LeahofCherem

DXN - RoShoujou - Part 2 (Main 1)

Jun 16th, 2016
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  1. [00:00] <Cherem> =====
  2.  
  3. [09:12] <Cherem> "Hey, okay, can everybody hear me?!" Honda's voice manages to spill out of several phones and earbuds and speakers at once: a conference call.
  4. [09:13] <Otomo_Reiko> "Yeah, just keep it down. I'm working."
  5. [09:13] <Shinjou_Miyu> "You bet. Is Ginyomi on the line?"
  6. [09:14] <Cherem> "Alright. No, she's not. But I'll let her know once we're off the line: Ai, Operator said some guys with vans showed up, what happened?"
  7. [09:16] <@Mr_Rage> "They took Akane!" A sniffle.
  8. [09:17] <Cerys_Doyle> "Who?"
  9. [09:17] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Who did?"
  10. [09:18] <Otomo_Reiko> "The UGN."
  11. [09:18] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu swears and very nearly throws the phone down, stopping herself at the last minute.
  12. [09:18] <Otomo_Reiko> "It was only a matter of time, they've been pressing the issue for a while now."
  13. [09:19] <Cherem> "The UGN found her? Found them?!" An edge of panic creeps into Honda's voice, "Where are they now?!"
  14. [09:19] <Cherem> Operator, watching your cameras, you can see that Akane is actually still running, ducking down corners and through streets. The vans are tyring to keep up, but she's moving very, very fast, taking advantage of her being on foot as best as she can.
  15. [09:20] <Cherem> However, you can't get eyes on Michio or Yuu's father: when they left the back of the house, they disappeared through several backyards.
  16. [09:20] <Otomo_Reiko> "The girl is still on the run, for now. As are Yuu-san and Mii-kun. I had them leave as the UGN arrived, they'll contact us later."
  17. [09:21] <@Mr_Rage> The Chimera whimpers, biting her thumb.
  18. [09:22] <Cherem> "Alright. Well, we can start by finding Akane. Shinjou, are you nearby? Can you meet up with Ai?" On his end, you're already with him, Doyle. Goemon, you're not too far out: you were supposed to have today off, after all.
  19. [09:23] <Shinjou_Miyu> "I'll get there as quick as I can. And listen... Ginyomi is on the menu, too."
  20. [09:24] <Otomo_Reiko> "At this point we might all be. Best watch your backs."
  21. [09:24] <Cherem> "Menu?" Honda hesitates, "Alright. We'll pick you two, three. We'll find Akane, and work from there."
  22.  
  23. [00:00] <Cherem> =====
  24.  
  25. [09:46] <Cherem> And with that, you hit the pavement. The UGN cars are easy to follow, but Akane is already starting to give them the slip. You're able to keep track of her somewhat, Reiko, following the heat distortions on your cameras and predicting where she'll show up. She's covered some ground since the start of her flight, but you send coordinates to Doyle.
  26. [09:47] <Cherem> On foot, Ai and Miyu give chase: there's plenty of people able to see the cars and vans blazing by, and some of them even attest to seeing a girl running away from them. How she's moving so fast, though, they have no idea.
  27. [09:50] <Cherem> Leaving your house and getting picked up, Goemon, you're with Doyle and Honda in the car. However, there's too many different sources of heat to narrow it down to Akane, unfortunetely.
  28. [09:53] <Cherem> However, your renegade comes to the fore, and you're able to catch a brief spike of energy. Mentioning it gives Operator a chance to find a camera overlooking what is now a man-sized, scortched hole in a concrete wall.
  29. [10:03] <Cherem> Operator, with your advice, you and Doyle manage to figure out where she's headed: She's making a beeline for the abandoned district.
  30. [10:04] <Cherem> However, Ai, your legs catch up to her!
  31.  
  32. [00:00] <Cherem> =====
  33.  
  34. [10:05] <Cherem> She's breathing hard. There's a thin haze around her, distorting the light around her as her heat starts to crisp the ends of her clothing. She slumps down against a house, exhausted. And that's when you come across her, Ai.
  35. [10:07] <Cherem> Honda's not far after you, as are the rest of you with him. Reiko, you've managed to hijack his phone temporarily, and the camera is poking out of his chest pocket.
  36. [10:08] <@Mr_Rage> Ai grabs the girl in a hug! "Akane!"
  37. [10:09] <Cherem> "Hngk!" The Girl flares up in more ways than one, and for a minute your hair's ends burn, but upon realizing it's hands, not tazers or a net, the fire dies down. "Mrph- Ai?" She manages to wheeze out.
  38. [10:09] <@Mr_Rage> "Thought they caught you..." Squeeeeeeeze.
  39. [10:10] <Goemon_Hozuki> "We might want to hurry before they catch up."
  40. [10:12] <Cherem> The girl makes a noise, "Ah... no. They didn't. But, you need to get away." She starts to stand, sweat running down her brow.
  41. [10:12] <Cerys_Doyle> "We can't be seen here, or anywhere for that matter. We have to find somewhere to hide."
  42. [10:13] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu looks some combination of wrathful and high, swinging more toward the latter. Her voice is pretty vacant. "Yes. Hide. Run. Anything but sitting still."
  43. [10:13] <Otomo_Reiko> "Assisting her threatens all of us. We can't resist the UGN forever."
  44. [10:13] <Cherem> In the distance, there's the sound of sirens, even.
  45. [10:14] <@Mr_Rage> "Doesn't matter! Akane's family, so we hide with her!"
  46. [10:14] <Shinjou_Miyu> "If they've grabbed Ginyomi too then they might as well have declared war."
  47. [10:16] <Cerys_Doyle> "Everyone in the car then, let's get out of here and find some place to sort it out."
  48. [10:17] <Cherem> Honda pales, "If they... Yeah, crap. I forgot to check on that!" He pulls up his phone and dials Ginyomi's number, "Alright, we need to find a place to hide, first. And figure out what's going on."
  49. [10:19] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Ok"
  50. [10:19] <Otomo_Reiko> "...they don't know my location yet. If you change vehicles and act subtle I guess you could come here."
  51. [10:20] * Cerys_Doyle all but shoves him into the car to speed things up, then waits to be sure everyone is in before she starts to drive.
  52. [10:20] <Shinjou_Miyu> A vein pops out on Miyu's forehead as she gets into the car, glaring ICBMs at Honda.
  53. [10:21] <Cherem> "We could try that." Honda nods a little, "Here, Miyu, you call her quick. Reiko, if we can find a car with a computer in it, could you, I dunno, use my phone and break into it or something?"
  54. [10:21] <Otomo_Reiko> "Haaah? Yeah, probably."
  55. [10:21] <Shinjou_Miyu> And then Miyu is right on it, dialing Ginyomi.
  56. [10:23] <Otomo_Reiko> "More than likely the wifi is always on and if its one of those advanced touch-screen ones...well..."
  57. [10:23] <Cherem> A moment later, your dialing is answered with her voice. "Ginyomi here, you're on speaker with myself and UGN Agent Greyhound." There's an exasperated voice on the other end, muttering something about saying too much.
  58. [10:25] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Is everything okay?" Miyu asks, trying to sound calm.
  59. [10:25] <Shinjou_Miyu> She does not succeed.
  60. [10:26] <Cherem> "Mm, yes. Agent GREYHound here was just paying us a visit to inform us that they are performing an operation in one of our neighborhoods in an hour or so. Although, I seem to be getting reports that this isn't the case?" She does not sound pleased.
  61. [10:27] <Cherem> "Miss Hidea, we are asking for your cooperation in this matter." The voice is older, a lot older than hers, and dignified, but with a kind of steely bite and backbone to it.
  62. [10:29] <Cherem> As she's talking, Doyle, you're able to find one of these cars easily. Anything post-Black Saturday started carrying computers in them, from GPS to audio players and more. While some people (like Honda) prefer pre-2010 cars, many have moved on.
  63. [10:29] <Cherem> Operator, you're able to latch onto the low-energy wifi signal the car is emitting and hijack it, cutting off the security alarm and unlocking it. A moment later, you have it ready to run.
  64. [10:30] <Otomo_Reiko> "I'll program a route into the GPS that should help you lose anyone following you before you arrive."
  65. [10:30] <Cherem> "And we would be happy to provide it, Agent. Although this 'act first, ask later' act is getting somewhat tiresome. Anyways, Euphoria, yes, everything is fine."
  66. [10:31] <Cherem> Honda grins, "Alright. Uh... As much as I hate to say it, Akane, maybe the..." He glances at the trunk.
  67. [10:31] <@Mr_Rage> Ai /frowns/.
  68. [10:31] <Cherem> In return, he gets a very, very withering glare from Akane.
  69. [10:31] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu seems taken aback by this. "It's been weird, Ginyomi. I don't like this but I'm not going to jump to conclusions. Anything you need us to do?"
  70. [10:32] * Cerys_Doyle glares at Honda for mentioning the girl's name. Phone mics could pick up quite a bit. Though she herself keeps quiet and drives along the route Reiko planned for ther.
  71. [10:32] <Cherem> "Mm... Greyhound? Would you like to explain what your agents are doing?" Ginyomi's voice takes on a cooler tone.
  72. [10:33] <Cherem> And there's the man coughing, "That is, for the time being, classified. Inform your agents to cooperate with UGN forces should they come into contact."
  73. [10:33] <Cherem> Hond pales a little,
  74. [10:33] <Cherem> "Alright, alright, uh, just, sit low I guess."
  75. [10:34] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Got it. I'll leave you to it. Good luck in there. " Miyu says, regaining a little composure..
  76. [10:35] <Cherem> "Thank you. Be safe, Euphoria." Her tone calms a little, and the line goes dead.
  77. [10:36] <Cherem> And the rest of the drive is.... well, tense. The vans and sedans are gone, but every time you see a flashing siren it sets your heart skipping. You can't arrive at Reiko's house fast enough.
  78. [10:37] <Cherem> Operator, as you're working, you do start to notice some discrepencies. Your cameras are flickering again, but this time from power outages, it seems.
  79. [10:38] <Otomo_Reiko> "Hrm..."
  80. [10:38] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu swears at every traffic light and slow driver along the way.
  81. [10:40] <Cerys_Doyle> As does Cerys, although much more colourfully.
  82. [10:40] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Don't try to stand out too much with the driving."
  83. [10:41] <Cherem> Looking at this, and judging from what you saw earlier, this is something you've seen the UGN do once or twice. It's a way of covering up their tracks: by flickering the electrity and devices, it becomes easier to blame any damages on mechanical failures. The last time this happened, they blamed it on a transformer and a gas line meeting up, and the city is still paying damages to the destroyed building's owner.
  84. [10:41] <Cherem> In short, they're already expecting a violent confrontation.
  85. [10:41] <Cherem> Honda nods, "This isn't our car anyways."
  86. [10:42] <Cherem> And you arrive at the house safely. Nobody's moved in next to Reiko yet.
  87. [10:44] <Cerys_Doyle> "Goemon, help me make sure the area is secure."
  88. [10:45] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon nods to Doyle.
  89. [10:46] <Cherem> If you give the place a once-over, it's about as secure as it is normally. There's no unmarked vans or strange cars loitering, nobody reading a newspaper and glancing up at you every now and then, not even any homeless people sitting and neglecting to ask for spare change.
  90. [10:46] <Cherem> Despite it all, it seems safe.
  91. [10:46] <Cherem> "Alright. Operator, we're coming up." Honda gets out of the car, keeping his head turned away from the street. As if anybody would recognize his face.
  92. [10:47] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu does, too.
  93. [10:47] <Otomo_Reiko> As they reach the top of the stairs and head down it's the door to Reiko's apartment that opens, not the neighbors.
  94. [10:48] <@Mr_Rage> Ai sticks close to Akane, tail wrapped around the girl's wrist.
  95. [10:48] <Cherem> "Ah..." Honda peeks in, "Are we... at the right one?"
  96. [10:48] <Cerys_Doyle> "Yeah, that's hers." She confirms.
  97. [10:49] <Otomo_Reiko> Honda and those close to him can hear another door close inside the apartment.
  98. [10:49] <Cherem> Akane jumps a little at the tail, poking at it carefully. "I forget you can do that sometimes..." Her voice is muffled, "Does anybody give you trouble... with it?" She follows the others carefully, head down and watching her feet, face still obscured by her hoodie.
  99. [10:49] <Cherem> "... Huh. Can... can we go in?" Honda opens the door a little, stepping inside. "Pardon the intrusion..."
  100. [10:49] <@Mr_Rage> "Sometimes. I know they don't understand, though."
  101. [10:50] <Otomo_Reiko> The place is dark but she did open the door, so...
  102. [10:51] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu's coac might be pleased with all the energetic pacing.
  103. [10:51] <Cherem> "I suppose. The people who've seen you work, I guess, know it's not like a cat's tail." She squeezes it carefully once, before stepping inside.
  104. [10:51] * Cerys_Doyle strides in to show them it is indeed safe.
  105. [10:51] <Otomo_Reiko> Inside there's a table with bottles of water and snacks waiting. All of her furniture seems to be covered in the same plastic it was delivered in. There are few signs anyone actually uses most of the apartment.
  106. [10:51] <Cherem> "Shinjou, you should take a deep breath." Honda follows in Doyle, looking around, "Alright. We're all here, we should be safe."
  107. [10:52] <Goemon_Hozuki> "One would hope."
  108. [10:53] <Otomo_Reiko> "I have eyes all over the place. For now, no sign of the UGN." Her voice is coming from Honda's phone again, though Overed hearing can pick her up inside the apartment as well.
  109. [10:53] <@Mr_Rage> Ai's ear wiggles, and she grins, scampering towards the voice.
  110. [10:55] <Cerys_Doyle> "I doubt we'll be safe here long."
  111. [10:55] <Cherem> "Alright." Honda takes in and lets out a deep breath. "Alright. Alright. So, we've got an Overed Runaway, the UGN, and.... No solution that I can think of."
  112. [10:55] <Otomo_Reiko> "No! Hey! Stay away from the bedroom!"
  113. [10:55] <Cherem> Akane takes one of the bottles of water, sitting down and adjusting her surgical mask to drink. "Runaway. I guess that's what I am."
  114. [10:56] <Cerys_Doyle> "No more than the rest of us are." She sighs, pacing the room.
  115. [10:57] <@Mr_Rage> A distant "Hiii~!"
  116. [10:57] <Otomo_Reiko> "While her Renegade strain is a clear identifier--"
  117. [10:57] <Cherem> "Yes... I should've asked for consensus on this." Honda rubs his cheek, hesitating. "What was..."
  118. [10:58] <@Mr_Rage> Thunk. Some seconds later, Ai returns with a red mark on her forehead.
  119. [10:58] <Cherem> "... Did Operator do that?"
  120. [10:58] <Cherem> Honda stares.
  121. [10:59] <Shinjou_Miyu> "It's probably some super complex high tech computer operated death trap."
  122. [10:59] <@Mr_Rage> "Door locked," the Chimera explains simply. At least she has some sense of /when/ it's okay to destroy someone's property. "So... what about Papa, and Michi?"
  123. [10:59] <Otomo_Reiko> Operator is close behind, arms folded over her chest. "You're free to the rest of the apartment. Attempting to enter the bedroom will end poorly for you."
  124. [11:00] <Otomo_Reiko> "Still no word from the doctor or Mii-kun." Looks like she dressed up for guests...the same way she dressed to leave the house.
  125. [11:02] <Cerys_Doyle> "Where else can we get Akane to safety? Someplace that won't point at our involvement?"
  126. [11:03] <Cherem> "Well, they said they were after Akane, right? And, the warning I recieved the other day," he glances at you, Goemon, "We recieved, I guess. Said they're looking for her."
  127. [11:04] <Otomo_Reiko> "There is no doubt she is the objective."
  128. [11:04] <Shinjou_Miyu> "I got that warning, too. Really weird. Told me the UGN had been researching and was after Ginyomi and Akane.
  129. [11:05] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko wanders to the kitchen, pulling out the bottle of liquor Cerys kept there and enough glasses for the adults, putting it all down with the bottles of water.
  130. [11:05] <Cherem> "Strange..." Honda frowns, "Did anybody else get warned about this beforehand?" He glances around. "Oh, count me in."
  131. [11:06] <Cerys_Doyle> "Oh thank the heavens." She picks up the bottle drinking directly from it.
  132. [11:06] <Otomo_Reiko> "Cerys-san and I had the encounter with Red King."
  133. [11:06] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Weird thing is that the person giving the message looked exactly like me. No way that was my future self come to warn me."
  134. [11:06] <Cerys_Doyle> "Apologies." She grabs glasses afterwards. "Seems most of us got some sort of warning. Should have prepared better, especially after that Red King dick."
  135. [11:07] <Otomo_Reiko> The hikki turns her gaze on Akane, getting about as close as she dared to any living being.
  136. [11:07] <Cherem> "Well, who would've expected such a blatant attack?" Honda waits for his glass, and takes a heavy sip. "So your doubleganger visited you?"
  137. [11:08] <Cherem> Akane shuffles a little, glancing at Operator. "You.... You went to see the Idol with Ai, right?"
  138. [11:08] <Otomo_Reiko> "That's right." She circles Akane next, pulling down her hood as she did.
  139. [11:09] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Yeah. Clearly someone who knew stuff."
  140. [11:10] <Cherem> Akane hesitates, clearly giving off a vibe of "what are you doing I need an adult". Her wig shifts a little, but she's quick to adjust it back to normal, and you can catch a glimpse of her mottled, muddy skin.
  141. [11:11] <Cherem> "Hrm. Somebody else is at play then. Our visitor said they represented a 'Family'. Cultish." Honda shudders. "But he wasn't hostile."
  142. [11:11] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Wanted to thank us."
  143. [11:12] <Cherem> Honda nods, "Yeah. Not UGN-affiliated, but not Tindalos either."
  144. [11:12] <Cerys_Doyle> "Friends then?" She still hasn't stopped pacing, but the speed is noticably less. "Trustable?"
  145. [11:13] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Makes me think someone might be trying to play us."
  146. [11:13] <Otomo_Reiko> "There are a lot of other organizations out there dealing with the Renegade."
  147. [11:13] <Otomo_Reiko> The hikki sighs and pats Akane on the shoulder before stepping away to rejoin the conversation as a whole.
  148. [11:14] <Cherem> Akane looks confused, but takes shrugs and leans in, taking Honda's glass when he sets it down. "I don't want to go to the UGN."
  149. [11:14] <Shinjou_Miyu> "What about this Greyhound guy Ginyomi was with? Have we got anything on him?"
  150. [11:15] <Cherem> Honda clicks his tongue, "He's the UGN's liason to Tindalos. One of them, anyways. He's supposed to keep us in the know about things like this."
  151. [11:16] <Otomo_Reiko> "He's something og a war hero in theory."
  152. [11:16] <@Mr_Rage> A tail steals Honda's glass back.
  153. [11:16] <Shinjou_Miyu> "War hero? How so?"
  154. [11:17] <Otomo_Reiko> "He was part of the team around trying to stop Black Saturday."
  155. [11:17] <Otomo_Reiko> "Obviously a failure, but they did kill the person responsible."
  156. [11:17] <Cherem> Akane makes an exasperated noise, "I just wanted to try some..."
  157. [11:18] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Is he willing to overlook a couple things?"
  158. [11:19] * Cerys_Doyle takes the bottle at recorks is before replacing back into its storage spot. "Not for kids." She says to Akane.
  159. [11:20] <Otomo_Reiko> "If he's like the rest? Doubtful."
  160. [11:20] <Cherem> You earn yourself a glare from the girl now, Doyle.
  161. [11:20] <Cerys_Doyle> "I feel like they're not willing to overlook anything about this situation."
  162. [11:20] <Cherem> Honda nods in agreement, "While he's worked with Tindalos before, this kind of thing... Yeah."
  163. [11:21] <Cherem> "And even if we manage to find a way to disappear Akane, this whole thing is just..." Honda rubs his forehead, "Doyle, quick, just pour me another one."
  164. [11:21] <Otomo_Reiko> "We have to do this without the UGN's cooperation. Akane-san's former ties to the False Hearts make it that much worse in their eyes."
  165. [11:21] <Cerys_Doyle> After a moment, she does so, handing him the glass and then replacing the bottle again.
  166. [11:22] <Cerys_Doyle> "So, no one has anywhere to turn?"
  167. [11:22] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon shakes his head no.
  168. [11:22] <Cherem> Honda takes a heavy sip. "I guess you'd say that."
  169. [11:22] <Cherem> The power goes out.
  170. [11:23] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko all but slams into the front door to peer out the peep hole.
  171. [11:23] <@Mr_Rage> "!"
  172. [11:23] <Cerys_Doyle> "Aww shite."
  173. [11:23] <Cherem> Looking out the door, you can't see much. Not that much, anyways.
  174. [11:24] <Cherem> As you do, your backup generator starts, and your computer starts to make a humming noise as it turns out. Proximity alarms click on.
  175. [11:24] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Ditto."
  176. [11:24] <Otomo_Reiko> "No. Oh no. Nonono."
  177. [11:24] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon tries to find a window to look outside.
  178. [11:24] <Cerys_Doyle> Some more cussing under her breath. "Alright. We got no other choice. I can make her disappear."
  179. [11:24] <Otomo_Reiko> She running to the other end of the apartment, disappearing into her room.
  180. [11:26] <Cherem> Your screens flash on as you enter, and you're able to see a team of men walking down the street. They're escorting a small cart, with a box about the size of a child. It's covered in bits and pieces, but just looking at it gives you shivers. They're armed with rifles with gas masks on, and their leader is scanning the area. In his off-hand, there's a white handheld thing, and he keeps glancing at it.
  181. [11:27] <Cherem> "You can?" Honda glances over, drawing his gun.
  182. [11:28] <Cerys_Doyle> "I can. No time to explain either, we gotta go now if it's going to happen." She's already by the door.
  183. [11:28] <Cherem> A moment later, he's pointing at your apartment, Reiko. For the record, they don't have anything to identify them.
  184. [11:29] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko reappears. "So...hey."
  185. [11:29] <Cherem> Honda glances up, halfway to the door, "What is it?"
  186. [11:30] <Cherem> "Gonna come with us?"
  187. [11:30] <Otomo_Reiko> "There are guys with guns coming here right now."
  188. [11:30] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Well that might throw a wrench into the plan."
  189. [11:31] <Cherem> "... And they know we're here." Honda curses, "UGN?"
  190. [11:31] <Otomo_Reiko> "No identification."
  191. [11:32] <Otomo_Reiko> "I'm gonna have to move." She falls to her knees at the idea, holding her head.
  192. [11:32] <Cherem> "Great. Did they do the lighting?" Honda goes to look out of the peep-hole.
  193. [11:32] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Great." Miyu mutters.
  194. [11:32] <Otomo_Reiko> "They have an EMP device to cut power."
  195. [11:33] <Cerys_Doyle> "Time's ticking. I'd rather not have to shoot my way out." She's beside Akane now.
  196. [11:33] <Otomo_Reiko> "I might know where to find some allies though."
  197. [11:33] <Cherem> "Alright. Well, let's just get going then." Honda hesitates, "Okay, two places then."
  198. [11:34] <Cherem> Akane gets up hurriedly, "If we can kill them without getting a shot off, we might get lucky." An edge creeps into her voice, her arms starting to light up.
  199. [11:35] <Otomo_Reiko> "I can't go. I can't. If they really are UGN I have to wipe...everything."
  200. [11:35] <Goemon_Hozuki> "It would be better if we could avoid them. Less problems."
  201. [11:36] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Should I just burn it all to ash then?"
  202. [11:37] <Otomo_Reiko> "No! No. I'll stay here. Get going. Shirobayashi woods."
  203. [11:38] <Cherem> "... The woods?" Honda frowns, "I Guess if it's just Akane they're looking for, we can..." He grits his teeth, "I don't want to leave a friend behind."
  204. [11:38] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Honda don't make me carry you."
  205. [11:39] <Otomo_Reiko> "Get moving already!"
  206. [11:39] <Cerys_Doyle> "Just move." She grabs Akane and heads for the door.
  207. [11:40] <Cherem> Honda growls a little to himself and goes for the door. The moment you open it, there's the pinging... coughing sound of a silencer. And a chunk of plaster beside the door is no more.
  208. [11:40] <@Mr_Rage> Ai bellows. This is a battering ram situation.
  209. [11:41] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Shit"
  210. [11:42] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu stares at where said chunk was,
  211. [11:42] <Otomo_Reiko> "I take it back, this isn't the UGN!" Shes hiding behind some furniture now.
  212. [11:43] <Otomo_Reiko> "JSDF maybe!"
  213. [11:48] <Cherem> "Alright. We'll go out one of the windows." Honda clicks his tongue, "Operator, you're sure you want to stay behind?" He opens the window slowly, peeking out to check for anything soft to land on.
  214. [11:49] <Otomo_Reiko> "I need to wipe my drives. Whoever they are I've been discovered."
  215. [11:49] <Otomo_Reiko> She looks down at her feet.
  216. [11:49] <Otomo_Reiko> "Before you go, m-m-maybe a kiss from a c-cute girl would give me the courage not the throw up and pass out right now."
  217. [11:49] <Cherem> Honda hesitates, "Well, I'm not a girl, but..."
  218. [11:50] <Cherem> Akane scowls, "I'm out then."
  219. [11:52] * Cerys_Doyle shrugs and walks up to the girl and full out bends her over with a kiss that leaves the taste of that bourbon she kept here.
  220. [11:53] <Cherem> Akane covers her eyes with one hand, the other reaching out to cover Ai's.
  221. [11:53] <Cherem> "... Alright, Goemon, help me out this window." Honda already has one leg out.
  222. [11:53] <@Mr_Rage> "Uu!"
  223. [11:54] <Goemon_Hozuki> "How so?"
  224. [11:56] <Otomo_Reiko> "That stuff tastes gross," she mutters at Cerys.
  225. [11:56] <Cherem> "Well, telling me I won't break my legs for starters." And whoop, he's gone, and there's the soft sound of a salaryman hitting pavement.
  226. [11:57] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu heads out next.
  227. [11:57] <Cerys_Doyle> "You learn to like it love." She winks at the girl before letting her go. "Be safe."
  228. [11:58] <Cherem> Akane peeks out, "And that's the Idol.... Huh. I never imagined running clothing." She's out the window and lands on her feet easily.
  229. [11:59] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon jumps out afterwards
  230. [11:59] <@Mr_Rage> Ai lands with gentle plop.
  231. [11:59] <Cerys_Doyle> Cerys is last out, lading with quit the thud.
  232. [12:00] <Cerys_Doyle> landing*
  233. [12:00] <Cherem> "Alright... the forest isn't too far. But..." He glances up. "If we get in the car, maybe they'll follow us, they're on foot, so, she'll be okay..."
  234. [12:00] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon lands with a thud.
  235. [12:02] <Cerys_Doyle> If they follow the car, we could split up.
  236. [12:02] <Cerys_Doyle> " " She says
  237. [12:02] <Cherem> "Split up and regroup at the forest?" Honda nods a little. "So... I mean, I can drive."
  238. [12:03] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Sure."
  239. [12:05] <Cherem> Inside, you can watch your screen, Operator. They're approaching your apartment, EMP behind them. They move it right under the stairs, and then start to creep up, guns at the ready. No insignia, no nothing.
  240. [12:06] <Cherem> Honda holds his hands out for the keys. "Goemon, let's go. Doyle, Akane safe. Miyu..." He hesitates, "You're good with people, so, keep them safe. I promise you all, we'll get out of this safe."
  241. [12:08] <Cerys_Doyle> A nod. "Let's go. We'll see you there."
  242. [12:08] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Alright."
  243. [12:09] <Cherem> Honda nods, and starts heading for the car. You're not privy to their idea, Operator, but you see them creeping up towards the vehicle on your thing. Thankfully(?) the gunmen are at your door, stacking up. The first glances at the white thing... looks like the scanner from Alien.
  244. [12:11] <Otomo_Reiko> Her attention is mostly on the screen, doing her best to gleam all she can about the group while she tried to cram all the data she can into her neural database. She had all the tools she needed to nuke her hardware but it still hurt her inside. Computer, keyboard, monitors...her closest friends all these years.
  245. [12:13] <Cherem> And then there's the screetch of the car starting. The men turn around, and you catch a glimpse of an obscene geusture from the passenger's seat. The men turn around, and the commander starts yelling something in... not Japanese. But two of them turn, and one of them jumps the railing.
  246. [12:14] <Cherem> "Goemon! Drive drive drive!"
  247. [12:14] <Goemon_Hozuki> "On it."
  248. [12:15] <Cherem> There's the crackle of a radio, and the leader goes running down the stairs as the car goes racing down the street.
  249.  
  250. [00:00] <Cherem> =====
  251.  
  252. [12:19] <Cherem> Shirobayashi woods. Located creeping and crawling around the lip of City N, this deep forest has been a staple of local lore for a long, long time. Populated by a mix of evergreen trees and deciduous trees, the paths within the forest twist and turn like an organic maze.
  253. [12:19] <Cherem> There is a distinct outline on the city's side, while this large, sprawling forest eventually breaks out into what could probably be recognized as "the country"
  254. [12:21] <Cherem> Inside, it's rumored to be dotted with little shrines, rest stops, campsites and others, but prevailing superstition has led some to believe the forest is haunted.
  255. [12:22] <Cherem> Indeed, there is a shrine at the entrance to the forest, but a concrete path that devolves to wooden steps, then dirt path, leads deeper, to a second, smaller, much, much older shrine.
  256. [12:23] <Cherem> And it's here that you all finally re-connect.
  257. [12:23] <Cherem> There is a distinct feeling of "alone" within the walls of the forest, and the sun starting it's downward journey towards the mountains doesn't help the lighting at all.
  258. [12:26] <Cherem> "Alright... the forest, huh?" Honda coughs, walking up the steps towards the shrine, waving at you all as he approaches. "good driving, Goemon."
  259. [12:26] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Thanks."
  260. [12:27] <Cerys_Doyle> Cerys is waiting with the others. She looks slightly relieved when they arrive, but still tense.
  261. [12:28] <Cherem> "So... The forest." He glances at Cerys, "Did you guys have an alright time getting here? We lost those guys easily."
  262. [12:29] <Cerys_Doyle> "We managed well enough."
  263. [12:32] <Cherem> "Alright..." Honda rubs his forehead. "Well, we're here." He approaches the older shrine, sitting down on the steps. They protest, creaking, as she sits back, "God, what a day. Operator is coming to meet us as well, right?"
  264. [12:32] <@Mr_Rage> A blue and white lizard, low to the ground and sleek, emerges from the underbrush, Akane riding it as well as one can ride a komodo-dile.
  265. [12:32] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Honda do you got your gun on you."
  266. [12:35] <Cherem> Akane is holding on tightly, "How... How did we..."
  267. [12:35] <Cherem> Honda frowns, adjusting his seating and drawing his pistol, "I'm not that forgetful, why?"
  268. [12:35] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Making sure."
  269. [12:37] <Otomo_Reiko> It isn't long before the hikki comes to join them, everything important to her stuffed into a backpack she was now wearing. She was panting by the time she reached them. "U-ugh."
  270. [12:37] <@Mr_Rage> Akane safely dismounted, Reiko gets her hug! Ai back in humanmode, of course.
  271. [12:38] <Otomo_Reiko> "Guh..."
  272. [12:39] <Cherem> Honda is standing at this point, "Holy... Alright." He starts up the stairs, "We can probably spend the night here, figure out what we're doing come morning."
  273. [12:41] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko manages to return the hug in an extremely stiff and awkward way.
  274. [12:44] <Cherem> As Honda says that, you all hear it. The sound of boots on dirt, not too far off.
  275. [12:45] <Otomo_Reiko> "According to the UGN database, a Xenos-offshoot operates out here. They have a mutual agreement to leave one another alone."
  276. [12:46] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Here's hoping we're left alone."
  277. [12:46] <Cerys_Doyle> "Probably not that lucky. Expect company."
  278. [12:46] <Otomo_Reiko> "I'll just hide behind a tree..."
  279. [12:47] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Well let's hope we don't have any company."
  280. [12:48] <Cherem> "Actually..." Honda gives Reiko a look, and steps into the shrine, out of sight.
  281. [12:51] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko follows.
  282. [12:51] * Cerys_Doyle moves anyone close with her as she follows Honda into the dark shrine.
  283. [12:52] <@Mr_Rage> Ai hides her best, clambering up into a tree.
  284. [12:52] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon follows close behind.
  285. [12:54] <Cherem> Turns out the shrine's empty. It's maintained well enough though, almost like somebody was living there.
  286. [12:55] * Cerys_Doyle keeps an eye out for any signs of trouble
  287. [12:55] <Cherem> Not too long after you've all hidden, five men step into vision. Dressed in matching black fatigues, they're even wearing ski masks, black guns with silencers hanging from their sides. The leader, apparantly, is carrying one of those white handhelds you saw before, Operator, and curses. "Shit. What the hell is up with this forest? As soon as we enter, the stupid scanner goes haywire."
  288. [12:56] <Otomo_Reiko> "If we could get that scanner," she mutters to Honda.
  289. [12:56] <Cherem> Another one grumbles, approaching the shrine, "What's the point of giving us that kind of equipment if it just breaks when you need it?" He turns, checking his gun. "This is why I hate working with the Dog assholes. Always the scraps of the equipment."
  290. [12:57] <Cherem> Honda nods a little, rolling up his sleeves.
  291. [12:58] <Cherem> "Shut up," the third hisses, "If Gamma team didn't fuck up at the apartment, we wouldn't be in this mess. Commander is gonna be pissed if we lost them here."
  292. [12:59] <Cherem> The leader breaks out a cigarette. "Enough of that noise. We're going to keep following this trail: they wouldn't be stupid enough to try wandering off. Boss says to get the girl alive, they've got a score with her for abandoning them. The bounty on the rest, well, fuck it. Just get the girl."
  293. [13:00] <Cherem> There's a grumbled agreement between the others, and they quickly check their guns and equipment before starting off down the trail again.
  294. [13:02] <Cherem> After they've moved on, Honda peeks out. "Alright... So, I guess there's a bounty on our heads now?"
  295. [13:02] <Otomo_Reiko> "Guess we've got more than the UGN to worry about." Reiko chews on a knuckle.
  296. [13:03] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Makes me wonder who loves us so much."
  297. [13:04] <Cherem> "Maybe they were False Hearts?" Honda glances at Akane, "Who would've thought they'd be so clingy."
  298. [13:04] <Cerys_Doyle> "I can take a guess."
  299. [13:04] <Cherem> Akane doesn't say anything, but her hands slip into her pockets as she looks down.
  300. [13:06] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Well the question is how far they are going to go for us."
  301. [13:06] <@Mr_Rage> Ai gives Akane a squeeze, having asserted her dominance over the ground at some point, judging by the dust on her shirt. "False Hearts..."
  302. [13:07] <Cherem> Akane mumbles something, "I'm causing nothing but trouble..." Now that she's in your arms, Ai, you can feel her arms are tense, hands balled into fists in her hoodie pocket.
  303. [13:08] <@Mr_Rage> "No! Family is never trouble."
  304. [13:08] <Cherem> "Mm. Well, perhaps if we can find these people, the UGN will overlook this." Honda frowns, "but, they would even be a mercenary outfit. Shit." He sighs, rubbing his forehead. "The shrine is a place to rest, I think. Somebody can take watch, but..."
  305. [13:09] <Cherem> "Family..." Akane trembles a little bit, but she plops her forehead on your shoulder and doesn't move.
  306. [13:09] <Cerys_Doyle> "I'll keep watch."
  307. [13:10] <Goemon_Hozuki> "I will swap out for watch when you need a rest"
  308. [13:11] <Cherem> "Sounds good." Honda heads inside, taking up one of the corners. "Er... I'd say light a fire or something, but..."
  309. [13:11] <Shinjou_Miyu> "Yeah. Lighting a fire is like saying come forth and mbe murdered."
  310. [13:16] <Cherem> Thankfully, it's not too cold. The sun sets early, and the wind sweeps in, but the summer's wind still blows slowly through the forest, winding and weaving through ancient trunks and branches. The Shrine makes a contented sigh as it settles, and you find yourself sitting inside the first entryway, waiting, Doyle.
  311. [13:18] <Cherem> Honda is long gone, sleeping in the corner. He surrendered his coat before going to sleep, pulling his arms into his shirt to keep warm. Akane is sleeping against the wall, breathing lightly. Anybody sleeping close to her, it's like being next to a toaster.
  312. [13:19] <Cherem> There's the sound of animals in the forest, the soft shaking of branches, and a thick, heavy moonlight, piercing the canopy of trees to illuminate the area in front of the shrine.
  313. [13:19] <Cherem> You can feel yourself starting to get bored, and it's getting to be the time to wake up Goemon for his shift.
  314. [13:21] <Cerys_Doyle> She puts the cap back on her flask, her way of keeping warm, stands and stretches.
  315. [13:22] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko is curled up with her back to a wall, backpack in front of her as a second wall to keep her safe from whatever bothered her.
  316. [13:23] <Goemon_Hozuki> Goemon is just sleeping laying against a tree arms behind his.
  317. [13:24] <Cerys_Doyle> After cracking some joints she makes her way over to Goemon, nudging him awake.
  318. [13:25] <Goemon_Hozuki> Yawning and stretching as he gets up."my shift?"
  319. [13:25] <Cherem> As you step, you feel your feet grow cold. If you look down, there's a thin layer of mist around your ankles.
  320. [13:26] <Cerys_Doyle> "Yeah." Is all she can manage, still looking out at the woods and the mist.
  321. [13:27] <Goemon_Hozuki> "The mist new?"
  322. [13:27] <Cherem> And... a haunting noise. A single musical chord, drifting from the forest, as the mist starts to grow stronger
  323. [13:27] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu ends up staring a lot, unable to get to sleep for long.
  324. [13:28] <Cerys_Doyle> "Yeah." She repeats.
  325. [13:28] <Cherem> The music picks up, slowly, several chords of music floating across the mist. A fog starts to swell and grow, as trees begin to disappear and fade. It's like the draw distance gets plunged into the abyss.
  326. [13:30] <Cerys_Doyle> "I don't like this." She goes to start waking up the others.
  327. [13:30] <Goemon_Hozuki> "Any ideas on what's happening?"
  328. [13:31] <Cherem> You catch a figure, you think, approaching up the path you came in. Long sleeves, kimono maybe? Black as night, it's like a shade against the background. A shamisen plays, and you can catch it's arms moving carefully.
  329. [13:32] <Cherem> Honda startles, 'Uweh? Company?" He stands up, rubbing his eyes quickly.
  330. [13:34] <Cerys_Doyle> "Yeah, someone's coming."
  331. [13:36] <Cherem> The figure approaches. Long, black hair, tied up in a silvery white ribbon. A kimono as black as night, traced with silver finery and gold iconography. Pale skin, and vivid, bright, golden eyes. "Our Home Has Visitors."
  332. [13:36] <Cherem> "Fuck." Honda clicks his tongue, peeking out of the Shrine.
  333. [13:36] <Cherem> Somehow, this woman has her own glow, like the moonlight itself is following her as she walks.
  334. [13:40] <Cherem> "Do not be afraid." Her tone is warm, but in a way that a live fire can reach out and lick at your hands, burning your palms. "My name is Moonlight Mirror. We have been expecting you."
  335. [13:41] <Cerys_Doyle> That doesn't cause Cerys to calm down any more.
  336. [13:42] <Shinjou_Miyu> Miyu blinks a few times, not believing it at first. "Miyu. What do you want from us?"
  337. [13:42] <Otomo_Reiko> Reiko doesn't look terribly comforted either.
  338. [13:43] <Cherem> "Simple." A little grin crosses her face, "I wish for you to follow." In her hands, she plucks at the shamisen idly, "I give you my word, and the word of My Master, that no harm shall befall you."
  339. [13:45] <Cerys_Doyle> "Your Master?"
  340. [13:47] <Cherem> Moonlight nods in acknowledgement, "My Master, who has lived in these woods and watched for years. We are like you, bearers of the unique and blessed blood. We have a unique position with your other friends, the Universal Guardian Network."
  341. [13:48] <Cherem> "... See, cultish," Honda grumbles.
  342. [13:48] <Otomo_Reiko> "Not like we're joining..."
  343. [13:50] <Cherem> The woman smile fades a little at Honda's personal holdups, but nods, "Please, follow me." She turns smoothly and starts walking down a path that... really, you could've sworn it was nothing but trees and briars.
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