Chapter 25 Cheating can get you killed

Melo would be there, somewhere. Likely talking with Grimgrin, and otherwise watching the show, and prepping his gear for the target shooting portion.

Matt S. would be standing around in his armor waiting for the first match with high anxiety.
Bharat: (Bharat even)
AJ B. (GM): The first match is between Quazil and Lival “The Redeemer” Serenis. A female Roane Piper cyber knight. The match seems to be rather disappointing, a couple blade strikes and then the opponents standing and staring each ohter down. Finally Quazil gains the advantage, kicking his opponent over, she seems helpless to get up, he slams his blades into the ground a few times as he walks towards her, before the match is called after he stands with a foot on her chest for over a minute.

Melo would watch, and he likely would be tapping his foot in time with the music of the band at least. Nope, no money riding on that one. As for the other matches on the roster? He had money riding on Bharat. Can’t bet against someone that championed you, can you?
Melo: (A meager 20 credits, but, y’know)

Artemis cheers and offers polite applause, and despite the urge to ‘rock out’, to any accompanying music. she maintains a professional demeanor. She might have money on most of the matches, but nothing with any of the bookies, only friendly wagers with the medstaff.
Bharat: Let’s just say Bharat is very glad that his armor concealed the face of horror he was showing right now.
Matt S.: (Hello?)
Artemis: ((howdy!))
AJ B. (GM): (sorry, having a lot of bouncing in and out on this for some reason.)
Matt S.: (So am I)
Grimgrin walks up to Bharat and places a hand on his shoulder. “You just about ready for your match? I’ll be announcing you soon.”
Artemis: ((Me too?
Melo: (Mine is bouncing a bit, too)

Bharat is startled and turns on grimgrin, baring his claws and teeh. He stops before he gets a chance to do any damage. He hesitates to see how the monkey reacts.
AJ B. (GM): He raises his two left hands in a pacifying gesture “Woah there friend, save it for the ring. I know you’re eager, but I prefer to do my announcements without dripping blood.”
Bharat: “Not… you.” Bharat says with a hint of embarrassment and way too much tension for a friendly match
Grimgrin raises an eyebrow. “You seem tense. You sure you’re ready to fight that tusked lunatic?”
Bharat: “Not… him.” Bharat honestly didn’t think much of the mammoth-man. He looked like somethign he’d hunt and eat
Grimgrin looks confused. “You were more coherent in the middle of the Quarter last week. Which is saying something considering your speech patterns.”
Bharat: “… What?” That finally broke bharat if his panicked stupor. “Bharat nervous. Lot of people.”
Grimgrin: “Ahh, yeah, bit different having people intentionally focused on you rather then just a crowd milling around.”
Bharat: “Bharat ready whenever…”
Grimgrin “Glad to hear it.” walks to the center of the arena. “Next up we have a fight of prehistoric proportions. The tusked terror, the rampaging wrath, the count of cruelty, KRRCKTUSK!!” He waits for the applause before continuing. “and standing against this wall of muscle, towering head and shoulders above him. Wielding the tenacity of ages, the scaled scorn, freedom fighter of the M-quarter, the breaker of bonds, BHAAARAAT!”

Bharat is temporarily shocked from his panicked revelry and resists the urge to face palm. He mutters to himself. “Damn it… this is exactly what I didn’t want.”

Quazil would be standing at the front of the stage, towering over the arena as he watched the contenders step into the ring. The band behind him would remain quiet, respectful of the Master of Ceremonies as Grimgrin began to read off the announcements and introductions, to make those calls as the two made their way into the ring. Within the red stoned monster’s eyes, there was that simmering fire of magma, locked on the lizard who made his way in. He’d even be so bold as to draw his Rage, that massive stone sword that he’d impaled into the stage (In that cleverly designed slot that had been built into it, at his demands), though it wasn’t held in a way of threat. No, it, and his free hand, were used to try and coax the cheering of the crowd all the more at the call of the contenders, though perhaps more so for Krrcktusk than the lizard… Just the same, both men would be treated to his working of the crowd, to try and bolster them both, to remind them of just who, what, and where they were fighting for: They were there as a show.

Melo would cheer, but casually.. Though he might even let loose a “C’mon you scaled lunk! You can do this!” But among everyone else, his cries would easily be drown out.

Artemis quietly places a bet with the rest of the med-team. 500 on Bharat landing the first blow, and another 500 on him winning the fight… with the stipulations that the winnings would go towards the city orphan fund, of course. She would, applaud the lizard’s entry to the arena, whistling shrilly, fingers between her lips. She, tonight, is sporting the latest of fashion trends, her eyes modded to be golden irises and cuddle fish-like W’s for irish, her eyebrows replaced with reptilian ridges, giving her a sharp, almost intent look. With her hair back into a knot, she looks almost like an Oni. She, otherwise, is dressed professionally, keeping tattoo and other body mods hidden beneath her black and white pipped jacket, and pressed pants.
Melo: (As needed, combat tracker is up. )
Artemis: (( hmm, W’s for pupils, rather . c.c))

Bharat flexed and stretched as the crowd cheered, sizing up Krrcktusk. His titles were indicative of things to watch out for. He turned his head to the sides, cracking it. He felt like it’d be easy, but he needed a show…. a completely one sided one.
Grimgrin: “15 seconds to prepare, then the fight begins. It continues until surrender or our staff healer determines one fighter is unable to continue.”
AJ B. (GM): He then walks off the field
(roll init)
rolling 1d20+3
= 14

Quazil still stood there, waiting for the ape to get off of the stage before the band began to play behind him, a few seconds into that prep time. An dark, electronica style static of sorts in time with a tune. It was at that exact moment that the bell went off that he burst into song, that massive stone sword of his leveled directly at Bharat from the far side of the arena, “SCUM OF THE EARTH! COME ON!” And that was when the heavy electric guitars came in behind him, along with the pounding of drums.
Bharat: rolling 1d20+5
= 6
(Bharat is apparently very distracted by that(
Quazil: (I think that’s.. y’know, fitting, seeing how as he just got called out.)
Krrcktusk: He draws his sword points it at Bharat “Last chance lizard, surrender now.” (that’s his full turn)

Artemis cheers and claps loudly with the rest of the crowd, no doubt the sound is lost in the chaos, as is her murmured “Common Bharat, don’t fail us now.” .. No pressure or anything, but anyone looking at the doctor would see her very intent on the field.
Bharat: “Bharat say same thing.” Bharat crouches into a fighting posture, claws out and tail curled up behind him like a scorpion. He spares a glance at Quazil, glaring from behind his visor.
(Quazil can’t see that, the visor isn’t clear)

Quazil would lift his blade, letting the cry of guitars and drums boom out at that rapid pace behind and around him, to further try and stir the crowd, letting the band play that opening to the song, though his gaze would linger on the lizard, that gaping black pit of his maw open with just a crack of a smile. The horrific kind of a smile that haunts some mens’ dreams. And that’s all he’d have for the round, taking the moment to watch and wait for proper timing of the song.
Krrcktusk: (that Bharat’s full action then?)
Quazil: (For those who’d like an idea of what’s playing: )
Bharat: (Yeah, gonna ready myself for him to come at me)

Krrcktusk moves closer and to Bharat’s left looking him over and smirking as he does. “No one’s beat me yet, and some overgrown tadpole isn’t going to be the first.”
Krrcktusk: (end turn)
rolling 1d20+3
= 22

Bharat suddenly dashes towards Krrcktusk, lunging with his claws out to grab thin air.
Krrcktusk: Krrcktusk seeing the grab rolls under the grab and grins. “Nice try.”
He then lifts his blade and swings hard.
rolling 1d20+3
= 12
(dodge, parry, simul attack, or nothing Bharat)
Quazil: (You also have auto dodge at +7)
Bharat: (Simul attack?)
Quazil: (Eat the strike, attack back; they can’t parry / dodge it)
(Parry and auto dodge are free. Dodge and Simul are single action)
Krrcktusk: (which Bharat does have auto dodge)
(why is it only showing some messages?)
(this is going to be hilarious)
Bharat: (Just gonna parry)
rolling 1d20
= 19
Krrcktusk: Bharat easily bats the blade away as if the metal were nothing more then a nuisance.

Bharat knocks Krrcktusk’s hand to the side as he swings down, knocking the blade away. “Stupid fight Bharat up-close. Better reach.” The big lizard takes the unexpected approach of turning around at that moment, faster than one might think, and instead of stopping, keeping the spin going with his tail slinging around like a big metal whip.
Bharat: rolling 1d20+6
= 17
Krrcktusk: rolling 1d20
= 11

Krrcktusk tries to get his sword between the tail and his own body but fails to get it set before the mechanized limb slams into him.
Bharat: rolling 4d6+15
= 30
Krrcktusk: The tail slams hard into his shins and he falls to the ground flat on his face.

Artemis cheers, particularly energetic. Easy 500 credits for the lonely joeys.
Krrcktusk: His fist curls up in the sand as he mutters something before throwing his fist and the handful of sand up at Bharat’s face.
rolling 1d6*10+6
= 56
(Bharat takes 56 MD as something unseen slams home on him)
(percep roll if you want to know what he was muttering)
Bharat: rolling 1d20
= 10
rolling 1d20
= 11
Krrcktusk: rolling 1d20
= 19
Quazil: (…?)

Krrcktusk rolls out of the way as Bharat goes to grab his tusks
Bharat: “Bharat think Krrcktusk give up!” The lizard yells over the music.
Krrcktusk: “HA. I’m Exactly where I want to be. You’re about to lose.”
Bharat: “When you use magic, Bharat lose, yes.”
Grimgin He waves for the band to be silent and for a halt to the match.

Quazil would respond to that call, “Hold it!” was bellowed off the mic, though the band would take a few seconds to respond to a lifted hand.
Grimgrin walks out to the center of the field. “Bharat, Our judges say you just accused your opponent of using magic. Is this correct?”
Bharat: “Yes.”
Grimgrin: “Krrcktusk, do you deny this accusation?”
Krrcktusk: “Of course I do. He’s a coward hiding behind an accusation so he doesn’t have to be embarrassed when he loses.”
Grimgrin sighs and rubs his temples. “As per tournament regulations our refs will investigate these claims and once the truth is determined a victor will be decided. Should Bharat be correct he will advance, should he have falsely accused Krrcktusk he will forfeit this match. Both of you, please report to the psi tents.” he then turns to the audience “Apologies for this folks, but we must be careful about such accusations. The next match will begin shortly, and we will have a victor by the time the next brackets begin.”
Bharat: (Well, this feels anticlimactic)

Melo grunts at that. His sentiments of it being anticlimactic were the same.

Artemis claps weakly, shaking her head… She murmurs her dissapointment with the other medstaff, but remains adamant that she’ll keep her end, whatever the judges decide.
Quazil: “Well, sorry for the interruption folks.” And then back to the band, “LETS GET THIS SHOW GOING!” And the song would start over; After all, they were only a few seconds into it.
Artemis: ((Time sense in rifts combat is bjorked. :D ))
Quazil: (I actually already had the next 2 minutes of the song timed out, in concert with the points of combat, action by action)

Krrcktusk walks besides Bharat towards the tents. “Damned stupid of you lizard. Why couldn’t you just fight me. Why bring in the useless refs?”
Bharat: “Krrvktusk can’t win unless cheat. Weak. No deeserve win.”

Krrcktusk laughs bitterly “A fight’s a fight, and no one but an idiot ties their hands before the weapons are drawn.”
Bharat: “If just throw sand, no care. If kick naughty place, fine. Magic biggest cheat.”
Krrcktusk: “And how does replacing your tail with metal fit into your morality? At least I came by my skills naturally then with some pathetic human technology being grafted onto me.”
Bharat: “couldn’t wait. Needed balance.”

Krrcktusk shakes his head as he turns off towards the tent and a human outside another waves Bharat over

Bharat walks over to the human.
AJ B. (GM): She leads Bharat into the tent. “Alright, now I hate doing this, it’s not fun and you’re not going to like it either but it’s the only method trusted by all. I’m going to do what’s known as a mind bond. We will both know everything the other knows for a few hours. If this is a problem for you, we will have to assume you were lying and don’t want us to find out. Do you understand?”
Bharat: “Why do to me? Why not Krrcktusk?”
AJ B. (GM): “He is being examined as well. should he refuse we will assume you are both lying and the match will be considered a draw.”
Bharat: “Bharat have secrets.”
AJ B. (GM): “I am bound by the same honor code as most doctors. Aside from what I am specifically looking for I will not reveal anything shown to me to anyone, I will forget it in anywhere between 1 and 6 hours. and unless we require enough mind bonds that some of us have to pull double duty I will be sequestered for no less then 8 hours after verification and consultation with the judges.”
“You will also know everything I know, and therefore will know my secrets as well.”

Bharat leans in, pulling his helmet off. “My secrets are a little more than lying, cheating and stealing, girl. If I find out you say more than the truth of the magic, I will find you. Do your bond.”
Bharat: rolling 1d100
= 1
Quazil: (That’s not good)
Bharat: (No, that’s really good.)
Melo: (Oh yeah. Low is GOOD on a d100)
Bharat: (That was a performance to intimidate her… I think she pissed her pants)

Melo would only halfheartedly be watching the next fight, and otherwise just be idly chattering with Ambrose on the side.
AJ B. (GM): Her eyes flutter and it looks like she is going to faint before she seems to stabilize herself by focusing inwards. “ummm, yeah got it.” she does the mind bond and you both learn everything about each other. which includes Bharat now knowing exactly how scared she was, and that she had to use a psychic resist fear to even remain standing. He also knows where her family lives, what she does in her spare time etc. and that she seriously considered refusing and sending in a different ref for this.

Bharat realizes exactly what he’s done… “Sorry.” He was suddenly very uncomfortable.
Grimgrin: walks up next to Melo. “Peacekeeper Craft, We may need your help shortly.”

Melo humms? “What’s up big man?”

Bharat looks down at his feet… in embarrassement
AJ B. (GM): As the bond finishes she nods and places a hand on his shoulder in understanding. “I get it. Be careful. and if you don’t mind some unsolicited advice. Find Cockatrice and get her help.”
Grimgrin “Simple really, I don’t want this arena to turn into a riot. and if they do find he was using magic, well someone has to arrest him and take him in. and they” he waves at the crowd of D-bees and humans “all know it.”

Artemis places small bets on the following match or two, but she spends most of her time discussing practical applications of cybernetic implantation versus force-grown vat limbs and organs with some of the other medstaff…
AJ B. (GM): rolling 1d6
= 6
Bharat: rolling 1d6
= 5

Melo grunts and nods. “Yeah. This is gonna be a train wreck.” He wasn’t the only peacekeeper around, but still, he’d signed up for guard duty. “I’ll radio in for a wagon, just in case. Too much to hope that he’d come peacefully, isn’t it?” Even as he spoke, he was starting to walk.
Grimgrin “He’ll come quietly if he’s brought in peacefully, but a lot of peacekeepers are edgy after recent events. and if they get enthusiastic with their weapons…”

Melo ahs, nods. “Yeah. I’ll make sure he’s handled properly. Best I can do ‘tell he’s outta my hands. Might need to bring the ref in, too, to get a statement.” And then he’d turn his head, tapping at his radio. “Command, this is Peacekeeper PK-2246D3. I may need an extra large wagon down in the M-Quarter. I’ve got someone who’s showing some signs of being a bit disorderly and I may need to give them a chance to cool off.”
AJ B. (GM): “Acknowledged, it’s on it’s way.”
Melo: “Thank you kindly Command. Over and out.”
AJ B. (GM): The next match goes by within a few swings, ending with an ogre who crumbled to literal dust after a blow to the head. and grimgrin shaking his head and attempting to keep the audience calm. the final match of the first bracket plays out more entertainingly and seems to get the crowd back into the swing of things.

Quazil would be playing the entire time, standard metal set, and doing what he could to keep the crowd amped, though it was a challenge at times.
AJ B. (GM): As it finishes Grimgrin walks out onto the field. “Our judges and refs have conferred and come to a conclusion. In accordance with both the rules of this arena and the laws of this city. Krrcktusk has forfeited his match and will be taken into custody. Bharat advances to the next round.”

Melo would simply be waiting outside the tent, properly clad in his body armor, face mask and all. He would let himself in, or wait, whatever seemed most appropriate, out of sight of most people save those in the tent. “Krrcktusk, I presume you know why I’m here?” His tone was polite, respectful.
Krrcktusk: “You’re here to lead me to my execution, and you specifically were sent because it means it’s less likely to occur a few minutes earlier.”
his tone matter of fact with no bitterness in it.
Melo: “Yeah. Pretty much.” His own tone was flat, as if the very idea of it was distasteful to him. “You need me to make sure anyone gets any messages or things? Next of kin, or property you need sent somewhere safe? Figure we’ve got a few minutes at least. Wagon’s been called in for some minor disobedience so far. Best I can do about making sure there isn’t a mass panic in the quarter for now.” His tone held one of respect and courtesy; no blame, no insult intended, just someone trying to be polite and do their job at the same time.
(That should be read as the first statement was distasteful;, not the rest)
Krrcktusk: “Actually, if you could get a video of my execution to (Address) that’d be greatly appreciated.”

Melo nodded, once. “Will do what I can about it. You want to give a statement as to why or anything that I can use to try and get you some kind of leniency? I know its unlikely that I can swing anything as a beat cop, but maybe I can try and get you shipped out to Tasmania instead?” Yeah, he knew he couldn’t do much with this one, even more so with how riled up the populace was, and really, was that much better than a simple, clean execution? “Give you a chance to go out fighting, if that’s more fitting?”
Krrcktusk: He smirks “No, no so long as that tape gets to that address I can go in peace.”
AJ B. (GM): The wagon arrives and he goes without a fight.
Melo: (To GM) rolling 1d100< 71 Law, legality of making sure such a video was sent somewhere or not.
= 1 Successes

Clockwork would place more bets for the upcoming round, particularly, another 500 on Bharat, and again emphesizing that any winnings would go to the orphan fund. Sure, the bookies might not care, but betting amongst the medstaff gives them a chance to win back lost cash, and also pushes at the altruistic nature.
Melo: “Can’t blame a guy for trying.” Standard paperwork, a statement given, a few quiet words of what level the crime was with the driver and to be respectful and he should behave. A statement would be collected from the ref, a mental cross check of the address against the file he’d already pulled of the mammoth, and a record of the accused ‘last wishes’ included before the van would be sent on its way. With that, he’d go about his due diligence, and start looking for the lizard that damn near caused a riot with his accusation.

Melo would of course have missed a few of the fights; a bracket match for the sub-brackets to make their way into the top, a few simple exhibitions by the time he’d finished dealing with his job with the mammoth, and making his way to the tent Bharat was in.
AJ B. (GM): (easy enough to find him I’m sure.) The psi ref has headed off to wherever they go after their work is done.

Bharat is sitting in the corner of the tent, holding his knees to his chest, tail rwapped around him

Melo was tense when he walked into the tent. “I’m here to get a statement of what you saw.” He was direct and to the point, though he seemed a bit caught off guard by the lizard’s actions, he still held that flat, professional tone… “Standard legal precedings. I can either take it here, or we can take it down town if you’d rather we do that?” Was that a hint of concern in his voice? “But from what I saw, you made a good call.”

Bharat turns to look over his shoulder. His face seemed… wet? What? He turns away quickly. “He’s gonna die, isn’t he?”

Melo stood there, not quite willing to approach the monster. “Yeah. Yeah he is.” His voice was fairly to the point. “For what its worth, You may well have just handed an innocent woman her freedom, too. He’s the one that actually WAS using magic, and the city is on a witch hunt.” He wasn’t buying the act, but at least he was being nice. His face was hidden behind his face mask.

Bharat “I didn’t think before-” Bharat flinches and wraps his hands around his head, drawing himself in tighter. “I didn’t want him to die… It wasn’t his fault…”
Bharat: Bharat doesn’t seem totally all there right now
Melo: “Yeah.” And his next words came out a bit more venomously then likely intended, “You don’t think before you act a lot. Seems to be a trend with you.” He was still leery of approaching, considering his past experiences, and even then, he’s still not fully over his head trip; He’s at least had time to cool off. “This time, it cost one person their life. Last time I saw you act before thinking, you damn near killed a child when I was forced to take you down because you ran when—” And he’d bite his tongue at that point, and pause for a moment before speaking again, “This time, you did what the city’d call the right thing.” Yeah, that… Oddly, that helped HIM quite a bit, even if he was doing exactly what the lizard had done and acted without thinking. “Yer a merc. You kill people for a living. Why’s he any different?”

Bharat flinched again when Melo started scolding him. He stays quiet in his little curled up ball for a bit. “I’m not usually that kind of mercenary… And even if I was, it’s different…I’m not doing it myself, he can’t even try to protect himself. it’s not fair…”
Melo: “Yeah. Law of land though. If he wanted to be treated fairly, he coulda tried fighting fair up there and not used magic. You just told him not ten minutes ago he wasn’t fighting fair, so if he won’t, why should we?” A shrug. “And he can try. Hell, the reason magic is so fucking frightening is because you don’t know who has it, and who can use it. He coulda fought back when I went in to arrest him. He didn’t. He held his head high and accepted his fate. I’ll give him that, and I still worry about the crew that’s taking him off. I just hope they don’t make a media spectacle of him, but..” And then he’d sigh and shrug. “What’s done is done. Next time you see someone using magic, think about it before you call them out in front of several hundred people. Now, we’ve still got a number of things we eventually need to talk about. You need a lift somewhere quieter to clear your head, or you want to stick around for your next fight?”

Bharat stays quiet… “Am I a bad person?”

Melo stopped at that question, and thought about it for a long moment before answering. “…No worse than I am, I suppose.” Granted, that isn’t a very good measuring stick to hold oneself against, is it? “Y’ve made a hell of a lot of wrong choices, but if you give things a bit more thought, you can make the right ones. I find myself having to make those calls with Ambrose all the time.”
Bharat: “I just wanna leave…”

Melo nods. “Alright. You want me to bring the truck? Might take me half an hour or so. Or should I give someone a call to pick you up? Hell, if walking you where ever you wanna be is what it takes, so be it. Just try not to out run me this time would’ja?” A hint of a joke in his tone? Likely a badly timed one, but just the same. Granted, if the lizard connected “The Truck” with his APC or not, that was anyone’s guess.
Melo: (Likely closer to an hour to an hour and a half, really)

Bharat doesn’t answer this time, staying curled up in the corner.
Melo: “Alright. Just let me know. Only have the bike with me, and don’t think I can fit you on her.” He was still a cold hearted man when it came down to it, but at least he was catching a hint that the lizard wasn’t acting. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” And out the tent he went, muttering about Charlie still having his truck. This time, he’d head back to find Grimgrin, and pass along the news, quietly pulling him aside to do so, out of earshot of anyone else. “He’s in no shape to fight. You know anyone with an extra large van or truck I can borrow to get him outta here without anyone seeing?”
(Shooting comp was that night, too, right?)
Grimgrin: nods and calls over one of the staff. Who quickly hands over his keys and points to a van sized for larger D-bees and mention that theres a dial to adjust the pedals to proper height. “Do what you can for him. He’s a good soul.”
Melo: “Thank ya. I might miss the shooting competition tonight, but work comes before pleasure.” {Remove that last sentence if, you know, it wasn’t tonight} “I’ll try and have these back tonight.” And with that, the doctor was the next stop, if only because.. Well, frankly, he didn’t know: “Hey Doc… Orange juice lethal to something like Bharat?”

Quazil might be just a little disappointed that he’d get a pass to the next round.

Artemis ‘s head comes up, her ridged brow crinkling as she looks around for the sound of… "Orange juice? I doubt it would hurt him. Not too much before the next match, I’d hate to see him puke it up in the scuffle." She blinks, her pupils thickening into thin, narrow W’s
Bharat: (… Did you give yourself cuttlefish eyes?)
Artemis: (( Yes, and reptile-ridges ))
Bharat: (… why?)
Artemis: ((Fashion))
Bharat: (… fashion is still weird)
Artemis: (( The doctor worked up some new gear, at the request of an admin… so she gave herself a set, benefit of the designer, and is trying them out. ))
AJ B. (GM): (yes it is and it will just get weirder the more people are allowed to change about themself)
Melo: “Thanks.” And with that, he’d turn and make his way off to the snack bar, after collecting his winnings off what was technically a forfeit. Here’s hoping they had some kind of juice on sale. By the gallon. And a hot dog for himself, and some sort of large slab of meat. Even at the cost of event prices, he’d come out ahead, right? And even if he didn’t, such as life. A hot dog in one hand, helmet on his shoulder clips, the other holding a bag of “Meat” and a container of juice, off to the tent he’d go. “Hey. Y’still in here?”
(I say “Meat” because a city this size, I’d still think most of their meat substance would be bug based)

Artemis waves at the retreating Melo, shaking her head slightly. She turns back to the guy she’s been chatting with…

Bharat looks like he might have shuffled around in his spot a bit, but otherwise doesn’t seem to have moved

Melo would have finished his hotdog (No, he is not going to ask what kind of protein it was made of. He learned to stop doing that in Germany) along the way. “C’mon. I got you a ride, and something for your nerves.” This time, he’d actually approach, to offer food and drink. “Where we going?”
Bharat: “Ivanikov’s bar…” Bharat says, sullenly, almost listlessly. While somehow being incredibly sad. “The wired fist…”
Melo: “Alright. C’mon. I’m not gonna be able to carry you, you know. So stand up, have a snack, and lets get outta here. I already got your fight scratched, but I’m on the clock out here, and I’d rather it be me here than some of my overzealous counterparts.” He’d still be offering the food and drink, o’corse.
Bharat: “… not hungry… thanks…” He’d actually eaten quite heartily before coming out… just in case. He shifts around a bit and then it seems like he might not get up and then climbs to all fours.
AJ B. (GM): (you guys good with calling it and picking it up at the arrival to the bar next time?)
Melo: (Yeah)
Bharat: (Yep. I need to be in bed anyway
Artemis: ((sure))
AJ B. (GM): 300 xp each, an extra 300 for Melo and an extra 500 for Bharat.
Zea: Today is Tuesday, January 5th, 2016. EXP is about to be given. Or rather, just was.
AJ B. (GM): awesome game tonight all, was a lot of fun.
Bharat: What’d I do for all that?!
Zea: You removed a major antagonist from the game.
And did it by playing smart
That, and you played things awesomely tonight
AJ B. (GM): played to your character, removed a serious threat from the city, and generally made the game that much more fun tonight. so yep, Zea is pretty much correct.
Zea: And you played it in such a way that Bharat very clearly learned something from his experience.
AJ B. (GM): (kk, I’m gonna grab some food real quick)
(back, have food now)
(you set?)

Melo had much to do the day before the tourney; he’d lost so much time to his coma, to those much needed repairs of his equipment. Study would have turned up information that had been requested, data transcribed to one of the “Extra” pads around the house by hand, a meager five pages or so of text on the saint of lost things; Never once did he connect his own system to the network. Not when he knew that AI could always be watching. Some time would have to have been spent in the book stores in town anyways, or perhaps at a library, if he could find one, simply to.. well.. To look. An hour, two at most would be all he had for such a task, but that’d be more than enough time to let him find something, perhaps… To give the appearance of research should anyone be tracking him, the paranoid git. He’d almost always be looking over his shoulder the entire time, though. And then there were the tasks of that morning (We’ll cover those later on), and the general lack of sleep he’d had before that meeting (At what time, would you say?).
AJ B. (GM): (iirc, it was set for 8 am)

Melo miiiiight have gotten an hour or two of meditation in. On the bright side, he woke up at noon the day before!
AJ B. (GM): As you arrive you notice the office is a bit more of a hustle and bustle then usual. Very few calm faces are around, though the secretary who lets you into the elevator seems to not notice her coworkers furious movements, and acts a bit bored with it all.

Melo as always signed in with a friendly and warm smile to the woman, “Morning Marian (Or whatever her correct name was). Should I be wondering about the hubbub?” Friendly conversation, at least.
AJ B. (GM): “Not if you read the news Mr. Craft. Everyone thinks enough work can spike them up the line to take the place of that asshole who died recently. You here to try and negotiate a spot for yourself and drum up support for your bid?”

Melo ahhs, followed by a laugh. “Hells no. I’ve got too much on my plate to even try for it, let alone would I want the job. Think I’d make a terrible admin. Just here for a visit down stairs, see if I can’t brighten someone’s day. Speaking of, when was the last time someone thanked you for the work you do keeping things moving up here? Y’do a damn good job at it.” A bit of a smile after getting his access card for the day, and on down he’d go, bag in hand, clad in his standard body armor (After all, he took the bike with him!).
AJ B. (GM): A hint of a smile crossed her face. “Thanks for that, no one here tends to notice, and before you go though. If you aren’t after the job you may want to see some of the paperwork that came down from the top.”

Melo would be held up at that, “Oh?” A glance at the clock; he was 20 minutes early, he had time. “What came down?”
AJ B. (GM): She rummages through a stack of papers in a tray next to her and slides it accross the desk. “Now I never showed you this as until a majority approves discussion of the proposal you aren’t supposed to know about it.”
Request for Consideration to replace: Administrator Fishhead
Candidate: Melo ???.Craft
Reccomending Administrator: His most ill and powerfu, Grand Master G.
Reason for Reccomendation: Krazy Craft and his crew would give a new perspective this assemblage of infamous individuals has long needed.
Date Submitted: Fucked if I know, think it’s thursday.

Melo rather quickly looked over the paperwork, those robotic eyes picking things up swiftly, “Never showed who what now?” He’d wink, but.. well.. He’d have to flash her just a hint of that winning smile of his, hoping she got the joke, though his jaw might drop juuuust a smidge for a moment, catching himself with an amused laugh. “Y’know, you gotta love his sense of humor at the least.” He’d carefully tuck papers back into place and pass them back to the woman. “Thank YOU for giving my ego the kind of boost it needed after the last few months.” He was warm, genuine with that comment, a mental note made to at least try and get some sort of flowers for the woman, as a general ‘thank you’. “But for now, I should be getting down stairs. Don’t want to keep some people waiting after all. You have a good one.” And with that, he’d turn into the building with that smile of bemusement on his face. Nope, this wasn’t going to end well.
AJ B. (GM): She smiles and nods “Enjoy your visit, I’ll see you when you’re done.” When the elevator arrives again there is an odd sense of foreboding down here. Although it’s hard to place why, then as you pass the door leading to the backups, even though it’s closed furious typing can be heard through it. The door leading to Valerie’s area has a few dents in it and a char mark near the handle.

Melo would, provided no one else was in the elevator, let loose a casual “Fuck me…” and a shake of his head, letting things soak in. This city was in a worse state then he thought, when it comes right down to it; An outsider who’d done the right thing, in the pocket of a crime lord, a known D-Bee sympathizer, and been in a coma for a month and a half, and one of the leaders wants to make him an admin? Yeah, this city needs far more help than he anticipated. Still, he’d stop and stare at the door, that casual and ever present flickering through spectrums taking place as he walked. The backup room might be something to catch his attention, but.. Well, he had a meeting, even if he was still ten plus minutes early for it. Casual inspection of the door and those dents would follow though; A fist? A hammer? Something owned by a borg, or something organic? Always so hard to tell… Heck, even that charring might warrant investigation, but it’d be just as easy to simply ask. Knock Knock goes the fist on the door; He may have an access card, but he still couldn’t past that retinal scanner, what with his lack of retinas.
AJ B. (GM): The door opens however when the room becomes visible either Valerie ran or moves at an insane speed as she is leaning against the door on the opposite side of the room. As casual as the pose is, the rest of her body language practically screams of a soldier feeling the calm before the storm. Her muscles just barely below tensed, her eyes flickering back and forth, scanning the room. Her arms crossed in a defensive postion but her hands placed perfectly to reach for shoulder holsters. Once she sees Melo a little of the tension relaxes but not much. “Hiya soldier boy. Heard you had a nasty run in with something big, and then got to know a hospital bed intimately.”

Melo knew that language of the woman’s body well; he’d seen it in his men, in his brothers in arms, and in himself time and time again. “Guessing I’m a smidge late for the party?” He’d let himself in, making sure to close the door behind him and actually lean inwards against the handle, to make sure it was properly closed before making his way into the room. “Guessing I shoulda brought more than my side arm?” His smile was friendly at least. “And you could say that. I’m still sorting most of it out. Hopefully you’re doing ok? And mind if I get something from my pack?” He knew how to deal with ‘The Law’ as it were, when in this state. No sudden movements, clearly announcing what he was planning to do, all that fun stuff.
AJ B. (GM): “Go ahead, and nah your side arm is more firepower then needed, unless you’re willing to shoot the Administration. Right now I’m not sure how much I’d really object to it either. As for the party, maybe a bit. Got some fireworks but no games. Some idiot tried to bust in here with explosives. Dunno how he got past everything to even reach the door, and no one knows how the hell he got out either.”

Melo laughed a bit, “Gotta give them at least some respect.” Hands would reach back, a pair of levers hit at the same time on either side to make the pack’s vice grips let go from their latch points. Around he’d bring it, reaching in to start fishing around. “Hopefully no one was hurt, at least? And no idea who he was or is? And aside from that, hopefully that plant I got you is doing as well as you are?”
AJ B. (GM): She nods and smiles. “It’s holding up nicely, brightens things up a bit. As far as we can find no one was physically hurt. The card that was used for getting down here. Well that employee, he isn’t doing so well on his career track. Not a clue, hell a few people say it was the employee himself. He’s denied it, and been proven innocent as much as is possible around here anyhow. What pisses me off is the flak I’m getting for it. Can’t leave this room except for neccessities and yet I’m somehow supposed to stop people from reaching that door. Top it all off the Admin’s are coming down here to muck with the AI today. Apparently as a security measure an admin must connect to the damn thing along with his replacement to be allowed full Admin access.”

Melo nods, approaching the woman after pulling a few candy bars from his bag and handing one of them over before moving to take a seat against one of the walls, casually. “Could be doing worse. Hell, the guy that summoned that demon that put me down for the last few weeks? He was part of that [Insert department name here].” He really should have tried to check the news for him, after all. “So.. Yeah. Seems like quite a few people’re none too pleased. But you know, if need be, could see about hooking up some kind of turret to the roof outside the door?” He’d turn his head and make vague gestures, “Either facing the door itself, to name them in the back, if you recess it in the roof some, behind a light maybe, or keep it in broad sight, so people know the doors being watched? Granted, don’t think the admins would like the thought of having to walk in front of something that could splatter them in the hallway… And shit, you stopped him from getting in, THAT is your job, not the hallway. That’s outta your preview.” He’d be all too willing to back the woman up, “But still, you can only do so much. And.. hell.” A shake of his head. “So they’re gonna have to rewrite it to get around the whole ‘No longer have a warm body to transfer access from’ bit? Doubt they’d like me to save them the time of simply asking it, would they?” His tone was almost joking at that point; he wasn’t permitted in, and he wasn’t going to try and force his way in, nor really did he want to even try to talk his way in.. Though he did smile up at the camera that he knew was watching him. “So, I miss anything fun in the last few weeks aside from what happened in the last day or so?”
AJ B. (GM): “If you weren’t on a lot of their shit lists right now they might have actually considered letting you try. Unfortunately when the mentally unstable try to bring you into the pack it doesn’t usually go over well. Especially with things the way they are. A few things I’m sure, big news is obviously the death and admin replacement. Hidden news is the break in attempt. Although there was also an interesting bit of a glitch from the AI two weeks ago. Apparently some kind of hiccup in the system not only turned on a couple deactivated M-quarter terminals, but started displaying a layout of the cities water system. The weirdest thing was it was marked with areas to tap into that were perfect for improving the quarter. Another terminal displayed the exact legal process for applying to become an Admin’s protege and highlighted a loophole in the law that the Admin didn’t need to be alive, and that unless they disapprove of the protege within 10 days, they must accept the application. Apparently this is an old law but still on the books, the legal jargon is actually 100 pages long but a few pulled copies of it before the glitch fixed itself.”

Melo chuckled a bit. “Yeah, I’m on the shit list of a lotta people right now. Likely will be for as long as I’m in the city.” A shrug followed. “I’m from a different age and place, can’t blame them for not liking the ideals I have. Still, I’m sure I could get things coded properly quickly enough. I took care of the glitch in the messaging system after all.” And then he’d nod with that bit of a smile. “Yeah, heard about that one. Amazed they’ve been gridlocked this long.” And then he’d perk just a bit. “And.. That doesn’t exactly sound like a glitch. That sounds like proper calculations for city planning, without political motive to me.” A shrug. “But I may well be biased.” And then he’d sit there, that virtual blink washing across his face. “…Yeah. That one’ll need to be fixed. That a first come, first served loophole, or any and all comers?” He was legitimately curious about it. “I’ll have to ask around though, see who’s putting what paperwork in where. Speaking of paperwork… Patrion saint of the lost, right?”
AJ B. (GM): She nods “Well not so much your views as the concern of you joining them in general. Something about not being a what was it ‘proper display of the culture, class, and dignity of the position’ unfortunately if it comes down to a public vote they’ll have no choice to put you on the ballot, and you don’t strike me as the kind of person who’s going to be happy if he wins that one. Which a few of the office pools have down as the result. As for the glitches, the Admin’s see it as one, as do some of the upper class, saying it’ll lower their own reserves and they deserve it more. The legal nonsense is apparently a pre cataclysm law. Admin’s were allowed any number of proteges they felt they could handle, judging by the wording it was meant as a way for newcomers to break into politics by showing initiative and hard work. The ten day period basically allows for a judgement to be made on abilities and how well they’d mesh. unfortunately an Admin can only fire his own proteges, must resfuse within ten days or the protege is assumed to be acceptable. Since they can be fired at any time this wasn’t seen as a major problem.” Her eyes light up then narrow a bit. “How’d you know about that?”

Melo laughs. “Fuck, if I’m not a proper display of the culture, that means having a level head is a bad sign?” He’d jest, followed by another chuckle and a shake of his head. “Yeah… City hasn’t heard of me outside of the M-Quarter unless something got posted places that I haven’t been paying attention to. And shit, water is the number one step to having any kind of a healthy population. If you provide them clean water and sanitation, you save money on having to heal them of the illnesses that come with it. City building 101.” He’d leave off the comments about the video games he played as a kid teaching him that… Or was it the information about the roman empire? “I’m in no way, shape, or form cut out for the job. I’ve still got issues outside the city I need to take care of, and can serve the needs of the population at the ground floor.” Another nod as he listened in, making a few mental notes. The pad would be drawn from his bag, and offered. “Know about the saint, or that you’re looking for info? A lucky find on the intel, though I can’t say how thoroughly its been vetted, or if any of it is actually true. You’re talking info over a Millennium old after all, hell of a lot of it has to be legend and story by now.” A shrug. “As for knowing you wanted to know? Because I asked what kind of reading material you wanted me to bring down.” And he’d offer it; A meager two pages worth of text would be all he had transcribed, by hand, in a simple text document. No pictures, no links to other data, just the basic information on the man’s history. “So take it with a grain of salt. Why’re you interested in him, anyways? Sounds like an interesting guy, though I never was too big a theological history buff.”
AJ B. (GM): She looks over the pad and smiles. “My mother used to tell me stories about him. I was an explorer through and through, even when I was young. Problem with kids who like to explore is they also tend to get lost, a lot. So one day when I was six I got more lost then usual. Spent the night in a cave I had found. My mom found me the next day. I cried and was ready to give up on one of my favorite hobbies. My mom wouldn’t hear of it though. She knew how much I loved it and wasn’t going to let one bad experience ruin it for me. She told me the stories of him. She also told me that if I ever got lost he would guide me home. All I had to do was ask.” She looks and reads through some of the pad. Her shoulders slump a bit. “I’ve asked him a few times since getting lost here. I want to go home. This place, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it. I was beginning to think maybe he never existed here. Now I see part of what’s gone on. Maybe the saints and the angels abandoned this place during the end times. Still, belief holds power here. I’ve seen that with my own eyes. I just needed something, anything to help my shaken faith. Though I admit I am hoping if I can get out into the city for a while I can find an amulet, a keychain, anything with his likeness on it. I used to have a simple necklace with a pendant of him embossed on it. I’m sure it’s still where I left it, at home in it’s proper place.”

Melo listened in quite curiously, attentive, a bit of a smile present. “I’ll see what I can do. No promises, mind, but I’ll try. Best I can do for anyone.” And then he’d lean back. “Faith can do some amazing things. You know, there was a time in this world where blind faith actually lead to countless battles and wars?” He’d lean his head back against the wall. “I think, growing up where there were still tensions over religious freedom riots had turned me off of most of religion, but… Still, you gotta believe in something, right? Hell, I’m still here.” Another shrug. “So I guess someone’s been looking out for me, well beyond what I could call luck. Even the luck that may have worn off on me from the deer-bee.” A light, short chuckle, “Tell me about your faith, if you don’t mind me asking? Or your home? You’re not the only lost one ’round these parts, after all.”
AJ B. (GM): She nods “I’m familiar with battles and wars both of faith and of survival. Honestly my home is an unusual place compared to here. The technology though brilliant there would appear to others like cavement discovering fire. Communication is at it’s best only done from terminals connected by wires, and the video quality isn’t the best, often skipping or cutting out. The governments of the world, well only recently came together with our own form of the end times. Turns out the things that go bump in the night are not only real but rather vicious to boot. They took the very sun itself away when their world opened to ours. Still there are cities all over, wilderness is the exception not the rule. Many are more worried about where their next paycheck comes from then survival. Apparently the loss of the sun was only a temporary concern as many adapted to it. Few know about the creatures that come, or the world opened to ours. I don’t know if it’s intentional ignorance, or if such things are truly that well hidden. Those of us who do know fight as best we can. It’s our world and we won’t surrender it.”
Melo: “Sounds like a place I wouldn’t exactly fit in.” A lopsided smile was offered, though he nodded a bit, commenting idly. “Or maybe just the kind of place I’d be needed, depending on how you want to look at it.” Though another nod offered at the mention of those things, and a slight cringe at the mention of the loss of the sun. “…Likely willful ignorance. If I pretend it didn’t happen, it can’t hurt me mentality. Saw a few guys try that. Didn’t work too well for them. These days, gotta have an open mind.” Though he’d again nod. “At least you have a world you can hope to return to.” And then that half hearted smile was offered. “I’m still on mine.” He was curious about parallels, but dimensional sciences were never quite something he was good at… Sort of. “We tried to keep ours the way it was. Did what we could. Saved a lot of people, lost a hell of a lot more.” And then a shake of his head to clear his thoughts from their own dark places. “I saw you reading a book the last time I was here. King James?”
AJ B. (GM): She nods “Yep. surprised you know about it, first person I’ve met here to even recognize what it is, much less what version.”
Melo: “Most common one. We kept one in the house, read it once, but..” A shrug. “Was a long, long time ago though.” A bit of a smile still present though. “And I know a few people back home still follow the faith.” Though where ‘Home’ was in this case was hard to say. “You find one here, or bring it from home?”
AJ B. (GM): “It’s one of the few things I always had with me. It’s a comfort when one is buried in a foxhole while literal shadows hunt you. If this is your world though, how are you lost?”

Melo responded, quite simply. “My home doesn’t exist anymore. Anyone I’ve ever known is long dead. My memories are all I have left of home. The droid, when it comes down to it, is all I’ve got. Well, and Ambrose, but he’s my link to my new home.”
AJ B. (GM): “There are those who could get you home I’m sure. Or at least take you back to those you knew. I don’t know what it’d cost, and they couldn’t help me find my home, but they might be able to do more for you.”

Melo smiles just a bit at the thought, though his eyes remained that ever steady shade of blue, unmoving and mechanical, hiding his thoughts. “It’s possible, but the question then becomes this: Would I want to be there with them, knowing I could do them no good, knowing their fate, or would I rather be here, in the now, making a difference in the lives of people who need it?” A hand would move to vaguely wave up toward the city. “They were ready to lay down their lives for a cause, and in return, cause pain and suffering to those who they feel oppress them. Look at them now, fighting to make themselves a part of the city, rather than against it.” And a jerk of his head was given to the door she guarded. “It did that, but even it needs a hand now and then.”
AJ B. (GM): She rolls her shoulders, “It’s not something you couldn’t change. Shouldn’t perhaps, but those I met were an odd lot. They would help anyone go back for the right price, but always with warning of regrets for changes and that some things are beyond a single persons control. There were others though, they spoke of them as raiders, who impacted the times they visited so drastically that often they altered the course of their history.” She looked over her shoulder at the door. “Still it’s nice of you to help and to stay even with such a high cost. I’m not sure I could ever do that. Honestly, if I’m offered a way home, I’ll take it at almost any cost. Our war isn’t lost and I would not return to find my world under the thumb of shadows and dark princes.”

Melo laughs with that warm smile that hid his own temptation at the thought, quickly shooting it down. “I don’t think anything I would have done would have changed what happened. Hell, I did everything within my power to stop it, and as much as I love my family, and wished I could be there for them… I was where I needed to be, when I needed to be, helping who I needed to help when things went wrong. One more gun wouldn’t have helped in that battle.” Though he still smiled. “To go back is to walk into the maw of death and oblivion.” And then he’d stop, thoughtfully. “What of Ambrose’s mirror? If he was able to use it as a gateway, would you?”
AJ B. (GM): She looked at Melo “Perhaps. I can use these mirrors to get from one place to another.” she reaches through the mirror next to her and twists her wrist, her hand appearing next to the door opposite and opens it. She then pulls her hand out and moves her other to the opposite mirror and closes it from the mirror on the other side. “But these mirrors, they lead to another land, but it’s not the same one. What you described of your friend’s experience, it is the battleground on which my war is fought, and perhaps from the battleground I could find my way home.”

Melo watched, head lifting. “That’s.. That’s a damn neat trick.” He’d blink, if he could. “Should I ask about the how? And I’ll see if he’d be willing to part with it, if it’d help you out. Think it’d approve?” Another nod given at the door. “Hell, who’d they end up sticking down here to replace you?”
AJ B. (GM): She chuckled “No one can replace me. Hell I replaced a motion sensing auto turret with nothing more then a hand scanner keyed to the admins. I got the job by pointing out I could cut off one of their hands and get past it.”
“As for what our digital friend approves of. Who can say what an AI thinks. Honestly I haven’t seen any paperwork for who’s next in line. as far as I know, no one is.”

Melo laughs. “Yeah. That’s the down side of bio-metrics. Can tell you right now, if the unexpected happens, not keying my eyes to that thing. I’ll get the joy of knocking.” His tone was almost joking. “You ever get a chance to sleep?”
AJ B. (GM): She chuckles bitterly at that. “I haven’t truly slept since the sun went out in my world 3 years before I got here 2 years ago. An occassional light nap is the best I get. Children fear the monster in their closet and parents or light chase it away. But what do you do when you know that that shadow in the closet really can slit your throat and light won’t chase it away?” Her tone is lighthearted but under that is a legitimate question and true fear.

Melo responded, simply, “Sleep in shifts.” And then he’d turn, looking up at the camera, “Schedule me in for eight hours, would’ja?”
AJ B. (GM): She shakes her head. “They don’t trust anyone else down here. Hell the only reason they trust me down here is they swear that they know someone who can get me home. They’ve basically been holding the info hostage for the years I’ve worked here. I agreed to a 5 year contract at which point they’ve promised to release the information to me. Besides, isn’t it going to bother you just hanging out for 8 hours while I doze nearby?”

Melo headshakes. “I’ve pulled guard duty before. A good night’s sleep may well do you some good, and..” A shrug, and that warm and joking tone again returned, “Be a cheap gift on my part. Maybe give me a chance to catch up on my theology some? Might need a few days prep time, but hell, its not like I don’t know what’s on the other side of the door.” And he’d stop to think. "The other debate then becomes “When”. I’ve got obligations at the arena for the next few days, and I still have got to take care of a problem outside the city I keep putting off, but.." A light smile. “How’s Christmas sound?”
AJ B. (GM): “It’s a nice sentiment, but how are you going to get around the fact that if anyone here finds me sleeping with another person guarding the door, even the AI won’t be able to protect us from a couple of lethal chemical cocktails?”

Melo taps his helmet that he’d likely set down beside himself. “Gotta get through this at the least, and I’m fairly sure I could wake you up before they get through it. Besides, how many attempts to get through that door have been made?”
AJ B. (GM): “That was the 5th this year, or maybe 6th. I’m not sure. I’m not to worried about attack. I’m worried about the fact the Administration and those in power around here, have made it pretty clear that leaving this door unguarded without authorization from all 13 administrators will end in some new form of hell. and any replacement guard must be authorized by at least 5 of them. Visitors alone need a single admin approval. I’m guessing the G-man set up yours.”

Melo shrugs. “Tell them in no uncertain terms you’ve got someone who already has clearance who’s willing to stick around, and that you’d like a break to catch some shuteye.” Though he still smiled just a bit. “The offer is there if you can convince them, though I’d say it’ll be more likely you’d get an act of congress to pass then get them to agree on letting me stand in for you, eh?”
AJ B. (GM): She seems to think for a bit. “Actually a couple of them do owe me favors. Might be able to get the clearance. I’ll see what I can do and get in touch when I know for sure.” she pauses “You said you had a bible in your house when you were young. How old are you?” she raises an eyebrow.

Melo hums for a moment at the question, and then he’d stop and look at the woman dead on. “Biologically or chronologically?”
AJ B. (GM): She chuckles at that. “So you are pulled out of time rather then space. Thought as much. Both if you don’t mind my asking.”

Melo nods. “About thirty three, give or take. What’s today’s date?” He’d stop to check his watch, and think for a moment. “Three sixteen, again, give or take.”
Melo: (What IS the date in game, for that matter?)
AJ B. (GM): (lol, I lost track of that a while ago)
Melo: (What YEAR is it?)
AJ B. (GM): (I’d estimate somewhere in late november honestly, I think it was september the last time I bothered to put a date in.)
(year is going to take me some time to figure out)

Melo would be off by a year or two on his actual age, and as much as ten years off on his other age in such case.

Melo also likely didn’t look a day over 22.
AJ B. (GM): She pauses for a moment and mouths something towards the camera without actually saying a word. She then reaches into the mirror and pulls something out. “I dunno what year that puts you from, or what it was like back in your time, but I do have a couple things from my world still lying about. Think you might like this one.” She pulls a brand name slim jim out of the mirror and offers it.
Melo: (To GM) rolling 1d20+2 perception to try and lip read, for the sake of trying, unlikely as it is he’d be able to figure out what she tried to say.
= 6
(To GM): Yeah, that’s a no go.
(From Niemand): there is suddenly a voice to Melo’s left “Damn, she must like you. those things are impossible to find around here. At least not without a lot of shovels.”

Melo watched with a light smile, though he’d no idea what was being said. It was just as much a matter of respect that he didn’t focus on lips; he respected the woman’s privacy. And then? Then he’d laugh with a smile at the offered item, reaching out to take it. Amazing how many years those snacks lasted, though by the time his day and age came about, they weren’t… Quite as bad for you. They only had 90% of the fat as the one’s from 100 years before! “Y’know, I haven’t even seen one of these for years.” He’d tilt his head just a bit to the left as he looked at the item, and then looked to the woman, “You sure you wanna part with this?”
Valerie Zemon: She nods. “I’ve got a few more socked away. Besides they’re pretty common back home. Once I get back I’ll be able to get plenty more. Besides you’re a good friend. Haven’t got many of those, I’d return the favor of visiting but…” she waves at the room and knocks on the door behind her.

Melo laughed just a bit before opening the package, pulling it about half way out and snapping it in half, offering the still wrapped portion. “At the least, enjoy it with me?”
Valerie Zemon: She smiles and accepts it before peeling it down a bit and taking a bite.

Melo wouldn’t at all hesitate, snapping into his without bothering to, you know, check and make sure it was safe to eat; Between general trust of the woman, and the fact that he hadn’t had more than a few bites to eat in.. far too long, he was simply hungry. O’corse, he was long, long beyond the days of Randy Macho-Man Savage’s ad campaigns. “I appreciate the gesture.”

Valerie Zemon twitches her lips then looks up as a speaker crackles followed by a voice “Peacekeeper Craft it is requested you vacate the anteroom in a timely fashion. Guardian Zemon please prepare for the arrival of the Administration and perform your duties as you would at any other time. Thank you” Valerie sighs “guess it’s been longer then I thought. Time to get to work, and unless you want to suffer their glares and a few snide comments you should probably beat them to the elevator. Hell, if you time it right you might even get a laugh from G is you can force them to wait for it to come up.”
Melo: “Acknowledged.” That was the reply to the order, dusting himself off a bit and reconnecting his pack to his armor. “It’s been nice having a chance to hang out.” And he’d stick out a hand to offer it in a shake. “Have a good one, and like I said, I’ll see what I can dig up. No promises though.” And a grin. “I’ll let you know how it goes.” And with that, he’d make his way out, casually snacking on that meat stick. A rare treat, to be sure. Would time be on his side? Would he be able to hit that ‘Summon elevator’ button first?
AJ B. (GM): As the elevator opens in front of Melo it is obviously empty. When he reaches the floor he finds 12 people standing around, a few of which are glaring at him. Grand Master G who was snickering before is now outright laughing as he sees the dour admins shift to outright furious. One Admin though, a female who is dressed in classic gypsy fashion appears to be sizing Melo up, and as he walks past she hisses “You’re working backwards.” before they all crowd into the elevator, as soon as the door begin to close you hear someone yell “WHY THE HELL DID YOU LICK ME?!”
Marian is snickering as she hears that but waits until the doors close and a minute or so later to fully laugh.

Melo would have at least met them with standard courtesy. “Good morning, Administrators. Grand Master G.” Hey, he was the only one he was on at least any kind of a first name basis with. He held back the comment of ‘I brought the elevator up as quickly as I could’. At least he managed to keep a straight face, head held high as they crowded in. That comment shouted from the elevator got him to blink, and that straight face to crack into a grin, heading on over to the desk to share in the laughter. “Is.. Is he always like that?”
AJ B. (GM): Marian shrugs “In public definitely. In private. Only maybe three people know what he’s like one on one. And of those one’s mute, another swore an oath to never speak any description of Grandmaster G as anything beyond interesting, or so the story goes anyways. He sticks to that description anyhow no matter what the reason why is. The third well, she lives with you and isn’t the most reliable of sources, even for those who would ignore her race.”

Melo shook his head with an amused smile. “Explains why I’m on so many people’s shit lists, at least. Few times I’ve met him one on one, interesting is an apt description.” And then he’d shake his head with a smile. “Hopefully I didn’t cause them too much of a delay. Brought the elevator up as quickly as I could.”
AJ B. (GM): “They stood there for maybe 2 minutes, and chewed me out for not having the elevator waiting for them for half that time. Although Giovan did make it more interesting. Apparently today he is determining what ice cream people most resemble.”

Melo had to laugh, a hand lifting to his implants. “Oh god.” He was amused. Greatly so. “Sorry for having you suffer their wrath.”
AJ B. (GM): “No worries, they’re like that every time they visit. Though the time the elevator broke and were convinced I could somehow make it work almost ended with a pile of over entitled corpses at the bottom of the shaft.”

Melo laughs, then shakes his head. “At least you know how to put up with it. They’d be lost without you keeping the front area running.” A nod to the point. “Though I should be heading out; I’ve got a few other things to take care of before I need to be hitting the streets tonight.”
AJ B. (GM): "Good luck, oh and don’t worry to much about Giovan’s proposal, the rest of the admin’s would shoot down anyone he proposed in an instant. I honestly expected to see the words “This Platypus” where he put your name."

Melo shook his head in amusement. “Well, I’m glad I ranked better than a duck-puppy in his eyes.. Or would that be lower, in this case?” A bit of a joke. “You have a good one Marian. I’ll see you the next time I get called in. Don’t work too hard.” And with that, he’d turn to make his way out, amused. Helmet on, a jet bike would be what propelled him home, to deal with a hard drive issue.

Zea herps.

AJ B. (GM) freezes because my cat insists on being outside in colorado winter
AJ B. (GM): (everyone ready to get going?)
Zea: (Ready enough)
Clockwork: ((Rar!))

Artemis watches fights and cheers and stuffs.

Melo drives a giant van!

Vault patrols the grounds of the house.

Quazil sings music.

Zea herps and derps about.

Ambrose Betamax attempts to teach the weredeer to fly

Ambrose Betamax using the tried and true method of telling him to fall towards the ground and miss

Bharat is an emotional mess thanks to [REDACTED]
Artemis: ((Bharat made sweet, sweet mind love to a frightened human woman))
Zea: (Why did my hoodie make you an emotional wreck?)
AJ B. (GM): (and with that I’d say we have a nice little recap already made lol)
Bharat: (Hoodie?)
Zea: ( )
AJ B. (GM): Bharat and Melo arrive at the Wired fist, it’s relatively quiet on the street as many are at the arena.
Bharat: (XD)

Melo drove easily enough, though he may have needed a few minutes to configure the van for himself to drive. “Alright, last stop. I do need to get a statement from you before I can let you go though. I’ve got a job to do.”
Artemis: ((We should all write like we were in a noir/detective novel.))
AJ B. (GM): (Is your life in rifts truly so lacking that you feel I should crib plots from Charmed? =P)
Artemis: ((Don’t dis charmed! that show was good!))
AJ B. (GM): (it was, but I’d still rather not steal their plots, especially ones involving getting sucked into a book.)
Bharat: “Ok…” Bharat mumbles, not looking at Melo.
(I never watched chamred)
Melo: “Alright. Straight and to the point, tell me what you saw and what made you accuse ’em of magic?” He’d pull an electronic pad out of his pack; state issue, it was an official one aright.
Bharat: “He threw sand way too hard. And I heard him muttering magic words.”

Melo mmhmms. “And how’d you know they were magic, and not, say, swahilli or something in his native tongue?” Notes would be taken, casually, and word for word. He already had a good idea that magic was in use, compounded by the psychic, but he has to do his due diligence.

Bharat shrugs. “I just did. Dealt with enough magic users.”
Artemis: (( The light hung low in the back of the van, the evening haze and the distant wall leaving the city cast in shadow as the sun ducked low. on rare occasion, streetlights were flickering, like the slowly flash of a cigarette being drawn on. The roar of the crowd, even these few miles away, could be heard at the Arena. Everywhere, the streets were all but deserted. Deserted like a sewer line after a hard rain, cleaned of the filth that clogged the city’s arteries. ))

Melo nods, once, jotting a few notes. “Good enough for government work.” It was pretty clear he didn’t relish the line of questioning. “You good ’nuff here then?” A cant of his head given to the bar. “I should be getting the van back and get back on duty.”
Artemis: (( c.c ))
Bharat: (Sorry, was making kool aid)
Artemis: ((Is that a euphamism?))
Bharat: (… no? Unless mixing powder, sugar and water together is a euphamism too…)
Artemis: ((Oh, you dirty man.))
Bharat: “Wanna drink? On the house?” Bharat says after sitting there for a minute in silence.

Melo might blink at the offer. He shouldn’t drink on duty, and after the way the last several fights had gone, he could only hope there wasn’t going to be a riot. Sure, he was totally unaware of an actual good fight that was likely taking place at that very moment, between a human and a D-Bee, but such is the life of the support staff: Get into the event for free, miss the entire event. He still didn’t trust the lizard, but the offer made him stop and wonder. “…Alright. Talk. We’re as private as we’re gonna get, right now. Then, maybe, I’ll take you up on the drink. Been too long since I had a beer.”

Artemis would probably be screaming right now, professional composure lost as the aforementioned fight heated up

Bharat shakes his head. “inside.”

Melo glanced at the bar again, then muttered something, reaching for his helmet to check something in the glass from the outside. “..Every single fiber of my being is screaming that this is a bad idea.” Well, at least he’s honest. And he’d look at the lizard, “Why inside, on your turf?”

Bharat stays quiet, not looking at Melo. “People watch. Listen. Even when you don’t think they are.” Even when they don’t know they are themselves…
Melo: “Yeah… Yeah we do.” And he’d point at a camera casually. “Always watching.” And he’d hesitate for a long moment. “This about that job the bitch hired you on for?”
Bharat: “No.” Did he mean killing the vampires in the city or something else?

Melo sighed and shook his head. “Get out.” Though even as he spoke, one could hear the clicking of a seat belt unbuckling. “Cross me, and I swear to god I will haunt you from my god damned grave.” Not like such a threat was effective. “I’ve got ten minutes.”
AJ B. (GM): (I dunno on rifts earth it might be)
(if belief is power, how much belief does it take to become a ghost?)
Artemis: ((I want to roll to haunt people before I die. ))
AJ B. (GM): back at the arena Grimgrin walks up next to Artemis as what is a truly entertaining match is underway. “So Arty, that going to be the next big thing with human women? cuttlefish eyes?”
Bharat: (As a monster, I will simply absorb his soul and become super powerful)

Bharat flinched when Melo said to get out but didn’t realize what he meant at first. He gets out and holds open the door for the human.

Melo would decline the offered door, exiting from the driver’s side and making sure to grab the keys and lock it. Click-flash. And then another click flash half way to the bar, followed by the brief honk of the van’s horn. Yeah, it was locked. Granted, there’d also be a hand at the pistol at his hip the entire time, along with an “After you.” given to the lizard.

Artemis has trouble tearing her attention from the match, though as she peeks back at Grimgrin, she blinks rapidly, changing her iris and pupils color and shape, going from cuttlefish, to feline, to goat, and a few other oddities, before returning them to cuttlefish W’s, and golden iris. "Not my idea, but I felt since I put the design together, I should wear it until it grew stale on me. " Her eye ridges nit together as if she were still getting used to the shape and feel of the thicker, more ridged brow. “What do you think too much?” Her attention snaps back to the action, hands coming up to shout suggestions to be lost amongst the metal and cheers.
AJ B. (GM): As you both enter the bar you see three people at a table playing cards and clearly too drunk to manage any competence at whatever game they’re playing. They seem to be arguing over whether it’s go fish, texas hold em, or blackjack. As soon as Ivanikov (the barkeep) sees Bharat he immediately yells, alright you three. you’re too wasted to know what you’re playing, I don’t care where you go, but get the hell out and leave my cards here." He then wipes his forehead with a cloth that has a little dog embroidered on the corner.

Bharat scratches his head down to under his neck and chest, apparently completely shmeless as he heads for the bar.
AJ B. (GM): “So what’ll it be boys?” He asks as he puts the cloth in his pocket and studies Melo’s eyes.

Melo glanced at the three men.. Well, maybe glancing wasn’t the right word. He wouldn’t even turn his head, implants in his face picking up more than enough details of the trio to know what to expect. Otherwise, his gaze was quick: ID the exits, locate the cover, ID possible threats and where backup might come from. Otherwise, he’d make his way over to the bar, “Beer. Draft. Whatever’s good. He’s paying.” No friendly hello; he was starting to show some signs of being on edge, despite trying to force himself to relax, and to fight back quite a bit of paranoia.
AJ B. (GM): The three men stumble out muttering about not finishing their game, one of them forgetting his money on the table.

Bharat leans against the bar, resting his head on it and not looking at anyone. “top shelf.”
Melo: (To GM) rolling 1d20+2 perception on money
= 8

Melo wouldn’t even pay the men much mind as they left, more focused on the lizard that was sorta slumped over and half on the ground.
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov nods and mixes up a drink for Bharat making a thorough show of it, tossing bottles and fruits in the air, nothing he uses ever even touching the counter. He then pulls a glass from the tap for Melo. “Best beer this side of frankly anything.”
(From AJ B. (GM)): aside from that it’s not a lot of cash no telling.
(To GM): Yep, he’d figure it was his bar bill and not mention it.

Melo nodded a bit, waiting for the glass respectfully and lifting it in a light sign of cheers to the lizard before taking a swig and setting it back down, either on the bar itself, or a coaster if he was provided with one… Though not as likely in this place.
AJ B. (GM): (no coaster, the bar has plently of rings already on it, one more isn’t going to hurt it)
“So why not at the arena? I’ve got to work, but most people are out there.”

Melo would let the lizard take the lead on this one… At least, as long as the silence was bearable.

Bharat isn’t even really interested in his drink, gulping in down in a single go before staring at things again. “I’ve been an asshole to you.”

Melo wasn’t sure who that was directed at, tensing only slightly as the dejected lizard lifted his hand from the floor to tilt his drink into his mouth and then tilt it back; Yeah, he’s got full blown mental image of sad puppy here, head on the bar, simply kneeling at it, shoulders sagging and hands resting on the floor, not even trying to get drunk, but drinking what was offered just the same. Another drink of his beer was taken. “Work.” A nod given at the lizard. “Figured I’d accept the offer of a beer for the ride here.” At least he wasn’t being so presumptuous as to assume the lizard was talking to him, though it was at least some kind of an answer as to why he wasn’t at the arena, when he was one of the fighters.
Bharat: “You’ve also been an asshole to me.” Bharat said, more quietly, still not looking at anything specific.
Artemis: ((No way to talk to your dad! : O ))
AJ B. (GM): “Pretty sure he’s talking to you kid.” Ivanikov says to Melo continuing to study his eyes.

Melo responded to that one. “Was doing my job. Try and do you a favor when the keepers want to bus you down to the docks, to buy me some time to figure out how the fuck t’get you off of wrecking city property, after offering to buy you lunch and get’cha away from something that was causing y’pain, ‘n ya fuckin’ run.” Another draw was taken from his beer. “Not a good way to set an impression after I get you a job y’look like y’d be good at.”
AJ B. (GM): Grimgrin chuckles “Nah, they look good, just always interesting to see where things go. Always funny though to see how many times humans want to not be humans while still hating us for not being humans.”
Bharat: “I’ve never needed help staying away from the docks.” Bharat says, with surprising conviction. “It’s always so easy to be righteous when you’re not the one they’d shoot without second thought. If you knew half the shit I did for this city, you’d be amazed.” He almost seemed to work himself back up to normal, but he started delfating again midway through, by the end he looked ready to crwal into a hole.

Artemis snickers, her lips curling upwards. Not pulling her attention away from the match, she bobs her head. “Different is frightening. Different is beautiful. Too easy to separate us and them.” She glances over at the overgrown ape. “To dislike those that are different is very human. We do it to our own kind, we’ll do it to those that we don’t want to bother with getting to know. … Easier to be an outsider on the inside, and try to convince the insiders to look a little more carefully at the outside.” She taps her head with two fingers. “Better if we never saw each other, and could only see the thoughts, not the appearance.” She leans over the railing, screaming “The Eyes! Go for the eyes!” at the Slugman.
Melo: “Yeah, well, from where I was standing, looked like you were trying to throw me under a bus for helping.” A shrug. “And I’ve pulled your file. I’ve an idea of what you do in the city.” Unseen was the mental glance at the bar tender, those eyes ever unmoving, always looking forward, countless sensors and cameras feeding in data across several spectrums to his brain. “The fuck you and th’ horse I rode in on speech didn’t help a whole hell of a lot, either, when I tried to let you know what I’m trying to do. Get your reasoning though, and frankly, I don’t plan on doing you anymore favors outside of those required by law and standard decency.” Yeah, he’s an asshole alright.
AJ B. (GM): There is a flash of anger across Ivanikov’s face for a moment an a barely audible click is heard under the bar.
Bharat: “No.” Bharat says, fixing Ivanikov a look.
AJ B. (GM): There is a slight nod from the bartender as the bar vibrates just a tiny bit, enough to disturb the liquid still in Melo’s glass.

Melo would respond, casually. “Gonna agree with him on that one.” An arm was already under the bar, gun at the ready.
Artemis: (( The EYES! go for the eyes Ivan!))
AJ B. (GM): Grimgrin smirks “Pretty sure if we could see each others thoughts, most people would just end up dead.”

Artemis ‘s voice drops lower, perhaps lost on the crowd-noise, “Some people should die.” She looks quite serious, straight faced for a few seconds, before she shouts again, cheering at a particularly impressive exchange of blow.
Bharat: "My file? That’s a joke and a half." Bharat says, sighing. “That tells you the things that have been recorded.”
“That doesn’t say what I do.”

Melo nods. “Yeah. Didn’t say what file I pulled.” Another casual sip of his beer taken.
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov nods. “The government files really are a joke. How many peacekeepers you think record the bribes they take? Hell, how many of my ‘tax collections’ got into the files?”

Melo set his drink down, turning his head at the lizard, then back at the bar tender. “Like I said, depends on the files you pull.”
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov shakes his head. “and exactly what files do you have access to Mr. Craft?”

Melo offered a half hearted smile at that, “The kind that I probably shouldn’t be digging into without another zero on my salary, at least.” And then a shrug. “I should be getting back down to the arena though.” And with that, he’d up end and finish off his beer. “You gonna be there for the grand Melee, or should I let Grimgrin know in advance he should scratch you out? Understand either way.”
AJ B. (GM): Ivan looks at Melo then Bharat. “Stay a while kid, they’ve got lots of muscle there, and there’s plenty of law keeping an eye on the place.”
Melo: “Yeah. That’s what has me worried.”
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov looks at Bharat and raises an eyebrow, setting his hand on the counter with two fingers extended.

Bharat is murmuring to himself now. “I went to fucking hell for you and you can’t even respect me a little. I got rid of two huge dangers to the city and your stupid plan and nothing. I’m hunting the vampires that were allowed inside thanks to the corruption among the guard and no thanks. I made krrctusk to call of his rebellion plans and work with us if I won… I did mess that up, though…” Bharat doesn’t seem to notice the conversation, but nods absently.
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov moves over and flips on a radio. It immediately begins speaking. “Status update?” A different voice. “Nothin out of the usual for a roudy crowd. A couple minor arguments over gambling, dealt with by local security.” A third “Everythings clear on this end, one hell of a fight in the ring too. Surprised something so slimy can move like that.”
Artemis: ((I feel like a book is coming))

Melo pauses, for barely a moment, “You blinded the Epok. You throw me under a bus when I try and take responsibility for you and try and show the city that there’re some humans worth trusting. You run off in the middle of a fight, when you’ve got the upper hand and me trying to back you up. As far as I can tell, you’ve got zero discipline and can’t work in a unit.” A shrug. “I end up trapped in my own personal hell where you’re fucking hunting me for what felt like a year, and I’m still fighting down the urge to run and gun you down because of it. Every interaction I’ve had with you up until this point says to me that you’re a lose cannon who can’t be trusted. Yer a god damned liar, but I’ll give you credit as an actor, you had me fooled, but I don’t fucking trust anything you say at this point. I’m sure you’re doing good for the city, but had you come peacefully the first time, and given me a chance to work with you and show you that I was on your side, the nest would already have been cleared out. Y’dun fucked up good, lizardman.” And he’d tap his ear at the radio. “Already have it running. It’s the urge to run that has me wanting to get outta here.”

Melo , burning bridges since 2098.

Melo mutters, “Fuck, had Hoi not decided that infighting in her god damned unit was a great way to start things off, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov raises an eyebrow at the rant and again that flash of anger, but no click this time. “Mr. Craft I’m not sure if you noticed what city you’re in or how it works, but everyone here’s a liar. Ain’t a damned one who will tell you 100% or in all likely hood even 60% of the truth. Now did Bharat here at any point say he wasn’t smart or did your own biases let you assume that?”
Bharat: “I ran because it was a soul stealing demon. Didn’t help either way. And I fixed that! I spent 6 weeks in hell for you! I traded my eye for a magic bottle to bring it back! You attacked me first, I’ll remind you! Property damage is easily fixed!” Now bharat was starting to get steamed. “I’ve never hurt a single person, physically, that didn’t truly deserve it. Blame me for the boy and the house all you want, but if you’d let me vanish, no one would have gotten hurt. That’s on your head whether you want to accept it or not.” The fact that that was the first thing bharat thought about probably drew somethign to his own guilt about it.
AJ B. (GM): Grimgrin shakes his head “Maybe so, but how often have you considered how easy it would be to rob or kill someone just because your mind got bored?”

Melo ignored the bar keep for the moment, “A demon you had pinned down and were ripping to shreds as you had me burning a god damned hole in its fucking skull! You’re a fucking monster in combat, just like you looked like you’d be, and had you not run, we coulda stood a chance until backup arrived. And as for that trip to hell? Yeah, thanks, I’m still trying to figure that shit out. Like I said, I was in my own personal one no thanks to you! And you try finding fucking NEMA issue equipment in this god damned century! In this fucking eon!” Yep, this was actually getting a bit heated; he’d even turned around to face the lizard with a proper argument, hand on that still holstered gun, though he’d not made a move to draw it. “Had I let you run, it woulda been MY ass on the line for letting you escape, after you’d been wrecking city property! How the fuck was I saposta know that you wouldn’t decide to attack some poor jackass that looked at you wrong because your eye hurt?!” He was actually ranting at this point, though not quite getting in the lizard’s face about it. “How about coming back to the city with me, god damned peacefully, when I asked you to, rather than putting me in the position of facing the god damned Death Penalty because Hoi was a god damned irresponsible fucking idiot? As for not killing someone who didn’t deserve it, what the fuck did that body guard do to deserve it, huh?! His god damned JOB?! YOU FUCKING ATE HALF OF HIM!”

Artemis frowns slightly in response to Grimgrin’s question, thoughtful as she watches the match… She glances over at him, her squiggly pupils shifting. “I dream of a day when we might step beyond the flesh into a world of the mind, limited only by scarcity of resources and the ability to nano-fab them into your desires. I think, unless we screw up too much, that my dreams are obtainable. Tell me, then, if you could steal the very ideas from my mind, to make all the world a better place, would you? I would. I gladly would.”
AJ B. (GM): Grimgrin shakes his head “I wouldn’t. Because without your skill they’d become pipe dreams. Imagine a life where you still knew how to build all these wonderful things, but someone permanently and irreversibly took your hands and any appropriate replacements away. Would that be a world worth living in?”
Ivanikov raises an eyebrow and mutters “NEMA? Northern Eastern Military Assylum?” He seems to have completely lost track of the conversation and fallen into his own head.

Artemis ‘s frown deepens, her head dropping low as she looks at the railing, her thoughts turning inward. “We have the software, we need better hardware.” She mumurs, as if to herself. drawing a breath she looks back to Grimgrin, distracted from the fight now, properly. "There in lies the rub. Does the end justify the means? "She asks rhetorically. " Ideas will be lost, like so many tears in rain, because they can’t be actualized… I think you’ve given me an idea, my friend. I need to figure out a way to make an idea-creator."
Artemis: ((Achievement unlocked; convince Arty to start learning Artificial Intelligence programming))
AJ B. (GM): “Be careful what you build Arty. Still, I’d be interested to see what you come up with.” He looks down at the fight and mutters “How the HELL is he winning?”

Artemis shakes her head slightly, as if dismissing an idea. Her attention turns back to the fight. “Did he just land another blow? Pretty boy sure seems to be having trouble with that slime.” She, once again, raises her hands to mouth to shout encouragement “Hit him again in the Supraesophegeal Ganglion!”
Bharat: “IT WAS PINNED ONLY BECAUSE IT LET ITSELF BE PINNED YOU HALF-PINT JACKASS!” Bharat bellows back. “I DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH OF A DEMON! IT’S NOT LIKE I WOULDN’T HAVE TRIED IF I DIDN’T HINK I STOOD A CHANCE! But I’mnot gonna sacrifice myself for a city that’d shoot me int he head first! YOU COULD AT LEAST PRETEND TO BE GRATEFUL I GOT YOUR DAMN SOUL BACK! You might have been in a personal hell, but I was in the real one! WHAT THE HELL IS NEMA?” He’d turn around at this point, still sitting on the floor. “OH BOO HOO! You’d get a fucking right up and a warning. Like you’re the first I’d have gotten away from. And you could just trust that I’d never done something like that before!” Then Melo brought up the body guard. The lizard would climb to his feet at that and walk over to Melo. He leans in, glaring with his one good eye. “I WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED BY ANYONE!” He bellows, louder than Melo had ever heard him be before. “NOT AGAIN! NOT BY ANYONE!” After he finished, he took a couple deep breaths. Quietly, he added, “That wasn’t me… Don’t judge me on that…”
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov seems to snap out of his thoughts at the outburst. He watches Melo and scans his eyes yet again this time more looking then studying but failing to find whatever he was searching for huffs a bit.

Ambrose Betamax appears for no particular reason!
Ambrose Betamax: (lol)
(home from work)
(I am gonna get one hell of a first paycheck
(gonna be wierd to not be in single digits in my bank

Ambrose Betamax is watching things with leah?

Artemis is over there, watching things with the med-staff, occasionally talking to a grape ape.
Artemis: ((great ape? ))
AJ B. (GM): Leah is sitting next to Ambrose cheering on the slugman.
(he’s a four armed oversized gorilla, so take your pick lol)
Artemis: ((But is he purple? :D))

Ambrose Betamax tries to be romantic, using the classic “stretch i nthe movie theatre and rest arm on her shoulder” move

Melo still had those unmoving, soulless eyes, that faintly iridescent blue of a central iris never showing a hint of emotion, unlike the rest of his face. The rush of blood, the way his jaw was set, the way his feet were spread to give him a proper stance to attack or defend, the grip of his hand on that massive hand cannon he carried as the lizard bellowed in his face. “I’D LAY DOWN MY FUCKING LIFE FOR THIS CITY if it meant protecting a single fucking innocent person! I’d EXPECT anyone serving with me to do the fucking same! As for a write up? Up until that point, my only interaction with you consisted of ‘Getting you off a 16B, you threatening to fucking break my god damned robot five minutes later, and a 06C the following day! The only thing I’d KNOWN about you up until that point is that YOU ARE A FUCKING MENACE TO THE FUCKING CITY!” His gun would find itself drawn as the lizard approached, though he still kept the weapon pointed down; a nervous reaction? Most likely, but could one blame him? “There’s a god damned DIFFERENCE between doing what someone asks and being fucking CONTROLLED! You’re so god damned good at playing fucking dumb, you go out of your fucking way to make the worst god damned choice POSSIBLE!” though he held his ground, “And if I shouldn’t judge you on the time you committed fucking murder, what the fuck should I judge you on? What the fuck have you given me, that I’ve seen, to judge you on beyond every single negative thing you’ve done?!” He still didn’t fully register his soul being returned to him. He had Ambrose’s word to go on, but even then, he was trapped in a nightmare. And then he’d stop, and hold up a hand to prevent another outburst, a breath taken to try and calm himself, gun put back where it belongs. “There is going to be a hell of a lot of bad blood between us, and frankly, if you won’t be ‘controlled’, you’ve got no place doing work as a merc where you’ve got rules you need to follow and I refuse to let you on any op I’m working.” Another breath, hand still held up to try and keep the two from another outburst, “For what it its worth, and I’m still fuzzy on all of it, Ambrose says I owe you at least a thank you for what you did when I was unconscious, so thank you. But you need to fucking learn how to work with people. If someone pulls a gun on you and screams at you to leave or they will try and murder you, humor them. Step out of the room, peacefully. You’d be amazed how well that works at calming a situation down.”

Quazil is singing some metal song as a human and a pile of slime are duking it out in the arena. The slime ball of a slug man seems to be winning, too.

Melo is also at a bar with Bharat, some distance away from the awesome fight.

Ambrose Betamax is probably knocked over and embarrassed as leah gets up suddenly to cheer while he’s being all romantical
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov places a hand on each of your shoulders “Apparently you two don’t know jack shit about each other. I’ve watched you two go back and forth for quite a while. I also know the tone Bharat used. Someone tampered with his fucking eye during your meeting. As in direct attempt to alter his perception or maybe just control his actions through pain. Now then, let me make something abundantly clear to you Peacekeeper. I know it’s possible to do this, because I know a little about implants. Not much but I’ve seen it done. What would you do if someone decided you didn’t need those soulless windows on your face to function properly? How about if they decided everyone you saw should be overlaid with rotting hordes of undead? Maybe make it filter out living beings as not there? How many people would die at your hands for that?”
Bharat: “He made me go up to meet cockatrice… I couldn’t do anything. It was like watching from from behind a screen while someone was at the controls…” Bharat was distracted again, a haunted look on his face. “After he stopped… I couldn’t… It just… you’d never believe me I don’t know why I’d even try to explain.”
AJ B. (GM): Ivanikov’s eyes widened at that. and mouths something but no words come out.
Leah pulls out a couple patches and stares at them before turning to Ambrose. “Can I ask you a favor Betamax?”
Ambrose Betamax: “huh? ok?”
AJ B. (GM): She extends her hand out offering the two patches. “Get rid of these where I can’t possibly find them. I don’t care how or where. Just so long as they’re gone, and if you see me with another one, take it from me, and do the same.”
Ambrose Betamax: “…..ok.” (takes them and plans to destroy them pretty throughly)
AJ B. (GM): Leah kisses Ambrose on the cheek. “Thank you, and I’m sorry for whatever I might do to try and stop you taking any later patches away.”

Ambrose Betamax blushes. “it’s ok! Just don’t do that hostage thing with Melo again…he might uh….yeah.”

Leah Razortongue shrugs “No promises, I don’t end up in my right mind. I’ll do my best to recall it, but honestly I don’t need him to be a supplier so I’m more likely to go for direct hurting for taking it away then trying to force someone to get more.”

Melo knee-jerked at that hand at his shoulder; His mind was amped, his adrenaline was pumping from the verbal argument with the lizard that was twice his size and then some, and he’s paranoid and insane. An arm lifted defensively, back body armored forearm slamming against the ’tender’s inner arm to dislodge it, or more accurately, try and prevent the contact, but at least it didn’t come with a strike, or the draw of his gun, to try and hold back that snap offensive judgment, to fight down training; he wasn’t going to be attacked. He had to convince himself of that. “Buddy, don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t ever touch me again.” And then he’d listen, trying to fight back that rising paranoia, that suspicion that what was said was a threat. Unseen was the way those eyes focused, picking out little details, the data feed of the T across the human’s face, marking other weak spots in the anatomy, the places to strike to kill, targeting computer kicked on reflexively. “They’d need to get at ’em properly to pull something like that off.” And then back at the lizard, “The man ask you nicely first?” He wasn’t going to let it go; he had to press his point home. “And you—” And then he’d stop, and shake his head, hands out in a gesture of pushing it away, trying to keep himself from going on the offensive again. “I’m sorry it happened, but what you did isn’t the kind of thing that earns you the endearment of an employer.”
Ivanikov mutters “Line between employer and slaver is awful thin”

Bharat just sighs. “It’s too much to ask you to widen your views. Just go back to the battles. I don’t wanna argue pointlessly anymore.”
Melo: “You live in a human city. You work with humans, and their values. You’re clearly smart, so you should be able to figure this one out: You’re going to need to adapt. You’ve always got the option of saying no, and walking out on it.” And then, to the bar tender, “What do I owe you for the beer?” Yeah, an insult to the lizard, “And his drink?” Or was it? “Figure I owe you that much.”

Ivanikov raises his hand from Bharat’s shoulder and thwaps him in the back of the head. “Yknow, as much as you’ve done for him I coulda swore I taught you to offer to fix things you broke. Yet I haven’t heard you even offer your help.” His tone that of a scolding parent rather then the friendly if annoyed barkeep it was before.
Bharat: “When I said it was on the house I meant it was free, not that I was paying for it you ass.” Just as he’s about to continue, Ivanikov whaps him. “What? You mean the APC? HE WAS SHOOTING AT ME! I think destroying the sensor array was a justified action!”
Ivanikov: “Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, if he’s not bullshitting about where the equipment came from though, that sensor array could buy this city twice over.”
Bharat: “I… what?”

Melo gave a shrug. “He’s right. I was shooting at ‘em. And trust me, at this point, no offence, but I don’t know if I want his help in getting it fixed. Intel on where I can find parts? Yeah, sure. I’d rather not have anyone force him into doing something against his will though. Thanks for the drinks.” And with that, he’d turn to head out.

Ivanikov shakes his head and mutters “Kids, no one seems to teach them to respect their elders anymore.” He then raises his head. “I could tell you where you know.”

Melo wouldn’t respond; he was out the door, and heading to the van; likely missed it on the way out… Or maybe it was the principle. He wasn’t going to make the bartender try and make up for someone else’s wrongs. Not at that minute. That would, frankly, be another insult to the lizard, and he’d done enough damage.

Ivanikov looks at Bharat “Kid, he’s trying to do right, the same as you’ve been. He’s just doin it a different way. You help him, fix whatever the hell broke, after I get proof he ain’t lying and I’ll owe you big time. Especially if you can pick something else up from where you’d be going.”

Bharat groans. “Look, he hates me. Helping him fix his… giant rolling house isn’t going to change that.” He grumbles and shuffles around for a moment. “Fine! Damn it. One day I’ll rid myself of hold you have over my conscience.”

Ivanikov chuckles and smirks “and I’m sure on that day I’ll need one of the bodies I sell” he says teasingly.

Melo would, actually, be back rather shortly. “Yo, Bharat. You forgot these.” Right on over to the bar, and he’d plonk down a gallon sized jug of orange juice, and a bag of raw meat; The stuff he’d picked up at the arena, when he was in the tent. And out again, without a word.
Ivanikov: As Melo walks up to the bar “Before you head out that door again, you sure you don’t want to know where to find some parts? Won’t cost you much.”

Melo paused for a moment. “..Afraid to find out how much.”
Ivanikov: “Three answers, and you take him” he nods towards Bharat “with you and give him a chance to prove himself better then how you see him.”

Melo didn’t quite harden his gaze, but there was a faint clench of jaw that a total lack of beard couldn’t hide. “He’s got a hell of a lot to make up for.” And he leaned on the bar, to look at the lizard that that hard, critical mechanical pair of eyes of his. “Even if it is against my better judgement, I’ve had my fair share of second chances. You want one with me?”

Ambrose Betamax tears apart the patches Leah gave him next time leah looks away, and hides the remains in his pocket until he can throw them into the garbage.
Artemis: ((oh god, I hope it soaks through his pants!!!))
((crying at the idea of ambrose on that stuff!!! ))
((on a double dose no less!!))
Ambrose Betamax: (oh dear lol)
(hopefully ambrose’ coat is drugproof)

Bharat grumbles and shuffles his feet. “On one condition.”

Melo tilted his head, that gesture of listening.
Bharat: “Don’t… tell anyone I’m not an idiot…”

Leah Razortongue Doesn’t notice the wripping sound as she screams at the fighters, mostly obscenities towards the human regarding his wife’s prowess in bed.
Ambrose Betamax: (lol)

Melo shrugs. “I’ve been undercover, I can respect wanting to keep up the pretense. Just try not to make the worst choice of the lot when presented with ’em?”

Artemis would, likewise, be shouting encouragement to both of the contestants, but less foul language and more obscure scientific references.

Quazil is continuing to sing. Because that’s what he was being paid to do.

Melo glanced back at the bar keep. “He’s willing. Ask.”
Leah Razortongue: “We should say hi to Quazil after the show, thank him for letting Bharat pay off our debt. A few in his profession are sticklers for contracts.”
Ivanikov: “Alright, first one, what does NEMA stand for?”

Melo responded easily: “Northern Eagle Military Alliance.”

Ivanikov nods “What was there emblem?”
Ivanikov: *their
Artemis: ((I think we should start having our conversations as combat actions, so that people with lots of actions can talk a lot, and people with few actions can only talk a little bit… and then, on top of that, keep everything said down to 15 second increments… at least, until the arena fighting is over… because I’m pretty sure the human/slug match lasted, at most, a minute.))
Melo: “Standard was the three stars under the brand. One for each of us: Canada, US ’n Mexico. History buff?”
(Almost 3 rounds)
Ivanikov: “yeah, particular focus on the time of the cataclysm. I wanted to know the signs of a second one coming, and it became something of a hobby. Last one. Who was at the top of the chain of command during the cataclysm, at least in the beginning?”

Melo hesitated for a moment… If only for a moment. “That’s a tough one. Someone outranked the Lieutenant General, but they weren’t with her forces if they were still alive. If someone was around that outranked her, they never made contact.”
Ivanikov: “and the Lieutenant General what was his name?”
Melo: “Her.” He corrected. “Lieutenant General Sawyer.”

Ivanikov nods “well either you’re as big a history buff as I am, or you really have gotten a hold of something from Nema. either way, a deals a deal.” He places down a photograph on the counter. “This is a picture of madhaven.” in it were crumbled buildings but one appeared to be still intact, above it’s door was NEMA’s fuly decorated logo, and to the right of that, a call sign used only during the cataclysm to indicate a safely locked down base.
Melo: "I don’t call her “Epok” for nothing." A bit of a smile. “Maybe, sometime, we could have a chat.” And he’d turn to look at the photo that was pulled from under the bar. “Haven’t heard of it.” Hey, he lived in Germany, in the boondocks!
(To GM): As needed, toss a total recall in for any land marks that mighta survived the photo compared to stuff he’d have seen of New York (Well, what was left of it)
Ivanikov: “East coast of the North Americas, it’s a ways off from anything that could be called civilization. People claim it’s haunted by everyone who died when the tsunami’s flooded it. As well as every idiot treasure hunter who enters the place. It’s supposed to be choked with golden age tech though. So plenty of people go in. One of my regulars claims he made it out with something but sold it and lost all the money from it gambling.”

Melo whistled. “Fuck. That’s.. hell of a trip. Haven’t been to the states for a while.”
Ivanikov: “well, NEMA tech isn’t likely to be on this forsaken rock, or for that matter most of the ones near it. Don’t think they were to keen on handing over any weapons to those who weren’t part of their alliance, yeah?”

Melo headshakes. “Had some dealings with Triax, but that was to help in prototyping mostly.” And then another shake of his head. “But you’re right.”
Ivanikov: “There’s plenty around here who’d fund the trip though, provided you are willing to bring them back some souvenirs.”
Melo: “Maybe.” And he thought about it for a long while. “For now, too much in the city needs doing.”
Ivanikov: “Well, when you’re ready the info’s there. Take the pic if you want, might help you find the place if you do go.”

Melo tapped the image once, before picking it up and tucking it away. “For now, you still planning to be at the arena in two days?” Words directly at Bharat.
Bharat: “Probably. Maybe. I dunno. I just wanna be alone now.” It seemed his steam had just about worn down again. He looked miserable just standing.

Ivanikov whips up another drink for Bharat.
AJ B. (GM): (think that may be a good place to call it. It’s getting pretty late for everyone by now I think.)
Melo: “Alright. Take it easy. You get a clean slate for now. Let him know you appreciate it.” And then to the tender, “Have a good night, and make sure he eats something, would’ja? He looked a bit shook up at the arena.” And with that, he’d make his way out, and back to the arena for the remainder of the evening.. Or at least, the events.
Ambrose Betamax: (ok :3)
Artemis: ((okie? :) ))
Zea: I’m cool with it. Sorry for hogging the limelight all night.

Bharat waits until Melo is well and truly gone. “Quazil’s back.”
Bharat: (Yeah, I’m cool with calling it)
Artemis: ((Quazil’s back and you’re gunna be in trouble, heynaaa… heynaaa… quazils back! ))
Matt S.: (I couldn’t resist that ominous ending.)

Quazil is singing music, and getting a pass in his next round of combat; he can’t even say he’d fight the loser, seeing how as both of his opponents’re.. well.. not there.
Zea: Today is Tuesday, January 12th, 2016. EXP is about to be given.
AJ B. (GM): Good game all, was a lot of fun tonight. 300 exp each. extra 250 to Melo and Bharat for some nice semi resolution. extra 150 to Artemis for amusing philosophical conversation. extra 100 to Ambrose, for helping Leah with her drug issues (even if he may get seriously injured later for it =P)
Artemis: ((only 6000 more to go!))
Ambrose Betamax: (I didn’t get to do all that much, but thanks heehee
Matt S.: (Ambrose is the breath of fresh air needed with the emo angry posturing that is Melo and Bharat)
Ambrose Betamax: (haaahaha)
Matt S.: (I look fondly on the days that Bharat could make a stupid joke without meaning to and we just enjoy it)

Chapter 25 Cheating can get you killed

Elevators are Scary! StrykerC