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[i]From the diary of Rev. Caleb Mclaughlan:
February 6th, 2179

Billowing clouds of sulpher rolled overhead as the chaotic skyscape thundered triumphant victory over those bellow. Black rain poured in sheets upon us, covering the ground with a slick oily sludge. Crys of dying men could be heard all around me but when I looked up I could see nothing through the choking fog that enveloped us. On my knees, defeated, I wept bitterly in the mud, tears rolling down a face scarred with the wounds of my cause. Clashes of steel and blasting explosions ripped through the air as I sought to gain purchase upon the uneven and shifting ground. Gazing upon my dead or dying comrades I choked back a single sob and fled, the sounds of the triumphant Corp. howling in my ears. Bullets tore the dirt at my feet as the corporations elite soldiers mowed down the few survivors who had surrendered themselves in false hope of mercy.

There was to be no mercy, not now, not ever as we who fought so valiantly were crushed into the dust. Blinded by the silted rain I stumbled onward, desperate to flee the carnage behind me. Hidden by the smoke I thanked the Gods whom tonight so many had laid their lives for. This final, apocalyptic battle had ended. United under a single flag of freedom we marched, only to be slaughtered by the superior numbers and force of our enemy. maybe this was it, the End of Days that had been prophesied in so many ancient texts and holy stories throughout the ages. Prehaps the time of man was at an end and we were destined to destroy this world. As I fled the feild this was my only thought as I sought my salvation in the wilderness. As David once hid from Saul I gathered my strength. I did survive that day, though many of my brothers did not. For those who gave their lives for me, I wept.

Only few of us remain now, those who, like me, ran from their death and found safety in the ruins of old towns and the solitude of dying forests. We are scattered and few, the people of the old ways, but we remain. As the world around us sprouts up in high towers an clear domes we remain ever vigilant for that which is our time. Divided and persecuted we still remain, for we know that a time will come. We know that our time will come and we shall once more return order and life to this world so hellish and dark. The sun, entrapt by these sulphurus clouds of hell, shall once more break through and light shall smile on our people, of this I am sure. We, the few, the blessed shall...[/i]

Karen looked up from the few scattered pages that she had salvaged a few days earlier. The final page was torn and stained, making further reading impossible. Seated, cross-legged on the floor she turned her eyes to the ancient clock that hung on the dirt streak wall opposite. 7.00, it was now officially night time, curfew would be exacted in a few hours, making travel above ground dangerous, if not downright stupid, especially for those labelled as criminals.

"Like me..." Karen's voice was low and soft as she spoke out loud to herself. Placing the fragile pages back in their sturdy cover she rested what was left of the book upon the table that sat near her bed. Leavering herself from the floor she looked about her meager dwelling. The room was barely big enough to fit her bed, let alone the table and wardrobe that tok up most of the remaining space. Stretching her arms she turned the handle of her door and padded softly out into the corridor.

The walls were lined with peeling wallpaper, the old carpet was holed and stained. The floorboards creeked ominously as she walked, echoing through the corridors. This was her home now, an old abandoned hotel that dwelt in the heart of the slumming district. A few of her kind lived here. Angels hiding from the world like she was. This was her family, her Clan and as the reached the balcony to look down over the common room she knew. She would die to protect them all.
[b]OOC:[/b] Opening post kids, time to get started. Shall we?

[b]Note For All Fallen:[/b] Could all Fallen characters please post in [color=red]red[/color] please. Just to make things easier. Oh and any questions you might have are to go to Arcadia, it makes things less confusing.
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OOC: Gah... how to follow on from that? *sigh* Well, I can try ;)


"Great..." murmured Ton idly, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor, as he turned his gaze away from his wristwatch. "Curfew..."
The whole idea was just... insane. People weren't animals, why lock them up? They weren't all children either. So why weren't they allowed to go out after dark? Although a man of many, many guises, even Ton didn't like the idea of going out after the curfew. They were everywhere, the long arm of the law. And Ton would just as well stay hidden, he didn't need to be IDed right now.
He leaned back against the wall with a quiet sigh, letting his hazel gaze wander around the darkened room. This place would do until morning. Then he could get out of this entire Sector. Amazing what a little computer trickery could do in this day and age. Speaking of computers... He pulled his bag over and unzipped it. Nothing fancy, just what he needed. His laptop computer being one of those things. He booted it up, listening to its hypnotic hum and irregular beeping noises.


He paused for a moment.

WWW:/cd systemops_
Password: ******
--Access has been denied at this server. If this error continues, please contact the server "systemops"--

He could go further... he could try going internally. He paused for a moment, considering the possibility. But then decided, no. He didn't have the right equipment, and there was no point going into the systemops server blind as a blindfolded bat.

But bats have other ways to see... ways that normal people don't understand - a different way of looking at life and the people in it. He'd just have to be a little more patient.
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[COLOR=darkblue]Mika sat in the common room. She was smiling and playing with some of the younger members of the Clan. She heard a noise and looked up. On the balcony above stood Karen O'Shea. The Clan Leader. Mika glanced at her before returning to the people she was playing with. Mika took a glance at an old clock hanging on the grubby wall. It was almost curfew. Mika entertained by playing with water and she made rainbows with what light they had available. Then she decided to go off for a while. She walked out of the common room. The floorboards squeaked and groaned. She walked up the stairs and onto the balcony.

"Karen. What's on your mind? You seem so occupied by thought."Mika said.
"I'm thinking about this Clan...If Technoglobe ever got me...What would happen? I know one thing. I would never tell them the location or any information about this Clan. I'll die to protect it. It's my duty as leader to protect everyone here."Karen said strongly, looking at Mika.

Crystal blue locked with emerald green. Mika gasped and her eyes changed to a different shade of crystal blue. The colour her eyes turned whenever using magic. Then they changed back to emerald green. Mika panted.

"I understand...Our powers came together by our will to protect this clan. The people here are my only family besides my father who is growing old and weak by the day. I will do anything to help this clan...If you ever need help....You know who to ask."Mika said as she walked away.

The floorboards continued to screech,squeak and groan as Mika walked into another room.

"Father...Are you awake?"Mika asked sitting in a ricketty chain next to a figure in a torn and worn bed.
"Mika...It's you."the figure said. He reached out with his hand to touch her. Mika gasped. His hand was cold.
"Father....What's wrong?"Mika panicked.

At that moment,Mika knew he was dying. No one called her Miklara unless it was formal or they were being serious about something.

"Father..."Mika said as tears started to well up in her eyes.
"Miklara...My dear daughter. I'm sorry to leave you....I'll be with your mother,watching over you. Never forget that your mother and I will always be watching over you...."he said as he took his final breath and drifted into an eternal slumber.
"Father!!"Mika cried as the tears fell.
"Father!!!"Mika cried louder as she shook his dead body. Hoping he would wake up, that it was all a joke. But she knew it was real. She sobbed on the body and cried her heart out. The rest of the night was spent in his room. Crying until she was hoarse and her eyes were red and puffy and her cheeks were stained with tears. She couldn't believe he had finally left her. Mika weakly got up on wobbly legs and covered her fathers body with the blanket. She stumbled out of the room. Her vision was blurry from tears.

Mika made it to Karen's room. Karen was there. Immediately she knew something was wrong. When Mika came into the room Karen saw the terrible state she was in and knew what the only cause for that could have been.

"Mika....Come and sit down."Karen said softly,helping her down.
"He's gone!He's finally gone!They both left me!"she sobbed.
"It's ok Mika....Let it all out."Karen said soothingly as Mika started to cry again.[/COLOR]
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[size=1][color=red]OOC: This post is brought to you in [b]red[/b] for Doukeshi's viewing pleasure! Also.. I just want to make a religious disclaimer here, and remind you all that I don't necessarily agree with what I write in here. I don't mean to offend anyone either, but just know that it's probably only going to get worse. I mean that in the best way possible. ^_^

Morgan Kendra stood with her arms crossed, an imposing figure against the crimson sky behind her. The sun was setting fast and curfew was quick to join it. Soon there would be much for her strike team to do. Her bright yellow eyes stared unblinking into the ruins of an old church directly below her, watching the shadows grow on the old stones as the sun disappeared behind the horizon for the night. Sources had led them to this spot on the pretense that it was an Angel stronghold; a hideaway for the outcasts of society. Her eyes narrowed imperceptably.

Behind her, the fallen of Strike Team 19 waited, some impatiently, for the carnage to begin. They were the elites; the best Technoglobe could find. All were willing antagonists for their own reasons, whether they were personal or if they just worked for the money. Either way, ST19 had never failed in bringing in their targets, dead or alive. It was a record Kendra cherished, and she was damn well prepared to make sure it stayed that way.

After a moment of silence, she flicked her fingers towards the church carelessly and uttered the fatal "Go." All at once the fallen lept to the ground, some braving the long jump while others preferred to leap from one roof to the next, towards the targeted church. Tonight they would search and destroy - those were the orders given to Kendra, and those were the orders she gave. It was simple, just as this mission would be simple. It had been quite some time since ST19 had met any real challenge, and though that met success for Technoglobe, Kendra was disappointed for it. Perhaps this night would prove to be different?

For the fallen of ST19, the instructions had been crystal clear: [i]Search the premises, kill any Angels found, and then destroy the evidence.[/i] And so they did just that, with reckless abandon and definite ease. They all specialized in something, as Kendra did with telekinesis, but their prowess in the field was generally unmatched on all standards, and their style ruthless. Even Technoglobe, who delighted in their extreme competence, was wary of their power.

[i]And they damn well should be,[/i] Kendra thought darkly.

Below her, a small explosion was heard and a stained glass window depicting the birth of Jesus was shattered to pieces as flames burst forth, licking up all the oxygen they could reach. Other windows followed soon after, and soon the entire church was engulfed in a red fury. Slowly, Kendra made her way down to the front of the church, relishing in the heat the fire gave off. Her eyes glittered with malice as she watched the smoke billow upwards.

The wooden door of the church before her swung violently on it's hinges as a young man stumbled out, frantic, his eyes full of fear. When he saw her standing before him, the picture of hell itself, his body froze in place and he knew it was no use. Kendra just smiled and gave him a little wave.

He trembled with a nameless emotion, a combination of all those feelings one meets with when death is certain and the future is very uncertain. His crystal blue eyes were bright and determined, even as his voice shook, "There will be retribution," he whispered, and then he threw his head back and screamed.

Kendra's eyebrows arched up as the sky around them suddenly darkened and clouds billowed in quickly. The rain came instantly, quelling the flames that covered the old church. The man gasped and fell to his knees, his strength spent with that last attempt to save something he so cherished. The hawk-eyed woman stepped towards him, thoroughly drenched and a tad amused, though she was sure her leather pants would not stand for such horrible treatment. Her fingers slid through his hair before gripping it tightly, pulling his head back so she could look him in the eye. More explosions sounded from inside the church, followed by a number of blood-curdling screams, and the man shuddered in response to them.

"You hear that?" She asked quietly, her eyes cold despite the small smile that pulled on her lips. "That's the sound of God laughing."

When the members of her strike team emerged from the church, they found her waiting for them patiently, perched beneath a rusted, beat up metal cross, her dark hair matted against her neck and back. Above her, the young man was tied up to the cross in the same style that Jesus had been, all those years ago, a trickle of blood on the corner of his lips the only sign of his death. It was her own mock crucifixion. Later, when asked how his untimely end came about, she only smiled and replied that he had died of a broken heart.[/color][/size]
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It was just before curfew when Steph entered the Old hotel, which was the clan's home for the moment. As she entered the common room as they did everynight at curfew so Karen could do a head count, Steph noticed that there was a lack of Karen. 'Great' she thought to herself 'if Karen's busy then i suppose i'll havre to do it.' Really Steph didn't mind donig this, as she had grown up with Karen and was as good as second in commond.

As she climbed the stairs to the balcony she knew she would never get their attention, they just didn't hold as much respect for her as they did for Karen. Once she reached the balcony, she stopped and closed her eyes. Slowly she levitated over the railings. The room went silent. "As you have probably guessed, Karen's not available at the moment to do the head count, so i'm going to do it instead." There was a short pause. "So is anyone missing?"
"Mika and Karen." came the reply.
"Thank you. As of now all doors and windows will be locked by my hand, so don't try and sneek out coz i'll know if you do." With that all the doors and windows were locked. "Thank you and good night. As always you are free to do what you like when you like, as long as it is in this hotel." Steph lowered herself to the floor and head off up the stairs to find Karen, she wasn't looking forward to this, and she knew exactly what Karen was going to say about her levitating. Using her magic to lock the doors and windows was one thing, as she did that everynight, but Karen was going to have a real go at her for levitaing...

my first Datacrashing post.... yeah.
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OOC: Loving that post Arcadia, dark and cruel, it's great. Well done to the rest of you guys too.

Karen sat on the edge of her bed, the shaking form of Mika clutched in her arms. Running a free hand over the girl's dark hair she hugged her tightly as Mika vented her sorrow. Unused to such emotional situations, Karen tried her best to sooth the distraught girl, serving as a stable source of comfort in this most painful of times. The girl had just lost her father and at this moment in time it was the mot painful thing in the world. One of the oldest members of the Clan, Mika's father was highly respected and would be sorely missed, not jut by the teenager sobbing in her arms, but by all the Angels of the Clan. Karen herself had never known the death of a parent, her mother having died when she was born. She didn't remember much about her father, but those memories that she could recall were tinted by the feelings of betrayal and pain that she felt for his name now. Mika was blessed for having had a father who loved her, who wasn't afraid of her and who didn't leave her stranded to fend for herself as a child. Dismissing her own selfish thoughts Karen focused on the child in her arms, tugging her closer.

Murmering softly Karen pressed her fingers under Mika's chin and lifted her face so she could see her. Mika's eyes were red and swollen and dirty tear tracks stained her cheeks as she looked up mournfully into the kind eyes of the older Angel. Karen soothed her palm across the child's cheek, wipping away the remaining tears that clung to the skin.

"It was his time," Karen spoke with kindness, her voice a soft and calming murmer, "He is with the Gods now and he is safe." Encircling her arms areounf Mika she held her close and rested her cheek on the child's dark hair. Mika sniffed and closed her eyes, resting her head on Karen's shoulder.

"I know, but I wish he was here." A lone tear squeezed from between her clenched eyelids and slipped unbidden down her cheek. It dripped from her chin and stained the cloth of the other Angel's shirt in a single drop, spreading across the surface silently. Looking down at the girl Karen smiled sadly and squeezed Mika slightly in reassurance.

"It's okay to cry, there is no punishment for those who lament the dead."

Hearing thudding footsteps, Karen looked up from her charge and gazed across at the closed door. Raising her hand she motioned for the door to lock as the handle suddenly jerked in call for entrance.

"Karen! You in here?" Stephs inquiring voice called from behind the door. Closing her eyes Karen moved herself slowly from Mika's embrace, moving quietly towards the door. Mika watched with tearfilled eyes, resting her head on the pillow and drawing her knees up against her chest in an attempt to comfort herself. Glancing back Karen unlocked the door and slid quickly out into the corridor. Closing the door quietly behind her Karen looked up at her friend, raising a blonde brow in a questioning expression.

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Ton sighed. Why was the time moving so damnned slow? He paused for a moment, listening to the creaking sounds around him. This place was old, that much was sure enough. In fact, computer records scheduled it for demolition in a matter of days. How's that for timing?

The wind blew past cracked windows, reminding the hacker of previous periods of confinement. What would he do if they found him anyway? Insinctively his flicked his gaze across the room, checking for escape roots. The stairs were always an option, although there were more holes in it than in a hunk of swiss cheese. The window was another viable option. Quietly, the brunette leaned his head against the wall.


Then... suddenly... the place started creaking a whole lot more. And... thumping... which was certainly odd. With a start, Ton scrambled to his feet and swore harshly. Of course! This was the perfect place for outlaws to squat! Demolition, nobody around. That's why he'd chosen it. Why did it have to be so damnned obvious?! He leaned down, to snatch up his bag, in time to hear the footsteps freeze below. In turn, he froze. They were listening for him.

See, bats don't care about blindfolds... they have other ways of doing things.

Ton barely dared to breathe. The silence was punctuated by the wind blowing outside, which seemed to pick up suddenly. A gale. Which could only mean one thing. Fallen...

[i]"There's someone here!"[/i]

With those words, Ton was off. He'd been busted, and he didn't intend to get caught, though what he could really do about it was anybody's guess. Grabbing the banister on his way past, he pulled himself round onto the stairs, his footfalls slamming up them. Below him was a sudden flurry of activity as well, the leader of the team shouting at the others to get a move on. The room at the top of the stairs was empty, Ton knew that, he'd already looked there when he got here. But now dry dust flew up as his shoes skidded across the floor and across to the open window. He leaned out of it for a fraction of a second. It was a long way down. But they were getting nearer... there was nothing for it. Taking a deep breath, the hacker leapt, landing on his feet somehow and making a run for it.

He knew they would follow him. And to make it worse, he was out after curfew. But what else was he supposed to do? Wait and die?
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[COLOR=red]Jenk turned her head sharply, dazzling herself with the sudden colour change. One of the other members of the Fallen screamed down the main hall, "Whoever's made a running jump. He's out on the street!!" his voice was dipped in the disappointment of a missed kill.

Jenk did not bother to be told, the dark streets where one of her favourite hunting grounds. She turned to Kendra and slowly removed her black goggles, "Track down and kill? Or track down and withhold?" she simply asked. Jenk knew Kendra well enough to know that she had more power over her, but could be crafty in her words and phrases when actually giving her an order.

Kendra locked eyes, nodded once and received the same signal back from Jenk. Within seconds, Jenk was out on the street running after the person.

She glanced up and spotted the Fallen member who had informed them of the jump. He pointed west and she turned, her eyes sparkling even more darkly with the thrill of a chase. Colours flashed before her eyes, dark blues of the buildings outlined with streaks of red and orange.... some tipped with white.

She concentrated, piercing the darkness better than her other team members, and smiled silently to herself as the human figure appeared in her sights. It was not an angle, for the colours were wrong...more than likely some kid who had been caught out and was outside curfew. But still orders were orders, even though she had given them to herself technically.

She started to run, concentrating on her footing and focusing her power.... magic would be of no help here. Another good point about chasing this person. She took off, his image coming closer as she caught up with him.

She did not call out, nor tell him to stop....but she did draw one of her throwing daggers, and started to aim it.....'for what was the fun of letting a rule breaker play exactly by the rules?' she mused quietly to herself.

Jenk carefully took aim and released the dagger, watching it's progress as far as she could but not sure if she had wounded the intended target.[/COLOR]
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[color=red]Etta strolled slowly out of the chruch, dragging her captive behind her. [i]If only I had the strength of my kind...[/i] She cleared her mind and continued to drag her captive along. Finally, she reached Kendra. "May I do what I wish with this one?" Kendra eyed her for a moment before nodding her approval, knowing Etta wanted only to prove herself. The moment she recieved her approval, Etta nodded her thanks and acknowledgement before dragging her captive to a nearby alley.
"You...know," he coughed, "for a Fallen, you're pretty weak..." Her blood boiled and her cheeks glowed and angry red.
"How dare you call me weak! I'll show you real power!" She reached a hand out towards the burning church. A small bit sped towards her. Moving her hands furiously, the flames formed a cross as they glowed a crimson the same color as her cheeks. The cross floated towards him, wrapping fiery ropes around his arms and legs. The cross then lengthed, forming a hill underneath after a foot or two. Then a sudden wave of compassion swept over her. With a simple wave of her hand, he fell to the ground, dead in a single instant. A little downheartened, she walked back to Kendra, staring into the flames of the church as she past.[/color]
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OOC: Sorry it took so long but like I said, i've been busy lately.

[COLOR=crimson]Kenji lay asleep in bed, he was awoke by a loud siren echoing through the hallways of the elite dorm section. His vision was blurred, he sat up struggling to focus on an eerie green glow piercing the darkness of his room. He wiped his eyes with his forearm and gradually focused on the green light.


"6:45? The hell are we being called out for this early?" he moaned as he dragged his half naked body out of bed. He paused for a moment as he stood looking out of the large window, dressed in his black pants and boots, he tipped his foot with annoyance, his many buckles jingled on his boots as he did so.

He gazed over the dank, dirty hell hole that was his home, he could see an orange glow somwhere in the west district.


Kenji slipped his shirt and jacket on and headed for the door of his room. [/COLOR]
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[size=1][color=red]OOC: I'm a little weirded out by all the different moments in time, so this is my attempt to string them together into something coherent and verbally pretty. Well.. maybe not pretty. But either way, if you've got a problem with it, let me know and I'll try to fix it. ^_^

The raid on the church had been, needless to say, a success. By the time every fallen member had returned, the number of Angels they'd found had risen to six. Not bad for the short amount of time they actually spent hunting. Kendra felt fairly satiated, and since Strike Team 19 had done such a lovely job, she agreed that they should all just get a good night's rest.

However, later when Kendra tried to get some sleep, the only thing that greeted her when she closed her eyes was the angry boy from the church. The one with the crystal blue eyes, who brought the rain. It bothered her that he should keep interrupting her beauty sleep, especially considering it had been years since she'd had any sort of dream at all. She felt no remorse for the kill, nor did she feel threatened by his promise of "retribution." And yet try as she might, his glittering eyes kept glaring back at her whenever her eyelids dropped.

Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes tiredly, glaring at the far wall. Her feet dropped to the cold tile floor and she muttered a few choice curse words before standing. A few quick steps took her to the window of her small but cozy room, and she stared out it at the night sky for what seemed like hours, just letting her thoughts roam. Inevitably, they went back to the young man. The rainstorm that followed his primal scream had been magnificient, and had continued even after she had taken the breath from his body. The boy had power, it was unmistakeable. But the way he [i]used[/i] it...

Kendra chewed on her lip pensively, quite sure she'd stumbled across something that could very well be important. The man hadn't used the power to attack her; he used it to save the church, thus his companions in the church. If he'd used that magic offensively, it could have been quite an exhilarating battle - one Kendra hadn't had in a while, to say the least. But he chose not to. [i]He chose not to.[/i]

The idea was there, she knew it, but she just couldn't quite piece it all together. Her eyes wandered over the landscape, comparing the vivid colors inside Technoglobe's enhanced cities from the dismal grays, browns, and blacks that were all too common among the slums. Though Kendra liked the colors.. she didn't feel quite.. right with them. It didn't seem real enough.

Any other thoughts about that, however, were cut short as the wailing of the siren interrupted the dark, slumbering hallway of the elite dorm. Kendra sighed, glancing towards the horizon - was that a lightening of the dark sky? Dawn already? She shook her head and moved away from her window, and prepared herself for the day. She was downstairs and ready to go before any of the others, though already being awake might have had something to do with that. They appeared soon enough, however, and none of them looked particularly happy about having their sleep interrupted.

[i]At least they[/i] could [i]sleep,[/i] she thought, running a hand through her dark tresses.

The assignment given was to check out a number of abandoned buildings - some of them were marked to be demolished, and were therefore prime spots for anyone who didn't wish to be found. As always, Angels were to be killed. All others were to be brought in any way possible, as long as they were alive - from there they would probably be branded with an ID number of some sort. But frankly, Kendra didn't care what they did with the captives. It was only her job, after all.

They set out before the sun was able to peek over the horizon - Technoglobe believed striking early in the morning would catch many off-guard, as they would probably still be sleeping, or just waking up, or whatnot. Kendra wasn't so sure about that, but who was she to disobey orders?

As it happened, somebody was found in the first building they took rounds in. She had been in the lower level of the building, listening intently to the quiet that blanketed the place. Occasionally there was an old creak from a floor board and a groaning noise from inside the walls - obviously the building was older than dirt. No wonder it was going to be demolished. She had just pushed open what was probably an old closet door when some yelled from above, "There's someone here!"

Kendra looked up sharply in the direction of the voice - sounded like Kenji's - before Jenk caught her eyes. The hawk-eyed woman only replied with a slight nod and then Jenk was off, sprinting after the runaway. Just as she disappeared, Etta rounded the corner.


"Jenk's on him--" but anything she would have said afterwards was caught off as Kenji announced the man's departure from the building. Smirking slightly, Kendra glanced over at the fire weilding woman, "We'll finish up here before joining up with Jenk and her prisoner."[/color][/size]
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OOC: Firstly id like to state my triumphant return to the internet and OB! MWHAHAHAH. Secondly, I hope this post isnt too scratchy Doukeshi, im trying to get my bearings ^_^.


[i]"Im waiting for you, in this innocent world.."[/i]

Lain sighed heavily as the cruel harsh wind surrounding him lashed at his body like a cruel instrument of torture. He had been wandering for days now, wandering without thinking of stopping or resting. His pale arms were beginning to show the traces of faint blue and purple bruises as the loss of food forced daily scars to become more apparent. Lain was used to this by now, walking along paths thousands took constantly, indifferent to the lives of others, no-one cared anymore, that was the depressing thing. Life held no meaning for anyone anymore-either you conformed to the system or it swallowed you whole, emotions and all. The once plush green lands harbouring the smiling faces of children were nowhere to be seen now, the prospect of smiling was a thing of the past. Everything dead, everything metal...it disgusted Lain.
Still despite his hatred for the land which had cradled him at birth then threw him into merciless sorrow for the remainder of his years he refused to let his thoughts deter from his quest. Although he still did not fully understand what his quest actually [i]was[/i]. All he held left to guide him were a few dying words and a handful of memories which were useless anyway, seeing as the faces of the people in his thoughts were nothing but white spaces and black holes for eyes.

Shaking his head furiously to rid him of the many questions surging through his mind like a rampant power-line,Lain sighed for the second time in five minutes. Pushing thin white-blonde strands out of his line of vision he continued to slowly pad forward once more, his black-boots scuffling along the backstreet encasing him and picking up dirt with every movement. The system never thought to clean the backroads, they were places of disgrace and filth, rather than improve the condition of these disease ridden alleways, they left them alone at most times, choosing to ignore the fact they even exsisted. In many ways this was irresponsible as the system was striving for a [i]prefect world[/i]. Yet to those disgraced it was a source of salvation. Lain smirked as he allowed his eyes to trail across the dark- moist bricks surrounding him. No-one would bother him here, well it was extremely unlikely, here he could pass to the adjoining sector with the least trouble. If luck was on his side for once.

It was slowly getting dark by the time Lain was finally exhausted. Shivering continuously and trying desperatly to prevent the ice-sharp wind from cutting into his flimsy black shirt Lain frowned, adjusting his fathomless eyes to the dawning darkness. It wasn't easy, looking for a place to curl up and close one's eyes. He wasn't even concerned about the condition of the area he slept in, to Lain the main thing was cover, he couldn't get caught on his journey. He had to piece the scattered puzzle in his brain together once and for all. He couldn't keep running from his demons or his future anymore. It wasn't just because of his promise, no..that wasn't it. Something had been calling to Lain for quite some time now, causing his skin to burn, his hands to itch. He couldn't sit still. Lain still wasn't sure [i]what[/i] the call was, but it simply refused to leave him alone until he started walking in the opposite direction of his previous path. Where he was going now, he hoped someone, somewhere knew..because he sure didn't.

Yawning and tilting his neck to the right slightly Lain smirked again as he felt the bones beneath the flesh of his neck snap and shift, easing the buidling tension that was beginning to slither down his spine in small painful spurts. It was as he was doing this Lain eyed the small crevace in the murky-slime ridden wall beside him. Shuffling slightly closer, his fists balled for any oncoming attack the blonde examined the space, nodding as it was empty and he was almost certain it would provide atleast alittle cover for a few hours, maybe not once it was light-but he didn't intend to sleep that long anyway.
Pushing himself into the cramped darkened hole Lain bent over slightly, wrapping his arms about his hunched legs. Allowing the cold to wash over him Lain relaxed. This time he was fortunet to find a place with a wind-breaker, the air wasn't as harsh now, it was almost comforting. However Lain didn't allow himself the luxury of a smile, his smiles had died along time ago, aswell as the other thousands of souls trying to survive in this despicable world.

It took a while for his eyes to finally drift shut, the lids drooping and closing, causing his dark lashes to stand out proudly against his almost translucent skin. Curling tighter into the ball he had made himself Lain allowed his breathing to slow and become even, as his body began its transaction from alert and wary into the ignorance of slumber.

[i]"Where our tears are liquid crystal..Im waiting for you.."[/i]


OOC: Gah! I really hope this post was okay and not pointless descriptive mush. Im sorry if its done wrongly in any way X_x! I haven't RPed in like..[i]forever[/i]. But i'll get better I swear it! ^_^
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The wind buffetted against Ton's face, his hair flicking into his eyes like a creature gone wild. He couldn't see where he was going, and he didn't care to find out. Just away from whoever, or [i]whatever[/i] was chasing him.

Then, out of the darkness, he noticed something. A slight sound behind him. He flinched, unable to turn, and unwilling to see. The slender piece of metal, aimed at him, shot through the sleeve of his jacket, getting caught in the material and swinging there precariously. In a swift motion, Ton grasped the handle and pulled it out of the cloth, throwing it to the floor as he scooted around another corner, into the darkness.

Then, with a shout and a curse, he fell, tripping over something in the darkness. A hand shot out, covering his mouth with a low hushing sound. Lain, his finely blonde hair in his eyes and blowing with the gusts of wind, just narrowed those calculating grey eyes at Ton. Eyes, the hacker realised, that just couldn't be... human. And, in response to that thought, his own eyes widened a little. Slowly, obviously listening to the sound of Jenk approaching, Lain took his hand away.

"[i]What the...?[/i]"


The atmosphere was tense. And Ton burned with a desire to run. This just wasn't safe. She was going to find them, he knew it! They should be running now! But no... they listened and waited.
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Karen stood impatiently in front of her friend, her arms folded across her chest in a defensive but imposing position. Tapping her foot gently on the carpeted floor she awaited Steph's answer.

"Well?" The impatience in her voice hardly showed but Steph picked it up none the less. Hanging her head slightly Steph fiddled with her hands behind her back before looking up with guilty orange eyes.

"I locked up, like I do every night..." she trailed off and Karen raised a blonde eyebrow in a sneaking suspicion.

"And?" The voice was mildly accusing though coaxing it it's usage. Steph shifted her gaze to look towards the cieling momentarily. She looked almost like a nervous child recieving a scolding.

"Well, they wouldn't shut up so I had to...float...a bit...just to get their attention you undertstand..." Steph's sentence trailed quieter as she neared the end uder the harsh gaze of the Angel leader. Clenching her teeth firmly and resting a hand on her forehead, Karen sighed, running her fingers down her face to rest lightly on her chin. Leaning back on the doorframe she gazed at her long time friend with clear crystal blue eyes.

"Steph, you can't just do that," weary and spent Karen didn't really have the energy to berate Steph, even if the other Angel should have known better...at her age. "What if someone had seen you from the windows? Any one of the bums out here would do anything for a bit of hard cash..."

Steph raised her hand to stop Karen, her jaw set.

"We can take anything Technoglobe can throw at us, those Norms haven't got the guts to take on full blown Angels." Her orange eyes blazed as she spoke, the passion rising in her face. Stepping forward Karen grasped Steph's hand, resting her other hand on Stephs shoulder prtoectively. Shaking her head Karen silenced the other Angel.

"But what of the Fallen Steph? In the state the clan is right now we couldn't stand a chance." Taking Steph's hand in her own karen lead her out onto the balcony where they could see some of the other Angels milling around. Many of the children were still playing about, using colourful balls of light and chasing eachother around the room. Sighing softly Karen indicated the mass.

"What do we have to fight with? Children, a few untrained Angels, halfbreeds like myself." Karen shook her head, "It would be a slaughter." Turning back into the corridor she rested her hand in a comforting gesture on Steph's shoulder, squeezing slightly before retreating back to her room. Looking back over her shoulder she smiled, "Just be careful next time okay?"
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[COLOR=red]Jenk slowed in her pace, bending and slowly picking up the thin blade that had narrowly avoided the runner, "Damn it" she cursed to herself, "Not even a trace of blood". Without looking at what she was doing, Jenk spun the blade with a sharp clicking motion back into its holder.

She blinked lightly and gazed down the alley way, careful not to protray her presence. Up ahead was a flash of human body heat, dissappearing quickly down a side-walk.

A thin smile crossed her face and slowly she crept up to the off-cut. There she waited, hardly breathing and not protraying any sound. There was a whispered converstation, barely auditble. 'Two now are there? Hmmm....it sounds like another good night for me' Jenk thought inwadley.

She counted in her head, waiting to see if they would make the first move or if she would have to do the hard work herself. After 1 minute she knew that they were waiting for her to leave down the street she had just ran. What fools they were.

Lain slowly removed his hand from Ton's mouth, "I think it's safe" he said. Ton went to say "Thanks" but the dagger that had been thrown at him, landed barely inches from his left hand. Jenk rounded the corner, her black goggles replaced and her sword drawn.

Once again she didn't utter anything, but a slight tilt of her head and a raised eyebrow was all that was really needed to alert the two boys that they were offically in deep trouble. Ton instantly scampered back and attempted to take flight, the muck and grime of the floor making it exceedingly hard to get any form of grip.

Jenk made to grab the struggeling Ton, but Lain lunged at her, catching her on the side of her face. Jenk cursed as she hit the wall, but rebounded onto the boy, striking him hard on the shoulder. She knew that it was a basic manover and that anyone could have avoided it, but she did not have the time to think.

Lain stumbled sideways and shouted, "Get moving to the other boy" before lunging straight at Jenk again, intent on bringing her down. Jenk stepped aside with calculated procision and tripped the boy, letting him fall to the cold stone floor. Shocking him and winding him.

She bent down and sneered into his ear, "Next time watch your opponent" and grabbed one of his arms, pulling it up against his back like a police officer would when dealing with a suspect. Quickly she fished into her pocket and pulled out a restrainer, she she dutifully locked onto Lain's held hand and then the other after he had stopped resisting and struggeling.

Ton, after a few cautious minutes, also decided to join in the fray and leapt at Jenk, this time knocking her to the ground and sending them both sprawling. Jenk rolled awakadly into the wall and attempted to gain her balance as fast as she could. Ton had rollen onto her dagger and quickly picked it up, thrashing it about widley.

Jenk rolled her eyes and went in to grab Ton, but by some stroke of unseen luck on Ton's side, he struck out and caught the side of her face...drawing a long thin blood streak across it. Jenk raised her hand to her face, felt the blood and turned her attention back on the target again.

Ton's eyes held the wonder and fear of what he had just done to her before he even registered that she had punched him across the face, knocking him to the ground roughtly.

Five minutes later, Jenk headed back down the street, gripping both boys roughtly by their tops and dragging them uncermonisly before her. She spotted Kendra and threw them both down in front of her, "Two for the price of one?" asked Kendra, with a grin of statisfaction.

"You could say that..." said Jenk, apparently looking into Kendra's eyes through the goggles.

"What's happened to your face, Jenk?" asked Etta. Jenk ran her hand over the blood stained scar, and nods towards the boys, "One of them" she simply said.[/COLOR]

ooc: just to let you know I checked this out with Bishie and Baka before hand so it should be okay.
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[COLOR=darkblue]Mika had pretty much composed herself as Karen came back.She had the case of the hick-ups.She always did after crying for a long time.

"Are you ok Mika?"Karen asked gently.
"I...think so....Thanks for the comfort Karen *hick*...I'm sorry if I interrupted anything you were doing...*hick*"
"No.There was nothing.Anytime you feel like talking you know that I'll always listen."Karen said re-assuringly.
"Thanks...*hick*"Mika slowly got to her feet.She wobbled,then steadied herself.She stumbled out of the room and into her room that was next to her deceased Father's room.She fell onto the bed and curled up under the moth-eaten blanket.Some last tears rolled down her cheek and she went to sleep.She was sure Karen would alert others of the Clan to the unfortunate event and tell them to let Mika absorb the impact of it all.That's why everyone liked Karen as their leader.She was so understanding and humble.She wasn't the type that ordered people around all the time.Only in dire situations would she call people to do certain things quickly.She was the perfect leader and everyone respected her.[/COLOR]
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[COLOR=teal][SIZE=1]OOC: Sorry it took me so long to post, but I've been at a Beta Convention this entire week and this has been my first chance to get my post up. I hope this isn't too late, if it is; just PM me and I'll delete this post, no problem...^-^

IC: Kris slumped against a building wall, pieces of white paint fell to the ground like snow from winters long long ago. Shifting her gaze she stared back at the supposedly abandoned hotel, where a few hours before a girl with orange hair wearing a brown topcoat had floated right in view of the alley way window.

Now she was debating whither she should go in. She knew that even now at five o?clock in the morning it was still dangerous to be out, for there was still an hour or so before the curfew ended. Giving the street separating her from the hotel a scrutinizing glance, she ran stealthily across.

On the other side, in the shadows, Kris looked back across to make sure nobody was watching, then quietly she walked along the dirty wall of the hotel, until she found the fire escape.

She studied it and the more she did the more she didn?t trust it. There was rust all over the ancient metal, cracks made delicate designs upon the red rust, like a million little rivers and streams eroding clay. Hesitantly she gently put her foot on the bottom rung, nothing, she added some weight, but still no sound of complaint came.

Trusting to luck she pulled herself up, waited a second and started climbing up. When she had reached as far as the escape would go, Kris peered into the nearest window. Which was hard to do because it was old and blurry, but a quick look told her nobody was in there.

Concentrating on the room there was a subtle glow of green. Kris turned around to look out the window she had just been looking into, a small wisp of smoke faded away with the breeze.

[I]I will never get tired of teleporting[/I] Kris thought to herself. The excitement in her stomach stilled, as she looked around her room.

A beige lamp she doubted worked was on a small metal desk, the walls obviously hadn?t been painted in years and the color was indistinguishable. The carpet was worn and full of holes.

[I]Oh, this is nice and cheery?[/I] Kris thought walking to check on the lamp's status, dust clouds sprang up underneath each step. Optimistically, she pulled the lamp?s string, their was a short flash of light before the bulb popped, [I]Darn.[/I]

Peering into the darkness she saw the bed, it was pushed into a corner and it still had a comforter and pillow on it. Kris ran over and jumped on, causing an enormous dust cloud.

She played in it for a while then let it settle down. When it finally did she knelt down and said her thanks to the gods for her good fortune and asked them to help her join this tribe she had been watching for the past two weeks.

Contented and happy Kris shoved her pack under the bed, wiggled under the comforter, snuggled her head into the pillow, and fell into one of the most deep sleeps she had for a while?[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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"Just be careful next time okay." Karen said as she closed the door behind her.
Steph understood her friends reaction,he expected most of it, except the bit where she was ranting about half breeds and children. Steph knew how Karen felt, but normally Karen would never have said that out loud in case one of the young ones heard her.
Something must have happened, something in karen's room. Steph made a mental note to find out what later, right now she was going to sit in the court yard at the centre of the hotel. A though she had locked all external doors and windows, Steph wouldn't deny the children some outdoor time, even if it was in a stone floored court yard. She reached the door and quietly went outside. She went straight to her tree. this tree was were Steph went whenever she had something to think about. Here she felt safe, and she could always be found if anybody needed her. During the day she might go up on the rof, but that too dangerous after curfew.
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[size=1][color=red]Kendra was pleased, if not mildly surprised. She really hadn't expected much success at all that morning, but as she stared down coolly at Jenk's two captives, she couldn't help but smirk. Technoglobe would be pleased, either way, and probably a little haughty - for once one of their mind-numbing ideas was actually on target. As far as hunting went, anyway. She would deal with that when the time came, however. Right now, she had more important thorns to deal with.

She stepped forward, her boots crunching loudly against the sudden quiet that had surrounded the Fallen. Both men were silent, watching, waiting for their fate. One of them wasn't an angel - the brunette. Just a norm, caught out after curfew. Maybe a hacker? Whatever his reasons for hiding, she would find them out soon enough. The other man, however, kept his eyes downcast, his blonde locks falling over his brow. Raising an eyebrow, she gently lifted his chin with her thumb and forefinger and studied his eyes with interest.

The deep, formidable gray wasn't normal, but at the same time, they didn't exactly scream 'angel', either. Hers, however, did, just as the rest of the Fallen's did - there was no doubt for the two captured that they were indeed in deep, deep shit.

Pursing her lips, ignoring his defiant stare, the dangerous beauty asked the two of them quietly, "And just what were you gentlemen doing out during curfew?"

Neither one made any move to answer, which was entirely expected. She dropped the blonde's chin and took a step back, her eyebrows raised in slight amusement. "Come now, you've nothing to hide from me that I can't find out later," she teased, her voice dripping with a sultry arrogance that made some of the other Fallen smirk in response. "Or would you rather that we just force it out of you?" She lifted a hand casually, the air around it tensing as a few electrical sparks began to flicker wildly as she murmured, "There are worse things than death, you know."[/color][/size]
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[color=red]OOC: I might not get to post much in December, but I'll try my best.
Etta looked away, unable to stand this. It felt almost as if Kendra were torturing her. She had seen this before, the same thing had happened, but not to this extent. She closed her eyes tightly, attempting to shut out the sounds of Kendra's voice and attempted to emerse herself in the memory crackle of the flames from earlier. After a few moments, she began to wander away from the others in hopes of a moment of peace. Jenk tapped her lightly on the shoulder as she passed. Looking up, she saw Jenk nod just a little. With a nod of reply, she sat off to the side, in the darkest, most shadowed corner she could find. Etta tried clearing her mind, letting go of everything, as she often did, but again to no avail. Suddenly she thought of something she'd heard once before.
[center][i]Fallen Angels at my feet, whispered voices at my ear
Death before my eyes, lying next to me, I fear
She beckons me, shall I give in?
And upon my end, shal I begin?
Forsaking all I've fallen for, I rise to meet the end[/i][/center]
'Have I really given in?' she thought. Looking away into the distance, she lost herself in her ever darkening thoughts.[/color]
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Discovering that Mika had retreated to the safety of her own room Karen saw it fit to alert the other members of the clan who were still awake to the death of the old man. There was much grieving but most were sure, as was the common belief among Angels, that it was the old man's time and that he was among friends and loved ones now. Retiring to to her own room Karen sought out quiet solitude. Lounging on her narrow bed she stared at the stained ceiling, her hands clasped behind her head in an attempt to relax.

[i]"What do we have to fight with? Children, a few untrained Angels, halfbreeds..."[/i] her own words circled around in her head, tormenting her with their clarity. What were they expected to do? Angels were expected to hide in the sewers and the slums of cities and sectors, the worlds rats, swept under the preverbial carpet or exterminated like the rodents that Technoglobe viewed them as. Running her hand across her face Karen growled lightly under her breath. She was sick of being a rat, sick of being hunted and forced to live like insects. She had known another life, a life she had before she was known as an Angel. It all changed when her powers were outed at a young age and she was abandoned to the Angels.

Time passed and all respectable Angels had sought the refuge of a good nights sleep. Sighing softly she closed her eyes and flicked the light switch across the room with a mental finger. Lying in the sudden darkness she attempted to banish the unwanted thoughts from her mind. Still in the silence a sudden noise broke through the darkness. Sitting bolt upright Karen cocked her head to the side and listened, soft footsteps padding across the cieling above her. Frowning slightly Karen moved from the bed. The room above was meant to be unoccupied...it had once belonged to a friend of hers, that friend was now gone. Creeping softly through the corridor she ascended the stairs with silent ease, standing before the door to which she heard the noises. Trying the handle she found it to be locked, just like she had left it. Hearing a panicked scuffle she backed away from the door, a blue light collecting around her fingers and in her palm.

"Whoever's in there better have a good reason, because I'm coming in!"
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As Steph headed up the stairs to her room, she noticed a blue tinge to the light in the hall at the top of the stairs. As she raced up the stairs two at time, she heard what she thought was Karen's voice. what was she thinking, ofcourse it was Karen, who else apart for herself would be up at this time. Both Karen and Steph had learned to function with a lack of sleep. However they insisted that everyone else got at least six hours of rest, even if they just lay on their beds.

As Steph reached the source of the blue light, she heard Karen say, "Whoever's in there better have a good reason, because I'm coming in!".
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Lain eyed the woman before him with obvious disgust, shifting slightly as so his body was pressed ever so lightly against the brunette behind him. Lain had gotten the boy into this captured state, and the blonde was going to get him out of it, no matter what the cost. Although exactly [i]how[/i] he was going to go about executing such a procedure Lain was still trying to figure out. He did know two things though. He couldn't allow himself to cut loose and use the small amount if magic aching to spill from his hands, and secondly he point blankly refused to answer any questions this woman was going to ask. Why would he satisfy scum such as them with trembling answers in a desperate attempt to be set free? Lain of course, knew being set free was the last thing that would be taking place now. Smirking slightly he shifted his weight onto this right foot, bracing himself for the oncoming pain that was about to launch itself on the forms infront of him and his smaller partner.

"Curfew?..hpmh. Do i look like a child to you?..curfew is for children..i doubt i'll be partaking in a thing such as a 'curfew' any time soon. So your really wasting your time. Its pretty pointless y'know?..so just give up now, you'll get nothing out of me...so why not get bored now and save yourself breath?"

Allowing another ice-cold smirk to wash over his face like a cracked masked-one that hated to be used. Lain moved forward slightly, eyeing the followers of the woman before him warily, he couldn't afford a full on assult, the smaller boy would come out far worse than he came into the situation.
Lain also felt he [i]needed[/i] to protect the nervous boy behind him, the unusual thing is, he couldn't understand why. He [i]never[/i] protected people he ran into. He played the cards of life alone, he was never sorry for the people he refused to help if they needed it. But this time, he knew if he were to walk away and leave this boy, the brunette would most surely die-painfully too. If only he could think of a way out. If he wasn't distracted by the frightened features of the smaller figure beside him, maybe he could think clearly.

"Tell you what, Ms..uhh...well, your names not important is it?..how about, you let the kid go and take me?..do with me what you will, hell you can hurt me for all i care, its not like i make a difference to society anyways. I'll go quietly if you let him go..if you don't. Well..the big cats will play-wont they miss?"

After letting the last few words drop from his purpling lips, Lain swung his eyes quickly toward the boy once more. His line of vision drinking in his appearance incase it needed to be remembered. There was something about this kid..he couldn't have been much older than 16. The way his eyes glinted in the light made Lain's fingers itch, and itch that was all to familiar. Nodding gently toward the boy Lain shuffled his feet further foward, raising his darkened eyes to swallow up the crowd before him.

"Well..?..heh, aren't decisions difficult?..especially when you have to think for yourself"


OOC: TAAADAAA!! O_o im sorry i've taken such a long time!! gomen gomen minna! I've just been bogged down with so much to do lately. I promise i'll be quicker with my next post. I hope this was okay, im still really rusty on the RP front..so forgive me if its a pointless mess X_x..
I also apologise for my use of "Hell" in this post. It was not meant to offend anyone, merely to portray Lain's style of personality. I think we're all mature enough to accept that and move on lol.
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Ton watched and listened quietly. This was... unusual... Why was the blonde willing to take punishment for something he brought on them himself? And what was with all those creepy looks?

Kendra, who appeared to be the leader and main speaker, simply smirked at this point. Her lips seemed to have venom dripping off them. But she said nothing, instead raising an eyebrow in Lain's direction.

Right now, Ton wasn't afraid. He was scared as hell, but not especially afraid. He'd known that his was likely to happen for a long time now. His life was a tightrope walk. And he'd just managed to slip. No, what was bothering him was the fact that this guy, who he'd hardly met, was so willing to take his fall. "Let the kid go and take me," he'd said. Did they think he was a child? Or...

No, there was no "or". What "or" could there be?

Quietly resolute, and trying to ignore the fact that he was surrounded by so-called "magic", Ton refused to lower his gaze. He flicked his gaze around the Fallen, taking them in one by one, lingering momentarily on Kendra and Jenk. "The only thing," he said simply, and slowly, "that scares me, about you guys..." He paused, subconsciously daring himself to go on.
"...are your faces..."

OOC: *cowers* Please don't kill meee!! @.@;;
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[size=1][color=red]Kendra didn't like being insulted, but she'd gotten fairly used to it. After all, they considered her a traitor - lower, even. She hunted her own kind, turned them in, even killed them. And she felt no grief or guilt about it. So she couldn't blame them for hating her. For insulting them, even. Though she still wasn't fond of it.

[i]Then again,[/i] she mused to herself, tracing her lip with her finger lightly, [i]They think they know me and can judge me blindly as they do.. We'll see.[/i]

"You are both very brave, I'll warrant you that," she said coolly, "But also very stupid. Unfortunately, since neither of you are Angels," she glanced at Lain as she said this, "We can't kill you." Turning, her hair whipping out around her shoulders, she nodded to Jenk. "They are your find, and so they are under your watch and command. Do what you like, just don't kill them."

Jenk gave a mock salute, before stepping closer to Kendra. "What of the blonde?" She asked then, her voice low that so only the dark-haired woman would hear it. "Is he...?"

"Possibly. Halfling or not, however, his strength is no match to yours. You should be able to handle them," she muttered, before glancing back to the two men on their knees. With a wave of her hand they were on their feet. Giving them one last look over, her eyes narrowing imperceptably, she began back up towards the main road, gesturing for the Fallen to follow her. They would take the two in and interrogate them, and from then on they were under Technoglobe - Kendra wouldn't mind taking a swing at the blonde one, at least, even if he wasn't worth the effort.

[i]Maybe later,[/i] she told herself, brushing a stray lock back away from her hawk-like eyes. [i]Either way, we deserve a good break.[/i] She hoped that this recent capture would do it - perhaps they'd learn about more hiding spots. Either way, two more brats were off the streets and out of her hair, and that was always a good thing.[/color][/size]
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