you," he said, removing his jacket to reveal load bearing gear loaded with gear, much of it weaponry of one kind or other, much of it archaic. He handed the whole, 30 pound deal over to Orion and then put his jacket back on. The only thing he kept back that might be considered a weapon was his folding pocket knife with a three inch blade. Not much of a weapon at all. Far more suited to cutting rope, torn fabric, shaving bits of wood, and the like.

10/12/2011 #37
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Orion shook her head. For some reason - this man more than any other - was prompting her consciousness - not just her mind - to connect to his. She commented briefly, "I can read people," she said. "I've been doing it since I was seven."

She set the apparatus on the floor of the tunnel- quickly righting her shirt. She rested most of the weight on the apparatus on her forearm rather than hanging it around her shoulder. She glanced at Marlena once more indicating with her free hand the directions she could take, and turning to go. She would know which exit she took whether or not a scout saw Marlena leave.

"Alright," she said to the man. "We depart ways from you then - Lady." She headed down a seemingly narrow tunnel. Reaching down, she made quick work of sending the coded message to the other radio bearers. Then she waited for the man to follow. She couldn't remember if he'd introduced himself or not.

10/12/2011 . Edited 10/23/2011 #38
MongooseDelta

Malachi was puzzled. Orion's statement that she could read people, when he had said nothing about her ability one way or another, indicated that

1. she was telling him that she couldn't read his mind, but that

2. she read his mind

If she had not read his mind, how would she have known that he thought she could read his mind? He had neither said so, nor had his facial expression or posture changed at all. He was certain of the neutrality of his appearance, having practiced it for hundreds of years. The only time he expressed anything was when it was involuntary, and when he chose to express it.

All these thoughts flew through his mind in a moment and led to the conclusion that she could read his mind, whether she realized it or not, whether she wanted to admit it or not. He added the thought, "So there!" just to see how she'd react. His facial expression remained neutral, even as he thought it.

He then followed her dutifully, careful to absorb all he could with all of his senses as they passed from one place to another. He might have to return here. He might have to deal with one kind of threat or another. Whatever would occur it was always best to remain aware.

10/13/2011 #39
FierceOcelot

The lead cop stared back at the floating guy, saying and doing nothing as the man gave a reply. "HA!! Are you serious?! Being up here is fun, you really should try it!!"

The cop, due to his inability to do anything else, merely lowered his gun a few inches. The policemen behind him weren't sure what to do, but got an idea when the guy started talking to himself, and his hat...just flew off.

"This man's...crazy..." The lead cop decided to switch tactics. A crazy man could have the ability to float, but that didn't advocate the use of deadly force. The cop would use his taser. He drew the weapon and took aim at the floating guy's chest. He would fire in the next moment.

_____________

The Spec-Ops woman gestured to the hitman. "Watch our backs. Make sure no one gets behind us. Once we breach we'll check in, one minute from now." A lot could potentially happen in sixty seconds; it was longer than most people realize, in a combat situation. They could subdue the target. Or they could all die...

The hitman nodded and asked for a sidearm, which the woman provided: A Beretta M9 with a suppressor attached, and two spare clips for it. He looked to the beaten boy for a moment, then to the camo shield. He was all set.

With that, the three Spec-Ops agents took up positions against the wall, just out of the nano-shredder's range. All three prepared to breach.

Red made a final check. "Blue, Pink, ready?" He received nods from the woman and the other Spec-Ops man, so he took out the detonator and counted down. "Three. Two..."

_____________

Marlena listened partially, tuning out the part about the city. It was an exposition that she either already knew, or did not care to know. She resumed paying attention once Orion returned to the problem at hand.

"If you follow me I will show you which paths you can take. They will let you out within the city, a bit of distance from the station." At Orion's statement, Marlena followed silently.

After Malachi and Orion had their exchange, Marlena turned to go in whichever direction the woman pointed out, heading for an exit, leaving them be.

She had been on her own for some time, when she sensed something, like another presence nearby. She was one to trust her gut feelings, so she turned, only to spot an approaching silhouette.

Marlena figured that if it were Malachi or Orion, they would have announced their presence. This one did not, so it was either a stranger who Marlena didn't trust, or an enemy. In any case, she would not take chances. Channeling electricity through one hand, she flung a single bolt at the silhouette. She'd aimed high so that it wouldn't hit whoever it was, but the attack would get the message across.

_____________

The Spec-Ops woman happened to glance down at her small, PDA-like device, which had been attached to a port on the side of her weapon, making it act like a camera panel. What she saw made her frown. "Hold it."

Red looked at her. "What is it, Blue?"

Blue stared at the PDA, flabbergasted. "What the hell? The wall is...growing... four feet thick...six....ten..........twenty..." She fell silent. The wall continued expanding; she simply didn't state how much anymore.

Pink scowled, looking around briefly and lowering his weapon. "How is that possible?"

"It isn't."

"But it's happening. So now, we need a new plan."

The hitman cursed. There was no other option now. He keyed his earbud. "Plan B failed. We need to withdraw; the target is probably long gone by now."

He waited for the guy on the other side to reply. Red, Blue, and Pink were silent.

"Alright." The hitman said a few seconds had passed, addressing the Spec-Ops agents. "We should go out the way you three came in."

The three looked at one another and nodded, about to reclaim the camo shield and head out when Pink suddenly spotted something VERY out of the ordinary. "The @$#$? A floating hat?"

He aimed his weapon at said object, which appeared to have wings. The creature-- if it could be called that-- hadn't passed the camo-shield yet, but if it kept its current course, it would do so and possibly spot the four of them. At which point Pink would shoot the thing.

None of the four were paying attention to the boy, who had crawled a distance away and planted his hands on the floor, planning something.

10/14/2011 . Edited 10/22/2011 #40
Monsieur-Dollface

Celes gave the cop a wider smile.

"I'm not crazy, you know. You REALLY should be following my hat instead of paying attention to me. HE'S the one that's gonna get people killed, not me."

The cop probably wasn't going to believe him. Figures. No trust anymore. He had pulled out another weapon of...

"HEY!!! Is that a taser? Those things are pretty dangerous, I'd be careful with that."

Celes raised a hand into the air, and drew it down as if he was unzipping something. Then he floated forward and disappeared, then reappeared behind the cop with the taser and tapped the guy's head.

"Over here! Tag, you're it!!"

He smiled, then floated back up out of arm reach of the cop.

~~~~~~~~~~

Niko had continued flying forward, not completely aware of the danger yet aware just enough. His partner, or nuisance, seemed to be having fun with those idiot cops. And yes, he was a floating hat. He had heard the voice clearly, a curse followed by a stupid question. What else would he be? Of course, they would never suspect him as a living being unless he wanted to reveal himself, which he was thinknig of doing. Boredom was slightly starting to nag at him.

Let there be blood.

That would make the walls look so much nicer. But, he wanted to find out why they were after Marlene, not that she really mattered to him, but more of of curiousity and the chance to pick sides in this, so he really did need them alive...

I'll let you have the privilege of seeing my true form that not even that moron who wears me has.

His speach was unheard until he would turn as Elipsion Sinistri, his true form. Niko floated down to the floor of the tunnel and rested there as the hat started glowing purple.

10/17/2011 #41
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Orion didn't say anything more. As she said, she was good at reading people - as well as healing. She had been reading people since she was seven years old. And, she could tell that her new companion was discouraged and off put. He wasn't the only one - for some reason she was drawn to him - mentally and consciously, as if a part of him were somehow Holy, although she was suspicious of such a thought - a thought that was beginning to manifest in the depths of her mind. She shrugged mentally - maybe he was used to people whose brains used a perception filter - or in other words people with closed minds- who could only read what he he wanted them to.

Whatever the case was, she was more concerned with the shifting tunnels, which slightly changed the location of the larger village. There was an outward danger, which meant that if Marlena was on her own - without a scout - she would be seriously confused and lost. Her thoughts were broken by a warming feeling spreading through her body. She perked up quickening her pace.

The two of them turned a corner and walked through a small archway. The annex chamber opened before them - having taken the visage of hand hewn tunnels beneath the ground. The rock was solid and reliable, and there were hundreds, if not multiple thousands of people standing, sitting, laying, in various states of injury and duress. Orion was going to say something to Malachi when the warm feeling multiplied and Darius was right in front of her.

"They need you near the Young Ward." He clasped her on the shoulder glancing at Malachi. His eyes widened and he made a bow of respect.

Orion nodded - turning to Malachi. "This is Darius," she said a soft expression entering her voice. "Darius this is one of the travelers we saw in the station."

Darius nodded. "Ay, the one who helped the injured woman," he said. "Well- you've got two choices, you can go with Orion - or I can show you to our main chamber."

Orion waited for Malachi's reply. In fact, she was sort of wondering what his name was - she couldn't remember if he'd introduced himself earlier - but she was sure he hadn't. While she waited she turned to Darius.

"How bad is it? We haven't got another child branding have we?" Her voice rose and seemed to cut out with emotion as she forced the words out. Instead of replying Darius gave her a serious look. There was a lot in the look that passed between them - evidence of having been together in the situation for a long time - unsaid emotions - and an unspoken bond that clearly had the resonance of being woven by the Lord.

_______________________________________________

The person ducked quickly. "Oi! Watch where you point that thing," a voice said. "I'm only wanting to know if you need help, is a all."

The person didn't approach any closer, but it was clear there was a bit of bravado in the tone - as if the person were trying to sound older than their years. The person didn't say anything else but waited for the lightening wielder to answer.

10/17/2011 . Edited 10/23/2011 #42
MongooseDelta

Orion fell silent and Malachi wondered what she was thinking. He was really good at reading people, having had a few hundred years worth of practice in situations where his life depended upon an accurate reading, but it was harder when he was behind them as was currently the case. Sure, much could be determined by their gait, the angle of their head and shoulders, the tension in their hands, etc. If he guessed correctly she was anxious about something, and he wondered if it had anything to do with him, but he really had no way of knowing. So he just followed her in silence.

Given the opportunity to visit children in trouble or take the grand tour with the man who just bowed to him -- That was unusual, but okay -- he chose the grand tour.

"Thank you, Orion," he said, "for your hospitality. I hope to see you again soon."

10/18/2011 #43
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Orion nodded giving him a warm smile. She turned toward a large area making for a group of bustling healers. After she had disappeared in the crowd Darius grasped his hand and shook.

"It's nice to meet you, Malachi," he said. He then extended his arms to include the large chamber, which was a mixture of Classical and Gothic style architecture. There were many archways or half-stone walls that provided the space with partitions making it easier to map out and divide into sections. Everywhere around them people were rushing in, leading children, adults, and the elderly around, or speaking with people dressed in gray or black.

"This is the main atrium. Orion discovered this place through an entrance near the mance and church that her father owned and preached at. The tunnels that lead here can be accessed all through the city - but only those of deep Faith, those in genuine danger, or those who wish to help others selflessly can reach the atrium. The settlements can be accessed by following pathways that lead off from the atrium. There are actually over 200 settlements around - since this particular area of the city seems to have layers."

He gestured toward a slightly dirtier part of the atrium. "That over there is our artillery master. If you need your weapons to be serviced or safely kept that's where to go." He tilted his head regarding Malachi for a few minutes. Then he said, quietly, "You're an old soul aren't you - one who has been blessed by God for your whole life?"

He felt immediate trepidation after he'd asked the question, mainly because he was sure - that despite her ability to read and understand people's deepest emotions, he was sure Orion had not perceived Malachi's true importance. However, it was his gift of perception and his tactical mind set that told Darius or gave him the inkling that Malachi- who was obviously a religious man - was somehow of a higher caliber than most taking part in this mission. He felt trepidation because he was - in all honesty - in awe of this newcomer and seriously wondered what he would bring or what his role would be in the larger scheme of things.

10/22/2011 . Edited 10/23/2011 #44
Fleur-de-lis Evans

Here's the answers to Valentine's question he PMed me. And also to Jac - for I made a few mistakes in my response to his questions after thinking them through more clearly to answer Valentine. So, here's my answers:

The tunnel systems are a fantasy/religiously based idea. There are several components of them.

1. The Fantasy basis is they only exist for those in need of help - and can only be accessed by those who have a deep Faith of some kind. You can accidentally end up in the systems branch off tunnels but you will only be led to the settlement if you don't hold malice toward the people there and genuinely need aid. So - the fantasy basis is that the tunnels change to keep the settlement safe. So if you end up in them - through any means and you mean harm to a person who is being aided you will find yourself unable to reach the person you are trying to harm or the settlement.

2. The settlement is a Faith guarded safe haven. Anyone - Muslims, Christians, Buddists, Taoists, Bahais, Jews, etcetera can gain access to the tunnels. However, they can only reach the settlement if they are true in their Faith. If they are doubtful or faking belief the tunnels will not lead them - or their guide - to the atrium of the settlement. Atheists are a special case. If they are truly in danger or being persecuted they can be lead to the atrium - but they cannot take up residence in the actual haven.

3. The tunnels span the whole city - you can get anywhere you want from them. That means anyone can access the underground tunnels from non-specific locations. But- locations like the ones I've already mentioned - from the Underground Station or the few routes Orion suggested Marlena take - can only be accessed from the outside by a specific hand movement - which is only known by a few of the people, Orion and Darius/Damian being two of them, who happen to be pure in their Faith and genuine in their want/need to help others.

4. Keep in mind there are exceptions for these rules. For example, someone strong in their faith who had figured out a way to mask their bad intention so well even a higher power wouldn't be able to tell (so perhaps a rouge priest or bishop or someone who has a grudge because they've been excommunicated from the church etc.)

5. So:

A. If you want your character to access the tunnels - without the intention of finding the settlement - go ahead. Maybe they will run into a guide who can point them in the right direction.

B. If you want your character to access the tunnels - with the intention of finding someone being harbored - that's okay, too. However, if they don't have some sort of tracking device - like Jac's squadrons do - it will be very difficult for them to get to the person they desire. And - likewise -they will not be able to use malicious means at the locations I have specified in my post - again the Underground Entrance, or the various escape routes suggested to Marlena would not be able to be used by them to enter.

C. If your character is apart of the settlement - a scout, a provisions provider, a craftsman they must have Faith in a Higher Power. They can be any religion. They can be in any position and they will know the entrance hand pattern and exit hand pattern for the specific entrances. And they will be able to find the main atrium and branch of settlements without much effort.

[Jac: I am willing to go back and change my post in accordance with yours to fit the circumstances now that I have put some more flexibility and thought into the tunnel system]

10/22/2011 . Edited 10/22/2011 #45
FierceOcelot

[Quoting Fleur (the huge block of text was overwhelming for me . ) :

The tunnel systems are a fantasy/religiously based idea. There are several components of them.

1. The Fantasy basis is they only exist for those in need of help - and can only be accessed by those who have a deep Faith of some kind. You can accidentally end up in the systems branch off tunnels but you will only be led to the settlement if you don't hold malice toward the people there and genuinely need aid. So - the fantasy basis is that the tunnels change to keep the settlement safe. So if you end up in them - through any means and you mean harm to a person who is being aided you will find yourself unable to reach the person you are trying to harm or the settlement.

2. The settlement is a Faith guarded safe haven. Anyone - Muslims, Christians, Buddists, Taoists, Bahais, Jews, etcetera can gain access to the tunnels. However, they can only reach the settlement if they are true in their Faith. If they are doubtful or faking belief the tunnels will not lead them - or their guide - to the atrium of the settlement. Atheists are a special case. If they are truly in danger or being persecuted they can be lead to the atrium - but they cannot take up residence in the actual haven.

3. The tunnels span the whole city - you can get anywhere you want from them. That means anyone can access the underground tunnels from non-specific locations. But- locations like the ones I've already mentioned - from the Underground Station or the few routes Orion suggested Marlena take - can only be accessed from the outside by a specific hand movement - which is only known by a few of the people, Orion and Darius/Damian being two of them, who happen to be pure in their Faith and genuine in their want/need to help others.

4. Keep in mind there are exceptions for these rules. For example, someone strong in their faith who had figured out a way to mask their bad intention so well even a higher power wouldn't be able to tell (so perhaps a rouge priest or bishop or someone who has a grudge because they've been excommunicated from the church etc.)

5. So: A. If you want your character to access the tunnels - without the intention of finding the settlement - go ahead. Maybe they will run into a guide who can point them in the right direction.

B. If you want your character to access the tunnels - with the intention of finding someone being harbored - that's okay, too. However, if they don't have some sort of tracking device - like Jac's squadrons do - it will be very difficult for them to get to the person they desire. And - likewise -they will not be able to use malicious means at the locations I have specified in my post - again the Underground Entrance, or the various escape routes suggested to Marlena would not be able to be used by them to enter.

C. If your character is apart of the settlement - a scout, a provisions provider, a craftsman they must have Faith in a Higher Power. They can be any religion. They can be in any position and they will know the entrance hand pattern and exit hand pattern for the specific entrances. And they will be able to find the main atrium and branch of settlements without much effort.

My response:

Ah, I understand now. But don't bother with changing your post; as I said I'll edit mine and think up something else, as your overall approach has influenced me to get rid of my old plan and make a new one from scratch.

Mongoose or Fleur: Please obliterate the OOC conversation, EXCEPT for this post. I want to keep this as a point of reference for later on.]

[EDIT: I have edited my IC post to match Fleur's. ]

10/22/2011 . Edited 10/22/2011 #46
FierceOcelot

Marlena eased up slightly when the silhouette's owner replied. Did she need help? Maybe, maybe not, but she wasn't one to immediately trust whoever showed up.

"Who are you?" she asked, though she stopped channeling lightning. She could be ready to fight in an instant, so doing this made little difference other than appearing to be less threatening.

10/22/2011 #47
Fleur-de-lis Evans

A girl - about twelve - in gray fatigues, bare foot, with a little cap on her head appeared. "I'm just a scout," she said her dialect from Essex coming through sharply. "I patrol this area and see if anyone needs help. There's men out there trying to get in, ain't there?"

She had only stepped out from behind the small jutting stone-beam she'd hidden behind a few seconds ago, so there was still fifty feet between them. And although her voice was quiet, her words echoed with clarity.

10/22/2011 #48
FierceOcelot

Marlena lowered her hand in the same manner someone might lower a gun. It was just a kid...then again, just kids could be capable of actions most people couldn't imagine. She'd seen that kind of thing happen in a few of the third-world countries, and while this one was far from that level, the experience had left her suspicious of anyone including those less than half her age, in terms of physical appearance; Marlena looked to be in her mid-twenties.

Unsure of how to respond, Marlena nodded at the girl's explanation. Since her brother's death, she'd somewhat lost her ability to interact with children...

"Men trying to get in? Near this spot?" Marlena asked.

10/22/2011 #49
MongooseDelta

Malachi raised an eyebrow and half shrugged at the "Old soul" question.

"I suppose," He said. "Don't put much stock in age, soul age, real age, any age. And blessing? That's rather an ambiguous term. Have you heard the people in one particular group? Don't know who they are, but when you ask how they are, they say, "Blessed and highly favored!" I always wondered what they meant. Never bothered to ask."

10/23/2011 #50
Fleur-de-lis Evans

"The tunnels only change when people who mean 'arm to others are tryin' to get in."

She glanced at the woman's hands. There was warm energy emanating from them. "Are you looking for a way out?"

________________________________

"I merely meant - led by God," Darius clarified. "There's something different about your aura than most people who are brought here."

He indicated the room at large. "I can show you anywhere you're interested in," he said. He added, almost as an afterthought, "I think the people who claim they are 'highly favoured' don't truly hold the interest of the Holy Power in their hearts. They are somewhat vain."

He shrugged. Then he remembered there had been a girl with Malachi. "Where is the woman you were helping?"

10/23/2011 #51
FierceOcelot

Marlena crossed her arms, looking at the child in front of her with light gray eyes. Marlena's eye color made it appear as if she was blind, though anyone that watched her look at and track objects and movement could tell otherwise.

"Well, now I'm looking for a different way, if there's someone trying to get in from here."

_____________

The cops were baffled to see the guy just disappear from thin air. What he had said flew over their heads at that point. Then the lead cop flinched visibly as the strange man reappeared from behind and tapped him on the head.

It was official. The policemen were now freaked out.

"Take him down!" One of them said, pulling his own taser, taking aim at the floating guy and firing, though the leader probably would have taken care of it himself once he recovered from the surprise.

_____________

Sergey was angry.

Since when did people disappear into thin air, only to come back and pummel you? Probably never. So he knew he was on the right track. Well, there was that fact to support it, and the fact that the one doing the pummeling was the guy he'd tried to follow.

So Sergey played the part of a terrified teenager; he took the beating, stayed down, agreed with whatever the man said. And waited for him and his comrades to disregard him, in favor of a...flying hat. Well, Sergey had seen stranger things.

So, that was when he made his move.

Sergey crawled a little further from the four, trying to avoid gathering attention. He lifted himself up so as to get to a sitting position, then began two transmutations, or conversions, as he liked to call it. The first was to absorb a small portion of the sidewalk beneath him, in order to heal himself. The second was...well, they'd find out once he got it going.

As he did this, he noticed the hat had dropped to the ground and began to glow...

_____________

Pink raised his weapon. He'd had to deal with enough mythical, magical, whatever, B.S. for one day. This hat, whatever the hell it was, was going down. But just before he could fire, he saw movement in the corner of his vision. He snapped to attention, looked to see what it was.

A giant...cannon.

Aimed at him and his comrades.

The kid held a Zippo lighter in one hand, worked the flint-wheel ignition to start a small flame, and put it to the fuse. He had an expression on his face that lingered between joy and anger. "Enjoy your little present..."

The fuse, already short, had started, and the kid ducked and covered his ears in anticipation.

"#%^$!!" Pink panicked and sprinted down the sidewalk, passing the glowing hat without a second thought. Blue and Red, arguably the wiser ones, saw what prompted Pink's actions and quickly dropped to the ground, out of the Tsar Cannon's line of fire. The hitman stood like a deer in the headlights.

The Tsar Cannon went off with a deafening roar; Red and Blue's hearing momentarily turned fuzzy and muffled. It was like a mortar had landed next to them. The 890-millimeter shot sailed past the two, narrowly missed Pink, but caught the hitman square in the jaw.

There was a loud grating that echoed through the train station as the cannonball deflected off of the hitman's shield and smashed into the ceiling. Fist-sized chunks of concrete fell, followed by the cannonball with a collective thud a distance behind the hitman's body. The blow had shattered his lower jaw into shards and split several vertebrae in his neck.

Bottom line: he was dead.

The three Spec-Ops agents(Pink had come to his senses and dropped to the ground as well) that survived stayed where they were as the boy walked past them nonchalantly. None moved to stop him or shoot at him; merely stared.

10/24/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/25/2011 #52
Monsieur-Dollface

Aw...They didn't want to play tag, and instead drew funky looking weapons.

"Tasers?"

He had barely said the word, when something struck him, he guessed from the taser, and an strong electrical current swept through him. Flying upwards anymore probably wasn't a good idea, even if he could focus on performing the action. Instead, he found himself stumbling, falling, to the ground, pain still sweeping through him.

"Not...nice"

The ground was harder than he expected and he couldn't lift his arm to disappear. Geez, these things took a toll....Was he getting hit more than once? He couldn't really tell. His vision was hazy, and he wasn't going tot allow himself to pass out, no he wasn't. Where was....Niko? He weakly groaned, and remained still on the pavement. Did these things paralyze too? It was hard to move...

~~~~~~

Elipsion decided he liked the kid. He liked the anger. And his power was....very, very interesting. The individuals that he had been following had now dropped lower on his interst list. Maybe he'd finish them off.

The hat was now gone. In it's place, was him, Elipsion, only known as Niko to his wearer. Elipsion grinned, small fangs showing. He'd stand out of course, but he didn't care about that. He stood about 5'10'', thin but with lean muscle. His hair was white, shoulder length and slightly messy here and there. His skin was a soft shadowy grey, and he wore all black, with dark purple hints. Not shoes on his clawed feet. A purple ribbon ran around his neck, and hung long down to his waist. The ribbon was the only thing that stayed with him in this and hat form.

Looking down at the three idiots with light purple, slit-pupiled eyes, his gaze rested briefly on the one who he thought he was going to hurt him. Not that he'd seen him, but more sensed it before. And now he was visible. Tapping short. yet sharp purple claws on a fang, Elipsion shifted his attention back to the boy.

10/24/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/25/2011 #53
FierceOcelot

The cops went over to the man and drew batons; some were planning to beat him, others just wanting to handcuff him and end the spectacle. But something stopped them.

A loud...explosion, it sounded like, rang through the near-empty station. The police stopped their activities and looked in the direction they'd heard it come from.

They saw two men and one youth: one man dressed in combat gear on the ground, looking to the other two; the other man standing, in odd attire and white hair; and the teen walking casually and stopping to address the second man.

An odd sight, but then, so was this floating man...

Two of the eight cops moved to and handcuffed the floating guy, intending to take him to a police car and figure out what to do with him. The others went to investigate the three strangers who'd seemed to appear from nowhere, possibly the cause of the "explosion".

____________

Sergey ignored the three Spec-Ops agents, instead going over to the hitman. He had an interesting shield; it didn't save him, but it did lower the damage from the cannon greatly, in fact deflected the shot...

He reached down and touched the device on the hitman's chest, getting its composition. Very, very interesting...Sergey would want this tech for his own use later. After that, he tapped the hitman's corpse, converting the body and the device into mist.

Only then did he acknowledge the man(originally hat) standing ahead of him. Sergey's light gray eyes focused on the newcomer's purple, slit-pupiled ones.

"Hm. So who're you? Vamp? Demon? Something else? I'll assume you aren't usually a hat." Sergey turned to the Spec-Ops agents and waved them off. They were a minor threat, when they were compared to other enemies he'd dealt with.

____________

Red, Blue and Pink rose and retreated, quietly. They knew when they were outclassed, and were more than willing to trade pride for their lives.

____________

Sergey watched them leave, arms crossed, then looked to the white-haired newcomer, only to spot police approaching from behind the stranger. He gestured to them, not really caring what this man--or creature-- did to them. If he did nothing, Sergey would react instead.

____________

"Police! Put your hands up NOW!" Guns instead of tasers drawn, the cops closed in on the two cautiously.

10/24/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/25/2011 #54
Fleur-de-lis Evans

The ground below their feet rocked suddenly and there was a sensation of a great shifting in the tunnel. The girl threw out her arms bracing herself against the wall and closing her eyes. After a few long minutes the tunnel settled.

They were facing in a new direction than they had been minutes before, and instead of several branches to the path there were only two, one leading to the left and once leading slightly right of centre.

She got her breath back and said, "Aye. And that's proof." She indicated the two paths they could take. "If you're being pursued or anyone is attempting to find the tunnels - with intent to harm another - they shift. Judgin' by that, though, there's been some sort of intense battle."

She shrugged. "So, do ya want to go to the market or the settlement? The market is at the centre of old town.

10/25/2011 #55
Monsieur-Dollface

"Hey.....where we going...? I've gotta...find my hat.."

Celes looked up at the cops nicely escorting him away. Well...more or less dragging right now since he found that his legs had become exremely shaky. He wriggled his wrists in the cuffs that they had placed on him....Nope, couldn't get his wrists through.

"Hey...could you loosen these? They're a bit tight....Cutting off my circulation tight, you know? I COULD LOSE MY HANDS!!!"

Celes then slightly panicked. What if he did really lose his hands?! He needed them for variouis reasons: like eating, and hugging his hat, and...and....many other important things! He couldn't even play...TAG ANYMORE!

"You guys should REALLY take these off. Hands are an important body part to have."

Celes' smile was a shaky frown. Playing the fool and dumb was easy. Crazy? No. He wasn't crazy. Not at all. Who ever said he was crazy? Except for that one guy down the street from where he lived, but what did he know?! He was only a professional pyschaitrist. So he had gotten Niko to take care of the mean man. And then there was that OTHER guy...

~~~~~

Elipsion only slightly twitched when that fool had decided to scream an order right into his ear. They were also interupting this confrontation he was about to have with this....delightful human being. From what he sensed from these idiots behind him, they were of no interest to him.

"If I were you, I would leave my presence before you end up with an extremely shortened lifespan."

His voice had the soft accent of a Transylvanian. Just enough to notice, but strong enough to over power. Again without turning, Elipsion held up his right hand, slightly spread out.

"Five seconds."

10/25/2011 #56
FierceOcelot

Marlena slipped on something wet on the tunnel floor and fell on her back, hard, letting out a small gasp as the tunnel shifted. She groaned and muttered a curse that someone the girl's age had no business hearing, then rose to her feet.

"Urgh....settlement..." she grumbled, checking the back of her shirt in case something had gotten stuck. It was clean, fortunately, so she refocused on the girl.

______________

One of the two cops prodded the strange man sharply with a baton. "Shut up." They continued for heading for a police cruiser, dragging the man with them, with increasingly rough treatment.

______________

The six cops shifted nervously at the white-haired guy's warning. Too many strange things had happened today. A man floated, a hat flew off, a loud explosion... But they had jobs to do. They had to persist.

"Get on the ground, now!" One of them pulled out a taser; deadly force wasn't advocated in this type of confrontation. The two seemed to be unarmed.

The cop with the taser prepared to fire. He would do so in three seconds, as opposed to the five-second warning the man had given.

______________

Something occurred to Sergey while he was watching the ##%-kicking about to unfold, and he addressed the white-haired man. "Hm. Where's that guy whose head you were on? I don't see him around..."

10/25/2011 #57
MongooseDelta

"Guided by God, I can accept. I would hope so, what's more," Malachi said. He kept his mouth shut regarding the comment on blessed and highly favored.

"As for the woman, Marlena I think was her name? She stayed back to look for a way out . . . of this place. I wasn't clear on what that involved, but Orion seemed to think she could find it, and she seemed confident in her ability to take care of herself."

Even as he said it Malachi chided himself silently for feeling guilty about his decision to leave her, and for trying to justify it. He had done his piece to assist her and God hadn't directed him otherwise when they parted ways. This was just his flesh trying to tear him down again.

"What I've seen so far looks like a refugee camp. Can you show me how you are governed?"

10/25/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 10/25/2011 #58
Monsieur-Dollface

(Elipsion has a SOFT accent, I made a typo saying it was strong. It's not)

Celes flinched quite noticably, and a gasp of pain escaped his mouth. They were getting rougher, which meant that probably anything he said from now on was adding to future bodily harm. He tried picking up his feet, so that he was being less dragged, but it wasn't quite a success. So, with as much concentration as he could muster at the moment, he hovered up a few inches, so that he was more like being pulled smoothly along.

"Shutting up"

~~~~~~

Elipsion kept note of the cop who had decided to die first, and kept his back turned to them.

"I'm not sure at the moment, but I'm sure that he is quite alright. I'll find out momentarily."

He whipped around and grabbed the closest cop's arm, and nipped his hand, causing just enough blood for him to taste, then pushed the cop back. This was one of the few techniques that Elipsion had for getting into people's minds and thoughts. With this technique, he could pull any information from the mind of the individual he had bitten. He had other ways, but this was the fastest at the moment.

"He got himself arrested."

He paused, then looked at the cop he had bitten.

"Nice family you have."

10/25/2011 #59
Fleur-de-lis Evans

The girl moved forward cautiously, "You alright?" She checked the woman over, making sure there wasn't any shards of stone or other materials stuck to her shirt. "Alright, this way," she said moving toward the right hand path.

"Um... What's your name?"

_________________________________

Darius nodded in response. "I see," he said. "Usually, Orion gives someone - who decides not to join the settlement or someone who only stays temporarily - the exit signal. Usually, the tunnels will format themselves based upon a person's need so they will be able to reach safety or use the city's underground tunnels to move around more quickly. People can go all their lives without reaching the heart of the underground city."

Before he could continue, the whole room rumbled and the floor seemed to go through a large wave - as if the ground itself were rolling in at high tide. A few inches of dust cascaded to the ground kicking up clouds as the ground and walls settled back into a calm and anchored state.

A flash of despair clouded his mind. The feeling was strong, and her realized the disruption must have interrupted Orion in her healing process. He shoo himself out of his trance tuning into Malachi's last question.

"Governed," he said slowly. His mind took a few minutes to fully process the word - as he was still in shock from the tunnel movements. "We don't have any thing like a governing body. There are a few of us - myself and Orion - included who have taken the role of leadership in terms of seeking out those in need and counseling those who seek it. The rest is done through the Lord."

10/25/2011 #60
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