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About Phoenix

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  • Birthday 12/31/1988

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    Fates: Revelation

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  1. "Don't worry about it," Brant replied, nearly chuckling at the thought, "We're all in this together." That said, they probably shouldn't let their momentum go to waste. Things were starting to go a lot smoother, and the two groups were beginning a steady merger that would all but seal the deal for them in the long run, but they still had multiple battleships and Sacarians breathing down their necks. Now definitely wasn't the time to get comfortable. Now was the time to focus and not waste any shots or leave the enemy any easy openings. "Which one do you want to hit with that thing next?" Brant casts Focus! Eyes on the Prize (Chapter IV)
  2. "I'll stick around," Serval Sage chimed in at Linus' offer, "I didn't go to the arcade tryouts just to wind up back at square one." "Heh, you have to ask?" Motherloader spoke up ... though he didn't even look up from his back and forth with Elle Gigantess. That was three definitely confirmed so far, enough to help change Hitomi's focus just a little bit. They needed at least five active members to make this work, though ten was ideal, and that was the exact number of players present, excluding Kirara. There were some questionable players among them, but nothing that looked untenable. Making sure Motherloader knew Linus was in charge and getting Doctor_Flambre's English to Gibberish ratio fixed ought to be enough. Maybe. "How about you, Kirara?" Matsuo grinned at the Frame Ops celebrity, "Interested in joining Team Odyssey? It's got to be boring playing freelancer all the time." Hitomi managed an almost inaudible, "Dad!" in embarrassment. Did he actually think she would go for something like that? "Thanks but no thanks," Kirara shook her head, "Having obligations to a team would only complicate things. I have much bigger responsibilities than just promoting Frame Ops." "How thoughtful," Alexis smiled. 'Odyssey's still recruiting,' Motherloader quietly typed, 'You want in, G-Babe? I can definitely make it happen.' "That reminds me," Hitomi glanced over to Melanie, "I don't mean to bring it up this way but ... you mentioned buying a ship for us before the tryouts. Will you still be able to do that?" "It's definitely more expensive than a new phone," Sage snickered.
  3. What was going on in the Riese's infirmary? Firmia, try as she did to focus all of her attention on the battle, was commanding rather absentmindedly by that point. It hadn't been very long since she was in contact with them, but now an inescapable lull had fallen over the Avalon's bridge. It felt like they were quietly plucking away at an inexhaustible army of enemies. The only saving grace there was that anyone they vaporized here wouldn't trouble them again during their final assault on the base. That made the battle that much more important, even to her personally, but also that much more tedious. Morale didn't seem to be an issue for Apotheosis now ... and those damn elites eyeing up the Artemis seemed to be part of the reason for that. "We need to do something about them ... ... Tonya, how long until we can regroup?" "I dunno ... a couple of minutes?" "Time enough to think then," Firmia sighed. Eyes on the Prize (Chapter III)
  4. "It does. Our opponent has decided to back off and let you lead them to the target," Alexis continued after the first wave of questions, "If we quarantine you that would address the bigger security threat, temporarily. Unfortunately, it will give the rogue AI every excuse to go to ground. Eupraxia wants them captured, studied, and then disposed of. To that end, we've decided to let you focus on your Frame Ops business for now." "You're using them as bait?" Matsuo asked, eyes squinting as he tried to figure out just how uncomfortable he really was with the idea. Alexis nodded through the display. "Basically. That's the easiest way to handle this. We're operating independently this time, so that means no J-Sec and no Scipio." In other words, no security drones or other options involving the use of direct physical violence. "The fact of the matter is that Scipio is supporting that rogue AI somehow. We've concluded that one of two scenarios is most likely. The first scenario is long-range assistance. It managed to find multiple paths into the station's network from a remote location, in which case Scipio would have had to let their guard down; they were set up to repel cyber-attacks from the Alliance's best, so one A class rogue should not have gotten through, especially not multiple times. "The second scenario is smuggling. The core matrix was smuggled through customs directly onto the station. You couldn't sneak a handgun onto Eupraxia without at least an approving nod from Scipio, much less an unregistered core matrix. Since the rogue AI is interested in you, we're going to keep our eyes on you and everything happening in your vicinity. The next time they try something, we'll be ready. I'll spare you and our roguish counterpart the details for the moment." So the rogue AI was still tuning in, apparently, albeit quietly. As for Alexis' plan, it sounded about as hands off as you could get, and fairly in character for Eupraxia wards. That didn't make Hitomi any more comfortable with the idea of just carrying on like nothing had happened. They were going to meet Carmen eventually and the last thing she wanted was to put her in danger, too. "Also, feel free to investigate the situation yourselves if you find the time," Alexis smiled widely, "Your snooping around might help us expand our target's profile. I doubt your former teammate Carmen knows anything, but if you meet with her in the docks or anywhere under Scipio's umbrella, that should provide us some clues about their involvement. Otherwise, trying to save your team from disbanding is a great plan. By all means, recruit new members, upgrade your frames, challenge reputable teams, make some noise and get noticed." "Girl's usin' us and not even trying to be subtle about it," Motherloader groaned as he sent another text off. "You should be grateful, all things considered," Kirara glared at him. "I'm grateful," Hitomi chimed in, "just ... worried. "Likewise," Matsuo nodded, "but I can't ask you to reveal your exact plan for dealing with the rogue AI if there's a chance it's still listening in on us."
  5. Hitomi was shocked--though not all that shocked--to see Mewlanie crush her phone once the AI was finished threatening them with it. It wasn't long before the lights came back on and the cafe returned to normal. Round 2 was over, and Hitomi wasn't sure if the AI had won, or if victory instead went to whoever was messing with the power systems. She supposed Kirara's ward friends were responsible ... and she'd probably elaborate on that eventually. Since Linus had taken the opportunity to ask for her input on the tryout situation, she gave the cafe a quick scan and said, "I want to keep them but what do we do about that AI ...? It's breaking into every system like it's nothing." A second glance at Kirara confirmed that she was back in a mostly private conversation with someone. No phone in hand, she seemed to be using something like an earpiece. There was no telling with her hair in the way, though. There was also no telling what Makala was on about, at least not for her. She could only pick out a select few parts. "Sheesh, what'd you smash your phone for?" Sage winced at Mewlanie, "If he hacked the last one, he can probably get into the next one, too." "I should probably get mine cleaned out now that you mention it," Motherloader chimed in without looking up from his text conversation. "Please, it's way too late to get rid of all those nudes," Sage teased. Matsuo was considering the situation like several others. "Eupraxia's weapon ... no, that doesn't make a lot of sense, really. The Eupraxia AI has executive powers but aside from station infrastructure, she doesn't have any teeth. Armed security is handled by third parties like J-Sec. And what good would a weapon do Eupraxia anyway? The station has plenty of malcontents, but no one worth killing ..." Though he made an attempt, Matsuo couldn't properly address that question. Eupraxia was known for being a sovereign with no army. The Jovian League relied heavily on automation, not nearly as much as the Alliance, but quite a bit. Even so, Sobol wasn't ready to hand over any significant firepower to an AI just yet, not with millions of potential hostages neatly wrapped up in a bow, should Eupraxia herself go rogue. Whatever the current rogue AI was looking for, it might not fit the profile of a conventional weapon. "Maybe it's time to start thinking politically. 'Weapon' is a fairly broad term, all things considered. Maybe it's a data cache with compromising info on some politicians. Maybe there's a woman keeping it on her person. That could work, but we don't have enough to go off of." Kirara sighed and glanced over at a blank monitor above the cafe's main counter, clearly in anticipation of something. About two seconds later, the display lit up with the face of a blonde blue-eyed woman. The background behind her was aggressively cybernetic, with line lights racing up behind her in various, but very angular patterns that often had them running in parallel. The woman herself was taking up a good portion of the center of the display, her head fully framed and the bottom of the display only cutting off the center of her chest. Her outfit was minimalist in that it bore the appearance of a military bodysuit, a pilot's model to be precise. "May I have your attention, please?" Despite the cordial greeting, there was an unmistakable air of smugness to this woman, and the faint smile on her face was just condescending enough to make Hitomi a little uneasy. Otherwise, she had a sweet, somewhat soothing voice. "I am one of Eupraxia's wards. For the time being, you can just call me Alexis. We've reached a decision about your group and how to proceed. I'd like to go over that ... and then I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. To start with, you don't need to worry about being quarantined." At least there was some good news ...
  6. (I'll do fluff in the next post) Firmia attacks Deimos #8 with Sub-missiles!
  7. The tension ... the tension was still there but it was wrong, somehow. Familiar, and wrong. It wasn't long before Requiem discovered the reason why things seemed off all of a sudden. The fighting was quickly coming to a halt. In the time it took the cursed spear to realize its feast had been cut laughably short, hostilities had ended. The chances of taking in more power for the time being were vanishingly small, and every second spent in another form was a burden on Requiem's already limited reserves ... 'Three ... two ... one ... zero ...' Just like before, the end of the count marked the end of the transformation, and Xalrei was left holding the cursed blade, no longer a menacing spear.
  8. No solutions on the arcade problem, yet. That meant the tryouts might have to be rethought or just called off altogether. Hitomi was still of the mind that anyone that bothered to show up in the middle of this mess at the very least had the right stuff ... even Motherloader to an extent. It just didn't feel right to go off of that alone. Curiosity likely played a bigger role in some being here than anything, and curiosity wouldn't get them through the next gaming season. Not a chance. Linus seemed to be considering the issue as well, but like her, didn't have any suggestions that could be articulated at the moment. Then there was Carmen, someone Hitomi was hoping to get back onto the team someday. Somehow. To think a rogue AI might actually be after her ... "So ... it probably is Carmen it's looking for, then ..." That was Hitomi's conclusion after Linus went a little further into his explanation. Kirara didn't know what to think of said explanation at first, though she made a mental note about the CupidPlus thing, anyway. You never know ... "Well, if we could meet her someplace safe, I'd ask her about any relevant connections she has. Rogue AIs aren't really anything novel, but an A class is something only a military organization or government agency could build. If it's after this Carmen girl, then she has to be important to someone somewhere. As for what the wards have in mind, Mewlanie, they're thinking we should ... wait ... it might be listening to us. Damn." "Heh, I hear you on the CupidPlus problem," Sage nodded at Linus, "They're really slipping lately. Think they're getting a little too worked up over personality types and the like." "There's a thought," Motherloader murmured to himself. He quietly typed up a reply to Elle Gigantess. 'So G-Babe, got a Cupid+ account by any chance?' He wasn't the only one messing with his phone, as Mewlanie quickly lifted hers into the air, directly challenging the rogue AI. "Easy now," Matsuo cautioned her, though he knew if the AI was both capable and willing to make a move here, he couldn't do a thing to stop it. All things considered, it might have been better to meet up inside a Scipio barracks. Civilians were allowed into areas like those so long as they didn't cause any trouble, and the AI would have a harder time harassing them while under that umbrella. A bit late now, though ... "Mewlanie, are you out of your mind-!!!" Kirara stopped short as Melane's phone flashed, the screen turning completely white. Then, it seemed like every monitor in the cafe turned on all at once. Even the smartglass displays covering the table surfaces lit up. Within a couple of seconds, footage of various Mewlanie streams began to play on all of them, the volume entirely too loud and coming from too many sources at once. The result was an overwhelming cacophony of identical voices and sound effects. "Damn ..." Kirara covered her ears. The cafe's power was cut off a few seconds after the cyberattack began, leaving nothing but the artificial gravity still working. "I'm looking for the weapon Eupraxia is hiding," an older 'male' voice came out of Melanie's phone, one of the only things illuminating the area now, "Prior methods are no longer effective, but I can see now that patience will be enough. Do not try to hinder my progress or track my location. As previously demonstrated, I'm willing to use lethal force if you interfere." As soon as the rogue AI was finished, Melanie's phone turned off. "W ... what just ...?" Hitomi's thoughts were racing. The AI spoke to them directly again, but it left more questions than answers just like the last time. Their Carmen theory seemed to be on the rocks now, too. Even if you could think of Carmen as a 'weapon,' and Hitomi certainly could in some respects, Eupraxia wasn't 'hiding' her anywhere. Carmen was a crew member of the Sipa Lugal, a Babylonian ship commissioned by House Riaz. That didn't really add up for her.
  9. Requiem needed more power, life force preferably, but ... this energy, this magic it had been plunged into seemed to suffice for one thing. It could be used to boost the cursed weapon's effectiveness as such. Actual 'sustenance' would still require some deliberate and conservative maneuvering. 'Good,' Requiem informed its current bloodwinner, 'More power ... more ...'
  10. Firmia was once again beside herself at the news. Knowing Jessica survived her ordeal somehow was one thing ... but the Alkaev expected either a fully recovered Jessica, or an empty shell wearing the woman's face. This wasn't 'the happy middle' by any stretch of the imagination ... though Firmia honestly wasn't sure why not. Not at first. Yes, the android had forgotten everything that gave their interactions so much as a sliver of meaning, but didn't that also apply to Abigail? Wasn't there a chance now for them to put the past behind them completely? Firmia doubted it, especially since she still hated Casson and her crew by proxy, and like hell the former wasn't going to do their best to make sure Jessica followed through, both on their relationship and leaving the ANF, both things Firmia found detrimental for her own reasons. Still, the situation was worth looking into after the battle, assuming they could deal with the Sacarians and not lose anyone important along the way. The regular enemies were just soaking up their fire for the Chaldenes. The real fight hadn't even started yet ... "... thank you for the update, Tiffany," Firmia replied, her melancholic tone not betraying the curiosity that was building. Eyes On the Prize (Chapter II)
  11. What was Makala doing over there, Hitomi wondered? It was only brief, as she and Linus had to address the tryouts, in general, sooner or later. That became even more apparent considering how little they had to go on with this AI business. Melanie wanted to get that matter settled and the new Karina seemed to be on the same wavelength. "Erm ... I guess?" Hitomi nearly shrugged. She crossed her arms in deep thought instead, trying to figure out the best way to hold another round of tryouts. At least everyone present still wanted on the team, at least. That's how it looked, anyway. "This is definitely a more manageable group, but after what happened at the arcade-oh! Kirara!" Kirara had been fixing Mewlanie with an incredulous look when Hitomi pulled her attention. "What is it?" "That AI isn't going to follow us around, is it? I don't want to try another arcade just for it to get ...-" "Stratus'd," Serval Sage chimed in with a chuckle, "That's definitely going to be a thing now whenever a hacker forces a shutdown." "That's ... that's my whole ..." Kirara struggled for a moment, then sighed. "Look, people, I'm in contact with Eupraxia's wards, and if not for them having a better idea of how to handle this situation, you would all be getting quarantined. All we did was cut the power at Stratus for a minute. The AI wasn't affected by that. It's still out there. Like your cosplayer friend said, you can't do much while it's still around. Even this cafe isn't safe." "Hold on, have these ward friends of yours heard anything from Scipio?" Matsuo asked, "Their network serves as the primary firewall, so they have to have some idea of what happened." "This is all Scipio's fault," Kirara hissed, "No rogue AI could have gotten this deep into the station if they had been doing their jobs ... erm, but yes ... apparently, they've sealed the breach, whatever that means. It might not matter depending on where that thing is and if it left any feelers around ... but we'll see. What we need to know to do something is where the AI is and who it's after. If it's class A it at least needs a physical core matrix. If you think this serf girl is the target then keep in mind that you'll be leading it right to her if you meet up. On the other hand, waiting to see what everyone does is a good reason for the AI not to outright attack again ... just listen and watch, this time." It was hardly any time at all before Aska received a reply back saying, 'Not really, but if they used a long range method, someone on the station probably helped them set it up. If not then that AI's core is definitely somewhere on the station. Eupraxia Grand Station's networks are set up like a fortress, so this is strange.'
  12. There seemed to be little hope of this unsealing leading to a bloodbath that could help restore Requiem's power ... at least in the beginning. The lifeless, or better said, empty one, carried the starving blade to someone. It wasn't the magic imbued archer that just so happened to run out of enemies to slay, but someone new. Requiem could only sense its source of sustenance as a whole. Not being able to see or 'hear' anything in the conventional sense left the cursed blade at a severe disadvantage. Perhaps when it had acquired more of its power, it could use magic to make better sense of its surroundings, as well as better distinguish these living creatures, but for the moment, everything Requiem might try to do came with a cost, and the risk of being rendered completely powerless, again. Before, it had been too eager, and transformed to no avail. Having learned that lesson, Requiem was guarding its reserves like a dragon hoarding its treasure. This precious little power, gained on one fateful day, was all it had left ... Curious about the situation as a whole, and expecting absolutely nothing from the exchange between the empty one and the other, Requiem carefully took in its surroundings as best it could, counting heads essentially, and looking for anything that stood out. There was definitely something whereabouts, but the cursed sword saw the world through a glass darkly at best and didn't know what to make of the new signs of life. They were so faint from its perspective ... and so far away ...? ... what was happening? Requiem had never been held by two, before ... not unless its victim was grasping the blade, desperately hoping to force it out. That was surely different from this. Either way, with this ... dragonewt having taken hold of it, Requiem could now make a fuller assessment. Xalrei was a warrior, someone that could definitely prove useful if they were proactive in hunting down their enemies. While a sword might suffice for this one, the dragonewt was better suited to an axe or a spear. Considering that Xalrei had been more inclined toward the latter, at least recently, and Requiem found such a simple shape easier to maintain and thus preferable, the choice was obvious. Requiem hadn't planned on transforming initially, however, even though it was clear now that a transformation was exactly what Xalrei was hoping to see. Again, that lesson had been learned; without enemies to fight, it was simply a waste of precious energy. Instead, the cursed blade hoped to actually build some rapport, first. Or at the very least make its usual point perfectly clear. 'Power ... need more ... power,' a deep, gravelly and menacing voice echoed in the heads of both women. It was right then and there that Requiem saw the telltale signs of battle. There was magic being primed, life force fluctuating rapidly as death itself encroached. In pure excitement, the cursed blade sparked blood red and quickly lengthened into a spear. 'You ... have new enemies. Strike them down ...'
  13. 'I'm sorry, I don't know anything about that AI. It's probably somewhere on the station, though,' Mewlanie received a reply back from Elle Gigantess. Aska wound up with a nearly identical response. The only difference was an additional line that read, 'B class and above have a hardware based core matrix, so maybe if you find that, you can get rid of it.' "I hate to ask," Kirara grimaced, "and I doubt there's any information anyway, but do you think you could look at Reinstall's Battlenet account, Mr. Moto? I doubt there're any clues but eye witness testimonies aren't helping much. The stream was being censored live, so it seems like the most we can do now is look for clues in all that destruction." Matsuo shook his head. "I can't just access it on a whim, Battlenet officer or not, but I can put in a request. It would probably be best to wait for Reinstall to come to again. I'm not sure how long that will take, though ..." That was when Linus chimed in, having seemingly been quietly following the discussion up to that point. Apparently, he'd caught more than the rest of the group, having been among the last two players inside the doomed game. To Kirara's shock and Hitomi's horror, Linus had been named during that exchange. They did have a clue, though. Whoever the AI was after--and it was a who for certain now--they were 'connected' to Linus, somehow. "Did it mean connected figuratively or literally ...?" Kirara began pondering her own question, realizing that the distinction would make all the difference in her investigation. "It couldn't have been me," Hitomi noted, "I was right there and wide open ... maybe Carmen?" "What would a rogue AI like that want with Carmen?" Matsuo fixed his daughter with a confused look, "Shes a serf ... admittedly one from House Riaz, but that doesn't quite add up." Hitomi threw up her arms. "I don't know what other girls Linus hangs out with! Our Karina's in the hospital so it probably isn't her ... that just leaves Carmen ... doesn't it ...?" "Wonder if there's a way to ask the rogue who it's after without getting bodied by the nearest appliance," Sage murmured. "That's not worth the risk," Matsuo shook his head a second time.
  14. What the hell was that? Whatever Tycho was shooting with, it severely damaged the Hyperion. Attempting to counter with a missile attack left the machine wide open for a flanking maneuver. Having this many enemies left to deal with, Brant wasted no time in shooting that Hyperion down with the Regalia's funnels. There were other Hyperions close by, and Thorvald and Seung-Min were teaming up against one of them. Brant thought he and Chris might be able to finish off the other. If not, it would be about as distracted as the last guy and probably get picked off. To Brant's surprise, he was able to punch all the way through to the reactor, destroying the tough mobile suit in volley. "Like that, Firmia?" Brant called in to the Avalon's bridge. "... yeah, good work." It sounded like Firmia was still in the fight. "We'll be joining you soon so just keep whittling them down." "Wilco." Eyes On the Prize (Chapter I)
  15. (Too early in the morning for all the stuff I need to cram in so I'll do that in a later post) Brant attacks Hyperion #1 with the Regalia's Funnels with a Support From Tarquin and his Seeker Missiles!
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