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 Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:57 am

Council Chambers

- Alina -

Her mouth twitched slightly as Alina's gaze drifted from one face to the next, no sign of flinching. She'd expected a harsh greeting, but their expressions were almost as frigid as the cold magic running through her veins. Under different circumstances, she might have laughed at Ariana's impeccable timing.

"You can all sit back down." She snapped at the two or three that had risen at her entrance, probably more in hostility than anything else. She gave Jax a push in the direction of his seat before making her way to the center of the room, where her own chair was sure to feel more like the seat of the accused. Pulling out her communicator, she punched in a few keys and waited for a response.

"James? I need a favor." She paused, in front of her chair without sitting in it. "Change the access codes to the emergency broadcast system and only forward the new codes to the personal communicators of Director Raidon and Minister Winters."

With a nod, she shut the device back down and turned to the Council. "My apologies. I gave the girl too much credit. She gave me the impression that she wasn't childish enough to use the emergency network a second time."

"So, I suspect you all have questions." She glanced from one face to the next, some of the most hostile were the career politicians. Good, maybe she could still have some sway here. "Who wants to throw the first stone?"
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:37 am

Peterny - Old Guard HQ

- Kurik -

Maxim smiled. "This won't remove Alina Grey. It's just the last of a series of events that will. The death of thousands cuts, I believe the expression goes."

Farrington and Ariana approached them, the latter looking much more pleased than the former.

"The Council won't be able to ignore that," Ariana said confidently. "And neither will the people."

She smiled up at Kurik, somewhat imperiously, but well-meaning. Farrington did not.

"Kurik, I'd like to have a moment with you," Farrington said. Without waiting for a reply, he began to walk away from the rest of the crowd.

--------------------------------------------------

Council Chambers

- Jax -

Jax reluctantly took his seat, aware of everyone's eyes on him and Alina. He noticed Raidon and Kokonoe in particular giving him probing stairs, as though trying to telepathically communicate with him.

Alina, despite the deathly silence and weighty gazes, paused to make a call to James. Raidon and Serena exchanged brief glances at this, but made no comment.

"So, I suspect you all have questions." Alina glanced around at the assembled crowd. "Who wants to throw the first stone?"

No one spoke. Even now, people were hesitant to actually speak out against her. It was Serena who finally spoke, though she directed her gaze at Jax instead.

"We're glad to see you returned, Chief Mathis. We heard there was an accident with the transport of the prisoner captured at Ergo Research. We feared the worst."

Jax nodded in acknowledgement, though he didn't offer any other explanations. There would be time for that later. Serena looked at him a moment longer, then turned her gaze back to Alina.

"High General Grey," she said. "There will be a vote of no-confidence today in your leadership. I'm sure you understand that this was a measure not taken lightly. As such, we will give you every chance to answer the relevant questions to this matter."

Serena glanced at the screen, where Ariana's face had been a few minutes ago, then back.

"To begin with, can you give us your account of what transpired during the negotiations with the Old Guard?"

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:47 am

Luke Jaron

Luke smiled warmly at James, "He did, and he gave me friendly tantrum on the phone. But it was good."

Luke grinned, "Well, I expected him to do so, so no worries." Then he heard Lenka complaining about Marcus and Lisa, Luke somehow could not help, but gave short chuckle, "I did not know you are so into the food, Lenka."

Then Keynes explained it all what had happened to Marcus and Lisa as he grabbed some muffins, Luke somehow felt motivated that someone other than him was fired up for training.

"Wow, I guess I can't just eat and do nothing then!" Said Luke, fired up. As they were allowed to eat and all, Luke started to get on with eating. Not to fast and too much, but just enough to satisfy himself.


__________________________________________________________________________________

Nadenka Orlov

"Alright then," Said Nadenka, smiling warmly. "Let's search for your captured friend." She gave a hand gesture to Alexei, "Come on, you two attacked one of the important facility in Kaddath, there's a high probability they would send your friend to capital."

Then she curled her lips playfully, and said teasingly manner"See, I told you. You probably had someone in your heart. You just need to search deeper." Nadenka shrugged, "Well, the problem is how to get there..." Nadenka looked at Alexei, "We can sneak in and take the boat at night, and that's not too hard." She bite her lips, "Guess we will think about the next step after getting the boat safely. Said Nadenka.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:55 pm

Peterny - Old Guard HQ

- Kurik -

Kurik was surprised to see that Farrington wanted a word with him. However, it didn't show on his face.

"Excuse me for a moment, Milady," he said politely and bowed towards Ariana. He avoided looking at Maxim. If it seemed like he was searching for confirmation every time he took a step, it would undermine his own position. And that was not something he could afford at the moment.

"What do you want?" he asked when he reached Farrington, his voice not quite as polite anymore.

-------------------------

Caltha - Bunker

- James -

James smiled at Luke in return. "I'm glad your friend woke up," he said, "And that he is feeling well enough to lecture you."

Suddenly his communicator rang.

"Excuse me," he said to Luke and turned to the device. It was Alina with a rather unusual request.

"Uh...sure," he said. "I'll get right on it."

The line went dead again and James pushed his plate away to make room for his laptop.

"Something is going on," he said to Rise and the others while his fingers moved swiftly over the keys. "Alina wouldn't normally request something like this from me, especially if she is in a Council meeting. The amount red tape I have to cut through to do this...there's now way she got all the permissions in time."

He leaned back when the messages with the new codes were sent to Raidon and Minister Winters.

Lenka, who had been engrossed in a conversation with Luke about Soul Food, looked up.

"The Council chamber has camera's right?" she asked. James nodded. "Can't you hack them so we can see what's going on?"

James hesitated and looked to Rise. It felt a little wrong to be spying on their friends.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:52 am

Luke Jaron

"I am with Lenka on this one." Said Luke, "With all these going on, it's too calm." Luke rubbed his neck, he knew too well what he was asking James to do by supporting Lenka. "It's like the calm before the storm... We need to know what's happening with our government."

Was he becoming insane? Luke was not so sure, but somehow, he wanted to be supportive with Lenka's idea and after what he himself went through with his friend, and what happened with his new friends, he sure did not like the idea of new surprises.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:18 am

Council Chambers

- Alina -

A vote of no confidence? Alina was momentarily stricken silent. She'd expected blowback from the events of yesterday, but this was the worst case scenario.

From his seat at the table, Keynes cleared his throat, drawing the room's attention to him. "If I may." He pushed a couple buttons on his comm device, activating the display on the wall, which began playing the video of the previous day's meeting. "We were forward thinking enough to select a location for the meeting where we could record it. I believe you'll all find that the footage speaks for itself."

Alina nodded her approval before sinking into her own chair. "Of course. It's better to start with the facts, after all." Plus, this would give her a bit of time to get over the shock of the situation.

Even so, as the video played, she couldn't help but feel as if things had reached a point that there might be no returning from. In order to pass a vote of no confidence, six of the eight members would have to agree that she was not properly doing her job as High General. She could count on Keynes for certain, but that still left another two votes to keep her in office.

------------------------------------------------------------

Aegis

- Marcus -

"What's going on?" Marcus looked from one face to the other as he walked into the kitchen, towel still draped over his shoulders. He'd had a quick shower. So, despite the soreness that radiated through his torso, at least he didn't stink.

"We're hacking the government?" He asked, still confused. Was that legal? Probably not.

"Why?" They were working for the government, right? Why would they need to hack into anything instead of just asking for access? Clearly, he'd missed something important.

"Guys?" Marcus' voice was more tense now, a combination of confusion and concern.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:46 pm

Caltha - Bunker

- James & Lenka -

Lenka smiled at Luke and nodded. When Marcus came in, he seemed to be confused. Well that wasn't surprising.


Lenka pushed him down on his seat and patted his shoulder. "Calm down," she said. "I'm sure you agree that we need to know what's going on. We can't just sit here in the bunker and do nothing. We're just taking a peek into the Council Chamber."

She gestured impatiently towards James. "What are you waiting for?" she asked.

James hesitated and then sighed. "Fine," he said and went to work. It wasn't difficult for him to gain access to the security system at the Capital. Quickly he pushed the video feed on the screen in the kitchen so all of them could see what was going on. There were two cameras in the room, so they had a good view at Alina, Keynes and the other Council members. There was a video playing in the Council Chamber that had all their attention.

"Ngh..." James sounded annoyed. "Let me see if I can access the video feed..." he said. A few seconds later the screen flickered and the video from the Council chamber began playing on the right side while they could still see Alina and the rest on the left side of the screen.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:13 am

Caltha - Bunker

- Rise -

Rise shot James a questioning look as he answered his communicator, giving only brief, terse responses to whoever was on the line. As soon as he hung up, he immediately set to work on his laptop.

"Alina?" Rise asked. "What did she want?"

But James didn't have time to respond as he sent off some messages on his com.

"The Council chamber has camera's right?" Lenka asked. "Can't you hack them so we can see what's going on?"

James hesitated and looked to Rise. She understood his hesitation, but, personally, she was tired of getting all their information secondhand.

"Do it."

James went to work, and soon video feed of the council chamber appeared on the monitor and some other footage on another.

------------------------------------------------------------

Council Chambers

- Raidon -

The Council all fell silent as Keynes produced his video footage of the meeting. When it had finished, Minister Durmail cleared his throat.

"Yes, it appears the footage does speak for itself. The reaction of the Old Guard is genuine enough, and who else would have benefited from ordering an attack against them?"

The two other Electorate members murmured beside him. Serena remained silent and expressionless.

"Minister Winters," he continued. "You spoke with Captain Santana in Peterny?"

Serena nodded. "He confirmed that the order and coordinates were sent from High General Grey. He also sent this."

She pressed a button on the panel of her chair. The screen where the footage of the meeting had taken place went dark, followed only by a voice.

"Captain, this is High General Grey," the voice said, one Santana would recognize anywhere. "I am currently engaged in negotiations with the Old Guard and have received word from our spies of the Old Guard's current headquarters. Send a battalion immediately to attack the base while their leadership is still in Caltha. If we can take out their headquarters, we may be able to force a quick surrender before more war rips apart this land. I'm counting on you, Captain."

Durmail put up his hands. "What's left to debate? It's clearly her voice."

"No video feed," Serena mused, staring intently at the screen.

"Recorded ahead of time. Clearly, she couldn't make a call during the middle of the meeting."

The members fell silent. The logic and evidence seemed to concrete for anyone to voice their disagreements, though it clearly appeared as though some of the members of the council were uneasy with this.

"But how did High General Grey know the coordinates?" Raidon said. "We haven't had any intelligence briefings produce that information."

Commander Arsene of Caelum Regius, a handsome man with neat black hair and goatee, nodded his confirmation. "If we'd received that information," he drawled. "I can assure you, I'd be the first to know."

Minister Durmail harrumphed this. "There are other means, I'm sure."

Serena cast him a wary eye. "Such as?"

"Ah." Minister Cressen coughed delicately, looking past bushy eyebrows at Kokonoe. "High General Grey did rely on you in the past to hack Army information, didn't she, Kokonoe? I assume you are still capable of such? If the Old Guard is using Army tech, which would be likely, then it stands to reason Kokonoe would be capable of obtaining that information."

Kokonoe glared over at him. "Am I on trial now too?"

"No," he said, smiling apologetically. "But it stands to reason that it's not impossible."

Kokonoe stood up. "Look, I didn't come here to talk about this crap. There's something much bigger to deal with, and we might as well get it out in the open."

She fixed an icy stare over at Serena, who met her eyes and nodded.

"There's also been mounting concern about the strain registration protests and the push for anti-strain legislation. Which we've continually pushed back dealing with." She shot Alina a look at this. "But with the Redcape situation and now this, we need to address the situation."

She pressed another button on her chair. This time, the screen showed the image of a figure, their head cloaked to cover their face. It would have been hard to make out in the shadows of the room anyway.

"My name is Lev," he said, his voice distorted by the audio. "I'm sending this to all the members of the Grand Council of Kaddath. For too long, you've ignored the voices of the people, and the rising need to deal with the cancer of strain magic. Since you refuse to take responsibility, I have no choice but to force your hand."

He paused, as if steeling himself, then went on.

"You will making strain silencing mandatory. For everyone. Effective immediately. If this law is not announced with 24 hours, I will reveal the truth to the public. The truth about why strain magic needs to be silenced forever."

He leaned forward, the light of the camera gleaming off his eyes. "That all strains are corruption from the Leviathan."

------------------------------------------------------------

Peterny - Old Guard HQ

- Farrington -

Farrington strolled alongside Kurik, watching as the last of the supplies and equipment were loaded into the vehicles to relocate their hideout.

"What exactly do you want?" he asked, shooing Kurik a sidelong glare. "Are you still loyal to Kaddath, Kurik, or is it Arusia with whom you've sworn your loyalty?"

He stopped, now that they were out of direct eyesight and earshot of Maxim and Ariana, and stood in front of Kurik.

"If it came down to it," he said, "would you lay down your life for High Lady Adalia, the future ruler you're working to put on the throne? Or for Maxim and the Arusians?"

------------------------------------------------------------

Peterny - Shop Basement

- Alexei -

Alexei nodded thoughtfully. It would make sense that they'd take Ehlana back to the capital to interrogate her. How they'd break her out he didn't know, but he had no reason not to try.

Nadenka curled her lips playfully, catching Alexei's eye. He looked up as said teasingly "See, I told you. You probably had someone in your heart. You just need to search deeper."

"In my heart?" he repeated. "No, I don't... It's not like that."

Ehlana was a comrade. Not a lover or anything like that.

The boat idea seemed a reasonable idea, and Alexei agreed. He was half-tempted to tell Nadenka she should stay behind, but he reasoned that getting away from Peterny would be the safest thing for her right now.

Now that the shop was open, there didn't seem to be a good opportunity to get out. They'd have to be patient and wait. Alexei looked over at Nadenka, brushing his thumb over his lip as he silently wished he still had a cig.

"Will you tell me about him?" he asked abruptly. He didn't have to specify. They both knew who he meant.

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:54 am

Caltha - Bunker

- James & Lenka -

James looked at the screen, trying to process what was happening. Did they seriously accuse Alina of giving away the location of the Old Guard and ordering an attack? He couldn't believe it.

"What is this?" Lenka asked. "Who is this Lev person?"

"Lev is the leader of the ani-strain movement," James replied without revealing how he knew that. "He and his group are advocating the silencing of all strains. The Redcape affair surely increased their support. But threatening the government is a very bold move."

"And what about the Leviathan?" Lenka continued to ask. "Isn't that the thing you encountered two years ago?"

James nodded. "Yes it was. All strains evolved from the Leviathan. Kokonoe can explain it better than me."

His eyes wandered to Rise. "Whatever they do, there will be chaos. There's no way they can allow the public to know, but they also can't suddenly enforce a law that will silence all magic strains. Even if the public is scared of the Redcapes..."

----------------------

Peterney - Old Guard HQ

- Kurik -

Kurik stopped when Farrington asked his question. This wasn't unexpected but still difficult to answer.

He crossed his arms.

"Didn't Maxim tell you?" he asked. "I want revenge. Revenge against the entire system." His eyes darkened. "I cut off all ties with the current Kaddath and until something changes, I have no reason to return to it."

He paused for a few seconds. He wasn't sure that even if Kaddath changed and the Old Guard gained some influence, he still had a place here. However, Farrington didn't need to know this.


"I'll be honest," he lied. "I can't see myself staying with the Arusians. They and us are too different and I'm still a soldier at heart."

"But," he continued. "While I have high admirations for Lady Adalia and her cause, I don' trust you." Kurik looked at Farrington, trying to gauge if he was convinced or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:07 am

Council Chambers

- Keynes -

"I agree that the reaction of the Old Guard was genuine enough." Keynes cut in with a pointed glare at Minister Durmail. "However, the High General's reaction was equally genuine."

"That aside, to think that Alina would in any way benefit from such an attack is short-sighted at best. No one in this room benefits from this scenario. Regardless of anything we say at this point, we've failed this country. Why don't you stew on that for a minute, eh?"


"Keynes." He turned to her, and she shook her head. "Now is not the time for debate. Minister Durmail," She continued, turning her stare upon the other man. "while you are entitled to your opinion, please keep it to yourself until after the votes are cast. For the moment, this is still my meeting to run, and whether it remains that way or not, there are proper procedures to follow. Some of which, you yourself helped write."

Keynes coughed to cover up a chuckle, but his mood quickly shifted when Kokonoe stepped forward. Anything he might have expected couldn't have possibly been as bad as what was placed on the table next though. Leviathan was a monster better left dead. Even speaking its name made him cringe. Where had this Lev person gotten that information?

------------------------------------------

- Alina -

If anything might get the bureaucrats to stop squabbling for a few moments and get things focused in the right direction, it would be this...

Although it wasn't something Alina ever wanted to have raised as a threat. "I will not kneel to some wretch who would control our people with fear." She turned icy eyes to each person in the room. "Whether I sit upon this chair or otherwise. We formed this administration in hopes of creating a better country, where fear played no part in the government. A country that people could be happy to live in, without oppression. If any of you feel that I would purposefully stray from that course, then here's your chance."

She gestured to the screen, where Lev had only moments before been displayed. "Let's get this vote over with and move on to something productive."

"I offer myself no defense."
She glanced at Keynes, her expression clearly communicating for him to keep his mouth shut. "Nothing I say will sway you against the evidence presented, except for this. My ideals have been, and always will be, that the people we represent mean infinitely more than the people who represent them here."

"If any of you think less of that than me, then I've already failed. From then until now, my actions speak for me, and my ideals stand firm. You have ten minutes to make your decisions."

"After that, we'll prepare a plan for dealing with this 'Lev'."
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:09 am

Caltha - Bunker

- Rise -

Rise shook her head. This was too shocking to really believe.

"How could he possibly know about that?" she murmured. Even within the government, barely anyone knew about that, as evidenced by the reactions of Alina's council.

Either he was someone with hacking skills equal to Kokonoe and James... Or someone already in the know.

"They can't. They can't tell anyone," Rise said, shaking her head. "With the anti-strain movement growing... the people would panic. They'd think we were monsters or something."

But then, they'd have to silence all stains by law. Either way, this Lev got exactly what he wanted. Checkmate.

------------------------------------------

Council Chambers

- Jax -

The Council Chamber became oppressively tense. Alina seemed ready to simply make a decision, but most of the room was in shock about the information they'd just heard, not to mention the ultimatum they'd been dealt.

Commander Barton of Terra Firma ran a thumb along his blonde mustache, eyeing his fellow commanders nervously. He was the only non-strain commander of the four. Commander Arsene of Caelum Regius stared at his handsome reflection in the polished marbled floor, his face pale. Commander Mormont of Mare Amplitudo, with her auburn hair and freckled skin, and Commander Sarasin of Ignus Imperius, her skin deeply tanned and her short hair dark and rich, exchanged confused looks.

Ministers Cressen and Durmail stared in unveiled horror. And Serena sat with her eyes fixed on Alina, still as a statue.

"Is it true?" she asked at last.

Kokonoe thumbed her pocket, wishing for the first time in a while that she had a cigarette. "Yeah, it is."

"Then I don't think we can really trust you to deal with this current situation impartially, even if you had nothing to do with the attack on the Old Guard," Serena said flatly. Despite her still seemingly calm expression, anyone perceptive enough could tell she was deeply rattled by this information.

"I vote no-confidence."

The rest of the council stared. Then, Ministers Durmail and Cressen both noted.

"I vote no-confidence," they both said.

The four commanders sat in tense silence. They all had great respect for Alina, but the situation had rattled them.

"I vote no-confidence," Commander Barton said softly, unable to look Alina in the eye.

Commander Sarasin gripped her chair firmly, the muscle in her neck standing out as she fought to remain calm. "I vote in confidence of High General Grey," she said. "And I always will."

Four votes against Alina. One in favor. Keynes' was practically a formality though. It came down to Arsene and Mormont.

Mormont gazed at her hands, sliding her thumbs across her fingertips in contemplation. "I... I vote no-confidence."

Arsene gazed at her, then back at Alina. He took a deep breath. "Personally, I must vote in-favor."

Jax sighed in relief. They just needed Keynes vote, and the crisis would be narrowly averted. Most of the other Council members seemed to be thinking the same. But Jax noticed Raidon still appeared stiff, and Kokonoe was staring at Keynes hard enough to burn a hole through his head. Then, she gave the faintest shake of her head.

------------------------------------------

Peterney - Old Guard HQ

- Farrington -

Revenge against the system? Farrington snorted.

"I see," he mused. Irritating as it was, the information was enlightening.

"So you don't belong with the Arusians," he said. "But you don't belong with us either then? Where is it that you do belong then, Kurik?"

He turned away, not expecting an answer.

"I must say, I'm hardly surprised, but I am disappointed," he went on, his back to Kurik. "I had hoped, despite your shortcomings, that you might still have enough Kaddathian left in you to depend on putting this country's needs ahead of other self-interests. But I can see that's not the case."

He turned and walked away toward the airships, prepared to carry them off to their new headquarters.

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:30 am

Luke Jaron

Luke was focused solely on video feed and what was going on. He could not care much what was going on outside of the video feed.

The information shared by Lev was a news to him, but he knew that strain is some kind of mutation.

However, to be silenced?

......and what is Kokonoe saying? She is lying that much Luke was sure of, but why? However, it was clear that the result would not be unfavorable. Keynes had to vote, and it would not put Alina in any dire situation.

"I am not into military things, nor I have any idea of how government works... but I just can't understand Kokonoe's intention. She's definitely lying about what she said" Said Luke.

Luke shook his head, "Why Kokonoe making situation bad for her?" Luke asked, perhaps hoping Rise and James have some idea what's really going on.

__________________________________________________________________________

Nadenka Orlov

"Him?" Nadenka asked, but she quickly realized who Alexei was asking about. She smiled faintly, "Well, he came to the hospital. One under-cover mission horribly went wrong and he was injured." Nadenka shrugged, "Then he started to visit me often in my shift hours, for no reason at all. Sometimes he even made up some silliest illness name, just to be hospitalized." Nadenka sighed, still smiling. "When he confessed, I did not know how he was so dedicated to his country, I thought he was just a care-free soldier." Her head was cast down, "Matter of fact, I came to know he was an undercover agent after a few months of dating. She smirked, remembering how she was so surprised to find out his job in the army and realizing the reason of his secrecy. "One day, I had a bad feeling about it, so I asked him to not to go... But he did... and never came back..." Nadenka's eyes met with Alexei's, she was forcing a smile. "Well, he came back, but in cold body... He left me with unfulfilled promise... Nadenka sighed, "That's the story of me and him, a sad tale of a woman who could not hold her lover tightly enough, and a man who could not say 'no' to his country's needs." Nadenka smiled, "Hope you don't make such decision." Said Nadenka.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:35 am

Council Chambers

- Keynes -

As all the eyes in the room turned in his direction, Keynes exhaled a long breath. His gaze drifted to Alina, who looked more annoyed than shaken. "I will never vote for no confidence in Alina Grey."

"However. I do feel that she is too close to this situation to provide adequate leadership." Alina's gaze had turned stormy now. She knew what was coming. "To avoid further confusion amidst our people at this time, we need to present a united front, and I don't think the current administration is capable of that."

He took another breath, leaning back in his chair. "I vote 'no'."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

- Alina -

Why?

Alina nodded at Keynes as she stood from her chair.

He didn't think she was capable of rallying the administration behind her? There was a time when armies rallied to her calls. Where had she gone so wrong?

"Then I shall leave you to your deliberations." Alina said, giving the room a slight bow. "For the sake of our people, get this situation under control."

With that, she made her way for the door, trying to maintain a mask of calm.

"Alina."


She didn't turn at the sound of Keynes' voice. Even she had a breaking point, and this council wouldn't get the benefit of seeing her tears.

"Division Commander Alina Grey."

Biting her lip, she stopped short.

"Am I to assume you are not currently occupied with another position?"

"That is correct." She forced out the words without turning around.

"Then you are hereby restored to active military status and assiged as the XO of the Aegis division. You are to report to bunker 19 within the hour. Do you acknowledge this order?"

Taking a calming breath, Alina pivoted on one foot, shooting Keynes a salute. "Orders received, sir."

She immediately turned away again and marched from the room. Now Keynes' play made more sense. He'd seen an opportunity and used it as a setup. That didn't help her aching pride, but it would at least give her something else to focus on for a while.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Aegis

- Marcus -

Lev?

Monsters?

Leviathan?

Marcus shook his head as he tried to process all this information. "What's Leviathan?" He asked, looking first to James, then to Rise. Lenka seemed to have heard of it, at least, but the name was unfamiliar to him. "And what does it have to do with the magic strains?"

His eyes wandered back to the screen as Keynes seemingly delivered the final blow to the High General, whom they had eaten dinner with only the night before. What kind of situation had they gotten themselves into?
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:53 pm

Peterney - Old Guard HQ

- Kurik -

Kurik pressed his lips together, already regretting his words when he saw Farrington's reaction. His dislike for the man increased.

What Farrington said was almost true. He didn't have much loyalty for Kaddath left in him, but he felt that for the sake of this mission, he would need to try harder at gaining his trust, even though it pained him.

"Wait," he said and caught up to Farrington. His hand grabbed Farrington's shoulder and he spun the older man around.

"That's what you think?" he asked, his voice quiet but passionate. "That I put my own self-interest before Kaddath?" Kurik snorted. "I have served Kaddath my whole life. That doesn't just stop."

"I believe that Lady Adalia can make this country a better place again," he continued, his eyes searched Farringon's eyes. "And for that I'm prepared to do what it takes."

He crossed his arms and waited.

------------------------------------

Caltha - Bunker

- James & Lenka -

Lenka's eyes were still locked on the screen. It was hard to believe that this had just happened.
That Alina had just received a vote of no-confidence.

Marcus' question pulled her back into the room and she looked expectantly at James.
"I know you said Kokonoe can explain better, but c'mon, this is important information," she demanded. "Surely you can give us an overview." She gestured at Luke and Marcus.

James shrugged. Why not? If things kept progressing as they had, they would find out soon enough.

"The Leviathan was a secret weapon, something that is partly responsible for the world as we know it. When it was fired during the last great war, something from another world was able to come into our world. Its presence is causing the magic..." he continued to explain.

When he finished with the story, he looked at Marcus and Lenka. "I know it's hard to believe, especially since the history books don't like talking about it."

OOC: Nex, Payne, just assume James told them the entire story. It was just too much to type out and I don't remember all the details.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:58 pm

Caltha - Council Chambers

- Jax -

Jax's hands fell from the arms of his chair. Keynes... how could he have done that?

He tried to put strength in his legs, made a gesture to stand, but Raidon turned to shoot him a glare.

"Don't," he murmured, soft but sharp.

Jax stared at him, the dropped back into his chair. Numbly, he watched Alina walk away after receiving orders from Keynes.

"In the meantime," Serena said, her voice solemn. "Authority over Kaddath will reside within the Grand Council. Any stalemates in decision-making will be decided by Director of Internal Affairs, Samael Raidon."

Raidon nodded numbly.

"Let's take a short recess," Serena sighed. "I think we could use some time to gather our thoughts."

Kokonoe was the first one up. She shot a disgruntled look at the Council before strolling out.

Raidon stood and nodded to Jax, who tried to keep a mask of control.

"Let's go," Raidon murmured. "We need to talk with her."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Caltha - Bunker

- Rise -

Rise only half-listened as James explained to Lenka and Marcus about the Leviathan. Toward the end, she stood up and walked from the kitchen, her eyes unfocused.

Alina... How could it have come to this?

She was coming her now, after what Keynes had said. Rise walked to the entrance to the bunker and stood waiting. When Alina came in, Rise bit her lip played nervously with her fingers.

"Alina..." she murmured, tears pricking at her eyes. It hurt, more than she could have expected, to see how the world seemed to take and take from this woman without giving back. And she hoped in this moment, before anyone saw, that Alina could let out the pain Rise was sure she was holding back.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterney - Old Guard HQ

- Farrington -

Farrington narrowed his eyes at Kurik.

"Is that so?" he said, surveying the other man intently. "Would you be prepared to defend Lady Adalia against Arusia, if it were to come that?"

He seemed to be trying to read Kurik's face as he continued. "If Arusia had designs against us, would you inform our High Lady without hesitation?"

Farrington looked over to where Maxim and Ariana Adalia were talking and frowned.

"I hope our alliance with Arusia remains as beneficial as intended," he said. "But I've lived long enough to know that poison can seep into any union. Commander Chastenay's designs brought the downfall of Kaddath's glory. Sometimes, I blame myself for not having done more, for not having seen the signs to stop this. All I can do now is try to right the mistakes of the past, to put Ariana back on her father's throne."

There was an unexpected softening of his eyes as he regarded their young leader.

"I've raised that girl. I've done everything to bring her to this point, because I believe in her," he said. "Even if..."

He stopped short, then suddenly turned to Kurik, masking his expression to his usual stern disapproval.

"And I will do everything to make sure that any threat to her is deal with, both from without and within," Farrington said. "I hope you can say the same."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterny - Shop Basement

- Alexei -

Alexei looked away as Nadenka finished her story about her late husband. It was a tragic story. Fate could be cruel.

"I'm sorry," he murmured. He could understand now why she'd been so distraught at the idea of someone she knew dying in combat. But he couldn't ignore that there was something more to that. To draw a parallel between himself and her late husband...

"The capital," he said, trying to get both of their thoughts onto something else. "Do you know its defenses? What's the best way for us to sneak into the city and the palace?"

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:37 am

Caltha - Bunker
Luke Jaron

"...I don't understand..." Said Luke, "I really don't know much, but I know that commander did so much for this new Kaddath... How could they dismiss all that together? All that in one incident?" Luke shook his head, and sighed. Then Luke hold his fist tight. "We got to do something. We need to find out the source of all this problem." Said Luke, "We need to talk with Ehlana, we need to ask her to help us." Said Luke.

He looked at others, hoping that they too wanted to do something than just sitting down in the bunker....

Or perhaps, he was being too hotheaded... again.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:34 am

Aegis

- Marcus -

His jaw was probably hanging slack by the time James finished his story. Forgotten was the monitor where the Council had been meeting about something, and there was a faint buzzing in his ears. This Leviathan thing sounded nasty. And a part of it was inside him? The very thought made his skin crawl. He could only imagine that the general public would react in a similar way.

But the demands that this Lev guy had made were equally bad. Whether the people knew the reasoning or not, trying to take magic away from everyone that possessed it could quickly become a bloody affair.

Blinking several times, Marcus glanced down at his toast, which was probably cold by now. Even if it were warm, he wasn't sure that he could be hungry right now though. "And you're sure this thing is dead?" He asked, trying to get his mind refocused on current events, rather than the magic running through his bloodstream, the monster inside him.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

- Alina -

The walk to the bunker had given her time to collect herself, but the sight of Rise waiting by the door caused Alina's eyes to mist again. "Why are you?" She started to ask before remembering her quick call to James. "You all watched it, didn't you?"

The corner of her mouth tipped up in a sad smile. "Not my finest moment, was it? And I'm going to have to have a chat with James about this. The Council Chamber is above his clearance level."

Still trying to keep it together, she gestured to the elevator door behind Rise. "How about we head back down into the bunker. I'll try to have myself pulled back together by the time we get back out of the elevator."

"No promises though. It's been one hell of a week."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

- Keynes -

"Give her some space." Keynes barked as he stepped between Jax and Raidon on his way through the door. "I need her mind focused on what comes next, and while I hate not giving her time to adjust, dwelling on what's lost won't help her in the long run."

He fished a cigarette out of his coat and lit it, taking a long drag. First one he'd had all day, and he let the burn of it fill his chest. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry this is how it had to go down." Keynes directed the words at Jax. "But that woman wasn't made to be a figure-head. She was meant to lead, and she can't do that from behind the current Council."
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:26 am

Caltha – Bunker
- James & Lenka -

James fell silent when he finished his story. His eyes had followed Rise when she left the room, but he knew better than to go after her.

“We destroyed it, so yes, we’re pretty sure it’s at least banished from this world,” James said. There was probably footage of it somewhere, but he didn’t have the nerve to search for it now.

Lenka was still staring at the monitor, lost in her own thoughts. She was torn between understanding for what the Council did to Alina and feeling very much angry about it. Alina certainly didn’t deserve this.

“You’re right,” James agreed with Luke, “It’s not fair what happened to Alina, but… we might be able to find a silver lining somewhere. Before, Alina was bound by regulations and her every move was being watched. That’s not a good situation to take action or do anything really.”

He paused for a moment and finally turned the monitor off. “As you rightly pointed out, there are a lot of things awry at the moment and now might actually be a good chance for her to do anything about it. As much as a high position suits Alina, I always felt she was more a person of actions than discussion.” James smiled.

“I imagine the Council will want to question Ehlana soon, but I’m very doubtful that asking her to help us will have any effect. You saw her right?” he shook his head slightly. “People don’t change that quickly. And after all, why should she help us? We don’t even know what her motivation is.”

----------------------------------------------
Peterney – Old Guard HQ
- Kurik –

Kurik followed Farrington’s eyes towards Lady Adalia. His expression softened a little and he turned his eyes back to Farrington.

“I know you don’t trust me,” he said. “And I can’t say I blame you for that. But believe me when I say this: As long as it is in my power, I won’t let anything happen to Lady Adalia.”

“I believe in her as the future leader of Kaddath,” he said. He could tell that Farrington did care for Ariana. That was an unexpected surprise. “So should any information that harm is headed her way come to my attention, she will be the first to know,” Kurik lied.

It wasn’t true. He had no intention to save Ariana if she was in danger, unless it furthered Maxim’s plans. However, for the sake of gaining Farrington’s trust, he would play this game.

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:58 am

Caltha – Bunker
Luke Jaron

Luke bite his lips, knowing fully aware of what James was getting at. "I know, but I also know that people do change." Luke smiled faintly, "And I know we really don't have time to wait for the change to happen." Luke, sighed lightly, but he soon came back with a firm look. "But I think we should really ask for her help.  I think it's worth a try."

"Then let's ask Rise and other opinion on this matter?" Rise was perhaps who saw Ehlana at close, and who interacted with her the most apart from Jax and Lisa. Perhaps, her view of Ehlana mattered than the others and it might convince others to give a shot at asking for Ehlana's assistance.

__________________________________________________________

Peterny - Shop Basement

Nadenka Orlov

"It's okay, I actually feel better." Said Nadenka, "You know... I got the feeling he wouldn't be happy that I had not moved on..." She took a silent, but deep breath. "Perhaps, it's really time that I should let him go." She smiled warmly at Alexei's direction.

When Alexei asked for capital's defense, she looked like she was recalling what she knew about the capital, and not a moment later, she nodded. "Sort of," said Nadenka, "Not entirely sure if it's still usable, but underground waterways might do the trick." She smiled playfully and asked, "You don't mind being little stinky, do you?"


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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:50 am

Caltha - Bunker

- Alina -

Rise looked away as Alina quickly figured things out, as Rise was sure she would. "Sorry, we were just... tired of feeling left out."

She turned back to see Alina lift the corner of her mouth in a sad smile. It was obvious to Rise how much she was trying to hold back.

"It's not your fault," she murmured. "And I know you have to be strong for the council, and for the public, but we're your friends. You don't have to pull yourself together around us."

She followed Alina into the elevator. As the doors slid shut, she gazed at the metallic reflection of the two of them in the elevator doors. It was funny to think back on how much she disliked Alina when she first joined them. Maybe some of the distrust was warranted, but she could recognize now how much of it was actually jealousy. Alina just seemed to be so perfect and above everyone... but Rise know understood how lonely and painful that could sometimes be.

[OOC: Sorry, Nex, didn't want to ignore your last post, but Luke was talking to Rise when she wasn't in the room.]

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Caltha - Palace

- Jax -

Jax growled as Keynes stepped in his way, his hands balling into fists. "You don't give me orders. Give her some space? She's my-"

Raidon put a hand on his shoulder, his mouth drawn into a thin line. He shook his head slightly and let a weary sigh slip past his lips. "We can't fight amongst ourselves. Division is the last thing we need right now."

Jax didn't reply, though he let some of the tension ease from his muscles. Keynes' explanation made sense, on some level, but he still couldn't help but feel angry and betrayed.

"Maybe you're right," he said, glaring at Keynes. "But you could have given her a warning, at least."

"Maybe if you boneheads actually checked your coms, we could have prepared for this."

Kokonoe strolled up to them, arms folded. She glared at the cigarette between Keynes' fingers and twitched her lips subconsciously.

"Anyway, I did some checking after we got the message. Looks like Lev is a little sloppy. I was able to pinpoint his transmission location without too much hassle," she said, holding up a flash drive. "I think you're going to want to see this."

Jax frowned and took the device from her. When he inserted the tiny chip into his com, a satellite map appeared, with the transmission location flashing in red. Jax zoomed in on it, brow furrowed. He had to check three times before he finally looked up.

"But that's..."

Kokonoe fixed him with a steely look and nodded.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterney – Old Guard HQ

- Maxim –

Farrington fixed Kurik with a long, searching stare. Then, after a moment, he turned away and give a faint snort.

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

He turned and headed into the flag ship for the Old Guard's air fleet. Every soldier he passed saluted, but all of them also looked at Kurik and gave him respectful nods. He seemed to have gained quite a reputation.

Maxim and Ariana approached Kurik from behind, and Maxim masked a questioning look that Kurik would recognize, but likely no one else. He signaled discreetly to Belo to follow them, then turned his attention back to Kurik and Ariana.

"Kurik," Ariana said, a bit pompously, as she smiled up at him. "Come with me. I've decided to let you sit with my advisors during the flight to our new location. I want to know more about you."

She strolled ahead into the ship as the others around them began to lift off, forming a protective shield around the flagship. Maxim raised his eyebrows faintly to Kurik before following after him, the Generals bringing up the rear.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterny - Shop Basement

- Alexei -

Alexei said nothing. He wasn't sure if it was his place to comment on the grieving process when he'd never had to grieve anyone. But he was happy to hear that she sounded ready - or, at least, wanting to be ready - to move on from her past. And he couldn't help but feel the corners of his mouth tugging upward at the warm smile she directed at him.

Nadenka was back to playful when she mentioned a possible route they could take for infiltration into Caltha and the palace. Alexei snorted in amusement and leaned forward.

"I can take whatever you throw at me," he challenged. He repeated the phrase in Russian, though he wasn't quite sure he got it down right."

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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:05 pm

Council Chambers

- Keynes -

He took another long drag from the cigarette as Kokonoe approached, then dropped it to the floor and crushed it under his boot. A cloud of smoke washed out from him as he exhaled, closing his eyes to contemplate his next move. He still needed to attend the rest of the meeting, but there were a dozen other places he needed to be more. Unfortunately, unlike Alina, he was still bound by duty to the administration. Maybe it was time to hang that up too, at least after all of this was taken care of. He could go for a few years sitting behind the bar again. Not that it was being managed poorly, but he wasn't exactly around for day to day operations anymore.

"You want to give her something to focus on besides all of this?" Keynes asked, looking to Jax. "Send her that location and tell her who's there. That should light her fire pretty quick."

Dragging a hand through his hair, he leaned back against the wall. "She knows how to run a guerrilla op, and she has authorization for it. Aegis has a level of autonomy that none of the other military groups get to enjoy because it's a personal unit. As long as none of the laws of the administration are broken, the usage of Aegis is at my discretion, and by extension hers."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aegis

- Alina -

"You guys are too good for me." Alina responded with a watery smile.

Damn it. She'd tried so hard to hold the tears back, but now they were leaving warm tracks down her cheeks.

She sniffed, reaching up to wipe them away with her palms. "Friends or not, leadership isn't supposed to crack and fall apart in front of the troops. Guess I'm not cut out for it after all." Of course, she didn't completely mean that, but this last week had definitely put some dents in her emotional armor. Nothing like learning a lesson about leadership by being removed from your position of authority, right?

Alina glanced at the numbers on the dial as the elevator crept slowly downward. Funny, the distance didn't seem like nearly enough time for her to pull herself back together.

"I need a drink..." She muttered, leaning back against the elevator wall. Her head hit the metal with a dull thud, and she groaned, channeling the entire week's worth of frustration into the sound.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Marcus -

He was sure that the discussion going on around him was interesting, but Marcus ears hadn't stopped ringing since James said the words "pretty sure". How sure was pretty sure? Like, seventy percent sure? A loud crunching sound brought him back to his senses as it echoed through the room, like the sound an aluminum can makes when you crush it between your fingers.

It took him a few seconds to notice that more than one pair of eyes were on him. "What?" Marcus glanced over his shoulder to see if someone was behind him. Nope.

He turned back to the rest of the table and suddenly realized that his fingers were throbbing. Looking down, he realized where the sound had come from. On either side of him, there was a dent in the metal table, where his fingers had warped it in their grip.

"I... Um... Sorry. I need some air." He pushed himself to his feet and made a hasty escape from the room. Too bad there wasn't actually any air down here. Maybe that was part of his problem though. This place felt more like a cage than a living space.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:39 am

Caltha – Bunker

- James & Lenka –

James smiled at Luke. This young man had surely pulled himself together.

“Right again,” he said. “Still, there are procedures for this sort of thing. We moved Ehlana from Ergo Research to the Capital so she could be questioned by the Council. We can’t just barge in there and jump the line.”

“Feel free to ask Rise and the others later,” he said. “I still feel we need to be a little patient.”

Suddenly Marcus drew their attention by denting the table. James looked up surprised. The young man looked a little confused and made a hasty escape from the room. He raised his eyebrows, wondering what had shaken him so much.

Lenka looked up when Marcus suddenly left. Her brows furrowed and she stood up and followed him out.

When she caught up to him, she asked quietly. "Are you okay?"

-------------------------------------------
Peterney – Old Guard HQ

Kurik nodded and the followed Farrington back to the others. He could see Maxim’s questioning look, but before he could go over to him and answer some of the questions he surely had, Lady Adalia addressed him.

It took him a second to collect himself after this surprise information and smile back. He bowed his head lightly. “An honour, I very much appreciate, Milady,” Kurik replied perfectly polite.

The talk with Maxim would have to wait a little longer then as he fell in line and board the ship. The only response he could give to his raised eyebrows was a little shrug. He also didn’t know what was going on exactly.

On board the ship, he took his seat nearly next to Ariana’s. Only the eyes and looks he received showed him that he was presented with a great honor.[/color]
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:11 pm

Caltha – Bunker
Luke Jaron

Luke was surprised by Marcus, but as he had seen Marcus transformation, he took it as something that Marcus was having trouble of controlling. Something probably had given him a scare, when Lenka followed Marcus out, Luke wanted to leave. Even though, unlike Lenka, Luke was more worried about Lenka than Marcus.

Then again, remembering how Marcus calmed down in that incident... Luke smiled faintly,
"Leave Marcus at Lenka's care, I think that's the best." Said Luke, and he made a sound of gentle 'hmm', "So, how long are we talking about?" He asked, looking at James, "Being patient is good, I agree, but we should also plan something ahead. Perhaps, some information that could help us to make contact with Ehlana, if it comes to that we don't have much time."


_____________________________________________________________________________

Peterny - Shop Basement
Nadenka Orlov

Nadenka blinked, surprise, "Your Russian is getting better." Said Nadenka, then she playfully smiled. "I will take that as yes, then." Said Nadenka, "The moment we get to the capital, we have very small window. So pray that miracle happen we get there to give us higher chance to rescue your friend." Her voice sounded teasing a bit, but it was obvious that she was trying to lighten the mood little about the situation they were going to face in capital.
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PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:16 pm

Caltha - Council Chambers

- Keynes -

Jax sighed and nodded. He didn't like the way this had all gone, but he supposed that didn't matter. What happened happened. All they could do now was press forward.

"Right..." he murmured.

Kokonoe nodded to him, then looked at the others. "I want to be kept informed on all this. In the meantime, I'm working on Alina's acquittal. I've been studying that transmission that was supposedly sent from her, and I think I'm close to figuring out what really happened. It's subtle, but it's actually a slightly different frequency that the one our coms usually use. It's actually similar to the one used by that jamming device our captive friend used at Ergo."

"Speaking of which," Raidon said, "I need to check up on her. I was hoping to bring her out at this meeting, use the element of surprise to see if we have a rat in our midst. Things obviously didn't go to plan. And if we're not careful, someone might dispose of our witness before she can talk."

Jax nodded to him, and Raidon headed off toward the prison.

"I'll leave you to it then," Jax said to Kokonoe. "Please, if you can clear her name-"

"You know, it gets a little tiring sometimes to always be saving your butts," Kokonoe sighed, folding her arms. "Still, it's better than feeling useless."

Jax managed a small laugh. "I don't think you've spent a single day knowing what it's like to be useless."

"Damn straight," Kokonoe said, smirking. "All right, you kids play nice. I'll be in touch."

She pulled out a Traesto gem, cracked it, and vanished in a flash of light.

Jax sighed, shot Keynes a glance, then turned and headed toward the bunker.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caltha - Bunker

- Alina -

Rise frowned, as Alina couldn't even let her guard down in peace.

"That's not true," she said earnestly. "Anyone else would have cracked a long time ago. You're human. You can't be invulnerable all the time."

She put a hand on Alina's shoulder and smiled.

"A drink I can do," she said. "But from the sounds of it, you're going to need to be sober for what happens next."

They reached the bunker and headed toward the kitchen where the others were - or, at least, James and Luke were. Marcus and Lenka seemed to have disappeared. And Lisa still hadn't shown up, apparently.

"It's not James fault, by the way," Rise said preemptively as she saw Alina's eyes flit to the screen. "We got him to do it."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterney – Old Guard HQ

Once they were safely in the transport, Ariana took a seat in the plush crimson chairs in her private quarters and gestured to Kurik and Maxim to sit. Farrington's absence was noted, as he was usually always around when they were with Ariana.

"I've been realizing something," Ariana said, resting her against her hand. "Alina Grey was able to usurp my father's position because she had the favor of the people, not the government. We've done some damage to her reputation at court, I think, but I'm not sure I'm any closer to winning the heart of the people."

She looked over at Kurik, sizing him up. "Maxim thinks you might be able to shed some light on that. So, tell me, what do you think I should do?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peterny - Shop Basement

- Nadenka Orlov -

Alexei smiled. It was good to see Nadenka lighten up.

"Teach me more," he said, sitting attentively. "What's your favorite thing to say in Russian?"

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Location : Sitting alone outside a door that someone else kicked in. I'll wait for all eternity. Won't you invite me in?

PostSubject: Re: Genesis Crisis: Resurgence IC   Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:46 am

Aegis

- Alina -

"Preach, girl." Alina said, letting her head fall back against the elevator wall with a thunk. "I'm not even invulnerable most of the time. I've just had a lot of practice in not falling apart in front of an audience."

"But then, I guess the two of us have always stood in front of our own audience. It's funny really."
She sniffed. "I could never stand in front of all those people and poor my heart out the way you do, but there have been days when I would have given pretty much anything to switch places."

As the door opened, Alina linked an arm through Rise's, marching them towards the kitchen. "I think I can settle for just one drink today."

"And don't try to get him off the the hook. You may have asked him to do it, but it was his choice to listen to you."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Marcus -

Still looking at his hands, Marcus drifted down the hallway, not really paying attention to where he was going. It wasn't like there was much chance of getting lost in the bunker.

He didn't even realize that Lenka had followed him until she spoke, and he leapt away from her in surprise, crashing into a bench, which he then toppled over. Letting out a groan, Marcus blinked a few times, and after realizing it was him that was upside down instead of Lenka, he rolled his lower body off of the bench and pushed himself to his hands and knees.

"Yeah. I'm great." After another second, he slid himself onto the bench and leaned back against the wall. "Just trying to come to terms with the fact that there could be a monster inside me and all that." Nothing major, really...
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