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Fortuna: Dance with Anarchy (IC)

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It's the year 2127. The nuclear destruction of World War III in 2049 brought about the end of three-fourths of the world's population either immediately by explosions or later by radiation. With the population dejected, three groups with differing ideologies came to power in the world's nations: the Elite, the Alpha, and the Locu.


The Elite were technology-heavy. Led by Francis Ralph-Lee, a mixed race man and former President of the United States who took on the role of President of the Elite (which was really just a dictator position), the Elites had the most militaristic government situation, with all of its constituent nations being led by Elite officials who answered to Ralph-Lee. Although they were unable to create new weapons with the lack of natural resources, they were masters of upgrading with what resources they did have. They initially started in the US, but soon controlled both Americas, Western Africa, and half of Eastern Asia (part of Russia, China, and all of Japan and Korea). Their motto was "For the military and by the military".


The Alpha were advocates of creativity, and being the holder of natural resources, they could attempt to create what they imagined, but they didn't always have the intelligent minds to create everything. They started with the European Union under Victor Schneider, the President of the European Council and later President of the Alpha Confederation, blocking entry from Elite values which almost became popular, and soon controlled Central Africa, and the majority of the Middle East through some propaganda and intimidation tactics. They had the most democratic values, believing everyone needed a voice, and only passed laws with majority opinion to avoid discontent with constituent countries. Their motto was "Design first, create later".


The Locu were the sweet talkers. They had some resources, some great minds, but they all agreed that war was in the past. The future was to be for the con artists, those who could talk their way out of everything. Their leader was Elizabeth Rousseau, a woman with a powerful vision and a silver tongue, who had started out as a journal columnist before reaching powerful government positions, eventually becoming the Grand Leader. Both the Elites and the Alpha despised getting into political talks with the Locu, as they were the masters of sophistry. This group started out in Canada when Rousseau went up the ranks in government, but was soon kicked out by the Elites. They took to Australia, and took control of Southeast Asia and Western Asia by use of propaganda alone. Their motto was "There's always a loophole".


Though the Locu idea of peace through talks appeared to become reality, as time went on, the Elite became restless, and the Alpha just couldn't stand the Locu. In 2106, World War IV began (non-nuclear due to the widespread disapproval of nuclear weapons after World War III), ending in 2112 with one-fifth of Earth's original landmass remaining habitable for humans, and only around 30 million people alive to tell the tale of war. With these devastating circumstances, the three leaders came together to announce that the war was over. Expressing regret, as only the Northwest of the original US had land that could be deemed safe to live in, the leaders pronounced that the people should set aside their values and live together in a restored New York. Using the advanced and sturdy technology that survived the war, the leaders had restored the war torn area into a place that could provide living areas for the survivors. Food would arrive from automated farms to the south, and life would seemingly go on as it did before.


After explaining all this, the leaders said they would put no rules on this place. They claimed they had learned the mistake of their actions in putting their values onto others, and wanted to avoid bringing calamity once more. As it was a place with no rules, the leaders claimed it was ruled by fortune, naming it Fortuna. "Let fate and fortune rule this place," they said, "And let only one who is wise, charismatic, and strong enough to rule the new generation." With these parting words, all three leaders committed suicide.


As the survivors piled into Fortuna, there were many questions going through their minds: How long would this anarchy last? Could I forgive someone from another faction? How will we live?


With no answers able to be given immediately, the people hesitantly started life anew. The people, previously ruled by differing values, attempted to coexist. This, as many expected, did not work. Within fifteen years, the old groups of the Elite, Alpha, and Locu formed once again, becoming the Gears, the Flora, and the Phi. However without a legitimate ruler, they were simply gangs. If there's going to be a ruler, they claimed, it would be one of the leaders of these groups. Any outsiders, or "Leaves", who go along with the changes without complaint, will be crushed if they interfere. For now, though, each gang controls different sectors of Fortuna, led by a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister".


In this land ruled by fate, who are you? Are you a Gear? A Flora? A Phi? Or are you perhaps one of the many Leaves attempting to get by in this new life? Where do you stand?



All cities of Fortuna are fairly clean. On the edges of the ever-changing borders between the Gears and Flora territories, it is much less clean due to the gang wars. Anywhere outside of the cities are littered with scrap metal either from bombs or abandoned vehicles from the war. The number of cars in Fortuna is fairly scant, though there are more in the Gears territory due to their emphasis on technology. Everything is run by clean energy.

The Gears territory is fairly strictly run, with rations and living quarters based on value to the gang. There is a main building/headquarters in Albany. Though the Gears has attempted many times to control the food going from the north to the south, they have been largely unsuccessful.

The Flora territory is much more loose, and is objectively less clean than the Gears territory. There is also a rations and residency system here, though it's much more equal, especially for the Leaves. They control the populace with drugs, and have tried often to infiltrate the north with them, knowing the Gears tactic to control food supply. Their headquarters is in Manhattan.

The Phi do not have any territory, as their objective is to have an information network throughout Fortuna and control the area through knowledge. They disguise themselves as Leaves, and usually live as such. In gang wars, their Pairnos are especially important to leave no trace of their fallen members. Despite the assertion they have no headquarters, they are centered in the west, near Buffalo.

Gang members can go freely from place to place, as no specific government has been established. However, in the case of the Gears and the Flora, members usually move in crowds to avoid being mugged.


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The Gears:


Remnants of the old Elite group, the Gears was the first gang to be established, on March 11th, 2114. Like its predecessor, the Elites, the Gears focuses on technology. It welcomes all who can use and create electronics, and the gang was the first to establish phone lines after the war. It was established with the goal of creating a society where people will be judged by their value to society and have a place in society based on that, though improvements in status is very possible. They have very strict values and rules in their areas, which turn more free souls away from their ideals. Starting out in the North, they attempted to take over all of Fortuna, but were blocked by the Flora, starting the first gang wars. The North is their primary territory, with some undefined borders due to frequent conflict.


Big Sister (Boss):

-Angela Maude Faye [belle]


Little Brother/Sister (Second in Command):


Truck (Collects Dead Bodies 0/4):


Drone (Intimidators 1/3):

-Rebecca "Bec" Laflamme [TehUltimateMage]


Wire (Sells and Creates Electronics 1/8):

-Neo Mi-sun Nang [hjy213]


Wrench (Medics 1/3):

-Harcourt Li-Summerfield [Chrysophylox]


Nano (Spies 2/3):

-Dominic "Ding" Rodriguez (Leader) [Epyon]

-Victoria "Vipra" Reese Clemings [Narvix]


Chip (Grunts 1/∞):

-Isaac Dae-won Nang [hjy213]

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The Flora:


The Flora gang was created a few months after the creation of the Gears, in August 24th, 2114. It is primarily filled with Alphas, but there is still a considerable number of Elites and Locu, the Elites disliking the direction of the Gears, and the Locu interested by the trade of the Flora, which was drugs. Uninterested in the world value the Gears gave, and also suspecting the world value wouldn't be as nice as they try to make it seem, the Flora originally attempted to destroy the Gears by making them dependent on their drugs. Though that failed, the Flora were still successful in starting a currency system again with the dollars and other types of money people carried or found in Fortuna, and gets most of its resources through selling drugs. They claim to be able to create a free world where people can freely go through life without too much regulation, but their use of drugs makes some unwilling to rally behind them. They control the South of Fortuna, and usually have more promiscuity and violence in their area.


Boss Leader (Boss):

-Qiyan "Chi" Duan [Chrysophylox]


Little Brother/Sister (Second in Command):

-Monica "Mo Mo" Liza Higgins [Narvix]


Vulture (Collects Dead Bodies 0/4):


Fogger (Intimidators 1/3):

-Jocelyn (Yu Xing) Liu [TehUltimateMage]


Poppy (Sells Drugs 1/8):

-Theodore Vincent Groves (Leader) [hjy213]

-Henry "Jade" Ross [Thaelasan]


Dove (Medics 1/3):

-Cecil Owens [greenglassesgal]


Spider (Spies 0/3):


Egg (Grunts 0/∞):

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The Phi:


The Phi gang was established on January 1st, 2120, and is not strictly a Locu gang, as many claim it to be. In fact, it was founded by Leaves who very clearly showed themselves to be separate from their original loyalties. They hated the extremes of the two existing gangs, and started one themselves, hoping to be more lax than the Gears and more strict than the Flora. They focus on gathering information for families who were separated during war, and haven't clearly stated a desire to one day rule Fortuna, so Leaves don't quite see them as a candidate for rule, though many have shown to like their way of working. The Phi don't have a set area, as they're not the very assertive, but do have headquarters in the West. They disguise themselves as Leaves, and live anywhere they please in order to gather Intel, which often gives them the nickname of Rats by other gangs.


Big Brother (Boss):

-Robert Justice Byrne [hjy213]


Little Brother/Sister (Second in Command):

-Nicholas Riley Freebird (Alpha) [Thaelasan]

-Rena Valorie Freebird (Omega) [Thaelasan]


Pairno (Collects Dead Bodies 1/4):

-Serena "Ren" Rivera Chua [greenglassesgal]


Tromazo (Intimidators/Guards 0/3):


Soph (Sells Information (0/8):


Giatros (Medics 1/3):

-Jason Irving Phillips [Narvix]


Kataskope (Spies 1/3):

-Henry "Jade" Ross [Thaelasan]


Neto (Grunts 0/∞):

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The Leaves:


Not a gang. The Leaves are people who aren't willing to join a gang, and usually just want to go with the flow. Some may be more ambitious than most and dream of becoming the leader themselves, but for the most part, they're just there.


Leaves (4/∞):

-Jessie Leon Clemings [Narvix]

-Cameron “Cam” David Devereux [Narvix]

-John "Jack" Devereux [Epyon]

-Adeline "Addie" Davis [hjy213]

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Official Fortuna Rules:




Unofficial Fortuna Rules:


•Listen to those who rule the territory you live in.


•To disobey any Big Brother or Big Sister is to ask for death.


•Give up anything good you find to your ruling gang.


•Mind your own business and maybe you'll live.


RP Rules:

•Chrysophylox is co-host.


•No GM


•Keep the kinky stuff out. Since this is gang-related, violence is pretty unavoidable.


•Censor curses.


•Please listen to what I say.


•No character limit, just limit yourself if you don't think you can handle too many.


•As this is a post-apocalyptic rp, there are obviously futuristic items. However, there are limits. The following are fine:

-Faster healing (like the Cradle in Avengers: AoU)

-Ammo-less guns. (laser guns and the like)

-Renewable energy (actually this will be a given)


Ask if there's something else you want your character to have before using them.


•If you've read all the rules, please put Fates in the other section.


•Again, this is a post-apocalyptic rp. The area is not bountiful with resources. This isn't a specific rule, but I'd like you to keep this in mind.


•The personality and history sections of your characters don't need to be incredibly detailed, but it's always nice to have a little story to see why a character is a certain way. You can make these sections as long or as short as you'd like, though.




Skype Group Chat

Character Google Doc



In OOC forum.

Edited by hjy213

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Neo and Isaac

Tossing the metal cover off of an old electric car, Neo and Isaac began coughing as a cloud of dust and dirt washed over them.

"Geez, this is definitely old. You think you'll find anything useful from this hunk of a mess, Neo?" Isaac asked, waving the cloud of gunk away. "I seriously doubt anything from this thing will be useful."

"Don't underestimate," Neo replied succinctly, waving him and the dust off as she studied the components of the car, looking for anything useful. "Wires, scraps, anything useful."

"I think you mean anything can be useful. Grammar, sis. Not a bad idea to learn it again."

"Shut up. You're no good." Taking out pliers and a wire cutter from her pockets, Neo went to work, salvaging what she could, passing handfuls of wires off to Isaac when her hands were full before studying the engine and the battery. Seeing the engine as a lost cause but the battery as a possible hope, she waved Isaac over, the two taking the battery out and placing it in the makeshift trunk of a re-purposed golf cart along with all her other gains of the day.

"Let's go," Neo spoke, patting Isaac's back as she went to drive the cart, getting the two of them on their way back to headquarters from the outskirts of Albany.



Hands in his pockets, Ted smiled at his customer. "Hey, Gerald. Always nice to see you."

"Uh, yeah," The young man before him nodded, blinking, gulping, and nodding in rapid succession. "L-look, I don't have a lot of cash right now, but I have this watch. It still works, see?" He shoved the watch in Ted's face. "So look, c-could you just let me trade this in this time?"

Putting a hand through his hair, Ted maintained his smile, though the tone of his voice became much lower, and menacing. "Do I look like a damn Gear to you? The days of bartering ended, kid. But, I've got a deal with you."

Taking out a bag of white substance, Ted smiled, "You work for me. One time deal, no need for joining the gang, be a damn Leaf, I don't give much of a damn as long as you listen to us." Putting the bag in Gerald's hand, Ted continued, "Get a Gear hooked on that. I know you're a smart kid, you boasted about it to your friends, parents went to Harvard. Use some of those smarts to do this. You and I both know the Gears won't let a Flora into their territory. But Leaves are welcome. So get some Gears hooked, and I'll give you some free this time. If I find out you didn't do anything, and a Gear doesn't come to me, thing's won't end well. So do this one job, I give you a week's worth, and in that time you can muster up some cash by doing tasks from us Flora. Better than trying to use this stuff on yourself before some unsightly end, huh?"

Gulping, Gerald nodded, "Yeah, just this once. I-I'll do it." Turning, Gerald ran down the street, to do as asked.

Smirking, Ted straightened his clothing out as he watched Gerald run. "Good."



Sitting in a small underground office, Robert let out a sigh as he looked through a file of a family. He glanced every so often at the binders he made of information on the other gangs, a bit on edge.

I can probably do more by going out, gather some more information on the gangs.

Moving to get up, Robert then stopped himself.

But as leader, I have the obligation of staying for other info.

Shaking his head, Robert just stood up, putting an earpiece in his ear. No, I can do much more outside, everyone knows that. They can just contact me through this thing. It's not like this is anything new.

Nodding to reassure himself, Robert put on his most good-natured smile, putting on a jacket and glasses, taking a backpack with extra clothes with him, just in case he's seen and needs a quick disguise. Now absolutely confident in himself, he proudly went out of the office, locking the door and heading up to the streets.

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There was the sound of a wrench moving in the background over the sound of an engine struggling to run. A few cars passed by the outside, driving precariously on rebuilt roads that Leaves had worked to craft back to some semblance of "what was normal."

There was a slight honking. Then a distant silence, only the sound of the wrench audible. But then, a closer passerby would have noticed a quieter sound of what appeared to be a radio.


"...and for today's weather forecast, highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s. Traffic reports have been inconclusive following yesterday's mysterious crash. Thankfully, reports say that no one was seriously injured, save one man with a broken leg and a fractured rib. It's almost a miracle, I tell you. I passed by that wreck on my way home and it was absolutely chaotic. Two cars, bent into themselves? You ever seen something like that, Dan?"


"Don't think so, Rick. Though I did once see a train that had hit a semi-truck. Wasn't a pretty sight."


"Well, thankfully, ours was cleaned up pretty well and everyone was handled with good care thanks to the EMTs on sight and the help of civilians nearby. Road construction following the wreck has been slow but progressive. And-"


There was a sound of a phone call on the radio. The sound of the wrench stopped, almost knowingly.


"I... I see. Um... ...I have.. no idea what to do here, Daniel."


There was a sound of whispering between two individuals. A very saddened and horrified gasp. And then a long, long pause, so long that a person could imagine the radio had ceased to function. But then, there was a strained speech pattern.


"People of New York City... there's... God be with us.... Our news station just called... I just... I can't.... It's...


...There's been a missile strike in Atlanta, Georgia."


Another long silence, then another pause.


"The military is contacting all citizens through our station and several others on an emergency bulletin. I know, right now it's going to be hard to keep calm. Some of you may not believe it. Some of you may be in it. But... but all I can say is this. Find your families. Find your shelters. Find someplace underground for God's sake. Just find it. And take them there. And ... and God be with you. Or whoever you believe in. Just pray. Just pray hard. Because that's all we can do now. For the next few hours, I'm going to stay on this station and pray with you, until they come to get us. I'm going to stay on the line.

I'm not going any-"


There was a click as the radio recording ended. A single disc ejected itself slowly from the radio. The words along the inside rim read "Radio Broadcast - Unknown Month, 2049."

The wrench had stopped entirely. Then came a long, drawn-out sigh that seemed to last quite a few minutes. Finally, a shuffle of movement and a light clicked on in the garage.

It revealed a tall, dusty-looking man who'd obviously been working on something involving electrics and welding. He removed the mask from his face as he placed the wrench back in a toolbox, sighing again.

"What did you expect to learn from hearing it again?"

A female voice came from a doorway, brown hair adorning a head that was leaning against a doorframe. Her hand was on the light switch, the fingers slowly moving as she crossed her arms.

"I dunno. I guess it just makes me think about what life was like all those years ago." the man replied, pulling his gloves off. "Thinking about someone sitting in their car when it happened, thinking what he might have been thinking about, or she."

"And what does that accomplish?"

"I guess it just helps me work." the man said finally, unable to come up with a real answer. "Background noise."

"Then turn on something that won't scare Charlie. One of these days he's going to be old enough to help you. He doesn't need to hear things like that. Not yet."

"....Or maybe he does."

"And why would that be?" A slight, cross tone.

"So he knows what we're trying to avoid." the man finally said. "But fine. Let me find one of my other CDs..."


He walked over to the other end of the garage - well, something that was HALF garage. The other half was a workshop for his many ideas that he kept having at all hours of the day. He basically lived down here, coming out only to wander around with the girl at the door, deal with his child, or talk with the other members of his... society.

He found the box he was looking for - his most prized possession, next to his son and his wife.

It was a seemingly boring crate, built of found pieces of wood yet polished to a decent sheen by caring hands. A lock adorned the surface, yet what was within was nothing absolutely necessary, but something more important to the man than his own life, if it came to it.


He lifted the lid, and relief surged over him. Left as he had left it, dust never to touch these valuable relics of the past. VHDs, CDs, Casettes, and even hologram recordings of music and movies from the ages that he'd managed to collect. Cats Don't Dance, Disney's Lion King... things he'd have to show Charlie, and his wife, too. He'd see them the first time as well, when he could get the damn VCR to work. But that was for another time. He'd been happy just to get the old radio up and running.


Then below that, the records wrapped up as best he could, in their original vinyl. These were the ACTUAL treasures, if he could find a record player, but those had gone out of date at least... 200 years before this time. He had saved up enough to buy one, if anyone ever found one. But through all his journeys, he couldn't find a single one. He HAD found a torn up manual in the archives of an old library, but whatever was on the... Internet? was lost to him. With the destruction of the world, the EMP waves had reduced electronic communication to nothing and it had only recently been going on the rise again. First, survival. THEN entertainment.

To think, in a few years, maybe humanity could be close to where it had been? What a pipe dream.


So he'd been using that manual to try and craft some SEMBLANCE of the original. It didn't seem to be working well. But he'd keep trying until his hands were sore, as he had been for the last few days - no, weeks. He couldn't keep time much anymore. Not that there was a point, save him harvesting the food he'd planted near their home.


He grabbed one of the CDs and held it like some King's Crown. He carried it carefully from the box to the radio and slid it in. He pressed a few numbers, having taught himself how to run this thing after a few hours. It was a strange device. Why did it need a laser to read things? And he couldn't even imagine why the record player needed a needle or those blasted cassette tapes. How did people even listen to THOSE?

Of course, he had looked at the design of the records, and it had fascinated him to no end. Small grooves in vinyl, yet they held sound waves? How could it even function? The thought of listening to something like that seemed to awaken an instinct? within him. He had no idea what it truly was.

The CD began to play, a song that the man had come to know as "We Didn't Start the Fire", by some artist named Billy Joel. The album hadn't really revealed much about the man, but he could only assume he must have been some form of idol.

From what he had gathered - from his father, mother, and the albums - music was apparently especially important to the men and women of the old pre-war eras. So he began to desire it. Perhaps music was what was needed to bring the world back to its senses? He became obsessed with this idea, because how could it be wrong?

"That's one of my favorites." the woman - Rena - said softly, as she closed her eyes to hum along.

"I know. That's why I chose it." the man - Nicholas - said as he strode to her, rubbing his pants off. "Are you in the mood to help me now?"

"Are you sure this device is worth all the effort?" Rena asked, as she had for the last few days.

"Of course! Of course!" Nick replied, certain. "Any method to play these old songs. I want to know what they sounded like! What was different?! Haven't you noticed?"


He rushed back over to the box and began the same tirade Rena had heard the last few times.

"I've told you before, right? Listen! Listen! Every single pre-war era had different music! Different notes! Different voices! A.... a different vibe!" he said excitedly. "Every ten years, even every five, it changed! I mean, this one band, Pink Floyd, their sound changed numerous times within the span of thirty years! It has to prove something about us as humans!"

"And have you discovered what that is yet?"

"...No... Not yet." Nick replied sadly. "I've thought of numerous answers to the question. And yet you still say it's not right."

"Because, the answer would discourage you." Rena replied sadly. "And I like seeing you so engrossed in this sort of stuff. Though I would like to see you building my train already. How long has it been?~"

"I've been doing that in my spare time too! The engine is already complete. Please Rena, this torture is too much. What is the answer?! What is it?!"

"Finish the record player, and I'll tell you." Rena said, poking his nose. "Maybe. But for now, it's time for our meal. Get your behind out of this workshop and into the dining room."


"Charlie's been waiting for ten minutes already and the food is probably already cold."

"....As you wish." Nicholas sighed, pressing the power button on the radio. The song died as the power was cut, and with it, a slight bit of Nicholas' elation.

What was the answer? How did Rena know it? How was he so blind to it?

He grabbed the door handle as he turned off the light.

What could it possibly be?

Edited by Thaelasan

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Qiyan Duan, Boss Leader of the Flora.


That name had a great ring to it, didn't it? It was too bad their parents weren't here to see their child climb the ranks. Chi missed their parents sometimes, but they also missed Angel, who was god knows where doing god knows what. They laid in bed a little more, not wanting to get up, but also knowing there was a lot of work to do. They couldn't afford to slack off if they wanted the other gangs to respect them as a leader. Even some of their own men didn't accept them yet. "He's too young to be a leader," the Vultures, the Foggers, the Eggs had said, "We need someone with actual experience, not just grand thoughts."


Some of them couldn't even accept the fact that Chi was nonbinary. They were not a guy, not a girl. Why was it so hard to understand? Well, they were used to it by now. Unfortunately. And they supposed they'd just have to work even harder to get their men to accept them. Perhaps it was because they were so abrasive. They weren't the most approachable; but then again, in an area as riddled with crime and violence as the Flora territories, one couldn't really trust easily. That would earn you a knife in the back before you could even blink.


Chi groaned and slowly sat up to lean over the bed on their side.


They looked at the mirror across from their bed.

They looked like censorkip.gif, as usual.


They stumbled out of bed, reaching under their grey tank top to scratch their stomach as they shuffled around the room looking for something.


They found the something under their bed, and the bottle clinked against the bed-frame as they slowly lifted it out. A bottle of Scotch, dated a few years before the Fourth War. Only the last dregs remained. Chi downed it in one small gulp. It no longer did anything. They sighed heavily, as if they were trying to expel all the suffering in the world in one breath. They looked up forlornly, wanting to collapse back into bed.


Instead, they set the now empty Scotch bottle on their nightstand and headed into the bathroom for a shower. Perhaps the steam would wake them up.


It didn't, but they looked a lot better afterwards.


Throwing on a white tank top, they stepped out of their bedroom and tried to find their skinny jeans. Breakfast was a bowl of white rice porridge with some leftover red-cooked pork belly. The heat of the porridge was enough to warm up the meat. They'd need some rousong soon. But that was more bothersome to make, so was it worth it? Why not.


Before leaving, Chi put their hair into a high ponytail. It would probably come loose during the day, but as long as they looked presentable when they first stepped out, they'd be fine.


They didn't want to go make the rounds and greet people. They wanted to just lie on a roof and reminisce about the times when their parents were still alive.



They felt hollow. But that was nothing new.


Ah... Maybe their subordinates thought they were unapproachable because they would always escape to a high place and stay there till sunset.


They briefly debated staying on the roof of his apartment all day, but it was too late. They were already in the stairwell, halfway to the door. Perks of living on the top floor.


If they were needed, then everyone else knew where to find them. Probably.


They laid down on the roof and closed their eyes, breaths slowing as the faces of their parents swam in their mind.

Edited by Chrysophylox

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A sigh escaped her lips, floating into the quiet atmosphere of the small abode. Blue eyes took in the humble surroundings, red hair tumbling to her shoulders as she undid the clip. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "Home again...," she murmured. A delicate hand reached up, fingers pinching her hairline. In a sweep, she pulled back the wig, letting it hang from her hand as she strode to a closet. Tucked away at the back of her house, she opened the hidden door and revealed an array of accessories that made her costumes largely varied.


Placing the wig carefully on a display stand, she took a moment to spruce it up before removing the nylon mesh that kept her natural hair tucked away. Setting that into a tiny bin, she shed the clothes she wore into a hamper to be washed later. Quickly, to abate the touch of cool air against bare skin, the young woman dressed into another, more preferred, outfit for the rest of the day. Following that, she ducked into the bathroom, gaze finding the mirror above the sink. From the cabinet, she grabbed out a contact case, painted blue, and unscrewed the caps. Practiced, the blue eyes became brown and the pair of contacts were deposited into the liquid.


Contacts put away and fully returned to her own persona, she left the bathroom in favor of the small living room. She grabbed an envelope from a stash stored away in a filing cabinet. Whistling, she set the envelope down on the coffee table and took out some stationary. From the same cabinet, she removed a strange looking pen. It was a collision of wires, tiny gears, ink, and a battery. "On," she commanded and a green light blinked.


Setting the pen down, she started for the kitchen as spider-like legs sprouted from the contraption. The mechanical pen skittered over the paper, coming to a halt above the top left corner. "Start," she spoke, scrounging around the pantry for a snack. Munching on a cracker, she began speaking as if she were talking in a one-sided conversation. "Sign: Love you, Victoria," the woman finished.


Having moved from the kitchen to the couch, she flipped through the newest addition to her collection of leather notebooks, the pages quickly filling with scribbles of notes, diagrams, and sketches of her latest ideas. There was a beep from the pen and she reached forward, grabbing the letter to her sister to quickly scan it for errors. "Off." The light blinked red, the legs folded back into place, and the pen laid dormant.


Satisfied, she folded the letter into thirds before stuffing it into the envelope. Pre-addressed, she sealed it and located a stamp before folding the letter in half. Grabbing a thumb-sized sensor, she left her little home and remotely locked the door behind her. She would have to walk a few blocks to the post office where her P.O. Box was located but it didn't bother her.


The office was quiet, empty save for the clerk sitting board behind the counter. "Hey, Paul," Vipra greeted, waving a gloved hand at the man.


"Ah, back again. Got another letter to send?" he asked, standing up and leaning over the counter to smirk at the short woman.


Nodding, Vipra placed the folded envelope before him. "You know I do," she replied.


"And for services?"


She pressed her lips into a thin line. She could never get this man into a pleasant conversation. He liked his payment much more. "Stop fretting, it's right here," Vipra sighed. Reaching into a pocket of her shorts, she grabbed out a microchip and pushed it across the counter. "One meager chip for one meager letter," she stated, repeating the same phrase she'd only mentioned every time.


Paul took the microchip and examined it before stashing it away in an unseen drawer. "Good enough. See you next time," the man grumbled, dismissing her.


Giving a humph of displeasure, Vipra turned on her heel and left the post office. She needed to get to headquarters now and make a report on her recent job.




Smoke billowed before her eyes. She watched the pale tendrils drift and disperse in the span of a moment, torn apart by the composition of the air. Monica gave another puff, forming the smoke into a ring that traveled only a few inches before meeting the same fate. Cold green eyes blinked slowly, lips holding the butt of a cigarette firmly in place.


She lowered her right hand, stuffing it into the back pocket of her jeans like its companion. Carefully, she rolled the cigarette butt across her teeth, shifting it to the other corner of her mouth before bringing up her left hand and pulling the cig free. Dropping the butt onto the concrete, she snuffed it out with a leather boot.


The crunch of a boot's sole pivoting against rough stone... she thought, wondering in how many words she could describe the sensation to get the most detail. Putting her left hand back into her back pocket, she walked away from the alley, shoulders slightly hunched. There is work to be done, but in what order? What is most efficient but, also, what is most time-sensitive? Then, what is most important?


Glancing about, Monica frowned. As the Little Sister of the Floras, she had a reputation to maintain. It was this reputation that made others cautious around her. Her face was well-known in the southern part of Fortuna, where the Flora maintained rule. Though many didn't know her personally, they knew her professionally. It led to a grim existence.


The sound of her footsteps paused as she stood before an apartment complex, her green gaze drifting up along the structure. She studied every edge of the building, counting the number of windows, noting which ones were clean and which ones were dirty. She searched her vocabulary for different descriptions of the color, the rigidness of the complex, and how it seemed to touch the sky. After several moments of stillness, she continued forward, letting herself into the place. Her boss would be awake now and most likely on the roof.


Climbing the stairs, two at a time, Monica took her time, pulling out another cigarette from the pack in her pocket and lighting it with a half-used lighter. Again, she studied the smoke on each exhale as she made her way up, practicing different shapes and testing her vocabulary. Finally, she reached the door leading out to the roof. Stepping back out into sunlight, she let the heavy door slam on its own, announcing her presence to the prone figure a short distance away.


"Boss..." she drawled, voice husky from a throat and pair of lungs abused by smoke.




He hummed as he worked, gloved hands digging through the cadaver as he sorted organs into jars for further observation. Jason sighed, pushing away from the examination table, the plastic wheels of his swivel seat squeaking. Plucking the latex gloves off his hands and tossing them into a nearby wastebasket, the man combed his fingers through his unkempt hair. "What time is it? I wonder if anyone's gotten hurt yet today," Jason murmured to himself, searching the desk at the opposite side of the room for the analogue clock he kept in full view. "Early... Damn." The early hours of a day were far less interesting than the later hours.


Shaking his head, he started grinning. "Should probably eat," he commented, glancing at the cadaver. "What do you think? Do eggs sound good for today? Better than grits, anyways," he muttered. Getting up from the seat, he covered the table with a plastic sheet and left the room. "Maybe someone will let me study them today. I could use a live sample...," he thought out loud. "Oh! I'll get some DNA samples, possibly some blood donations. It's been awhile since I've tried working on a vaccine." He was optimistic, but he knew that it probably wasn't going to happen today. Not many seemed eager to put themselves on the list for medical advancements.


Jason couldn't understand why. Oh well, he had other test subjects, both dead and alive, mostly furry. Once he succeeded in something, it was sure to bring in human subjects. He just needed to be patient and keep trying. Maybe he could talk his case with Little Brother and Sister or Big Brother.

Edited by Narvix

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Neo and Isaac

Making their way through the streets in the cart, Neo gestured often for people to get out of the way, tapping Isaac to yell for her.

"Hey! Yeah, guys move it move it! You're gonna get run over- Hey, Neo, I- I got it!" Grabbing Neo's flailing arm and putting it on the steering wheel, Isaac straightened out his hair which was messed up during the repeated taps. "Whew. How about a game?"


"Ooh, we can do shiritori. Or 끝말 잇기, whichever you want to call it, I personally don't care, though I'm sure you-" Seeing Neo side-eyeing him, Isaac shut up, smiling awkwardly at his sister. After a short pause, he simply continued, "Ok, you said 'No', which I think wouldn't be allowed usually, but let's do it anyway. The letter O. Then... Olive."


"Ooh, looks like you lose, Neo~, that didn't start with-"

Faced with yet another glare, Isaac crossed his arms and sat back in his chair, "I'll, uh... I'll stop. What're we eating?"

"Whatever I make with whatever we have," Neo replied, still watching out for people on the streets. She was uninterested in Isaac's idle talk, but more importantly unsure if she could respond properly. Seeing Isaac's unrefined, loose behavior that mirrored the behavior of quite a lot of people in Fortuna, Neo could feel the cultural barrier, and hated that she could. She had tried countless times to get him to understand, but no, she couldn't communicate well, and he wasn't interested.

Why even bother? She thought, glancing at Isaac as he waved at the Leaves he recognized. He doesn't care.

Shaking her head, Neo opened her mouth to express an apology. He was family, and it was her responsibility to look after him, like always.


"Oh hey! Look!" Isaac suddenly exclaimed, cutting off Neo, likely by accident. "Is that Vipra? Yo I think it is! Let me call her over, I think she's heading to HQ, we can all go together, interact a bit more, yeah?"

"No, Isaac, I-"

"Vipra!" Isaac yelled, now standing up from his seat as he held onto the side of the golf cart for support. A wide grin on his face, he waved her over before looking down to Neo and whispering, "Stop next to her, it'll be great. Let loose a little, you've filled your quota."

Letting out a deep sigh, Neo nodded, turning slightly on the steering wheel to get closer to Vipra before slowing down to a start. She watched as Isaac jumped out next to Vipra, and shook her head as she sat back in the driver's seat, running a hand through her hair.

"Hey, you're going to HQ, right? Want to join us in the cart?" Isaac offered, his smile wide and radiant, "We were just about to drop off some of the stuff we got today."

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Chi was on their feet in an instant. "Ah, Monica," they said, "It's you." Monica was so quiet. It made them slightly uncomfortable. Perhaps a nickname would lighten the mood? But that might not be a good idea. Chi didn't know how well Monica would react to them giving her a nickname out of the blue, and besides, the two weren't that close. Best to just be professional and focus on business for now.


"Do you think we should check on Ted?" They asked. "He's using drugs to get Leaves to infiltrate the Gears, right? How do you think that's going?”


((short post oh well))

Edited by Chrysophylox

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They all sat at the dinner table, as they had for years. Three seats, aligned so they were in some form of trinity, able to pass things to each other easily around the round table.

But they definitely weren't depressed. Especially since the birth of Charlie, both Nicholas and Rena had been able to enjoy their existence a bit more than ever before. It wasn't perfect. It was dangerous. There was scavenging, hiding, and wondering about the future - but it was life. It's how they had been since they were young.

Nicholas lifted up a small device that resembled a cell-phone in his hand and sighed. Rena gave him a glance.

"You're checking messages NOW? Have you not checked them all day?!" she asked, concerned.

"Don't worry. Nothing spectacular has been reported." Nicholas replied calmly, scrolling up a bit.

The Internet as it once had been was gone. A semblance of it was coming back, however, in the form of a wireless connection, one that could be used by anyone with something to connect TO it - which was normally the "higher class", ... or people who killed those who had one. Thankfully, the one in Nicholas' hand had been crafted by him using several bits of scrap and things the Phi had given him.

Oh yes, the Phi.


The seemingly-innocent family that sat at the dinner table now was actually part of a conglomerate known as the Phi, a Gang that was on the rise following its recent creation. And Nicholas, the man at the table, was checking messages from the many on the "grapevine" that the Phi had to keep track of, on various hidden frequencies, or through coded messages.

Because the man and the woman sitting at the table with their son were the second in command of the entire gang.

Nicholas Freebird, and his wife Rena Freebird. The unsuspecting leaders of an underground organization that they hoped would take a grasp from the Floras and the Gears and free the Leaves from their tyranny. But for now, it was a matter of patience, silence, and sometimes quiet words spoken on a simple device.

"They found another bunker." Nicholas stated, giving a glance to Rena.



Rena frowned a minute, eating a bit of the meat she'd lifted to her mouth.


"Deactivated. It was either a timed release bunker or those within it have left."

"How many know?"

"Three Phi have reported it. Two have offered to enter."

Rena waved her hand passively.

"Tell them we'll inspect it tomorrow. And this time make sure they check for traps. For Gods Sake, I don't want to see another man cut like-"

She glanced at Charlie.

"....Anyway, I don't need any more of that nonsense. Jeez, it's like they ASSUMED life after the war would be filled with mutants or something. What's with all the traps?!"

"It was more about protecting the stuff inside of it, Rena. Some of it was irreplaceable, not just the human life."

"Does this mean I'm gonna stay with the Peters again?" Charlie piped up, excited.

"Most likely." Rena nodded. "Is that ok?"

"Yeah! Yeah!" Charlie said, pleased. "Auntie Nan is so nice!"

Nicholas pressed a few keys on the device, nodding to himself.

"Alright then. But we do need to report it to Rob." Nicholas said. "This one might interest him."

"Why's that?"

"It was militarized."

Rena stared at him, eyes widening.


"Not just guns. The reports of what were supposed to be in the bunker, if it's right, go FAR beyond that. Bombs. Weapons from before the Fourth War. Maybe even nuclear devices not regulated by the convention."

"What the HELL Nick?!" Rena shouted, forgetting her language. Charlie looked afraid.

"I mean... Do the Gears know?! The Floras?"

"Inconclusive." Nick said, trying to calm her down. "We don't know. And we don't even know if it's the right bunker. We just have to assume the worst and take it from there. Now calm down."

"Just hurry up and tell him. We're going out there tonight. Charlie, call Auntie Nancy and tell her, ok?" Rena said, holding the child firmly. "This is very important, alright? Don't be scared. We'll be back."

"Alright..." Charlie said. "But..."

"We'll be back before your birthday. I promise. Who's turning five?"

"Me...!" Charlie said, excited.

"Right!" Rena said. She then turned to Nicholas, face firm.

"Tell him." she instructed.




Nicholas' message was relayed through a few key points, to distort the message into a cryptic form. It was then relayed to a frequency known only to three people - himself, Robert, and Rena, as far as Nicholas knew.


"May have found Bunker 3321. Dangerous. May need you present. We're ready when you are. Meet at the Stone."

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"About as well as we'd expect. It's Theodore, after all," Monica hummed, focusing her gaze on the ring of smoke she created as it drifted away. Taking another pull, she dropped the expended cigarette and slowly crunched it into the roof. "But, let's check anyway. Maybe he's gotten somewhere this time. I don't trust the Leaves to do much good, though...," she sighed. "Leaves survive by following the rules of the gangs. It won't matter how much is promised to do otherwise." Shrugging, Monica folded her arms across her chest and drummed the fingers of her right hand against her left elbow.


Her gaze drifted from Big Boss to the gravely surface of the roof. "Duan, members of the gang are growing anxious. They're uneasy lately, having complaints and showing concern," she grumbled. The gravel made a satisfying sound as she idly kicked her boot out, dragging the toe of her shoe. The rocks shifted, scuffing up the leather as she watched. Verbs, adjectives, and adverbs filtered through her thoughts before she shook her head, clearing them away to focus. Her green eyes found Duan again, lips pressed into a thin line. "People are starting to spread rumors of a fight, possibly another war. Our spies are indicating otherwise but, you know how easy our people rankle."




Blinking, Vipra stopped walking when she heard someone shout her name. "That sounds like- Oh! Hey, Isaac! Neo!" she greeted, turning to face the siblings with a pleasant smile. She liked the pair, but seeing them together often made her chest ache. Hiding the discomfort, she nodded in response to Isaac's question. "Yeah, I'm heading down right now. That'd be great, thanks!" Vipra replied. Drifting towards the cart, she jumped into the back, stretching out as best she could and draping an arm over the side.


"So, how'd your search go today? What'cha find?" she asked. Glancing between brother and sister, her gaze lingered a fraction longer on Neo. She always felt like the woman didn't care for her too much but maybe that was just how Neo generally acted towards others who weren't Isaac. Though, the Nano didn't outright ditch the possibility that she wasn't very well tolerated.

Edited by Narvix

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Neo and Isaac

Laughing, Isaac sat back down, turning to Neo. "Alright, let's get this cart going to HQ!"

Neo nodded, glancing at Vipra in the back before turning to the road and starting up the cart again, continuing the ride to HQ. She sensed something behind Vipra's look, but couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. Or really, she had an idea, but didn't want to ask about it, or even think about it. Shaking her head, Neo finally answered Vipra's question, "Wires, batteries. Old crack- no, cracked phone."

Isaac grinned, looking at Vipra, "It's cracked, but looks like it's in good shape. Neo might be able to do something cool with the stuff inside, so she's gonna drop me off for my patrol before she heads to her little office whatever. What about you? Any interesting news?"

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With a grate of wheels on concrete, Ren pushed her haul down the hallway of the Phi base, whistling a tuneless song. Today had been a pretty quiet day; only one bag lay in the cart this time. From what they had gleaned, the unlucky guy was just a 41-year-old Leaf, killed after sustaining multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen. According to reports, he had no known surviving family. A key card in his pocket tied him to a suspected Leaf-owned shelter a little off the edge of Flora territory. A used syringe suggested reliance on drugs, which perhaps contributed to the conflict leading to his untimely end. Other possessions included a matchbook, a handful of assorted coins, and a bundle of wires. Nothing else of note. Now all there was left to do was dispose of the body. It was a shame that he had no one left to see him off, but hey. Hopefully his soul would take comfort in the fact that he'd be remembered in some way, even if it was just for the sake of more intel.


As Ren turned the corner, she saw one of the giatros coming her way: Jason Phillips. She had to admit, even she thought he was a bit... odd at times. Nevertheless, she liked to think that she was getting used to him, considering how their lines of work meant that they saw each other quite often.


"Oh hey, Jason!" she said with a smile. "You're just the guy I was looking for! Any chance you'd like to take this one off my hands?"



Cecil glanced at the vial in his hands for the umpteenth time. A colorless fluid swished around inside it. As innocuous as it looked, weeks, no, months of rigorous research and testing had led up to its development. Even then, it still felt like it wasn't enough. But there was no more time for that--he'd already pushed the deadline back far enough, and balancing his medic duties with this project of his was quite tiring.


Approaching the meeting point, he saw a wild-eyed Leaf rushing down the streets, a baggie full of white powder in hand. Cecil looked away. No doubt someone was going to get hooked on that. Spending over a decade with the Flora had numbed him to quite a lot, but he wasn't sure he could ever be totally okay with the fact that they actively encouraged drug abuse to sustain the economy. Then again, he thought, fiddling with the vial, I'm not really helping, am I?


"Hi Sir-er, uh, Theodore," he stuttered out, addressing the Poppy leader. "I, um, have the drug you requested." He held up the vial. "When taken with stimulants, it helps increase and prolong their effect, as well as ease the severity of subsequent withdrawal symptoms, regardless of past exposure. Since less substance needs to be taken to achieve the desired effect, it also reduces the risk of overdose, especially in long-time users. It's, uh, still like a work in progress, though, so you gotta be careful with it. I mean, the therapeutic index is only like 70:1 so I've got that to work on, and I haven't really done any human testing and I'm still iffy about the dosage and its form but I'm going with intramuscular injection for now since that seems to be the like safest option and-"


He cut himself off, acutely aware of his rambling. "So yeah. Something pretty valuable, like you wanted," he weakly offered, knowing what Ted was ultimately looking for.

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Walking through the somewhat clean streets of an ambiguously-claimed Buffalo, Robert smiled as he saw a group of young children play by kicking a ball among themselves. Having led the Phi for seven years now, Robert was well acquainted with the people living in Buffalo, especially those he ended up helping. Within the small group, Robert could point out four of the five being from families he assisted. The children easily recognized him, a young boy being the first as he ran over.

"Uncle Rob! Are you helping more people today?" The child exclaimed, holding the ball in his small hands.

Robert chuckled, crouching down and patting the boy's head. He couldn't tell the boy that he wasn't doing his work for free, but one day the kid would learn. For now, he might as well let them believe what they want to.

"Oh yeah!" Robert replied, pinching the boy's cheek. "I want to make sure more families get reunited, like yours. How are your mom and uncle doing? Any people come lately?"

"Uh, some tall guys came, and more tall guys came after."

Gears and Flora. "Do you know what they asked for?"

"The first guys asked for something my mom had. The second guys gave something to my mom."

Robert nodded slowly, standing up as he processed the information, smiling so as not to frighten the boy and his friends who started coming over. "Thanks for telling me, I'll see you kids later!"

Turning, Robert took out the repaired phone he managed to nab from the Gears and modified years before, about to send a message when he noticed he had received a new message. After reading the message, Robert brought a hand to his chin, the phone in his pocket, and thought for a moment.

This could be a game changer.

Not wanting to waste another moment, Robert began moving immediately to the Stone, though of course taking some strange turns just in case he was followed. He had to act natural, smile at the kids, glean information off of them, but still get to the Stone in a timely manner. Perhaps even start to formulate a new plan.



Ted smiled, looking at the vial, crossing his arms as he studied it.

"Nice work, Cecil. Then I've got some follow-up questions. You think you can make a version of this where it just makes the withdrawal symptoms less severe? When the gang wars are over, we want functioning Leaves, after all. Also, how many resources did it take to produce this stuff? Actually, forget it. Whatever it is, try to make it with less resources. In the end game, we don't want no resources and messed up Leaves, right? Right."

With his last word, Ted took out a small pouch with rolled-up pieces of paper, taking one and putting it in his mouth like a cigarette. Glancing at Cecil, he grinned once again, offering the pouch to Cecil.

"Want one? Don't worry, they're not real, just gives the illusion to Leaves that we're on the same stuff. Lowers their guard a little."

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The smell of smoke from Neotriptaline gave Nicholas a slight headache. Not literally, but figuratively.

Of course, that was the drug's street name, and no one really knew what it was made of. That was a trade secret from the Flora. The joke came from Neo (New) and Trip, such as a reference to drug trips. It was a terrible joke, considering what effects the drug had on the brain if taken in large doses. It was normally referred to as NeoTrip, or just NE. All one could assume was that the name was a reference to a clinical antidepressant known as Nortriptyline, but that was in circulation ages before even the third World War.

But the smoke was heavy, especially on this path to the Stone. Though the air cleaning devices the cities had made pollution a thing of pre-Third War eras, it didn't mean the smoke couldn't be smelled before it reached them, and it was TERRIBLE. It was like a mixture of celery, cloves, and garlic. Strong, yet sweet.


Rena stepped in front of him, coughing for a moment as they passed by an alleyway where a couple of Leaves eyed them warily. One of them, from the glance Nick got, looked like he'd taken enough drugs to kill most men. He'd be of no use to the Flora. Any teeth he had weren't visible, and his skin was yellow.

"God, it's never going to be easy, is it?" Nick asked under his breath, only within earshot of Rena.

"No. No it's not. Idiots willing to give up their lifespans for a few moments of false euphoria." Rena shook her head. "We're never letting Charles out here. Ever."

"I agree. But hopefully soon we won't have to worry about it anymore. If all of this works.... this will be the first area the Phi actually take." Nick whispered to her, glancing around. "Next turn?"

"Left. Then right. Are we still splitting?"

"We're not being followed. It's not necessary, unless you feel it is? With how bad it is around here, I'd rather not leave you alone. Call it husband's overprotective tendencies." Nicholas admitted, patting her shoulder. "Once, I would have said that was a good idea, but we have more at stake now than just our own lives. We have to see Charles' birthday, and every one after that."

"Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?" Rena asked, turning to look at him slightly. "Besides, isn't that one of ours?"

Nicholas gave a small, sideways look at the man standing near a bench, reading a small, electronic device - possibly a book.

"What's he doing back out here? Is he on patrol?" Rena asked further.

"I asked him out here today for a very important purpose." Nicholas said, stepping to him. "Give me a moment."


He strode up to the man, then proceeded to hold up a small, paper card, which appeared to have nothing written on it.

The man gave a single glance. "Writing is meaningless without proof."

"And speaking means nothing without words." Nicholas finished. "Do you have it?"

"Who do you think I am?" the man replied with a flourish, looking around before reaching into his pocket and retrieving a plastic baggy not unlike the ones the druglords of the Flora used for very valuable customers. "Thank you for your purchase, brother."

"No problem." Nicholas said, shaking the man's hand. As he did so, he slipped a small amount of money through them as well as a card with instructions.

He headed back over to Rena, readjusting himself. To any outside observer, it looked like he'd just done the average drug deal in Flora. Who would know any better?


"What did he give us?"

Nicholas held up the small bag, shaking it slightly to check the contents.

"A USB of the recent observations he's made, the key to the Bunker, and a sample of... what is this?" Nicholas snorted in disdain, checking the color. "A.. NEW drug? This soon? I'm assuming the data on it is contained in the USB."

"What'd you tell him to do?"

"Report to Ted, as usual. Give him his share of that money we gave him. Then stay under the radar for another few weeks. Patience, as always."

"He's braver than either of us, that's for sure." Rena said, concerned. "God I hope he stays safe."

"He's an expert." Nicholas assured him, patting her shoulder. "Let's keep moving."




As they stepped towards the Stone, Nicholas could only look on it once again in awe.

Years ago, after the third War, someone had forged a giant wall of memorial for those who had died in the war that had belonged to America. But during the fourth war, most of it was destroyed or marred by bombs and purposeful vandalism, by those who had no respect for those who came before.

Robert had ordered the Stone a mockery of what they were trying to do as Phi, and had almost had it destroyed, but Nicholas had - for the first time - gone against his orders and argued with him about the Stone for months, even to the shock of Rena, who had assumed she'd just follow Robert's law.

But Nicholas refused. The Stone was, no matter how badly damaged or what it was, a respectful memorial for lives lost. It told much of the pre-war era, and he couldn't stand to see what remained of it destroyed. As a man stuck in trying to remember the past for the sake of the future, he couldn't do it.


And he feared Robert would have him killed as a result, or at least exiled. Surprisingly, Robert had just let it go. He said nothing further on the matter and basically left the Stone in Nicholas' hands. Since then, it had simply become a landmark for the Phi for meetings and other such activities.


He took a seat on the bench he'd built in front of the Stone, just so he could look at it in wonder. It was massive, almost three times the size of a person, and covered in names that he'd painstakingly attempted to recarve and fix by himself, or with Rena when she could spare time from Charles. One of the many things he'd tried to bring back through time, he supposed.

Maybe he was silly for being so absorbed in things that were already dead and gone, done long before his own time, especially since his father always looked to the future.


"If you can dream it, you can build it."


Rena took the seat by him, crossing her legs comfortably and leaning back against the metal and wood.

"How long do you think he'll be?"

"He'll be here... very soon, I'm sure. You can nap if you wish."

"How the hell could I sleep at a time like this?" she laughed, hands in her pockets. "We might just be blowin' something up soon. We might just fight some Gears, or Flora. Something's about to change."

"For the better, we can hope."

"We can hope."

Edited by Thaelasan

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"Mm, you're right," Chi said. Leaves weren't the most dependable. They had their own wellbeing to consider, after all. At Monica's mention of unrest, Chi hummed and bit their lip. "Well," they started slowly. "That's certainly less than ideal. Have you talked to them specifically about their worries?" They ran a hand through their hair, accidentally untying half their ponytail. "Ah man, that's gonna be a hassle. How should we reassure them...?" They were thinking out loud at this point. Might as well try to bounce a few ideas off Monica. "Would me personally talking to them help matters a bit? If our own spies are saying things are fine, then I really don't know what else to do to calm them down." This is why leaders aren't chosen when they're young, they thought in frustration. I don't have enouh experience with this sort of situation. But they'd learn. Gang fights weren't that uncommon, of course, but wars were a whole other issue.


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Approaching the Stone, Robert smirked as he spoke, "I see you two are as idealistic as ever. How's Charles?" Taking his mask off, Robert reached a hand out for them to shake before stopping, taking it back and crossing his arms as he gave them both a firm look.


"No, that's not important right now. Just tell me about what you mentioned in your message. Depending on the quality of the info, I may or may not push back everything in my schedule, and may or may not tell you a new plan of mine." At the mention of the plan, Robert had a glimmer in his eye, his lips twitching into a smile again.

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"Oh hey, Jason! You're just the guy I was looking for! Any chance you'd like to take this one off my hands?"


Pausing, Jason blinked at the individual before him. Gradually, a wide smile spread across his face. "Ren! So good to see you, my dear! How's the day faired for you?" he inquired, not yet addressing her words. After a moment, he glanced at the cart that Ren had been pushing. Eyes lighting up, he beamed, "Ah, Ren! So kind of you! I've been dreadfully bored lately. A fresh body is exactly what I need!"


Of course, he would have much preferred a live body but he wasn't about to correct the Pairno. Grabbing the other end of the cart, he leaned forward and unzipped the body bag. Folding back the cover, he murmured softly to himself as he gave a cursory examination. "Yes, this'll do fine," he stated suddenly. "Come along, Ren!" he called, tugging on the cart to return to his exam room.




"You know I'm not a great people-person," Monica sighed. "If they don't want to give me specifics, I can't get them without doing something wrong. Some told me that they're afraid of the Gears putting their technology to use against us. We can't fight guns with drugs, Duan." Flexing her fingers, the woman huffed. "Again, you're asking the wrong person. I don't coddle," she stated. "Talk to a Dove if you want to reassure people on a one-on-one basis. Otherwise, all I can figure is hold a general meeting and tell people to buck up," she bit.


Shrugging, she rubbed her cheek briefly before sighing again. "Make an appearance, Boss. Stop hiding away on this roof. The last thing you need to do is look vulnerable," she remarked.




Humming faintly, Vipra combed her fingers through her hair, leaning back in her seat. Tilting her head to gaze upward, she shrugged. "Depends on your opinion but, I suppose it's interesting. At least, interesting enough for Big Sis to care," she informed. "Don't want to say too much; could get in trouble, ya know? But it's gotta do with this Phi group that's recently come up. Have you heard of them yet? Bunch of informants that are about the same status as Leaves," Vipra explained.

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Nicholas was about to pipe up when Rena shot him a glance as if to say "Unfortunately, this isn't the time or place."

Roberts, lord of the Phi in a way, and the only man ranking above Nicholas or Rena. His perspective on the pre-war era may not have aligned exactly with Nick or Ren's, but his desire for information sure did. An entire network of spies, their eyes and ears everywhere, and not a single thing was seen or heard without Roberts being informed. Failure to report even the slightest change in a situation could mean the difference between life or death, or victory or defeat.

Where the Flora had followed a path of drug dealing for economic purposes, and the Gears valued strength and military power above all else, the Phi and their leaders believed in a single goal - the pursuit of knowledge. Nick's interpretation of this meant anything, from music to the names scrawled on the giant monolith behind them. But Roberts was more concerned with the information of the present day, as far as Nick or Ren knew.

So Nicholas knew he should report this accurately, as he had researched it, to the smallest detail.


He coughed a moment.

"Bunker 3321, one of the famous 'Lost' bunkers of pre-war America. Much of what we know about them is from hearsay or legends, considering most don't even think they really exist. They were a black project by the US military and certain politicians, to prepare for the worst when tensions had gotten to their worst.


The story goes thus, from what we've gathered: The House and the Senate voted on a Bill during the years leading up to the Third War. This Bill was known as Preparation Act IV, one of several that were suggested but one of the only ones that were actually accepted and put into practice.

The Bill was simple: To protect American assets, a large amount of artillery supplies, current era armor and technology samples, and even a few nuclear weapons would be stored in hidden bunkers around America with no reports of their locations after being made. It was a hush-hush project, strictly need to know.

When the war hit, a group of one hundred military veterans per bunker were chosen, from ages 40-80, and with their close families, went into the bunkers. The amount of food supplies and such within should have lasted them past the war. The problem, however, was that no one actually went into the bunkers."

At this moment he paused for some form of dramatic effect.


"After all that preparation, not a single bunker was used. The reason? They misjudged the amount of destruction of the war. Those who knew about them died in the destruction. The bunkers were forgotten and faded into nonexistence until a group of Gears discovered one of the Lost Bunkers very recently. Thank God there weren't any nuclear weapons in it because it was quickly looted. You remember the incident, correct, Roberts?"

He looked up a moment for a nod or look of approval.


"In any case, the bunkers are now coveted treasures. A recent survey by our people in the Outskirts have brought back intelligence suggesting that the bunker they found is 3321. Its location matches that found within one of the lost records we scavenged but considering how obscure it is, it could just be a false match. We really have no proof until we descend within it ourselves. LUCKILY, our people already made a keycard for hacking the door, after a bit of code algorithms and cyber locksmithing. That part is out of the way."


He held up a single, plastic card, having retrieved it from the bag he was given by the Phi spy earlier.

"But the real problem is the traps they rigged in case of security breaches or looting. They weren't playing around, and it can only be assumed that the more weapons in the bunker, the more secure it will be. But our real fear - that is, us, Ren and I, - is that this bunker holds a missile silo or nuclear weaponry of another sort. So our objective is simple."


He crossed his arms, pleased with his work.

"We delve within the bunker with a team of a few others, we find the weapons and technology, secure them, and bring them back to the surface quietly and quickly. Then, I'll start dismantling the weaponry both to remove its usefulness and glean more information about our ancestors. But that's just me."


He shrugged.


"However we handle the weapons is up to you, Commander Roberts. But we need to claim them anyway. You have all the information we have. The choice is up to you." Nicholas finished, curious. "What do you have in mind?"

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Neo and Isaac

"I hear Phi reunites the families," Neo replied, watching as Isaac's stop came in view, slowing down to drop him off. Before she could even come to a full stop, Isaac began to stand up, speaking as he got ready to jump off.


"Yeah I heard that about the Phi too, they're good at the job too, I think." With a shrug, Isaac hopped off the slowing vehicle, fumbling a bit but landing safely on his feet. Turning to see Neo's unimpressed look, Isaac grinned at the two ladies. "Well, have fun investigating that stuff, Vipra. And good luck with your stuff too, Neo. I know you can do well!" Giving a thumbs up, Isaac waved them off, watching Neo roll her eyes and shake her head before starting the cart up again, now not too far off from HQ.



Robert sighed at the word "Commander" shaking his head. "Don't call me Commander, Nicholas, this is not a military troupe. Anyway, we're going to disable to missile, but not the weapons. I'm no fan of war either, but it's not like we're in some cushy utopia. We can't establish ourselves as a legitimate gang without power, and weapons happen to be a tangible form of power. Gather a force, but no Netos. The ideal time to go would be tomorrow. We'll try to figure out a way to navigate the traps in the meantime. Understood?"

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Nicholas made a firm face as he turned to Rena, looking for her input.

"Any weapons we find in the bunker might actually be useful, but probably ammo-dependent. Still, guns are guns, especially those not linked to licenses, y'know? Nicholas, I'd like to be a pacifist too, especially for Charles... but Robert is right. We need collateral."

Nick bit his bottom lip a moment in thought, frowning at her answer - but she was right. He shook his head, agitated.

His idealist mindset always conflicted with Roberts, and Rena was their sort of compromising personality. She was a negotiator. Roberts was a realist. But Rena knew what the Phi truly needed, and so did Roberts - they needed to start staking their claim.

A glove needed to be thrown into the ring. A mark had to be made. The Gears and Flora had to begin to understand that the Phi would no longer simply sit in the shadows patiently and allow them to dominate through their own means. It was time for a change. Nicholas could only pray that it wasn't a genocidal one.

"Fine, but all weapons we mark or collect go through us, namely me, before they get in the hands of ANY of the Phi. We're not savages." he said fiercely, shaking his shoulders a moment. "I'm not about to send a bunch of uncontrolled youth with guns from a pre-war era. This isn't about needless murder. We have targets."

He sighed, placing the key card back within his pocket, then adjusted his coat.

"I'll start ringing up and contacting a few of our available people." Nicholas said, retrieving his phone from his other pocket. "It'll be encrypted. I'll only choose a few. One of our medics, Jason probably. I don't know who else we should grab. I suppose I'll roll as I go."

He began typing up numbers to send the message.

"They'll be ready by tomorrow. We'll meet here again, then." Nick promised.


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Chi bit their lip. Monica was right. But...her ring caught Chi's eye as she touched her cheek. Ah, didn't Monica have a sister? "Not a people person?" Chi queried, "I think you're doing quite well. And well, what about Cathy? You two got along quite well, didn't you?" Chi paused. Was that a sore spot? Perhaps they shouldn't have brought it up? Quickly changing the subject, Chi coughed and continued, "Well! Er, the Gears? Attack us? I don't know about that," they said. The Gears were...ambitious, yes, but would they really attack the Flora? It wasn't like the Flora had no weapons or means of self defense, either. "We've got drugs that do more than get people high. If they do come, then we can just do chemical warfare." The Geneva Convention was something of the past. There were no regulations in war anymore. But Chi paused. They had become so used to running away from their problems. If the Flora were scared, then the leader had an obligation to reassure them first. "No, actually. You're right. I'll talk to them. I'll call a meeting in a day or so when I've figured out exactly what to say." They glanced at their second-in-command. "Thanks for the heads-up, Monica. I appreciate it."



It was a slow day in Harcourt's office, for once. No one was coming to him screaming of freak accidents while fixing machines. The peace and quiet was wonderful, but it also made him uneasy. He really wasn't used to not needing to resuscitate people as they lost blood by the gallons. An exaggeration, of course, but fitting nonetheless. Maybe he could use this time and actually relax. He stretched back in his chair, trying to tilt it just to the, er, tilting point, and balance it. Of course, it didn't work, as Harcourt soon found himself falling with a wrenching feeling in his gut. He was out on his back with a clatter, arms splayed beside him and legs in the air. His head kind of hurt, but at least he'd had the sense to crane his neck so his back and shoulders hit the ground first. He sighed. Maybe a walk would be better for his wellbeing.


He got up slowly, stretching out his legs as he went. He dusted off his sweater and jeans, all a dark navy color. He took off his white doctor's coat and set it on the hook next to the door to his office and operating space, replacing it with a long, black leather coat, the only other jacket he owned. His small apartment was one floor up, but he hadn't slept there for the past four days. Shaking his head to clear it, he wandered into the street, not forgetting to stash a pistol in the inner pocket of his jacket. One could never be too safe in Fortuna.

Edited by Chrysophylox

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Robert shook his head, checking the time on his watch before looking at the two again. "No, we can't meet here two times in a row. I want you to send me the coordinates of the bunker and a list of people, and I'll figure out a course for all of you to get there without much of a problem. The Flora and the Gears are occasionally converging in this area, a kid just told me about his mother being approached by guys from both gangs.We don't want to show them a group of people meeting up like this, especially with some equipment I plan on bringing."


Sighing, Robert took out a notepad where he drew a map of the city, scratching the back of his head as he thought for a moment. "One of us will stay behind, just in case. While the best case scenario will have us getting out of the bunker with everyone alive, I doubt it will actually work out that way." Looking up, Robert raised an eyebrow, "So? Who will stay behind?"



Whistling as he began his patrol, Isaac looked around, wondering if anything interesting would be happening today. Of course, he would prefer nothing to happen, but doing the same tasks every day was also boring, and having something break the pattern was always nice. Taking out the pocket knife his sister had given him, Isaac played around, again wondering how she even got the knife. It would be cool if she killed a guy, but that's definitely not something she'd do. Shaking his head, Isaac looked at the polished blade, spotting a figure behind him. Turning, he spotted a familiar face, lips forming a devious smile as he ran over to the figure.

"Harcourt! Hey! How are you?"

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"Ah, Isaac!" Harcourt said, as cheerfully as he could. He was still pretty tired from the past few days, even though he really should be used to it by now. He knew what he was signing up for when he decided to join the Wrenches. "I'm doing alright, considering the circumstances. Kind of concerned that no one's been coming to me today though." He paused once to look Isaac over. "You out for a walk? Mind if I join?"

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Soft clicks echoed across the otherwise silent office as Angela's fingertips zoomed along the keyboard; the soft blue-grey gleam of the terminal in front of her illuminated the gloomy space. The office had an elegant yet cold atmosphere about it, adorned in pure white decor from the floor to the ceiling. In the center of the room stood a white desk and behind this desk sat the renowned Big Sister and founder of the Gears, her brow furrowed as she typed at lightning-speed on the terminal.

"This will not do.." The Big Sister clicked her tongue in frustration and rose to her feet, whirling away from the terminal to face the back wall of the office where a large map of Fortuna stood. Approaching the large map, Angela's piercing eyes zeroed in on the territory of the Gears, which was marked royal blue on the map. All of this belonged to her, territory she spent 13 years tirelessly working for with her own blood and sweat. Strangely enough, the Big sister still was not satasfed-she wanted more, she deserved more, as did all the Gears. After all, the Gears were the best bet to restoring what once was. This was their cause, her cause.

Edited by Belle

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Rena shot a glance to Nick, concerned. He turned to her, then put a finger to his chin. They shared a long moment with no words, gears spinning in respective brains. Frowning, he sighed for a moment before putting his hands into his coat pockets. She nodded at him, then turned to Robert, certain.

"You stay behind and keep a firm hold on the Phi while we're gone." she stated firmly, crossing her arms. "I can't trust Nick to go alone in here without getting distracted but there's no way he'd let me go alone without feeling like I was in danger all the time. But it's fine. Besides, the real leader of the Phi should be kept safe, right?"

She shrugged.

"Nick, comms?"

"We'd have radio coverage and holographic communication up to 100 meters down. But then there could be a lot of unforeseen interference. I could try and engineer a better signal-broadcasting device...but..."

"It'd take too much time?"

Nick nodded sheepishly.

"I'm not a miracle worker, honey. Wish I could say it was easy." He replied.

"It'll be fine. We only need to go down a bit to see what needs to be seen, right?" Ren asked, waving her hand dismissively. "Long as we stick together and don't walk into obvious traps."

"Or subtle ones."

"Traps in general." she agreed. "All traps are probably bad."

"Most certainly."

"Anyway, we'll see what kind of manpower we can muster up by tomorrow. But we'll have eyes on the bunker from here on out, right?"

"I already asked Jade. He said he can't come with us but he can monitor communications to see if the Flora discover anything on his end. As for the Gears..."

"This isn't in their territory. They don't have the manpower to come this far South West without expecting heavy Flora interference." Rena commented with absolute certainty. "They wouldn't think to do it either. Who would have thought that anything of note would be around this waste?"

"Good. Good thinking." Nick agreed. "So the only issue is the Flora finding anything out and that shouldn't be an issue. Robert, where should we meet up tomorrow then for the final departure? The .... base?"

He said the word with uncertainty. As far as anyone knew, there was no BASE for the Phi. No headquarters. It was a black number. A false positive. A hidden riddle. It was a rumor and nothing more.

But it DID exist, and it was a closely guarded secret not even known to low ranking Phi. It was where most of the information they gathered was stored and a lot of their drop offs of top priority occurred. If the base was called for, things had to be serious.

And Nicholas was fairly certain a bunker that could turn the tide of war called for it.

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She stilled, chest tightening slightly, at the mention of her adopted sister. Monica's gaze hardened for a fraction of a moment as Duan spoke, clearing their throat and promptly changing the subject back to the Gears. Shoving her clenched fists into her pockets, Monica gave Big Leader a dull expression. "Let me know when you want to set up that meeting. I'll make sure the rest know," she said flatly. She chose not to make a comment to their hope of chemical warfare being their best offense. Guns worked more swiftly. Dipping her head once as a subtle sign of respect, she turned on her heel and stormed away, letting the roof door slam shut behind her on its own.




Nodding, Vipra rested her chin in her hand. "Yeah, that's what they do mostly. But it's not out of charity," she confirmed. "Some of them can be real slime balls," she grumbled. "One tried getting me to dirty my mouth when I hired him to find my long lost aunt!" She added a mock lilt to her voice at the end of her exclamation, wiping away an imaginary tear. "Though, most of them take basic currency."


Waving at Isaac as he made his leave, she gave him a rueful grin. "Don't know about that. I've got grim news for Big Sis," Vipra stated, screwing her face into a grimace. "I doubt she'll like to hear it." Shrugging a shoulder, she returned to stretching out in the back of the cart, watching as the pristine scenery of Gear territory rolled past. "You know... You almost can't tell the difference between Flora and Gear territory from an initial glance. You have to look into the pores of the area to notice it. A little more trash here, a bit of graffiti tucked away there..." she commented idly, voice drifting off.


She fell silent for the remainder of the way to HQ. It wasn't long so there wasn't much of an awkward feeling and Vipra hopped off the cart with a friendly wave. Walking into HQ, Vipra barely took a moment to regard the intimidating building. She weaved her way through the hallways until she came to the door that she wanted. Lifting a fist, she hovered it before the door before rapping her knuckles against the surface. "Big Sister?" Vipra called. "Victoria Clemings, reporting."




"Do you have everything?"


"Yes, I'm all set. Don't fret."


"Now, you know that only makes me worry mor - Stop fidgeting! There. Now you're perfect." A warm smile.


Cameron returned it, laying soft lips on her forehead for just a moment. "Jess, it's just my brother. You don't need to dress me up like it's a black-tie event," he chuckled.


Jessie shook her head, a tsk floating into the air. "Nonsense. You should always look nice for family. Besides, you're also meeting that... that...," she trailed off, pressing her lips into a thin line as her green eyes widened just a fraction. "Shoot... Who was the other guy you're meeting today?"


Again, Cameron chuckled, planting a kiss on her cheek this time. "Just a stranger who wanted to see me about a commission," he assured. "Now, I gotta go or else I'll be late." On his way out, he grabbed a small notebook off the end table that sat beside the beaten couch in their living room. He felt Jessie watching his back as he slipped out the front door of their apartment, locking it with the keycard.


For a few heartbeats, he lingered on the woven mat that greeted visitors with a cheery "Welcome Home!" written in fancy script. His stomach twisted.


He didn't like lying to her.


But he couldn't tell her who he'd really be meeting. She wouldn't enjoy hearing it. Swallowing the feeling of disgust that washed up, Cam started moving, walking briskly. Tucking the notebook under his left arm, he pulled a device free from his pocket. A handy little piece of phone tech that Victoria had upgraded.


Holding the button down on one side, Cam waited for the blue light to finish flickering before speaking. "Jack. It's Cam. I'll be there soon. The third party should be there a little before me. Make sure he's clean." Releasing the button, he shoved the comm device back into his pocket.


For the past several weeks, he had been thinking. Today, he was going to bring some of those thoughts into reality if he could manage it. He wanted a better world. His brother told him how much of an idealist he was, and how unlikely he was to succeed. Cameron didn't really care though. He was going to damn well try.


He wanted to make a new gang. Habeas, taken from the old writ of habeas corpus. It would become a humanitarian effort, something to balance - if not overthrow - the unlawful ruling of the Flora and the Gear. Cam's first step was finding good leadership. He knew he wanted Jack to be his right-hand man. But he also wanted someone as his left. Preferably, he wanted someone with medical knowledge to balance his brother's tactical and tech-savvy mind.


But that wasn't someone he and his twin were meeting in a short while. No. It was some Gear spy named Ding. He was pretty certain that was a nickname. A spy would be useful to have, if not a bit dubious. But at least, he could make sure that his hide wasn't going to be targeted any moment soon.


As long as the guy checked out.


Rounding the corner of an alleyway, Cam slowed to a stop. A few yards away stood his brother and the third party. "Good. You're both on time," he started. Idly straightening out his button-up shirt, Cam nodded at his brother. "Are we good to go?" he asked him.

Edited by Narvix

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