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X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

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Angela Ziegler, Mercy, Dr. Ziegler

~ Gateway ~

Mercy's eyes widened with puzzlement as Moira pushed her pistol away.

 

"I can tell you are pleased to see me. And don't worry. You will not die, by my hand at least."

 

Meekly, she re holstered her blaster, still unable to look Moira in the face. Moira was often quoted as not preferring to see to matters personally, so they would have never sent her as a field assassin. It just wasn't in her playbook. Mercy glance at Moira's right hand, the purple veins sticking out as unnatural, corrupted, damaged. This was the result of her own fowl experiments, using herself as the test subject. Still, Mercy felt a pang within her heart. She wanted to heal what she was sure caused pain, although she doubted Moira saw it that way, more likely she found it to be a badge of honor. Of achievement. Moira swung her left arm over her, pulling her against Moira's side.

 

"You are much better use to me alive than dead. I'm sure you understand."

 

So was that it then? She was going to be kidnapped and forced to use her healing for the aid of war? She couldn't, she wouldn't. The Valkyrie would rather be stricken down in the dirt before she would allow her abilities to be used for terrorism. Before she could more to protest, Moira had let her go, drawing up to her full height. Standing in that way to announce she was the one who was superior.

 

"Besides, Angela, you always were rather pathetic."

 

Moira was so very tall. She towered over her, and Mercy felt the burn of Moira's mocking grin. Her cheeks were hot again. Pathetic? Is that all she was? All she amounted too? Her mind flashed back. Friends lost and saved, battles won and lost, victories celebrated and defeats mourned. Who did Moria think she was anyway? To act superior to her, to tell her who or what she was. Familiar determination crossed over Mercy's featured. She drew herself up as tall as possible. Admittedly, her heels helped. Just before she could tell Moira exactly what she though of her, another unrecognized voice broke the tension.

 

"Hey girls! You don't need to keep whisperin' behind that rock."

 

Another person. Another Talon agent? Her surroundings were so unfamiliar. Despite her best judgment, Mercy took her eyes off Moira and popped her head around the rock. There were more people around then she had originally noticed. A man was facing away from her, but she had to assume he had been the one who had spoke based on proximity. Were they being that loud? Regardless, anything was better then being pinned down by Moira.

 

"H...hello?" Mercy said, defaulting to English which was tainted by her Swedish accent. Quickly she tried to access the scene. "Is someone injured?" She darted from the rock and slowly approached the man, Thankful to have slipped away from Moira's grasp.

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   XDRS - Garage

 

   Typheus looked down at Fiddlesticks at the response. He doubted he could help the repairs go any faster, but it didn't really matter anyway; she was going on that mission whether he liked it or not, that he already knew. He then felt a flash of vexation when Yusei asked for names.
   "You need an announcement system so I can stop repeating myself," he said grumpily. Yet as soon as he said that, he regretted it; Yusei had only seen him once before, and at the time everyone was on edge from an immense, white creature blasting a hole in the ceiling and Fushi being a wolf and trying to thrash a blue-haired man and boy with a giant key.
   ...This place sure was weird, wasn't it?

 

   He sighed. "Typheus, Fiddlesticks," he gestured accordingly, notes of apology entering his voice. "She's..." he faltered, looking at Circuitraider, remembering just in time that he was trying not to introduce for her. "...You can ask when you have time," he finished.
   "You look tired," Fiddlesticks observed quietly. Typheus didn't respond, just watching the repairs continue. She stared at him for a bit, before noticing a flash of red land just inside the garage. The red thing was clicking on the floor?
   "What's that?" she asked, trying to turn to look at it but unable to do so. Typheus looked for her, eye widening in surprise as the red began to talk. It was some kind of bird, although its eyes were closer to the front and its beak very small. The darker hues of its feathers were very pretty.
   It - she - asked about the missions. Birds could talk, now?... Maybe this planet had some kind of auto-translator. So many strange beings here could speak plain Xinschi, or at least, what he thought was Xinschi. Maybe to them he was speaking English, or Cybertronian, or even Bird, apparently.

 

   When Yusei answered the fluffy bird with nonchalant practice, Typheus looked between them, intrigued. He then checked up on Circuitraider, but quickly broke eye contact. Something was bothering her... Fiddlesticks might not notice it, but she wasn't programmed to notice behavioral subtleties. It was plain as day to him though, and yet, he probably shouldn't ask about it; being nosy wasn't something he enjoyed.

   Funny, how often it became useful, noticing the little things off in behavior that helped him pinpoint troublemakers during his old job. It was also his bane though, even back then... you can't drag away people when you know what they're thinking, how terrified they are of redemption, or worse... Being a rebel tore him up inside less than being the Empire's obedient little officer, and now, Fiddlesticks wants to go back to Zirhon.
   The Empire doesn't know he turned on them. What if they take him back? What if his pilot double-crossed the rebels while he was away? What if they even let him keep his free will as long as he turned on the others? He knew this planet, the mission Yusei offered to take them to, couldn't possibly be Zirhon, but if he jumped around dimensions helping these people then returning at least once would be inevitable. He could sit out the mission... No, he couldn't. Fiddlesticks would go by herself and get herself killed, and so would the others.
   As Typheus became embroiled in his own thoughts, he realized that the reason she must want to go back is because of her pilot.
   "Typheus..."
   It didn't matter if she wasn't on Zirhon, she was still in the same universe. The reason Fidds is doing anything right now is because of her. Escaping redemption by running off into battle, after that ship, screaming her name like a complete idiot.
   "Typheus...?"
   She was loyal. Insanely loyal. Even with no confirmation of whether her pilot was even still alive, Fiddlesticks didn't care. Typheus though... he didn't feel the same way. Yes, he wanted to keep his operator alive, but he was... well, all he wanted was to retire again. The mech couldn't count on the loyalty being returned. Did this make Fidds neurotic though, or him a bad mech? Did his pilot even care?
   "TYPHEUS!!"

 

   The silver machine suddenly jerked back to reality. "What?!" he shouted back.
   "What's Yusei doing now?" Fiddlesticks asked, "I can't feel anything. I want to go already!"
   "He's almost done," Typheus said, checking on the engineer as an afterthought. Even if it wasn't true, she calmed down a bit, blinking at him.
   "Are you okay?"
   "Just thinking," he answered numbly. She stared at him. She had done enough introspection to know he wasn't telling her everything, and he knew enough about behavior to know she suspected of him.
   "You're-"
   "I'm fine."
   "No you're not!" she argued right away.
   "It's not your problem," he retorted. "Don't argue with me! We shouldn't fight in front of these people."
   They both became quiet in self-conscious realization. Fiddlesticks wilted in embarrassment; so much for first impressions.
   "...I'm going to go fly around a bit, map the area," Typheus excused himself, turning away, breaking his immobilization hack. She just hummed, watching him stand up and leave, before falling into a sullen silence. She didn't know he was just walking to the back of the castle. She simply became more self-conscious, choosing to remain on the ground.
   "We'll go on the mission," she said quietly.

Edited by skwerl56767
How could you forget details, Skwerl. Be cohesive!

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Something in between | Just an average day

 

She… There it was again. An identifying pronoun that solved his internal riddle about the purple machine. “My name’s Yusei,” he introduced, well aware that Xander had supplied the machines with his name. Still, he wanted to return the introduction and maintain an equal field.

 

There was… a tone, to Typheus’ voice and Yusei picked up on the implied apology. Fiddlesticks began to speak, softly, to her companion. “Circuitraider…” came a new voice, provoking the duelist to turn and study the purple machine. She didn’t say enough for him to gauge her tone properly.

 

He turned to the owl.

 

“Yes,” Yusei confirmed, nodding once. “Just as you don’t belong in this world, sometimes an anchor is discovered in a world it doesn’t belong. So we have to retrieve it and bring it back to its home world,” he explained.

 

Circuitraider caught Typheus’ momentary glance again. This time, however, he looked away before she did. She had to keep herself from frowning. He’d seen something, she knew that much instinctively. The Autobot stared at the silver mech, studying his posture even as the owl continued talking.

 

At the next question, Yusei was momentarily silent, setting the blowtorch aside. “The dangers depend on what worlds we encounter. Some are very harmless while others attempt to kill you.” It seemed like the human was not holding any information back. Wise, Circuitraider commended.

 

“I’m a human,” Yusei continued, turning back towards Fiddlesticks and inspecting the small amount of progress he had made so far. “You being an owl, I suppose you’re from a forest. Correct? I live in a city so, while there are not many woodland creatures around, I am familiar with some avians.” He sat back again from the welding.

 

Circuitraider simply sat in silence, watching the exchange as if she were seeing two humans having a basic conversation. The man was very comfortable with the situation, seemingly acquainted to strange occurances. It baffled her.

 

Fiddlesticks was trying to get Typheus’ attention. It brought Circuitraider’s own attention back to the mechs. The body language, his stature and the glow of his eye, was strange. The Autobot could see Yusei’s work from where she sat. Typheus was lying to Fiddlesticks. Why? To distract from her impatience?

 

The human didn’t correct the silver mech. He remained silent through the brief exchange, returning to the task at hand. Sparks shot off from the blowtorch as it superheated the metal. Circuitraider followed Typheus with her optics. So something bothered him just as something bothered her.

 

“I thought you would,” Yusei spoke up, responding to Fiddlesticks’ quiet comment. “You’re repairs will take just a little whi-”

 

"No!"

 

The man’s words were interrupted, cut short as the bronze mech suddenly lurched. Circuitraider sat straighter, optics narrowing. Fiddlesticks was getting to her feet. Yusei quickly rose, stepping back as he turned off the torch, and tilted his head back to follow the rise of her height. “Fiddlesticks.” It wasn’t mean but the man’s tone was level. Firm? The Autobot didn’t have time to analyze it too long.

 

"No," she repeated again, “I’m not waiting!” Urgency entered her voice; so she saw something off about Typheus, too. Before Yusei could try and stop her, she was already moving, trying to go after the silver machine.

 

I’m the blasted babysitter… Circuitraider grunted as she stood, stepping forward, and she reached out. Fiddlesticks didn’t see the move coming, too distracted by Yusei.

 

Clang! She ran straight into Circuitraider’s arm. Something like a beep emitted from Fiddlesticks, a slight hitch entering the mech’s movements in the same instance. She backed up, beeping again in a way that sounded annoyed. Despite being unsuccessful, the machine only became obstinate; this time, she moved towards Circuitraider at a quicker pace.

 

You can’t be serious…

 

A ring vibrated through the air, the collision of metal against metal echoing in Yusei’s ears. Fiddlesticks struggled against Circuitraider as the latter simply stood where the former tried to charge her. Despite the metallic features, it was easy for Yusei to see the annoyance in Circuitraider’s face.

 

“That’s enough,” the Autobot growled, clamping a hand down on the back of Fiddlesticks’ neck. Fiddlesticks just squirmed more violently despite her open, half-repaired wounds.

 

“Stop it! I’m fine!” Fiddlesticks objected loudly. When her efforts fell in vain, she opened up her retrieval panel and chewed on Circuitraider’s arm. It wasn’t very effective, but the scratching of metal didn’t sound very pleasant either.

 

Yet, the mech clearly didn’t want to fight. The biting was half-hearted, and she was staring out over the open field where Typheus had gone. After a while, she ceased, drooping in Circuitraider’s arms. “There’s something wrong with him… did I say something?” she murmured. “He wasn’t doing well last time he did this…” Still completely oblivious to her open wounds, she began struggling again. “Just let me talk to him!”

 

The scout watched her as she struggled. The mech acted like an organic child. But Circuitraider knew better. The mech was pure machine, both of them. There was nothing organic about their sentience and, for a moment, Circuitraider felt alone.

 

Her grip lessened slightly.

 

Circuit!

 

“Stop.…” Circuitraider sighed. She didn't know if it was directed at Fiddlesticks or the invasive memories. Shifting her hold to Fiddlesticks’ arm, the Autobot shook her head. “Go back to your repairs. Typheus wouldn't appreciate you ignoring your injuries. I'll… go check on him,” she offered.

 

At first the mech looked distrustful, but averted her eye at the offer. “Fine,” she mumbled, adding something barely audible about how she was right. She then looked up abruptly and said, “but if he says anything about how he’s not ‘good enough’, tell him I’m going to kick him!”

 

The threat wasn’t mean, necessarily. Fiddlesticks just reverted to being meek, letting Circuitraider carefully nudge the mech back towards Yusei before letting go of her arm. Turning her back on the garage, she stole a last glance at the owl before following Typheus’ trail.

 

[Collab work. IC actions were approved.]

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Pascal -- Kitchen > Gateway

 

Holding her cardboard box under one arm and holding a thawing banana in the other, Pascal watched as the red-cloaked boy -- who she saw at the Gateway earlier in the day -- climbed the counter to reach an overhead cupboard. He seemed too preoccupied with grabbing snacks to notice her. None of those cookies were hers, the amarcian thought to herself, but someone was going to be wondering where all the food went... She was glad that he was already settling in, though!

 

She tilted her head in a questioning gesture. He didn't look much shorter than she was, though unlike her he didn't have a staff to help him get to handles that were otherwise out of reach. He had an arm like Stan's, though, which opened up all sorts of possibilities of installing an extendo-grip.

 

Speaking of her staff, Pascal realized suddenly that she must have left it at the Gateway. It was a good thing it wasn't too far, and that she was heading there anyway. Taking a few more bananas for the road, she headed out.

 

~

 

"Heeeeeeey!" Pascal shouted through a muffled mouthful of fruit which she quickly swallowed. Tossing her last banana peel over her shoulder, she waved her free hand as she approached the familiar circle of stone monuments. She saw that there were some more new faces, and she was also glad that she was able to intercept Duke and his new friend before he went out to help Stan with his mission (or so Pascal assumed). Duke was one of the more entertaining members of the organization with many feats under his belt. He seemed to know a little bit of everything -- or so he projected -- and had a sense of theatricality around him.

 

"Duke, hi, are you heading out?" she asked. "I gots something for ya!"

 

Fishing through her beat-up cardboard box, Pascal appeared to pull out the exact one she was looking for even though all of the white cubes looked identical. She tossed it to the young man. "I totally forgot about the communicators until today, so I think this'll be useful for the mission! Stan's got a prototype on him, so you could give him a call right now if you want!"

 

She gestured behind her while speaking, where Stan was less than thirty meters away and getting caught in an embrace with a shadow-man who was even taller than he was.

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[ parenthood : duke -- ; ] 

 

"So," Duke says, as he and Jowan make their way across the cheerfully green plains towards the Gateway, the conversation natural as he feels the wind shift through his hair gently. Jowan's words had held true: Duke was quite eager to learn about the other's system of magic in return for a couple words of his own. 

 

As attentive as he is, and as much as the other X-Dre might tease him about being entirely self-absorbed, Duke finds he does not minding listening to Jowan speak -- or rather, he would almost go as far as to say he preferred the other to speak more often than listening. Jowan is interesting, curious, his eyes holding the same reflected relics of the kingdoms he has seen rise and break apart in his own world. He knows that Jowan hides secrets beyond what some of the other members of this group may understand -- and that is fine. 

 

But he knows, has spent far too long understanding that gaze, has grown up with the shadow of clouded eyes for far too long to fake ignorance to such a matter. So instead, he settles for a similar, equally-cowardly approach: he laughs. 

 

The mood is light, bright, and unable to scratch the surface of anything more, but Duke knows -- he knows this is enough for now. He has pushed hard before, demanded answers -- and where has that gotten him?

 

He does not wish to repeat the past, nor to understand again what it means to be left behind by the people who were supposed to matter the most. A higher calling was exactly that, and he could not expect a single relationship to dominate over the wills of Gods, but he is so tired of letting fate decide his fancies.

 

He is taken from his thoughts -- and Jowan interrupted from what he was about to say, by a cheerful voice. He immediately recognises it as Pascal, and a grin breaks out on his features -- he adores the young woman, with her cheery tones and pearly laugh and white-red hair. 

 

Curiously, it seems she has approached with something -- oh? A gift? Well, he is always eager to equal parts please and receive. 

 

Something is thrown at him, and Duke almost doesn't react in time -- he raises his wounded arm, winces at the realisation that probably wasn't the best idea, and catches the item with his other hand as it hits him in the chest and falls downwards. 

 

"Oof," he says, sound effects included.

 

"The mission," he explains to Pascal. "It should be starting soon," he says, quite an obvious statement, but there is a clear energy in the air -- he is eager to start a new adventure, to test his limits once more. He wants to protect those that matter, both through laughs and chatter and when it mattered, on the battlefield.

 

Communicators? Duke stares at the little cube, who he swears almost stares back, and Duke is suddenly filled with a protective instinct.

 

He takes a grand, sweeping, exaggerated gesture. "I'm honoured," he says, dipping his head to bow deeply to Pascal, his cloak brushing the edge of the grass. "I'm going to be a father," he says to Jowan, eyes bright and shining. "My own communicator. A truly legendary deed bestowed only on those necessary. I shall name it Xantsuki after the people who saved my life in battle so I may repay this debt." 

 

Then, he drops the airs, laughs to himself, and dials a number on the cube.

 

"Oh, Stan," he says, sighing into the communicator. "My knight in shining armour. Finally I can contact you after so many years without your voice. Once you finish terrorizing strangers, drop by to rescue your fair damsel. I have a rather ... interesting status report regarding the new recruits."

 

--

 

[ make indeed : fushi -- ; ]

 

The girl seems to be deep in thought, and Fushi folds his hands together and waits patiently. He has not been on this earth for long, but he remembers nights spent with the Boy as Johan and remembers how the crease of his brow would furrow sometimes, a sign that he was surely deep in thought.

 

But the Boy had been sad, all that time ago, and when those pale brows knit together the immortal understood that the other was experiencing a sadness even the eternity of life could not take away. Fushi, for all that he has lived and all that he shall life, still can not understand what kind of emotions would drive someone to feel so badly as the Boy had, all those years -- or merely pure weeks that stretched on and on with the fading horizon -- ago. 

 

But his messages seems to have gotten through, and that brings joy to his eyes -- bright and happy. He has communicated -- he is communicating! Absolutely pleased that the girl is returning with words of her own, Fushi strives forwards, focuses his ears, wants the girl to know he will do anything to continue their lively interaction.


He hesitates when she takes the key back, the delicate item vanishing from his sight, and he wonders -- has he done something wrong? 

 

But his eyes are quickly caught -- and easily distracted, like a child -- by the book that she holds up once more. Oh?

 

Make ... book? Same?

 

So she wants a replica?

 

That is easy enough, even if Fushi does not quite understand why she would demand such a thing -- but it is not in his nature to question such things, not when he is so happy to be existing. Nodding, Fushi takes a deep breath as he feels the ancient power recollect in his palms, the memory of the book in his hands still fresh. He breathes, in and out, in and out, steady, and soon the shape of another book materializes in his hands.

 

He presents it to her, looking pleased. "Book."

 

--

 

[ tumbled like it was stone : theo -- ; ]

 

Arch's arms embracing him brings fire into his belly, a warm, spreading sensation throughout his body. This -- this is what he needs, where he belongs. He slots perfectly into Arch's side like a missing puzzle piece, the angel's arms, strong and warm, coming to rest against his sides, and Theo cannot help but tremble when he hears the familiar rustle of feathers in his ear and Arch's breathing on his neck. 

 

This is -- what he needs. He knows this, and yet it is not something that can be explained as simply as with words, it is a mystery the planets themselves do not comprehend, a simple equation unsolvable by anything on this earth. 

 

Then, Theo pulls back.

 

"Viska?" he questions, and his blood goes cold. All -- all this time, he has been chasing after Nyx, so convinced the dimensional wizard did something to his beloved as a way to play cruel jokes on humankind, but perhaps -- could he have been wrong?

 

He's going to tear that demon apart with his bare hands. 

 

"Why didn't you wake me?" Theo immediately questions, his mouth moving faster than his mind, but Theo instantly regrets his words, and sighs, his frustrating brimming -- not at Arch, but at a person he could not reach at the moment. 

 

The sheer emotion in Arch's voice makes him press himself closer to the angel, his eyes brimming, bright and shiny. "I know," he says, and reaches up, kisses the corner of the other's mouth. "I know," he whispers. "I'm sorry for ever considering otherwise."

 

Ever the practical one, Theo blinks, surprised, when Arch suddenly pulls back and takes his hand in his own -- warm and secure -- and mentions that they should take note of their surroundings.

 

Ah, that was right -- they were in unfamiliar territory, the past forgotten, but the present still quite possibly dangerous. But at the moment Theo could only think about how much he wanted to take Arch home and manhunt Viska.

 

"You always know how to soothe me," he murmurs quietly, half to himself and half to Arch, almost hoping the other does not hear his simple compliments, his utter adoration for the angel.


"Breakfast away, then," Theo says cheerily instead, his previous moods forgotten as he brushes his bangs from his eyes. "I can try, but I can never match up to your cooking. Give me another 400 years, maybe." 

 

He allows Arch to lead him forwards -- because Theo, for all his trail-blazing and adventure-seeking, is always content to follow -- he has served Jane in the past, served countless kings and queens, and fought for dynasties and kingdoms, but he is not serving nor fighting nor obeying Arch, simply content to exist on the same plane as the man before his eyes, right now. 

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Stan -- Gateway

 

"Woah, I'm glad you like them, my dude," the man answered with a grin. The sunglasses went to a good cause, and it warmed his heart to see the wraith in almost childlike happiness.

 

Stan was surprised as the shadowed man made a sudden movement to grab him in his arms. After a moment he reciprocated, gently patting the stranger on the back as he... rumbled? Like a cat? This creature -- no, not creature, it was a person -- might have been terrifying if he saw him running over in the dark, but the dawn light and his docile nature painted him as simply lost and harmless.

 

Appearances really did deceive -- though this was a lesson he learnt already with the number of tiny harmless-looking things (both from his world and others) that could knock a grown man like him unconscious.

 

After a good while, he was released from the embrace. The shadowed man made a motion to his tattered clothes and for a second Stan thought he was brushing off some dust from his shirt, but he made the movement once more and pointed insistently to his outfit again.

 

"Yeah," he nodded in understanding, "your clothes do look a bit... janky. Xander's probably got some spare dapper frilly shirts. We all stay on this little planet, and it's not hard to find someone to help you if you explore a little," Stan explained.

 

"And you, fair lady," he finally addressed Mercy, his voice suddenly shifting into a tone as smooth as honey once he managed to observe her beautiful features. "I don't have any broken bones, but can you heal my broken heart? That counts as an injury, right?"

 

He curled his lips into a small smile that just barely showed the tips of his teeth. At this point, he didn't know if he did his charming out of habit, or because it pissed Lara off.  "Name's Stan. I help run the Extra-dimensional Restoration Squad. We stop the multiverse from imploding. Pleasure to meet you, darlin;."

 

He did a small bow out of formality, but while he was bent over, something in his front pocket began vibrating. He fumbled for it, and for a moment every second felt like an eternity as the guitar rifts he set as his ringtone continued to play from the little device while he fished it out. Grasping it tightly in his good hand, Stan flipped the phone open with a flick of his finger and pivoted on his heels so he faced away from both Mercy and Philip for some semblance of privacy.

 

He answered immediately. "Yhello?"

 

"Oh, Stan," came a bright, dramatic voice from the earpiece. Wincing at the volume, Stan moved it a little away from his head."My knight in shining armour. Finally I can contact you after so many years without your voice."

 

"Duke," he said, flatly. The young man's voice twittered on.

 

"Once you finish terrorizing strangers, drop by to rescue your fair damsel. I have a rather ... interesting status report regarding the new recruits."

 

"Duke," he repeated, looking to the side and making eye contact with the agent who was no more than thirty seconds away. "You're right here."

 

"And also," Stan continued, punctuating his words with wide hand gestures, "I have more than enough fair damsels on this side of the Gateway."

 

"And when you have the chance to come over," Pascal's voice piped up through his cell phone, "I got an upgrade for your Mopipa to bring it up to level with all the other gear!"
 

"It's a Nokia, thank you very much," Stan corrected with a huff. It showed that he was more annoyed than he cared to admit. "I'll come over in a sec and we can get this party started."

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Keaton - Somewhere near the Gateway

 

Satisfied that Anders had answered Rayla on his accord, Keaton glanced back at Rayla as she began speaking once more. Unconsciously, Keaton cocked his head to the side when Rayla mentioned “Lycanroc”. She looked directly at Keaton when she had spoken and her voice had an inquisitive tone to it so she must have been talking to him.

 

“What’s a Lycanroc?” Keaton asked as he shifted his head back upright. He looked over at Anders expectantly, his expression silently asking “Do you know what she’s talking about?” Before Anders could dismiss Keaton with a shrug or answer in any capacity, Rayla spoke up once more. Upon hearing the word “pet”, Keaton’s traitorous tail began wagging.

 

“Y-You want to pet me?” Keaton asked, just barely managing to contain the excitement in his voice. He shifted his paws in the dirt as he purposely turned his head away so he wasn’t looking directly at Rayla. “I don’t have a problem with you petting me,” Keaton said, staring pointedly at something immensely interesting in the distance. “You can pet me if you want, but I’m only letting you do it because you want. It’s not like I want you to pet me or anything.”


 

Xander - Hallway --> Living Quarters

 

Placated with the knowledge that the robots were under Yusei’s care, Xander returned to the hall the incident had occurred. Unsurprisingly, the hallways were vacant by the time Xander returned to it. He stood in the middle of the hallway, carding his fingers through his hair as he repressed the urge to sigh. He felt better knowing that Fiddlesticks was under the watchful eye of a fellow agent and Xander knew that Natsuki could be trusted to properly deal with Duke’s injury. What concerned him was the other newcomers that he wasn’t sure had accompanied Natsuki and had, most likely, wandered off on their own. Knowing just how small the planet was, Xander knew that an agent would eventually run into one of the new arrivals, but if Nata—Xander’s fingers briefly ghosted across the armor hiding the scar on his abdomen as he thought of the man—was any indication of what a newcomer could do, then Xander had a right to be worried about anyone who was left unsupervised.

 

Xander dragged his hand down his face, clicking his tongue as he turned his eyes towards the end of the hall. He recalled that a group of strangers had appeared when Fiddlesticks was being dealt with. They had disappeared once she had been subdued. Considering that Natsuki would surely be too busy with Duke to go looking for the newcomers and Xander hadn’t seen them while guiding the robots to Yusei, he figured that they had wandered off on their own. How wonderful.

 

“What I would give to have Laslow and Peri here,” Xander mumbled to himself as he walked down the hall, determined to find the strangers or another agent who could help find the strangers. Considering that Xander already knew that there was a handful of agents on the first floor, he decided that the best course of action was to start on the second floor and move

through the building to see if anyone was exploring the least ventured parts of the base.

 

Ascending the stairs, Xander made his way to the living quarters. He began going from door to door, nudging them open long enough for him to check to see if there was anyone inside before swiftly shutting the door and moving onto the next. It didn’t take Xander long to stumble upon a door that was slightly ajar. Lo and behold, Xander spotted a somewhat familiar purple figure dozing off on the bed in the corner of the room. Xander stepped into the room, softly locking the door behind him in case the stranger decided to bolt and cause even more problems. He walked towards the man, his hand instinctually drifting to Siegfried’s pommel. Where had he seen this man before? Oh yes, that was right. He was one of the people who watched Fiddlesticks stab someone and then instead of doing something he elegantly shouted “What the bloody hell happened in here?” before wandering off without an answer. Well, him doing nothing was better than him trying to help and make things worse. Xander shook the man’s shoulder, being careful to quickly retract his hand lest he startle the newcomer. “Get up,” he said in a stern voice. “Don’t you know it’s rude to sleep in a stranger’s bed?

 

 

Arch - Gateway

 

Even with Theo’s hand clutching his own and knowing that Theo was completely content with simply standing by his side, Arch could not help but worry his lip at Theo’s previous accusation.

 

“I’m sorry,” Arch says for what feels like the hundredth time that time. He could see the group of strangers he wished to speak to not too far away, but instead of hurrying towards them he halted in place. He turned towards Theo, raising their interlocked hands upward. He closed his eyes and placed a gentle kiss on Theo’s hands, mumbling more apologizes against his skin. “I didn’t think someone was trying to break into the house when I went downstairs,” Arch said. “When I realized it was Viska coming in, I couldn’t help but think how close she was to Jane’s room and I tried to kick her out as soon as possible.” Arch knew that he should mention exactly what Viska almost did to him, but he blocked the memory off with another firm kiss on the back of Theo’s hand. “I’ll be sure to wake you up next time,” Arch said, lowering their connected hands. He gave Theo a warm smile and then turned around, allowing his expression to turn stern once more as he tugged Theo’s hand and moved towards the group of strangers.

 

It was safe to say that the nearby group of people certainly was… diverse. Arch, now closer to the group, straightened his posture, wings fluttering before settling against his back. Most of the strangers appeared to be human save for the shadowy humanoid, and the four-legged creatures. None of them appeared to be aggressive, but, then again, Arch didn’t like to take chances. With Sherrkyle floating by his side and his hand clasping Theo’s, Arch approached the group unsure of who to speak to. “Excuse me, but would any of you mind informing me as to what this place is? I’m afraid my partner and I seem to be lost.”

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[ Pet the doggo! - Ray ]

 

Ray smiled and pet the strange Lycanroc-creature - now confirmed to not be one since he (at least, judging from the "voice", she assumed it was a he) seemed confused at what a Lycanroc was.

 

She then lifted her hand away, pulled out the PokeDex, and scrolled to a Midnight Form Lycanroc, turning the 'Dex around to show him. "Some look a little different than this one, but this is a Lycanroc. You kind of looked like one to me, except bigger and a bit rougher. I'm sorry if any of that came out as offensive..."

 

[ Who disturbs my sleep?! - Illidan ]

 

An abrupt voice jolted Illidan awake, causing him to unfold his wings suddenly; here was to hoping it didn't hit anything this time. He then began to mutter angrily in the eldritch, demonic language he knew as Eredun. Needless to say, the half-demon was very groggy and equally as angry at being woken up so suddenly. His Spectral Sight, when it finally caught up to the rest of his body, revealed a regal-looking man. Urgh... Turalyon...? How is he here...?

 

He rubbed his eyes a little, readjusting the blindfold on his face afterwards. No... not Turalyon, thank Elune... But this man definitely sounds just as stern and bossy as the High Exarch...

 

Illidan didn't draw the Warglaives, not just yet; he wasn't yet sure if this man was hostile. He didn't seem hostile... but Illidan couldn't be too sure. The lack of Illidan drawing his weapon would at least denote that Illidan himself was not in the mood for fighting. Nonetheless, the irritation and anger in the half-awake half-demon's voice were perfectly clear. "Last I checked, the room was vacant. And I was told I could claim any of the vacant rooms as my own." He then mocked the man's tone, smirking a little. "And don't you know that it's rude to wake a sleeping demon? Even one of half-blood?"

 

At least he wasn't dead tired anymore. That was a silver lining...

Edited by hikarinomemori
Fixed a few butchered sentences

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“Excuse me, but would any of you mind informing me as to what this place is? I’m afraid my partner and I seem to be lost.”

 

Xker turned at the sound of the voice, to see a human with feathered wings and another human. The Volt hummed as aer scanned them. One had a spear, and the other hwd ... domeyhing in three segments. So, armed. They didn't seem violent right now, so Xker replied yo the question.

 

"This place? 'S called the Gateway to th' Starry Skies. Small planet that's the home base for an organisation called the Extra-Dimensional Restoration Squad. Planet's been modified ta attract those caught in anomalies. Explanin' the name of the organisation and th' anomalies... well, somethin' be messin' up the multiverse. Stealin' away important objects to a universe, plopping 'em in other universes. And there's - well, glitches or warps, whatever terminology yer more familar with, in the fabric o' the multiverse that might poof away worlds to Spode-knows-where or mix up two worlds or toss someone or something across universes, fer example. The Restoration Squad - people call us the X-Dreamers too - our job's ta set things right when stuff gets mixed up and figure out how ta stop these anomslies, but we're still a new organisation. You don't look like like multiverse-hoppers, so I's guessin' you got caught in some anomaly an' woke up here." Xker finished aer explanation, almost snapping to attention as the Volt surveyed the humans again.

Edited by DuskOfTheStars

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   XDRS - Busy Being Conflicted

 

   While Fiddlesticks stayed back and tried vainly to hold still for repairs, Typheus walked along the side of the castle, then proceeded on, leaving it behind him. He didn't know where he was going, he just needed some time to think about what he was going to do when the time came to go back to Zirhon.

   It's inevitable, isn't it, his threads stated. I have to know what I'm doing when we go there. Some zeitgeist is going to end up in the Empire's paws and we're going to have to pry it out of there... The thought of facing all of those mechs again without significant force or barter... it would be like if he and the others returned without the crystal, that one key element that the rebels needed to not be crushed. They needed the crystal to fight the IR - the enemy of the Empire - and the Empire itself. If the Empire had the crystal it would kill both the IR and the rebels, and they know this. Even if they didn't have it... entire mech armies coming over the horizon like an angered nest of hornets...

   Fiddlesticks smashed a hornet nest once with the scientists around, and that was bad enough. Having those, but oversized, made of metal, and full of the vigor that kept her together...

   I have to go. They're all going to die, Typheus told himself, shaking his head.

   There's a good chance you're over-exaggerating, his thoughts pointed out.

   Should we take that chance? Security is important.

   Freedom is more important.

   There's no proof of that!

   Records don't lie.

   Experience lies less.

 

   The argument in his head ceased when he heard something approaching, and he glanced back at it. His threads both stopped in their places and picked up into a whirlwind: it was Circuitraider. He didn't know if she was the type to console him, or if she was just delivering a message, but either way he didn't want her involved. She was bigger than him and humanoid, but still clearly mechanical. She didn't have a pilot to worry about, and her war was straightforward; he had a hard time imagining what might happen to him if he returned. Redemption? Scrapping? The execution of his pilot? Was he even still loyal to him? He also had to remember what he did to 29-84, the despicable mech he was working under; the Empire wouldn't respond positively to him skewering his superior three times and letting him rot in some underground ruin, then abandoning his post after helping a rebel uprising...

   His threads fell silent when Circuitraider stopped beside him, and he halted.

   They both stood in an awkward silence. Typheus stared at the bright star on the horizon, as big as the sun but more immobile than a rock. It was bizarre to not see a dimmer blue counterpart behind it.

   "...How long have you been a soldier?"

   The question caught Typheus completely off-guard. No one had ever called him a soldier before...!

   "Uh," he began eloquently, "well... I'm not." Somehow, being honest didn't make him feel any better. For a moment he debated playing the same game that he did with the human scientists; at first it just a precaution, then a serious safeguard when he found out that the government didn't trust the mechs one bit. Not telling them that he was a walking EMP was a good idea. Considering the wackiness of his current situation though, he doubted Circuitraider would care.

   "I'm a Superiority model," he elaborated, "My job is to take care of other mechs, like Fiddlesticks. Also to... take care of them," he added with emphasis. "I guess you could call me a soldier... never thought of it like that..." He began applying the term to his past actions, and chuckled at the memories. "My pilot kept saying that I'm older than a lot of the others, but I don't feel any different. I was just one of many other Superiority models, managing a barracks full of real soldiers. I wouldn't say we helped them, or were like them at all... we were just in the way, for the most part." At least until the craziness with Fiddlesticks began. She really tore things down from the ground up, didn't she? he thought, not in resentment, but more in awe. Even after all of the months and all of the hacks, he still had no idea what was going on in that machine's head, or how she managed to be so good at breaking things.

 

(IC approved!)

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~Lara~

 

Lara glared at Stan when he mentioned “fair damsel”. Cicero whines and pawed at her, but she simply rolled her eyes. “You can bite me, Stan,” she retorted,

 

Damsels? Please.” She picked the dog up. Ouch. She raised her eyebrow when Stan spoke into his mobile. It was rather small, she didn’t quite understand the appeal of having one. It was just another thing to get broken during an adventure, she didn’t give a damn how indestructible a Nokia was. Anything could break if it fell far enough.

 

Where are we going, pray tell?

Edited by Mikasa361

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~~~ Timeskip to a dozen minutes later... ~~

 

"Is that everyone?" Stan confirmed. He rubbed his chin out of habit, eyeing the dark man standing close to Duke as if he was the only person he knew. "Got some new faces, too..."

 

"Either way," he continued, "I think we've waited long enough. All we really know from this place, if you missed my breifing with Twilight, is that it's kind of drab and miserable, dusty, primitive and dangerous if you bump into the wrong people. They have some kind of magic based on metals, though, so be cautious of that and try not to bring anything metallic that's not aluminum. Pascal, do you still have the co-ordinates?"

 

During his explanation, Pascal had paced over to the stone platform at the center of the Gateway's meadow of yellow flowers. With a touch of her fingers, a holographic screen appeared before her eyes and lines of information flew across the interface too quickly for anyone but her to follow. She typed a few things into the terminal at Stan's prompting, then peeked around the projection to give the group a thumbs-up. "Still got 'em! And everyone here should have their communicators now, right?" Pascal followed up before any other discussion began. "Except for you, Jowan, since I didn't get the chance to make one for you yet. It's pretty intuitive, so give it a whirl when you get the chance! Just don't press and hold the button on the bottom unless you think it's absolutely necessary that you need to get out of there."

 

Pascal nodded to herself. She seemed satisfied with her own explanation even if she didn't explain anything at all. (It was always more interesting when people figured things out on their own.)

 

"As usual, stand on the rock and keep your hands and weapons inside of the circle at all times! Don't want to get anything jumbled up in transit..."

 

Stan gave a salute when he crowded himself onto the platform along with everyone else. He didn't know if Pascal was joking, or if the threat of a teleporter accident was all too real.

 

>> MISSION START <<

 

((Click the link to get taken to the mission topic! You may still close any pre-timeskip interactions at the base through a flashback in this topic.))

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Circuitraider | Defying the Gravitational Pull!
 
Circuitraider stood with her arms folded across her chest plate, looking outward at the stretch of grassland that covered the tiny planet. She could see the curve of the horizon, even in the low lighting of the twilight hour. On a planet this small and inhabitable, she should have been able to see the sun move across the sky at a faster rate than Cybertron and Earth. Yet, the star remained in place, casting the world in a soft light that hadn’t shifted since she arrived. It made her wonder if time was frozen here.
 
It’s a strange phenomenon that goes against the basics of gravitational pull…! 
 
She blinked once, realizing that Typheus had finished speaking several moments ago. “Who takes care of you?” she questioned, breaking the silence that she accidentally let come to pass. The Autobot wasn’t going to correct or reassure the notion that he was simply in the way of… whomever. She knew nothing about his war. I stopped caring anyways.
 
Didn’t she?
 
She wanted to say ‘yes’, to remind herself (or maybe to convince herself) that there was no place for organic behaviors in a machine. There certainly wasn’t any place for such notions in the middle of war. You either killed your target first or your target killed you.
 
Then why…? She hated red optics, despised what they stood for, how they shown in the night to taint everything…
 
“You’re not Decepticons,” Circuitraider spoke aloud. An accident. She hadn’t meant to say that, for the words to escape her private thoughts. The scout couldn’t take them back, however, so she recovered by adding, “Fiddlesticks’ made it easy to decipher that.” She shrugged her right shoulder almost lazily and then stilled again. “Don’t lose sight of yourselves…,” Circuitraider trailed off, the ghost of a warning.
 
She wondered how long the mechs had been fighting for, wondered how much damage had been caused so far. “Fiddlesticks worries about you,” she said after another period of silence. “Are you family?” Did the mechs even have familial relationships?
 

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Philip (gateway)


He peered down at his saviour, getting the feeling the hug had the man at great discomfort. But after a moment, the man had patted him on the back. His attention shifted to a woman, wondering if anyone needed healing, taking into account what Stan said. Hesitantly Philip was about to raise his hand shyly but his saviour already took the liberty of talking to the woman. Then the lemon yellow red panda started talking again. What an odd world!


He looked down at himself again. Philip didn't think any doctors could undo what tortures he went through. Even Evan had huge gashes, only difference was that they were trophies. It made the ex-Wraith sick to the stomach just even thinking about it. Looking up again, he became nervous at the crowd that was forming. Picking up his bell, he took one look at his sceptre before looking around to see if there was a lake he could toss it in.


He didn't see a lake in his vision but the tiniest glimpse of a castle made him curious. Now to find this Xander person. He started walking to the castle, leaving his sceptre behind.


~~~


Masala (Gateway)


Listening to Lara, Masala waited pateintly until she was finished. At this point, she had her front paws cross and staring up a the human. How many times had she been barked at by her elders for not waiting? “What's a shooting range?” she asked after Lara was finished talking. “Is there going to be a language barrier with the books? As boring as I find books, they can help a lot.”


Masala looked back, satisfied with seeing the dark tall human get help, she smiled. “That was the stupidest pick up line I've ever heard!” she called out to Stan as he tried to be smooth with another female human. “But if you happen to have an Oran or Sitrus Berry that would be much obliged!” Masala had that directed at the question the lady with the weird accent had asked.


~~~


Ruby (Garage)

 

Listening close to the Other, Ruby hopped closer, or close as she could get amongst other things. “Human? City?” the russet owl asked, her large eyes blinking in confusion. “These terms are new to me so I do not understand. We have records of books that you made as well as a lot of Others stuff. Does the term 'human’ refer to your species?” Watching the 'human’ go back to work, her feathers puffed up in excitement.


There was something about this, it may have not been directly noticeable yet… “Are you a blacksmith?” she asked before an argument ensured. Ruby quickly hopped away, unsure of what to do or how to handle it. So many things here could go wrong if she wasn't careful. 

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Lightpon ~ Library

Upon hearing her request, Fushi looked confused for a second, but still nodded, eyes shining. I guess it's weird for someone who could do that all their life, though? I mean I remember how strange it was for me to learn that most humans can't sense mana flow. Light watched, eyes wide and ears perked as he took a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out--Control...--the same ancient energy as before hummed from him and coalesced in his hands--and what looked to be the same book took form and solidified. It looks the exact same! Is it? Light reached a hand out and Fushi passed her the book--it was also warm with magic, like the first.

 

"Book," he said happily. Light looked up at him and couldn't help but grin at his bright expression before looking back down--The index... Space dragon... Page 484... Light gasped. The passage is the exact same! Would everything else be too? I might as well as read it too, it sounds interesting, whatever this business with eldritch dragons are-- Light looked around the library.... Shelves and more shelves....

"Excuse me, Spike?" Light looked at the little dragon. "Is there anywhere to sit?"

”Sure are!" the little dragon replied, then started to briskly walk somewhere. "Follow me!"

 "Okay!" Light picked the two books up and looked at Fushi with a smile. "Come along, won't you?" 

 

As she followed, Light suddenly remembered about Louise and Rao, who--upon turning around--were following her themselves, not to mention the stack of books Louise was still carrying. Light stopped and winced slightly--Oops...--and turned around to ascertain that Spike was still in sight before jogging back.

"Finally remembered me?" Louise shook her head in mock disappointment. 

"Eh... Hehehe...." Light grinned guiltily. "Um, I'll desummon you when I see where Spike's taking us." Light glanced back to see Spike was making a turn into an aisle. "Leave the books at the feet of the closest bookcase!" she spun around and ran to catch up, but there really wasn't much of a need, as the little dragon had stopped in a small section with a rug and some strange amorphous sacks. 

"What are those?" 

”Beanbags!" Spike hopped belly-first into one and the sack seemed to deflate before coming to a rest with him on it. He wriggled until he was facing her, then urged "Try it, they're really comfy!" At his suggestion, Light walked over to one and poked it with a foot--Huh? There was a sudden sense of something stopping, along with a small surge of relief, like she was holding her arm up too long and had just set it back down on a much more small and less physical scale--she turned to see that there was now a stack of books at the base of one of the bookshelves. Oh. Louise. Rao took her place at her shoulder as Light looked back down at the "beanbag," then at Spike, who was looking at her expectedly."Try it, you'll see!" Light carefully set the books beside it, then lowered herself onto the beanbag. There was a brief moment of panic as she felt herself sinking, but the sinking stopped and she could feel through the material that there was something inside the sack. So that's why it's called a beanbag. Makes sense. She wiggled around a bit, feeling it change in response to her movements. 

"Yeah, this is kinda nice," Light admitted to Spike, then leaned over to grab one of the two books Fushi had made, waiting for the other.

 

Cistina ~ Her room

Goddess Hahnela? Can you hear me? Please.... Why will you not answer me? Please tell me... I can sense your divine presence...

Cistina stared out her open window. The feeling she had gotten for these past few days hasn't went away--in fact, it felt stronger than ever. Would it truly be wise for me to attend this mission?... What nonsense is that? It is my duty to.... She gripped the windowstill tighter, looking outside towards where the Gateway was. But my home--what news of it? Goddess Hahnela! Please! 

Another few minutes passed as Cistina prayed, but to her disappointment, she still received no reply. With a heavy heart, she set one foot on the sill and jumped out, letting herself hang in the air before the magic in her winged boots lifted her away. This mission will be difficult for me if I must needs to fight. I've no spear to strike and parry nor armor to deflect any but the lightest of blows. My skill with magic--Magic!

At the epiphany, Cistina "froze" in midflight, before spending a surge of mana around her and really stopping in midair. To her surprise, however, the wind mana she pulsed out was enchanted from a distance, like every subsequent time she had cast magic after she had been pulled from Valeria, instead of being blessed "straight" from the goddess herself. That must mean the goddess was not what I had been sensing here for these days... Cistina felt more relieved at this thought, but the idea that she still had no inkling of what happened to her home was still distressing. I cannot bother to tarry my thoughts on that. There is a mission on hand right now.

 

When she arrived, nearly everyone was already gathered, including Duke--Was that a newcomer with him? It would do him well to have another friend--and Pascal looked to be starting the teleportation on the podium device. There was a box there of the "communication cubes" Pascal had oft spoken of adjacent to her. Cistina dropped over a decently-empty section of the stone base, slowing herself at around ten feet up and gently landing with a flutter of her dress, in time to hear the tail of Pascal's sentence.

"...unless you think it's absolutely necessary that you need to get out of there."

Pascal nodded to herself, then spoke again, this time giving her usual talk before activating the warp.

 

"As usual, stand on the rock and keep your hands and weapons inside of the circle at all times! Don't want to get anything jumbled up in transit..."

 

As Pascal spoke, Cistina made her way to Duke's side. "Pardon me, but have

Edited by Pyrowings

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[ reading circle : fushi -- ; ] 

 

The girl is enchanting -- her mannerisms, her smile, it was all similar to the people he has known in the past, the people he has valued and adored and flourished under their guidance. Fushi hands the book to the girl, feeling a swell of delight at the way she takes the item from him and marvels at the creation in delight. He -- he wants to know her name, wants to value her as a friend, but he cannot voice this. He is afraid to, almost -- even if he can, Fushi is all too aware of the fragility of human beings, of how it seemed he could wake up one day and find himself utterly alone. And yet he cannot rid himself of this craving for companionship, of the need to stay by the girl's side.

 

He smiles back, almost awkwardly -- he pushes the sides of his mouth too high, and his lips tremble, but this is how he has seen others do it -- March, the Boy, all the people he has valued -- and he knows the importance of a well-intended gesture. So he smiles back, albeit slightly worryingly, and follows the girl forwards.

 

She seems to be speaking to the dragon -- of what, he is not sure, but he catches a few words before he finds himself distracted by the strange room they are in and all the books the place has to offer. Lines and lines, pages and pages of these mysterious items, filled with text he cannot read, words he can only faintly recognise, and Fushi wonders -- is this what the strange man meant by knowledge? Surely not much can be learnt from a couple pages -- so fragile, so easily torn into -- and black ink that seems to scatter across his vision?

 

He does not understand why the girl would choose to stay here -- perhaps the outside world is too fragile, too unpredictable, but even then Fushi feels a strange unsettled feeling rise in his chest at the things he does not know, wondering why exactly one would choose to stay in a place surrounded by mysterious texts and fragile leather-bound stories.

 

He only snaps back to attention when the girl suddenly disappears from his peripheral vision, her calm voice momentarily gone from his ears, and Fushi turns his head to see -- oh?

 

She is sitting -- but in what, he is not sure. He has missed some part of the conversation, most likely, some of her actions, but that is not important -- he can make up for it later, for he has all the time in the world. Walking up, Fushi hesitantly looks at the red-haired girl and the little purple dragon beside her, who gestures to a ... flat item on the ground similar to the one the girl is sitting on. 

 

Fushi hesitates, having never seen this item before, but one glance at the red-haired girl calms his anxieties. Surely if she was sitting in it, and fine so far, there could be nothing wrong with the mysterious lump?

 

He lowers himself onto the item slowly, back first.

 

Huh?!

 

There is an abrupt sinking, backwards, into the unknown, much like the unpleasant feeling of having been -- a pebble once, he was a pebble once. In his panic, Fushi scrambles for purchase on the item, unwilling to resign himself to a dark fate --

 

That is, until Fushi realises he is not sinking. Or, at least, not dying. The chair underneath him is surprisingly soft, comfortable now that it has adapted to his shape, and Fushi glances back up, blinking confusedly. 

 

He looks at the girl, who seems to have settled into the item just fine, and back at the dragon. A word pops into his mind then, a single exclamation made by the dragon.

 

"Bean ... beanbag," he says, trying to form his mouth around the word, pointing to the item underneath him. 

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   XDRS - Yay Bonding

 

   At first Typheus wondered if he had said too much; Circuitraider hadn't responded. After a couple of minutes though she simply asked another question. He subconsciously akinned the curiosity to Katie, one of the scientists that defended the mechs: interested only in information and not assumptions. Hopefully the mechs he and Fiddlesticks left behind were keeping her safe...
   The question... The mechs sheltered their human friends. The mechs looked out for each other, and protected their pilots. Typheus's job was to keep the mechs with him, his charges, safe. Was there anyone who took care of him though? His pilot was a peer, his attachments indeterminate. His superiors had cold gazes and stony words; he was just a number to them. He may have escaped the barracks and shirked his responsibilities, but the Empire cared only to make an example of him now; his place in the military complex would just be filled by some other Superiority model. If those bureaucrats and Tribunal representatives gave a kyl's tail about him or his pilot they would have listened to them...!
   Typheus didn't realize he was scowling at his train of thought, hunched with his eye a searing yellow. He didn't answer the question; he didn't know how to answer it.

 

   "You're not Decepticons," Circuitraider abruptly said. His eye dimmed, and he looked up in surprise, barely catching her dropped composure. "Fiddlesticks made it easy to decipher that."
   Typheus blinked, a laugh escaping his speaker. "Upfront, isn't she?" he asked rhetorically. "I kind of miss that... I'm not sure what's true anymore." He shuffled in place, thinking about the agendas of three different entities. The Empire, wanting to keep things in order. The rebels, hating all of the order. Then that crazy story Fiddlesticks told him, where she was kidnapped? and their enemies tried to get her to convert by selling her on hopeless odds? It sounded completely fabricated, but he had to ask himself what they were even fighting the IR for. Despite his pilot having Beta clearance, they had no clue what was going on, just that they were fighting.
   "Don't lose sight of yourselves..." Circuitraider said ominously. Typheus took the words gravely, not responding, and not asking the scout if she had seen it happen before.

 

   He let the silence descend, back to observing the horizon. It was surprisingly quiet out here, almost eerie; there were no birds or insects making noise. Very peaceful.
   "Fiddlesticks worries about you," Circuit spoke again. He was pleasantly surprised; she opened up so easily to this tall machine? That's new. "Are you family?"
   At first Typheus took it the wrong way and he hastily backed up in embarrassment, temperature spiking, sputtering out something incoherent - and then he remembered that humans imply it platonically.
   "N-No," he said, now embarrassed that he dropped his composure so quickly. How nice it was when he had his pilot, able to hide surprise because he couldn't move...! "We're not family," he said again. He tried to shove down the simulated emotions, but it was like fighting water with a small pillow. He shook his head to try and clear it. "She just gets anxious when she's alone, is all," he excused despite his own theories, "Neurotic, even... I should go check on her." My problems aren't important right now, he added to himself, realizing that he had left Yusei and the fluffy bird back in the garage with her. Hopefully she hasn't started chewing on one of the engineer's tools out of impatience.

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Anders [ Near the Gateway ]
 
Anders had no idea what a “lycanrock” was, nor did he know why someone would ask to stick their hands by such large teeth. It wasn’t as if Keaton had tried to hurt him or anything, but he was clearly able to deal some damage if he so wished. Rayla hadn’t even spent more than five minutes with Keaton, so Anders was beginning to question her self-preservation instincts. 

 

He stiffened as Rayla reached down to her hips, but she didn’t withdraw a weapon. Instead, she pulled out some sort of red, box-like object. She showed the box to Keaton - apparently there was a drawing of a lycanroc on it? A swell of irritation rose up within him, and he wasn’t entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because he was sore from fighting, or because he had barely slept in the past few days (hardly unusual), or because he was jealous and hadn’t been able to pet a cat in months. 

 

Unlikely. Keaton seemed more dog-like than anything, and Barkspawn made sure that he did more than enough dog petting. 

 

The lack of action or meaningful discussion began to make Justice restless, and Anders couldn’t disagree. “Sorry to interrupt,” he said, returning his staff to his back and crossing his arms. “But I feel as though some things should be higher on our priority list than petting each other. Like finding out where we are.” Truth be told, Anders didn’t have much of a plan either. He still didn’t want to get caught up in another world-saving organization, but it didn’t look as though there was anywhere else to go. Picking a direction and walking seemed to be the only option, but that plan didn’t have a very high probability of success. Maybe he'd survive blowing up the Chantry, then die of starvation out in the wilderness. 

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Creecurr, Arachnia's Brood

 

He felt... Tired. Like crawling out of a fresh moult. Still stiff, needing to stretch his limbs somewhat before feeling quite right.

 

The young ettercap would have not thought twice about this feeling and slept a bit longer, were it not for the breeze.

 

A faint wind brushed against its shell, alerting the creature to the absence of its home and fellows. The forests of home were dense enough that wind didn't usually blow through.

 

Creecurr gripped the ground with one of its forelimbs. Grass, and beneath that, earth. It then tried to see what it could with its eyes. Good amount of light, probably a few hours before between-time, so the day-walkers would be around.

 

At the moment, he didn't see any, but he did see a grand castle in the distance.

 

His instincts dictated that going over there would be a terrible idea; the day-walkers never did tolerate his kind or their charges well. That said, an abandoned castle would make a good refuge for the time being, and even if it wasn't abandoned, finding out who owned it would be useful in getting home.

 

Still on the ground, Creecurr crawled along for a moment as it tried to shake off the feeling of slumber, and slowly righted himself, heading in the direction of the building.

 

 

Several Sneaky Spiders


Unbeknownst to the young ettercap outside, several giant spiders from his homeworld were already inside the castle, for refuge and potentially hunting grounds. It was not in their nature to be out in the open, as it was unsafe even for their kind. That said, not everyone would take kindly to them...

 

((There are now three Faerun-variety Giant Spiders roaming inside of XDRS headquarters. They may end up interacting with your characters, or alternatively you could arrange a collaborative post with me including one.))

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Yusei | Not a Black Smith

 

Circuitraider left as soon as Fiddlesticks had resettled back where the duelist needed her to be, staring quietly out the garage. Resuming his seat, he glanced at the owl once more. "What's your name? I'm Yusei," he asked her. Fiddlesticks shifted a bit when the owl first mentioned blacksmithing, the light of her eye dulling as if in thought.

 

"My name is Ruby," the owl introduced herself, head turning to direct her gaze towards him. 

 

"He's not black," Fiddlesticks said innocently. "He would be a whitesmith. Or a regular smith..."

 

A slight smirk touched the man's face as he covered his eyes again with the dark glasses, listening to Fiddlesticks' commentary. "Yes, 'human' refers to my species. A city is where a lot of humans live, work, and attend school. No," he continued on. "I'm not a blacksmith. I am a mechanic, however. You could consider it a similar skillset. Instead of making weapons and armor, I repair machines like Fiddlesticks, here," he pointed to the bronze mech. "And my duel runner." At the last, he pointed over towards the red motorbike that rested within the far corner of the garage. "It's a vehicle that allows me to travel much faster and battle in monster duels." 

 

He hazard that the owl (and perhaps Fiddlesticks) wouldn't understand most of what he spoke of, even though the former's gaze followed his hand when he pointed. Igniting the blowtorch anew, he parted his lips. "I can show you - both of you - what I'm talking about if you'd like, after I've finished Fiddlesticks' repairs."

 

"Interesting," Ruby said, looking at the vehicle. "I've never seen anything like this before. You humans left a lot of stuff in my world, tons of books and trinkets, most of the trinkets come from Trader Mags of course, but Madam Plonk has other stuff - including a cup of Queen E." 

 

She looked over back to the human as he spoke. "I think showing me would be best, I prefer learning on the job and no doubt I could teach the other owls back home about this stuff. However, it wouldn't do us much good without the parts, would it?"

 

"You're welcome to take a closer look as I work," Yusei offered, glancing away from his welding for only a heartbeat.

 

[IC discussed and approved of.]

Edited by ValidEmotions

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~Mika, Coryn and Val FUSION! Evonna, Hush and Sora.~

 

Evonna blinked and cocked her head to the side, waiting for her turn to speak. She was completely unsure of what to think of her situation, but she did slowly adjust to the world as she stood here. What was this creature talking about? Why was it speaking like this? And why did it only address Sora? She really didn’t understand what this was about, but she continued to remain silent, refusing to interrupt the conversation. Instead, she took her Branch out of her hair and stared at it, contemplating everything that happened at home.

 

Did anyone notice she was gone? Did Lavender miss her at all?  


 

“Home…”

 

Truth be told, it had been so long since Hush had thought of home that it now had a hard time remembering. It was much easier to think of the castle as home now.

 

And in that respect, Sora didn’t remember anything at all. How frustrating.

 

The witch did her work too well. Or is something else at play here?

 

Hush twirled one of the tails of his scarf around one hand while it tried to recall what it could about the place it called home before becoming a pale one.

 

Sora then suggested that they find somewhere to talk, and asked if it had picked a place yet.

 

He also called Hush by name, which was a bit jarring to hear from someone he was supposed to consider an enemy.

 

“I remember… A house. And light.”

 

I had… A mother once. But I can’t remember her face…

 

“What kind of house?” Sora asked. His body was loose, hands behind his head yet again. He glanced over at her, his eyes flicking downward to her hand - and her Branch - before returning back to her face. “What’s that?” he asked her, his voice faintly softer than a moment ago.



 

Snapping out of her trance, Evonna noticed Sora was asking her about her Branch. His voice was soft and gentle, as if at any moment she was going to burst out sobbing. Evonna showed him her Branch- it sparkled in the light, fading between sapphire and amethyst. She knew ever since she received it that it was going to be a part of her forever. “Uh… Yeah, this is called my Branch. It… uh… Gives me the power to control water. It’s magical…. Does even more when I work with someone else who has a Branch. Others I know can wield fire, earth, and wind powers. It’s… Uh… Kinda cool.” Evonna held it close to her, looking at Sora. “It’s special to me, reminds me of home. I do miss home… But if I’m here, I’m meant to be here. This is my purpose.

 

Hush listened to the girl explaining her charm- a small magical object, that became stronger with others. She said it reminded her of home…

 

What reminds me of home?

 

The Nobody opened a Corridor of Darkness in the floor and dove into it headfirst, ending up in a blank void, resembling a vast white room it called the quiet-place.

 

Scattered on the ground were some boxes of wax crayons and leaves of white printer paper, along with many completed drawings in a rather crude style. Hush searched for a moment before grabbing one, and then returned to Sora and Evonna.

 

Hush showed the pair the drawing; a nighttime scene of a lighthouse at the edge of a rocky cove, with gray skies and a choppy sea before it.

 

“Home.”

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~Tara~

 

Tara somehow managed to fall flat on her butt into a field of grass. A sharp pain on the left side was very, very prominent, and Tara yelped the second she made impact. She thought it was her phone, but had it been that it probably would have shattered and left even more damage. Tara rolled to her stomach and took the significantly larger object and held it up. Wait what...? But... My time in the Digital World is done, isn’t it? The deep purple and blue device gave her a sense of nostalgia. She wondered how everyone was doing- Kouji being her neighbor was nice, but the others lived in other places. Hanging out was a pain. Tara felt that twinge of sadness when she had to leave her spirits behind. When she looked at the tiny screen in the middle, she saw two faces consecutively flash on the screen- one was a woman with a foxlike golden mask, and the other was a foxlike creature. The familiar feeling of being needed filled her heart with warmth. There were her spirits, the sign that she was going to help with something big.

 

She then looked around. There were rocks around the field like some type of Stonehenge. The grass was soft under Tara's hands. It was almost as if she were home. But if she weren't at home... Where was she? It wasn’t the Digital World for sure- she had explored that place before, and nothing about this place looked familiar. She saw a castle in the distance. Well, I should check it out. If I need, I now have Sakuyamon to help me out. Got it feels good to have you back. Tara decided to move towards the castle, knowing that exploring was her best bet of figuring out where she was.

Edited by Mikasa361

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Keaton - Somewhere near the Gateway


Keaton, who was absolutely not gleefully waiting for Rayla to pet him thank you very much, made a soft content sound in his throat as Rayla rubbed her fingers through his fur. His tail wagging up a storm (not that he would admit it), Keaton scooted closer towards Rayla as she pulled out a strange red box. He flinched back at the sudden light that illuminated from the screen, his tail ceasing its wagging; however once he realized that the light wasn’t harmful he looked back at the screen, his tail thumping on the ground more loudly than before.

 

The picture in the box was… weird to say the least. It looked canine but it was far too scrawny to be a wolfskin and the coloring of its pelt was all wrong.

I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Keaton said. “I’ve never seen a wolfskin look anything like that so we must be different species.” Before Keaton could ask where he could find a lycanrock, Anders spoke up. Keaton turned his gaze over towards Anders, cocking his head to the side. Anders didn’t look pleased with his arms folded across his chest and a scowl on his face. A twinge of guilt twitched in Keaton’s chest as Anders mentioning petting. Keaton was suddenly acutely aware that he was the only one getting petted. The last thing he wanted to do was hog all of the attention and, if Anders’s face was any indication, Keaton didn’t think Anders was pleased with Rayla continuing to pet Keaton.

 

A light bulb suddenly went off in Keaton’s head. Gently removing his head from Rayla’s hand (and absolutely not missing the physical contact the moment it was removed) Keaton was engulfed in white light. His body shrunk drastically in size until the light dissipated, leaving Keaton in his normal humanoid form.

 

“Did you want someone to pet you?” Keaton asked as he walked up to Anders, tail swishing behind him. “I mean, I know you just said that petting wasn’t a high priority but it’s a bit unfair that one of us is getting petted. N-Not that I want to pet you or anything, I’m just offering because you look upset!” Looking back at Rayla, Keaton added “Oh yeah, same goes for you. I can give you a good head scratch! That is if you want it of course.” Keaton shrugged, the tips of his ears twitching. “It’s not like I care,” Keaton said, caring very much.

 

Xander - Living Quarters

 

A lifetime of learning to keep his face impassive no matter what emotions were swirling in his chest was the only thing keeping Xander from scowling at the strange purple man in the bed. Even if Xander hadn’t already memorized the names of faces of all active agents, he would have known the purple man was new from the sheer lack of respect in his voice. His tone was dismissive at first, aggravating so, and the way he childishly mocked Xander’s voice reminded Xander of whenever Elise attempted to imitate Leo’s voice when she was upset. Leo was devilishly clever and poor Elise always ran out of comebacks when arguing with her so, more often than not, she would resort to parroting back what Leo had just said in an unflattering version of Leo’s voice. Hearing such an infantile gesture come out of the girl on the cusp of adulthood was amusing. Hearing it from a full grown shirtless man was, to put it nicely, anything but amusing.

 

“I’m afraid the agent who directed you to these bedrooms was ill-informed in the proper procedures for new arrivals,” Xander said as smoothly as he could manage. He wanted to mention that sleeping in strange places you had just been teleported to was horrendously imbecilic, but Xander knew better than to antagonize the new recruits. “My apologies for waking you, but in my defense, you are a potentially dangerous stranger. You’ll have to forgive my wariness. It’s procedure to have any new arrivals to be supervised before they are either sent back home or allowed to stay as new recruits.” Speaking of which, Xander had no idea how many arrivals there actually were. He frowned to himself, the tips of his fingers drumming thoughtfully on Siegfried’s sheath. He’d need to talk to Twilight later about working out a better procedure for dealing with whoever the gate decided to spew out next. For now, though, he had to take his problems one at a time.

 

“Has anyone explained to you how and why you’re here?” Xander asked the stranger. He hoped whoever had told the man to take up one of the rooms at least did their job before sending him off.

 

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[ Somewhere outside - Ray ]

 

Wolfskin? Was that what this creature called himself? "...I'll have to keep the offer in my mind, then, but Anders is right. Good thing, though, there's a castle nearby." Ray put her PokeDex back into her Bag and quickly glanced at the tops of the trees, trying to find the peaks of the castle's towers...

 

Before she could speak when she did spot them, the creature shapeshifted into a more human-looking form.

...but she could comment on that later. She shook her shock away. "I found the peaks of the castle's towers poking over the trees. It's this way - we can talk a little more once we're indoors."

 

[ Rules, rules, rules... blech! - Illidan ]

 

"Potentially dangerous? Me? ...That's actually not the first time I've been called that, and I sincerely doubt it'll be the last time I'm called that. Trust me, your wariness is just par for the course at this point in my millennia-old life." More memories came up, but Illidan forced himself to swallow them back down. He could let himself be distracted once he was left alone...

 

To be honest, someone here being wary of him was a breath of fresh air - finally, a reaction he was used to - although all this talk of procedures and rules was incredibly boring.

 

This man had asked if anyone had told him how and why he was there. Was he really that daft? How he'd gotten there was the same as everyone else in this place! "...yes, yes, I've heard the story twice now: I was just doing my thing, an anomaly happened, I was yanked here by the Gateway, and now I can either stay and help or I can return to my own universe and be done with it."

 

He then sighed, standing up and searching the room for the Warglaives he'd haphazardly thrown on the floor before falling asleep (being physically blind sucked sometimes). "...of course, personal experience reminded me that my universe in particular tends to react poorly to anomalies, so I'm going to help, no 'ifs', 'ands', or 'buts' about it."

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Sorey -- Gateway

 

Sorey screamed.

 

It wasn't a scream of terror, or of anger -- he screamed because he was startled when he lost his footing, and continued screaming because he was falling for a little longer than he anticipated, tumbling down a ledge while exploring the north bank of Falkewin Hillside.

 

Adventuring did have its dangers. It wasn't the first time he had miscalculated like this, and he could imagine Mikleo taunting him about getting a little too excited about monoliths hosting writings in an ancient tongue, or abandoned chests scattered around dungeons. That was what best friends did, right? Witnessing your silly screwups and never letting you ever forget them. That was the disadvantage of having your best friend live part-time in your head -- it was hard for Sorey to hide anything from him, byproducts of clumsiness included.

 

"AAAAAAAHHH--- oof!" The young man landed face-down onto a patch of yellow and white flowers.

 

"Wow." Edna commented on the humor of the situation, her voice deadpan as ever. "Nice landing, star athlete. Perfect form. I give it a 10 out of 10 in the faceplant category."

 

"Thank you for your concern," he muttered into the ground, equally deadpan. The ledge he tripped over wasn't even that high, and other than maybe some bruising, Sorey was sure he was alright. Breathing in the flowers' perfume and the scent of fresh grass around him to get himself ready for the effort, Sorey pushed himself off the ground into a sitting position. He slowly looked around -- neither the ledge nor Alisha were anywhere to be seen, the time of day had changed, and instead he found himself in a circle of towering monoliths arranged around some kind of stone dais.

 

Immediately his curiosity was piqued and, forgetting the ache in his ribs, he bounced to his feet to take a look at the smooth rock formations, avidly running his hand over one to see if there were any inscriptions on the surface of the stone. "Looks like some ruins found us. Usually it's the other way around!"
 

"Sorey, I'm more worried about how it's like we're suddenly in a seraph's domain." In his mind's eye, he could picture Mikleo put a hand to his chin as he spoke, deep in thought. "Something doesn't add up, though. The sky's changed, but I don't sense any blessings."

 

The Shepherd tempered his excitement. "Right. We should take a look around, since I can't really tell how we got here." He shook his head from side to side. "Think we got hit by a teleportation spell by accident? Lailah, does any of this look familiar?"

 

"No, not really..." the fire spirit answered. Unlike the others, she had traveled to many places across the world and yet, this meadow looked wholly foreign.

 

There was another girl in the circle, he noted, as well as a stuffed toy sitting in a corner and -- his hand reached instinctively for the hilt of his sword -- a spider-like creature walking on two little stick-like legs.

 

"Wait!" Lailah's voice rang in his head, causing him to freeze what he was doing. "I sense no malevolence from that creature, nor from anywhere else nearby. We should be safe for the moment."

 

"That's one heck of a weird spider hellion, though,"  Mikleo commented. "Do you think it would have been human at some point?"

 

"I don't know," Sorey answered out loud. "If it was, we could probably purify it. We should try to find out more about this place first, and see if we can get back to Marlind before Alisha assumes I died."

 

"Excuse me," he said to no one in particular, though he eyed the little doll-like creature. Cautiously approaching the young dark-haired girl with the glasses, he sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck and smiled nervously, a little embarrassed to have been caught so off guard. "Excuse me," he repeated to her, "any idea where we are?"

 

"Careful tiger, don't scare her away by doing anything weird, like the thing you do when you yell at yourself," Edna added, trying to keep back a snort of amusement.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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