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[/B][/U][LEFT][SIZE=1]Two pairs of heavy leather boots slapped through the puddles on the ground, the concrete slick with the day's moisture, even at this late hour. Two men ran side-by-side, one with jet-black hair, the other with sandy-brown, both wearing black leather jackets of different cuts. The dark-haired man wore a knee-length trenchcoat, the lighter-haired one favouring a short biker jacket.
"These bastards are fast,"[/B] gasped the sandy-haired man, a grin creeping across his face, [B]"How do we do this every night, Cade?"

"Because we have to,"[/B] growled Lazarus Cade, pushing the hair out of his eyes as he ran, [B]"Now shut up, Marcus."[/B]

Three men followed them, their rifles levelled at the pair as they moved swiftly through the winding alleyways of Salvation City, occasionally letting loose three-shot bursts of fire to try and cut their prey down.

Marcus and Cade rounded a corner, only to be faced with a solid, graffiti-covered brick wall.

[B]"Fuck," [/B]gasped Cade, pressing his forehead against the wall, [B]"I thought there was a way through."

"Maybe there is,"[/B] said Marcus, catching his breath and pointing up at the upper-right corner of the wall. There was a large opening, probably a ventilation shaft, feeding into the building that formed one side of the alley.
"You get up,"[/B] said Cade, [B]"I'll follow you."[/B] Marcus nodded, took a few steps back, and ran at the wall, leaping towards it at the last minute, pushing off it with his foot and bouncing back towards the opening of the vent. He caught on with one hand, then swung his other hand to grip on the edge of the vent, and pulled himself up and into the vent. Cade was always impressed with his friend's agility.

He turned around, only to see the three Adepts round the corner, their rifles now aimed squarely at him. He met the gaze of their expressionless helmet visors with a stony look of his own, and stood his ground even as he looked down the barrels of their high-powered automatic rifles.

[B]"Cade, get up here now!"[/B] Marcus shouted, reaching his hand out for his friend to grab. Cade shook his head a little, and faced the Adepts, one hand reaching into his jacket for a weapon.

[B]"Stop! Drop your weapons!"[/B] shouted one of the Adepts, his voice muffled under the heavily-insulated helmet. Cade snarled, and his hand continued it's journey inside the jacket. His fingers curled around the butt of his pistol, and he began to draw it out.

[B]"This is your last warning,"[/B] said another of the Adepts, taking a step towards Cade, whose gaze never waivered as he yanked the gun out of it's holster, levelling it and firing it quickly into the blank mask of one of the Adepts. His mask shattered, the bullet piercing both mask and flesh, and blood splattered out from inside the helmet, splashing across Cade's scowling face.

[B]"Open fire!"[/B] shouted the second Adept, nodding to his partner, and they took aim, and squeezed the triggers of their rifles. Muzzle flashes blinded Cade as he looked on, and then the first volley of bullets slammed into his chest, knocking the air out of him and sending his own blood splattering across the wet ground. He could vaguely hear Marcus shouting over the noise the guns were making, but it all seemed unimportant now.

Marcus watched as his friend was pumped full of bullets, unable to offer any help. Cade's body shook and jerked as they fired more and more rounds into it, and blood splattered out from his back, splashing onto the wall behind him. The Adepts continued to fire, until Lazarus Cade's body slumped to the ground, blood-splattered and smoking, totally lifeless.

Marcus drew his handgun, aimed and fired three shots, one slamming into the first Adept's leg, the other two hitting the second in the torso and knocking him to the ground. The first Adept swung his rifle to aim at Marcus' hiding place, and let loose a volley of shots, which clanged and rattled around the metal vent, but missed Marcus himself.

He pulled himself out of the vent and dropped to the ground, landing with his knees bent to lessen the impact, and fired two shots into the remaining Adept's skull, blasting it apart in a shower of bone, cartilage and gore.

He silently dropped to his knees by his friend's twisted, mangled corpse. It seemed so undignified for a man who had been so noble in life, so Marcus shifted his arms and legs into a more respectable position, and pulled his now-shredded jacket around his body, trying to hide the bullet-wounds. He pushed the locks of hair out of his eyes, slicking it back across his head, and wiped some of the blood from his face.

[B]"Bye, mate,"[/B] he said, rubbing his eyes as they burned hot with tears of anger and sadness. He got to his feet and swung himself back up into the vent. The Adepts would have called for backup, and more would be here soon, so he had to get out of there.


Marcus bent down and twisted the wheel on the drain cover, yanking the heavy old metal hatch open and dropping down the hole, closing the cover after him. He was in a series of catacomb-like tunnels, lit by pale electric lights rigged up along the walls. He trudged along the long, dank passage until he got to a heavy steel door, which he knocked on three times, hearing the knock reverberate around the catacombs.

A hatch in the door slid back, and a pair of eyes were visible through the gap.
"Show me,"[/B] a grizzled old voice said from behind the door, and Marcus shook his jacket off one shoulder, revealing a short-sleeved black shirt and a tattoo of the letter "H" on his bicep. The hatch slid shut, and after a series of clanking noises from the other side, the door creaked open. Marcus walked through, pulling his jacket back on, and he headed into the Heretics' inner sanctum.

He passed men and women, aged from 16 to 70, each with a tattoo of the letter "H" visible somewhere on their body. Some of them acknowledged him, others asked him questions, and some ignored him. Right now, he favoured the third group.

Without knocking, he pushed one of the many doors around the place open, and walked into the Situation Room. This room was as dark as any other in the catacombs, lit only by a series of electric striplights over a large square table in the middle of the room. Computers and other pieces of equipment buzzed around the edges of the room, and people were busily moving around, gathering and delivering papers, checking statistics and watching surveillance footage.

One man stood at the table, leafing through a series of papers laid out on the surface. He was tall, with short black hair, although there was salt-and-pepper speckling at the temples. A rough beard covered his chin, and his dark eyes were penetrating and intense. He wore a grey jacket with a red bandana tied around the left arm, and a pair of tight dark slacks. The way his white t-shirt clung to his chest showed off how good his physical fitness was, and what good shape he was in for a man of his age.

[B]"Captain Cade, sir,"[/B] Marcus said, his voice cracking as he approached his friends' father, and head of the resistance movement.

[B]"Marcus! Welcome back, take a seat. Where's Lazarus? Left him out in the field, I imagine,"[/B] he said, welcoming the family friend back. Marcus refused the seat he was offered, preferring to stand on the opposite side of the table to Kitos Cade, facing him so they had full eye contact.

[B]"Captain Cade, sir,"[/B] he said, breathing deeply, [B]"Lazarus is dead. A small squad of Adepts found us and gave chase. We got cornered, and they killed him.

"Dead?"[/B] stammered the Captain, dropping the stack of papers he had been holding onto the table, "Lazarus can't be...dead. How did you escape?"

[B]"There was a ventilation shaft. He told me to go on ahead of him. I...I wasn't quick enough."

"Couldn't you have brought the body back?"[/B] Kitos asked, the anger clearly rising in him now.

[B]"There was a backup squad on their way. We killed all three Adepts, but I wouldn't have been able to escape if I'd brought the body with me. I'm so sorry, Captain Cade."[/B] Cade slammed his fist down on the table, sending a shudder through the whole structure.

After a few deeps breaths, he stood back up straight, removing his hand from the table, his eyes closed as he breathed deeply.

[B]"If he's dead,"[/B] the Captain said quietly, now strangely calm, [B]"Then you should go and tell the rest of your team."

"Absolutely, sir,"[/B] said Marcus, [B]"If you need time to grieve, sir, I'm sure someone can take command for now."

"I don't need time, Marcus. Just go. You're team leader now, don't let me down,"[/B] said the Captain, not dismissing Marcus but expecting him to leave. Marcus nodded, and left the Situation Room, knowing that Captain Cade was now going to immerse himself in his work, just as he did when his wife died.

Marcus took a few deep breaths himself and headed over to the barracks, where his team were. Pushing the door open, he saw that his entire team was in attendance - Sparhawk was there, sitting on one of the bunks, talking to Bedlam; the Nebulous brothers, Cael and Clockwork were working together in another corner of the room. Trance lay on her bed reading a tattered book as Feirska sat on the end.

[B]"I've got news,"[/B] said Marcus, his clear voice penetrating the noise of the barracks,[B] "Lazarus is dead. I'll be taking command of the team from now on. Any problems, report to me. As you were."[/B] He turned on the heel of his boot and walked back out of the room, leaving the team in stunned silence.

Bad day.[/SIZE]


[SIZE=1]Alright, guys, here it is, complete with the big early twist I promised you[/SIZE]. [SIZE=1]Lazarus was never going to figure in the story, I shall be playing Marcus. I'll whack up a profile for him in the backstage thread as soon as I can.

For now, everyone post your reactions to the bad news - remember, inititally you're in the same room, but feel free to move around the Heretic compound - it's like a small town so there should be plenty of things you need/want to do down there. Once everyone's posted I'll get us started properly.
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]"As you were."

[i]Priding herself on ignoring bad news with an almost pathological perseverance, Trance continued to give herself a pedicure, painting her toenails with the black lacquer she'd nipped from a target's house. In the bunk under her, Fabian was leaning forward slightly, maybe lost in thought, and he'd been that way before the news. The smoke from his pipe trailed upwards lazily and Trance stretched out a freshly painted fingernail to trace her way through the tendrils. Then she withdrew and wiggled her toes, waiting for them to dry.

While the room around her continued to vibrate with the exhortations and shouts of people dismayed and frightened by the news, Trance just shrugged it off with the almost Rastafarian view she'd taken to heart since deciding that no matter the cost, she would always go against the grain. She spoke aloud, lilting her voice just the way they did when passing her a joint.[/i]

"S'all good all de time my bruddas and sistas."

[i]Fabian looked up for the first time, wasn't often that his bunkmate said something that wasn't utterly self serving. But on the other hand he knew her a bit better than most of the other people now staring at her askance, and got up from where he'd been sitting to haul himself onto the foot of her neatly made bed. As he did she held out an impatient hand and he immediately reached into his coat pocket and handed over the marijuana he had recently borrowed from a friend with a promise to repay at some future and unknown date.

For the right to sit on her bed while being male, Trance charged either one joint, two cigarettes, one line of coke, or one tab of X. Trannies got on for free if they at least resembled a female, and women were of course always free. She liked to think her costs weren't too exorbitant, and since she offered an otherwise free dating and hookup consultation service to her mind things balanced out. Lighting the joint with a match, Trance leaned back with one bare foot up against the board of her bunk and looked over at Fabian lazily, her eyes red but not with the crying that some of the people around her were engaging in.[/i]

"It's so selfish don't you think?"

"What's selfish Trancey?"

"People crying when in reality there's no reason to cry. Cade's dead and he's happier that way. These people are just all sad because he won't be there for them to fuck or get fucked by anymore. Far as I'm concerned, one less body we have to protect."

[i]She exhaled slowly, Fabian leaning over to catch the smoke. To the outside eye, it looked like they were sharing an intimate moment, with a bit of tail catching to soon follow, but in reality, this was about as close as the men were able to get with her. Fabian was just the nicest, dandiest, prettiest one that didn't get her goat with his eternal chest thumping. For a playa playa he knew better than to turn on the juice when she was around, if only because the first three times he'd tried it around her (believing vainly that her lesbianism was just for show) she'd grabbed his balls and squeezed so hard he'd walked off sideways.[/i]

"So would you say that if Cade had been a girl?"

"If Cade had been on my team, I would've been bawling my eyes out right with all the other sistas that are bawling their eyes out because he's not putting his thang in them anymore."

"At least you're constant about being unconstant."

"Don't you know it."

[i]She passed him over the rest of the joint for him to finish off, a courtesy because they were bunkmates, and bunkmates were better off not contriving ways to kill each other in their sleep. He exhaled slowly and Trance turned over to lie on her stomach now that her nails were dry. As she did, he noticed the hilarious cut of her shirt meant that while her adequately sized breasts were covered, her entire backside was not, leaving her scripture tattoo and H tattoo visible for all to see. The thong she was wearing was dragged so far down that if he'd cared to, he could've fount out if she waxed, plucked, shaved, or didn't bother at all. But Fabian did in fact know better, and as he was thinking these thoughts he felt the pale stretch of her toes resting delicately across his throat.[/i]

"Keep thinking those thoughts and you will think no more."

"You know I wouldn't. Can I get my throat back now?"


[i]She relaxed her grip and Fabian exhaled.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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"So, he is dead then. Well, isn't that a shame." Feirska put her hand on her chin an looked up at the flickering light hanging above her bunk. She giggled and then grabbed her brush that was sitting next to her. She started brushing her hair and then began to hum quietly to herself.

"Im supprised to see that you aren't balling your eyes out, Feirska. You seem like the type that would." Trance looked over at her, a smile on her face.

Feirska blinked and then tilted her head to the side. She looked up at the flickering light again and then back at Trace. She smiled and then shrugged. "I don't get it. How am I the type that would cry when someone dies? Im confused."

"Your confused? Are you really that much of an airhead?" Trance's mouth was slightly ajar at the comment. "You know, because, ya know what? Nevermind." She shook her head and let out a sigh.

Feirska smiled and giggled lightly as Trance shook her head. "I wonder what the weather is like. I hope its pretty outside." She finished brushing her heair and then set her brush down on her bunk. Slowly she stood up and then stretched. She smiled brightly and then sat down on Trance's bunk. She leaned over Trance and looked at Fabian. "I take it that you are in the same boat as Trancey, right? You don't care that someone died?"

"People die everyday. What is one person in this world?" Fabian looked from Feirska to Trance and then looked away.

"Um, I guess looking at it in that point of view, it really doesn't matter that he died, huh?" Feirska sat up straight and then looked down at Trance. "In any case, who was it? Who died? I wonder if I knew him." She smileld and then frowned as she looked at Trance's face. "What? Did I say something wrong again?"

"Your really not kidding, are you?" Trance looked up at her. "It was Lazarus Cade, you know, Captain Cade's son. Wow Feiry, you really are a dimwhit." She let out another breath and then shook her head.

"Hey, don't call me Feiry. Fabian, tell her not to call me Feiry." She looked at the man as a puff of smoke rose from the tip of his pipe.

"Sorry, I don't have any control over her. She is one of a kind, just like you." He smiled at her as she made a scowling face.

"Your mean, Trancey." She frowned and turned around, her back to Trance and Fabian.
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[SIZE="1"]Still sitting on the bed, Bedlam looked at Trance, then at Feirska?s back, and then forward. [B]?Well, ladies, it?s been fun, but I?m going to jet.?[/B] With that, he hopped off the bed, Feirska looking at him as he jumped up. As usual, Trance didn?t really care. He walked towards Sparhawk, who was now reading a book on anatomy to keep his mind off the news. [B]?Hey, bro, I?m going for a run. You need anything??[/B] Sparhawk just waved good-bye to him. With that, Bedlam headed for the door and made his way to the ?city streets.? Once the door was closed. Feirska turned back to Trance.
[B]?Why is he going on a run??[/B]
Trance, not getting up or even looking at her, [B]?It?s how he deals with stress and shit. He runs. Now piss off, I wanna take a nap.?[/B]

After he got thru the work areas to the usually bustling traffic of the tunnels, he took a hard right towards the sewers and pulled his goggles from his hairline to his eyes and buttoned up his jacket. He always ran in the sewers. It always had an abundance of obstacles to provide a good free-run. That and it gave him an excuse to take a shower, which for some reason, he always looked forward to. He made his way thru the pipes that lead to the sewers. As soon as he step foot into the sewers, he bolted straight, narrowly avoiding the sewage water. He ran as fast as he could, knowing the course he would take this time around. Ever since his terror three nights ago, he knew he had to make a difficult run. And now, with the news of Lazarus? death, he needed the run. He headed straight for about fifty feet, made a right, and kept running, all at full speed. There was a pipe right in front of his path. He usually vaulted over this pipe, but this time around he decided to slide under, as there was enough room to do both. He hit the ground, slid, cleared the pipe, and shot up into a forward lunge, grabbing onto a pole that lunched him right. He remembered that him and Lazarus had once ran this part together, thou Lazarus had some difficulty. Wasn?t his fault, it was his first time. Everyone?s sloppy their first time. Then he remembered an earlier time, where he had just dismounted from the bar. She was applauding. He shook the thought off and ran even harder.

After about thirty minutes of this, he began to make his way towards entrance again. He had totally forgotten about his problems, as was his goal all along. He planned to come back to the barracks with a calm domineer, take a shower, and then tackle the situations he needed to with a straight head. He decided to take the shortcut back. He wasn?t but a corner away from his destination when he came across something in his path. It looked like a clump of garbage. He would have credited it with that, if anyone but him had used this sewer as frequently as him. He looked closer to see a dress. And in the dress was a girl, no older than 14. He sighed. [B]?Ugh? there goes all run?s work.?[/B] He took a quick look at her face to see if it was harmed at all. She was very pretty, but a little too pale. He walked two steps closer and noticed something else. Blood. Her dress was soaked in it. He darted to her and turned her over. She was still breathing, but it was very faint. There was bullet wound in her side. Bedlam picked the girl up in his arms, adjusted her weight accordingly, and began to run back home. [B]?Shit shit shit shit! Hang in there kid! Don?t go dying on me!?[/B] He ran even harder than he did in the course. He had to. A life actually laid in his hands. Thou the others thought nothing of life, he only saw an unavoidable death to be fine. But this one was on his head. He could, no, would save this girl. He made his way to the city door. The doorman opened the hatch and did his usual routine of asking for the ?H.? Bedlam rose his left hand, moved his ring, and showed the tattoo on his ring finger. The door opened and he ran again, but this time to the infirmary. He got there and the doctors brought her into the emergency ward at once. He gave them all the information they asked for, including his barracks number and team. They let him go after almost ten minutes of questions. He got out of the ward, got out his pipe, took a good puff, and headed back to his bunk to get his fix. He needed it this time.[/SIZE]
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[FONT="Book Antiqua"][SIZE="2"]Bedlam left the room without pause. Back in the corner sat Cael and Clockwork. They had gone for some time without saying a word, Cael exhaled and Clockwork stood up. He turned slowly towards the others. ?You understand,? He began evenly, ?you understand that [I]we[/I] are supposed to be against the emotionless trash that don?t give two shits of human life right? You hopeless shells of what you could be, you sicken me.? He took a long drag on his cigarette, exhaled and left without another word. However, he did cut a dirty glance to Trance, and a pitying one to Feirska.

He closed to door behind him to an empty boulevard; or what could possibly be construed as a ?boulevard?. He sucked the ash to the filter and dropped it. ?Fuck.? He mouthed mostly, letting the majority of the smoke exit through his nostrils. He began to walk and deeply inhaled the frigid air. It was so sobering. He wished there was a sky to be seen.

There were faint steps to be heard echoing in the distance. Splashes and hard steps. [I]He could?ve taken three, something?s different. He was done. He simply checked out. Good for him.[/I] He mused. [I]But? We?re still here. And we will stay here until it?s done.[/I]

?Brother!? Clockwork turned to see his brother approaching him. He waited for him to catch up. They looked at each other, and the younger nodded.

?Yeah, I know.?

?Life is long. Death, however, is short.?

?What is it that gets you so hung up on death? I?ve seen you kill many people. What?s the deal??

?I don?t know. I guess it?s the one who is doing the dying that matters.?

?Those who deserve to die??

?We [I]all [/I]deserve to die, Cael.? He stopped walking and slowed his speech as he said this. Caelus didn?t respond. He didn?t need to. Then they heard something out of place. Rapid footsteps. Frantic footsteps. Then they saw it.

Bedlam bolted past them, Clockwork began to shout, but quickly stopped. He looked at his brother. They both took off after him.[/SIZE][/FONT]

OOC: Ok, sorry it's so short. I really wanted to get something down.
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[SIZE="1"]Sparhawk had his face deep in his book, it was on the topic of the Endocrine system and how the hormones affected the system in all the ways. He had read this part several times before, but he was always re-reading books to see if he could discover anyway to make 22 Blue that much better. But, as of right now, he couldn't read a single word of the page he had read before. He couldn't even recall what this passage had mentioned about the process of inducing adrenaline into the system. The words were blurry and scrambled, he couldn't focus because the grief was building up inside of him. Many of them wouldn't have know that Lazarus and Sparhawk were good friends. He was one of the few people willing to do 22 Blue with him and a few others, and if anyone did 22 Blue then they were a friend of his. Besides, Lazarus was always easy to talk to.

He had provided Sparhawk with a reliable outlet for pent up emotions or any doubts that had haunted his mind. But now, his friend was dead and gone, and that was something that would be impossible to deal with. His hands started to shake lightly, the book trembling in his hands and the pages started to make and audible flapping noise as his shaking increased. He couldn't contain it any longer, he firmly closed his book and tossed it across the room. It hit the wall hard and some pages from the worn book fell out. He stood up and grabbed an old chair and threw it angrily as well, it shattered into large pieces and several thousand small pieces that scattered about the room. He was breathing heavily and his hands shook violently, he couldn't clear his vision and he couldn't think about anything else accept getting revenge. He heard a chuckle from his left side, he turned and saw that it was trance. He wasn't surprised.[B]

"You got something to say Trance?"[/B] She turned her head and looked at him then looked away again.
"I'm just laughing at the way you are so torn up about Lazarus anyways. He obviously was not strong enough to survive anymore."[/B] His rage rose suddenly.
"You should shut you fucking mouth before you say something you'll regret." [/B]Sparhawk was not in the mood for Trances usual way of talking to people, her condescending tone only fueled his rage. She looked at him sharply from his comment and rose from her bunk and hopped down. she clearly wasn't anywhere as tall as Sparhawk, but that never stopped her from doing anything she wanted to. She started to walk up to him and he looked down at her as he stepped toward her. They stopped about 6 inches away from one another, plenty of room for her reach.
"And if I don't shut my fucking mouth Sparhawk?"

"I tear that stupid as piercing in your neck Trance. We'll see how much you cry then."[/B] She started to raise her hand.
"And I'll tear your balls off you prick."[/B] Sparhawk reached into his holster and pulled out his hand gun and pulled the hammer back, a loud click followed behind it.
"And I'll make sure you get a nice new hole in your fucking brains. I'm in no mood for your shit today Trance."[/B] He kept his gun pointed at her, he knew it he let down his guard she would get him good this time. She kept her face cold even with the gun in her face. She didn't understand fear, but she understood the consequences of being dead. She gave him a mean look and walked back casually to her bunk and seat herself on it. Sparhawk stashed his gun away and walked out of the room, he saw his brother Bedlam moving about. He talked to him briefly to let him know where he was gonna be, Bedlam was not surprised to know his older brother was gonna be in his lab, toiling with 22 Blue again.

They parted ways and Sparhawk walked through the people in their underground town. It was interesting to see all the heretics just roaming around going about their 'sinful' ways. He couldn't smile though, it was a day of mourning for him and his crew. Some of them wouldn't express any regret for his death, some of them would cope with it, and a few of them would feel the tug the hardest. He knew the commander would be in the worst shape, he would probably work himself to death through sheer grief and still get more done then any man could. He found his lab and walked into the first room, he hung up his coat and his hat and the put on his suit to cover up his body, he then place his gas mask on and the special goggles. He locked the door to the first room then entered a second room through a sealed hatch. He found that all his chemicals had been brewing properly.

He went about tending to his projects, all the different concoctions of 22 Blue. Seeing if he could get it to specialize into a new form. Trying to get it to do specific duties when he desired it, such has giving him a dopamine high is he wanted it, and endorphin rush if he needed to avoid painful situations, and even try to get it branch out to different hormones so he could control those as well. It was his ever lasting attempt to do things others couldn't. His obsession with being able to know everything through scientific findings was some what disturbing to some. They couldn't let go of the religious beliefs completely and that set him apart from the rest.

He hadn't really bought into the whole faith, he believed that science could tell him everything he needed to know. And it seemed to work out pretty decently well to this very day. Sparhawk started to mix some chemicals together, getting different results with every mixture. But none, so far, were to his liking or were the results he desire the most. He ignored them for the time being and constructed new chemicals and new mixtures. After he had satisfied his desire he unhooked the hatch and walked out into his clean room. Sealing the hatch he removed his goggles, mask and suit and then sat in a chair in the room. He was seated beside a small night stand and opened the draw and pulled out an automatic injector. He reached into the draw again and drew out a small vile with a reddish blue liquid in the vile. He pressed the vile into the loading dock on the top of the injector and leaned his head back as he lowered the needle into his tear duct.

It was always the most painful part of the procedure. But to Sparhawk, it was worth the pain. He hit the button and the liquid shot in, he his whole body twitched and he removed the needle and pushed it into the other tear duct, he hit the button again and it shot in the strange liquid. He twitched once more and removed the needle, he set it on the night stand and slouched heavily in his chair as he drifted off to his world that was beyond all of this. He faded from the real world, and into his mind where he knew he would be safe from the pain.[/SIZE]

OOC: Hope I was true to your character Raiha.[/SIZE]
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[FONT="Garamond"]Today was turning out to be a hell of a day.

Not even having swallowed the news of Lazarus? death, Bedlam came storming past Cael and fled into the infirmary with a wounded 14 year old girl. Cael hadn?t gotten a chance to look at her wounds with his friend?s passing, but he had been able to catch a glance at the large amounts of blood that were staining the outfit she was in. Without so much as a thought, Cael and Clockwork tailed Bedlam into the infirmary as well. While Bedlam offered his information to the doctors, Cael look on at the girl with pity. What had she done to deserve something like this? Cael may have been a violent man, but he had no stomach for attacking innocents? Especially not ones so young. Whether that notion was one of those few things cemented in him from his childhood or an emotion he had developed during his time as a Heretic was lost on him.

When the girl was rushed away, Clockwork hurried in back with the doctors as well, determined to use his medical know-how to prevent today from housing another death, leaving Bedlam and Cael alone outside. Left to their own, they both immediately thought back to Lazarus. They had both viewed Lazarus as a mentor, despite the small age difference between Cael and Lazarus and the age superiority of Bedlam over Lazarus. He had grown up in a world without the rules and regulations most of the other Heretics grew up with.

Where as they fought to correct the grossly warped way of life they had born witness too, he fought to uphold the freedom he had been raised with, and to bring it to others. He knew better than Cael ever would how to run a free society should they ever overtake the Global Theocracy. But now? What would they do without him? Nonchalantly, as he had been trained to take things as they were inside, but keep cool in appearance, Cael pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and took a drag. He then spoke to Bedlam.

[B]?So what do we do now??[/B] Bedlam, who was feeling just as broken as Cael did, and just as unwilling to show it, leaned against the wall and smoked his pipe.

[B]?No clue, man. Lazarus? death has put a damper on things. Lucky bastard checks out early and none of the ladies, at least the good ones, are gonna be willing to fuck for the rest of the day.?[/B] Cael laughed and took another drag, flicking the ashes to the ground. He shrugged and nodded towards Sparhawk?s residence.

[B]?And I?m not very keen on the idea of hitting the 22 Blue with Sparhawk. You know how he gets when he uses it to ?escape?. The asshole is liable to attempt to dissect us.?[/B] Bedlam laughed this time, and took another puff of his pipe. He looked up at the sky for a while and watched as the smoke trailed off into the distance. His eyes stayed focused on the smoke, but his voice spilled lazily from his mouth.

[B]?You know, I was gonna head back to my bunk and get my fix, but you had to get all emotional and keep me here so you wouldn?t have to cry alone. You?re such a woman. Were you hoping for a hug, or something??[/B] Cael rolled his eyes and stared down at his cigarette, watching it burn away slowly. His response was just as lackluster as Bedlam?s.

[B]?Please, like I?d give you a chance to get your horny hands all over me. Last thing I need is you copping a feel because your woman are unavailable. If you?re so desperate for your ?fix?, go get it. I?ll even accompany you upstairs and mock your sorry ass.?[/B] Bedlam scoffed and continued gazing into the night sky. Simultaneously, Bedlam pocketed his pipe and Cael snuffed out his cigarette, and the two headed for Bedlam?s room. Bedlam spoke only once on the ascent.

[B]?I think I might miss Cade a bit.?[/B] Cael shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged, waiting for Bedlam to grab some stuff to bring downstairs, probably to share with Trance. His glasses fogged a little as he grunted out the next line.

[B]?Yah. Me too.?[/B] The two exited the room and headed for the barracks. Deciding he was done mourning for the day, Cael spoke again.

[B]?Anyways, I hope Feirska?s down there. Girl might be ?ditzy?, but I?ll be damned if she isn?t cute; and spending time with her beats hanging with you and Trancey any day. Lord knows my balls ache every time I get in proximity of her.?[/B] The two laughed finished their descent, running into Clockwork as they did so. He was relatively clean for the mission he embarked on, and still seemed to be in high spirits? Well, as high of spirits as Clockwork was ever in. Bedlam looked questioningly at him, and Clockwork nodded.

[B]?Yeah, girl?s fine. Despite the amount of blood she ?misplaced? we manage to patch her up adequately.?[/B] Cael grinned and wrapped his arm around his brother?s neck.

[B]?And for successfully saving a young girl?s life, why do we tell the man what he?s won? Copious amounts of drugs and extra time with an angry lesbian!?[/B] Clockwork merely shook his head with amusement and followed the two back to the rest of the team. [/FONT]
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[SIZE=1]News of Lazarus' death spread quickly throughout the compound - being the son of Captain Cade, he was well-known among the Heretics, and well-liked, too. People seemed to be saddened, but Marcus had no time to grieve - being the new team leader came with all sorts of responsibilities, like taking on all of Lazarus' previous missions and assignments. Of which there were many.

He rubbed his eyes as he leafed through the pages of Lazarus' logbook, trying to assimilate all the information regarding the assignments. The harsh, orange glow of the overhead striplight did very little to help matters, but he continued to struggle through. There were so many tactical operations that Lazarus had been a part of, Marcus had never realised before. There was a lot of pressure on being Kitos' second-in-command.

The phone by his desk chirped loudly, and Marcus picked it up, glad of a distraction from the acres of paperwork that were piling up around him.


"Marcus, it's Talia," [/B]Kitos' assistant - whenever Kitos needed anyone, she was the one who called through, [B]"Captain Cade needs to see you and your team now."

"Of course. We'll be right there," [/B]said Marcus with a nod, placing the phone back down on the receiver. With a moment's pause, he picked up the radio that kept him in contact with his team, and flicked it on, broadcasting to all frequencies.

[B]"Team, this is Marcus," [/B]he said clearly, aware that his voice would come out crackly and distorted on the other end, [B]"We're needed in the situation room urgently - Captain Cade has called us in. Report to me ASAP. Please respond."

[/B]He listened in as each member of his team called in, then he terminated the communication.

He threw his leather jacket on and headed over toward the situation room, dreading what was about to come. He knew that whenever the Captain called an entire team in, let alone the team under the command of his right-hand man, something big was going down.

As he got there, he was called into the room ahead of his team by Talia, who showed him in with a smile. She was an attractive, curvaceous woman, her dark brown hair coiled in a loose bun at the back of her head, a pair of thick-rimmed square glasses resting on her nose, covering her deep, hazel-brown eyes. She wore a black leather jacket with tight black trousers and knee-high leather boots, and looked good in them.

[B]"So, Talia," [/B]Marcus said, his former personality kicking in once again, [B]"When are you and I gonna throw caution to the wind and get it on?"

"Like I always tell you - when you become the King of Salvation and wear a big shiny hat. Not a moment sooner," [/B]she replied with a saucy wink that stirred something in Marcus. He growled and slapped her on the rear, signalling for her to return to her previous station, which she did rather obligingly.

[B]"That woman will be the death of me," [/B]Marcus said as he came face-to-face once more with Captain Cade, who was looking more and more tired every time Marcus saw him.

[B]"I certainly hope not," [/B]replied Kitos with a growling laugh, [B]"We'll let the Theocracy take care of that one!"

[/B]To some, it may appear that Captain Cade was displaying a rather cavalier attitude to the news of his only son's death, but Marcus knew that deep down inside, there was a well of sadness. Covering it up with humour was the only way to stop the death from driving you crazy, and both Marcus and Captain Cade knew this.

[B]"So what have we got this time?" [/B]asked Marcus, picking up a sheet of paper from the Captain's desk and peering at it, [B]"Adept raid? High Inquisitor has an STI? The Grand Magister is really your brother?"

"Wrong," [/B]said Captain Cade, his tone suddenly serious as he snatched the sheet of paper out of Marcus' hand, [B]"Something big's happening. We've recently acquired some intel from one of our Covert Operatives that the Theocracy are planning something."

"Something like what?"

"Something horrible, but unspecified. Our inside man suggests that they're pumping a whole lot of cash and resources into some kind of shadow department - totally off the books, but there nonetheless."

"Any ideas what they're doing?"

"Could be anything," [/B]the Captain shrugged, [B]"But the best guess is some kind of weapon. They're just beginning to realise that we pose an actual threat to them, and they're getting scared. Chances are they're developing an endgame."

"A way of wiping us all out at once. Looks like we're under their skin," [/B]Marcus replied with a smile.

[B]"We might be under their skin, but we're definitely not winning. As much as we've expanded in the past couple of months, the Theocracy still outnumbers us and outguns us. With the kind of money and power they have, we'd better prepare ourselves for the idea that this endgame is a real threat."

"So what do you need the team to do?"

"I'll go over the exact details once they arrive, but the long and short of it is that we need a team to infiltrate the Citadel."

"Do what?!" [/B]Marcus replied, [B]"You realise that we've been trying and failing to get into the Citadel for years, right? We've managed to get fifteen operatives inside the Theocracy in the past four years, and that's only through the employment programme!"

"That's why I need your team. You're the best we've got, and right now we need the best. You need to find a way in, no matter how long you have to work for it."

"Will we have any kind of support from the internal covert operatives?"

"As little as possible. We want to give you as much of a head-start as we can, but we can't risk them blowing their cover. They'll be able to pull strings, but they can't just open up the back door and let you in."

"Oh fuck. You don't ask much, do you?" [/B]Marcus sighed, leaning back in his chair.

His thoughts were cut short, however, by a sharp knock at the door of the situation room.

[B]"Looks like your team is here, Marcus," [/B]said the Captain, [B]"Go and greet them and bring them in here, ok?"[/B] Marcus nodded and headed over to the door...
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Feirska walked out of the room and smiled. She looked around and then started walkin twards the way out of the hideout. As she passed the medical area she froze. Her eyes began to come cloudy as she sucked in a deep breath of air. She smiled as someone walked up behind her.

"Hey, Feiry, how ya' doin'?" Cael put a hand on her shoulder as his brother and Bedlam walked up behind him. "Hey, is something wrong?" He walked around and faced her, then took a step back. "Oh, shit."

"What is it Cael?" Clockwork took a step back himself as she turned to him. "You have got to be fucking kidding me."

"I smell it." Feirska turned to Bedlam who let out a sigh. "It covers you." She took a step forward as Cael grabbed her arm. "I want to see it. I need to see it, more, I want more of it." She extended her arm out twards Bedlam who moved out of her reach.

"Get a grip, Feiry. Hey, no, don't you even, dammit!" Clockwork grabbed her other arm as it pulled out the blade that she keeps in her belt. In a flash, Cael spun her around and then slapped her hard across the face, causing her to stumble and drop the blade.

"C'mon, girl. What the hell is your problem? Why is it everytime you get around here, you freak out. Last time it was after someone got shot, and this time, wait, why did you freak out this time?" Cael looked at her as the color began to return to her eyes.

"Oww, that hurt. Your an asshole, you know that? You could have just told me to stop." She stood up and rubbed her red cheek. "I'm gonna' tell Trancey that your hitting me." She turned around and began to walk off as Bedlam walked in front of her, cutting her off.

"Hang on a second, tell me, what did you smell? What was it that causes you to go into so much of a, oh wait, I think I get it now. You have a strong blood lust, don't you?" Feirska took a step back, running into Cael who was right behind her.

"I, a what? I don't know, what is that? All I know is that whenever I get around, or can smell blood, its as if something else takes over. It really helps, ya know?" She smiled and then frowned. Tears began to well up in her eyes as she began to rub her cheek again. "You are an asshole." She slid down to the ground, sitting on her knees.

"Feiry, I'm sorry, ok? Does that make you feel any better?" Cael leaned down and smiled at her.

"I guess. But, I'm still gonna tell Trancey." She looked at him, frowning.

"I guess it was the girl that you found. You know the one that you brought here a little bit ago." Clockwork looked at Bedlam who nodded. "It would explain the trigger. Hey, Feiry, when was the last time you fed your blood lust?"

"Um, I would guess it was about a week ago. Thats the last time I killed something. It was a guard, or something like that. One of the bad guys." She looked up at Clockwork, then at Bedlam, and finaly at Cael. "Am I in trouble or something?" She began to blush a little as the three guys started laughing. "Seriously, am I gonna get in trouble for this?"

"No, I think you will be ok. I will just have to remember not to come near you if oyu haven't seen blood in a while." Cael smiled and helped her stand. "But, I think you should be ok for now, right?"

"I guess. I don't really know. But, I think it may be a good idea to not come around here anymore." She smiled as Cael just let out a sigh.
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]At the alert to assemble, Trance was the first one suited up and gone from the dorms. She'd pulled on her boots at lightning speed, adjusted the laces of her corset faster than the eye could follow, and loaded every sheath with a freshly sharpened weapon. Tying on her cyberfalls into her tightly wound buns, she turned to check her bed for anything she'd left behind, and then shrugged. Nothing left really. Adjusting the flaps of her wrap skirt, she made her way across the crowded room to the tunnel that lead to the meeting room and immediately began to cling to the walls, obscuring herself in every shadow she passed.

The rendezvous room was unsurprisingly empty, but that didn't really bother her, in fact it made everything perfect. Seeing the door she knew Marcus would come in from, she quietly climbed the wall and positioned herself just above the door, preparing for her favorite game. Jump the straight guy. As he opened the door Trance dropped on top of him like a ton of bricks, knife already in her left hand. He immediately grabbed at her throat but found her as slippery as water and caught a handful of foam and pvc instead.

Like a wraith, Trance was pressed up behind him, her stiletto gently pressing into his thigh.[/i]

"Hi Marcus. You did pretty good that time."

"Not good enough. Will you ever get tired of playing with your food?"


[i]She sheathed her weapon in her boot and smiled at him in a profoundly unkind way. But he, knowing it was just the way she was built, sighed and rubbed his forehead. Trance really was somewhat invaluable when it came to deep cover cleaning and intel gathering, but her methods sometimes made him wonder if she wouldn't start eating her compatriots someday.[/i]

"So do you have anything tasty for me? A new handler to replace the one that died last week? A new set of hook and talon knives? You know I'm simply [b]dying[/b] for some action."

"Oh there will be something for you. Eventually. I think we have a new handler for you in the works."

"Bliss. Joy. Is he capable of standing up to me?"

"That remains to be seen."[/FONT][/COLOR]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[SIZE="1"][B]?Hey, I?ve got to get something real quick. I?ll meet you guys back at the audience room.?[/B] Bedlam said as he parted ways with Cael, Clockwork, and Feirska, them heading for the meeting, he heading back to their barracks. He had forgotten to get some money, which he needed to get some more Poppy seeds. His plants weren?t really doing so well, so he thought it might be best to grow some more. He had only made it about three blocks when he spotted a familiar figure standing against a wall, waiting for something to do. [B]?Shit? not him.?[/B] He made his way closer to Cephas, who had now seen Bedlam. He straightened up off the wall, and nodded. When Bedlam was right in front of him, Robert joined him.
[B]?Heard about Cade. How?s it feel to lose one of your best??[/B] His emphasis was on [I]?your.?[/I]
Bedlam, not looking back at him replied, [B]?You must not have anything to do, if you?re following me around. What, your pimp is too busy for you??[/B] Bedlam always tried to insult Robert, for mainly two reasons: 1) to try to piss him off, and 2) to get him to leave.
[B]?Ha ha ha. Smart ass. I?m only here to rub it in your face that, now that your buddies? dead, it looks like your team is going to need some help.?[/B] The two of them made their way around the corner, almost half way to the lodgings.
[B]?Look,?[/B] Bedlam said,[B] ?if you really want to know, we?re getting some mission info in the audience room. You can go there and see. Now piss off. I was doing okay before your showed your ugly ass up, and you?re fucking killing my mood.?[/B]
[B]?Fine, Fabi. I?ll try that.?[/B] With that, Cephas scoffed and left Bedlam to search for the next job that showed itself. Bedlam had to sigh. Not that he didn?t like Robert?s work. He just didn?t like Robert? in fact, he hated him. Mainly his pride. Seemed like the man couldn?t go for three minutes without talking about himself. Lucky for Bedlam, he was only there for two.

Bedlam made his way to the barracks. He got into the room, made his way to his cot, and took his money out of his jacket pocket. He had just turned to head out, when he saw someone closing the door behind them. It was a woman. Tall, blonde, beautiful. She looked familiar to Bedlam, so he guessed he had slept with her recently. She had a very coy look about her.
[B]?I?ve finally found you again.?[/B] she said, in a very sultry voice. Yep, Bedlam thought, I?m getting some. [B]?I?ve been thinking about the other night, and I don?t think I can have just one dose of you. I need it all.?[/B]
Bedlam looked at his watch. Meeting was starting soon. He looked back at the woman. A smile made it?s way to his face. [B]?Well? let?s see if I can give you the right dosage.?[/B]

About thirty minutes later, Bedlam made his way out of the room, followed by the woman who?s legs were shaking from the intensity of the last half hour. He closed the door behind her. When he turned back to her, she was almost in his face, with her face formed into a kiss. He looked at her, turned, and left without looking back. He had to make it to the meeting. Besides, he was going to get to feed his addictions today. Not that bad of a day, despite finding a half dead little girl and dealing with the biggest ass in the city. Now, all there was left to do was get extremely high, go to the meeting, pretend to listen to Marcus, then ask on of the others about what had happened in the meeting once he sobered up. That, and he had to make sure Trance didn?t find out what he had just done on her bed. Twice.

He made his way to the meeting room. On his way, he passed the hospital. He thought about the girl and decided to make his way to see her real quick. He was already late for the meeting, most likely. He got to the counter and hit the bell that was there. A nurse, a damn fine one with short, pink hair, turned and greeted him. [B]?Hey there hot stuff, how about some sugar??[/B] The nurse laughed.
[B]?Bedlam, when are you going to get it? I have a boyfriend. A big biker guy, full of anger, beer, and sperm. Besides, I don?t think you could handle me. What do you need, kid??[/B] This was a game for them. Trisha was an ex-girlfriend of Trances. They stayed on good terms, but they split due to personality reasons. They liked each others. But they had different ways to handling things. Trisha was always kind, unless provoked. Trance was always violent, unless out runned.
Bedlam laughed, [B]?I?ll look past the obvious fallacy that you just said and get to the point. Do you know where a little girl is? About 14, had some bullet wounds??[/B]
[B]?Oh yes! I remember her, she?s in the ICU, but she?ll be fine in a few days. Wait, how did you know about her??[/B]
[B]?Well, being the benevolent soul I am, I saved her. Now doesn?t that make you wanna just cry??[/B]
She giggled a bit, [B]?Ah? you really need to keep that pride in check. You?re starting to sound like-?[/B]
[B]?Don?t you dare.?[/B] She didn?t need to finish that sentence. He knew what she was going to say. He didn?t feel like punching a woman today. Especially one that would fight back. He asked her to keep him posted on the girls condition and bid his farewell. He needed to get to the meeting. He also needed to smoke himself into a trance.

Smoking from his pipe, he kept walking, the smoke falling past him. He tried to think of what the mission would consist of, but all he could think about was the girl. He didn?t even know why. She was stuck in his head, and he couldn?t figure out why. And, try as he may to get her out, he couldn?t do it. He was right in front of the audience room, confused about a little girl and why she wouldn?t leave his head. Then, she seemed to leave. As she left, a rush of happiness over came him.
[B]?Yep? I?m ready to go in.?[/B] Bedlam said aloud, very airily and soft. He made his way into the room, ready to get yelled at.

OC: Allamorph, I hope I didn't butcher your character. If I did, just tell me, and I'll try to fix it.
And for Raiha, I hope you don't mind I added that character for the both of us. You can just ignore if you want. But, if there is a problem, just give me the que.[/SIZE]
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[FONT="Garamond"]Cael watched as Bedlam rolled away and shrugged, turning back to Clockwork and Feirska. He was about to suggest that they make it to the audience room when he realized that no one had alerted Sparhawk that they had a meeting. He shuddered slightly at the thought of having to interact with Sparhawk while he was on his high, but he was left with little other choice. He shoved his hands into his pockets and sighed, abruptly stopping in the hallway. Clockwork looked back at him, confused.

[B]?Everything alright, Cael? Did you forget something as well??[/B] Cale shook his head and motioned to the barracks.

?Sparhawk. He?s been in his room, lost in the Blue. Someone should probably let him know we need to group up, and considering he may or may not be violent, I?m probably the best choice to go get him. I?ll meet up with you guys in a bit.? Cael and Clockwork shook hands, and Cael kissed Feirska on the cheek before he turned and bolted off, yelling over his shoulder.

[B]?Later Feiry, don?t miss me too much!?[/B] She yelled something back at him, but he had run too far away to decipher the voice trailing behind him. He sprinted through the hallways, narrowly avoiding colliding with a pack of new Heretics along the way. His feelings towards new members was always mixed?though he always appreciated seeing people looking to liberate themselves from the oppressive world of lies, he knew the frustration they would feel being ostracized from society. They would always be hunted, always be outsiders, always be fighting for their lives. They would grow to miss as much as they resent their past lives. But they could never go back, and they would know that soon enough.


Entirely wrapped up in his thoughts, Cael had made it Sparhawk?s room in no time, and had painfully smashed into Sparhawk?s door. He held his head after the crash, and knocked on the door, hoping Sparhawk was in his right state of mind. All he could hear, however, was grumbling from inside, and something he took to mean, more or less, that the door was open. Cael held his breath, closed his eyes, and rushed into the room.

The battle began immediately. Sparhawk?s fist narrowly missed Cael?s face, striking the door with a force that surely would have forced Cael into swallowing his own teeth. Quick to react, Cael, in his crouched position, shot his right fist right below Sparhawk?s ribs. Sparhawk barely acknowledged the shot, however, and dropped his fist into Cael?s head, causing his vision to go white for a second as he hit the ground. Cael wasn?t entirely sure if he was bleeding or not, but that wasn?t so important. All that was important was that he didn?t pass out, unless he wanted to become Sparhawk?s next surgery victim.

Sparhawk raised his foot to crush Cael?s head underneath it, but Cael caught his foot and kicked out his other leg from underneath him. He then sprung up and, taking advantage of Sparhawk?s delusional state began kicking Sparhawk in his stomach. He soon lost himself to the violence and began to kick Sparhawk harder and harder in the gut, entirely unaware of the blood Sparhawk was coughing up. Finally Sparhawk, come somewhat to his senses, grabbed Cael and pulled him to the ground, now attempting to pin down and calm down Cael.

[B]?CAEL! CAEL! Awaken, friend!?[/B] Sparhawk dropped his head into Cael?s forehead, which apparently was just what he needed. He shook his head a couple times and smiled up at Sparhawk.

[B]?Yo bro. We?ve got a meeting now. Figured I?d come get you. Ready to go??[/B] Sparhawk and Cael looked at each for a second, then burst out into laughter. Sparhawk jumped up, and then helped Cael up off of the ground. He ruffled Cael?s hair and grabbed his top hat, shaking his head. Cael knew what he was thinking?they were living in an asylum. Each and every single person in the place was unbalanced, and a potential threat to everyone else under certain circumstances. And they wouldn?t have it any other way.[/FONT]
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