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Vicky
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[center][img]http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2931/thisisearthmx7.png[/img]








[font=xirod][size=4]CONTENTS[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=times new roman][size=3][B]Chapter One[/B]
An Inch of Dignity[/FONT][/SIZE]







[img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/43/gotiklexfr4.png[/img] [img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/5271/elenahr9.png[/img] [img]http://img77.imageshack.us/img77/4818/dariusmd4.png[/img] [img]http://img77.imageshack.us/img77/3881/melserthcz6.png[/img] [img]http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/7364/synticyszayev9.png[/img]



[img]http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/4465/thiscastcz7.png[/img]



[img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/3557/samueltr8.png[/img] [img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/2034/maekv6.png[/img] [img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/5909/kolenb2.png[/img] [img]http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/6010/kesselas6.png[/img] [img]http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/5731/varickgo0.png[/img][/center]












[center][B][size=3][FONT=times new roman]Chapter One[/B]
An Inch of Dignity[/font][/size]
Standing up for their own rights, a small group of citizens of Septu stage a protest that grows with more numbers in the centre of Posopia. With a few people banding together, they become targets for criminals who are looking for bigger kicks than normal. As the protest grows, police brutality becomes apparent - and so does the need to stick together in groups with the sudden change of events.[/center]








[size=1][b]“I cannot repair your model, Mrs Dèbu. The damage is too severe,”[/b] he frowned, closing a panel on the back of the 50-odd year old android model and examining the burn. He shook his head.

[b]“It’s those damn young men, I tell you. No ambition for anything other than destruction and havoc…”[/b] she sighed and leaned against the door frame, studying the mechanic carefully, [b]“what’s this world coming to…?”[/b]

With over a million files and references and the equivalence of a master’s degree in sociology, Lex opened his mouth to give a detailed answer, but closed it again. He didn’t want Septu to assume anything about his origins; as far as they were concerned, he was human. It was the key to his survival, he supposed.

[b]“If it weren’t for my husband, the andy wouldn’t have been the only thing they burnt.”[/B]

Lex looked down at the broken android and back up to the woman, smiling warmly at her.

[b]“I believe the Empire will give you a refund, although this type of service android has been decreased greatly in value over the years as it is not manufactured anymore. Still,”[/B] he took a few of his tools and placed them in his trench coat pockets, [b]“if you do not wish to wait for the refund, I would be happy to take the model off your hands for a smaller amount. I would offer to pay more, if my funds were not so… limited…”[/B]

Mrs Dèbu looked at him with a small ounce of sympathy and grinned.

[b]“They don’t pay you much, do they?”[/B]

[b]“They? No one pays me, Mrs Dèbu, although the work is somewhat limited these days. The increase in crime destroys technology, leaving me with hardly anything to repair. I am self employed and I do not have the necessities to advertise my services to many people.”[/B]

The old woman was nodding as he spoke, almost hypnotized by his calm, soothing voice and clearly British accent, minus the fragmented sentences present in most Brits. She thought about him for only a second and decided on an alternative to the problem.

[b]“Well, I’ll be sure to tell my friends about you. You can have the android, anyway. Thank you for seeing to him. You’re a wonderful man.”[/B]

Lex smiled in gratitude, more over the fact that he had a free android out of his job, and being referred to as a man. He lowered his eyes for a moment to analyse the situation he was in, concerning money, and decided to accept her offer as the spare parts might have been useful to him. He decided he would be delighted to take Mrs Dèbu on her offer.

[b]“Thank you. If you ever need a mechanic, please do not hesitate to contact me again.”[/B] He seemingly bowed slightly to her, grinning as much as his emotional programming would let him.

She laughed, probably at Lex’s formality, and thanked him again for his time. Lex only nodded at this and took up the plain, old android model, looking like a blank manikin with the most average programming of any android these days. He heaved it over his shoulder with strength no human being could muster and slowly made his way outside, nodding politely at Mrs Dèbu once more. He knew that the old android on his back would mean nothing to him, in terms of money or value, but he also knew that it was a B.E.K. class android – its motor systems were the original ancestors of the A.C.I.D. type android, as well as other functions. If Lex had a much larger emotional capacity, he would have felt as if he had found a lost brother.

Unfortunately for Lex, it had just become dark in the streets of Posopia. Soon enough the most ruthless gangs would be sulking around, and if he didn’t get home in time he dreaded to think what might happen…

He walked unbalanced by the 220 kilo model, with his head up and staring ahead. The streets were misty and cold, bathed in a blanket of orange street light and the smell of predators who hung on the corners or passed by. Lex could tell some of them were normal, decent human beings, but the majority of them were not. Had Lex not been carrying such a heavy android, he supposed someone may have attacked him by now. But the show of strength no doubt scared off a few of them back into the alleys they came from… to stalk and attack someone else.

Lex lived a few minutes walk away from the inner city on a old, somewhat deserted estate. The majority of criminals didn’t come around his area anymore and the crime normally happened just outside there. A few people lived in the houses, some decent human beings, some not, but most kept to themselves. There was a drug dealer who lived across the road from Lex, whom he had made good friends with and learnt that, on a few occasions, that very same drug dealer had convinced criminals not to rob Lex’s home. Lex was very grateful for this and was glad to know that at least someone had his back.

He kicked the gate open with his foot and waded his way through the small, overgrown garden to the side of the house and around to the back, which was in the same state as the front. The doors and windows of his home were locked tight and, to be honest, he barely used the inside of his house. He came to a small door for the basement, stepping down a few steps and punching in a security number. He opened it with his shoulder and a light flickered on dimly at his present, reflecting off the numerous metal and materials layered out across the basement. Lex walked over to an old wooden chair and placed the manikin like android in it, staring at it with a blank expression before his musings were interrupted by a happy yelp.

On a set of wooden stairs that led up towards the rest of the house was a medium sized crossbred dog, Miles. He was small with mostly black fur, growing thicker on top of his head and down to his tail like a mane. The dog ran over to his master, affectionately licking his hands and poking his nose into his pockets. Lex responded with a pat on the head, moving over to his desk and running through a few papers with the dog still licking his hands and looking around in his pockets.

Lex scribbled down a few words, faster than most humans could, and then proceeded to cross out Mrs Dèbu’s named from his to-do list. He sighed when no one else was present on his work list at the time. This job really wasn’t helping to pay the rent. Or helping to feed the apparently hungry Miles, at that.

[b]“Can you never be patience?”[/b] he asked the dog, who responded by licking at his hands. Lex rolled his eyes. Domestic pets were good company, but harder to take care of then he had anticipated. He gave in and ushered the dog upstairs with him, where the lights did not flicker on, the walls were in a state of needing repairs, the ceiling was oddly falling to pieces and the wooden flooring was no longer holding up. Lex had never found it necessary to fix any of this, as he didn’t need comfort for the satisfaction of owning a decent home.

He fed the annoyance he called his only friend and proceeded to the living room, which was illuminated by only a blue light from the television. The room had one bookcase, an old computer in the corner, a sofa that Miles slept on and a stool in front of the television, along with a warehouse full of wires, boxes and computer chips that Lex used to cheat the government out of a free television, though he only watched it for the news mainly.

Lex sat down on the stool, sitting completely straight, an action that would probably hurt most human’s backs in a matter of minutes. He picked up a tiny round device that was lay on the television set and pressed a finger to his temple, activating an internal programme he had designed weeks ago. He placed the small circular device on his temple and blinked his green eyes hard, his mouthing twitching when the television set immediately switched on to the first channel. He analysed a few seconds of it, moving on to the next channel with another hard blink.

The interface allowed him to make sense of the information on his television faster than humans, although he was able to do that anyway. He could also control the components of his television and look through all six-thousand channels in a second, stopping on whatever he needed. He did this every night to keep up on the current events, movies and television series, if they ever arose in conversation… which they really did.

He paused for a moment on one of Septu’s news channels, his eyes flicking across the moving images of people and reporters. The people were in large crowds, holding up signs and slogans that indicated distaste for the criminals in Septu. The reporter moved along the lines, pointing out the police officers in their stylish uniforms and military stances. Lex could see that the officers were getting extremely agitated by this protest, pushing some people back and violently threatening to attack the others. Lex blinked several times to increase the volume and began to take in the reporter’s words.

From what he could see and hear, some members of Septu’s capital had gotten together to finally stand against the government’s idea of letting criminals reside in their country. The protest was quite near, and apparently going on for another week. There were many known criminals stood on a few metres away from the protesters, yelling abuse at them, threatening them, and telling them they were going to kill or rape them or their respectable family members. Lex frowned at this, taking off the device on his temple and deciding to watch the rest of the programme, with Miles once again resting at his hand and licking his fingertips.

This was certainly going to get interesting.[/SIZE]
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[B][SIZE=1]"The fuck do these assholes want from us?" [/SIZE][/B][SIZE=1]yelled one of the men who had taken up the majority of the space in the small cafe just off the town square, [B]"Criminals gotta live somewhere, may as well be out here in the sticks. Their country's shitty enough as is - we don't make it no worse."

"They want us out of their country," [/B]said a shadow-cloaked figure from the corner of the room, [B]"They want us out of their towns, their cities, their lives, because we are, one and all, evil men. Evil has no true place in this world, but if our place is to be here, then so be it."

"Oh yeah?" [/B]said the petty thug, striding over to the cloud of tobacco smoke in the corner, [B]"Well I don't give two shits if they want us out. We're here, and we got as much right as anybody to be here."

"We have no right to be here. We simply...are. Now tell me, friend. What is your name?"

"I'm Jacobi Tyler, just released into the wild from the State Pen in Arizona. And who might you be?"

"Me? I am the Antichrist. I am evil incarnate. I am that shadow you see in your dreams that makes you wake up soaked in sweat. But my name...my name is Kessel."

"Wait...Kessel? You're [I]the [/I]Kessel? The one who murdered his way through an entire town in Italy?"

"Ah, I see my unfortunate infamy precedes me. And I didn't murder my way through an [I]entire [/I]Italian town - most of those people committed suicide before I got to them. After they'd seen the first few deaths, that is."

"Well, I don't want any trouble, buddy," [/B]said Tyler, backing nervously away, [B]"I just wanna have a drink."

"Well, unfortunately for you, Jacobi Tyler," [/B]said Kessel calmly, getting slowly to his feet and pulling a pair of black leather gloves on, simultaneously dropping his cigarette butt to the ground and crushing it under the heel of his tattered prison-issue boot, [B]"You have already initiated combat, by standard Posopian rules. You have engaged me in a threatening manner, and therefore we must...duel."

"You're...you're kidding, right?" [/B]stammered Tyler, [B]"I didn't mean anything by it. I was just talkin'."

"Well, it's not up to me to decide, is it? Now tell, me, Jacobi Tyler, have you ever wondered what your own heart looks like?" [/B]The man moved, quick as a flash, and as Jacobi looked down, he saw the man's arm buried up to the wrist in his own chest, crimson gouts spurting across the cafe, splattering across Kessel's gnarled, but smiling face.

[B]"Can you feel it, Jacobi? The central organ of your body, slowly dying away to nothing? Does it feel strange?" [/B]The man, of course, could not answer, but simply coughed and spluttered, blood dribbling from between his lips, and finally he slipped away, Kessel feeling the organ pulse it's last beat. He withdrew his hand, peeled the glove off and threw it to the floor with a wet slap.

[B]"Disappointing. I thought he'd at least survive to see the organ for himself," [/B]the psychopath muttered to himself.

[B]"Impressive," [/B]said a voice from across the cafe's table, [B]"You wouldn't think someone with such strength and...let's face it, insanity, would be so well-spoken."

[/B]Kessel looked across the table through the haze of darkness and cigarette smoke to see the figure who had spoken...

---

ooc: That figure can be anyone who fancies a chat with a psychopath!
[/SIZE]
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[size=1][B]“When I get m’hands on ya boy, you’re gonna have an ass like the old Japanese flag!”[/B]

The hulking man’s hands rushed for young Samuel Strong again, but much like before he nimbly dodged the brute’s clumsy movements, forcing him to headbutt a wall. Sam crossed his arms and smirked down at the back of the bald giant as he shakily got back to his feet once more.

[B]“Jeez guy, don’t you ever learn to stay down? An’ when I tell you I’m not gay, I actually do mean it, kay?”[/B] Sam chirped, very obviously mocking the gargantuan gay.

[B]“Fuck you twinkle-toes! Stand still and we’ll see who’s funny ‘en!”[/B] The thug spat back, very obviously agitated for whatever reason.

At this Sam’s patience drew thin. When the monster man attacked him again, this time brandishing a knife, Sam grasped his wrist, turned him over quickly in the air and dropped him on his back. Before leaving him, Sam gave the idiot’s skull a sloppy kick to knock him out just long enough for an escape.

Sam then heard the wheezy breaths of the old man the thug had been previously attacking when he’d walked by. Approaching him cautiously and with his hands in the air to show he meant no harm, Sam leaned down in front of him.

[B]“Hey, old man, you kay?”[/B]

[B]“Fuck! That sonova bitch totally fucked mah arm!”[/B] He replied with a very raspy, possibly blood-filled throat.

Sam took a close look at what was once a very shabbily made cybertronic arm. As he’d suspected the man was also bleeding from the side of his mouth and his jeans where torn as if someone had been trying to force them down.

[I]Jeez, these guys just get worse. How the fuck did I end up in’a shitty place like this?[/I] he questioned himself, that part of his memory still a little hazy. Forgetting that he held his arm out to help the old timer to his feet.

[B]“Cheers sonny boy!”[/B] He said, this time sounding a little merrier as Sam hoisted him to his feet.

[B]“So, ya got like a place I can take ya where it’s safe?”[/B] The old man seemed to ponder Sam’s question for a little before quickly coming to a conclusion.

[B]“I’d rather ya get me somewhere to fix up mah arm. I know a guy, I’ll direct ya.”[/B]

Sam inwardly sighed at the chore he’d gotten himself in to but just agreed with the old man and started walking down the rest of the alleyway. Sam made sure to scowl at anyone and everyone who so much as even sensed them coming in an attempt to ward them off. It worked mostly, only one or two got close enough before reconsidering.

The old man led them upto an old looking estate with a large Iron Gate and stupidly long grass inside. Sam groaned, he’d hated grass from before he could remember for reasons not known to anyone. Still, he moved on while supporting the old man towards a run-down, tightly locked house. Instead of heading to the front, the old man ushered him behind the house to a door where he knocked a few times.

[B]“Hey. Lexy boy? You in son?”[/B] He called through the door in a somewhat hushed voice.

Sam’s eyebrow quirked at that but he continued to support the old man. So far the night had gotten of to a very interesting start.[/size]
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[SIZE="1"]An elderly man, walked down a hallway of a large compound, doors spread far apart on both sides. He reaches a yellow door with the number 12 stenciled on it. He stepped into the hangar where a large somewhat beat down ship was docked. A bright light was flashing from the other side from a man doing some welding. The elderly man walked to the edge of the ship where a man was hunched over holding goggles to his eyes in one hand while he was welding some plating in place with the other.

[B]"KOLE!"[/B] cried the elderly man with no response from the other. He picked up a empty bottle that was laying on the ground and threw it hitting the ship a couple feet from the man. He jumped and lost his balance and fell back onto the wing of the ship with a thud. He scrambled to his feet and walked to the edge of the wing.

[B]"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU CREEDS?!"[/B] yelled Kole at the man.

[B]"You got a guy wanting to speak to you about some shit, sounds pretty pissed and has some other guys with him, OH and you owe me money for rent."[/B] Kole jumped down from the wing and walked up to Creeds."

[B]"You'll be luck if I don't throw a few bullets your way with that little stunt you pulled, let alone get any rent,"[/B] Kole replied poking the old man in the chest. [B]"You'll get your money soon enough, the guys are probably the ones giving it to me, send them in."[/B] Kole opened his toolbox and put his torch uin it and pulled out his revolver and knife.

A large, well dressed man followed by two men entered the hangar. Both men were holding SMGs and body armor on. Kole immediately recognized this man as Julius Swey, the man who's gun shipment landed Kole in a Imperial penitentiary.

[B]"Julius, i haven't seen you since-"[/B]

[B]"Don't try to trade pleasantries with me, you lost me a great deal of money and weaponry,"[/B] He said motioning with his hands and the two men raising their guns and approaching Kole. They pat him down and pulled Kole's revolver out from behind his back and returning back to Julius's side handing him the gun and keeping theirs raised. [B]"Now tell me, how are you going to pay me back?"[/B]

[B]"Well I just spent six months in a cell, I think that might cover it,"[/B] Julius shook his head and shot Kole's gun. Kole winced as the bullet grazed his left cheek.. He placed his hand over the graze and glared back at Julius. [B]"Leave, NOW!"[/B]

[B]"I'll leave, but I will be back in a week, if the money you owe me isn't in my hand, the bullet will make its mark."[/B] Julius threw Kole's gun on the floor and walked out of the hangar with his men. Creeds scurried in after they left.

[B]"What happened?"[/B] he asked in a panicked tone.

[B]"I need to make a lot of money and in a short time... I'm going out."[/B] Kole replied starring at the door and turning back and boarding his ship. He emerged from the ship with a bandage on his face and a jacket. He walked to the door and picked up his gun holstering it and leaving his hangar.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"][align=justify]After a while, I had flipped on the television for a distraction; if I’d continued to sit and think along such bitter lines I would have driven myself crazy, like my mother. I keep the volume low for my brother’s sake and surf for a while, not committing myself to any one show because today I work the night shift, as I do for most of the week. It is not a desirable shift, especially because the night is when all the low-lifes come in to play, but the owner knows that my will is stronger than most of the other girls’—and I know my body is stronger than most of the customers—so the task usually falls to me. I am almost always joined by an android, which, though it makes for terrible company, at least means I am not alone.

[B]“Wait…go back.”[/B]

I look down in surprise. I had no idea that Alejandro had woken, for he hadn’t stirred in the slightest.

[B]“What?”[/B] I ask him.

[B]“That news station,”[/B] he says, somewhat groggily. [B] “It looked like a riot, or a protest or something.”[/B]

I oblige him, still stroking his head.

It is a protest, and according to the “LIVE” icon at the bottom of the screen, it is still going on. We watch it in silence for a while, listening to the spin coming from the reporter on the scene. Despite the reporter’s claims that the protest represented Septu’s collective population, the protestors appeared to be almost exclusively upper-class citizens who had probably inconvenienced several times too many by the lower half. I wonder briefly that the police do not arrest the criminals standing blatantly in their view; they surely have the advantage of numbers and weaponry, though they may also be worried about losing containment of the mob they are trying unsuccessfully to suppress.

[B]“Why are they doing this?”[/B] my twin sighs.

I know what Abuela would say: that she’d been expecting this to happen since she’d first been deported; that she was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner; that somehow society always found someone else to discriminate against. I know that she’d probably have a long argument with my mother about not attempting to turn tail and run immediately. And I know that most of me wants to agree with her.

Instead I snort derisively. [B]“They obviously don’t want us here anymore.”[/B]

[B]“And why not?”[/B] remarks Alejandro. [B]“It worked in Australia.”[/B]

[B]“Yes,”[/B] I concur, [B]“but then the original population there couldn’t do much about their land and their way of life being overrun by convicted felons and cultural rejects. These people have money, and influence, and most importantly, news coverage.”[/B]

Alejandro chuckles at my sardonic humor. It feels funny on my thighs, and I laugh with him. We watch the broadcast for a few more minutes until he says to switch it, and I surf again until it is time for me to leave, promising him to return as soon as my shift is over and telling him to call me or Abuela if anything should happen, and he tells me to be careful.

It turns out that the protest is happening just down the street from my dive. Naturally, I find the place crawling with criminals taking refuge from the outside, and I start work already tense, my body quivering with the anticipation of trouble I can almost smell.

Sure enough, I’ve barely been there an hour when one of my patrons punches a hole in another’s chest. I’d been eavesdropping as I’d made my rounds, and so I’d caught the entire conversation. The attack wasn’t exactly unexpected, but still very shocking, especially the man’s speed and the placement of his blow.

[B]“Impressive,”[/B] I comment drily. [B]“You wouldn't think someone with such strength and...let's face it, insanity, would be so well-spoken.”[/B]

The man—Kessel, I think he said his name was—turns slowly towards me, a quiet, disturbing smile resting on his face.

[B]“Mmm?” [/B]he says. [B]“And what might be the name of the lovely young thing I am addressing?”[/B]

I set down my tray and move behind the counter, picking up a white rag out of a tub of soapy water sitting in one of its cavities. [B]“I am Elena de Mercado,”[/B] I inform him, matching his calm, superficially genteel tone, [B]“and if you will take your seat again, I’ll clean that up for you.”[/B]

Kessel looks down at his handiwork. [B]“I don’t know,”[/B] he muses. [B]“I like it where it is, I think. It lends the place such a…distinct atmosphere.”[/B]

[B]“Certainly,”[/B] I return, [B]“but it makes the other customers nervous, and we can’t have that.”[/B] I summon the T-model android and have it go about removing the corpse. While it does so, I dispose of the limp heart myself, tossing in the dumpster outback, then return and begin scrubbing the floor, cleaning up what blood hasn’t already seeped into its oak boards. [I] –This smell is going to linger for weeks[/I], I mourn inwardly, steeling myself against the man’s calmly scrutinizing stare on my back.

The odor he exudes is one of dominance and dementia; I believe he enjoys killing like this. I will myself not to show the fear I feel, to match his composure. Perhaps if I do so, it will not provoke him.

As I return to the counter to dispose of my foul rag, the man named Kessel appears to consider another statement.[/align]

[CENTER]-----------------[/CENTER][/SIZE]
[FONT="Arial"][SIZE="1"]OOC: What say you, [COLOR="DarkRed"]Blayze[/COLOR]?[/SIZE][/FONT]
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[SIZE="1"] The human unit took full advantage of their downtime, and Darius Thompson layed a full house on the table as another precious minute passed. Although the other men ? boys ? around the table scoffed and threw their yellowish playing cards into the muck, they were happy. They knew it was only a matter of time until assignment came, and that the idleness of the morning would soon be disrupted.

?Goddamnit Darius, what?s the point in winning every hand if you don?t even smoke?? Roland Werner said.

?Working up to a trade for Clyde?s pillow. I could use an extra.? Darius scooped up the cigarettes and pocketed them as Roland dealt the next hand. The four men around the table slept in the corner farthest from the door, and in the weeks since joining the ranks they formed a makeshift, yet genuine friendship. The friendship of those who share the same unknown fate.

Darius smiled at Roland, who whispered something obscene into the ear of Taki, the other player. Snickering, Clyde tossed two cigarettes into that pot and said, ?You can have that pillow on the day that I die, Thompson.?

Before Roland, Darius, or Taki could react, the door to the barracks flew open. Darius always knew when it meant duty ? Androids opened it with indifferent strength. As if a light descended on a room full of cockroaches, the soldiers in the human unit scurried, but into formation instead of the darkness. The Android Sergeant stared down the line with his uncomfortably human-like eyes, and barked orders in a not so human screech.

?The High Command orders this unit to dispatch immediately to aid the police force in riot control in sector 7. Follow and depart.?

With that the android turned out of the room, and the soldiers followed.

?Riot? Who the hell is crazy enough to riot anymore?? Roland muttered to Darius as the group of 30 or so moved in hurried steps through the narrow hallway that led to the garage.

?It might not have anything to do with being crazy.?

?So your saying it takes a group of lunatics, Darius?? Clyde asked, and a thought swept through Darius?s mind that he might be right. He didn?t have time to dwell on it, as the unit reached the vehicles and departed within a minute of the Android Sergeant arriving. The Imperial Army showed superior efficiency.

---

Intertwined between two dissenting groups, the police welcomed the military assistance. The rioting crowd swelled forth in oceanic waves, eroding the wall of tactical shields.

?Shit, they need our help bad,? Taki said as they leapt from the vehicle.

?Let?s drive em back in to that alley! They won?t be able to do much in that cramped little shithole!? Clyde shouted above the tumultuous sound of the crowd. Slowly Darius and the rest worked their way to the front of the police line, leaned in and forced the crowd toward the alley. The criminals and the protestors joined in, shoving back in toward the main street, determined to not be stuffed away.

[I]Funny that when the fuzz show up, prey and predator have a common enemy,[/I] Darius thought. The military unit surged forth, standing behind the wall of shields, guns drawn. In such close proximity, the words on the protestors signs came into focus.

[I]Rid Septu of Scum
Septu is no prison[/I]
And Darius?s particular favorite: [I]Fuck the Man![/I]

And in the eyes of the protestors he saw intense passion, determination, and most importantly the stolid fixation that comes with knowing the truth. He wanted to reach out to them, to drop his gun and join them. He wanted to be a son of their movement more than in thought, but in action. Like so many other young human men, Darius joined the army for one simple reason: Safety. Androids worked most labor jobs, and lord knew the streets weren?t safe with condemned criminals around every corner. A human couldn?t make a safe living any more unless his father had a thousand-dollar leg up for his son. Even if he didn?t agree with Imperial, if he hated them more than the scum that killed his family, if he felt like the cause was worth taking to the grave, he could not. Darius knew and accepted that fire would be opened that day, and many would be killed. He could not accept where it would come from and whom it would kill.

A shout of triumph arose from the soldier's lips as the protestors began to spill in to the small alleyway.
"All right, just keep pushin' em!"
"Almost! Drive them down as far as you can!"
The shouts of encourage flew from the ranks of the riot control.
"Fuck! They got through, they got through to the left!"

Darius heard Clyde's voice only seconds before the gunshots erupted from the left. Several policeman panic and bolted, the protestors surged forth and the ranks of the shield wall broke in a flood that washed the unit apart. A bullet flew past Darius, whistling as it went. He heard it hit something behind him as several of the brave police officers and the human military unit opened a round on the group of criminals. Darius felt lost in the push and pull of the mixed crowd, reached for his own weapon, and prayed to nothing in particular.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE=1][I]Black[/I]

Everything was dark. Not a hint of light to come at all. And cold. Every inch of Varick's body ached with numbness.

A flash suddenly shot through his mind. White hot pain. [I]What the hell is going on?[/I] Varick growled, and tried to move but he couldn't. He was breaking out in a sweat, but remained colder than ever. Another flash. And Another. They were coming faster and faster. He bit down on his tongue until he tasted blood.

[I]HELP![/I] Varick tried to scream, but couldn't. He struggled with the pain and fought away the numbness. Another flash that was accompanied by a small muscle spasm.

[I]What's this?[/I] Varick found that he had a little movement in his right hand. He worked the joints, which felt like they had been cramped up for days. Another flash of pain shot through his leg, but still he resided in darkness. It was becoming more unbearable. And that's when he heard it.

The sound of wheels on hard, linolieum floor, the screeching of rustic metal, the sudden but intense heat at his feet. Varick's heart rate was rising rapidly! [I]I have to get out of here![/I]

Adreniline combined with another painful shock, finally gave him full mobility, regardless of how painful it was. His hand ripped through the darkness in a blur of fury and his foreign hand found a neck. Varick was scared; too scared to realize what he was doing before it was done.

-----

Varick sat up abruptly, just as he had done his dream. That same dream he'd been having for months on end: A recollection of his first memory. He was breaking out in a cold sweat, despite the cheap and unwarming comforters covering the lower half of his body.

Varick observed his shabby one-room apartment. It's familiar shabby appearance, did little to comfort him. The room consisted of a bed, a refrigiorator that didn't work, a microwave oven that was close to exploding, empty cabinets with door falling off the hinges, a toilet and shower placed randomly in the corner with no walls surrounding it, and a sink that didn't work. His bed doubled as a couch and there were no carpets or wallpaper, it had all been ruined and that old hag of a landlady never bothered to keep the place up.

Of course, the reason behind this was because there would never be any legal suits brought up against her; only criminals and outlaws stayed in this part of Septu, and most of them probably didn't pay too well either.

The blinds to his right were letting an awful orange glare shine into his eyes, and he peeked through to see that the sun was setting. No telling what Varick was doing earlier that morning around 4:30 to 5:00.

[B]"What's wrong baby?"[/B] A woman's voice sounded to his left. He jumped up and fell out of bed, pulling the sheets with him. He didn't remember bringing a woman home.

[B]"Who the hell are you?"[/B] He stood, tucking the sheets around his waist. The woman rolled over groggily, exposing her bare breasts.

[B]"What do you mean?"[/B] She asked, her lipstick still smeared across her face and Varick guess across his as well.

[B]"Are ya deaf? I asked who the fuck you are!"[/B]

She was obvioulsy frightened at this obviously unseen aggression, but she took it in stride, [B]"I'm Tiffany. Don't you remember anything?"[/B]

[B]"Get the hell out."[/B] Varick said calmly

[B]"Wha--?"[/B]

[B]"I said get the hell out, you filthy tramp!"[/B] the woman looked hurt, and as mean as his comment was, he still had a heart.

Varick dropped the sheets and put on a pair of jeans before throwing a couple of dollars and what appeared to be her clothes onto the bed in front of her.

[B]"Clean yourself up, and get out. Don't be here when I get back."[/B] Varick pulled on a dirty T-Shirt and walked out the door. He didn't care if she was there without him, she couldn't damage the apartment any worse than it already was and she certainly couldn't find anything worth stealing.

Varick walked down the flights of steps and onto the street, unaware of that night's destination.[/SIZE]

~~~~~~
OOC: Feel free to interact, anybody.
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]In a slither of limbs, Melstreth Spyrus pulled herself up from the bed where moments ago she'd been resting. It was so quiet she could hear the clicking of her beaded earrings dancing in the breeze of her fan. Moving like a lynx, she crawled on all fours towards the foot of her bed and discovered the corpse of the man she'd taken home the night before. She paused and considered him slowly.

Her brown eyes narrowed and contracted, then her pupils dialated in a sudden flash of remembrance. His name was Jovy. He'd liked her at the club, and he'd hit on her and she'd taken him. All she had to do was turn on the charm, flick her mane of hair back over one shoulder, and he'd been ready to follow her anywhere. And he had. To her den, her lair, the place where countless lives had been ended. At the final moment, the breaking point, she'd been screaming and choking him in the most auto erotic manner possible. And then she'd snapped his neck at the moment of his own orgasm. Critical limit reached. And then he'd fallen off her bed and she'd fallen asleep, even as she was covered in a silky sheen of sweat and fluids.[/i]

"Ephemerial lives fading away.... ....by my hands."

[i]Her voice was the only sound in her empty apartment. It pierced the air, and then faded away. And now she had a corpse. Utterly unconcerned, she stood up and slunk towards the shower, dousing herself in the ice, feeling her skin grow colder and colder. Then warmer again as the heater finally engaged. Mel didn't mind really. She paid rent in stolen money. She didn't use electricity because she could see in the dark. And tonight was another night. The body went into the incinerator. She dressed after disposing of what had been the man known as Jovy. His cash had found its way into her money clip, and her eyes had sparkled when it'd seen the rings he'd worn. Next stop?

Pawn shop. And there she slapped down the loot. The owner knew her. He knew what she was. But she was good business. And she was very hot. He couldn't be bothered to not break the law for her. Especially when she leaned over the counter and gave him a flash of those beautiful tanned breasts straining to escape from the lace bras she favored.[/i]

"What can I do you for?"

"You might get me for free."

[i]He saw her perfect teeth flash in one of her sultry smiles. Then he looked up over her shoulder at another person coming in.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE=1][I]OOC: Oh noes. The images don't have the transparency on IE @_@ *kills self*[/I]



--


Lex had caught the sound of tapping and judging from the sound, he predicted it to be too far away to be the front door, thereby assuming it was the alternative entrance. Miles' ears pricked up more than usual and he stood up, edging towards the door waiting for his master to follow. Lex stood up, turning off the television and making his way through to the cellar once more. The light had turned off after twenty minutes of detecting no activity and as soon as Lex came down the old wooden stairs they flashed back on again.

His dog was waiting patiently by the door, neither wagging his nail nor ready to pounce. Lex had supposed, like most dogs nowadays, they learnt that over friendliness would get them in trouble. If Miles had been a violent breed of dog, he would have most probably been barking and howling at this moment.

Lex opened the door only an inch to see who it was. After a few seconds, his keen eyes pinned the face of the man to a name in his database and he opened the door with an android-like grin. Lex cast his eyes up to the man he did [i]not[/i] recognize for a moment, though, somewhat suspicious.

[B]"Need I remind you, sir, that you should not be out at this time?"[/B] Lex raised an eyebrow. The old man waved him off with his good arm and stepped in with a laugh.

[B]"No ya don't need remind me, since ya have done for the past... year."[/B] He greeted Miles with his good arm once again, so Lex gathered his artificial arm was in need of repairing again. [B]"Don't mind if I bring a friend in? Young boy here saved mah skin."[/B]

[B]"Your skin would not need saving, if you did--"[/B]

The old man hushed him with a wave of his good arm again and moved to take a seat on one of Lex's wooden chairs. Lex shrugged mildly and turned to the other man, who looked like he could definitely hold his own in a fight. Lex only eyed him for a second, before extending his hand to the man.

[B]"Gotik Lex, currently the only available mechanic, engineer and cybernetic who hasn't met an... unfortunate end..."[/B] Lex gave a lob sided, awkward grin.

[B]"Samuel. Samuel Strong."[/B]

The man smiled and, when shaking Lex's hand, applied considerable pressure for a human. Lex, feeling quite competitive, replied with his own android strength but drew away quickly before he could do any damage. Sam glanced at his hand for a second but thought nothing of it as Lex moved off to see his longest known customer. Filling in for his master being rude and abandoning Sam to his own thoughts, Miles came over to Sam to sniff around at his shoes and poke his nose under his arms.

[B]"One day you must let me replace this arm. These constant repairs are costing me a fair fortune."[/B] Lex told the old man with a frown.

[B]"You may be good Lexy boy, but you ain't [i]that[/i] good. It takes computers ta programme an' fix those new fancy cyber arms about these days. Unless that new little manikin is any match for an android these days."[/B]

Lex refrained from lifting his head at the old man's remarks, though he failed to contain a large grin on his face. He took out a small screw driver and poked at a few of the circuits in the cybernetic arm, noticing a few of them would need replacing. This would normally take a few hours, but Lex would have it done sooner.

[B]"Sam, would you pass me that wire bundle?"[/b] he asked.

Sam looked up from the dog for a moment with a 'hmm?' and followed Lex's eyes over to a small bundle of red and black wires sitting amongst various technologies. He did as he was instructed and threw them in Lex's direction, who caught them easily and began removing the old wires.

[B]"Please be careful next time,"[/B] Lex scolded the old man.

[B]"Now, I've been aroun' for--"[/B]

[B]"Fifty-odd years, I've fought fifty-odd thousand different kinds of men in the war and I have had fifty-odd thousand trips to hospital in which none of them has seen me dead."[/B] Lex repeated with a bit more grammatical consideration. [B]"I have been reminded of this quite often, sir."[/B]

The old man grinned. [B]"And so ya should be!"[/B]

Lex looked up disapprovingly but didn't comment. He concentrated on finishing his work, which he completed soon after the conversation had finished. The old man flexed his arm around, thanking Lex for the good job and patting him on the back. Lex smiled awkwardly.

[B]"I would remind you not to walk home by yourself,"[/b] he thought Sam looked as though he could take care of himself, but he didn't want to put the old man's health on his shoulders. [B]"I will join you in a moment."[/B]

Lex walked off up stairs for a moment, with the old man talking behind him, either to Lex or Sam... maybe even Miles. When Lex returned, the old man was still talking as Lex put on his long coat and ushered his dog back upstairs.

[B]"I will escort you back."[/B]

[B]"Well now, this boy thinks he's somethin' else,"[/B] the old man laughed over at Sam, who grinned.

Lex only grinned as well and cursed his formality. If he insisted on speaking in a much tougher accent, maybe the old man would take him seriously. It didn't matter, though, Lex was fixated on walking the old man back. He was sure he could get to know another new person, as well, especially someone who looked like they could knock ten men into next week. That would definitely ensure his home's safety if the thieves saw [i]that[/i] sort of man walking out.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"]Kole walked down the sidewalk hearing the faint noise of the protest going on a couple blocks away. He saw some of the protesters in the distance and decided to skip that mess and cut through the alleyway. He had crossed into another alley when he heard a garbage can crash behind him. He looked back to see a large drunkard stumbling to his feet.

[B]"Why ain't ya at da protest?"[/B] He asked in a slur. [B]"Doncha want dem criminals outta yo city?"[/B]

[B]"Excuse me?"[/B] Kole replied turning around.

[B]"You heard me."[/B] The man said standing up and moving forward.

[B]"To be honest, I could care less."[/B]

[B]"Thats cause you are one, and i want you outta here."[/B] The man lunged at Kole, he moved out of the way as the drunkard slammed on the ground and scurried to his feet. He lunged at Kole again this time Kole's fist colliding with the guys stomach and sending him gasping to the ground.

[B]"Now go home and sleep it off, next time it will be a bullet going in your stomach."[/B] Kole walked off leaving the man. He continued down the alley until he reached a old pawn shop. He opened the door to see what looked like a very attractive young woman leaning over the counter and the owner of the store almost drooling starring at her chest. Kole cleared his throat and the man quickly stoop up straight. [B]"Do you have the parts I ordered?"[/B]

"Just got em in today," He said rustling behind the counter. He came up with two small crates and a very small box. [B]"We have your gauges, your engine's gyro system and here,"[/B] he said holding up the small box.[B]"is your auto pilot that took me a whole fucking day to track down."[/B]

[B]"Don't worry you'll get your payment, eventually,"[/B] Kole replied looking the crates over. [B]"I just have a few debts I hafta pay beforehand."[/B] The owner sighed and went into the back. Kole opened a crate and was looking over the gauges when he glanced over at the girl who was starring at him. He gave her a quick glance and when back to checking the gauges. The owner came back and handed the woman her money. She gave Kole one more look and then left.

"[B]So when are you planning on paying me?"[/B] the man asked making Kole jerk around to him. [B]"You already owe me for all the other parts you have gotten."[/B]

[B]"I have hit some rough patches but once I get my ship off the ground I will be back in business, and then you will get your money with interest "[/B] Kole replied assuringly gathering up the crates and grabbing the box and shoving it in his pocket.
He left the pawn shop with his parts knowing full well that this was the last time he was going into that shop. It was the third supplier he has given another identity and left them with his high tab. He started making his way back to his hangar trying to think of ways to pay off his debts.[/SIZE]
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[COLOR=#001824][SIZE="1"][FONT="Trebuchet MS"]A rather loud and obnoxious ring began to ring from the insides of Syn?s ?Home away from Home?. Even he had to admit, the place wasn?t as prestige as he had wanted it. It was well enough for a romp with a woman if he had so wished it. Not the very best of places to want to live in. Slowly from underneath the veil of blankets a hand snaked its way out to hover over the blaring noisemaker. The hand formed itself into a tight fist and brought itself down upon the alarm. Syn quickly retracted his limb back underneath the blankets only to cringe at the paralyzing numbness that coursed through his arm. Once realizing this he scurried about righting himself upwards to hold tight his limb.
[B]
?Its numb? that can only mean?? [/B]He sighed heavily turning his eyes to the side only to recognize what he had expected to see.

His clock was going haywire, numbers easily flashing within every hundredth of a second if not even faster. It was probably a shot circuit, if not a sudden power surge. [B]?I?ll just have to fix it later.?[/B] Syn sighed, tossing the device to the side and pressed his thumb against the inside of his wrist. He squeezed down, moving his hand off of the vein and back on periodicly until he could establish slight feeling in his hand.

[B]?No matter what they say, living with genetic modifications will always leave you handicapped in one way or another.[/B]? His fist clenched itself into a tight first once again; at least he could actually feel this time. That was one sign of progress. He groggily moved towards his computer and without mumbling a phrase started to ]check the back of it for a cable. The computer wasn?t anything too new or different, just some standard thing he was able to wrestle up from a person who? had no longer had a use of such a wondrous object any longer. It wasn?t long before he found what he was looking for and pulled it out from its hiding spot. All in all, it seemed to be a fairly normal looking object, it started out normal, till you got to the end at least. The wire was stripped, copper flared out on all sides only to be bonded back down with the use of some electrical tape. The ending had a rather awkward looking male connecter. Even for such a place as this, it looked like it wouldn?t properly fit into anything around, good thing too, if his design were to get around more than it already had, Syntic would?ve been blindly aggravated. He took the connector and moved aside a plate on the back of his neck, to provide the hole for the connecter to go.

[B]?Now it is time to go into the world of today.[/B]? Syntic?s head jerked up at the feel of the information surging through his mind. There was no need to go inside the massive web stream of data; there was no point to it. All that Syn was interested in the moment was what had happened in the? 24 hours of sleep he had? Time flew by when you?re having fun with a person.

[B]?Looks like nothing much today, this all seems like junk.?[/B] He detached the cable, allowing it to roll itself back into its hiding place. ?Now its time to seize the day, there should be something out here to interest me.?

Syn quickly threw on some pants as well as a shirt and headed out. He hadn?t found anyone lately that drew interest to him, so he was at somewhat of a low. It hadn?t taken long for him to find someone though; he seemed somewhat perturbed, most likely something had just happened inside. That was all he needed to draw interest, that and what Syntic was feeling about his aura drew him in even more. He was missing parts of his body, replaced them with bionic limbs. There was a great chance that he had other modifications, but not even Syntic?s heightened senses could delve in that deep.
[B]
?Oi, you look like you?ve just seen a ghost? or dined with one.? [/B]All Syn got back from his initial comment was an eyebrow raise. Perhaps he was analyzing him in the same way Syn was analyzing him only moments before.

[B]?Do I know you??[/B] He questioned, his eyes still focused on this new player.

[B]?Of course not, life here wouldn?t be interesting if you met the same old people all day.?[/B] Syn waited through the pause, obviously a bad pun, [B]?My name is Syntic, if you wish to address me, I?d prefer Syn, and yours?? [/B]

[B]?Varick.?[/B][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[B][SIZE=1]"Are you scared of me, Elena de Mercado?" [/SIZE][/B][SIZE=1]Kessel asked quietly, [B]"Because there is no need to be. I rarely kill in a bar-room brawl - this was an unfortunate exception to my own personal rules. He breached the code of conduct, and those who do this must pay the price."

"But you like killing like this, don't you, Kessel?" [/B]Elena replied, [B]"You feel it makes you...dominant." [/B]Kessel smiled. This girl was a thing of incredible beauty and grace - not that he was interested, though. He had grown weary of such immature desires a long time ago - he only participated in sexual situations to gain that feeling of dominance over another person which he craved so much.

[B]"You are very intuitive, Miss de Mercado," [/B]the psychotic killing machine replied, pulling a cigarette from his shirt pocket and twisting it into the corner of his mouth, [B]"Every human feels the need to be dominant. Some hide it from others. I choose to exhibit it plainly - it is a much healthier outlet than, say, taking it out on another away from public eyes. You should try it sometime." [/B]Elena flicked open her own Zippo lighter and held it under Kessel's cigarette tip, sparking it and listening to the soft crackle as the tobacco caught. [B]"Thank you," [/B]Kessel said, leaning back and drawing in a lungful of smoke.

[B]"That's going to kill you eventually," [/B]she said, looking down at the bar and wiping it a little with a rag.

[B]"Miss de Mercado, please," [/B]said Kessel with a slight chuckle, [B]"Of all the things likely to be the end of me, cigarettes are rather low on the list. There are about a hundred waiting just down the street, in fact."

"The protest?" [/B]Elena asked, and Kessel nodded.

[B]"The people of Septu aren't all that happy about having one of the world's most wanted criminals residing just around the corner from them. They have no idea whether I'm going to sneak around at night and murder their children, or just destroy their city from the inside out. Totally understandably, of course," [/B]he replied, giving Elena a sly grin through the cloud of smoke that was puffing out of his mouth and nose. Elena then jumped as he burst into a fit of coughing and spluttering, which turned slowly into dry retching as he doubled over and almost collapsed from his seat. He dropped the cigarette on the ground, closed his eyes and took in a few deep breaths of fresh air.

[B]"I apologise," [/B]he croaked, sitting back up straight and facing Elena, [B]"I have a certain...intolerance to noxious fumes."

"And you continue to smoke cigarettes? Seems a little foolish to me, Kessel," [/B]she said with a comforting smile.

[B]"It never hurts to be reminded of one's own weaknesses. Helps us to overcome them - anyway, my intolerance seems to be breaking down. I never used to be able to inhale this much smoke and remain conscious, so it seems that if I continue to smoke as I have been doing, perhaps the intolerance will dissipate completely."

"Seems like convoluted logic to me, but if you believe then maybe that's all you need..." [/B]Elena was interrupted by a sudden crash as the window of her bar was shattered, and a small glass object landed on the ground, promptly exploding into a shower of dark liquid and flames.

[B]"Petrol bomb!" [/B]someone yelled as the flames began to catch, [B]"This protest just got a little nasty!"

"Quick, Kessel," [/B]said Elena under her breath, [B]"There is a back way out. Go, before the smoke gets to you." [/B]Kessel looked a little puzzled for just a second, then ran over to the back door, never questioning Elena's motives. He ripped the door from it's hinges and leapt out of the doorway into the alley behind the bar. He turned just as the flames hit the stores of liquor, and the whole place went up. He just managed to swing the door in front of him and shield himself from the worst of the blast, smoke and flames pouring out around him. He hit the floor, and blacked out almost instantly...
[/SIZE]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Cash in hand, Mel left the pawn shop and the owner to his own devices and sauntered down the street in the impossibly tight jeans she'd slipped into not an hour beforehand. People turned to stare, men and women alike, but most knew her by reputation. The Siren of Septu continued walking, not paying attention to the people who shied away from her almost instinctually. There was something wrong about a woman who could walk through such utter decay and depression with a genuine, and utterly believable smile on her face. Actually, she didn't mind really...the smile was real too.

Just as she was about to turn the corner for her favorite bar, it exploded in a monstrous fireball of choking fumes and dark smoke. She inhaled very slowly, not at all flustered, just mildly annoyed.[/i]

"So much for a quiet drink and casual flirtation."

[i]Her low mutter carried a hint of anger in it, but she suppressed it with surprising skill. Instead, she circled around the back, the mob at the front moving like one gigantic moronic animal. Most likely a sheep. As she turned the corner, instead of Miss de Mercado, the nice girl who had given her so many drinks nights past wasn't stumbling out the building. Instead it appeared to be an unconscious male, one who smelled like cigarettes; at least to her heightened sense of smell. He also looked like 100 miles of bad cliche. She shrugged casually and leaned over once more to get a closer look at his face, preemptively dodging another rock that'd made it through both the front and the back windows by some feat of utter defiance of physics.[/i]

"And things were going so well."

[i]Then she raised her eyebrow again. Once he came back around, what better fun to be had then with a mildly groggy and not completely coherent male? She picked him up, the enhanced muscles of her arms easily lifting his weight, even as she noted he was heavier than he looked.

By dodging people this time around, and cutting through back alley with enough skill to make any thief proud, she made it to the door of her own flat without any serious trouble. She might've had to kick a wino off her behind, but that was commonplace these days anyway. He didn't show any signs of waking on the trip, and nor did he when she casually dumped him on the expanse of snowy white sheets that was her bed.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[B][I][SIZE=1]"He's truly our finest specimen. The combination of genetic and cybernetic modification that was implemented in his creation was a flawless first example. He is stronger, faster, and more intelligent than the average human, and he is programmed to take any command, no matter how dangerous or life-threatening. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the ultimate super-soldier."

[/SIZE][/I][/B][I][SIZE=1]I heard the voices through a thick mist of static-like sound, a buzzing that wouldn't stop, wouldn't let up, not even for a second. I tried to see, but there was nothing but blurred colours and shapes. It was as though I had woken up for the very first time.

[B]"Of course, we wiped his memory totally. He has no recollection whatsoever of the life he led before he was entered into the project, and if our programming has gone correctly, then he will have no wish to remember either. We have taken his true name and wiped it from all files and records, and simply replaced it with one of our own. His name is Kessel."

[/B]The shapes began to take clearer form, swirling into solid images before my eyes - a man in a white coat stood at the front of a large group of others, dressed in business suits, one even in a military uniform. The scientist at the front held a clipboard, on which were written the answers to any question the group might ask.

[B]"What happens if he turns on us? If he's the "Ultimate Super Soldier" you claim he is, won't he cause a lot of damage to our own side?" [/B]asked the man in the military uniform.

[B]"Kessel is not really a human any more, General. He is...a machine, a weapon. He has been programmed to take orders, and never to disobey them. There is no danger whatsoever of him turning on you."

"But this mental conditioning...it breaks down sometimes, doesn't it?"

"There have been tests that confirm that only those of unsound mind before the conditioning process begins are able to break down the programming. Kessel was of totally sound mind before he was entered into the programme, therefore there is no danger."

[/B]Kessel...the name didn't sound familiar...I knew it wasn't my name. I looked desperately around his surroundings, and saw the reason why my vision had been blurry when I had first regained consciousness - I was submerged in a huge tank of liquid, with any number of wires, cables and tubes connected to my body.

[B]"Ah, as you can see, he is beginning to stir," [/B]said the scientist, very matter-of-factly, [B]"This is the first time he has been conscious since the enhancement process began, so it should be interesting to see his reaction."

"What is the liquid he's suspended in?" [/B]asked one of the women in a business suit.

[B]"It's a muscle enhancer. He has essentially been asleep for a number of months, and as such there has been some atrophy in his muscles. This solution will build them up again. It's quite oxygen-enriched, so he doesn't even need to breathe in there, and there are no chemicals in it which would affect his eyes, not in any long-term way, anyway."

[/B]I grabbed one of the tubes that was connected to my chest, and yanked on it with both hands.

[B]"Is he supposed to be doing that?" [/B]asked another business-suited woman, [B]"It doesn't look like a natural reaction."

"He is working out how to disconnect himself. It's perfectly fine, he doesn't have any specific need to be connected to the life-support at this stage, anyway. It's a healthy process of him gaining independence."

[/B]I ripped each tube, wire and cable from myself, then floated over to the glass, pressing my hand against it. The liquid flowed around me, bizarrely like jelly in it's consistency, and I looked down on the people who stared at me like I was some kind of zoo animal. Some looked on, fascinated; others took a step back; and the scientist stared directly into my eyes, as if he was goading me. I felt rage coursing through my veins at this stage, and drew my fist back, then let if fly at the glass tank that surrounded me...

[/SIZE][/I][SIZE=1]Kessel snapped into consciousness with a cry, his hand thrusting forwards and snapping around something in the dark. He looked up, his vision slowly clearing, and saw a beautiful young lady's throat clasped in his hand. He looked into her deep blue eyes, and croaked:

[B]"Who are you and where am I?"[/B]
[/SIZE]
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[size=1]The three men left Lex’s basement exit. Sam stepped out first, quickly browsing the surrounding estate for suspicious activity. The old man came shakily outside still babbling on about some old war story that Sam was sure Lex had heard a hundred times before. Lex stepped out last, locking the door behind them and then following them to the estate’s main gate.

Sam suddenly remembered about the grass and scowled at the prospect. With his chiselled features set into a menacing scowl at his own discomfort some thugs hanging around a nearby building assumed it was directed at them and quickly turned-tail to run.

At that Lex let out a slight scoff as if he found something funny. Unbeknownst to Sam and the old man, Lex’s hopes of Sam scaring away some of the locals had worked perfectly.

[B]“So, old geezer, where do ya live?”[/B] Sam asked, a little less disgruntled with both the grass and the estate gates behind them.

[B]“Ya always so ‘mpatient sonny boy?”[/B] the Geezer retorted somewhat sarcastically. [I]Jeez is this guy irritable or what?[/I] he silently questioned.

[B]“You jus’ keep ya concentration on lookin’ big and tough boy and let me do th’guiding.”[/B]

Sam continued on, if not with an evident sense of grumpiness in his step, down the haggard streets they’d come down and into the alleyways he first found the old bastard being beaten not a few hours before. At his directions they went through a winding maze of alleys, under fences and through abandoned buildings. All the while their conversation kept to a minimum. Sam had thought he was starting to get used to the place before tonight but after seeing the way this man navigated through the scum, filth and assorted shit he seriously needed to re-evaluate himself.

They finally arrived at a very discrete entrance to what seemed like a deserted, run-down apartment building. Upon entering however Sam discovered that the place was full of people, all scared huddled together and just as scruffy looking as the old man. Sam’s heart felt for them all, but what could he do? Not a hellova lot the way the world was, that’s for sure.

[B]“Well, Lexy-boy, much ‘preciate the repairs ya did on mah arm,”[/B] Lex nodded with a slight smile, [B]“And Sammy, thanks for fendin’ off that fuckin’ brute. I’d be a goner without ya.”[/B]

[B]“No worries old geezer. Take care of yourself in future eh? I’ll be ‘round if ya get inta trouble again.”[/B]

The old man let out a hysterical cackle before slapping them both on the back and retreating into the shadows with his buddies. To Sam they looked like they were playing a very old card game. He smiled genuinely at how people forgot their day-to-day struggles and then turned to follow Lex back outside.

[B]“So, ya got other plans for the night Lexy my friend?”[/B] Sam asked in a very casual way as he looked up and down the street for something.

[B]“Well, I had planned on just going back to my shop now that the old man is safe and secure. Did you have any plans Sam?”[/B] The smaller man replied.

[B]“Jeez, for a guy who looks like you, you’ve really gotta great vocabulary and what not,”[/B] Sam stated matter-of-factly before continuing, [B]“I was figurin’ on hittin’ up some pubs for a quiet drink before looking for a nice spot to lay my head.”[/B]

[B]“You don’t have a place to stay?”[/B] Lex seemed honestly concerned.

[B]“Well, I’ve only been here a week. No idea how I got here or what happened before. I was short on cash too.”[/B] He replied with a big smirk as if he didn’t really have a care in the world.

[B]“Maybe I will take you up on that offer for a drink. And then you could come back and stay at my shop if you’d like?”[/B]

Sam considered this carefully, the look of deep thought across his handsome features as if he were working on quantum physics.

[B]“You know Lexy, you’re a good man. Come on, first one’s on me!”[/B][/size]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="times new roman"][i]Melstreth smiled at him, the expanse of her ever changing eyes flickering in the twilight of her room. She placed a gentle hand on the wrist grabbing her around the throat and exhaled as she pushed his hand away in a slow movement. He didn't struggle, but the force behind her fingertips clearly wasn't the strength of the average human. She was straddling him at this point, her face so close to his he could see his reflection in her pupils.[/i]

"You are in my flat, safe and sound...well, safe as anyone could possibly be in my bed."

"You didn't tell me who you are."

[i]The girl tilted her head to one side, a river of amber tresses nearly overwhelming his senses. She flexed her neck, and he noticed, even in the dark, there wasn't a single bruise or redness around her neck. Unnatural, her flesh rippled, the muscles under her bare stomach contracting. She pushed closer to him, her breasts straining against the tightness of her shirt.[/i]

"I'm just like you. Only a helluva lot sexier. ...I'm a bio soldier that rebelled against her makers. I am the product of very small gods. Melstreth Spyrus. Of the Kyung Project."

[i]He wasn't terribly surprised at this point, but it was hard to surprise her. The man looked again at her eyes, and they'd shifted once more, this time to a pale green color.[/i]

"You're a criminal Kessel. Even I know your name. But unlike you, nobody knows the extent of my sins."

[i]He opened his mouth to say something, perhaps to deny her, but Mel was too interested to wait. She placed a delicate finger against her lips, pursing them as if to kiss it.[/i]

"Instead of just killing men women and children...I sex them all to death. Well....sometimes rape. But I've yet to meet a man like you who didn't just go all in. Would you? Maybe you could even stop me from killing you at the end... ...will you?"[/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"][INDENT][right][i]... /system reboot
code 1149057; name MAE

/program run: system scan
status: complete
main systems operational

/end sleep mode[/i][/right]

A pair of soldiers, each dressed in uniforms aligning them with the Russian-sent police of Septu, wandered drunkenly through a large metal scrap yard. They were either recently discharged, or soon to be for ditching their posts, asT they went down the seldom taken shortcut between the edge of Posopia and one of its smaller, more rural neighbors. The lesser drunk of the two men said something in Russian about needing to go to the bathroom, and stumbled off a little ways to do so, leaving his friend to trip over various unusable android parts and knock himself out.

The soldier, having found an acceptable spot, was about to relieve himself when he heard a sudden noise of metal crashing against other metal and the ground from somewhere behind him and immediately reached for his firearm. Whipping himself around, he looked ready to fire, but saw nothing. He called out quietly for his fellow officer, but when no voice replied, he began to crouch and inch his way up a large pile of metal parts, hoping to scout out the source of the noise from a higher vantage point.

He was surprised to see a young woman, dressed in warm weather clothing yet ignorant of the chilling air around her, staring at a large pile of parts. He lowered his gun and was about to call out to her when he saw her lift her arms, which suddenly turned into metal vines and wrapped around an unconscious body, which he quickly recognized as his buddy, before throwing it with ease into the air. She slashed the tips of her whip-like arms along the man's body while it still hovered in the air, and watched silently as he fell into several bloody, but perfectly cut, blocks of flesh.

The soldier immediately brought the gun back up and, after aiming carefully, sent a shot straight through her forehead. He cried angrily out at her, believing himself to have gotten his revenge for the death of his friend. However, after a moment, he froze and watched in a mix of horror and awe as the woman stayed standing, and even turned her eyes immediately on him, despite the hole in her head. The hole seemed to sew itself together, and after a few seconds, it looked as though she hadn't been touched at all. She took a step towards him, and he fell over himself trying to back away, tumbling all the way down to the bottom of the large pile he had perched himself on. As he scrambled to his feet, he felt as if there was a hand spreading through his hair before he was yanked up into the air, legs kicking desperately to regain the feeling of ground beneath them. He shouted and cursed in his native Russian, before being spun around slowly to look down into the face of the young woman.

[b]"Give it to me."[/b]

He tilted his head, still with a look of absolute terror on his face, unable to understand. She paused for a moment before asking the question again, this time in the language she had heard him cursing in moments before. He stared back at her in awe, before asking her what it was she wanted. She pointed quietly at his weapon, and after a second of hesitation, threw the weapon at her feet. She tossed him at one of the piles of lifeless robotics, and reached down for the gun. As the soldier struggled to get to his feet, she thanked him in Russian before shooting him in the exact same spot he had shot her. She glanced down at the weapon in her hands and snapped it in half, dropping the pieces on its dead owner as she passed by.

[b]"I do not understand why I would be in a Septu junkyard,"[/b] she 'thought' aloud to herself. After a moment or two of trying to access her own navigational program and failing, she rationalized that she must have not succeeded on her last mission, and was thereby disposed of. Though doubtful that she would actually fail an assignment, there would be no other reason to be sent to the "Country of Trash", as it was occasionally referred to for its taking in of prisoners and defunct military experiments. However, why she hadn't been deactivated permanently when left with the scraps made no sense to her. If she was a failure, why had she been simply been put into sleep mode? All of her unanswered questions bothered her, and she decided that there was only one thing to do. Get out of Septu, and find Professor Green.

But with her navigational programming jammed (most likely to prevent her escape from Septu), she had little idea as to where to head first. Suddenly, a large roar of shouting and a sound only a chorus of guns firing together could create erupted from the large city she recognized as Posopia in the distance. If there were people, there was likely to be someone capable of directing her to the border of Septu.

As she walked, she brought up a stored directory of Posopia residents, recorded only a year or two ago from her last mission to the large city, to search for someone capable of repairing her navigational system. Only a handful of names came up when she searched for "android repair", and none when she specified "nanomachines". But this was not surprising, as more than half the city's residents never registered in any official database because they were in hiding. She calculated the statistical advantage of searching for someone capable of fixing her jumbled programming by word of mouth, and its results were far more promising than she suspected, and decided to ask everyone she came across in the city. [/INDENT]
---
ooc: Apologies for the delay in posting! Very little free time and writers block combined to make writing this post an unnecessarily long process. Anyways, anyone involved in/some place near the riots, feel free to see or interact with Mae, 'cause that's where she's headed.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"][SIZE="1"]Taki fled and Roland screamed his name, but Darius still remained in shock, staring at the blood trickling outward from Clyde’s corpse. Protestors fled, soldiers and police officers retreated, but Darius, as if planted in time, thought

[I]Not Clyde Not Clyde It was almost me it should have been me I felt the bullet pass by…[/I]

“Darius, what the hell are you doing just standing there?”
Roland’s voice finally came in to focus. Stumbling, he grabbed Darius and pulled him back, forcing him to run behind a building where several members of the human unit already fled.

“Clyde’s dead… he… I [I]saw[/I] it happen, Roland!”

“… shit.”

Many of the soldiers looked dazed. In route to the riot, they expected a feud. They expected a skirmish, a scuttle, maybe some gunfire. The human unit did not expect to be mowed down by high-powered rifles. Many men helped force the riot into an alleyway across the street, but Darius saw very few before him, lined against the wall in sitting positions, few eyes meeting and none comprehending.

He remembered the crowd scattering in all direction when the gunfire erupted. Roland asked how long the firing lasted, and another soldier simply stated it was long
enough.
“They’ll be back tomorrow,” the soldier said. “The protestors will. The criminals will. We will.”

“They… they wouldn’t send us back after today, would they?” Darius asked.

Roland answered without looking up, “Of course they will. We’re just people, we aren’t their perfect war androids. They sent us here because they knew we’d get killed.”

Slumping against the wall, Darius looked up into the polluted Septu sky.

----

When everything cleared out, the soldiers that could be accounted for were loaded into the truck and driven back to the base. A group of androids stood in the loading bay, ready to handle the bodies of the fallen. They were stripped of clothing and carried to the incinerator. The Imperial showed superior efficiency.

Not a sound was made in the barracks that night. Darius and Roland retreated to their corner of the room. Despite another day of duty ahead, everyone but Darius eventually succumbed to sleep. He could not take his eyes off of Clyde’s pillow.

---------

(ooc- That's the end of the first day of the riots, from Darius's perspective. He'll be there for a second day.)[/SIZE][/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"]Kole made it back to his hangar with relative ease. He stowed his new parts in his ship and started installing the autopilot. The files would take a while to install into the on board computer so Kole decided he would head home for the night since the other parts would take a while to put in place and adjust to the ships settings.

He left the hangar, locking it and headed off for his apartment. He heard the riots still raging. He could hear the police vehicles heading towards it and saw smoke starting to rise in the distance. Then it struck him that the riot was near his apartments. Kole groaned and started running toward his apartment.

He had made it a couple block away from his apartments when he finally caught up with the riots. Citizens and riot police had erupted into an all out brawl. The streets seemed to be in complete chaos and the police were doing more harm than help. Citizens started to scatter as clouds of teargas started to spread through the crowd.

Kole looked around and saw that there was a store with its door broke down and decided it much wiser to skip the riot and cut through the store. He entered the store and started creping his way to the back door. Kole stopped at the sound of a gun cocking. Kole felt the barrel quake as it was jabbed into his back.

[B]"You best be leaving my shop, I will not have looters I already shot two and you ain't no different from them."[/B] warned a small man who had been hiding in the shadows. He waved Kole out of the shop and walked him to the back door. Kole had made it the door when the man slammed it behind him.

Kole stood there for a second still frazzled when the sound of a window breaking and the smell of smoke brought him out of it. He looked at the roof tops to understand where he was and when he found his apartment buildings roof he proceeded to go to his apartment. He started running and he turned a corner running into a woman and knocking her down.

[B]"Sorry about that,"[/B] Kole said apologetically helping to woman to her feet. "[B]I'm in a bit of a hurry."[/B] She dusted herself off turning to him and giving him a awkward stare.

[B]"You wouldn't happen to know where I could find someone who can fix an android can you?"[/B]

[B]"I didn't hurt you that bad did I?"[/B] Kole replied giving a small awkward chuckle. She gave him another awkward stare. [B]"Umm sorry I don't, I'm a ship mechanic tho, not really good at repairing androids ore anything like that but if you need to get a ship off the ground or just a ride I'm your man."[/B] Kole pulled out a poorly made business card and handed it to the girl and started back toward his apartment building.

He reached it to see the unsettling sight of the bar next door burning and his apartment burning too. Kole let out a frustrated sigh and turned back the way he came. He didn't have all his essentials in his apartment but a decent chunk of his wardrobe and his electronics were burning right in front of him. He spent the rest of the night in one of the unfinished cabins on his ship.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE=1]OOC: My character's going to be present at the protest/riot the next day, so I'm wrapping that up for him now and everyone has the weekend to finish off whatever they wish. You can be at the protest or not, but me and Mr. Cheddar have something planned and it's the set up for the next chapter. Clue: Pay attention to the flyers that will be given out in my post ^_~ Remember, if anyone has any concerns, don't hesitate to send me a message.


---


Lex wasn't one to drink alcohol, he didn't require it at all. He did, however, know that it was rude to pass up offers and often accepted most drinks. He had even tried to simulate being drunk once so no one would catch him out... which failed quite miserably.

Sam obviously knew a better place to drink than most, even if he was only in the country for a week, or maybe it was the two and their appearance. Either way, the two had managed to shuffle into a sparsely populated bar, quite suspicious from the noises they had heard on the way. Although gun fire and shouting was common place, both Sam and Lex thought that maybe there was something strange going on. Lex allowed Sam to order the drinks and, looking around carefully at the occupants, Lex leaned over and asked the long bearded bar man if he could switch on his television to the news channels. The bartender sighed reluctantly, but did so anyway.

[B]"What's that then?"[/b] asked Sam taking a sip of his drink.

[B]"There is a protest that seems to have evolved into a riot..."[/B] Lex observed, his eyes darting back and forth across the screen.

[B]"Shit. That looks pretty nasty."[/B] Sam winced at the police violence and the equal violence of the protesters, shaking his head slightly. Lex took a gulp of his drink and continued eying the television, oblivious to the occupants of the bar also paying attention now.

All of a sudden, Lex caught the sight of a familiar person in the crowd, as part of the Imperial. He was only there for a brief second though that second was long enough for Lex to process the image of the man and confer with his databanks. He could hear Sam speaking to him but was momentarily emersed in his search. Lex's eyes suddenly looked back up to the television and he apologised for not replying to Sam.

[B]"We must attend this protest tomorrow, there seems to be someone I know."[/B] Lex told him. Sam only raised an eyebrow.

[B]"I wouldn't think 'bout that,"[/B] a voice said behind them. A man, possibly taller than Sam and widely built, was lighting a cigarette. He was wearing a white vest top, with a completely shaven head and small beard. Through the thin vest top, both Sam and Lex took notice of the large Nazi swastika tattooed onto his chest.

[B]"Why?"[/B] Lex asked, somewhat bravely.

[B]"'cause a few places got petrol bombed. Including a bar down the road."[/B] The skinhead replied with a grin.

[B]"Damn, has anyone gone to help?"[/B] Sam asked, worried.

[B]"I dunno. Just know that if you two boys are gunna be playin' around in big riots, you better get yourself some back up."[/B] The skinhead nodded to the table in the corner, where a few of his friends sat. [B]"We'd be happy to lend a hand if you wanna get stuck in. Come join us for a drink if you feel like it."[/B]

He walked off with a grin, stalking back to his table with a large group of white men, also grinning. Sam and Lex looked at each other for a moment, Sam turning around for another drink.

[B]"A recruitment tactic. I suggest we do not accept."[/B] Lex whispered.

[B]"Yeah, but the petrol bombin'..."[/B]

[B]"I believe he was telling the truth about that."[/B]

It became suddenly aware to Sam and Lex that perhaps this quiet bar could be a possible target, especially if the last was down the road. With the combination of violent Nazis stewing in the corner and an added danger of riots, the two decided to leave after finishing their drinks, concluding it was best to go home. Lex, however, did not have any intentions to missing the protest tomorrow... despite what it may turn into.[/SIZE]
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[I][SIZE=1]Kyung Project...rings a bell...

[/SIZE][/I][SIZE=1][B]"I see now," [/B]said Kessel with the tiniest of grins, [B]"You're one of these women who can only find pleasure, can only reach the climax of her enjoyment, when her partner is near death. You're a woman who has become a sexual predator because daddy didn't love you."

"Save me the Freudian bullshit, Kessel," [/B]Melstreth Spyrus whispered, leaning forward, her lips gently brushing against his ear, her heaving bosom now pressed against Kessel's bare chest, [B]"There's no way you can resist me..." [/B]Kessel barely heard these words through the blood pounding in his ears. He felt something welling up inside him that he hadn't for so long...desire. He wanted this woman, and he couldn't explain it. His breathing became deeper, heavier, and he looked deep into her ever-changing eyes.

The next thing he knew, his lips were pressed against hers, and he felt the soft wetness of her tongue creeping into his own mouth. He knew that this encounter could only end badly, but somehow that thought was pushed to the back of his mind as he grabbed the back of this goddess's head, his fingers entwined in her hair, locking them together in passion.

He shifted, and began to kiss his way down her neck, tasting the sweet flesh that his hands had been clamped around only a little while ago. She leaned her head back, and grabbed his, forcing him to continue. He began to use his tongue and his teeth, gently grazing them across the skin of her neck. He opened his mouth again, and clamped his jaw down on her neck, feeling his teeth pierce the soft, supple flesh, and the slightly metallic taste of blood flooded his mouth. Melstreth, no matter how strong she was, could not hold back from this, and she screamed as his grip became firmer, his teeth ripping into the tendons. As his grip became as tight as it could, he released it, allowing Melstreth to fall back on the bed, clutching her neck to try and stop the flow of blood. Kessel knelt over her, the warm crimson fluid dribbling down his chin, and he picked up his shirt from the floor beside the bed.

[B]"You are an interesting woman, Miss Spyrus. I don't know how you manage to gain such control over men, but I have long since rejected the need for such physical pleasures. I apologise for the brutality of my counter-attack, but as you can understand, it was the only way I could regain a little...perspective. I'm sure the wound will heal quickly enough, after seeing what happened to the bruises around your neck earlier," [/B]he began to button his shirt up, and then leaned down over her, his mouth next to her ear, and whispered, [B]"I'm sure we will meet again, Melstreth Spyrus. After all, I imagine you're the kind of woman who, once she sees something she can't have, will want it even more. Take care." [/B]He got to his feet, leaving the sexual predator to heal her own wounds, and walked right out of Melstreth's front door...[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"][I]This one's a bit wierd,[/I] he thought. Varick was stalking around the block, searching for a bar or something to keep him occupied when the strange man just approached him.

In Septu, it was extremely rare for random conversation between strangers. Either this man wanted something, or he was able to tell what Varick really was. He glanced at his bionic arm and it flexed involuntarily.

[B]"Whoa, no need to lose your temper. I was only making small talk."[/B] Varick was right, this man was wierd. Wierd enough to be crazy.

[B]"You got a smoke?"[/B] Varick already knew the answer. He could practically smell the smoke radiating off of him. Syn smiled and reached into his back pocket, revealing a white cigarette. Varick didn't recognize the brand, but he didn't really care. He had another motive for asking besides nicotine addiction; he had his own pack of cigarettes at the apartment.

As Syn handed the white stick over, Varick made a conscious attempt to make physical contact. After he acquired this man's "imprint," perhaps he could find out a little more about him. He lit the end and he inhaled the fumes.

[B]"Thanks,"[/B] Varick said and turned to walk away without another word. He could tell Syntic was dumbfounded. He practically felt the tension and confusion in the air, but Varick had what he wanted and then a little extra. He took another drag from the cigarette and looked back to see if the man was still there. He wasn't...

[I]"Definately an odd one,"[/I] he thought. But if Syn was really interested enough in Varick, or perhaps more accurately stated, Varick's Bionic upgrades, then he would follow.

He took one final drag from the stick before flicking it into the street and continued walking. [I]"Time to test his prints."[/I] he said and activated his uniqe imprint system, but something was wrong. Syntic's imprint wasn't registered like the other five he had stolen. But Varick had made direct contact with the man's skin and he could even tell that Syntic had no bionic limbs... How could it not work? Why hadn't he been able to steal his prints?

He turned around again, his eyes landing on the spot where he had encountered the man, but there was still nothing. [I]"Damn,"[/I] maybe he wasn't following. Varick had never met anyone whose prints he couldn't steal. And perhaps if this man could, maybe they had more in common than expected. He thought that perhaps Syn could help reveal some of his past. Why was his half-day turning out like shit so quickly?

It seemed like Varick would have to search of Syntic instead. [I]"What a pain."[/I][/SIZE]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Melstreth removed her hand from her neck, and let a certain amount of blood trickle down her throat, staining her shirt, pooling around her pierced navel. With a sigh, she stood and locked the door behind the serial killer she'd been entertained with so amicably. Instead of growing heated with rage at his casual dismissal of her reasons for doing what she did, and his shallow psychological evaluation, she smiled. Shedding her clothes in a pile as she swayed towards the shower, she turned the water on and held herself under water that slowly grew from cold to hot.[/i]

"Even if I did want him more now than I did before.. ....god knows what could happen with that. We could very well end up killing each other."

[i]Steam obscured the walls and mirrors of her bathroom, one hand applying gentle pressure to the side of her neck even as it began to scab over and itch with its healing. Eventually she reduced herself to scrubbing away the blood with antibacterial soap, the kind that makes your eyes water and your mouth turn inside out when tasted. An hour later, when the hot water had become cold again, and she had tied a light bandage around her neck, she stood in front of a fogged up mirror, dragging a brush through her tresses.[/i]

"And it's not like I became this way because of daddy. I don't even have parents. .....less Freudian already. Maybe I'm being too defensive.

Perhaps I need more perspective. God knows he does. Serial killers are all the same."

[i]"And not even he could say no to the initial tasting. .....Stars. I adore mortals."

She laughed to herself in a muted chuckle, even as the movement and vibration of her voice strained lightly against the bandage at her throat. With a light shrug, she returned to her bed and stripped off the bottom sheet, and the comforter, the pillows the only thing that had emerged from the experience unscathed. She replaced them all from her ample supply of linens in the closet, then ran the washing machine while she flicked through the channels on the TV. She was only half interested in the riot today with the outcries from the public, the media, the government.

It wasn't like they'd ever claim her. She knew well the government. More interested in snorting crack then taking responsibility for anything.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE=1]Lex didn't experience much emotion but his creator had the courtesy to give him a sense of loneliness, that being the reason he had gotten himself a pet. Even Miles needed to sleep, though, and during that time Lex would either be working, trying to override his emotional programming or waiting for the dog to awaken. He sometimes even woke him on purpose.

The feeling of being alone made it much more apparent that Lex pretty much [i]was[/i] alone when there was another in his home. Sam was sleeping on the couch, big enough for him, and Miles was sleeping on the floor beside the couch. Miles seemed to be pretty content with a human being in the house... Lex was sure even his dog had clocked on by now.

Lex didn't want to disturb Sam so he went into his basement until the morning, looking at the riots through his B.E. computer. He found images of the same familiar face, but he could not put a name to the face. He seemed to remember the man from sometime in the war, and Lex assumed his memory had been damaged. Whatever the outcome of their encounter, it didn't seem good.

He sat back in his chair with a sigh, pulling up all the information possible about the riots.

[center]*[/CENTER]

[B]"Miles seems to like you very much. He may be disappointed when we leave."[/B] Lex said with a smirk. Sam laughed, patting the dog on the head.

[B]"It's only a protest. Can't you take him?"[/B] he asked.

[B]"Petrol bomb."[/B]

[B]"..Ah."[/B]

Lex gathered up a few things he felt he might need and quickly looked where the protest was on his computer. He asked Sam if he was sure he wanted to come, who said he sure would, and the two made their way out of the house.

It was colder in the morning than the previous day, Lex had noticed. His street was once again barren and empty, though the feeling of a morning breeze without the crime wasn't inviting at all. Even Lex would shiver sometimes... when it was cold in Septu, it really [i]was[/i] cold. Not a physical reaction, mind you, Lex rather noticed the emotional reaction to the weather. The cold reflected the devastation of the place... you wouldn't find anyone who enjoyed winter in Septu.

[B]"I believe this protest could easily turn into a riot. Are you sure --"[/B]

Sam cut him off, [B]"I'm sure as hell. Ain't nothin' I can't handle."[/B] Sam beamed proudly, and Lex sighed in defeat. He told Sam that the protest wasn't too far away and proceeded to lead him towards it.

lex was rather surprised that the protest was blaring even in the morning. People were pressed against a barrier beside the road, chanting outside the Town Hall. Some of the protesters looked more violent than others, and some people, not part of the protest, were slurring insult, probably criminals who didn't like the idea of their plans being foiled. But as Lex studied the faces, he noticed that there [i]were[/i] criminals in the protest. Organised gangs and groups - the National Front, the Mafia and even members that Lex's database found links to old clans from the 21st century. The protest would not be peaceful.

[B]"Why's the National Front at a protest?"[/B] Sam asked in a low whisper.

[B]"I do not know. Perhaps all Nazis aren't as silly as I thought..."[/B]

Sam suddenly laughed at the comment. The word 'silly' and 'Nazi' just didn't fit into the same sentence, but somehow Lex pulled it off. Lex only raised an eyebrow... he'd always referred to Nazis as silly. They, along with many other subcultures and groups, had survived over the centuries and their morals evolved around their same flawed concept... as a result, they simply became more hypocritical and... silly.

Lex and Sam waded their way through the crowds, Lex easily moving some of the crowd aside without hurting them. One man handed the two a flyer, which Lex didn't take notice of yet. He managed to get Lex and Sam to the barrier to get a better view of what was going on, though this seemed like a bad idea after the violence seemed in increase.

Lex looked down at his leaflet for a moment, taking seconds to read through it.



[CENTER][I]Equality is shadowed by the Imperial - step out of the shadow into a world we deserve, for criminals and normals alike! No discrimination, no crime, no hurt and no war - a new government forms on 21st Bridge Street, 10th of November---[/I][/CENTER]



Lex ceased reading for a moment when a variety of cars and vans arrived, Imperial guards and police officers pouring out and creating a line close to the barrier. Immediately, the crowd began pushing forward so much that even Lex had trouble keeping his balance. Sam almost fell, but Lex grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

When scanning the police officers, Lex spotted the man he came to find. This time, he could put a name to the face... though the memories were corrupted. Darius.

Lex didn't have any time to look further into this. The crowd thrusted forward in a violent jerk, breaking down the barriers. The most violent of the crowd stormed forward over the onces who had fallen, sending Lex to his knees though the crowd couldn't hurt him. When he looked up to see if Sam was alright, he found himself rolling out of the path of a police officer's baton.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"]This time they waited.

Arriving at the scene of the riot, the unit confronted a larger, hungrier protest. Weapons were what could be found ? protestors brandished chains, knives, and even makeshift shields from trashcan lids. At the sight of Imperial troops it came forth, a storm surge violently crashing into eroding police barricades.

[I]Some of them are like sick dogs. The kind you put down if you can catch,[/I] Darius thought.

And that was what they had been sent to do, if the need arose.
The rioters and protestors killed a friend and many more. Today they wanted a taste of more blood
[I](My blood, spilled on the ground, draining in to the sewers like rainwater, pooling in the cracks and crevices of the sidewalks ? no mercy.) [/I]

Yet looking into the eyes of the protestors he still saw it ? conviction, truth. They directed their anger not at the men in the uniforms, but the uniforms. The image. The imperial. Darius?s unit might be their only chance at getting revenge ? and at drawing the attention of the government to begin doing real damage.

An uncomfortable irony began to curdle in his stomach.
To die fighting for what you believe in is noble, he thought. To die lying down for what you believe in is a disgrace. I can fight for it later, if I must fight against it today.

Roland moved with a sudden start to his right. Glancing over, Darius saw the extreme protesters.

?We?re leaving here today, Roland.? Darius said above the orchestral volume of the crowd. ?We?re gonna walk away from this bullshit, okay??

Turning to face him, a small, sheepish smirk spread across Roland?s very pale face. ?I?m holding you to that. I?ve lived in this dump for a while now, and I think this is the first time I?ve ever seen barbarians.?

Darius looked back in to the crowd and readied himself for survival.

[I]We can do this. We can?[/I]

Darius?s eyes then locked with a set of eyes from his past. He was suddenly not so sure about his chances. He froze in his tracks.

?No, no, no, you are not leaving my side today, you are staying right here where I can fucking feel you breath, man,? Roland said as he gripped Darius?s arm and led him. The unit took a passive stance this time; as passive as a group can look with assault rifles. Across the barricade Darius tried to find the same set of, cool, impartial eyes but found nothing in that area but a sign, which read, ?Equality is shadowed by the Imperial!?

Before taking it in, splinters flew as the barricades blistered, protestors pushing forth and pummeling those in the way. Separated by yards, the protest moved to swallow the police and soldiers whole.

Roland grunted as a screaming man struck his stomach, then reached for his head. Without hesitation, Darius swiftly raised the butt of his rifle, sending the man away in a spray of blood.

"Take this you tyrants!? Darius turned only to see a chain sweep inches from his face. Roland pumped bullets in to him as he readied another swing.

The crowd hesitated at this show of deadly efficiency; it seemed that the forces that were so easily subdued the day before now held the advantage.

?I would have asked you to say thanks for that first guy, but I think that might work, too,? Darius said before the crowds rushed forth again. This time, protestors, forced forward by the aggressors in the bunch, were now scattered in the fray. Beating back each person who came within reach worked well for Darius and Roland, and several other soldiers and officers gravitated toward them.

At that moment, several soldiers gasped.

?Holy shit, did you see that??

Darius turned in the direction indicated and saw a smallish figure, blinking hard, green eyes scanning wildly, stooped over the chest of the massive man he had just taken down. An impossible task for a man of his size.

[I]But he is not a man,[/I] thought Darius.

[/SIZE]
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