Power Play

Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

2:52 AM - Dec 24, 2009 #1

Deep within the nearby village, fearing of the prodigious mechs know to all as Zoids, the shadows were stirring with great energy. Not energy everyone can contain, or even approach without fear seeping into their very fibers. It was a corrupt aura...one described to be of a deep indigo, or an amethyst color at best. No one really knew what it radiated from; most were oblivious and/or ignorant in the un-technologically advanced town, save for some who accepted change, zoids included. Only people knew of the source were in on it. An underground -literally and figuratively- unit of scientists gone rogue. Devoid of moral barricades, obsession took the core of eleven into experimentation on anyone they can, their favorites being those of Zoidian blood and ancestry. Some they dissect to try and understand why they are the way they are, and others are taken to be combined with extreme mechanics. Only those they deem elite enough will be augmented enough to become part of what they call the 'future of Zi'. They are Project Advent. To date however, none of those tested has survived, and with funds running low, all other endeavors have been cut in order to siphon money to it, and their final test subject: Cero.

Sounds of what can be classified as surgical created a cacophony from a room at the tip of a shoddy hallway. Visual memorials of the pasts of the men and women were curling up on themselves; lights flickered with the last scraps of luminosity left in their veins. Only thing that would inspire hope was the light and sounds. Inside the large room, sterility was key. Everything existing as a white or polished silver, nine people of heights and statures differing gathered around one child under sedation. Face down in a state of unconsciousness, the child showed no signs of being special, or even different. Except for the marking on his arm. A rectangle is what it was, commencing at the knuckle and resolving at the bend of the arm, the elbow. The mark of an Ancient one, all right. They realized it too, prepping for what these renegades wanted to be the induction of a new and better generation.

One woman stepping up with a supremely sharp instrument poked it into the epidermis and through the rest of the layers of skin, barely grazing the spinal cord before penning a fine line down, until enough of a cut was made. She pried it open, careful not to cause any damage; it was their last chance at it. Success meant not making a mistake- perfect execution. The lead surgeon presented their hopes and dreams in a thin cylinder -the Advent booster. He hovered it over the vertebrae, allowing the natural pull of the booster attach. It was do or die. If it were to fail, the booster would self-destruct, taking the dream and the kid with it. Slowly, the gravitational haul closed the gap...the tendrils grabbed hold to the column...and no explosion. Silent applauds and celebration ensued for about a second, then began the stitching of the preteen back up.

Cero Umaretsuki, the first and ultimately only of his kind, had become an Advent.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There sat Kurogari, head aimed at the moons, and somewhat lost. He wasn’t one to decide off of instinct too terribly often, but when it came to Rikku -his pilot, and precious one-, all bets are off the table until he gained what he wanted. At the moment, he wanted information and quickly. Taison and the Shield Liger, Sorairo were still bounding around to take out the fire, Mischief excavating to do the same for the inside. He was still gone, unsure what to think, when Shippou raced back, breaking the sound barrier twice over until he stopped himself.

[color=900000]"Shippou..."[/color]

"Kurogari, I-" The Eagle began, but only confirmed the Fox's fears. Rikku was in danger.

[color=900000]"Fuse with me."[/color]

Shippou only squawked a resounding 'why', but Kurogari only barked back in spite. Not in spite of Shippou not protecting her, but at himself for not being there to do anything.

[color=900000]"I...SAID...FUSE!"[/color]

The Eagle dropped into the broken circlet of blaze and combined with the enraged canine zoid, subsequently shooting into the clouds under said canine's willpower.

[color=900000]"Everybody MOVE! I’m ending this now...!"[/color] Rising just a notch higher, Hikaru Kurogari was ready for a nosedive to end all nosedives.
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Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

3:28 AM - Dec 24, 2009 #2

Aeolus hummed. He was suddenly uneasy, attempting to stave off the blackness that pervaded his soul from seemingly out of nowhere. The young man merely attributed the feeling with leaving Mischief to perform the firefighting chore on his own, a sort of guilt melded with a sort of grimness at the sight of the fire that proceeded to consume the beautiful Ackyord Plains. Then he realized that the words he hummed weren't helping the mood at all.

"Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep..."

Solemnly, he regarded the skies overhead. For some reason, he found himself hoping that Rosen wouldn't call. Something was in store for them. "...And carry you down into sleep..."

Mischief ravaged the earth by the clawful. He raked up wave upon wave of soil with vigor, pumping his claws into the grass, shoving mounds back and allowing them to suffocate the flames. Much like Kurogari, he possessed an inexplicable bond with his pilot. The eerie graveness that had stricken Aeolus's mind settled into the emerald-trimmed Fox's circuits. But as with many things, he was more intrigued than disturbed by it.

Nighttime... So much time had already passed.

"Guileless son, I'll shape your belief..."

There was something like a boom that drew his attention. He wasn't certain if it had been Kurogari's voice or the newly formed Crow Fox rapidly ascending into the empyrean. Nevertheless, Aeolus turned his head and abruptly sat up out of surprise, startled by the appearance of the Fuzor and in awe of it. The melody of the song persisted in his mind while he watched the Crow Fox rise.

Mischief had paused in his task at the same time Aeolus took notice of Kurogari's chance. He raised his head, also rather surprised by the development, his mind partially dedicated to wondering why Kurogari was up there and also partly wondering what it was like to be a flying Fox. However, Mischief wasn't normally a dreamer and figured there was a more important matter to worry about.

"Everybody MOVE! I’m ending this now...!"

The emerald-trimmed Shadow Fox darted out of the flames back to his companion. The young man merely stared up in perplexity, standing up when the Zoid lowered his head and flipped open the cockpit panel. Almost obediently Aeolus climbed in with all due haste. Even as he did so, he continued to hum the almost unsettling lullaby, perceiving the amber-flushed surroundings with mere half-awareness. Mischief then proceeded to dart away even while the panel was still clicking shut.

"And you will expose his puppeteer behavior, for you are the proof..."


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

6:07 AM - Dec 24, 2009 #3

The teen felt his body beginning to approach the limits of energy, so Taison slowed slightly. The transition period was enough for him to hear and see everything: the fox’s outcry and anger…it’s seeming departure…it’s command. Not too often that the zoid becomes the pilot, but Kurogari was desperate. It was as if without Rikku, he was an unstable, unleashed beast. Apparently, the whole situation was getting way too serious to strategize out, so to cut his losses, Taison removed his hand from the trigger, and began to follow suit with Aeolus's Shadow Fox.

"C'mon, Sorairo."

Lagging slightly, the Liger looked into the heavens, staring at the canine. "Kuro..."

The Fox began to level out, wings extended fully in the orbs' light and claws glowing brightly. What would Strike Laser Claws do in air is anyone’s guess, but he was, if you couldn’t tell, a zoid possessed. Shippou just kept to himself, probably afraid of what his friend and partner in crime could be formulating in that mind of his. Oh, that mind that has saved the three of them from trouble before. With the wound of the cloud below healing and doing so quickly, he dived. Claws brightly illuminated, a pair of golden wisps followed in its wake, the wings tucked in for that much more speed. About 45% of the way down, something crazy happened. The Crow Fox released every offensive armament in its arsenal. The cannon discharged multiple shots into the terra lambent with whatever was left of the inferno. Both drop bombs released and fell to the ground. By now, only a fifth of the distance remained, and the Air-to-Air Missiles dropped also, Shippou dismounting immediately after. Kurogari plummeted into the launching point just as the rockets made a contact, naturally exploding. The sheer air pressure blew away all but a few smoldering embers, as a smoking indenture housed the zoid. Back in a safe enough area, Taison could tell he was burnt out. Unable to hold back any more, the skyblue Shield Liger beamed off, arriving beside and supporting her ally as he began to collapse to the right side.

"Kuro, calm down. Please."

Releasing a final, pained howl, he leaned against her, and they climbed out of the crater. Above, the Eagle watched on, fearful of his friend’s chaotic display and worried about his safety. He'd never tell you any of that, but honestly, the emotions stood out, even without the facial muscles. From the corner of his eye, however, this red mass began to waddle out, the ion boosters alive and ablaze. Arriving right in front of the two, he scoffed, [color=e62636]"What the hell?"[/color]

"Kurogari. I recognize him". The avian zoid landed. “I saw him in the general area where Rikku was taken, trying to run away."

Huffing in pain, the Shadow Fox tried standing on its own four paws, but quickly resorted back to the crutch set-up. [color=900000]"What do you know?"[/color]

The Crusher scoffed, and began to turn away. [color=e62636]"Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about."[/color]

That was the straw that really broke the camel‘s back. [color=900000]"You're not goin' ANYWHERE, until I get info!"[/color] He got up and walked right into the dino-zoid’s face. [color=900000]"Now tell me what-!"[/color]

[color=e62636]"I'll say it again. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!"[/color] The Ankylo Crusher turned his head, and burped a small flame, obviously from a Flamethrower within him.

[color=900000]"Come here, y-!"[/color]

Sorairo walked right inbetween the to-be combatants. "Enough. Let's here him out, Kuro."

Taison just remained silent. Anything that he could have said was likely to just make it that much more fueled. Wht he did do was hope that Aeolus would come to provide some extra backup, in case anything got too tense for him and his zoid to handle.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

7:09 AM - Dec 24, 2009 #4

Mischief bowed his head against the hot blasts that the fellow Fox's assault exuded, possibly mimicking the gesture of Aeolus hiding his face against the console with the instinct to protect himself. Untame, burning blasts filled the monitors, the cockpit bathed in red and amber and the shadows of flying shrapnel, explosions and the visage of soaring dirt overwhelming the image of fire that Mischief's cockpit panel reflected.

Aeolus tried to keep his cool. He tried to block out the noise that attacked his ears, tried to drown out the howling flames as they were defeated, tried to drown out the shrieks of whistling ammunition. He softly sang the disturbed lullaby of one consumed with wrath and unforgiving vengeance. The melody mingled in a peculiar tone with the discordant blasts beyond the cockpit.

Senseless violence... Aeolus was a Zoid warrior. He was used to this kind of thing. And yet this display frightened him, only pressing the impact of the scene with the silence that suddenly followed. Aeolus lifted his head while he acknowledged a shiver throughout his being. He'd never experienced the designs of a Zoid so angry. He ceased humming, only to realize the song was completely lodged in his head. To watch the scene with such a tune twisted his heart. Why was Kurogari so anguished?

The arrival of an Ankylo Crusher prompted Mischief to turn his head with idle curiosity. Aeolus too registered the Zoid's appearance with a hint of intrigue, not completely familiar with this model and ponderous as to why it was here. From the sound of things, the Crusher had been drawn by Kurogari's onslaught. Speaking of the onslaught, Aeolus glanced around to see the Ackyord Plains now fumed and simmered in something like defeated acceptance. That disposed of their wildfire problem, at least. Hopefully he could get a chance to cool down a little bit more.

Kurogari was plainly agitated. From what, neither of the two were able to comprehend right away. Not until the Buster Eagle informed them of Rikku's abduction. Rikku had flown off in the Buster Eagle to bring back help, correct? The exact opposite must have happened. Aeolus pressed his lips together a bit in reluctant acknowledgment, obviously confused and indecisive regarding what they were supposed to do. It was in his nature to help, although there was little he could do if he didn't know how to help.

Mischief appeared to have ideas of his own. When the Crusher turned to waddle off, the Shadow Fox...vanished into the background. Particle by particle, his entire being sighed away into nothingness, betrayed only by the occasional distortion of the optical stealth system.

There was a thudding of gliding, loping footfalls. They rapidly increased in volume while imprints were left of the vulpine Zoid's claws.

A chaotic, screeching noise of metal on metal — or so he was expecting, anyway. Mischief moved to topple the Crusher over and leave the waddling beast immobilized on its side. He shoved a glaring Strike Laser Claw against the Crusher's throat as the optical stealth fell away, revealing the ebony warrior who pinned him to the scorched earth, jaws open in a defiant yawp and crimson eyes ablaze in the night. Aeolus, who had been jerked by the unexpected movement, could only observe in a solemn yet curious silence.

That was mighty rude of you, Mischief announced into the Crusher's face, pressing down into his neck. His digitalized voice descended into something like a purr. We just saved your precious plains from going up in hellfire. I don't think we appreciate waiting for the pay you owe us, so you could at least give him the answers he wants. Mischief pressed even harder, threatening to sever the Crusher's neck. Also, I don't think a I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING does not suffice.


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

5:15 PM - Dec 24, 2009 #5

Currently on his side and with nowhere to go, the already-established arrogance of the Crusher still shined on, even in the face of danger. [color=e62636]"Look if I said I-"[/color]

The weaponry of the mischievous one placed more pressure, obviously ready to get whatever he could out of the zoid of the plains. As Sorairo and Taison looked on, it was a given that the Fox had something...else affecting him. Not because they just spent a couple of hours trying to dispel a blaze, or even because the Ankylo Crusher was so cocky and evasive. No, all of that paled in comparison. If the duo had to guess, some kind of resonation was between Mischief and Kurogari. Be it one of justice, compassion, or one of mindset, it didn’t matter. The Fox sans a weapon stood up for the worried one. Shippou took off and hovered in air, the nervous energy spiraling within him as well. Circling in the airspace, he was just as worried about Rikku as Kurogari was, but he had to keep composure. If not, a rampage could have ensued, and that's the last thing anyone would want at this point.

"Don’t hurt him. He knows something, so we need him." Sorairo stepped forward a little, Taison still remaining silent.

The canine of darkness hobbled around the bright Liger and up to the dominated zoid. Fortunately, since the Vulcan doesn’t exist as a part of the Crow Fox gattai, he still had it and was about to make it the catalyst to throw around some weight. Standing on the side opposite of Aeolus and his zoid, the gun was angled at the midsection, about where Kurogari guessed the core would be. Legs weak, on the verge of buckling, he began to end it. Right when he was about to, however, Sorairo roared with the saturation level of commandership off the charts.

[color=900000]“Haa...haa...haa...!"[/color] The canine began to exhale, twisted and somewhat shadowy energy invisibly encompassing him.

The gun aimed at the triangular cranium of the Crusher, who just responded with, [color=e62636]"You're not gonna do anything. Even if I knew something, you couldn't afford to kill me. Maim me!"[/color]

Everything ceased to make noise, leaving an eerie and awkward silence between the attendants, until...

[color=900000]“...Please...”[/color] The Fox sniffled and huffed heavily. [color=900000]"Please! If you know anything...anything at all...tell me."[/color]

Craning his neck to see the pleading canine, he scoffed to himself, then, difficulty illuminating his green eyes, nodded.

"Let him up. It looks like he’ll talk."
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Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

5:37 PM - Dec 24, 2009 #6

Mischief was still throughout the event. He kept the laser-charged claw pressed into the Crusher's neck, his monitors steady on this Zoid who had the nerve to randomly show up and then attempt to leave without explanation. The Fox wasn't mad. He just figured Kurogari deserved a bit of...sympathy. Mischief would never have admitted this, being the strange and slightly antisocial Zoid he was, but if anything had happened to Aeolus... Well, he could empathize with the fellow Fox's pain.

Even so, Kurogari was acting a bit pathetic for the warrior-Zoid's tastes. Mischief's optics flickered in disapproval until he realized that the pleading seemed to work. The emerald-trimmed Fox brooded momentarily at the Crusher, since he still wanted to snap the thing's neck just for existing in the first place.

Aeolus received Mischief's need for the satisfying crunch of laser-through-metal. Being opposed to unnecessary acts of violence, he shook his head, and yet he wasn't sure what was the wisest thing to do. Being human easily impeded in one's judgment. The young man quietly patted the console, looking on in pity and bemusement at the ankylosaurus who was cornered between the two Foxes.

"Whatever you think is smartest, bud," he murmured quietly to his Zoid.

The Fox raised his head ever so slightly, hearing the exhaustion in his pilot's voice. Mischief regarded the others momentarily before deciding what did seem smartest. Maiming the Crusher outright was more than likely to induce more uproar than answer, and since their objective was to obtain the latter, he figured he ought not to do anything ridiculous for the time being. Mischief released his hold on the Crusher and stepped back.

A sigh resounded from within the cockpit. It was one of relief, for Aeolus had been hoping on this outcome. He knew Mischief could get...a bit rowdy at times. A life of Zoid battles did that to someone...

Where Mischief was unimpressed by Kurogari's show, the ivory-haired pilot felt quite the pang of sympathy. No Zoid needed facial muscles to express its pain. Especially not around Aeolus. When he glanced at the other Fox he could sense a sort of negativity that emanated from his form, the concept of a teetering composure that threatened to dissolve into feral bloodlust. An unsettling prospect. There was a flash of fear and familiarity in Aeolus's mind, and he suddenly realized that feral bloodlust was not unknown to him. Seeing a man consumed by such madness would have that sort of impact.

How would he handle it if Kurogari went insane, though?

Aeolus tried not to think about it, steadying Mischief while returning his attention to the Crusher. By now he'd probably missed half of the conversation...


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

9:01 PM - Dec 24, 2009 #7

After a tense moment of the green-and-black Fox's pending decision, thirst for violence in its eyes, it finally backed off, allowing the Ankylo Crusher to attempt to get up. 'Attempt' being the keyword, since it pretty much acted like a huge, mechanical turtle turned on its shell. Not to make fun of those with turtles or Cannon Tortoises, but being stranded as such is pretty much a fatal error to try and deal with alone. Scoffing, the zoid shot the tail Mase-and-Chain at the Shield Liger. Without thinking about it, she stepped to the right side, and the heavy weapon thudded against the ground.

[color=e62636]"Hey you. Blue Liger-"[/color]

"The name's Sorairo."

He scoffed again and Taison just drove his forehead into the dipped-down area of his large hand. One thing he’s learned is that, given the right circumstances, his Shield Liger can and will show a different side of herself. One of control and regal commandership.

[color=e62636]"Okay, Sorairo. Get the chain and help me up already."[/color] Noticing she didn’t immediately jump to action, he continued, [color=e62636]"TODAY, BIG BLUE!"[/color]

"Alright. I’ll help ya."

Bracing herself, she bit the open-linked connection and began backpedaling. The bright crimson Crusher began to tip in the right direction, but Sorairo 'accidentally' let him fall back. With a sarcastic apology, she commenced to pull him to his own four feet, loosed and battle-scarred earth releasing a small dust cloud in its wake. Eying Kurogari, he made a wide U-turn around him, and stood about six meters away from the Liger, who walked up soon after.

Lowering her head to whisper in his ear, Sorairo hissed, "I don’t know who you think you are, but be forewarned…if you withhold any information or even rub me the wrong way..." The pale moonlight cause a tiny glint on the Dual Beam Cannons, and dancing shadows on the ground to her left, and part of her face. "Mischief, Kurogari, and Shippou will be the very least of your issues!"

[color=e62636]"Look, I'll answer your little questions, but after that, leave me the hell alone."[/color] He spoke out loud.

[color=900000]"Good. First, did you start this fire?! I saw that flamethrower earlier, s-"[/color]

With an audible and somewhat spastic exhalation, he barked over his shoulder, [color=e62636]"BULL! Why the hell would I set the plains on fire, huh?"[/color]

[color=900000]"Good question! Why would you take Rikku? Huh?!?! Where is she?!"[/color]

Kurogari began to go on the offensive, before Shippou spread his wings before his fusion partner. "Now wait, Kurogari. Just because he was in the general area where she was taken, and at the same time, there’s no other evidence that he’s connected to it."

[color=e62636]"Yeah. But..."[/color] He looked at the initial scorch markings, and something clicked. [color=e62636]"I think I might have a good guess about where this Rikku character may be."[/color]
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

9:23 PM - Dec 24, 2009 #8

After observing the proceedings a few seconds in, Mischief decided he was already bored and sat down. Aeolus somewhat wished he was still outside so he could at least pet the Fox's nose. He had to settle for idly petting the console, which made a lot less sense, but Mischief seemed to appreciate the gesture anyway. The two kept their focus affixed on the Crusher whom Sorairo was assisting.

Well, Mischief was paying attention anyway. His pilot had another moment where he just seemed to...blank out.

Mischief rubbed at his ear with a claw, not unlike a dog rubbing its face with the metal softly hissing against metal. The motion didn't jolt Aeolus out of his trance in the slightest. The Fox flicked his tail, somewhat amused by the Crusher's attitude, somewhat amused by Kurogari's method of interrogation. It also appeared to him that the Zoids had taken over this meeting, whereas the initial focus was a little more on the pilots handling that wildfire moments beforehand.

He found it curious that Kurogari immediately assumed the Crusher was directly involved in Rikku's abduction. Quietly, Mischief tried to process the logistics of it all in his own system. He wasn't a Zoid of enhanced AI like that blasted Zabat back at headquarters, so it took him a bit longer to figure out things that were more complex. It also took him more effort to move his own body. Mischief still wasn't able to completely able to override Aeolus's commands, although who was to say anyone else could have the same kind of control?

Rikku had flown off for help. Now it seemed like she was the one who needed help... He could see how the wildfire could be connected to the Crusher's flamethrower as well, although he had yet to piece together any reason that made such a possibility improbable. Mischief did wonder, however, what reasons there were for taking Rikku away.

When the Crusher decided to give them a hint, the Fox tossed his head up and smartly yawped, Finally. Not even this motion stirred Aeolus from his daze.


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

2:57 AM - Dec 25, 2009 #9

Aeolus and Mischief were pretty much keeping to themselves, and there wasn’t much that he himself could do, so Taison just started to relax, just a little. It wasn't really working for him, though. Muscles still throbbing with the remaining redirected blood and adrenaline kept him more on edge that what he would have liked in the middle of the night, but hey, this was something big that required any possible action necessary. On top of that, this was an ally in trouble. He could kind of feel what Kurogari was going through. 'Trust me' was the last thing he said to Rikku...he basically gave his word to the teen, and it looked as if it would fall through. It was time he spoke up and redeem himself, if not to her, to himself.

Turning on the comlink, he connected to Aeolus' cockpit, and began to speak to him. "Hey, Aeolus? Meet me on the ground, if you don’t mind."

Subsequently ending the session, he stood up in the cockpit and pressed a button to his left. The shielding lifted up, and he vaulted over, legs easily clearing the safety bar and landing solidly.

Back amongst the discussing zoids, the Crusher snorted at Mischief, drawing the mase back to its resting position. [color=e62636]"It was probably the same ones who set the fire. Cause this was not from a flamethrower."[/color] Pausing to actually think about what he was to say next, he waddled forward a little. [color=e62636]"Not that it matters to you, but my name's Ferox."[/color]

[color=900000]"Really? I thought your name was 'liar'! I know you took-"[/color]

Sorairo roared again, prompting Taison to cover his ears slightly. “Kuro...you don't know that he took her! There's no proof!" Quickly, she tacked onto the end, "And he’s cooperating, so let him do so. Continue."

[color=e62636]"If I had to guess...whoever has your Rikku was the ones to set this trap."[/color]

[color=900000]"Trap. You’re sure it was a trap?"[/color]

Ferox nodded. [color=e62636]"Yes. It was a trap for me. Them morons in the nearby town over there labeled me a monster with a hit out on me. One million Gallos to take out lil' ol' me? I'm so flattered."[/color] Bitterly, and cockily, he shook his angled head. [color=e62636]"Oh yeah, an' when your bird friend here saw me, I was escaping from who I thought was a bounty hunter. Whoever it was ran into me, then was dragged off by another person in direction of the town. And that's all I know."[/color]

"Thank you, Ferox. So, what does that mean to us?"

Projecting his deep voice so that the zoids could hear him loud and clear, the darker nineteen-year-old announced, "It means we make a plan!" But aside to himself, he noted the 'we' actually meant Aeolus and himself.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

4:26 PM - Dec 27, 2009 #10

Mischief appeared to be the one to receive the transmission, not the rather unresponsive Aeolus. He figured his pilot ought to be on his own two feet, so the Shadow Fox quietly complied with the request, lowering his head and allowing the emerald panel to flip open. The harness smoothly unlatched itself and Aeolus's arms fell away from the controls. He mirrored Taison's movement of leaping out with the grace that experienced pilots possessed, his landing soft despite his attention being elsewhere.

Aeolus bounded over to Taison's location whilst his partner attended to the Zoids conference. Mischief had his claws folded, one over the other, observing with a minute boredom and further processing the details of their little rendezvous. He tried to draw some sort of conclusion from the given situation. All that really stuck out to the Fox, however, was that Rikku had been taken by some other person. Needless to say, he found this intriguing.

The outburst of, "It means we make a plan!" appeared to be the cause for Aeolus's stirring. The Fox pilot self-consciously ran his hands through his hair, whined audibly, and began to comb through the fine white locks with his fingers. Being in the presence of immense heat must have affected them.

"Whoever wasted my time with this," he proclaimed, "I'm going to make sure he pays!" Aeolus affixed his holly-hued eyes upon his fellow, calm defiance simmering in their pools. "So what's the plan?"

The emerald-trimmed Shadow Fox was not entirely concerned. He put his head down between his paws, almost in a napping stance, accustomed to his pilot's intermittent focus and more fascinated than worried by their little problem. Clearly, the decision would lead to involving themselves with their enigmatic antagonist. Mischief was just fine with the prospect of another adventure, especially if it was potentially more interesting than the average Zoid battle he partook in.

There was something else distracting him too. Rosen's image flickered onto the Fox's monitors, his call unheeded by the Zoid.

"Aeolus! Come in, Aeolus! Aeolus..."


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

10:43 PM - Dec 28, 2009 #11

"You can, if I don't get to 'em first!" Taison commented after the other pilot displayed his enthusiasm. Goes without saying that Aeolus was totally on board, which he needed to be. The plan required it.

"Yeah, Mai Tai. What is the plan?" Sorairo faced her pilot and Mischief's pilot.

Rubbing his chin slightly in thought, feeling the rough and coarse hair growing in, the teen knew everything was riding on being precise, almost ridiculously so. Worst-case scenario, this could possibly be a person’s life on the line, and no one wants that on their conscious. As a few trees shook in the zephyr, it reoccurred to him where they were. Ackyord Plains...home to those who, as a whole, despise zoids with a burning passion. A passion only matched by a good percentage of pilots' love for said mechs. No telling if they were pacifistic, considering that tonight was the first time ever being near them. In lieu of those facts, everything became clear.

"The plan is Aeolus and I are goin' into the village and find her."

[color=e62636]"NAH, 'F' THAT! ARE YOU CRAZY?! I SHOULD GO IN THERE AND WHOOP SOME PEOPLE!"[/color] The Crusher waddled his way right into Taison’s face, his vendetta brightening his optics.

[color=900000]"...I gotta agree with Ferox here! Just you two?! Don't I deserve to go?"[/color] The weakened canine called out from the background.

Laughing slightly to himself, the windswept-haired one just responded, "No. No one but us are goin' in...because the people there don't like zoids. Besides, a group of five zoids following behind us wouldn't exactly get us information, now would it? This way, we can be quicker and more efficient."

Sorairo seemed to sigh, then commented, "That's true. I'm guessing you're gonna go as far as the outer limit in a zoid, then get out. Am I right, Mai Tai?"

Ignoring the big red Crusher in his quote-unquote personal bubble, he nodded. "Pretty much. We need to take one with stealth, so they won't get noticed as we arrive and as they leave."

[color=900000]"OK! Let's get goi-"[/color]

"Aeolus, I'll leave it to you. Should we take Mischief or Kurogari?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With seething grunts and a few labored breaths, Rikku regained consciousness, only to see absolutely nothing. An abyssal lightlessness caused the tomboy to struggle, abandon and caution leaving with every jerk and every pump of blood. Something wasn't right, obviously, but the chafing of her wrists and ankles due to the metal bindings wasn’t making her feel any better about it. Feeling the perspiration starting to gather, she decided that if it was worth doing, it was worth overdoing. Prepared to put everything she had left into escaping, a flash of light flooded into her eyes, slightly blinding her, but calming the teen as well. Asking the usual questions -the who, what, and how at least-, no response was given. Only a husky man sat down directly across from the girl. He wasn’t the most...intelligent looking, which was good. She knew it wouldn’t take much to fool him into believing her 'alternate' identity.

"So...umm..." He looked at a clipboard, holding it close to his face so he could read it. That was the opening Rikku was looking for. In that quick break in time, she snapped her head forward and shook it, causing the spiking to erupt into visibility. Just in time for the man to finish his inquisition, she looked directly at him. "Who...are you?"

Sneering, and bass shaking her vocal cords, she responded. "Riku. Riku Chiharu. What's it to ya?"
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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11:46 PM - Dec 28, 2009 #12

The emerald-trimmed Fox could only snort. Kurogari was taking this so seriously. Couldn't he just assume that Rikku was fine and let it be? Mischief pawed at his ear again, wanting now just to ignore the conversation after hearing all this talk. He would have preferred watching a...what, maybe a...an oversized bird with the girth of a man who had one too many sugar cubes, dressed in red and with a sack of explosives over its shoulder, flying through the sky with the utmost difficulty —

Right, so, Mischief was really very bored and recalling some odd sight he'd seen on television.

Meanwhile, Aeolus was doing what he could to attend to the meeting without falling back into a daze. He glanced between each individual as one spoke after another, either in an outburst or a suggestion that could only contribute to this argument of theirs. Aeolus thought solemnly to the anti-Zoid town that Taison spoke of. He only faintly remembered mentions of it, but it was important to any pilot passing through. Perhaps Rikku's abduction was related to their Zoids being in the area... Whatever it was, it was a serious matter.

Aeolus had no issues with going into this place to investigate. His concern lay more with the Zoids, for whom he bore a respectful brotherhood and would gladly shed tears for if anything were to happen to them. He knew not the degree to which this anti-Zoid population would go to eliminate them. So the prospect of approaching via optical stealth was somewhat relieving to Aeolus.

He was not quite as content with choosing between Mischief and Kurogari.

"Aeolus! Come in, Aeolus! Are you there!?"

Rosen's visual flickered one more time before the man ceased. He terminated the connection and the visual disappeared, leaving only Mischief's view of the plains. The Fox worked something of a smile to himself.

Aeolus examined Kurogari with a grave expression. With the fire gone and only smoldering remains to accent the landscape, there seemed almost no life to his gaze, only the heavy effect of terrible news that stalked in a wordless apology. "They both have optical stealth, so normally I'd say why not take both of them." Indeed, he'd planned on saying that at first. However, a quick glance and analysis of the situation told him something else entirely. The young man glanced away from Kurogari to Taison.

"It'd definitely make it easier for the both of us to get there," he went on. His tone was controlled, deliberating each word that passed from his lips. Aeolus then averted his gaze, considering the destruction underneath his toes, and he let it rest upon Kurogari. "I know we're all pretty adamant about getting involved. I can't say Rikku is definitely in trouble, but better to be safe than sorry."

For just a moment he wondered what would happen if everything went wrong.

"Kurogari."

Aeolus hesitated, perhaps to punctuate that he was addressing the Fox. He had to speak the right words and use the right reasoning. Being a quick thinker, the resolution was not difficult to occur to him. He bowed his head, ivory hair almost rusted beneath the red moon, its counterpart doing little to dilute its intensity tonight.

"Kurogari, you're still staggering around from that onslaught. I'm afraid your optical stealth might fail on our way there. Should we be caught, I'm sure the consequences would be heavy." He tried not to let his tone sound too harsh, and yet sounding too apologetic would be just as bad. Aeolus didn't know which he wanted to bleed into his tone. So it came out more tired than anything else, a mood rather unlike Aeolus. "It'll have to be Mischief."

Mischief yawped and flicked his tail. Hot dog.


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Taison Brodoc
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Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

6:08 AM - Dec 31, 2009 #13

As the teen with dual-colored eyes began to verbally make his choice, Rikku's Shadow Fox started to listen attentively, hanging on every word and pause. As Aeolus continued, Kurogari could feel that it wasn't going to end well, especially when referred to by name. He had been foolhardy and, well, berserk. In no condition to do much of anything worthwhile for the team, it was only a matter of time until-

"It'll have to be Mischief."

Sounding off with a seceding grunt, then a sigh, the big brother-like zoid bowed his head, [color=900000]"O-ok...ok, I'll back off."[/color]

[color=e62636]"YOU'RE GIVING UP? JUST LIKE THAT?!"[/color] Rushing into the Fox, he staggered slightly when the other zoid fell without a struggle. [color=e62636]"C'MONNN! WIMP! WEAKLING!!!"[/color]

The canine zoid returned to his own four, then glared at the Crusher. Optics glowing with determination and the dull lunar ambiance, Kurogari began to gaze menacingly at the ankylosaurus, until said dino turned his head and scoffed more fire, careful not to set the flora ablaze. He’d lost the battle of willpower, although he’d be the first to deny it until the end of forever. What he would not deny was a stipulation. Or, more aptly put, an ultimatum.

[color=e62636]"Sure! OK! You three can go ahead, but only if you can figure out why those idiots are after me, and who set out the hit. Boy...I'd LOVE to go BUCKWILD on whoever it is!"[/color]

"Go...buckwild? Yeah, sure. We'll keep an eye out." Taison smirked, then to Sorairo, "Hey, I need my hoodie. D’ya mind...?"

"No prob, Mai Tai." She crouched down at an angle, and allowed her young adult pilot to climb in.

Seeing his jacket almost immediately, he outstretched his arms, then paused. Mentioning that she was in control whilst he was gone, Taison then grabbed the fading black jacket and hopped back out. Nodding to signify he was ready to head out, he awaited his ally's movement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rikku, or Riku, depending on who you’re talking to, leaned forward and leered at the portly interrogator, has he began to sweat under the lights. Maybe he wouldn’t if he didn’t try to look nice this night. A brown suit with a cream dress shirt...so overdressed for the situation. Oh well. He continued with the same questions as Rikku asked earlier -the what, when, where, and how-, until the captive broke into the situation with a bold sneer and a set of laughs.

"Look man, I ain't answering any more questions! You abducted me, got my name, and I have a headache that wants to split my skull in HALF." Lifting her confined upper extremities, she continued. "And if it wasn't for this, I'd be whoopin' you right now. So, let's get to the point already."

"Oooooooooooh!" As the bullish moron turned red, an abnormally tall woman walked in and grabbed his shoulder.

"Brutus-"

Perfect name.

"Thank you for trying. I'll handle it from here." Projecting that fake smile anyone could tell from a mile away, she could tell this night was only going to get that much longer.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

9:10 PM - Dec 31, 2009 #14

Thus far, Aeolus was not convinced that their Crusher friend should be a likable individual. Seeing Kurogari thrown over in such a brutal way made him cringe a bit, and he was not apt to assume that noble intentions lay behind the action either. He might have been wrong. Nevertheless, the Fox pilot could only observe in a mute somberness, expressing with the grim features of his face a sort of pity for Kurogari and a determination diluted with sadness.

He turned his back when his fellow pilot went to retrieve a hoodie. Again caressing the locks of his hair, Aeolus motioned for his comrade to approach. Mischief, who had only watched in amusement and intrigue, pushed himself up and casually ambled toward the young man with a metal beat to accompany his every footstep, head low and eyes aglow. The Zoid cast the others a rather ambiguous look before setting his head down. A click followed, and then the emerald panel reclined to reveal the cockpit within.

Aeolus was facing his newly acquainted comrades by that time. Mischief waited patiently beside him, still and silent. He was examining the landscape with an atmosphere of regret and mingling anger, seeing now the full impact of what the mysterious wildfire wrought upon the Ackyord Plains. All around them lay destruction and the sickening odor of smoke. Where there should have been soft, welcoming grass was instead the sprawling remains of dirt and ashes. Not too far away a Zoid lamented the possible fate of his pilot, entangled in a chaotic tapestry of denial and hope and fear, all which materialized as mere surrender and exhaustion. He suspected that he should have been tense from it all. His hands should have curled into tight fists, his hair bristling and lean frame trembling with rage.

None of this was so. Something kept him curiously calm, suspended in a mind of reason rather than emotion. Perhaps Aeolus was just an optimist and believed only rewards lay at the end of this ordeal. Or perhaps that, when he glanced out beyond the ashes and destruction, he was placated by the sight of a greater world beyond this circle of lifelessness. Past these defeated grasses awaited a realm that continued to stand tall, alive and singing with vitality. Such a background, in Aeolus's perspective, touched Kurogari's form with a sense of secret resolve and formidability, the amber-tinged grasses rustling in a solemn breeze which had witnessed so much agony and so much determination.

It was a shame Kurogari couldn't go.

Aeolus hooked his thumbs in his pockets and quietly turned to Mischief's cockpit, letting a sense of dread nestle in his heart.


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

12:52 AM - Jan 03, 2010 #15

The air was becoming even cooler, signifying that time was beginning to whittle away in front of them, the window sliding to a close. His ally turned toward Mischief, it seemed as if he was ready, but his mind was on something else. Understandably so...anyone's mind would begin to wander this late. From the profile of his face, however, a look of understanding seemed to exist. As the dark teen slipped on the extra article of clothing, he knew backing out was no longer -if ever was- an option. Good. That's exactly how he liked it, only because it was that type of situation that drove him to do some things that he’d never even think about otherwise. Left heel rising as if to step, it was replaced, as if he began to question his next movement. Better now than later, I guess. Finally deciding to go, he walked up to the right side of the teen. Funny that this is the closest the two have been to each other. At this distance -about five inches laterally from his shoulder- he noticed that there was a noticeable height difference. In a hasty estimate, Taison guessed that there was about seven, eight inches between him and Aeolus. Oh well, it just told the teen what he already knew: he was pretty tall for his age.

Clearing his throat, he started, "Guess it’s time."

Chest inflating due to oxygen filling the pair of lungs within it, he huffed 'alright' to himself, and hoping not to strike any disrespect to his comrade, climbed into Mischief's cockpit. Not taking too much to look around, Taison leaned back over the side. Looking directly at Aeolus's dichromatic eyes, he reached out his hands, as if to help him into the cockpit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hello, Riku. I am Dr. Kathy Aurora. I'm h-"

Amber eyes ever glistening in the florescent light above, Rikku took her left hand and moved it in a motion of a mouth. Continuing on like that briefly, she did eventually stop, then recommenced leering at the doctor. Sure, she was locked up in a cinderblock room, cornered, and basically all but helpless, but there was no possible way hope was to be abandoned. "Yeah, yeah. Very interesting. Now...can I get some information, or something?"

Slightly chuckling, she moved a lock of her abnormally black hair behind her ear, smoothing it there. An utterly useless gesture, seeing that she was in possession of a bane of it, ratty and thick, surging over her white overcoat, seeming to curve inward as it did. Some people just don't care enough. Eying down the termagantly challenging teen with her shadowy eyes, Aurora continued, "Hmm...Riku with only one 'k'? That is an odd way for a female to spell it, don't you think? I always thought Rikku with two 'k's was cute!"

Snarling slightly, her leer turned into a full-on glare, the glint of defiance in her ocular organs becoming a shine. Bearing her teeth, she vocalized a familiar excuse. "I'm a guy. M-A-L-E. So, no, it is NOT a weird spelling."

"Oh, really? I need some proof. And I know exactly how to do so." She put on a singular latex glove, then stood up abruptly. "Lie on the table. I'll give you a quick physical, sans the charge. ...You might be due for one, anyway."

"Don't you need a stethoscope for this?" Rikku coughed and laughed nervously. Sure, she hasn't had one in over half a decade, but she’s been healthy for the most part.

"Nah, just a quick check-up. I'm a pretty good doctor, so it won't take all of the equipment. Pulse, pain, reflex, and prostate checks!"

Wow. She was too happy to say that.

Wincing, she looked her directly in the eyes. 'Go ahead and try!' is what she wanted to say...but what actually came out is, "Fine. I’m a girl. What does it matter?"

A grimly baneful grin creased her face. "Not much, Ms. Chiharu. I just want us to be totally-" She sat down. "Truthful."
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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2:38 AM - Jan 03, 2010 #16

"Guess it’s time."

Aeolus craned his head against the wind, feeling its cool touch stroke his hair and relieve him of the presence of smoke and fire. He wasn't sure why it discomforted him so. The wind was a welcome change in atmosphere, a promise that everything would be heal in the end.

"Guess so," he answered wearily, eyes shut against the sensation of the breeze. He opened them to see his fellow's darker eyes, intense despite their obscure darkness. Aeolus readily took Taison by the wrist and tried not to think about what awaited them, pulling himself in, partially conscious of how much taller Taison was than him. Aeolus would have felt a bit competitive if this was not a grave situation.

"You think he'll be all right?" Aeolus asked once he'd settled in. He wasn't exactly settled, what with there being only one seat in the cockpit, so positioning was perhaps slightly awkward. Aeolus sat down regardless of where Taison was so that he could pilot. "The other Shadow Fox, I mean. What was his name? I'm kinda bad about names, too many to keep up with."

The panel slid shut over them and Mischief raised his head, ready to go. Aeolus played around with the map until he found the coordinates to the town Rikku had last flown off to. He shoved forward and Mischief followed suit, launching into the distance, prepared to initiate optical stealth at any time.


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

5:03 AM - Jan 03, 2010 #17

Pulling Aeolus up, Taison noticed something else that was pretty weird, at least to him. The ivory-haired one was somewhat light. With his height, it seemed pretty proportionate, but still, he knew that if any bodily classification were to be connected to his, it would be a featherweight, unlike the heavyweight-classed Taison. Anyway, as he stood to the side, Aeolus took the cockpit seat, sitting over to the side to allow some room. Not to be impolite, he nodded, and sat, but quickly returned to his feet.

"Thanks. It shouldn’t be too long. I think I can stand up until we get there." Looking out of the still-open cockpit, the dark teen sighed. "And Kurogari? I...I think he'll be alright. He just needs some time to clear his head..."

Within, Taison continued. 'But his hope is solidified with us. We can't afford to mess this up. For ourselves, for Kurogari, and for Rikku.'

As the shielding locked into its closed position and the three raced off, he couldn't help but gaze into the passing gold growing from the terra, the rhythmic shocks acting as a stimulus. It was drawing his interest, almost hypnotically so, but easily broken nonetheless. Deciding to say something, he vocalized the first thing that came out:

"Hell of a night, isn’t it?"

Scoffing afterwards, surprised at the pure, almost harsh, bluntness. But hey, too late to take it back now. "The fire, the kidnapping, the most arrogant zoid ever, and now a mission. Doesn’t really seem it should've happened all in the same day."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Well, Ms. Chiharu-" Aurora smiled that evil and deceptively caring smile, as she leaned forward.

"Rikku." The captive intervened, arms on the table still and head slightly tilted.

"Ms. Chiharu. As long as we're being honest with each other, I suppose I should tell you something about myself."

A look of torture came about the female's face. Of course, the ailment from the battering she took before this chain of events made it exponentially worse, but still, the wrinkles in her brow and slight grimacing definitely made the situation one no one wanted to partake in. And yet, even the normally up-tempo Rikku could barely take this lady’s incessant and egoistic blathering. So much of said talk poured out of her mouth, it all began to blend together, causing her to put her head against the cool steel of the handcuffs.

"Hmm...I guess that's enough about me, eh?"

'No! Nah! Not at all! It's not like you just spent the last 3 minutes telling me about your life story.' The idea of roaring that at the doctor brought a small smile to the pained expression of the tomboy. Refrain she did, however.

"Now, let's here something about you, Ms. Chiharu."

"STOP CALLING ME THAT. Please...just stop. I told your friend already, so I'm just goin' to say it again. You have my name. NO MORE INFO FOR YOU."

The smile faded fast, which the void of facial emotion filled with a menacing frown. Rising once again, she removed her coat, revealing a purple tank top. Oh yeah, and she was pretty buff, although not quite bodybuilder. Angrily sliding her seat out of the way, Aurora shoved the table into the wall, causing a great echo. "But you have yet to hear the question! What do you know about the Monster of the Plains, hmm?"
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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6:33 AM - Jan 03, 2010 #18

Aeolus laughed. It was a tired laugh, but one nonetheless that shook his body in something that resembled mirth.

"You're telling me," he answered, his tone rather humble for himself. He'd lost a bit of his crispness as well, so his voice emerged with a slight dullness to its edge that matched the blackened part of the Ackyord Plains. "I promised my teammate I'd be home after the fire, but...seems there's more in store, eh?"

Mischief loped onward to their designated destination. From what he discerned, he wouldn't be able to enter the heart of the situation with Aeolus, and the Shadow Fox somewhat feared that he would be bored witless when he got there. Perhaps he could sneak in and stir up a little trouble of their own. Seeing the people's reactions were sure to entertain him...

"By the way, Mischief," Aeolus abruptly called out, "this is very serious, so no playing around, okay?"

Curses.

The pilot calculated in his mind when was best to employ the optical stealth. Perhaps when the area came into view he'd use it, depending on the estimated distance between their location at the time and the country town. "I want to say it's nothing, but I can't help thinking it's not," he went on conversationally. Aeolus found a bittersweet agreement with the sound of his own voice, which was now possessed of an easygoing and carefree calm. "Here's to hoping I'm wrong."


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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

7:02 PM - Jan 10, 2010 #19

"Yeah. You got that right. This is too weird to be coincidence." He responded instinctually. He was expecting the comment; Taison had a foreboding sense about thing like this, usually. Almost blankly, he continued, "Hope for the best, expect the worst, right?"

Expect the worst. As horrid as it sounded, Taison knew it was the truth. And, as much as his gut didn’t want to feel, his head told him that the young girl might have expired by now. There's no way to ensure otherwise until all of them were riding out of the town safe and sound. Oh well -when the work's cut out for you, all you can do is look ahead to it, and put everything you have into the job. As Taison adjusted his body to have his right hand on the shoulder of the pilot seat, now supporting his weight that way, a few thoughts scrolled through his mind. By now, Sorairo should have made sure Ferox, Shippou, and Kurogari were missing from the scene, so they should be safe. The mischievous Fox had also been warned multiple times as well, so the massive-chaos-via-zoids variable was diminished to naught. The tall teen strained his eyes a little, but didn’t have to for long. The bluish-white tint from the lunar bodies casted an incandescence onto the village on the horizon. The first step of the objective had been completed, although it was the easiest. Now...infiltration is on deck.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sound of crashing furniture exploded into raucous reverberations, causing the boyish female's ears to ring, almost in an unbroken fashion. As such, her ears were useless until the sound decided to stop, which she was actually fine with; she figured it was better than listening to Dr. Jekyll Aurora. Rikku did almost care that the woman began to advance on the her, dark eyes almost lifeless at this point. She paused suddenly, and looked back at the door, now opened. Brutus was standing there, eyes bulging out heavily. His jaw slacked to the left, he looked as if the picture was a phantasmagoria, or -and this was what Rikku truly believed- as if he was lacking more than a quarter of his mind.

Hearing flickering in now and again, Rikku could hear a few bits of the short dialogue between the two.

"Aurora...going...here? ...heard...crash."

"...worry...everything...control...go...the bar..."

Brutus instantly left, and with muscles tensing, the doctor turned back to Rikku. "Well? Answer me. WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF THE MONSTER OF THE PLAINS?"

Great. Her hearing couldn't have stayed away just a little longer. Sighing, the tomboy just looked at her in that same defiance, prompting Aurora to grab her by the collar of her white t-shirt and slam her against the wall, barring no cruelty or strength.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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11:14 PM - Jan 10, 2010 #20

"Optical stealth on."

Aeolus flipped the lever to the optical stealth system. He was somewhat glad that they did not bring along the vulcan gun, an item that would have merely slowed them down and perhaps raised more of a clamor. When he needed to go stealthy he needed to go in quiet. Anything beyond Mischief's footfalls discomforted him otherwise. The Shadow Fox proceeded to cloak himself, leaping out of existence and into the eyes of a ghost — a place where most may not see him whereas he could view the entire world. His crashing joints and hurried, loping steps seemed to die down to muffles against the earth.

The nostalgia was unusual, to say the least. Aeolus half expected to see an old rival wheel around and stare straight through them, the arena walls to raise up and surround the competitors, ground flashing beneath Mischief's translucent claws as they rapidly neared. But he knew better. He knew that what they would soon face was something far more dire, something far more unsettling. It whispered right into the core of his mind and soul, urging him to be prepared when they arrived. He idly wondered what was going through Taison's mind while they approached this almost forbidding silhouette of the distant village.

The anxious pilot realized that he was checking energy gauges a lot more than he normally would. In the heat of battle, the duration of the optical stealth would be so familiar to him that he would often need only to check once, and that was right before it was about to exhaust its energy. Now, however, Aeolus was with a man he had just met on what was potentially a very dangerous rescue mission, out in the middle of silent and superficially tranquil nowhere, and their only company was a Shadow Fox who was unable to remain with them any further than a certain checkpoint and the sight of Zi's two moons. For a moment Aeolus wondered why he had a green eye rather than a blue one. It would have been cool to have eyes that matched Zi's moons.

His heart lurched with uneasiness when he saw the energy gauges near halfway. He knew he had to stop Mischief at the right time, when the Fox had just enough to leave without detection. Aeolus also thought they ought not to be so close that anyone could watch them step onto the grass out of thin air. A small, wry smile crossed his face at the image, wondering how a secluded people without much contact with zoids would react to such a sight. Any sort of comic relief would help him to stave off the apprehension that preceded the waiting storm. Aeolus was glad that Mischief was, by no means, a slow runner.

"Is this spot good?" he asked Taison, gently pulling Mischief to a slower pace. They would soon stop and disembark if the distance looked agreeable. Aeolus became conscious of how tightly he gripped the controls, and he understood sadly that he simply did not want to leave Mischief. He was somewhat afraid.


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Taison Brodoc
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11:42 PM - Jan 17, 2010 #21

Feeling the mischevious Fox starting to slow, the six-foot-four Taison began to scope the surroundings. It would ensure they wouldn't get jumped as soon as they stepped out of the cockpit -not like any one saw them approach the town anyway, but one can never be too safe. That's considering if 'safe' was even posible. Here they were getting ready to walk into an unfamiliar town completely blind, other than the two facts they solidified back even before departing from the scene of the blaze. Looking around, he decided this was a decent spot, and was just about to bring it up, when-

"Is this spot good?"

This shocked him slightly, almost inciting him to chuckle at the sheer unlikeliness of it. He turned against the laugh, but nodded. "Yeah. This place is as good as we might be able to get."

Looking down on his fair-skinned peer, he could feel a little apprehension radiating off of his being, not to mention his whitening knuckles giving the same wavelength of emotion. Now Taison couldn't tell what was causing these feelings and somatic reactions, but it couldn't have been a good thing. Hopefully not shocking him too bad, he removed his hand from the seat's shoulder and placed it on the pilot's shoulder. Granted, it wasn't the smartest thing to do to someone on edge, but it was the only comforting measure he could think of at a time such as now. Nodding quickly, to finish up his own self-prep if nothing else, he gripped the joint slightly, then let go.

"We'll be alright, Aeolus. Don't worry. Now...let's go save Rikku!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"AH! DAMNIT!" Wincing, the tomboy began to waver, inhales and exhales becoming sharper. Feeling something liquid draining down the back of her head, she expected that the blunt force of hitting the wall opened her head slightly. No remarkable pain ensued however, so she knew it was nothing greater than a flesh wound; she's hit her head enough to know.

Lifting the bounded female, Aurora just smiled with evil intentions and prepared to repeat the movement, but noticed the bloodstain on the wall and five, six drops on the floor. Eyes steely, Aurora pressed her free hand against the injury and looked at it. For a doctor, she really enjoyed playing with the vital fluid, but still had enough sense to toss Rikku back into the wall, letting go this time. Supporting herself barely, the teen from Terrone Town watched as the doctor commenced ingesting the trace amounts of the said ruby aqueous material. Obviously, she didn't like it, her face wrenching up into a scowl.

"Well, can't say I haven't tried it." Licking her lips, the scowl remained unchanged. "Not something I'd drink too quickly anymore. Although, you are just one specimen."

"Hey...what's the deal? You keep asking me about something I don't know about!"

The doctor chuckled. "Sure, you know about it. Or, should I say 'him'?"

Her eyes opened immensely, eyes focused on the medical practitioner. 'Him? Is this...`monster`...a person?'

"I have your attention now. Good. Yes, he often hid in a thicket of holographic trees based around two real trees. And I happen to know you encountered him."

"Only thing I saw near any trees was a-"

Then, it clicked. The Monster of the Plains was nothing more than a zoid. She turned so that her back was flat against the wall, eyes consistently blinking to try and deal with the intensifying headache from earlier and the head injury from not to long ago. If anything, Rikku would have guessed to be up a creek without a paddle, or any other idiom that conveys the same or even a similar meaning. Teeth clenched tightly together, almost to the point of grinding involuntairily, she refused to make any motion to help -not a nod given, not a word spoken.

"We need to know what you know about it. Because...it has something special to us in it."
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Aeolus
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1:46 AM - Jan 19, 2010 #22

The hand on his shoulder was neither expected nor startling. Aeolus glanced to the umber hand and allowed his gaze to trail up to Taison's face. He often had a knack for detecting things in people, and with this strange young man it was not any different. Aeolus fancied he saw hints of an iron resolve and passionate loyalty etched deep into Taison's face, markings of a hard-eyed spirit with an open heart, the result of years that must have presented some ordeal to pound such virtue into him. Aeolus merely smiled in appreciation and quickly lowered the cockpit.

Mischief put his head close to the ground and the emerald canopy clicked open. Deftly, the pilot slipped beneath the rising harness and leaped out of the seat, and he neatly landed upon the grasses with a faint shudder through his lean build. Aeolus buckled for only a moment before he regained his balance. He turned to face the Shadow Fox, who thankfully still held the optical stealth although the cockpit was exposed and visible. He worriedly glanced over his shoulder for any unwanted onlookers.

Once Taison was out, Aeolus dismissed Mischief with a word of warning, basically something along the lines of be careful. The Fox obediently turned and loped away. He only knew this from how the footfalls gradually faded off, from how the zoid's warmth and connection seemed to grow distant the farther he went. Aeolus stared after the Fox's ghost as though he thought he could see traces of his zoid bounding away. Without thinking about it, Aeolus rubbed his arms and glanced to Taison, and then he turned around to face the village. The more time they wasted the closer Rikku was to being irredeemable. It was such a bleak notion that Aeolus felt just a bit ill, particularly since they were on unfamiliar ground that promoted the elimination of zoids. Zoid pilots might not be exempt from such discrimination.

Aeolus moved forward nevertheless. Leap before you think, he advised himself, a quote that carried a thread of consolation in such tense times. To walk on living grass rather than the scorched remains of the wildfire was peculiar, and yet it calmed his mind that not everything had gone to hell. The nineteen-year-old put one foot in front the other. He began to count his steps to keep track of his progress, to keep his thoughts off of what awaited them, off of what state they might find Rikku in. She was still a stranger to him — he didn't even know what she looked like.

But she needed help.

A momentary cloud broke his concentration and he glanced up. Zi's moons were obscured underneath a thin layer of dark wisps, though they still burned the cloud's outline and cast a mute shade across the land. Aeolus swiveled around so he was walking backward to face Taison, like he expected to start a conversation or just planned to talk to the man. The village was not far off, so if there was anything they ought to discuss before they set foot within its boundaries, he wanted it done out here. Of course, Aeolus did not have anything in mind that he wanted to converse about. Any curiosities he held could easily be discussed inside the village.


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Taison Brodoc
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Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

10:28 PM - Jan 23, 2010 #23

Following his ally's suit, Taison also departed from the Fox, landing on his right knee and left foot. To make it look that he actually meant to, he placed the same side elbow on the bend of the leg not impaled in the ground, balling his fist and pressing his lips against it in thought. He'd already been oriented towards the destination, so he could simply stand up and go whenever ready. A slight breeze passed by him, mussing his already windswept hair that much more. It took his mind off of the inevitable for a moment, sure, but he felt no better. Instinctively looking over his inside shoulder, he could see the final receding steps of the zoid and Aeolus' longing stare in that same direction. His dark eyes meeting with the jewel-esque ones of Aeolus, Taison stood up, and brushed his knees gruffly. Innocence just radiated from the other male's body; honor and earnestness, as well. It almost seemed as if he was caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But...now that he was here, he -like Taison himself- was willing to risk life and limb for this girl. No, an epithet like that would not do. They were doing this for Rikku -a girl only Taison really got a good look at. Maybe the mark of a hero is made of events such as this. If so, let heroes arise from this, if not for the world, for the female who went out to get help and was captured doing so.

Deferring to the ivory-haired one, he followed behind him, raising his hood to rest upon the crest of his head, concealing his identity a little more. Looking upwards, not a star twinkled in the celestial sphere surrounding this world on which they exist. Looking ahead again, Taison noticed Aeolus had performed an about-face, and was now heading in Taison's direction. All the dark teen did was angle himself to the right for a second, as if to evade, but then continued straight, stopping to only drape his left arm over Aeolus' right shoulder. The prodigious arm laced under his chin, so it was obviously not an offensive maneuver or anything like that, but closer to a...a hug.

Stopping dead in his tracks, the tall teen whispered into his comrade's ear. "You're a good man. Not too many people would have even stuck around long enough to help with the fire, let alone go on this retrieval mission. ...Thank you for that."

Dropping his extremity afterwards and angling his head to the objective, he just wisped a bass-encrusted `let's go`.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eyes completely shut, Rikku just slid down the wall, leaving a thin trail of blood behind. She was kind of surprised at the lack of energy she was experiencing; usually, she's bursting at the seams with it. Then again, blood does take a lot with it, so it is explicable. "Seriously...what makes you so sure that I been near this 'monster' of yours?"

"Well...the large, blue dye spot on your forehead gives it away." She crouched, and flipped open a make-up compact, turning it towards the tomboy. "I know you don't use these, but go ahead. Go on and see if I’m lying."

Rikku's eyelids separated, and she gazed into the reflective surface. She could see as plain as day that a navy blue splotch sat on her forehead, only marred slightly by a few streaks streaming on the outside of her eyebrows. "Wh-what?"

"Yeah, they thought if something happened, we needed a way to find the data holder- what I've been calling the 'monster'. I told them a tracker wouldn’t be necessary, 'cause I wouldn’t lose the damn zoid, but since I was down with the flu last week, I had to let Brutus watch him." Groaning loudly, she continued. "What a moron my brother turned out to be. Anyway, they created an invisible layer of dye and slathered it over the zoid anyway, which reacts with skin-based oils and sweat that causes a blue mark wherever it touches. Using 20/20 hindsight, it was a great and strategic move to place the tracker on that thing; he wasn't sentient when shipped to us, but he obviously is now. Even when demonized as the 'Monster of the Plains' and hunted by professionals and the zoid-hating people of this place alike, he hasn't gone down. And the fact that you’re here with this mark means my little fire trap didn't work to capture it.”

Shaking her head, all the tomboy could say was, "I didn’t listen to a WORD you said."

"This is why I hate little snots like you. Arrogance is like a right of passage for you all. But since you wanna play games, we will!" Aurora put the compact away, and reached into her shirt. It wasn't long before she revealed a fine point, medical knife. "Every time you deny me an answer, I'll cut you once. Starting from the big toe until I reach your jugular vein. So...let's play!"
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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11:39 PM - Jan 23, 2010 #24

Aeolus tensed when he felt Taison's arm coil about his shoulders. He was not completely certain as to what he should expect from his tall and admittedly intimidating stranger, and Aeolus was definitely familiar with hostile advances. He too came to a stop, waiting for the man to do or say something, stiff as a frightened creature. It then occurred to Aeolus that the hold was nowhere near threatening. He gradually relaxed more out of perplexity than relief, and then he dropped his guard at the first words out of Taison's mouth.

"You're a good man."

He turned his head toward the fellow pilot and quietly listened.

"Not too many people would have even stuck around long enough to help with the fire, let alone go on this retrieval mission."

Perhaps that was so. Most others either did not have the guts, the time, or either of the two to risk anything in a mission such as this. Maybe they lacked more goodness in their hearts than they lacked time or courage. Maybe they lacked motivation. His eyes flickered and he looked instead to the grass.

"...Thank you for that."

Taison's arm fell away and Aeolus turned around. He instinctively trailed after his fellow, although he was still processing the entire thing in his head. There was no need to thank him. He was merely attempting to help fill the void that humanity had left to crumble over time, a void made from the introduction of technology, civilization, politics. It was both a blessing and a curse, he supposed. And besides, there was no telling if Taison could alone handle what might await. He might have required some assistance.

The soft breeze helped him to relax, although he still put his thumbs in his pockets. A low, quiet chuckle arose from Aeolus's throat.

Don't scare me like that.



If he was not nervous before, then he was positively uneasy now. Aeolus cast his wide stare out into the depths of the village. The young man was suddenly very conscious of how he dressed and wondered if anyone would catch on that he was a pilot. He glanced to Taison for such signs, and he wondered if it was a good idea he had come here at all. Aeolus anxiously assessed the sight before them. Once more he reminded himself, Leap before you think, yet it did him no avail this time. Out of frustration he began to pace the edge of the village as though reluctant to actually go in.

In most cases Aeolus would crack some kind of joke or just laugh his unease away, and yet he couldn't find the nerve to. Something pressed down on him. The surroundings were innocent enough, but he simply could not relax, simply could not make himself breathe. He couldn't even manage a word out of his fear. There was something wrong and he was afraid to face it. If he had a bow in his hand and a quiver over his shoulder, or even a bloody lead pipe in his hand, he would have felt more equipped to be in this seemingly tranquil place.

Aeolus then quietly scolded himself for being so paranoid and again glanced to Taison. More than likely, he would only be able to move in if his umber acquaintance would take the lead.



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Taison Brodoc
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Taison Brodoc
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10:01 PM - Mar 20, 2010 #25

With a determined flare blazing within his heart, the dark teen broke through the intangible wall of the unknown, feet beating the earth below with a rhythmic, frantic pace. Confident in his cohorts' ability to keep up, he sprinted from illuminated home to illuminated home, bolting through any shadowed alleyway and impromptu shortcuts to hasten the travelling. Obviously, only a minute quantity of the buildings were active at the time of night it was, and of those, it wasn't uncommon to encounter poisonous spits. Angry stares. Disdainful rejections. Nothing he was unfamiliar with, but this time...they incised far deeper. Back then, it was just him holding the burden alone, but now... Too much was on the line.

Far too much.

Reaching a home in the heart of the mysterious village, he gathered the fingers of his left hand into a fist to batter this door as well, but paused slightly at the sound of...shattering glass? Taison whirled around to see a lively bar, now releasing a cacophony of violent sounds, such as collapsing tables, tumbling seating arrangements, and drunken, unintelligable hollers. This, too, was very familiar- when one has nowhere to go, and no money on top of that, they'll do what they can to survive. And, in Taison's case, surpress the memories. The unforgiving pain of creeping lonliness onto and into his once-chilled heart. ...That had been the past, however, and his heart is no longer cold and uncaring. The twang of it still remains, as would be expected, but-

Carefully, his paw-like palm pushed open the slightly cracked and fully seasoned portal, poking his head in and leering simultainously. Blood and spilled booze filled his nostrils, sights of erratic clumps of rather large men closing in on one helpless one latched his eyes, willing his body to move closer. Not a hard task- moving a lethargic man or ten didn't take much effort. `You ain't a man` someone yelled; `You couldn't kill a fly` another rang out.

"Shut up! I am a man, and I HAVE killed someone!"

"THEN WHO WAS IT?" A four-foot-nothing man screamed out, swaying lethargically.

"Uh...Some kid called...Riku! That's it! It was awesome how I did it, too!"

Something in the large teen snapped, because within seconds, he shoved the stupid braggart skull right through the window and held a large shard of glass to his Adam's Apple. "You did what?"

"He-hey, man! C-calm down. I wasn't tryin' to of-of...hurt anyone's feelings! It was just a jo-"

Taison balled his fist up, shattering the glass, and punched him in the nose. It broke immeadiately, the blood racing out profusely. "Look. I'm in the right mood to brawl, and in the wrong one to be joked with. Did you, or did you not kill Rikku?"

"NO, I DIDN'T! Leave me alo-"

Another punch. This time, to the throat. "Where. Is. Rikku?"

Wheezing and grunting, the man tried to resist, but it was all for naught, due to Taison's onset of strangulation. "TELL ME OR DIE! PICK NOW!"

By now, the whole establishment had grown deafly silent, devoid of the clatter of beer bottles, confused 'huh's, and primitive hooting. All grew cold, as the nineteen-year-old began to pull life slowly away from this inhibited mass. All eyes were on him, but in the worst way. Weakened and with dulling eyes, he raspily responded "Ok...just dont kill me."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Are you crazy? You're gonna cut me if you don't get the answers you want?" The tomboy snarled, and kicked sharply at Aurora's shin.

The woman collapsed to her knee, as Rikku began to scramble to her own two feet and bolt towards the door. The door's tantalizing taunts of freedom propelled her forward, but every step seemed to blur her vision and weaken her body that much more. Blood still dripping from the injury, Rikku felt wiry hand cuff her left ankle and pull it from under the rest of her travelling being, causing her to fall catastrophically onto her face.

"Sorry, babe. No dice." Smiling maniacally, she chuckled and intertwined her legs around Rikku's, pushing the toes towards her tibia. "Maybe I'll sever this Achilles tendon, hmm? ...No. I do that, you may never give me info, due to all of that screaming you'd be doing."

"Let me go, Aurora! I'll beat you to a pulp!" Screaming, she began to wriggle again, making it so that a clean target couldn't be attained. More threats erupted from her, but they fell upon deaf ears, the blade glistening vibrantly as it approached the underbelly of her prone foot, eventually plunging into the heel...
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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12:27 AM - Mar 21, 2010 #26

He did stay on par with Taison's pace. Aeolus did not put his faith in the wind for nothing: he let it guide them, whether they ran alongside it or whether they fought its current, and no matter the direction and the rapidity of their advance he managed to keep his wondrous white hair out of his eyes.

It carried a peculiar feeling, to trail this dark stranger through unfamiliar territory with the leers of faceless men and women ever on their backs. It made his bones cold, his skin crawl, and he found solace in pursuing Taison's shadow throughout the forbidding village. He darted along until they came to a stop at a house in the midst of the place.

There was an awful taste in his mouth, perhaps from all the haste they had carried on their shoulders. He found that he was terribly uneasy around Taison. Was it warranted? He stood there, his legs numb underneath him as the other man prepared to break a door in — or at least it seemed that way to him — when his ears detected something behind him. Aeolus turned toward the scene of a bar ready to erupt into mayhem and violence even before they heard glass shatter.

Slipping into the flow of violence was typically easy enough for Aeolus when his adrenaline was up. But this was neither for sport nor out of anger. He could find no incentive to accept or encourage any meaningless conflict, not when the weight of a human life suppressed the normal vigor of his spirit. The stakes seemed high. He did not know why, but it seemed to him that there was a great cost in wait for them. And Aeolus did not like it one bit. He stood staring at the bar, transfixed by the flash of angry shadows and the lash of flying chairs and beer bottles.

When Taison went into the bar, Aeolus simply hovered in the doorway. He did not want to be near something so unpleasant, so disgusting. He heard terrible words that provoked the angry spirit sleeping within, but it was tethered down by a sense of helplessness, the same helplessness that both motivated him and hindered him. The young man observed almost vacantly while the scene raged before him, reflected in his mismatched eyes. He would have gone to the man at the center of the chaos had Taison not stepped in.

Aeolus felt a shadow come over and he shivered, but he knew no one was there, knew it was just an effect of the cold night and the tasteless filth that unfolded before him. Where he would normally tuck his thumbs into his pockets in a timid stance, his hands were tight fists at his sides. They were in dangerous territory and the hot-blooded atmosphere of blind rage was bleeding into his muscles. If anyone lashed out at him, he feared that he just might lash back.

He was just that afraid.

The young man could not come any closer, not even to tell Taison to stop. He hated what he saw. And yet Aeolus stood rooted to the spot, back straight and fists tight, waiting for the conclusion to this exchange. He didn't know anything about Rikku. He didn't know anything about Taison. So why was he helping, especially a man who had just threatened to murder another?

What a sick world.

It was because everyone suffered for something. This was why he could not raise his hand against another in murder, why he could not point fingers. He was helping Taison and Rikku because, no matter what, they were just as human as these bumbling drunkards.



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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

2:37 AM - Mar 21, 2010 #27

Relinquishing the hold, the room seemed to spin and tilt with wild abandon, disorientating him enought to cause him to collapse. One hand gripping the knowledge bank, and the other around his own ribs, gutteral and beastly grunts and groans spilled from his gaping mouth and vacant irises. Jeers and pats on the back registered in his mind, but simply broke dow, deteriorating into nothing. Not a muscle in his body would react to his power of movement, not a breath escaped without leaving a thunderous pain ringing. Why was this happening? He was trying to get information, is all. Just a little clue so that he could dictate a step in the right. And he did so using what came naturally in the high-tension situation. A threat. Of course, he could have killed him- it's not like he didn't have the ability to. But, even while saying that, his mind told him he couldn't, making him guilty of the mother of all bluffs, but still. Taison was a changed guy, even if he still wasn't the most approachable. Not as violent. Not as much of a lone wolf. Then why...

Why had he threatened this man's life?

The man had begun to writhe, trying to escape with what little dignity he had left, but the vicegrip proved to be way too much for his exit to take place.

"H-hey, buddy. you ok?"

Fragments of memories raced back now: his deadbeat dad, riddled with the scent of alcohol, smoke, and unfaithfulness... his mom who suffered through his physical, emotional, and verbal abuse to give her son at least a satisfactory place to live... his twelve-year-old torso shaded ruby with the elixir flowing through the veins of his family, time and time again... the desolate, lonely days... the sorroful and tear-laden nights... the darkness taking him nearly to the point of no return.

Standing now, Taison pulled the man outside, making sure his eyes didn't meet with his ally's. The dense shame he held inside barriered him for the moment, as his eyes remained trained to the dusty ground below. "I apologize," he murmured. "Just, please, lead the way. And, don't try anything funny. I won't be very happy, neither will my partner here. And you. You'd be wishing you had never tried to mess with one very pissed off teenager. Got it?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rikku's back arced up and down, unable to do anything about the knife in her foot other than the spastic movement. And plenty of screams, of both the masculine and feminine format. Blood only trickled a little from the wound, but with the knife still in, stopping even that would be improbable. The weapon had to come out, and it did when Aurora felt that her point had been proven.

"Look at what you did. You're gonna cause a mess that way. And to think, I get to do this every single time you deny me what I want." The doctor shuddered and moaned in sadistic pleasure. "I'm getting riled up just by thinking about it!"

"YOU'RE SICK!"

"No. I'm perfectly well. ...Trust me; I'm a doctor. Now...tell me. What do you know about the Monster? What has he told you?"

"The damn thing didn't even acknowledge me! I promise! LET ME GO!"

"Now, Ms. Chiharu, let's not continue this lying! I know you must have had been in close contact. And no zoid refrains from acknowledgement when as close to another as you and the Monster were." Delusions and desire had begun to warp her mind, but she continued to press on. Turning the young woman on her back, she began to sketch her shin with the handle of the blade. "What was said?"

"NOTHIN', DAMNIT! NOTHIN!"

Aurora carved a shallow cresent into her left thigh, right above the kneecap. "I can do this all night long."
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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6:20 AM - Mar 21, 2010 #28

The world reeled.

He had no idea why, but as Aeolus stumbled away from the doorway to clear a path, the world began to spin. His leg had given underneath him and he nearly fell, although the young man caught himself in time. And when he stood up to recover, he felt a chill seize him, and he glanced around at his surroundings in a rising sense of fear. Something seemed to flit in and out of every shadow and he felt that he ought to be lashing at every phantom that lingered too long on his skin.

Of course, Aeolus did no such thing. He did, however, feel that he needed to run. Just run and disappear from sight, run and leave all human and supernatural contact behind him. He didn't want the weight of the world on his shoulders, and the slightest hint of any such thing was sure to frighten him off. Nonetheless, he stayed where he was, stayed in his mortal position with this strange and dangerous nineteen-year-old and someone who had just blabbered about killing Rikku.

"Shut up! I am a man, and I HAVE killed someone!"

He shivered again.

Aeolus hardly noticed that Taison made a remark that involved him. He hardly noticed anything, for he was now concerned with what was going on. It was clear that something was off that night. Not only was there the wildfire and Rikku being kidnapped, but there were also small things such as the bar fight and this perpetual sense of being alienated. It made him feel small. Had Aeolus not been tethered there by a sense of duty, by the understanding that there was nowhere to run, he would have been long gone.

He said nothing as he followed the other two, oblivious to his surroundings for a few minutes. His train of thought raged on until it finally subsided into nothingness, and that allowed him to concentrate only on the desolate surroundings.



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Taison Brodoc
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Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

9:04 PM - May 09, 2010 #29

Well, the quote-unquote "captive" had been leading them around the little villa shrouded in ignorance and secrecy for a few minutes now, and Taison was quite a bit calmer. His orifice was still clamped closed, as he was disappointed in his actions so much so, that a conversation would have undoubtedly broken down into verbal self-mutilation. Every once in a while, he’d look over his shoulder quickly, just to be sure that his peer partner was still alongside him. Not like he would admit this, but he needed him there. Not just for strength in numbers –although that is a mighty strength, indeed-, but for a built-in limiter of sorts. No telling what Taison would have done to the man, had the bright haired one been absent, although the odds on favorite would have been brutalizing the informant. Why? Just because he was that pissed off. Anyway, the trio had been slowing considerably now, taking far less turns, and eventually, slowed to a halt, deep in what could easily be called the backstreets. Only the moon’s shining glory reached where they were, and only barely at that.

"Hey bub," He began, somewhat antsy, but composed. "What's the holdup? Are we here?"

The dopey dumb muscle kept silent, rotating on his heels to face our heroes. Curious. What would make him do this? Did he have to articulate something where it would only be better –only be intelligent, rather- to say it looking dead into their eyes? Nope; it seems like the dual teens couldn’t get even that much of a break tonight. But what they could get was the click of a single-action revolver. Taison’s eyes grew into hefty orbs, but not from the weapon itself. Oh no; he’s had encounters with armaments like this before, and wasn’t afraid then. What created the urgency was the target, which was not him.

It was Aeolus Spades.

Time seemed to grind by unhurried, every second seeming to take an hour or more to drip by. A muzzled explosion produced a dim light, as the gunpowder-propelled projectile drilled a beeline directly for his forehead. Impulse grabbed him by the collar, prompting him to move. 'Do something, damn you, DO SOMETHING!', his mind shrieked, as the self-orphaned child finally grew into man, displacing his friend, but leaving his shoulder in the center of the crosshairs...

And, yes, I did use the word 'friend'.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If a human being could ever coil like a viper, rearing its head to strike, Rikku had done it. Hastily kicking, corkscrewing, and whatnot, she neglected to let the medical practitioner remove the blade, so her upped leg continued to release an ever-growing stream of blood. A stroke of luck became out boyish female, as he managed to drive her other foot into Aurora's nose, shattering it rather easily. Needless to say, she crawled on hands and knee away, ending up hiding beneath the lone table. She drew her legs up and close to her chest, uncaring about the pain possessing her, and removed the precise slicing tool, keeping it clasped in her fist. Survival- the sole idea on her mind.

"Gah! Fucking- ARGH!" Aurora held her nostrils shut, trying to keep her own ruby liquid in her body, but she didn't have trouble getting to her feet, and stalking dangerously close to the tomboy. "You've done it now, you little bitch!"

"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!" Rikku moved the table just enough to slip behind it, and shove it at the middle aged woman, which stunned her considerably, seeing as she took the hit at about the lap region and flipped forward. Here was her chance to get away from this hellish nightmare! The door was immediately within reach. One potent lunge sent her for the know, and just as her hand held fast to the knob, the sweet taste of freedom drifting between every taste bud, she realized the only thing that could make this night worse.

The door was locked from the outside.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

2:27 AM - May 11, 2010 #30

The journey had also given Aeolus a little time to relax, although he was still on edge and kept only sane by the diluted atmosphere of tension that followed the three. Aeolus had become obsessively focused on the surroundings, worried that something or someone might leap out and strike. He was not sure whether to let himself ease up or to remain on guard as time passed. He'd eventually settled to stay keen, aware that this was very unfamiliar territory, especially in a place that was notorious for a severe dislike of zoids and, most likely, zoid pilots.

Everything had dulled down to a sort of drone. It put him into a slight sense of security, as if he was wrong and everything would be fine for at least a little while. His eyes wandered more often than he would have liked and only occasionally did Aeolus give Taison and the man a wary glance. Taison seemed decent enough, and Aeolus had befriended a man with...less than endearing tendencies, so he could only wonder if this other nineteen-year-old was any worse. He hadn't the faintest inkling of how to judge the stranger. The young man merely slipped after them in silence, keeping his ears and eyes on the surroundings, becoming more and more convinced that the peace was not a ruse at all.

It was when they stopped short that he felt a surge of fear return. Aeolus looked to the man and wondered if something was wrong, and again he glanced around for a sign of danger.

When his eyes settled back on the man, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

That was one of the few times Aeolus had ever frozen, unable to act on impulse or instinct. The world around him suddenly slurred and distorted, clocks wound down to a groggy sluggishness. Indeed, every second did feel like an hour to him. It was a rather funny feeling; one would think that having hours within seconds would give one more time to think.

And thankfully, Aeolus was a fast thinker.

Even when Taison shoved him out of the way his mind raced, registering every detail of each nanosecond in every way, not even to bother with conscious, coherent thought as he processed the situation. It was faster, much faster than trying to make active sense of formless concepts that raged in his thoughts. Aeolus did not collapse from the push. He caught himself, but he did not stop. Somehow he curved the momentum in a moment of sheer instinct, weaving immediately toward the attacker, his ruby and emerald eyes blinded in one instant of pure, animal rage, the same one that drove him in the heat of a zoid battle, the same one that was bolstered by —

"I was taught to always go for the most threatening thing — "

Aeolus sprinted at the man, quick and limber, his hand shooting out for his wrist to keep the gun at bay.

"It's important to make the weapon useless, and even better if the hand holding it is rendered useless as well — "

He shoved the man's arm back, although he did not know how to break a wrist and certainly was uncertain of whether or not he had the strength to fight him off at all. But this instant of wrath and retaliation forced Aeolus to consider only the fact that this stranger was dangerous, still a threat, the reason Taison was more than likely hurt now —

"And when cornered, you can't give them any openings. I kill them right away."

And just like that, Aeolus's teeth flashed for the throat.

A storm of teeth and nails, a flurry of punches and clawings and tackles and snarls. What had once been another innocent scuffle had evolved into a full-blown brawl, and it was on Spitze's terms. Rosen had snapped in an instant without any real reason — perhaps it had been the adrenaline, perhaps it had been a sort of hunger, but fangs were bared and blood was drawn, and Aeolus had no idea of what he was doing in this fight. Cornered at some point, he resorted to his opponent's methods and was worn down to using tooth and nail.

But even now he would not, could not rip out a man's throat. He didn't know how to, didn't have the nerve to clamp his jaws down and tear, and even then what if he missed the lunge anyway?

What fact remained, however, was that Aeolus had thrown himself into the enemy and tried to deflect the direction of the gun, hopefully giving Taison an opening to do...something. &#9632;




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Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

3:16 AM - May 24, 2010 #31

Convulsive sets of inhales and exhales fled from his slackened jaws... motor function of his upper right limb boiled down to non-existent... his knees became deathly numb, unable to support his two-hundred-plus frame, which fell the bear of a man. Undeniably, the bullet had punctured his skin, only being slowed by the tightening muscle fibers of the injury sight. Taison's eyes were bright saucers in the shade of the wee hours of the night, and could focus on no particular detail. Pulsating pain painted a crimson-hued depiction of his surroundings, which only made it all the more difficult to cope with. Fatigue gained a catalyst from this; he leaned against the wall to help blood flow better than if he’d lie down. Weakened roars were all that could be mustered, and even those were laden with weariness inversely related to the length of time spent. But now, even his being turned on him, goading him to just... surrender. 'Rest and forget it all...' Oh, how it serenaded his buzzing ears, his impulsive forces, his tendons... everything. However, as the blinds of his eyes began drawing close, and the warm liquid continued to torrent in the direction of gravity, dyeing and perfuming his already dark skin, a lone resonance revitalized him.

"AAARGH!" Brutus hollered out, weapon-wielding hand neutralized, and his intended target pretty much all over him. Oh yeah, he was proud he'd hit someone with it –normally being a lousy shot, he’d have been happy shooting the broad side of a barn-, but, what now? Being the half-wit he was, this was as far the gambit had played out in his mind, so all he could really do was stare into the assailant’s dual-colored eyes, belonging to the one who transferred himself forward in record time. Power could not help him now, his back quite literally against the wall, and his hyper-intelligent sibling couldn’t either. He began fighting back, nevertheless, using weight to push Aeolus back...

Except, it didn’t really work.

His eyes became smeared, covered in a B-cell dominate fluid, effectively eliminating his sight. The tallest male there continued to strip the gun from the negated hand, quickly unloading the other quintet of shells with a snap of the wrist (a skill learned from a femme fatale friend of his), and drove the butt of the gun into the crown of Brutus' head. All with one hand. Before the final piece of ammunition clattered with the earth below, Taison was looking down on the collapsed man. Shoulder to shoulder with Aeolus once again, he inspected the antagonistic male. He had a concussion, that much was easy to recognize from the glossiness of the eyes and monotonous groans, but he worried about his mental abilities now- a strike to the dome is never good, but adding a tool... one could instantly die from the hit. As a last hurrah though, he slapped his hand against the partition to his rear, fainting afterwards. Without a word, without a motion, without even the slightest smirk.

But, leaving a greater gift than he could've ever imagined. Pressurized air hissed loudly, and the block-like teeth of gears grinded as if rust had infested it, but that didn’t matter. Through the perceptible disharmony, the blockade split in twain, parting to their respective side. And Taison... well, he just dropped to a knee, tending to the still leaking injury and rocking from side to side.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No... DAMNIT!" Rikku struck the door once, the knob rattling slightly, but leaving it unfazed otherwise. The area had earned a claustrophobic edge, as it seemed that hope should be relinquished. Especially after a chilling breeze passes her by. Looking over her shoulder, she heard snarls and hisses from Aurora, who'd returned to a vertical base. A syringe jutted from her leg, just below the patella, completely compressed. The doctor just laughed about it, eying the scrambling female.

"Forget diamonds. Morphine is a girl's best friend!" Her crazed optics then dialed in on the failed escape artist, who had turned around to face her now. Shaking her leg, the medical device fell to the side, and Aurora revealed another, this time, filled with a transparent substance. "I believe a nice dosage of it will not only make you see it my way, but also, give me what I want."

A crossroads would seem to be in effect; would she just hand herself over, giving up the ability to fight back –the same ability she's grown with and mastered over her sixteen years-, or would she dare be so bold, so brash as to try and apprehend the clearly stronger and arguably more intelligent Aurora, while basically standing on one good leg? Well, 'would' would have be the operative word for nearly anyone else. But not this teen hailing from Terrone Town. The sharpened steel in her sweat-saturated palm, glistening in the light, she spun it, twirling the weapon between her fingers. Shadows casted upon her brow, and her weight shifted primarily on her useable leg, but Rikku finally recovered a grip. Eyes rising to meet her opponent’s, two simple words spilled from her larynx:

"Bring it!"
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

5:03 AM - May 24, 2010 #32

The resistance of his attacker's weight was what alerted Aeolus the most in that one moment. Unable to complete the killing stroke, the lightweight warrior had only managed in pinning Brutus's wrist against the wall and slamming his free hand down on the man's other shoulder, bracing against the pavement of the backstreets. It panicked him to know that he might easily be thrown off and shot then and there. That surge of adrenaline was what kept him fighting, even if Aeolus did not know what else he could do with the man.

A sudden, looming presence made him flinch and draw back with fear. Said presence had struck their attacker across the skull, causing a startling crack that would replay in the young man's mind for weeks, and Aeolus nervously stepped back as Brutus hit the floor. He blinked at the agonized form of Taison's target, a tad shaken by the ringing of the previous gunshot and the crack of the gun against bone. Whatever rage had possessed Aeolus was already gone. It left behind a frightened, trembling young man who struggled between self-preservation and the qualities of curiosity and fortitude.

And just like that, it had become all too quiet. In a matter of seconds, bangs and startled shouts were snuffed out by just a few swings, one altercation that the night was soon to forget. Aeolus, however, did not know if he could ever forget this. He could not know if he would forget the muteness of his surroundings, ears deafened by the gunshot. He could not know if he would ever forget how the sight and smell of blood gripped him through his heightened senses, throwing a spell of sickness over his body when he numbly turned toward Taison. Aeolus could not even see his surroundings by then. All senses instantly focused on that one little picture, that terrible stink of blood and sweat and the faint shine of blood in the night.

The backstreets were dark, distant, unyielding. Drawn by the single image of Taison's wound, Aeolus slowly drifted toward his ally, his steps hesitant and strangely unsteady. His heart pounded in his ribcage, his gaze struggling to sharpen what it held. Everything was blurred in one second, clear as day in the next. But that damn image would not go away. It was just sitting there, mocking him, hurting Taison.

A brief shadow flashed over the three. Aeolus stopped midway and threw his head back to scan the skies, acting more on instinct than surprise, and yet he saw nothing above. There was only a vast stretch of darkness and, somewhere out there, some hint of Zi's two moons. Silently, he watched the night for a few moments more, and then judged it was nothing of concern. Aeolus turned his attention back onto Taison, closed the distance, and slowly knelt beside him.

He just stared at the wound, at how this unnervingly large man had been brought to his knees by one bullet. Aeolus then turned his eyes toward their attacker on the ground with some disbelief, as if he could still not comprehend what had happened. And he really didn't. So much had happened in so little time that it would take Aeolus a moment to notice that anything had changed, particularly when his mind was fixed on the damage done.

"Serious, I assume," Aeolus whispered, his tired eyes solemn as he examined the wound with a searching stare. "Any ideas?" &#9632;




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Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

5:55 AM - Jun 08, 2010 #33

The crater in his dominant arm was leaking rather consistently, even through the miniscule splits in his hands –enough that the draining blood began to make his useable arm tick, or rather, twitch dangerously slow and irregular. Indeed, not only had the simple projectile put the bear-like male down, it also instilled one of the most overriding emotions: fear. What made it worse is that he dared to look down to the extremity; it looked dead, almost disembodied. Taison's eyes remained wide, but slightly unfocused, and thoughts finally began to peak through the blanket of preservation (both of his comrade and himself) and incessant, utterly screaming pain. Thoughts of what he'd just done to the idiotic man (again, it could have easily been a death-dealing blow, so worry accompanied it, but Brutus' chest was still filling with air at the time), and how this more-or-less reflected a good many years of his in New Helic, and flashbacks of his childhood began to play in his head. How his father never really gave a damn about anyone but himself, how his mother sacrificed herself everyday by taking every open-handed strike her legal husband could dish out. How Taison himself began to feel worthless by not being able to stop his dad from hurting her, and, when he started receiving unwarranted strikes from both of his parents (his mom had had enough of self-sacrifice and needed something to take it out on), how he felt like destruction held the sole path out of the dark.

He felt...

Cold. Disgusted. Overpowered. Miserable. Abandoned.

And like he was sinking. Sinking back into the shadows, without a rope to hold onto.

'Serious, I assume. Any ideas?'

His state of mind? Screeched to a halt. Looking at Aeolus, his eyes glinted with a sort of confusion. Five simple words tugged on his being; last time he'd fallen into this state, literally no one confronted him with an actual question that was looking for an answer. And, while that may mean nothing to any other person, to Taison, it meant everything. It let him know that someone acknowledges his existence. It let him know someone at least remotely cared.

And, in regards to this night, it let him know that he was willing to pay even the ultimate price for these two people whom he’s only known for less than half of a day. Protect, work with, and save almost perfect strangers, all of which wouldn’t have been done a couple of years prior. Why was this? Some may expect it to be sheer human empathy, the culmination of lessons, or maybe even a source unseen. Who knows, but Taison now regarded his partner with a weary smile of sorts, before digging his nails into the wound, and extracting the foreign object. He then wasted no time in tearing the hoodie asunder at the insertion point. The sleeve slid down from his shoulder and gathered at the wrist, and he, muscles spasming and all, slips it off and holds it to the wound.

"Can you... help... me tie this...?"

The stray echoes of battle, however, still emerged from the gaping mouth that was the door before them...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Screams and roars poured from both combatants as blows began to exchange. Testing the waters, only a few punches were thrown from the teenager from Terrone, hitting their target readily, but received no response. Aurora stood there and laughed at the failing effort, eventually just stepping back and kicking Rikku in her damaged knee, staggering the young woman.

"Come on, now! This is no fun, Ms. Chiharu!" Making a grave mistake, she began to hover over her opponent, berating her. "I thought you were- !!"

And just like that, the sixteen-year-old pulled the trigger on a leaping uppercut, assisted by the bladed weapon. Starting in the middle of the doctor’s foreleg, she reaped upward in a slant, cutting that leg (pants included), across her torso, and even up to the left eye. This would have blinded her, if awareness hadn't kicked in, causing her to snatch her face backwards and stumble the same way. But Rikku is not a slacker, so she lunged again, ready to punch again. The doctor recovered, seemingly unfazed from the strike, almost laughing. Placing a rapid attack in the cardiac plexus, her own punches began to erupt and go forth, intermixing with will-groomed, but still long nails, and the syringe. Good thing our female hero can hold her own; she weaved through, under, and past the long arms. In fact, she was so adept at fist fighting, she managed to tackle the physically-dominant opponent. She fails to remember the needle though, as when she gets settled holding the scalpel against her face (she had no want to absolutely dispose of the doctor), the other medical device in the room literally was millimeters away from her jugular vein, only halted by Rikku seizing that wrist, and holding it at bay.

"Die!"

"FAT CHANCE!"

But, little did she know, this battle was about to get harder...
Salvation in 4.
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
Advanced Pilot
Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

11:49 PM - Jun 09, 2010 #34

The despondent stare in his comrade's eyes frightened Aeolus. There was a moment where he felt the need to usher the other teen awake, to shake him and plead for him to respond, but such momentary panic was dispelled when Taison glanced at him. The perplexity in his gaze was better than the hollowness that had preceded it, and to see him manage a smile lifted Aeolus's spirits considerably.

To see Taison extract the bullet, however, was not so pleasant. Relief quickly flashed to alarm when he dug into the wound, and then it turned to a grimace once Taison had coaxed the bullet out. If the smell of blood at such close proximity did not disturb Aeolus, it was the sound of the extraction, that quiet squelch which, too, would never quite leave his memory. He brought his finger to his teeth with a nervous chew and watched the teen tear at the hoodie.

"Can you..."

Surprised by the sound of his voice, Aeolus came to attention.

"...help... me tie this...?"

It took him a moment to gather his wits, but when he did, Aeolus nodded and moved to assist Taison. His normally nimble fingers were now trembling and fumbled more often than he would have liked, and Aeolus bit down with some annoyance. The convulsing muscles did little to ease his nerves. Still, he steeled himself throughout the process and slowly managed to bind the wound, taking care not to get blood on his own fingers. He would have just gotten careless if that happened.

Once he was finished, Aeolus sat back and sighed. Almost critically the young man examined their handiwork. He hoped that it would last Taison the time he needed to get professional assistance, particularly since there was no telling how long it would be until such fortune came up. He didn't want it killing the guy.

"How are you handling it?" Aeolus quietly inquired. Anyone's first instinct was to ask, "Are you okay?" and it certainly had been his first instinct as well, but Aeolus had been quick to reconsider the question. Of course Taison was not okay. He'd just been shot, after all, and they had yet to find the girl. They needed some stroke of good luck. Aeolus would hate for it to end on such a deafening, bitter note.

Speaking of notes...

Despite the gunshot, his ears were recovering quickly. What he had not noticed before, he now faintly heard through the door. Bemused by the unusual sound, Aeolus inclined his head and turned a small degree toward the door, angling his ear in its general direction to better pick up the sound. "What is that...?" &#9632;




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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

5:56 AM - Jul 07, 2010 #35

"Thank you..." His voice came out rather hushed, all supplementary energy channeled to keeping his senses in working order.

Staring at the area of injury, Taison felt a few pangs of helplessness as Aeolus quickly finished the tourniquet and sat back. Haziness from blood loss really began bearing down hard on him, but he also examined the fine work, but only just, as it looked and felt to be in working order. But when he attempted to move the extremity, nothing happened. It didn’t raise so much as a hair from the ground below. This struck some worry and clouded his focus –'could it be serious nerve damage, or just general shock?', he thought–, but he was much more concerned with everything else. Barring all of this, the teen had to take a break from the rampant thoughts, look to the sky, and just... breathe. A cleansing, meditation-like suspension from reality as it was helped somewhat; subconsciously, however, he was still focused on the task at hand.

'How are you handling it?'

"I..." He looked to the ivory-haired young man and nodded, accompanying that with another, more courageous smile, the answered: "I'm dealing. I'll live, anyway. Hey man, I wanna-"

His attention then piqued to the sound as well, and closed his eyes to try and focus on it more...

'It sounds...familiar...'
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At this point, the struggle broke down into what sounded like a battle of the ages, grunts evolving into roars. The current supine position of her opponent leaned in Rikku's favor though, if she was careful. The tomboy rained fists to the doctor’s face, but it seemed no matter how many times she connected, Aurora didn't pass out. It took about ten to even nudge a reaction other than belligerent laughter from her.

"Flustered yet? Scared that I don't even have a hint of glossiness in my eyes? You should be, Ms. Chiharu..." Brutal strength exuded from her muscles, as her free hand abruptly secured around the teen's neck. Not three seconds later, Rikku was hanging in that position, still keeping the needle from injecting the chemical into her. This girl hailing from Terrone Town fought back anyway, kicking and scratching. Her arms barely reached, but that didn’t stop her insurrection. "Defiant to the end. It's that mindset that'll end people like you, and rot this world to the very core. And it is truly frightening that there are more kids like you born every day, sometimes two or three at a time. This is why those of the upper echelon of responsibility and intelligence –those like me, who know the meaning of being a calmer member of our race– can fix it. We can save those like you, and save the world! Don’t you-"

Her body began to fade, strikes becoming weaker and weaker still from the lack of oxygen. Her indomitable spirit overrode the the physical failings for three words:

"Hey. Save...YOURSELF!"

Rikku, clutching Dr. Aurora's long hair, simple drove the medical examiners' face downward into a knee speeding upward at the very same time. And it didn't stop at one, oh no. She did this until the hand clasping her throat relinquished its hold, and then followed that by tucking her feet under Aurora's armpits, and taking her overhead with sheer might and speed. The needle flew one way, the scalpel being dropped before she was airborne.

"GOOD NIGHT!"

She placed another right hand into her face, and the doctor was out...
~3~
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

6:44 AM - Jul 15, 2010 #36

Aeolus cast his eyes down the corridor. He and Taison were still outside, still on open territory, and something about that open door inspired a chill along his spine. Stepping through that door meant danger. So it was a good thing that they did not have to step through that door, as they had something much more imperative things to attend to.

Even so, the sounds that his ears caught were more than eerie. He could not help but feel that they carried a vibe of familiarity, no matter how faint the sensation. And a cold, black breeze seemed to agree that it was of interest, sweeping into the area and tugging on his hair, at his clothes, tugging him toward that door. The atmosphere from within the building beckoned him.

Something sinister...

"...Taison, what do you think?" Aeolus hissed, drawing nervously toward his fellow. He could feel a pull, but he was afraid to follow it. What lay in wait was not adventure or heroism. It was peril, and Aeolus was scarce to tread there without good reason.

A shadow flickered. Aeolus glanced toward it and saw nothing but his overactive imagination. He tried to settle his nerves, tried to summon up some nerve to exude confidence, tried to reason out where Rikku could possibly be. Their only lead was out cold and they were in alien territory. But neither of them could afford for this to be a bust. Anxiously, he scratched his head and looked indoors once more, and he suddenly found the indoors to be highly appealing.




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Taison Brodoc
Skilled Zoid Pilot
Taison Brodoc
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Joined: 6:21 PM - Mar 15, 2009

10:01 PM - Apr 16, 2011 #37

A blink. Slow, methodical. Taison’s sight slithered to the open portal, dancing between pristine focus and unintelligible blur, like any camera.

A chill passed over his form as well... and the hooks of danger impaled him mind... but something about the sight he beheld spoke to him. In some baffling way, the ursine man felt as if that was the way to go. Their escort was smart enough to trick the two young men... but he felt as if it all couldn’t have been a trick.

“As dangerous as it seems... I think there’s something to this.” He soon turned his head back to Aeolus, and continued his subdued murmurs. “If nothing else... maybe there’s some kind of first aid or communication device. I doubt a secretive door like this would lead to nothing...”

Daggers of numbness slashed at the slowly dying right arm, the deep-colored cloth absorbing the spilling liquid. He gingerly grabbed his own wrist though, despite common sense telling him to not do so, and braced against the wall. Heels of his treasured boots dug into the ground below, and after a bit, he had managed to get back to a standing position. Haze of fatigue and adrenaline caused his body to recoil in horrid pain, and eventually slump against the steel once again.

“U-ugh... l-let’s go...” Taison shoved himself off of the icy wall, and delved into the unknown. Aware of all of the dangers that lied within, and that he couldn’t afford to be wrong...


~2~
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Aeolus
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Aeolus
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Joined: 6:42 PM - Mar 07, 2009

12:52 AM - May 30, 2011 #38

Taison spoke. He spoke and moved to raise himself from the wall, and Aeolus started toward the young man to help him to his feet. He'd mentioned a good point: there was like to be some form of assistance inside the building, but it wasn't enough to reassure young Aeolus. His mismatched eyes darted nervously to the open door as they slowly shuffled toward it.

He flattened as they passed into the space of the indoors, eyes adjusting to the change in lighting. They were in new territory now, a new environment, and where Aeolus should have been comforted by the thought of walls and communication, he was more made wary by the unfamiliarity and the corners around which lurked the unknown. He liked the unknown, but not like this.

It was quiet all of a sudden. Aeolus didn't understand what it meant. Perhaps it meant that his ears had deceived him. Perhaps it meant something had happened, or that whatever was happening had just stopped. He paused, still positioned to support his bear of a comrade, and he took a minute to examine his surroundings.

Where...

It was gloomy and glum, and it did little to ease his nerves. Aeolus thought to call out, but he could hardly find his voice. He hovered in front of Taison at first, and then behind, and then he shifted back and forth as if he could not choose whether to be brave or whether to take the backseat. Whatever the decision, they had to find some help, and maybe someone could help them find Rikku as well.

That was all they had to do—reach out for help. But if it was as simple as that, then why could he not call out?
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