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Only Shadows in Coruscant

There would be no going back; Sarah knew that before entering the Portal. The Boy at her side may not have (in fact he imprinted upon her when lost to everything else only she had forced his crossing over with a nod at that), but as an Operative she certainly understood the ramifications of her actions. Not only had she taken a hostage – a prestigious one at that – she had meant to kill him. Even without telepathy the Soldiers in the White were told by her eyes. While some considered such striking Emeralds beautiful, they hid darker secrets than their appearances suggested. She took pleasure in killing. All these facts were stone cold as the truth: disobedience now would be a death sentence. They were captive charges. And, they were both on a terribly short leash – practically chained. Primes were valuable if controlled, not so much if wild, untamed and traitors to the order which authority of any kind instills. Registration would allow them to be tracked and contained if necessary.

When the World took a consistent shape again, the Teenager still clutched at the Orbed Rainbow. Her fingers that ran along the sphere probed it – almost for comfort but with a calculated precision that searched for imperfection where none existed - while her gaze narrowed focusing on the everything that lay ahead. It was massive. The sprawling Towers eclipsed the streams of the passerby lights and shimmered with a hazed glow in the dead of night. If there were stars, they were hidden high above the tallest of them, and blocked by a never ending traffic flow. The noise at first suffocating, became the norm, and the entire cityscape looked alive. In fact, the Twilight of night could barely be seen at all. Meters to the West Taxis hovered in wait of a charge for the ‘eve. In every which direction the soft illumination lingered, an aura that would be replaced by the gleam of rays in the daylight unto every structure that stood. Distractions so abound that she barely noticed Omnilium vanishing from her grasp.

There were hotels, restaurants, long fields of grass with fountains at their center; there was beauty in the walkways and the architecture that went up and up and glimmered like glass, sparkling in refraction and spiraling into strong steel railings. Elevators and entrances which led to alleyways and sidewalks that were present as far as the eye could see. But, at every turn were Soldiers in White, Cameras in Gray and riveted slots for armaments yet to be seen (if tech remained consistent they probably concealed blaster turrets). There were patrols that went off together and Citizens far off further along hopping into hovering vehicles and walking adorn in the finest wares and garments – everything about them screamed upper-class. To resist here would be suicide. I’ll let them register us. Sarah thought.

She observed tilting her head and peering off with folded arms across her chest. To her Companion she spoke louder than the droll of activity all around, but without making sound herself: ”Stay close. She mimed, hoping he would come to understand. Thereafter, she placed a hand on his shoulder briefly and looked at him. Stay with me. Don’t let them separate us. This was also to keep him from running off and causing more issues than she could manage. The Boy may not get it yet (that they were still in grave danger), but she would continue to stimulate his mind, both with commands and pure thought itself. She needed him focused utterly on her – not on the innumerable possibilities that came with a new reality so different than the one he had been born into. She was starting to believe that it would take longer to acclimate him with his odd case of amnesia. In itself Coruscant barely phased her.

Not to say she wasn’t impressed by the breadth of this ‘Empire’, however all of this felt too familiar. It ruled with an Iron Grip that could be exploited to her advantage – that was useful. The Elite lived here (the less upstanding were barred off in a hole somewhere), and she hardly cared for the Watchers that kept their gaze on her person; each one crawled underneath her skin, boring deeper and then deeper. There was the slightest of moments where a soft smirk stretched across her face in spite of it all. Rotten from the core out. That’s just fine. As with the Confederacy while corruption grew, dissents would be put down. There would be fixed orders of business, certain etiquette to follow and quelled rebellions in an unspeakable silence of tones. Here, she would always have some purpose. Yet, the indifference stayed:

R&R – rest and reequip. Then, I’ll handle their wet-work. Soldiers enforce, and Ghosts vanish. In every sense of the word. In truth the connection she felt for her the fellow Prime existed only in the tranquil blankness of his mind. It offered a refuge from the Others whose surface thoughts were rarely useful anyways – if not disgusting and disturbed to begin with. She would have continued projecting all of these thoughts to the Boy, but a breath of ice ran down her spine disrupting the manipulation meant to distract from the awe of all the new sights and sounds.

So tired you didn’t notice the army clad in white - behind you. Surely, for a Ghost that failing is one for the record books.

“It’s a lot to take in,” the voice of Simmons interrupted her. She hadn’t even realized that he and the rest of the Company arrived so shortly after – just another testament to how much her senses had dulled, and how restless she had become. “Don’t worry – if you cause no further problems there will be little consequence to your actions.” She hadn’t and wouldn’t, so far all of this she suspected from the moment she laid eyes on Stormtroopers. Enforcers of a will that upheld the farce of Peace and Tranquility with Order. Trained well – but with any new Prime that view is always shocking. The Commander shook his head as he gestured ahead with two fingers. A blurr of White marched forward with steps that echoed like thunderous applause. Their minds at ease in the Sanctuary that Coruscant provided for them. He followed after first ensuring that his two charges went on ahead of himself. Gently he ushered them forward and they began yet another drawn out march.
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

As the pair of Primes stepped through the portal leading to Coruscant, the black-clad warrior didn't have the faintest idea as to what to expect. The Nexus had presented him with many unfamiliar and wondrous objects and beings, only a fraction of which he had even begun to comprehend. In his limited knowledge and experience, the white pocket of space seemed as though it was brimming with life, so he wondered if whatever was on the other side would be the same......He was completely unprepared for what he witnessed as the cold sensation of the gateway's energies finally swept over him and he opened his red eyes once more.

Things.....so many things. Devices, creatures, plants, constructs...all too numerous to count and of greater variety than the human mind could fathom. One large pathway, polished to a mirror shine and adorned with white lights and decorative ornaments, stretched out into the distance towards a sizeable elevator. Connected to this avenue were countless side paths that lead into various directions and were decorated with plants and fountains. As one's gaze moved upwards, it saw massive structures of grey towering above the portal and a non-stop stream of moving hovering vehicles near their tops, seemingly infinite amount of lights illuminating all of them in the dark. And above it all, barely visible through the heavy traffic, was the vast night sky. One thing was certain...this was no void. It was an enormous world full of innumerable existences; in its grandeur, a single individual in it was but a mere speck.

The boy, who was already easily impressed, was practically breathless as he saw all this....so much so that he barely registered the girl's thoughts that were resonating in his mind and didn't notice what she was gesturing. His head was flailing around, the immense curiosity about practically everything around them making him unsure as to what to examine first. But it was then that he felt something on his shoulder, prompting him to turn around to look for the source. It was a hand..."her" hand. The girl's emerald eyes stared right at his red ones as she once again gestured with the hand she touched him with, first pointing at him and then at herself, while telepathically sending him a message: "Stay with me. Don't let them separate us." The meaning of those words were lost on the swordsman, but by the way she was looking at him, even he realised that the Ghost was trying to convey to him something important. At the very least, she did succeed in drawing his attention to her and not to the numerous objects around them.

Yet, she had barely gained his focus for a bit when the arrival of Simmons and the stormtrooper company interrupted her, though the grey-haired warrior listened to their conversation. While the soldiers moved on towards the garrison where they were stationed, the male teenager noticed something off to the side of where the portal was located. Though most of the platform leading to it was impeccably clean, a pair of droids were clearing out what seemed to be blackened metallic debris. Fascinated by their white and blue appearance, the way they moved around with their tiny wheels and the constant beeping that they emitted as they worked, the boy started walking towards them in order to get a closer look. His female companion was alarmed by this and wanted to telepathically call him back, but the commander beat her to it: "Hey! Stop!"

Distracted from his goal, the boy turned back to the man with a confused expression on his face. Simmons continued: "Don't run off on your own. I need to report to the CO and I need you two to come with me. Stick with us." But when the young man responded to this with nothing more than a perplexed stare, the commander became annoyed as his patience was really starting to wear thin. The stormtrooper walked to the swordsman. Grabbing him by the wrist, he dragged him back to the girl, the pale teenager not sensing any hostility and thus simply going along with it. Letting him go, Simmons told him sternly: "Just stay close to her, alright? I need to keep an eye on you two."

For the most part, the grey-haired warrior didn't understand what he was saying, but the phrase "stay close" rang familiar. It was what the girl had said to him before, which he managed to hear in spite of the abundant distractions. Thinking about it, the soldier told him this after pulling him closer to the young woman. It was then that he finally realised what they wanted to tell him...they wanted him to stay near the girl. Glancing at his female companion, the swordsman then turned to meet the commander's gaze. It was then that, much to the surprise and relief of the other two, he....nodded. The Ghost was relieved that he was starting to catch on, while Simmons was just glad to finally have some cooperation. With that, the stormtrooper nudged them to move on and the trio started to follow the group of soldiers, who went ahead of them.

Though the boy did as he was told and remained at the girl's side as he walked, his head kept turning left and right in an attempt to see everything that was around them. Not only were the pathways kept pristine, the decorations were also maintained in a neat and orderly fashion. The plants were all perfectly trimmed and placed in exact intervals. Even the security elements, such as the hidden turrets, cameras and guards were placed in precise positions and distances from one another. To the Ghost, the tyranny and corruption of the Empire was all too transparent and the glamorous and extravagant facade didn't faze her. But her naive companion was completely oblivious to the rot that laid underneath and continued gasping at the sight of this shiny exterior. Compared to the pockets of space he was in before, Coruscant came off as though it were paradise.

After walking down the main avenue and the various pathways for a short while, they finally reached their destination. Situated somewhere among the tall skyscrapers was a military base; though comparatively much smaller, it was nevertheless a large structure of impressive size. The pathway the group was coming from lead to a wide platform which further lead to a massive gate that represented the main entrance. As the company was already expected for quite some time, the gates began to slowly open well before the group of soldiers even reached it. Inside lied some sort of lobby, where various people, most of them stormtroopers or individuals in grey uniforms, as well as droids went about their business. The company in white marched into the building, placing themselves somewhere in the middle of the entrance hall before they came to a halt. There, they diligently waited as the trio caught up with them. "Stay put," Simmons told the Primes before he proceeded to step in front of his unit, the soldiers standing in perfect formation.

Holding his helmet with his left arm, he scanned all of his men with his dark hazelnut eyes. He took a deep breath before he addressed them: "I know how you all feel....I have that sinking feeling in my gut too. It's never pleasant to think that you've disgraced yourself. But being a soldier isn't just about fighting, but also knowing when is it necessary to fight. You've completed your mission and come back in one piece. So I don't want to see any of you leaving tonight with your head hung low." The commander paused for a moment, allowing for his words to sink in. "You've all done well and earned yourself some R&R. Once you've taken care of your armour and equipment, you're free for the evening. I'll see some of you later at the cantina. Dismissed!"

The stormtroopers hailed and saluted their commanding officer one more time before they dispersed, heading towards their respective changing rooms. It was then that Simmons returned his attention to the pair he was escorting. With a head gesture, he indicated to them to follow as he proceeded to one of the hallways. Noticing this, the red-haired girl quietly followed him. The grey-haired teen was distracted for a moment, having observed with fascination the massive doors that were then closing. But as soon as he noticed that his female companion had moved on, he quickly ran to catch up.

They walked right behind Simmons as the boy continued to look around. Though there was some activity in the hallway, it was quite apparent that it was getting late as most of the doors remained closed. However, they did see some of the soldiers that escorted them before enter one of the locker rooms, sighing in relief as they took off their helmets. They also caught a glimpse of the women's changing room as a fully equipped stormtrooper stepped out of it. Some were in their armour, some in the black suits they wore underneath it and at least two were happily chatting away in their sports bras and gym shorts. The male warrior was fascinated by the fact that there were other "hers" besides the one that was walking alongside him.

Located at the end of the hallway was a circular elevator: As with the room doors, its entrance automatically opened when someone appeared in its proximity. Simmons stopped and once again made a gesture with his head, indicating that the "guests" should go in ahead of him. The girl obliged and the boy followed suit. Once they were in, the commander stepped in as well; rapidly turning around, he issued a simple voice command: "Top floor." The lift responded immediately; closing its doors, the device powered up and lifted them from the ground level. The swordsman was taken aback, amazed that they were apparently moving while remaining completely still....and even moving upwards at that! However, the other two were well used to such means of transport and thus found it to be entirely mundane. Simmons used whatever little reflection he could get from the elevator door to fix his light brown hair, while the young woman in grey simply remained quiet as she felt too fatigued to say or do anything.

Very quickly, they arrived at their destination. As the device powered down and the door opened, they stepped outside the lift and found themselves in another hallway. Much like with the one on the ground floor, there wasn't a lot of activity at that time of the day, though the occasional person in a grey uniform would leave a room and go into another. The commander lead them onward. After another short walk, Simmons finally stopped at a door. "Wait here," he said briefly before pressing a button next to the entrance. A moment later, the door opened and the company leader disappeared inside. As the door slid back shut, there remained an almost eery silence as the two Primes waited for their audience with the CO. While the Ghost wondered what would happen after they meet the person in charge, her companion continued to observe his surroundings as usual. In the time they waited, only two people passed by that ended up noticing them; a male officer, who showed nothing more than a bemused smirk as he looked at them, and a female one, who audibly gasped as her gaze met that of the red-eyed swordsman. The boy didn't know what to make of those reactions while the girl beside him didn't care enough to explain.

Not that she would have had the time as the door sprung open once more and Simmons re-emerged from the office. "Come," he said briefly before returning back in. The pair followed him inside. What they ended up seeing upon entering was....not entirely expected. As was fitting for a high-ranking officer, the office in which he resided was fairly spacious and the wide window at the back provided a nice view of the highest tier of the city. But while the room certainly did not lack modern amenities and equipment, some of the decor came off as antique and anachronistic by comparison. The walls of the office were covered in wooden panels. The left side was adorned with a very large landscape painting, which depicted a coast at sun dawn. The wall opposite of it was covered with ornamental blades of various shapes and sizes, some of which seemed like the type of weapons Camelot guards would employ.

Sitting in a comfortable chair behind a shining mahogany desk was the man they had come to meet. He wore the same field grey uniform as the other officers they had seen, although his quite noticeably featured a greater number of stripes and medals. Though he had a sharp visage similar to his subordinate, his hair was of a light blonde colour and his eyes were sea blue. He had a beaming white smile, though it came off as sick and twisted rather than kind and heartwarming. In fact, the man as a whole had a rather unpleasant aura about him, almost as though he didn't even care about hiding his true nature. Nevertheless, he seemed determined to put on a genial face as he greeted the visitors in a pleasant tone: "Ah...Welcome! I have been expecting you!"

The teens came to a halt in the middle of the room, looking at their host. Meanwhile, Simmons positioned himself off to the side, quietly observing the conversation. Pointing at himself with one of his black gloved hands, the man behind the desk said: "Let me introduce myself. I am Lieutenant Colonel Brandt Herman and I have the privilege of being the commanding officer of the Coruscant Guard battalion, though some people like to call us the "Gatekeepers"." He then gestured towards his underling: "And, by now, I am sure you are well acquainted with my executive officer, Captain Oliver Simmons." It was at that point that he let out a chuckle: "Though he would have long been a major if he was willing to recognise the value of non-field work." Simmons clenched his teeth, but said nothing. It didn't take a psychic to know that he had heard that remark hundreds of times before and that he found it particularly grating.

The Ghost said nothing, her emerald eyes staring coldly at the battalion commander. Meanwhile, the young man's attention was drawn to the vast collection of blades on the right as this was the first time he had seen weapons similar to his own. Picking up a glass of cognac he had prepared on his desk, Herman laid back in his chair, gently swirling the yellowish brown liquid in the process. His wide grin completely unabated by the girl's icy glare, he inquired: "Based on what the Captain told me, you seem to have caused us a bit of trouble, Miss...?"
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

Like every man in the seat of power Sarah had ever known – this Lieutenant Colonel – Brandt contained the sort of smug self-righteous that came from experience. It seemed that regardless of location among the Stars, authority was given to those that could not just handle routine assignments, but to those that could bullshit (walk the walk and play a mean game of poker). A terrible term however, accurate all the same. Herman had this going for him in spades and if it had been anyone save for the Teenager before him, the act may have found some saving grace. Instead, it only met a cooled glare and an unwavering tilt of her head. She may have blinked once or twice in the moments that passed, but not a word parted from her lips. They remained still, while her gaze shifted examining everything on the desk, but lingering the most on his beverage of choice. At any other time, it may have brought the soft glimmer of a smile upon her face; it didn’t this time though: too many forgotten memories – too many sad ones.

The quiet at first took the room. In a sense, a stand-off occurred with neither position willing to relent and reveal their poised hand to the other side. Admittedly, the Ghost did not have nearly as many cards to play herself. She could feel every fiber of her being struggling against a collapsing under the overwhelming onslaught of stressors, pains, emotions and feelings running rampart in her mind. Every passing second wore down on her resistance, and soon she felt as though she would pass-out right-then and there; on the floor of some former glory-hound’s office. That would have been quite the first impression at least.

To any sane person the fear of embarrassment may have won the battle, right now she simply didn’t care. Her reply came not in words but the dull tremor that shook the desk, the walls with their swords and sifted through the entire space. It almost felt like desperation, and aggression in their purest forms. Then when it died down, nothing at all – as though it had never been. Kerrigan had hoped a display of power would shake the firm foundation she faced, but it had been her undoing while the last of what strength she had slipped from her grasp. At the height of her ‘tantrum’ she caught one surface thought echoing across the office: ‘what is it with redheads – always so rebellious.’ The truth was far less unsettling – and in fact far more childish: she was trying to keep herself awake.

“Oh,” the Colonel chuckled. “Oh, there is no need for such theatrics. I swear, girls are a stubborn lot – especially around your age if I do say. If I didn’t know better I’d say my daughter were in the room – thrashing about and making for my pieces as though to get her own way.” He sipped at his drink, gasped and stirred it once more. He sighed taking a deep breath while The Boy whom had been so enamored by the glistening steel upon the wall had turned at the commotion, and quickly fled to Sarah’s side even as it bled away into nothingness. “Is that the temper which so shook you, Oliver?” Simmons faced flushed red, he nodded reluctantly going over the events internally once more that had led his Company into a minor disgrace, but said nothing further in return. After all, it would be in the final formal report. No need to slow the process. “No matter – now I will have none of that – be civil girl or there shall be no respite for you this night.” Another swig burned down the parched throat. Half gone and he reached to refill the glass. It poured on for several seconds.

“Sarah,” the Ghost whispered resigned to her fate. “My name’s Sarah.”

At those few words the wicked smile bloomed again. It curled across Brandt’s face like a fresh wave coming to shore. At the precipice, it remained even as more poison was downed. There was a power in knowing someone’s name, and in this case it also meant he was this much closer to signing new Agents to the Empire. “There not so hard and I’ve been told that your companion doesn’t speak.” He eyed the Boy and decided that silence was enough of an answer. “Now then, your previous transgressions will be forgiven assuming you are willingly to pledge yourself to our cause.” A pause as the remaining contents vanished from his glass. He placed it on the desk. “Once you’re registered into the system, you’ll be tasked with completing a preliminary assignment. The nature of any future dealings will be determined by your overall performance.” He cleared his throat and opened a folder- a file that had been sitting on his desk since their arrival. He scanned it grinning all-the-while.

Simmons still observing knew that look all-too- well. At times his CO possessed a sadistic streak that his fellows did not much care for. However, sometimes the charges warranted such a reaction. At this, he slunk back into a corner, leaning against the wall and prepared for what he now thought would be a long debrief, followed potentially by a mission briefing. The newcomer Primes may barely be awake at this point, but that wouldn’t change the facts of their situation. One couldn’t speak, or so Oliver embellished, and the other, had practically murdered an Executive Officer of the Empire’s military. Neither was on the good side of his boss, and that little stunt whether it was meant to exert dominance or not, hardly helped matters. He shut his eyes and rubbed them with three fingers roughly. Although they shot open in surprise from the Teenager’s next remark.

“I’m sorry.” Sarah apologized, interceding before the proceedings could go any further. Shocked didn’t quite cover the sensation. This killer had just uttered two words he had not even considered to be a part of her vernacular. Simmons could only wonder what game she was playing at, and thankfully in those few passing seconds had no need to shield his mind. At this point, she actually wanted something for herself – a feeling she hadn’t dealt with in a very long time. What she wished for was so base that it overruled all of her training, her instincts and the memories which told her to never show weakness – that told her to never feel for those live she would take – and became all that she could think about. It consumed her and she didn’t pay the toll to maintain herself any longer.

Her age shone through, and in just one brief and brilliant instance, she was no longer an Assassin but a vulnerable teenaged girl. “Please, let us sleep first.” Her voice sounded so hollow that at first she didn’t realize it came from her at all. Never before had she actually felt defenseless. However, to those in the room with her, she felt naked and exposed in a way she didn’t desire to be again. She had even said please. Patches of red formed beneath her eyes and welled up on her cheeks as she blushed. In an instant she looked away stepping back and turning towards a wall. A shiver ran down her spine. This place is messing with my head. What the hell is happening to me? I just need rest. Then I’ll deal with this – with them and . . . the Boy. She shuddered in a vain attempt to compose herself. All for naught, fatigue had taken over the better part of hers senses.

Whether merely curious or concerned, the young man made an effort. He walked towards her and almost reached out before she suddenly turned back. He leapt back and way, staring once more into such vacant eyes could even dishearten those that didn’t know any better apparently. Her thoughts echoed into his mind. They resounded loudly as though she directed all of her attention unto him. That may have been true, but the link between their minds in this moment was completely unintentional. There were only vagrant feelings, vague and desperate crawling, seeping and creeping in her mind. This is supposed to be easy, Sarah found herself thinking. There’s an objective – I accomplish it. Damn it, why am I so tired? She wanted to cry out; she didn’t though – for the fear of being flayed alive with all her flaws known, kept her in check. Without realizing it she rose an arm and rubbed her eyes blinking afterwards.

The Lieutenant Colonel sighed in exasperation. Some brass. Threatening an entire Company and now making demands. At any rate, that was the way he saw it, and he was behind the big desk not them or his Captain. The decision he made here would be his to answer to later down the road. It may be better just to wash his hands of the entire affair. However, if she and the Boy – as odd as he is – could be turned, their influence could be significantly spread to the lower levels of the city. Primes that would be willing to get their hands dirty in the name of the Empire, and better yet without asking too many questions. He glanced back down at the file before him and thereafter shook his head.

“I suppose as a gesture of our good intent that can be managed.” His hands filtered down beneath the desk and he retrieved a small device, with the press of a button a holographic image formed encompassing the entirety of the wooden base. It stretched out in its blue hues and floated without a sound in stark contrast to the rest of the antiquity in the office. “There are several apartment complexes on the Second Tier made available for our friends – usually they require official paperwork to be filled, sealed, and signed - but given the circumstances, I would not except that of you.” Far more interested than he had been, Oliver crept closer to the map display. He shuffled it about and centered the locale on their location. Its nigh invisible screen flickered several times as it became three-dimensional. With a gesture Tier One rose up and in its place Tier Two rested. “Many of our associates stay here,” another hand gesture and the map zoomed in. “East Side Apartments . . .” he kept going on but Sarah had stopped paying attention. She slipped back a few steps and knelt down, then leaning against a wall she crossed her hands above her legs and waited patiently.

“You don’t mind,” she stated and the explanation went on. Don’t mind me boys - by all means - play with your toys. She briefly glanced over at her companion wondering what he would make of all this. Lightly she probed his mind trying to gauge his reactions to everything. He had difficulty understanding simple matters. The idea of a living space would be far beyond him she suspected. No matter, eventually the Imperial supervisors would grow tired of hearing themselves talk and have to move them to some manner of quarters.
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

"My, my....you really are out of it, aren't you?" the Colonel said as he noticed that the girl was nodding off, her red ponytail hanging on the side of her lowered head. Though it had been Herman's rambling that had caused her to lose focus in the first place, she was still aware enough that his last comment made her jolt her head upwards and awake from her stupor. In her mind, Sarah cursed herself for the moment of weakness, but the damage was done. Unlike what one would expect from the man, however, Brandt did not look amused by this. While not angry, his lips were tightly sealed as he looked at the teenager with a disapproving look. He did not appreciate someone not listening to what he was saying. At the same time, however, the fact that she reminded him of his daughter made him somewhat more lenient than normal...even though he quite clearly recognised her eyes to be those of a cold-hearted killer.

A few awkward moments passed between them before the Colonel decided not to chew the teenager out for her improper behaviour. Sighing, he turned off the virtual image and finally broke the silence: "I suppose the paperwork will have to wait. Go and get some rest. However, I expect you here in my office first thing in the morning. Are we absolutely clear?" The Ghost nodded, though it was difficult to tell if she truly did understand him or if she was just blindly agreeing to anything he said just so she could get some sleep. Herman took another sip of his cognac to wash away the bitter taste in his mouth. "Since I don't currently have the time to arrange separate accommodations, your..." he added, pausing for a moment to glance at the boy standing next to her, "...dark friend will have to sleep over for the night." While her companion remained as confused as always, Sarah nodded again, albeit more firmly this time.

Opening one of his desk drawers, the senior officer retrieved from it a transparent keycard. Swiveling in his chair, he turned to Simmons and extended it to him. With a smile on his face, Brandt stated: "Captain, why don't you escort our guests here to their quarters? Given their current condition, I don't think it would be appropriate to leave them wandering around on their own."

Simmons slightly grimaced, unhappy with the idea of serving as someone's room clerk....especially when that someone had threatened to kill him not long ago. The subordinate responded: "But, sir, I need to have our blasters retrieved from the Nexus. We can't-"

The Colonel interrupted him, making a dismissive gesture with his free hand: "Don't worry about that, Simmons; I will make all the necessary arrangements. You just make sure that our guests arrive at their quarters safely. Oh, and of course...once you have done that, you are free for tonight. I'm sure you need some rest yourself after such a long and awkward day." Herman continued grin widely, but the Captain's stern look was unwavering. Gazing at his superior, he was quite tempted to punch the man in his smug face. However, he kept his composure; he obediently took the card and saluted.

"Good," Brandt said, looking pleased as he leaned back in his chair and scanned all three of them with his eyes, "I will see you in the morning. You are now dismissed. Good night." Saluting once more, Simmons gestured to the other two to follow him. Glad that this was finally over, Sarah followed the Captain out the door. The warrior in black didn't immediately realise what was going on, but ran to catch up when he did.


After a short trip, the group once again found itself outside the military complex. Barring the occasional individual and droid, the hallways were even more empty than before. The majority of personnel had either gone home or were busy with their night shift duties. Even outside the fortress, there weren't as many people as before. But in a city that never slept, the various pathways and plazas were almost never entirely empty and the ant lines of hovering vehicles above were seemingly endless at all times.

With Simmons taking point, the trio made its way back to the main avenue. This time, they followed the wide pathway all the way to the end, where the enormous elevator they saw earlier awaited them. As it turned out, that wasn't the only one; a whole series of them were lined up along the walls of a colossal square pillar, enabling dozens, if not hundreds, to travel between the top two tiers at any given time. But at that late hour, they were not being utilised anywhere near their full capacity; many remained still as their doors were either open as they awaited new passengers or closed as they were located at the bottom at that time. However, one of them was being boarded by a small group of people; some were guests in fancy evening garments who were retiring for the night while others were either office workers or military officers who had been working late. It was this group that the Captain and the two Primes joined as they boarded the elevator.

They positioned themselves near the front of the wide platform as the doors closed and the transportation device powered up, beginning its decent with a speed that belied its size. As they began their journey to the lower tier, the trio noticed that the other passengers were staring at them...or, rather, they were staring at the swordsman, who stood out like a sore thumb among the inhabitants of the technologically advanced metropolis. Since the boy was practically doing nothing but taking in the various sights and sounds around him, even he wasn't oblivious to this and his curious eyes often met the nervous or equally curious gazes of the people around them. Neither Simmons nor the Ghost payed much heed to this occurrence. The girl did manage to catch some of the random thoughts of the nearby passengers, including one who was wondering if the upcoming show "Law & Orker" was going to result in more people from Camelot coming there. But even if she had cared to learn what they were thinking, her mind was too unfocused for most of it to sound like anything more than gibberish; with her head throbbing and her nerves strained, it was taking every ounce of her strength just to remain attentive enough to follow the Captain.

Once the lift had passed through the enormous metallic layer that propped up the entire top section of the city, they finally got to see Tier Two through the elevator's transparent walls. Though not quite as luxurious as the first tier and having a synthetic sky in place of a real one, the sight of it was no less breathtaking. In spite of being located within an artificially enclosed space, the sheer dimensions of said space were so tremendous that it was able to replicate the tall skyscrapers and seemingly endless aerial traffic of the upper tier. In fact, the second tier was even more bustling with activity than the first, especially at that time of day. It seemed that for all the glamour and prestige of the topmost tier, the true heart of the city lied beneath its surface.

As it approached the end of its descent, the transportation device decelerated just as quickly as it accelerated. In spite of this, the elevator came to a smooth stop, without so much as a thud, and the doors slid open. The passengers exited and went their separate ways, though some were headed in the same direction. This included a few uniformed individuals, which Simmons followed to wherever they were going. The two Primes followed closely behind him and observed their surroundings. Like before, the boy in black was mesmerised by all the people and objects surrounding them. Meanwhile, though she was exhausted, the sheer noise that pervaded the streets kept the Ghost focused enough to notice that security wasn't quite as strict there as it was in Tier One. But though the smaller number of guards patrolling the area gave the appearance of a less stifling environment, looks were deceiving. A trained eye was able to notice numerous hidden cameras, monitoring the citizens of Coruscant constantly.

Fortunately for the group, their trip turned out to be brief. Located a relatively short walk away from the elevators was a whole series of identical apartment blocks. Though quite plain and unimpressive compared to some of buildings surrounding them, they were at least well maintained. "The apartments here are owned by the military. They're often assigned to junior officers so that they can respond quickly in case of an emergency," Simmons explained as he searched for the right building. But neither of his companions were really paying attention; the swordsman was still curiously looking around while the girl did not care and was simply glad she would finally be able to get some rest.

After a short search and a completely uneventful elevator trip, the trio found itself in another hallway. The Captain took a few more steps before finally coming to a halt in front of one of the doors. On the wall next to it was a sign that said "237" and right below it was a keypad with a keycard slot. Turning to the other two, Simmons addressed them once more: "Here we are, Apartment 237." Stretching out his arm, he held out the transparent keycard he received earlier from Herman to the girl: "Take this. Since the door uses several security mechanisms besides the keycard and numeric code, it's important that the intended owner inserts it and types in the code. Speaking of which, it's 1408." Sarah took the keycard and acknowledged the man's words with a tired nod.

The brown-haired commander was about to turn to leave when he remembered something else: "Oh, one more thing. Like I said before, the brass will probably overlook what you did at the fountain. However, I would suggest you avoid pulling any more stunts like that in the future. Thanks to a recent incident, the higher ups have become...a bit nervous when it comes to Prime recruits and are keeping a close eye on them. If you do something like that again, they might decide that you're more trouble than you're worth and arrest you. I don't know what they do to rogue Primes....but often, we don't end up hearing from them again. Keep that in mind, alright?" The Ghost nodded once more in response. Oliver sighed; he didn't know if his words really sunk in...but nor did he really care. He did what he was ordered to do and whatever happened after that wasn't his problem....he had enough "babysitting" for one day. "Good night," he bid them before finally walking off, his mind set on relieving some stress at the cantina.

As the two Primes were left alone in the hallway, the red-haired girl didn't waste any time inserting the card into the appropriate slot and inputting the four-digit code. After a few moments, a beep was heard as the keycard popped back out of the slot and the doors slid open. Retrieving the card, Sarah stepped into her new place of residence, the swordsman closely behind her. Though the room they entered was dark, it was immediately illuminated by an automatic light as soon as they walked in and the entrance closed behind them. They appeared inside a small rectangular entrance hall, doors on almost each of its walls. Aside from a simple shoe rack and a small landscape picture on the wall, it was completely bare. On the left was an open door frame, which lead into a room that seemed to serve the dual purpose of being both the kitchen and the living room. After inspecting the rooms behind the two closed doors opposite and right of the entrance, the girl discovered that they were the bathroom and bedroom, respectively.

While the grey-haired warrior stared in amazement at the light that turned on by itself, Sarah sighed in relief as she entered the room she was looking for. Unlike the hallway she came from, the bedroom had a large window with a nice view of the city. It was also well-furnished, containing a large closet, a dresser and two night stands. Most importantly, it had a double-sized bed, which was already prepared in advance for its new inhabitants; for the drained young woman, it was a sight for sore eyes. Approaching the bed, she raised one of her arms and removed the hair tie that kept her ponytail together, letting her long hair loose. As she dropped the tie on the night stand and heard the boy's footsteps coming closer, the small part of her mind that was still attempting to function normally worried about where would he sleep and whether he was going to run off somewhere while she was resting. But Sarah had reached her limits. Her body exhausted and her head throbbing, she was unable to go on for even a moment longer. The girl unceremoniously collapsed onto the mattress, her red locks covering the pillow. In the brief moments that she tried to think of what to say to the boy who entered the room just then, she rapidly fell into a deep slumber.

Meanwhile, sticking close to his female companion as he was told to, the young man positioned himself next to the bed. As the door closed and the bedroom was covered in darkness, the only source of illumination being the distant city lights visible through the window, he stood there and observed the room as well as the sleeping Ghost. There, he waited......and waited.......and waited. It was difficult to tell how much time had passed as he continued to wait while the girl slept peacefully, her breathing the only thing that was disturbing the silence in the room. The boy was curious and pondered whether to explore the previous rooms he saw...but then remembered how the being they called Simmons responded when he walked away to examine something the last time. Though the man in white was not there, the girl herself told him to stick close to her. For that reason, he kept himself content with examining the objects in the room they were in, never distancing himself much from his previous spot.

Eventually, when he had sated his curiosity and stood by the bed again, he started to feel an odd sensation. His legs were becoming weak, his eyelids heavy and his mind numb. Though he was initially confused by this, it was in fact something he had already experienced...he was getting tired. It had been a long time since he had awoken in the void, after all. Unable to stand any longer, the teen unknowingly seated himself on the floor. He continued to patiently wait...but over time, he did not feel like he could sit either. He ended up supporting himself with one of his elbows and then lied fully on the ground when even that turned out to be too tiresome. Since he could not lie on his back due to his sword and shield, he was turned on the side instead. His red eyes continued to observe his companion, but the warrior increasingly struggled to focus as his eyelids remained closed for longer....and longer.....until he too fell into a deep sleep.

At one point in his slumber, the young male once again saw a vision in his mind. Yet, unlike the ones he had before, this one was different. It was dark, it was surreal....and, most importantly, it wasn't his own.


Dark Link and Sarah are now asleep. Sarah is dreaming and Dark Link is experiencing the same dream.


BAM! The swordsman jolted as a result of the vision's abrupt end. But because he was sleeping on the floor, the back of his head collided with the dresser next to him. Reacting to the immense pain he felt as a result, the teen instinctively reached for the spot under his cap and began to rub it. But as he did so, his mind started to focus less on the unpleasant sensation and more on the dream he had, which was unlike anything he had ever experienced. It was then that he realised that the room that the dream took place in....was the same room in which they were.

His red eyes opening wide, the boy jumped to his feet with incredible speed. Reacting to the danger, he unsheathed his sword and retrieved his shield from his back, ready to face......nothing. There were no red and yellow eyes in the windows, no holes in the walls, nothing running on the floor.....aside from the daylight that was pouring into the room from the outside, the living space was exactly as it was supposed to be. The girl had awoken as well, sitting on the bed in a distressed state. Her face was pale, her breathing was heavy and there were heavy drops of sweat on her brow. Meanwhile, fully alert, the boy kept turning around, his sword ready to strike at any foe that might be surrounding them. He had visions before...but none like this. None that felt so dangerous, so....real. Carefully looking around, he pondered...who were they? What were they? And, most importantly, where were they?
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

Only a dream. Only a dream. Sarah reassured herself sitting upright – very much awake now – in her barely worn in bed. She repeated the words aloud; in a hushed whisper nothing more, that parted from her lips: “Only a dream. It was only a dream.” Her voice crackled, belted out between breathes; between gasps for air as she panted, trying desperately to still the rapid thumping of her heart. A hand fell across her chest and she could feel it. She peered down. If she could only calm herself, then, the hours of sleep would eclipse any and all fears begotten from her nightmare. But, blinking once she noticed the few drops of sweat while they tumbled down to sting her eyes, and the others that cracked her skin, slowly forming into nasty salty residue. In those moments, she hadn’t remembered the Boy, or his odd behavior. In fact, she hardly recalled with any confidence what had occurred the day before.

I need a shower. The thought had been brief and the Teenager tossed the covers off just as it passed. They thumped, crumpling in a ball to the floor as she swept her legs over top of them and stood up right. She stretched, yawning a bit while arching her back and cradling her arms straight out above her head. There were a few cracks as it adjusted – realigning in its proper place after a night’s sleep. Thereafter, she glanced out of a window gazing at Tier 2 of Coruscant with an indifferent expression upon her face. Sighing she then turned from it and allowed the sun’s rays to grace her backside. Briefly, she felt warmth, but that didn’t last. Instead, she walked forward beyond the span of her resting space and further along, out the door whereupon she hung a sharp right.

Another door laid before her and with a simple gesture: just a wave of her hand across a nigh invisible screen of tech stuff, it separated, opening before her. Ahead she observed a typical restroom rather swiftly. The sink was a couple meters within and off to the right; straight on a moderate sized tub and shower combo, and finally off to the left the towel racks and a toilet. A stylish curtain shimmered, sheltering the washrooms contents, phasing from one design to the next with each footfall that fell upon its motion sensors. Sarah entered leaving the threshold completely bare behind her without a thought. If she had lingered just a moment more, she might have realized something important that had escaped her notice so early in the ‘morn: her Dark companion had followed her, tagging along like he had done since their arrival in Coruscant – a puppy dog of sorts.

She stripped though – unceremoniously sliding out of her hazard suit and gently letting the piece of equipment settle on the cool tile below. Next she spun and faced the mirror. Staring at her visage as she finished the process. Smirking, she almost laughed at her appearance; because it truly was a sight to behold. Such a mess of hair, sweat and prickling skin. If her superiors had ever seen her so vulnerable before her transition into the Omniverse, she certainly would have been terminated from any future assignments, and most likely disposed of without a single regret. Then, her expression froze, and just beneath her eyes patches of reds welled up forming into splotches of an intense blush. Just a glimpse had been enough, she had seen the Boy in the corner of the mirror. In that instant, her thoughts became a rampart mess and she hastily covered her chest with an arm and drifted a hand downward to protect herself.

For a second, the Dark One couldn’t even understand everything that flowed into his mind. There were just too many words; words he didn’t know (couldn’t begin to comprehend) like: ‘pervert and pig’ and ‘get out!’ The lack of understanding didn’t cross his mind. He stood there for moments with only the tilt of his head and a blank, red gaze. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to leave her side. But, Sarah retaliated swiftly. From within herself energies swelled and were expelled. Streams and swirls of purples, violets and reds surrounded her pupils, and thereafter, the brunt of them were directed at him. They were propelled outward in a nigh invisible telekinetic burst.

It struck hard sending the Boy airborne in one moment, and in the next, tossing him against the wall across from the bathroom. He landed with a harsh thump and slumped briefly – as the pain settled in radiating up his spine – only regaining enough of a focus and field of vision in time to see the door he had previously entered, be shut by a glaring Sarah with only a nod of her head in the approximate ‘closed’ direction. Afterwards, a high-pitch beep echoed outward from just above the doorframe and soft blue light lit up the word at the top it read: ‘sealed’ (because in the future you seal things). The Teenager had barred him from the restroom, effectively leaving the rest of the Apartment to explore.

The water, at first scalding, sprinkled down Sarah’s bare back. It then jetted forth though as she swept her hand up, raising the shower’s intensity parameter. Soon, steam clouded glass and she was drenched from head to toe. Her hair fell heavily upon her skin, darkening with every ounce of water applied to it. It went from a shining scarlet, to a browning maroon. She took a deep breath therein, allowing the liquid to take its course and fall unto her entire body. The Boy, she thought, How did I forget him? The fog rose up around her – from the droplets that evaporated and mystified the majority of the shower and the room itself. Scrambling forward she clumsily selected the shampoo option from the illuminated menu before her. She stood as the foam gathered in her hand. After, she began to apply it gently to her scalp.

It felt great, relaxing – more so than the sleep had been – to be washing away all that grime and confusion that had built up since her arrival in the Omniverse. A few days ago, she hadn’t been able to muster up strength enough to depart from the Fountain. Now though, she had managed to attain a living space and fall under a tentative contract with a local faction powerhouse. Initial reservations aside, with just a bit more manipulation, she would be relatively safe. Well, as long as she did nothing further to incur the wrath of the Empire. She leaned her head back and sighed deeply. If only I could stay in here forever. That of course wasn’t in the cards. It would be such a waste after all. That, and a calm life would probably drive her insane. She needed thrills, and at times she realized, that the monster that lurked within her had to be sated and tamed.

Opposite of the bathroom, the Boy had finally grown tired of the waiting game. He no longer could bare to simply stare at the door and what for her to finish – whatever it was that she was doing in there. Instead, he decided there were far more things that he could seek out in this new space. Besides, he could tell she wasn’t actually angry. Sure, she had thrown him out, but now her thoughts were focused, more in tune and deliberate. Somehow he had been misplaced in her mind. But, that still didn’t explain why she didn’t want him in there . . . He peered at the threshold one last time, thereafter, abruptly turned and went down the hallway.

Therein, he found their new Living Space. Across from an all whit oval – which seemed like a few people could sit down on - a screen built into the wall flickered to life briefly. From one side to the other the word: ‘welcome’ flashed. No sound accompanied it however, still it drew him in. He shifted his gaze from the toolset spread out atop a firm counter and honed in on the lit feature. Automatically registering his retinas, the view screen powered up, switching to the most relevant news channel. As it spoke he blinked once then stepped cautiously towards it. Each footfall carried him closer and closer until he stood eyelevel right in front of it. There, he watched for several minutes, taking in every image and every spoken thing that came alive before him. For that time, he could only wonder what it could be, and more importantly, why it was here . . . talking to him?

At the sound of Sarah’s voice, the shower powered down, with the last of its flowing water trickling into the drain in the center of the unit. Its paneled door opened for her automatically, but a venting rush of warm air kept her in her place. The dryer encased her completely. Although it had surprised her at first, the sensation of every ounce liquid evaporating off of her pores, felt amazing. She remained for seconds more before finally crossing over and stepping out, utterly content. Her dropped down just past her shoulders, still slightly moist, but certainly not drenched as it had been; its color had almost returned back to its normal bright self. With a hand she parted the locks that had fallen astray and thought: Nice – a bit hard on the hair though. Burns. It felt like it was on fire from the excess heat (the smell of burnt hair is not very pleasant).

Sarah winced at the aroma, and then glanced down at her suit. It hadn’t worn its transition into the Omnvierse very well. Its power supply essentially entirely drained, and there were several tears along the shoulder-lining. Polymer-mesh like that was never supposed to go through Warp Travel (assuming omni employed something similar to the zerg’s use of the void in the first place), but it had. Facts were facts and now she needed to make sense of them. Regardless, it would need some work to utilize properly. As she slipped back into the skin-tight suit she remembered the words of Omni once more. Anything I desire, she mimed – spanning it out like a whisper across a low-bearing canyon wall. Dressed and dry she departed and went to find the Boy.

She passed him by, briefly observing as he gave his soul to what he no doubt considered a magical glowing wall. A Viewscreen . . . do they have a news network? Her thought passed quickly as she took stock of what their kitchen had to offer. Sifting from the counter to the storage unit, the answer appeared to be: not much at all. Guess I’ll get my own breakfast. Think – just something simple. So she imagined and soon a rainbow sphere appeared on the counter before her. The more she focused upon it, the more dazzling its colors became. They rapidly swirled, tantalizing any whom might stare and soon particles broke off from it, each forming into something new. She watched for a little while, but then closed her eyes until the energy made manifest morphed to her desire.

After a few minutes, sure enough two bowls of cereal complete with spoons and mats rested on the counter before her. For a moment, she inspected the contents, but a quick bite confirmed a normal dry-tasting, yet milky flakes. Nodding to herself she grabbed a meal and brought it over to her Dark Companion. At her steps he did look away from the magic pictures and just stare blankly. Peering from the bowl with its spoon and then into her eyes, of course he didn’t understand. Then, he heard her voice. ”You might want to eat this.” She said to him and placed the bowl down beside. Thereafter, she took a seat in front of the counter and quickly dispatched the breadth of her breakfast. Several huge chomping and slurping bites later – it was gone. This early in the morning, Sarah hardly cared for ladylike graces.

Instead, her thoughts centered once more – specifically on what was to come. This Empire would not only have them on a short leash, but they had resources that likely knew far more than they could scarcely imagine about this universe. With factions like them, that knowledge literally could be brought to terms through subterfuge and acts of such cruelty, that even the most horrible of monsters – like herself – would be unable to fully accept. But, such – she assumed – was necessary. Bearing that in mind, she understood to go out without a means to defend herself as the Boy could would be foolish. To that end, she recalled the countless times her rifle had fired off round after round, killing man after man and stemming the threat of chaos with death. If she enjoyed it . . . why stop . . . just unleash what they’d done? To serve a purpose at least would mean something. Monsters rarely have purposes. She could be something more.

Now the nightmare from the previous night had all but faded into naught. It lingered as some nameless threat (but that was a lie she knew it zerg the swarm all of it was real), but it wouldn’t distract her. She imagined the rifle floating; she imagined cleaning, stocking and thumping back the trigger, and the thunder-clap as a round exited the chamber – the recoil hitting up against her shoulder. Her hands curled into balled fists, but soon enough spheres of rainbows poured out their essences before her. In that moment she could feel some force draw away from her, sapping her of breath and temporarily containing all of her willpower. As before, she remained still until what she ‘desired’ became real.

In the meantime, the Boy had come over, attempting to figure out how to use the spoon with several failed attempts. He had stuck it on his nose, tried to bend it in half, bit into it clacking his teeth against it until he final thought of putting it back in the object it came from and scooping down to pick out the contents that rested within the bowl. From that standpoint, he then inched his way to the edge of the counter, placed the bowl there – watching the display of many shining pigments and orbs – and just peered down at the filled utensil. The Ghost tilted her head at the display, almost unable to believe he didn’t know how to eat, but then again, if his mind was really that blank why would he?

With the C-10 Canister Rifle now laid perfectly across the counter, she simply stood snatched the spoon from him with an indifferent glare and then shoved it into his mouth. Instinctively he chewed and pretty much had no choice but to swallow. I’m a babysitter. Well, at least he can fight… The Teenager thought morbidly however, thankfully was saved by the bell – or in this case saved by the voice synthesized AI announcing the arrival of Captain Simmons. Apparently, he was requesting entrance at the front door. And that announcement continued for several moments, until it was replaced by a green flash that lingered just about the entrance. Simmons must not be the real patient sort in the morning. She could inspect the rifle before departure, for now though, best to let in her escort. So off she went. I’m sure the Colonel didn’t want us ditching without at least killing one political rival.
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

"What part of 'first thing in the morning' did you fail to comprehend?" Those were the words that finally interrupted the long and awkward silence that had settled in after the duo found themselves in the middle of Herman's office again. They were spoken by the Colonel himself, who, like yesterday, was sitting behind his desk. However, his behaviour was different from the day before; this time, he wasn't polite or displeased, but was outright angry. As it turned out, it wasn't standard procedure for Simmons to escort them after already showing them the way the first time around, nor did he announce himself at the apartment several times purely out of impatience. The two Primes had long missed their appointment and Brandt sent his subordinate to look where they were.

The Captain was even more upset about this than the man he served under. He had numerous responsibilities as the battalion's executive officer, so he was none too pleased with the fact that he was once again forced to neglect his regular duties and play babysitter for two rookie Primes. Nevertheless, he was content with remaining on the sidelines, leaning against the nearby wall as he quietly observed the meeting that was taking place.

Brandt continued to eye the teens sternly...or, more accurately, he was eyeing the girl sternly; in his mind, he had already come to the conclusion that the boy was too much of a moron to comprehend anything worthwhile, so he mostly ignored the swordsman even as he was paying attention to what was going on. After another brief silence, the Colonel resumed speaking: "I don't know how things are done where you come from, but here, people can't just come and go as they please. No matter what you think, I don't have time to be lollygagging about all day. I'm a busy man with many obligations to fulfill and duties to perform, so I expect everyone I have dealings with to be punctual. Either you choose to respect my time and arrive for any of our appointments at the designated hour...or you choose to be permanently dealt with. Is that clear enough for you?"

Sarah calmly payed attention to the officer, maintaining her best poker face in the process. Though her rest last night was certainly troubled, she still felt much better than she did the first time they were in that office and was able to think more calmly and clearly. Figuring she had already pushed her luck enough as it is, given the incident at the fountain and now their late arrival, she firmly stated: "Perfectly clear, sir. My apologies...I assure you, it won't happen again." She wanted to add how this had been an exception due to how she was still getting used to this new universe, but refrained from doing so, figuring that Brandt would interpret that as her making up an excuse and that it would only serve to upset him further. The Ghost had dealt with enough authority figures to know that, in those kind of situations, it was best to just apologise and weather the proverbial storm until it blew over.

The blonde-haired man took a deep breath, releasing some of the pent up annoyance, before bluntly saying: "See to it that it does not." Considering the matter settled, he picked up a tablet device from his desk and began typing: "Your full name."

"Sarah Louise Kerrigan," the girl replied. The commanding officer merely nodded to this without looking up, continuing to input data. He didn't bother to ask for the boy's name; apparently, he was aware of the swordsman's "unique" circumstances and came to the conclusion that there was little point in doing so. Meanwhile, the person in question continued to observe this exchange, mostly remaining out of the loop due to his ignorance and just confusingly blinking in response. However, when the warrior in black heard the word "name", he felt a tug in his head, almost as though his line of thought was an actual object and an unknown creature was pulling it. He didn't know why, but the phrase reminded him of something...something he already knew, yet could not bring to mind no matter how much he thought of it.

His effort to recollect whatever was hidden in the depths of his mind was interrupted when Herman, who seemed calmer than before, put down the device and turned his attention to the young woman: "Alright, Miss Kerrigan. Let us finally get down to business." Placing his elbows on the desk and intertwining his fingers, he resumed speaking as his gaze was locked with hers: "As you have no doubt surmised, Coruscant is the capital of the Galactic Empire. Thanks to the wisdom and guidance of our emperor, the strength of our armed forces and the will and ingenuity of our people, we have become the dominant power in this universe."

Swivelling his leather chair around, he looked outside before he continued: "We have certainly derived great benefits from that position. Coruscant has grown immensely and stands as a testament to the Empire's power and success. Under the law and order that we provide, our citizens here and in our colonies have been able to enjoy tremendous peace and prosperity." The majestic view that could be seen through the office window lent at least some credence to the Colonel's words. The top tier of the city somehow managed to be even more impressive and grand during daytime as the natural sunlight reflected off of the towering glossy structures and the sea of aerial traffic. But the Ghost wasn't even remotely deceived by this grandeur nor by the officer's "sales pitch"; as impressive as the city was, it still painted a picture that was all too familiar to her and she had no doubt she would very soon be faced with the ugly truth hidden behind the facade.

"However, success always comes at a price," Brandt spoke on as he once again turned to face Kerrigan, his voice containing a certain gravity. "The Empire has many enemies, both from outside and from within, who represent a threat to everything we have managed to build and who wish to plunge us into anarchy and ruin. Though the Empire Peace Division has, for the most part, been successful in quelling internal threats, one serious jeopardy to our security remains...that jeopardy being Primes, individuals like yourself who have been bestowed the power of creating and manipulating matter." This information helped the emerald-eyed girl understand more about the nature of this Omniverse, such as the fact that not all of its residents were granted the power of using Omnilium.

Leaning forward, the officer continued his explanation unabated: "Whoever...or whatever....Omni may be, he is certainly not one for consistency. Some of the individuals he has chosen to bring to this universe are exceptional talents who are worthy of the powers they now possess. Others...not so much." It was at this point that, for the first time in the entire meeting, Herman glanced at the grey-haired individual who had been observing the conversation with a now almost trademark perplexedness on his face. The warrior did not fail to notice the sideways look the person behind the desk gave him; he even managed to recall the first being he ever encountered, the white figure that appeared in the dark void, when the name "Omni" was mentioned. But due to his mostly non-existent knowledge of verbal language and mannerisms, the pale boy lacked the context to understand the implications of the glance and thus offered no meaningful response to it other than his usual confusion.

Returning to the matter at hand, the blonde man went on: "Regardless, whatever designs Omni might have for them, some Primes have opted to use their abilities in an attempt to bring harm to the Empire and its citizens. In fact, in recent times, the amount of incidents involving Primes has skyrocketed and some continue to operate against us at this very moment. They represent a clear and imminent threat....which is where you come in."

Straightening up, his piercing stare remained fixed on the assassin as he brought his speech to a close: "Given the stunt you pulled at the Nexus fountain, you will have to forgive the fact that some of my colleagues began to think of you as yet another rogue menace. But I knew better...you see, part of the reason why I am sitting in this chair at this very moment is because I have a knack for recognising talent. When I learned of you, I began to suspect that you might very well be the answer to our problems....and now that I've met you, I know. I can see it in your eyes...you are a person who can "eliminate" problems and use any means to achieve that goal. For this reason, I have convinced my superiors to drop all charges against you if you are willing to pledge your allegiance to our cause. And that is not all...the Emperor recognises those who show him loyalty and rewards them for their efforts. There are many perks that come with the job, like that apartment where you are currently staying and more."

"So...tell me, Sarah Louise Kerrigan. What will you do? Will you offer your services to the Empire?" he finally asked, albeit this time with the grin they had already seen on his visage before. For the girl's part, it took all the self-control she could muster to not respond in kind. For all their differences in order and appearance, the Empire was, at its heart, little different from the Confederacy she was forced to leave behind. The corruption and decadence that seemed to pervade the military apparatus was so familiar that she found it almost comforting in a way. This...this was all so predictable. Yet, all the same, it was like music to her ears. This was exactly what she desired. It was there in Coruscant that she would once again have a place and purpose. It was there that she would once more be able to do what she did best.

Sarah was about to respond to his offer when a beeping sound came from the door, signalling that someone wished to enter. The Ghost operative just barely noticed that the two men in front of her tensed up in response to this, the smile on Herman's face quickly evaporating. It was then that she also took note of the fact that they were armed. This in itself was not unusual; they were members of the military, after all. However, upon the warning from the visitor, Simmons lowered his arms closer to the blaster rifle that was openly slunk over his shoulder while his superior reached out for something strapped to his side, most likely a sidearm. Instinctively, Kerrigan tightened her grip around the barrel of her own rifle that she held next to her. Meanwhile, the mute teen merely turned curiously to see what the source of the noise was.

After the commanding officer pressed one of the buttons of the control panel built into his desk, the door gave way and four individuals walked inside. The two that came in last were stormtroopers, much the same as the ones that had escorted the two Primes to Coruscant. The ones in front were also soldiers, yet their equipment was somewhat different from what seemed to be standard gear. The armour they wore was larger and had a dirty white, almost grey, colour. Instead of projectile weapons, they carried large metallic staffs with bulkier ends. From this, it was rather simple for the girl to deduce that they were specialised troopers intended for close-quarter combat. Alarmed by this development, she pondered whether this was a trap...but quickly dismissed the thought. After all, if the authorities had wished to apprehend them, they would have had much better opportunities prior to that point.

"Ah, so you're finally here," Brandt spoke up as the faceless soldiers came to a halt, ready to receive orders. Turning his attention to the red-haired teen once more, he explained: "I must apologise for the interruption, but there is something I need to take care of before we resume. Parting is such sweet sorrow, after all." Sighing, he added: "Though I'm sure he made for an...interesting guest, it is time for you and the boy to each go your separate ways." This was when Sarah realised something that, in hindsight, she should have noticed before....during the entire conversation, Herman made no mention of her companion. He was never planning on recruiting him as well. Whatever the Empire's designs for the male teen were, they did not involve keeping the two Primes together.

As the officer gave a single nod, the boy continued to stare at the newcomers thoughtfully as one of the better armoured troopers approached him. The term that the being that had been speaking up to now used reminded him of what "her" told him yesterday. "Stay with me. Don't let them separate us." Though he understood what the first part meant, he was unsure as to the meaning of the rest. He recalled how the brown-haired figure at one point used "don't" in a harsh tone as he was doing something it did not want, so it must have meant to not do that thing. When the greyish being in front of him grabbed his arm and started pulling him away, the action ended up making the warrior think that that was what "separate" meant. But the girl specifically told him to stay with her and to not "separate". And with "them" being the white figures...the meaning of "let" and that of the words as a whole finally dawned on him. He wasn't supposed to allow the white figures to make him not stay close to "her"!

"W-wait!" his female companion spoke up, both because she wished to put a stop to this and because she was concerned how the swordsman would react. But her intervention wasn't quick enough. Now that he understood what he had to do, the boy's reaction was instantaneous and he pulled his arm in a violent manner. Before the heavy trooper that was dragging him along realised what was going on, the warrior had managed to free himself from his grasp and drew the sword and shield that were strapped to his back.

The counter-reactions were swift, the group having seemingly anticipated this. The stormtroopers at the back raised their blasters. Their heavily armoured counterparts swung their rods threateningly as the emitters on them began to discharge a steady steam of violet electricity, one of the guards even shouting out provokingly: "Bring it on, punk!" Simmons aimed at the Prime with his rifle while the Colonel sprung to his feet and whipped out a pistol. Even the Ghost instinctively picked up her rifle, though she ultimately did not aim it at anyone.

In mere moments, the situation had turned into a standoff. A tense silence gripped the room as none of them showed any sign of relenting. However, it was quite clear who held the advantage. Glaring at the teen with his piercing gaze, Herman stated coldly: "Stand down, boy. Resistance is futile." The person in question did no such thing, though he did not attack either. Though his red eyes glanced around him, the focused expression on his face remained unwavering. During those incredibly strained seconds, the warrior in black almost seemed like a completely different person. The fact that he did not budge an inch in the face of such immense pressure made some of them wonder if it was courage or ignorance that was making him behave in such a manner.

Gripped by panic, the Ghost frantically reached out to the boy with her mind: "Stop!" Turning to the battalion commander, she addressed him again, albeit more firmly than before: "Colonel, wait!"

"Hmm?" Brandt glanced at her curiously, though his aim remained fixed where it was.

"I accept your offer, but I have a con-...rather, I have a request," the girl continued, thinking it wise not to test his patience any more than necessary. "Please allow the boy to stay with me. You don't even have to assign him special quarters; I don't mind him staying in the same apartment. He knows how to fight and I can communicate with him. He could be of great use to us."

"Awww, is our little lady feeling lonely already?" the officer briefly chuckled. However, his visage quickly became stern again: "However, I cannot grant your wish. Oliver informed me of this boy's nature. Even if he can fight, mentally, he is but an infant. His lack of knowledge and common sense make him a liability on the field, even to you. He will be of more use to the Empire's Research and Development division, which has already taken a keen interest in him."

Though she didn't consider herself much of a talker, Kerrigan still attempted to make him reconsider: "Colonel, you are a man of considerable power and influence. You are the head of the Coruscant Guard, after all. I know that you can make arrangements in order to fulfill my request. And you said it yourself....I am good at eliminating "problems". If someone had a special "problem" they needed to deal with, it would certainly benefit them greatly if I owed them a favour..."

The blonde man didn't respond straight away, though he did at least turn his head to look at her as he mulled over her words. A few seconds later, his lips slowly curled into a wide smile. The young woman found this unnerving, though not because it was sickly or malevolent; in fact, that is exactly what she would have expected. No, she found it disturbing because it seemed....genuine. At that moment, Herman didn't look like a corrupt official; he looked like a father who was proudly looking at his offspring. The approval in his voice only served to make it even more unsettling: "Why, Miss Kerrigan, I'm impressed....You know exactly how this game is played."

After remaining silent for almost the entire conversation, Simmons finally spoke up while still keeping his sights on the target: "With all due respect, sir, I would strongly advise against letting the kid stay. If word reaches Lady Melantha that we didn't let R&D get a new test subject, it could be trouble."

His superior was lost in thought, carefully weighing his options...until he lowered his sidearm and snorted derisively: "That witch? I couldn't care less about what she thinks. If R&D wants new lab rats so badly, she can recruit Primes on her own." Putting away the pistol back into its holster, he addressed the girl: "Alright, Miss Kerrigan, we have come to an agreement. If you pledge yourself to the Empire, I will see to it that the boy remains with you. As far as I'm concerned, you may do with him as you please. But note this....the military has no time to play babysitter. From this point onward, he is entirely your responsibility. If he does anything wrong, it will be on your head." Finally, he also addressed the guards: "Gentlemen, thank you for your time, but it looks like your services won't be required after all. You are dismissed."

"Tch.....understood, sir," replied the heavy trooper that challenged the swordsman before, the rancorous tone in his voice barely coming through the helmet's speakers. As the blasters were lowered and the electrostaffs turned off, the Ghost was able to tell that they had been itching for a fight; apparently, they had lost some of their comrades to renegade Primes and were practically craving for an opportunity to exact their revenge. But cooler heads prevailed; with their business there done, the guards left the office one at a time. Seeing that nobody was trying to drag him away anymore, the warrior in dark garments slowly put away his armaments as well, though his alert expression did not vanish straight away.

Sarah sighed, both out of relief and frustration. She was glad that they were able to avoid an armed confrontation and that she kept her only ally by her side. However, the Colonel's concerns regarding her companion weren't unfounded. Raw strength alone wasn't enough to do the work of a secret operative and, on the field, it wouldn't always be possible for her to direct him. For this reason, she feared that the boy would be as much of a dead weight as he would be an asset and that he might end up putting both of them in jeopardy. The only thing that helped at least somewhat assuage her concerns was that he not only remembered what she told him, he even managed to figure out the meaning of her words all on his own. She thought that, perhaps with a bit of guidance, the swordsman could very well become quite invaluable to her.

Regardless of her thoughts, however, it had been far too late for second guesses at that point. After the two officers and the Primes were alone in the room again, Brandt wasted no time in preparing all the necessary data and paperwork. After a few bureaucratic explanations and the girl's signatures, their fate was finally sealed. They were now agents of the Empire, sworn to uphold the order and serve the Emperor. The Colonel could not have been more pleased with his success, a slimy, yet victorious, grin plastered on his face. Opening his arms in a welcoming manner, he stated: "You have made a very wise decision this day, Miss Kerrigan. It is my privilege to be the first to welcome you among our ranks. I am most certain that this will be a mutually beneficial partnership."

"Now...since enough precious time has been wasted, you will begin your preliminary assignment right away," he continued. Reaching out to another button on his built-in panel, he spoke up a bit more loudly: "Lieutenant Ellis, report to my office immediately." After receiving confirmation from the other side, the officer closed the line. Leaning back in his chair, he turned to his subordinate: "Alright, Oliver, I think we'll be fine from here on out. You may return to your regular duties. Dismissed." Grumbling to himself in annoyance, the Captain saluted and then left the room without a single word. It seemed that the person that was called was prepared ahead of time just for this occasion; as soon as Simmons had stepped out, an extremely eager person rushed inside just before the door closed.

The person that entered was a brunette girl of roughly the same age as Sarah and her dark partner. Her nearly pristine uniform consisted of a grey jacket, white trousers and black boots. Upon entering, she straightened out the crevices in her garments before she saluted in a rapid, almost exaggerated fashion. Speaking out loudly and clearly, she began to say: "Reporting for dutyyYYYYY-!!!" Mid-sentence, her overly energetic salute had turned into a high-pitched shriek as her hazelnut eyes met the vermilion ones of the boy in black, frightening her in the process. She promptly covered her mouth to silence herself and, after a few moments, her expression turned into one of embarrassment over her reaction. Allowing herself to speak, she profusely apologised: "I-I'm deeply sorry, sir! I...I was surprised!"

The Colonel chuckled for a bit before he continued unabated: "Miss Kerrigan, I would like you to meet Second Lieutenant Sophie Ellis of the Empire Peace Division. She will be serving as your liaison within the division as well as your support during missions; in practical terms, she will serve as your direct superior for the foreseeable future." The Ghost wasn't the least bit amused by this, staring harshly at Ellis. She was able to tell straight away that this Lieutenant was a greenhorn, fresh out of officer training. It felt almost insulting to the assassin that Brandt would saddle her with this rookie; as a result, she could not help but wonder if this was some form of punishment for her previous transgressions.

It apparently didn't take a telepath to know what she was thinking as Herman chuckled again and immediately added: "I admit, she is still inexperienced. But as I mentioned before, I am good at recognising talent and Lieutenant Ellis here graduated at the top of her class. I have full confidence that she will be more than up to the task of fulfilling her duties." This didn't make Sarah feel any better about this arrangement, but the head of the battalion proceeded onward regardless. "In any case, Lieutenant, I have here all the data regarding their preliminary assignment. Please escort Miss Kerrigan and her...dark friend here to the EPD headquarters. Once they had undergone their medical examination, debrief them on their assignment and immediately begin any necessary preparations."

"Y-yes, sir! Understood, sir!" Sophie exclaimed, saluting once more. She smiled nervously as she stepped past the two primes and took the tablet device that Herman had extended to her. "P-please, follow me!" she instructed her charges before proceeding towards the door. Sarah turned to leave and the boy followed her shortly thereafter.

They were about to exit when they were interrupted: "Oh, Miss Kerrigan..." Sarah turned her attention back to the man behind the desk. Giving her one more of his usual sly grins, the Colonel simply stated: "Good luck. I eagerly await Ellis' report on your success. I am certain you will not disappoint my expectations."

Merely nodding in response, the group then left the office and headed for their new destination, the Empire Peace Division headquarters.
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

Quote:This is the start of the Hand of the Empire faction quest. But many of the characters were introduced in prior posts, so it is recommended you read the topic from start to finish to get a full grasp on it.

Sophie Ellis kept the room dimly lit. The panes of glass that otherwise would have provided some manner of vantage for onlookers, sheltered those within much like a two-way mirror did between a detective and his or her suspect: they could see out into the office space that made up the second-level of the EPD HQ, but no one could see within. Sure, they might have noticed the odd coupling of the dark-lad and his aloof, fiery-haired companion however, once they had vanished across the threshold and into the conference room proper, business as usual resumed its daily grind. Officers and their charges maintained an air of professionalism, sifting through their own files at their leisure and distributing assignments to their proper assets. Whilst others drifted through a myriad of complaints lodged by citizenry and military-minds alike.

In Coruscant, peace could never be outright ensured, but they would certainly try to at least maintain the facade that things were completely under Empire control - even if that happened to be quite far from the actual reality. Case in point: the image that slowly sprung to life before the Teenager's eyes. At the center of their meeting table, a man in a suit took shape. The Boy stared with stupid wonder and Sarah folded her arms across her chest, relaxing at the display with such familiarity in its barbaric yet political nature. It felt like home. The hologram panned, zooming out further and further until the full scene could be observed with a relative amount of accuracy.

The Gentleman - for that is how he presented himself - stood firm leaning against his cane. Before him lay the bodies of several blurred individuals, and at either side an armed brute. It appeared they had done his dirty work. But, that could only be a partial truth. With a blink, Sarah saw the rest of it: the dark smudges along the shaft of the walking stick, the tell-tale signs of death by bludgeoning, the grim but well mannered look and perhaps most importantly, the vacant twisted expression of psychopathy.

The thugs were a show; the real deal at the center was far more of a threat than they could ever be. She tilted her head absorbing in every ounce of his visage - since he couldn’t be anyone else besides the targeted individual. Clean-shaven, mid-fifties, black hair with the faintest hints of grey and an expensive suit with a traditional tie, all of these things represented authority, and his men’s faces (respect riddled with fear). Smirking already, she shook her head as the recording played; anyone with a brain could ‘fake’ what she saw.

“This,” Sophie began, “was taken by one of our seldom patrollers on Tier 6.” The footage rolled on and on. The bodies were still alive, but wouldn’t remain that way for much longer. “The man you see there - with the cane - is your mission . . . “ As the goons continually thrashed on the bodies, the camera shifted, highlighting a neon but dark display above them. The sign read: ‘The Merciful Knight.’

It wouldn’t be proper to laugh here, but Sarah wanted to. Instead, she snorted - audibly at that - playing it off she stretched out in her seat. Just a problem they want gone. That’s fine. I’ll handle it. Briefly, she looked over to her Companion, still as dumbstruck as before, he clearly would be far more useful as a tool in this task, rather than any contributing intelligence. However, that lack of attention to details that could mean life or death, annoyed her. ”FOCUS,” the telepathic thought sent rippling tremors through his mind. Whereas he had been shifting about awkwardly in the room (in and out of his chair exploring every crevice), he stopped dead in his tracks at the command. While he may not have sat, he did return to her side. After the interruption Sarah nodded, giving her approval for Sophie to continue.

“T-they call him Sir Gawain, and he is the owner of the club you see behind them. The EPD is certain that it’s a front, but the only evidence we have to that respect, is what you are seeing now.” She swiped across her tablet and the rest of the ‘evidence’ played out its final few seconds. No guns could be seen, but shots were fired and the bodies thereafter laid limp and warm, blood already pooling. “Our sources indicate that the victims were gamblers who either had not paid their due, or had been cheating the establishment.” With a press on the tablet the streamed video ceased.

“As the Empire’s presence is lacking in the lowest Tiers, we fear that if his influence remains unchecked, that his position will become a direct threat to the Peace that we are sworn to uphold.” Here the Lieutenant caught her breath, rolling her tongue across dry lips and peering from one of her assets to the other. Although, she mostly watched the redhead, as she considered the Boy to be completely unreliable, and maybe savage like those things that hail from borders within the Kingdom’s domain. That and according to Brandt he would essentially be under Sarah’s care as physical ‘property.” Given the circumstances, it might be best just to ignore him for the time being.

Did she practice that bit? Sarah smiled already rising from her place. After all, she knew what needed to be done. No reason to stay in this cramped office space - especially not with a greenhorn as her supervisor. So, she turned to leave. The Boy followed along obediently, though she looked back. “Oh, is there anything else, Soph?” The Teenager narrowed her eyes gauging the reaction of the nickname she had shoehorned in. She wanted to see if Ellis actually held the authority over her rank. This test would be effective enough in the short term. Feigning the actions of actual departure, would add depth to the manipulation. But, Sarah didn’t get that far.

“I-I didn’t dismiss you.” Sophie’s stammer told a story.

“Right, you didn’t.” Fully facing her superior, the Teenager - almost defiantly - folded her arms across her chest. “That means there is something else then.” A statement not a question as tone would no doubt depict for her. Now, her eyes never fell away from the Lieutenant's own. Perhaps now wasn’t the best time to completely destroy confidence. Rather, it wouldn’t do if their source of information broke-down halfway through the assignment. Besides, there would come a time wherein Sarah might need the help of a ranked Officer - that and the Boy couldn’t understand a single thing going on. He wandered around the room again, apparently deciding for himself, that they were not in fact departing. Fair enough all things considered: they weren’t.

“You’ll need these,” Sophie stated regaining some of that lost composure. Nothing could redeem her entirely in Sarah’s eyes. Entering a few orders into her - probably brand new ‘officer’s’ tablet - two paired sets of devices slowly began to materialize on the table. Technology never ceased to amaze the Dark One, and as they formed, he stepped forward (rushing by them both) to watch. The swirls of particles dispersed around the objects in question after a few seconds, revealing what oddities had been dispatched pre-approved by the Empire for personal use.

They even came bugged - so nothing would go unheard or unseen (great right)!

“These are standard issue, but reliable.” Sophie picked up a set holding it out to the awe-stricken boy, so he could get a closer look-see. “Wirelessly connected, the wrist-let displays your connection to the dataverse at all times and allows for user input. While the headset, relays all video communications, in addition to providing building layouts and expected terrain formations.” At this point she took note of Sarah’s own equipment. “I can also tune the frequencies of your own gear, so you don’t have to use this tech precisely - unless you want to?”

“I don’t have the time nor the desire to adapt to your standards. The pairing should work..” The former Confederate Ghost could have been more diplomatic, but with each passing moment, she grew more and more restless. She wanted to leave and be done with this ‘test’ of an assignment. With that out of the way she could easily carve a life here without the fear of being struck down by forces - she didn’t as of yet - understand.

Playing into their hands (a parlay of sorts) would be enough to garner trust that she could use to learn the most delicate secrets of this Empire, and exploit them if required. While she vived for the order and Peace they preached, she didn’t trust it in the least. Ideals were great as thoughts, but horrible in practice. Eliminating pain would be enough to sustain her and contain that monster she knew lurked within herself. She locked eyes with her ever faithful ally. It’ll also allow me to train him properly. He needs to learn, whether he understands the concept or not. Otherwise, yeah those guys back at the Barracks are right: he’s a liability in the field. He could fight but tactics were something that he couldn’t grasp presently.

“R-right then. I’ll do it now, Sarah.” Again Sophie toyed with her new toy tablet. She inputted orders that couldn’t be seen nor heard, but shortly the effects were notable. At first static echoed in Sarah’s helmet, but after she lowered the goggles with a casual gesture, it stopped. The excess of information impressed her to say the least.. The layout of the room they were in appeared and swiping her hand across, naught but air, brought up a menu and a digital readout of what most denizens of the Omniverse called: the Dataverse. The technology transitioned well enough for her purposes, and quite satisfied she only tested one last thing: with a couple fingers she pressed keyed letters in rapid succession typing out a message to post on this interlocked netscape. When finished, she lifted her goggles up and grinned.

“It works, but does he really need one too?” The Boy had snatched his set away from Sophie a bit prior and was messing around with the features; a vain attempt to understand their purpose without instruction. He would find the Dataverse, but whether or not he’d actually be able to understand its complexities, was up in the air. Sarah doubted his ability to read anything to begin with. For now though, he could play all he wanted, as it had no bearing on their task. But if it got them into trouble later, she would regret ever letting him have at it (so to speak) in the first place. With a defeated sigh she shook her head. “Nevermind. It’ll keep him busy at least - stop him from wandering off like before.”

Lying to herself happened to be more comforting than the truth:

He had followed her into the bathroom; he wouldn’t leave her side again unless directed. Thinking on that . . . she would have to teach him about privacy at some point. He couldn’t have guessed why she had acted so violently earlier this morning, and her subsequent behavior probably didn’t help matters. However, all of that would be put on hold for a field test. This mission would determine if he was useful enough to keep around. After, she could worry about molding a blank mind. Right now, she had someone that needed a desperate reality check. The Prime would need to remember his position in the Empire (first that they allowed him to continue his business without intervention), a tool nothing more. He needed to be reminded that he could be detained and contained without question.

“That’s everything. You’re dismissed, but keep him close, please.” That air of detachment made her sound tough. At least, that is what Sophie believed, but really they were on a first name basis - more of a budding relationship than that of a military superior and her subordinates. The Teenager nodded, turning for the final time and exiting out of the room. Shortly thereafter her lapdog followed, staring so intently at the the device attached to his wrist (he had somehow managed that as they had been talking) that he nearly ran into the wall instead of slipping quietly out and into the hallway. Regardless, they would leave the EPD Headquarters behind them, with only a few bumps into walls and other people as they went about their workday.

“This is a soundcheck, Sarah can you hear me?” For a time the quiet had been a relative escape, but now the reminder that she would always be watched, dawned on Sarah yet again. She suspected that the devices they had been given were being monitored, but had no proof to back up that assumption. Meanwhile, the lift purred into activity and she along with her ‘property’ began the descent into the lower tiers of Coruscant. They would be traveling to Tier 6 so it would be at least several minutes before their arrival. Using the time at her disposal, she adjusted her rifle, shutting her eyes briefly as it hovered before her. Mentally, she focused on cleaning it and slowly she took apart and reassembled it with only her thoughts to guide her.

Her companion continued to be mesmerized by his access to the verse-wide dataverse. He smashed, pressed and played entering in commands and other gibberish whenever prompted. The people of the nets would tire of his nonsense quickly - if he in fact made any unintelligible posts to be seen. Sarah didn’t care; he hadn’t caused trouble the entire trip.

I’ll grab that from him before things get heated . . . Sarah made a mental note before responding to Sophie.

“I read you just fine. Keep the channel clean of chatter. I’ll report in - don’t worry.” Despite the fact that her own internal comm probably couldn’t be heard, she still wanted Sophie to be silent. There was no need for further communication until extraction would be required by higher authorities. Until then, the information which had been provided was enough to go on. Along with their tech, she would be able to get a decent layout of the club in question at any rate. She really would only need to determine when this Gawain would be the most vulnerable. Normally, people in his line of work were never alone, but if he was secluded in any way, she would exploit that weakness and strike without reservation.

The lift jarred to a stop, and its doors opened automatically. “Welcome to Tier-6 have a pleasant day,” an automatized voice chimed. Unfortunately, there was nothing pleasant to gawk at here so far out of the reach of any semblance of order. The lone bastion spread out before the pair: a stretch of clustered buildings with their entrances spanning into each other - one after another and so on down the block. Walls protected it, gates rising high as well as posted guards at every entry point. This kept stark in contrast to the decrepit streets. Barrels lined up with flames, crowds surrounding them and all around light persisted. Not that of the sun, but of the Neon kind. Bright, and type of pollution that scoured the eyes and plagued any individual that came too close. A dirty fact, but not a hidden one.

So, this is supposed to be a well-kept secret? Nothing more than a short-ride away from the tiers higher up. Sarah stepped across the threshold, her rifle briefly floating before her, and donning it she began to walk the first several hundred feet into the armpit of a ‘civilized’ society. “This is not hidden. It’s just no one cares to notice - an important difference.” She spoke aloud not really caring who heard. The Boy looked up from his toy and looked perplexed unable to completely grasp what she had said. He much prefered the illumination of that thing on his arm to the awful scene ahead of them. Abruptly though, the Girl grabbed his arm and powered it down.

He resisted for just a moment.

”Leave it alone. Stop.” Two simple orders she echoed into his mind while she pointed ahead. ”Pay attention.” Although, she didn’t think it needed to be said again, she wanted to be sure. Here, there were no turrets of authority to protect them from the rift raft all around: the gangers, the drunkards, the gamblers, the addicts and the petty low-lifes. No more thoughts were necessary, Sarah advanced, heading for the brightest cluster of Neon she could find (the club district) their destination. It became readily apparent, as they continued onward, passing through the most immediate slums that lay just out of the jurisdiction of what could be called a Community Center, that the technological level that most of Coruscant possesed, simply did not exist down here. They were decades behind the progress, if not a century based on the prospects and examples all around.

It wouldn’t have mattered so much, if such conditions didn’t foster criminal behavior and stir up locales wishing to maximize the profit and power gained. Sarah and her follower didn’t take any detours, keeping to what visible walkways weaved through the garbage and the sick and their vomit, along with individuals in rugged, tattered or generally worn attire. Occasionally a few glared at them, but it wasn’t until they had left the lift back up to a more refined society far behind, that they were approached by less than savory persons. With a cursory glance Sarah noted they were armed, sweeping her eyes along the knives they held and the one or two that kept a firearm latched at their side.

Instinctively the Boy at her side already reached for the blade sheathed at his back the other hand sweeping back to grab his shield his well. However, something stalled him. Sarah hadn’t made any move of her own, which in a sense completely caught him off guard. He looked over to her blinking once with confused eyes. One thing came into his mind: ”No.” she said flatly in almost a bored tone really. But, then that changed entirely. “I’m looking for the Merciful Knight.” She advanced with what could be described as a swagger. The rifle relaxed on her back. The leader of the little band had positioned herself at the front, so that is whom the Ghost addressed.

“I’m told that is the place with the best . . .” she lowered her tone on purpose; it become sultry and still younger - almost naive in a way - than she actually was. “E-entertainment,” she finished with a childish stammer, learning from Sophie in that respect. Having no idea if that was in fact, she gambled on the Merciful Knight’s reputation in these parts. Portraying vulnerability that could be exploited, would have them lower their guard enough to let them pass without trouble. In that respect, for a moment the female goon gazed almost shocked, but still she clung to the blade in her hand. She pointed it at the youthful boy.

“What about him then; is that your tribute? A brat as a dressed vagabond, dueling to the death. Gawain will at least be amused by his potential.”

“You can’t be serious.” One of the thugs protested. “We could have some fun with them both, and take what we want!”

“If that buys my ticket in, sure.” Sarah replied completely ignoring the outburst from the man with the obviously lesser rank in their little gang. Still, she didn’t so much as retreat a foot fallen tread back. She wanted to make sure that this scoundrel before he could clearly see her figure, and subsequent worth that could be utilized in the club sector. But, no plan ever survives the battlefield. A few of the others agreed with their comrade and had decided their number overruled any order from their would-be commander. They shoved past her glaring at Sarah while making the distance between them irrelevant. Too bad they had played right into her advantage. They never saw the swirls of violet as they converged around her eyes. Her pupils strained and narrowed, then an emitted force lurched forward knocking the group back and onto the ground. A blast of psionic energy that they never saw coming. After all, they weren’t aware of their status as Primes or their capabilities therein.

Their cries of annoyance, and surprise were notable while they scrambled to their feet, and darted for dropped weapons. Sarah didn’t give them a moment to recover however. With rifle in hand she sprayed them, launching a hail of fire that burst forward; once, twice and thrice again, riddling the lot of them with a plethora of discharged rounds. None of the blows were fatal, but they would be feeling the pain for several hours. With that done, she ejected the magazine. A couple seconds later a new one took its proper spot, and thereafter she stashed the weapon in its slot. Without another word she stepped around the grunting and whimpering bodies. She grabbed her companion's arm and dragged him along from the ride.

He stared vacantly at the number that stung with minor injures. Then, they departed from the street, slunk down an alley and continued to head for what had to be the red-light district in the not-so-far off distance. Meanwhile, her communicator sprung to life: “Sarah, Sarah what’s happening I heard gunfire. Are you alright?”

“I’m fine - just some locales trying to mug us. I left them alive. We're moving towards the Merciful Knight now.”
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

Tier Six...the city of lost hopes and dreams.

Once a normal residential area, a combination of increased crime and decreased Imperial presence had allowed anarchy to set in and fester. Though nominally under the Empire's control, it was immediately apparent even to a casual observer that the authorities had long given up on maintaining any semblance of order in that part of the city. Beyond the well-guarded, well-fortified walls of the Community Center, crime lords and street gangs vied for control over the decaying settlement. Most of those seeking a better life had long since given up on any prospect of the situation improving and fled elsewhere; aside from the criminals, only the proud, the mad and the desperate remained.

The Primes emerged from the other side of the alleyway and appeared in another street, albeit one that was devoid of people hanging around outside. Fragments of glass and concrete crackled under their feet as they made their way along the thoroughfare, avoiding the trash and debris that littered the ground. On both sides of the road, apartment blocks were lined up adjacent to one another, some having survived years of chaos and poor makeshift maintenance better than others. Nearly all the doors and windows were either boarded or reinforced. Combined with the nearly non-existent lightning, the neighbourhood seemed more like a ghost town than a populated area.

While Sarah focused on leading them to their destination, her dark companion kept looking around, taking in the various sights. Though it was very aesthetically displeasing compared to the wonders he had witnessed before, he was no less fascinated to see objects that were entirely new to him. However, he was even more fascinated by the piece of technological wizardry that was now strapped to his arm. In the brief time that he had to examine it, he was amazed by all the images and sounds it could produce and all the functions it seemed to possess.

But as tempted as he was to further explore the mysteries of the technological gauntlet, he refrained from doing so...and not solely because "her" told him not to. He too could sense it....or, rather, he could sense them. Even though it was not apparent at a glance, they were being watched. From the various windows, cracks and crevices, the eyes of the local inhabitants followed their every movement. However, none dared to come outside to see who the newcomers were, preferring whatever meager safety their homes provided. So in spite of the suspicions they aroused, the duo was able to proceed unhindered.

After turning around a corner, they finally saw their destination in the distance, bright neon lights illuminating the way. The district was a stark contrast to the streets they had witnessed before. It was full of people, although most of them either kept to themselves or stuck close to their group in order to avoid getting mugged. Various merchants either had stalls set up or just sat on the ground, peddling a variety of wears. Diverse types of establishments could be found at every street corner: casinos, brothels, strip clubs, massage parlors, boutiques, beauty saloons and more. All of it was watched over by stern-looking mercenaries and bodyguards, making certain that business went on as usual.

It didn't take them long to find the place they were looking for. The Merciful Knight stood out among the buildings for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the fact that it was one of the largest and most well-maintained, a testament to Sir Gawain's power and influence within the ruined city. The large entrance was somewhat anachronistic, the orange light of the large overhead neon sign reflecting off of medieval armour that served as decoration. A queue of people stood in front of the building, impatiently awaiting to gain entry as they were examined one at a time. The procedure was done by a pair of bouncers in tuxedos, machine guns slung over their shoulders and vests bulging from underneath their clothing. Though their weaponry was antiquated, they were still far more heavily armed than the street thugs the Primes encountered before.

Entirely focused on the mission, Kerrigan examined the area for potential targets and entry points. Meanwhile, her partner in crime continued to look around in child-like wonder. Like back at Tier One, his inexperienced mind could not perceive the sin and decadence that the walls around him hid; all he could see were the pretty lights and the many unknown objects and individuals surrounding them. But there was one person in particular that caught his attention.

Standing in line was a young woman with long blonde hair and blue eyes. Though it was hardly luxurious wear, her blue set of hotpants and sleeveless shirt seemed cleaner and tidier than the rags some of the people outside the district wore. The cheap jewelry that adorned her ears and neck also appeared like items that were out of reach for many that lived there. She also looked much less malnourished and pale, even sporting a light tan.

Having grown tired of the wait, the lass started to dance to the music, which was loud enough to be heard even outside. She raised her arms and swung her hips to the beat of the music, briefly losing herself in the rhythmic trance. She abruptly paused when she noticed that the swordsman was looking at her: "What are you staring at?!...I guess it's only natural if you find me pretty....But if you're here, you gotta get in line!"

However, that was not the reason why the teen was glaring at the young woman. As he observed her, a sense of familiarity overcame him. Though he could not even begin to fathom why, he felt as though he had seen someone who looked like her before. Not exactly the same, but similar. Someone who had that kind of golden hair, someone who had those deep blue eyes....

But before he could arrive to any conclusions, the Ghost once again grabbed the boy by the arm and dragged him off elsewhere. Though Kerrigan entertained the thought of doing what the gang leader they encountered inadvertently suggested and gain entry by offering the swordsman as a "tribute", her ultimate conclusion was that such an approach would still have been too risky and would have drawn too much attention to them. Without knowing for certain where their target was, it was just too much of a gamble. Plus, she doubted that Gawain was foolish enough not to have countermeasures in place against Primes, whoƒ didn't need to bother with smuggling weapons and could summon them instead.

The secret operative decided to try and find an alternate access route. As looking around the minor complex on the ground would raise too much suspicion among the guards, she instead opted to find a vantage point from which she would have an overhead view of the buildings and its surrounding area. With that in mind, the two entered and navigated through the labyrinth of alleyways that was hidden among the buildings. Fortunately for them, after a short journey, they discovered a steel ladder that lead to one of the rooftops. Making sure that they weren't being followed or watched, Sarah grabbed one of the rungs and began her ascent. Although she didn't think she needed to explain something so rudimentary, her movements were slow and deliberate so that her companion would clearly see what she was doing and imitate her. Sure enough, after a few uncertain attempts, the warrior was able to catch on the idea and follow her rather quickly.

After a few awkward clangs up the ladder, the Empire's agents reached the top. On one side, they had a view of the busy streets as well as the Merciful Knight; however, the angle from which they could see the building was somewhat low and didn't offer as good of a look of the discotheque and its surrounding area as the Ghost had hoped. On the other, there was an even taller structure with a platform on the side directly opposite of the rooftop they were standing from; attached to a wall was a ladder which lead even higher to the top of an enclosed water tower.

Not liking what she had to work with, Sarah immediately examined the platform and the gap between the buildings to see if there was some way they could reach it from where they were. Much to her chagrin, however, that didn't appear to be the case. At least from where they were standing, the only way to access the platform was a door, which lead to a staircase inside the structure. Meanwhile, the alleyway separating the two apartment blocks was several meters wide. The Ghost was fairly athletic, but even with a running start, she knew she could not jump across such a distance. Sighing, she left the obstacle ahead of them be for the moment and walked to the other side to see what she could discover from their current position.

However, her dark friend did not follow her, his crimson eyes continuing to examine the obstruction before him. Once more, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of déjà vu. For whatever inexplicable reason, he thought he had encountered a situation reminiscent to the one he was now facing. The sensation triggered something he hadn't experienced since the day before....a vision.

Directly opposite of him, across a wide and seemingly bottomless pit, was a stone platform. Standing on it right next to the wall was a statue of a shield-bearing warrior. The boy raised his left arm, his hookshot firmly in his hand. After carefully judging the angle and aiming, he fired the hook, a long chain attached to the projectile. Fortunately, he was on the mark as the hook managed to fall into the opening behind the shield. After pulling the chain back just enough to firmly lodge the hook, he made a running jump. Activating the item's mechanism, he was rapidly pulled to the other side and landed safely on the platform. After retrieving the hook and reeling back the chain, he attached the hookshot back to his belt and resumed his quest.

The vision left the swordsman puzzled and confused; he was unable to recall ever doing anything of the sort. However, the image of the object he held remained crystal clear in his mind. It looked so real that it was almost like he was grasping it that very moment. He felt himself becoming distant from his surroundings, his senses going numb. The sounds of the busy streets nearby became mute, as though they weren't even there. All the warrior could see, all he could focus on was the object that he held in his hand...

After doing some surveillance with her goggles, Kerrigan gave up on the prospect of gleaming anything useful from their current position. Much as she tried, the location was simply too low and there were too many obstructions in her field of vision. However, there was no telling how long it would take them to reach a new position if they descended back to street level and looked for a new entrance. Instead, she opted for a simpler solution. Since her newly discovered power enabled her to summon any material object, she could simply conjure a bridge or simply a ladder to cross the alleyway that separated them from the building next to the one they were on. It would require a fair degree of time and Omnilium, but it would spare them from a much longer trip.

Sarah went to rejoin her companion, ready to put her plan into action. She had barely reached his side when he suddenly raised his left arm. That is when she noticed that he was holding something...some sort of contraption. It had a blue body, a steel handle and an arrow-like hook in front. The boy himself was looking at the ladder on the other side. His expression was stern and focused, not unlike the times he had faced danger.

For the first time since they had met, it was the red-haired girl who was befuddled. While the nature of the device was more or less self-evident, the fact that the swordsman had it to begin with and even thought of using it surprised her. "Where did you-?" she attempted to ask, but was interrupted by the young man firing the projectile, which pulled a chain along its trajectory. The steel object crossed the gap and slammed into the wall upon which the ladder was mounted, recoiling into one of the rungs before coming to a hanging halt. Slowly pulling the chain back, the warrior managed to firmly attach the hook to the stave. Still holding the device, he turned to his female counterpart and reached out to her with his spare hand....before remembering that he wasn't allowed to touch her. Upon encountering this conundrum, all of the boy's concentration vanished; uncertain as to how to resolve the issue, he became flummoxed once more.

Reading his mind, Sarah was able to tell what was confusing him so much. Uttering an exasperated sigh, she put him out of his misery by grabbing his right arm and wrapping it around her waist while throwing her own arm around his shoulders. This helped the male teen understand that, at least in situations when he wanted to aid someone, he could touch that person. With this newly found knowledge, he was able to turn his attention to the task at hand. In preparation for the jump, he shuffled his feet into a starting position. Kerrigan mimicked his actions, doing her best to remain in sync with him. In truth, she felt a bit nervous about attempting this, since she wasn't entirely confident her companion knew what he was doing and that the ladder or the hook were solid enough to withstand the pressure. However, she quickly pushed those thoughts aside, focusing once again on the objective.

The swordsman broke into a sprint, his partner reacting in kind. He pressed the triggers and activated the device's retrieval function just before they reached the edge and simultaneously leaped into the air. Through immaculate timing, the force of the pull aided the momentum of their movement instead of bringing it to a halt. In spite of their combined weight, they managed to fly clear across the alleyway and reach the other side without issue. Their feet hit hard upon the concrete roof and the girl, being unused to such acrobatic stunts, lost her grasp and nearly fell forward. But her companion fared a bit better; almost falling to his knees, he still managed to quickly get up and maintain a firm hold on the girl, allowing her to grab his arm and regain her footing on time. Once they had safely come to a halt, the warrior let go of Sarah and retrieved the hook. Reeling back the chain until the projectile snapped back into its proper place, he clasped the device to its belt, as though it had always been there. The way he behaved, it was like he had done this countless times before.

After the excitement and the pain in her ankles subsided, the Ghost commented: "Right.....I forgot that you can summon too." This was more directed at herself than it was at her companion. Sure enough, the boy's only meaningful response to this was a return to his usual behaviour, blinking and staring as he attempted to decipher the words that were incomprehensible to him. Gazing right back at him with her emerald eyes, the trick he just pulled made Kerrigan ponder regarding the nature of his condition.

His consciousness was essentially void of any knowledge, that much was certain. Yet, he had displayed proficiency in fighting as well as shaping and molding of omnilium...abilities that should have been far beyond his comprehension. But what was truly odd was everything regarding the item he conjured. He not only knew of it and what purpose it served, he was even intimately familiar with how to operate it. The object must have been a relic from whatever place he originated from; she was fairly certain he could not have seen — let alone mastered — such a contraption during the time he had accompanied her. But if so, did that mean that there were things that his mind did contain? Was there knowledge hidden in the depths of his subconsciousness?

Having more pressing matters to attend to, the girl decided to leave the mysteries surrounding her companion for another time. Without delay, she proceeded to the ladder and began her ascent to the top of the structure, her obedient "pet" following closely behind her. After another short climb, they found themselves standing on the wooden roof surrounding the uppermost section of the water tower. Now that they were at a fairly high altitude, they had a good view of the entire district, including the Merciful Knight and its surroundings. Positioning herself near the edge in a kneeling position, Sarah lowered her spectacles and began to scan the area, zooming in and scanning whatever points of interest.

Several minutes passed in near silence, the bustle of the streets below seemingly distant. As the boy busied himself with examining the water tower and admiring the panorama surrounding them, Kerrigan combed every nook and cranny of the discotheque with her goggles. Yet, even though guards patrolled around the entire building, there didn't seem to be any entrance other than the one at the front. This puzzled her; such establishments almost always had a second entrance that was reserved for employees and shipment deliveries. She took into account the fact that this was a city in disarray and that it was most likely advantageous to restrict the amount of access points a structure had. Still, with such a large amount of security in place, the omission of a back entrance seemed odd. She thought to herself whether there was some sort of trick at play, such as a hidden entrance. But unable to ascertain such a possibility at that moment, she raised her spectacles in frustration and took a break.

She turned to see what her lapdog was doing.. Indeed, much like man's best friend, he patiently stood close to her after the environment surrounding them ceased to interest him. As she continued to observe him, Sarah felt her curiosity regarding his hidden knowledge resurfacing. She thought about whether he knew a certain detail about himself, something that was central to almost any sentient individual. Just to see how he would react, the red-haired girl bluntly asked: "Do you have a name?"

As expected, her companion reacted with surprise and confusion at the sudden question....yet, there was also another effect. It was that word again..."name". Much like back at the Colonel's office, the boy felt a familiar tug at the back of his head. He still didn't know why, but the word rang a bell...there was something he knew about it.

Since she was carefully following his thought process, this did not escape the Ghost's notice. Standing up and facing him, she placed a hand on her chest: "My name is Sarah..." She then gestured towards him: "...What is your name?" The sensation grew stronger, prompting to swordsman to hold his head. He tried to concentrate....What about "name" did he know? What was it? He wished to find out...but didn't know how.

"Name..." the girl repeated telepathically as her eyes remained locked with his. She hoped that, by mentally stimulating his brain, she could help coax the information from the depths of his mind. The male teen closed his eyes, all his efforts focused on the strange sensation he felt in his head. Abruptly, something did surface in his conscious thoughts....gibberish, a garbled mess of sounds. Yet, amidst all the chaos and mental noise, there was something clearly distinguishable...letters. Sarah followed these intently, trying to make out a pattern. Finally, there was one coherent sequence of alphabetic characters:


Kerrigan repeated the letters to herself and, upon realising what it meant, became slightly annoyed: "No. Not word, name. What is your name?" She figured that "link" must have been a word he had heard somewhere in this universe; it was a fairly common phrase, after all. Worried that they would lose the trail as a result of this misunderstanding, she conveyed to him more firmly with her mind: "Name." For his part, the swordsman continued to concentrate on the unclear audible mess in his head. He did not know what "word" meant, but it was not a "name". So what was "name"? That was when another sensible sequence appeared:


The operative once more repeated what was conveyed. Kiln? It didn't sound like anything she had ever heard. But it at least vaguely sounded like a name and not just a string of random alphabetic characters. However, that was all she was able to determine. The sounds disappeared and the boy lost his focus, rubbing his head as a result of the immense headache he felt. Sarah sighed. Though she wasn't certain that it was the name they were looking for, at least it was a name. She would have had to have figured something to call him sooner or later...might as well be something that he discovered for himself.

"My name is Sarah. Your name is Kiln," she stated, repeating the hand motion she did before. She also did it in reverse, gesturing towards him and then towards herself: "Kiln.....Sarah....." Intently observing this, the boy unwittingly repeated the last motion, bringing his hand close to his female counterpart without touching her. Sarah....."her" name was Sarah. As a final confirmation, the girl gave him a slow, but firm nod.

Figuring that this was about everything they would be able to achieve, the Ghost left the warrior to his thoughts while she returned to the task they had climbed up there to complete in the first place. She had barely put the goggles back on when she noticed an interesting occurrence. A line of large, primitive vehicles had appeared from one of the more desolate streets, the convoy coming to a halt at a road near the back of the vast structure. A man in a brown jacket, most likely a lackey, exited the frontmost transport and approached the building. Suddenly, a wide section of the concrete ground began to retract, revealing a wide hidden entrance. Emerging from its shadows was another person, which became illuminated by the many headlights. It was this individual that caused a grin to form on the assassin's face. Though the computer confirmed the positive ID, she didn't really need it. That dark complexion, that well-mannered expression, those luxurious garments....there was absolutely no doubt about it. It was none other than their target, Sir Gawain.

The middle-aged gentleman did not stay in that location long. After exchanging a few words with what appeared to be the leader of the convoy, he retreated back from whence he came, while his lackey began to coordinate the traffic. Though she preferred to eliminate or at least incapacitate her prey from a distance, Kerrigan was still satisfied...they had found what they were looking for.

Quickly standing up and removing the goggles from her eyes, she turned to her partner in crime: "Come on, Kiln! Let's go!" The boy, who was still wrapping his head around the concept, was nevertheless beginning to comprehend the meaning of "name". So name was something beings called each other...and each being had its own name. And his...was Kiln. Did that sound right? He didn't know.....he couldn't quite say. But he had a name of his own now.

The swordsman was so lost in thought that he barely noticed when the girl rapidly proceeded down the ladder and he rushed to follow suit. Armed with the information they had discovered, Sarah and the newly-christened Kiln were ready to infiltrate the Merciful Knight.
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

A maze of alleyways beckoned; with their rank noxious smells and individuals that huddled around fires - close to one another - eager for the next hit of whatever the popular drug was. These were the outcasts of the outcasts, and Sarah with Kiln close beside her, passed them right-on-by once more. Those that made their homes in the backstreets that interconnected the sections of Tier 6 had next to nothing. They weren't the ones attending the clubs (like the merciful knight); they weren't the ones buying from street vendors and enjoying the piss-poor carnival food. Instead, they scavenged for what they could find. Sometimes that meant taking from those weaker so that they would survive: a cutthroat living full of back stabbers and former friends.

The Primes kept their pace swift, never lingering in one spot for more than a moment or two before turning down one walkway or another. Sarah led as best as she could given the circumstances. She peered from one set of shadows to the next, constantly searching for threats she knew to be there - just wanting them to take the wrong path, or lower their guard. However, she wouldn't give them the satisfaction. Her mind wandered and slipped between the veils that connected them all. Listening to their thoughts she focused for a brief instance, read a person, then moved to the next, making sure she didn't step close enough for a dagger that stabbed to reach either herself, or her Companion.

Eventually, the end of the Labyrinth drew nigh, and the Street of Merchants came into view once more. Stalls were still lined up; shops were open and crowds gathered into rows upon rows, eating, loitering, and dancing to terribly bad music. They were ever so loud. Louder still were the shouts of peddlers peddling products, oblivious to the dangers that lurked around every corner. Persons of all sorts dressed in fashions that barely consisted of proper clothing, and some that were on power-trips, tried to sneak weapons in everywhere; they were disarmed, stripped and shown the door. Lastly far further-beyond down 'pleasant' street, neon lights polluted.

The Merciful Knight gleamed with its proud display of medieval armor, and nearly eclipsed the smaller venues that flickered; flashing signs with their names: 'Dan's Pub,' the plainest, 'Bimbos, and Escorts' the most blatant, and 'Casino' the most original of them all. Their haze clouded the entire skyline and went for kilometers along 'Entertainment Way.' Without order, the lawless were free to roam, and the fun never ended. However, there were armed thugs aplenty (bouncers), and bodyguards swarming around 'V.I.P.S.' No safety here.

"Well, this won't be easy." Sarah muttered. She slowed, stopping on one walkway. Leaning against a building, she held a stiff-arm out to stop Kiln from wandering off. He ran right into it, grunting painfully as he stumbled to catch his next step. Thereafter, he stared from her, then to all the gathered and the hustle of an underground city, and finally held his ground. Sarah caught him glancing at the Device on his arm (his connection to the verse wide web), but said nothing. "I don't exactly fit in. He'd be alright, a freak for the boys to play with: a distraction. I am Ghost though. . . I could cloak." She ran a hand down her arm, thinking about how to proceed.

Kiln hadn't a clue what she mumbled about. The thoughts in her head were becoming simply too confusing. He zoned out for seconds at a time, only half listening to them while gazing at all the activity that never seemed to die down. People departed, more people came and replaced them. Hordes and droves were let inside, vanishing for long periods of time, only to be sandwiched, crammed clogged together, as others were admitted. He glanced down at the piece of Tech once more, and with a few presses, he had it on again. Cautiously, he faced the Girl, but saw she had her eyes closed and her head titled back, as though she needed a rest. He assumed incorrectly, but it amounted to the same result: he could play around with his toy. His pupils dilated and he rapidly slammed the interface, trying to get prompts, logs of texts and all sorts of images to appear like before.

If I amplify the suit with my own energy, I should be able to maintain a cloaking field, regardless of the actual damage sustained to the module. In theory, the Teenager thought, it could work - even without proper repairs to the inner workings of the Hostile Environment Suit. After all, its outermost layer was designed with synthetic cells that react to psionic stimulus. They would take in psionic reverberations and refract any light source, essentially rendering her invisible to the naked eye. The only difference in this instance, she would have to rely on her own stamina to remain unseen, and not some external energy source.

She tapped that well. Her entire body glowed, then shimmered, thereafter blurred, and finally it faded while the Boy tapped and pressed on that thing on his arm. He missed when she vanished. So, when he finally returned from the exploration, he could only observe nothing where Sarah had been. In short, he panicked. Perhaps she had merely went on ahead, but as he searched the mobs, he could not find any trace of her. And although she could be fast when she desired, she wasn't 'this' fast. He stepped back retracing his way to the alley whence they came; heading down a few meters, he determined the same, and took up his dutiful post at the corner where they had rest - almost certain that she would come back for him. Faithful 'till the end.

Minutes passed before Kiln felt a hand on his shoulder. His own went for the blade, however tugged as he did at the sword in the sheath, it wouldn't budge; some force held it in check. He opted for the shield (slipping it against the opposite arm), but as he swung back spinning like a top in defense, he only struck the wall. Sparks flew; inertia kept going as he continued to go round and round. The pressure on his sword rescinded, so he donned that as well. The metal shone briefly. It rotated as well, seeking out anything that could not be seen. Meanwhile, a few onlookers stared at the behavior and quickly shuffled forward, backwards, sideways and away from the commotion. Yet, they never stopped watching.

With a sudden push, swirls of violet appeared out of thin air. The cloaking field flickered and revealed the Girl while she shoved (albeit slightly more gentle than she normally would) the Boy against the nearest structure. With a momentary impact she let him fall. He slumped. "Sorry, boy. Easiest way to explain to someone like you is to show you." Shutting her eyes, she honed in and the field reestablished. She stepped twice and knelt down before uncloaking. "You see me, then you don't. But," she pointed with a finger to the crowd, "They watch you. Not me. Understand?" She doubted he did to the fullest extent. All eyes were on him. "I'm a Ghost."

He glanced from Sarah, then unto the crowd and back. He could only stare - still obviously at a loss - but, he nodded. Slowly, he rose and continued looking at her. He was expecting her to disappear again. When she didn't, he grasped that she wouldn't anymore here. Reaching for his sword, he slung it back in its slot and walked in toe with his shield still strapped. Wherever they were going was likely to be dangerous. He knew that. Didn't understand how he knew, but he did: a vibe of sorts. The way she violently tried to teach only exemplified that fact. So, he followed adapting to the droves of people, blending in as they proceeded down the street.

The Backstreets were less packed. In fact, no one in the immediate vicinity. Perhaps they dare not tread this far into the property of a local club on principal, or maybe they had been given a reason not to. Either way, real danger existed now. Thugs were the least of the pair of Primes' worries. Instead, they whom would stop them, would be better armed, and certainly more skilled in combat. That's why a more finesse method was necessary. With that in mind, Sarah halted them both, holding out an arm which Kiln in turn, ran right-on-into. He grunted quietly. She held a finger up to her mouth and her thoughts probed his mind.

"Stay," she began. "You have to stay, here. Just for a bit okay?" He looked confused as she began to walk away. He still fell in line with her. Turning back abruptly, power flared in her eyes for a moment; particles erupted rapidly in burst of violet, purple and red and yet again he levitated through the air. Although, this time she stayed mild with him. A caress almost, that drifted him back to his previous position. This process repeated as he advanced once more. "No, wait here. I'll come back." After the second time he attempted nothing further. That much she could read amongst his sporadic brain patterns. So, she went off scouting, disappearing entirely from his gaze after drifting a few meters.

On her way, the Teenager darted beyond the bend but continued forward, checking all angles with a sweep of her head. Four. She counted, internally hoping that they had no way of detecting a cloaked Ghost. Even now she could feel the strain the feat put on herself, but it needed to work. Two at the entrance. Continuing to move she passed that. Two Patrolling. One guard slipped on continuing down an alleyway. She followed, treading near and readying herself for the strike. But, a pang reverberated into her head. It thumped and hurt; she almost cried out a hand clinging to the side of it. Falling against a dumpster she caught herself and quickly leaned for support. The guard went-on-by. As he passed her invisibility wavered. Thankfully though, he didn't face 'about. Instead, a deep-tremoring voice stormed the folds of her brain.

My Daughter, your Swarm needs guidance.
Kerrigan, greatest of creation's children,
Arise, arise again; serve as an Agent of change:
A bringer of order, stability and evolution.

Images flashed in her mind. Grotesque things from nightmares, breeding expanding and adapting. Creatures that were connected to her, somehow. The dumpster smelt terrible, but she couldn't move. Its stench clogged her nostrils; she gagged choking on it, and thrashed against the Voice. "I will not join - you - whatever you are. I serve none like you." Sarah couldn't be sure if she spoke aloud or not. If she did, it couldn't have been anything more than a whisper, because that was how she felt in comparison to the intruder in her mind's realm. With a faltering disposition she sealed herself off, cornering the invasive force and dispersing it around the fibers of her Environmental Suit. She blinked out of sight. Standing wearily (her legs felt like jelly) she trudged, dragging a palm along a wall to steady herself out of the alleyway.

The same as my dream. Its voice: real. Why can't I remember? This never happened before. The last fearful thoughts before action. The Patroller continued on by her. She heard him make a comm's check; the last one he would ever have. She crept up behind him; slipped an arm around his neck - providing leverage with the opposite - and twisted. His neck snapped, broken and she lowered him to the ground: dead. She couldn't chance him waking up. Sweat engulfed her temples, trailing on her cheeks and stinging her eyes. Her entire body heated up like a furnace as she exited the alley and made for the Complex's hidden entrance.

Three together. The other returned from a patrol. Take the nearest out. Disarm, use one as a shield. Approaching, she advanced in directly. Acting in a quick array of motions, she kicked a knee and it buckled. The Goon jerked aiming the rifle. Sweeping her arm across she knocked it from his hands, and thereafter sent a palm up into his nose, breaking it upon impact. Blood splattered he gagged and covered his face. She spun out, alternating her footing as the gunfire began. The bullets pelted as she held him in place from behind. One fired and the other shouted into his communicator.

"There's trouble need more guys out here!"

That's right, open doors for ladies. Sarah smirked and threw her captive forward - adding just a bit of an additional push with psionic force. Swirls of blue and violet emitted from her pupils, as the telekinetic force slammed into the paired dumbfounded guardians. They hit into each other and stumbled, losing their footing. Right before Sarah could finish them off, Kiln appeared running at all speeds, apparently forgetting his 'orders' to stay behind. Although not the brightest, his technique with the blade was deadly. He slashed horizontally across, vertically up and diagonally down, carving the lot up like thanksgiving turkey. By the time the hatched pavement parted, providing access to the underground pathway, their blood had pooled: three bodies to rot and none present cared.

"Next time, try listening. They would have been dealt with. There's a couple more on the way. Come on, Kiln, let's get inside!"
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

The Ghost had told the boy in no uncertain terms to stay where he was, but the commotion and sense of danger stirred him into action. Before the assassin could put down her now helpless prey, the swordsman jumped into the fray and finished the deed himself. As before, he did not stop to wonder about the source of his knowledge nor how he was so certain it was accurate. He simply let his muscle memory guide his movements, each of his swings connecting with its intended target and dispensing them with brutal efficiency.

Once they were vanquished, however, instinct gave way to reason. Looking upon his handiwork — the carcasses of the cut down lackeys and the red liquid dripping off his blade — the young man was once more in a discombobulated state. He had only witnessed something like this once before: in the image that Second Lieutenant Ellis had shown them during the briefing. Yet, seeing such a thing firsthand was an entirely different experience — the images of unfocused, soulless eyes and gaping mouths burning themselves into the fresh and inexperienced mind. Kiln found the now lifeless bodies awing...even somewhat unsettling.

But Sarah's words quickly brought him out of his stupor. Even if he didn't entirely understand them, he did at least comprehend that she wanted to move on....and the further perils that he could feel laying ahead made that desire mutual. Not giving his downed foes a second glance, the warrior steeled himself for whatever hazards awaited them before descending down the sloped tunnel that the secret entranceway was concealing. His companion wrapped herself in her cloak of invisibility before following suit.

Progressing with haste, the Primes found themselves in a underground parking lot. It was mostly devoid of vehicles, barring a trio of the kind they had seen earlier, suggesting that the convoy that arrived before had already finished whatever they had come to do and left. But what was truly surprising was what awaited them there....nothing. In spite of the fact that the entrance was opened and reinforcements called, not a single soul appeared to stop them or do anything at all. The only thing that greeted the loud echo of their footsteps was silence.

It didn't require much consideration to realise that this was a trap; after all, even the sloppiest security detail wouldn't have permitted them to just walk right in unopposed. It was an obvious ploy....too obvious, Kerrigan thought. It made her suspect that their arrival was not only anticipated, but that their opponents were even counting on them to either attempt to avoid the ambush or even retreat out of insecurity. As her unseen gaze shifted towards her companion's back, the secret operative decided upon a course of action. If the trap was only a decoy, then the best way to deal with it was to do the unexpected...

Still hidden from plain sight, the girl gave Kiln a gentle shove in order to get him to move. He turned his head to look behind him. Even at point blank range, the optical camouflage was well-nigh perfect. If it weren't for the subtle shimmering caused by movement, one would have been hard-pressed to tell that anything was there. To the swordsman, who was still unused to such tricks, it seemed as though she simply faded out of existence. But thanks to the earlier demonstration, he realised that she was still there, even if his eyes couldn't make out that fact. Facing the front once more, he readied his weapon and armour piece before he took point and carefully proceeded towards the tunnel that lead further into the interior.

Deeper into the complex, they entered what appeared to be an industrial hall. Though it was dimly lit, emergency lights being the only source of visibility, it was certainly not quiet — the chamber seemed to be located underneath the discotheque as the boomy and entrancing beat emanating from it was audible, albeit in a muffled state. On each side of the hall, a series of metallic platforms, staircases and ladders helped form two mezzanines, which were also connected via several bridges. The middle was occupied by a production line and workstations, many littered with chemical flasks and components. Various boxes and containers littered the room, seemingly shoved into whatever corner or part of space that was available.

While the shield bearer remained vigilant and examined the area for any threats, his partner took a look at the tables and carts at the end of the assembly line. There she recognised the remnants of the manufactured goods amidst a sea of plastic bags — a variety of pills and fine powder. So that was it — this was a narcotics factory, undoubtedly the origin of whatever substances the junkies outside were getting hooked on. Even if they lacked solid evidence against him, it seemed that the EPD's claims regarding Gawain weren't entirely fabricated either. Not that this was of any surprise to the Ghost, nor did it make much difference — whether a romantic rebel or a cutthroat crime lord, he was the target either way.

Abruptly, they were startled by a noisy screech that resonated throughout the chamber. Coming from the primitive intercom speakers, it was followed by a voice — one of a rough and firm tone: "Another visitor....and from far away indeed! Those Empire dogs must be either foolish or desperate to have sent a medieval man to this place.....or perhaps they find it amusing to have one of your kind visit the Merciful Knight. Whatever the case may be, I wonder...is it courage or folly that has brought you to this place?"

His sword and shield at the ready, the warrior bewilderingly gazed around in a vain attempt to locate the person addressing him. Not that he himself even realised he was the one being addressed, the meaning of the stranger's words flying over his head.

In his confusion, he also failed to notice that his companion was no longer right behind him. Using the distraction, she quietly slipped away from the scene in search of further routes, leaving the warrior to fend for himself. Now that the enemy had taken the bait, she had little desire to stick around and get caught in the crossfire. Besides which, she had decided that this was it....this would be the boy's trial. If he somehow managed to survive the ambush, he will have proven himself valuable enough for Kerrigan to continue molding his immature mind. If not....then he would at least serve as a distraction while she focused on finding and eliminating Gawain.

A few tense moments of silence passed before the man behind the microphone resumed: "Not one for words, are you? Very well, then...let us see if your resolve is as strong as that blade you carry." When the transmission was cut off, the swordsman became alarmed, though not because the person had ceased to speak. He felt something incoming....something dangerous! Instinctively, he raised his shield to defend himself.

No sooner had he done this did the entire hall become lit and a burst of bullets ricochetted off his arm-strapped cover. Metal clanged under the weight of countless footsteps — a few guards emerged from the shadows of the upper floors and rained down fire upon the intruder with their submachine guns while a dozen more moved into position. Nearly overwhelmed by the attack, the warrior threw himself behind one of the workstations.

As projectiles continued to bombard the improvised shelter, tearing through any objects in their way, Kiln covered his head in a vain attempt to protect himself from the noise and flying debris. He frantically looked around, concerned for his companion. Where was "her"...where was Sarah?! But no matter where he turned, she was nowhere in sight. Was it like before? Was she still there and he simply could not see her?

Another volley of covering fire and the rattling of staircases reminded him to worry about his own well-being. His position becoming increasingly jeopardised, the boy sought to escape. He didn't fail to notice that the attacks came in intervals, so he waited for the right opportunity. When the gunfire subsided somewhat, he bolted onto his feet and made a dash for the right side of the chamber.

The hired guns followed him in hot pursuit, bullets whistling past him and poking holes in whatever object was unfortunate enough to be in its trajectory. Some of the projectiles managed to graze the warrior, rupturing his clothing and scratching his skin. But he was too focused on running for his dear life to pay much attention to such superficial damage and proceeded unhindered.

His flight lead him into a minor labyrinth of makeshift rooms and wooden walls where he attempted to evade his pursuers. But the incomprehensible commands and shouts he could hear not far behind him revealed that his chasers were relentlessly looking for their prey. Some were so eager to riddle the "medieval man" with bullets that they fired a few shots through the thin walls, hoping to get lucky and hit their target.

After nearly running straight into a dead end, Kiln swiftly changed directions. Through the openings among a stack of containers, he noticed one of the guards coming from the left to cut him off. As it was too late to turn back, he instead sprinted to catch his opponent off-guard, sword at the ready. But as the man in the brown jacket turned a corner, he heard the nearby footfalls and turned to see the rapidly approaching black figure. In a fit of panic, the lackey raised his firearm while the grey-haired boy made a great leap, his blade raised high.

The submachine gun blasted a salvo of small projectiles, two of them managing to find their mark. The swordsman clenched his teeth, acute pain coursing through his arm as the ammunition penetrated it. However, his forward momentum was too strong to be halted by this hit and he struck with his brand in a downward motion.

His opponent yelled out in terror — the slash was so powerful that it cut through fabric and flesh with ease, severing his arm in the process. The still clenched trigger caused the weapon to fire incessantly into empty space as the appendage plummeted onto the floor.

While his initial adversary fled, uselessly holding onto his bleeding stump, Kiln heard others approaching. Looking at his immediate surroundings, he noticed an empty doorframe. Having few options, he ran inside. Seeing yet another opening in the room he appeared in, he rushed towards it. But in his eagerness to escape, the young man didn't pay enough attention to his surroundings and bumped into a chair, resulting in an awkward trip and fall. Though the motion caused him immense pain in his arm, he rapidly pushed himself in order to get back onto his feet.

The approaching steps went silent right before the room where the commotion came from. "Stand clear!" an unknown voice spoke up. A moment later, an object was thrown into the room — a black, cylinder-shaped item with a steel top. The boy had no clue what it was, but suspected that it was dangerous. He warily took a few steps back towards the second doorframe he was headed before.

With a loud "BANG", the object detonated, an intense white light burning itself into the warrior's retina. Blinded, he raised his shield to defend himself, more of an act of desperation than a deliberate action on his part. A strong salvo of bullets pelted the armour piece, pushing the swordsman further back. His forced retreat caused him to lose his footing and tumble onto his back. His response was rapid — using the backwards motion to his advantage, he managed to roll back into a squatting position and stand back up.

Another guard emerged from the room he came from. Holding up his weapon to take another shot, he pulled the trigger...and was greeted by a harmless click — the magazine was empty. Grunting in frustration, he pulled out his dagger instead. His two comrades that followed him shortly after did the same, not wanting to risk harming each other with gunfire in such an enclosed space. However, they weren't foolish enough to ignore the reach the boy had with his long blade and kept their distance as they moved to flank him.

Having recovered from the temporary blindness, Kiln scanned the surrounding enemies with his red eyes, a scowl on his face. However, there was also something other than displeasure that he felt as he faced this situation....a sensation that had become quite common. It was a sense of familiarity — he had faced such a quandary before.

The boy was encircled. Everywhere he turned, monsters — beings of rotten flesh and bone — shambled towards him. Their empty eye sockets were fixed upon him incessantly as they raised their arms and parted their exposed teeth, ready to feast. But their prey had a trick up his sleeve. Firmly grasping the hilt of his sword, he sensed the energy flowing through his body and redirected it towards his hand.

Gradually, a blue light covered the length of the blade. Just as the creatures were about to grab hold of him, he unleashed the gathered power, slashing everything around him in one circular motion. Some of the creatures were defeated, while others were merely wounded — regardless, it gave the boy the opportunity he needed to escape his predicament.

Consciously, the black-clad warrior wasn't aware of the mystical energies that has enveloped his weapon. But even he could see their magnificent blue light glistening off of the alerted eyes of his foes.

In one rapid and uninterrupted spin, his sword hit everything within its reach. The man in front, who had been anticipating an attack in his direction, leaped back just in time to avoid it. His brothers-in-arms, however, were not so fortunate. The one on the left took the brunt of the slash, the blade tearing through his abdomen to such an extent that he desperately attempted to keep his intestines from flowing out before collapsing. His counterpart opposite him nearly avoided the sweeping assault, but hit a nearby crate with spare chemical equipment while attempting to do so. As a result, he could not prevent the tip of the brand from producing a nasty cut on his stomach as well as severing his SMG from its sling, the item dropping onto the floor.

The lackey on the right, covering his bleeding wound with his spare hand, attempted to retaliate with a cheap shot. But his knife only ended up harmlessly bouncing off of the boy's armour piece. In return, he received a shield bash to the face. The impact caused him to smash against the wall with a broken nose, his blade slipping out of his grasp and flying off to the other side of the room.

The wannabe leader of the group yelled out as he charged forward, trying to stab the shield-bearer. The intended victim managed to nimbly sidestep the rush, leaving the guard exposed to a counterattack. Wishing to put a stop to further assaults, the young man was reminded of one of the first things he learned and decided to put the lesson to good use. Tightly clenching his sword hand, he sent the fist flying into the thug's gut. This turned out to be a poor idea as the punch further exacerbated the searing anguish he felt in his arm, but it left its target out of breath. Instinctively, he followed it up with a swift kick to the chest, the man falling on the floor as a result.

Turning to his right in a quick fashion, Kiln raised his sword to finish off his helpless opponent. However, he had pushed his luck too far — having undergone a lot of unnatural strain, the muscles in his wounded arm cramped. Wincing in pain, he was unable to complete his movement. His bloody-nosed foe did not fail to respond to this. Grabbing one of the spare flasks that were on the crate, he smashed it into the left side of the boy's head, the object splintering into dozens of pieces.

Shaken by the blow, the swordsman became dazed and struggled to remain on his feet. Seizing the opportunity, the man in the jacket scrambled to pick up the nearest weapon he could find — his fallen machine gun. Hastily, he raised it and fired off a burst at point-blank range. But once more, the warrior was aware enough to raise his shield in defence. At such a close range, it ended up deflecting the projectiles into other directions — some even striking the group leader's legs, who was trying to get back onto his feet. The inevitable outcome was another plummet to the ground, the man twisting and screaming in agony.

Feeling the spasm subside, Kiln firmly swung his blade and knocked the firearm out of his opponent's hands. Following it up with another two slashes in an X pattern, the guard hit the wall and collapsed once more, this time conclusively. The one remaining man continued to shout, desperately trying to reach for the dagger that had fallen out of his immediate reach as well as attempting to drag his now inoperable appendages. The swordsman was swift and merciless, however. Favouring his right arm, he grasped the hilt of his weapon with both his hands and impaled the guard through his chest, ending his struggle with a coup de grâce.

As the last of the three foes drew his final breath, the boy took a moment of respite. He was panting himself, stress and fatigue having taken their toll. Sweat and blood trickled along his left cheek, the wound on his head stinging from the salty fluid. The pain in his sword arm continued unabated, further aggravated by the extent he had been using it. But there was no time for rest, no time for recovery. Even if he hadn't already felt it, the countless shouts coming from elsewhere warned of the still imminent threat. And he had to find Sarah...she might have been in danger...

Retrieving his arming sword, Kiln attempted to find his way out of the proverbial maze. But no sooner had he emerged in yet another makeshift hallway did two hired guns managed to locate him. "HE'S HERE!" one of them yelled out before they raised their weapons to open fire. His arms once more at the ready, the warrior braced himself for the incoming onslaught.


The party in the disco continued unabated. The visitors danced furiously, entirely oblivious to the chaos and carnage that was occurring right underneath their feet. But while his guests remained unaware of the happenings in the bowels of the complex, the proprietor of the establishment was more than aware of the situation.

Standing inside the control room, located near the ceiling of the production hall, was Sir Gawain himself. Quietly and calmly, he observed the activity going on down below, his underlings running around in search of the "medieval man". As tempting as it was to simply let his men handle the situation and return to business as usual, he stuck around out of a desire to personally make certain that the intruders were dealt with.

Yes, intruders — the crime boss was aware that there were two of them. Even if it hadn't been for later sightings, even if they hadn't stood out as much as they did, even if it hadn't been for that incident not far away from the Community Center...Gawain would have known of their presence. Tier 6 was his city — he had eyes and ears everywhere. It didn't matter who they were or why they were there — anyone who deigned to show their face in that part of Coruscant was familiar to him.

So he knew of the black-clad swordsman...and his female friend in the grey suit. The fact that one of them appeared inside the facility could have only meant that the other wasn't far away. And if they were really who he suspected they were, then the young woman was most likely going after him.

But in spite of this potential threat, the brown-skinned man remained where he was, continuing to observe the ongoing operation. With the corner of his eye, he looked at one of the many cameras the facility was equipped with. He smirked — even if he wasn't armed at the time, he was not concerned. He was not alone either. He had a guardian angel that was watching over him...


That guardian turned out to be a young woman, who sat in front of dozens of screens displaying the latest security footage. Noticing Gawain staring directly at one of the cameras, her face beamed with delight as she resumed her task. She was quite eager to try and catch a glimpse of the violent spectacle that was going on on the ground floor of the industrial hall. Nevertheless, dedicated to the duty that was bestowed upon her, her priority remained the other sections of the complex.

For a while, it seemed that she was just going to keep staring at a whole lot of nothing. Then, almost by chance, her keen eyes caught sight of something peculiar. It only appeared for a split second, but in one of the better illuminated hallways, something disturbed the air. It was almost as if, for the briefest of moments, reality itself was being twisted and contorted. A less attentive and observant person would have dismissed this as nothing, but the young woman looking at the footage was not deceived — she recognised an optical illusion when she saw one. A wide grin formed on her visage: "Naughty, naughty....Papi doesn't like it when little children are playing hide-and-seek in his home."

Swiftly getting onto her feet, she proceeded to another location. She had a strong hunch where their second uninvited guest was headed.
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

The Watchers here were only cameras lined along the grey, dulcet tones of bare walls. Leading up and down one corridor and the next, the endless Labyrinth of hallways and space went onward. Each led deeper and deeper within the infrastructure of the Merciful Knight (really its garage and storage space), and none held the benefit of identifying markers that would be helpful in finding the way up. There were numbers on panels beside doors, ventilation ducts, and more security sweeping devices: motion detectors, infrared (heat dispersion) scanners and even mounted digitally rendered bio-scanners. All to give the illusion that this entire level was important to the proprietors of the establishment. However, its emptiness suggested only the appearance of prestige was required down here. And of course unless a person knew the access point to the main-level (which Sarah didn’t), he or she would be effectively lost among familiar greys and narrow walkways.

Every now and then – as she stepped along with only the quiet echoed footfalls to keep her company – the Ghost would try a door. Most were locked, though there were some that opened with a good shove and revealed their contents to her. Nothing of value to her in them, just supplies to be used by employees. Anything that held and potentially incriminating information was no doubt barred to her by the, oh-so-many, security measures she had noted and remembered while the minutes ticked on. Speaking of which, it actually didn’t take long for her distraction to fall in place.

She heard gunfire and the various noises that hinted at combat, begin. They were muffled sounds, strangely pleasing to the ear at such a distance – even got her heart rate up a few beats per minute – but nothing to worry about (out of the ordinary). After all, she needed Kiln to keep the dispatched forces busy until she could complete her task. Yet, the utter lack of any other response, bothered her. Besides the devices meant to keep intruders out of certain rooms, and the cameras, there weren’t any visible signs of where defenses could be activated if needed. Where were the turrets; the choke points and guard checkpoints?

The underground infrastructure was frankly too void of anything. In the unlocked rooms there were tables, chairs set up for meetings, with remnants of white stains and dust upon them. However, none had been touched in quite some time. It was as though the entire level had been changed from a multi-purpose area to a simple back-entrance. The reasons for this were unclear to Sarah. Perhaps there had been an issue in the past that had developed into a work hazard? Obviously, this place wasn’t nearly as secure as it could be. With the faults clear in the lack of other viable defenses, save for keeping out invaders. She couldn’t help but wonder though, what if they weren’t intent on focusing their power on stopping individuals from infiltrating the ground level, but instead in trapping them there? With the emptiness and narrow passageways, any would-be threat could be neutralized swiftly.

Several minutes of wandering and still no end in sight: no stairs, no elevator at the end of this or the next corridor. She could feel the strain from the exertion to maintain her cloaking field, and subsequently began trying any entryway without a keypad or scanner to duck into for respite. Thus far, surveillance had only been in the main hallways, and not in the rooms themselves; she just needed to find an open one. Darting down one passage and another she routed corner after corner – eyes swiveling back and forth searching for any signs of change in the layout pattern – before coming to an intersection of four corridors leading in all directions. Opting to first try straight-on-ahead she continue stepping becoming more frantic as her willpower was continually ebbing away into naught. Finally, after several more locked doors, she rammed up against a wooden-frame one and fell into a manner of janitorial closet. Thereafter, she immediately became visible.

Her pupils were dilated sweat clearly glimmering on her cheeks and coating her entire body. The suit clung as tight as it ever been against her skin, but the wave of relief that swam overtop her was immense. Breathing in deeply, she groaned and then sighed. Concentrating and honing her mind, she could still hear the tell-tale sounds of a battle taking place. Focusing past the audible garble, she reached out for a familiar mind to see if it yet thought. It did. Her eyes closed and she watched the Boy’s oncoming storm through a stream of his consciousness. In a way this was more relaxing than merely leaning against one wall of a closet in the dark. It also kept the questionable odors of the room in check nicely.

In her mind’s eye images took shape responding, resounding out, spanning like waves cracking along a shoreline. Everything became loud (rushed), clear (blurred), crisp, (distant) and ever so brutal (not real). But, she didn’t see guards and thugs armed with blasters or sub-machine guns, instead she saw the conflict within his memories. They startled her, as she assumed he had none to begin with. If they were ‘his’ perhaps that meant that he truly did only forget as a side effect of being torn from one reality to another. However, that didn’t really explain why ‘everyone’ in the Omniverse didn’t forget their pasts. That or . . . Omni wasn’t infallible.

Monsters beat against the threshold. They smelled of rot, decaying flesh and plague. Waning moans enveloped the air, with an aroma so strong that one whiff caused Sarah to gag. Can’t breathe. The thought a simple one – an instinctual one – (primal in essence) that she fought against. Not real. Her reassurance did little to stem the brooding fear rising up in the pit of her stomach. Standing, she rammed against her captors: the dead that walked, wailed and creaked; then there was a bright light of shimmering blue, and the grey walls of the corridor again. She hadn’t cloaked, and the cameras were all upon her. Although at this point, being detected hardly matter. Relief to be free from the Undead was enough. Then, something hard struck the wall with a clang of metal upon metal. It scraped coming closer, towards her.

She blinked, regaining natural sight and peered in its direction. The source: a woman dragging what appeared to be a short steel stick along part of the corridor. She had another held in the opposing hand. Modern dialect would name them Tonfas. However, Sarah had never seen anything quite like them. Regardless, it was clear enough that her own ‘welcoming company’ had finally arrived. Approaching in a rather delicate, almost teasing, manner the Woman swayed with the type of step most keenly attributed to that of a dancer. Her words though in stark contrast, pierced like the fang of some serpent. “Oh, well would you look at this: you’re going to be quite fun Red. Sir Gawain is a bit preoccupied at the moment, so I’ll be your entertainment for the duration of your stay. Now, now don’t look back, the Boy is being dealt with.”

Sarah eyed the distance – the void of space between them – fifteen meters at most and closing. With her rifle still slung on her back, there wouldn’t be time to draw, aim and fire. Her adversary would be on top of her before that. Narrowing her gaze her vision swapped between viable obstacles to slow an advance; there were none. As with all the others, the floors were barren behind and in front of herself. She longed for the shimmer, hum and familiarity of her psi-blade (its function not yet restored). This ‘Kat’ (name gleamed from a simple thought) armed herself and knew what type of armaments would be of use in an enclosed space. The ‘steel sticks’ may have been crude, but steel would break bone easily enough. In the few moments that passed, the Teenager decided on a course of action.

“Silent strong type huh? They always scream the loudest when they’re helpless.” Words spoken of experience. On the other hand, the Ghost merely glared back and acted without a word. Closing the gap first, energy welled around her pupils. The whisperings of purples, violets and blues hovered, materializing from pure will alone – the quiet sort of energy applied to force. In a burst, an invisible blast spanned outwards engulfing the immediate area in front of her. Wall panels tremored. Her foe though – not one to be knocked around easily – crossed the Tonfas in front of her and jumped. Each of her feet served as an anchor on one wall, holding her upright, and most importantly, still. A terrible smile stretched across Kat’s face. She nearly wanted to laugh. “Is that all? Tantrum done, okay, well: my turn!”

Before even finishing Kat nimbly leapt off, up and forward from her initial position. One of her shiny metal beams lunged, stabbing through the air at Sarah’s chest. The other swept left, flying right and upward, heading for a devastating facial impact. In a millisecond a million or so thoughts honed and refined options in the Teenager’s mind. Her window so short she could only partially go through the myriad of possible outcomes. Raising a palm, she deflected the blow for her chest, buckling Kat’s arm by striking at the back elbow. Thereafter leaning left she dodged the initial extended jab, and the Tonfas spiraled back out bearing into a crisscross from one another.

Swung, then wildly, they viciously went for the midsection without respite. One struck its mark, although a glancing blow, still enough to dent a rib. Not a murmur escaped the Ghost’s lips, but any warmth (or friendly demeanor) fled from her pupils, leaving them barren, thoughtless and cold. The counterpart bludgeon tool, instead met the careful application of a telekinetic force. Sarah held the arm in place for only a moment, however, that pause was enough for her to strike down with her own elbow and force the metal bar from Kat’s grasping hand. It clattered unto the floor. Eyes swimming with power the Ghost wasted no time pushing herself back, creating an empty space between them. Levitating the fallen armament, she almost playfully directed it every which way. But surprisingly let it drop, and her opponent quickly retrieved it.

In that timespan, more Telekinetic energies reverberated off everything; a natural vibration that shook through every object around. An illusion to deceive (to play coy to the eye and distract) and provide for an attack soon to come, for Sarah would only be able to maintain the barrier for a short while. Still in that brief instance: beautiful. The shimmering violets and blues maintaining a barrier between one half of the corridor and the other. Kat began to slam, stab ram and bash against it. With each strike, it quaked and fizzled, losing its overall integrity. Finally when a blow seemed to break through, the conjured power blasted forth in a great wave. Sarah donned her rifle, and bursts of bullets rang out once, twice and thrice again. Its ejected clip fell onto the ground. Materializing another she levitated the spare into the voided chamber.

Dodging bullets isn’t an art, it’s the careful application of skill and a lot of luck. Kat managed to slip past the initial burst running along one wall. The shock-wave (or whatever it really was) may have thrashed her about, but it certainly hadn’t stunned her battle senses. The subsequent ones though, pelted flesh, steel and cloth. They left welts, pierced skin and smeared blood. They stung like all hells, but the lasting damage would only be minor if tended to. Yet, the scowl that formed on her face told the tale of a fatal wound. She looked down at the chunks of her dress in tatters on the floor. Each hole in fabric brought a crimson hue upon her cheeks – not from embarrassment rather sheer rage. “Feisty little cagna aren’t you? It’s quite rude to tear up your date’s clothes without first buying them a drink. I’ll have to punish you later.”

“You…” Sarah panted heavily the undertones of the conversation completely slipping past her mental filter, “talk too much.” She let the rifle gently fall to the ground. “I think I’ll just kill you. That sounds fine.”

The words barely parted from the Teenager’s lips before Kat regained composure and charged. Tonfas whirled, left right, up and down, and Sarah watched every movement learning the subtle nuisances and fluidity that came with wielding this interesting weapon. When the first of the multi-step form followed, she weaved between one of the swipes, swept a hand down to parry another, and back up to knock a lunge away. Then, struck a blow herself a swift knee to the gut to provide a gasp of an opening. Her other hand darted for one grip of a Tonfa and held it in place giving time for its counter to chop the arm. Kat dropped the stick. It tumbled to the floor, and Sarah kicked it away. Thereafter jumped back, as another lunge came on through. Stepping forward in one fluid motion she caught the following advancing, downward strike and held the arm up with both hands. Applying pressure she restrained it there, and rammed her foot down upon Kat’s. There was a brief cry as the motion was repeated, and finally the last Tonfa dropped. Bones were no doubt broken, repaid in full.

Taking a deep breath, Sarah spiraled out and brought the arm in question behind the back. Locking it there, she released it and wrapped her own around Kat’s neck. Sarah kept her body firm up against her adversaries to keep movement restricted. Quite a sight: the pair of them drenched in sweat, Red and Black locks in a disheveled, messy array of nonsense (sarah’s ponytail had long since fallen apart. The struggle that ensued did not last long, but became brutal.

Together they slumped, rammed and slammed into either side of the hallway until the Teenager was able to raise her arm and position its opposite hand just beneath the temple. While her last hand crept just below the lower portion of Kat’s jaw. In a fine jerking motion, Sarah twisted, and snapped the neck. Breathing heavily, she rested against a wall, tossing the body as she sat. It thumped, and she stared momentarily into the lifeless eyes. With a slight smirk, she shook her head and reached a hand up to her communicator. She pressed the button aligned with her headpiece. It sparked to life. No response. Kat’s blood was on her hands.

Several hundred meters above on the main level, Sir Gawain shut off a monitor. As an older man, he had grown accustomed to loss, but the suddenness caught him by storm. At times he also knew emotions were power. The rage would fester until it practically boil, and he would unleash on these fools that dared enter his domain. “Empire dogs,” he spat out. The cane that he used to support himself splintered into pieces, shattering from the pressure. While the beat of the club throbbed on, he turned his back to the information hub and walked towards the exit. The stairs took him to a lift that lowered down behind the major attractions. Encased in shadows only illuminated by the harsh glow of neon light, he disappeared into the far end of the Merciful Knight. Several more silhouettes followed suit, vanishing from varying portions of the crowd. Those in attendance might have been surprised that at the time, the only staff present consisted of the severs and a handful of bartenders.

Meanwhile Sarah relaxed, resigning herself to the fate of facing the reinforcements; a Company which after many mind numbing minutes, did not arrive. Nearly laughing she tentatively ran her hand along her torso. Maybe he’s not worthless. Wincing she let out a sharp cry as it pressed upon the tender area around her broken rib. Careless, she thought, slowly stumbling upright. Despite the piercing pain that rose up and into her chest, she felt more drained than anything else. An overestimation of the current state of her Psionic abilities. She looked up at the security inlays, flicked each and every one of them off and then turned her back and began mirroring a path backwards (along the way snatching up her rifle) – to retrace whence she had come.

They knew where she was, no point in wasting energy establishing a cloaking field. While she retreated, she tried the communicator again. This time, it worked. Upon making contact, Sophie’s voice screamed in her ear. Why is she yelling into her headpiece? Sarah could only wonder while her head throbbed over and over. For a moment, she imagined the end of a psionic blade’s emitter sticking out through a hole in Sophie’s chest. Then the feeling passed – although hardly gone since Sarah found her superior just a tad bit irritating. Unable to understand, Sophie’s ‘excitement’ at a base level, the Teenager instead harbored those dark twisted thoughts as a means of coping with the terrible monstrosity within herself.

“Sarah! We’ve been out of contact for nearly two hours now. What’s going on down there?’

“I killed someone.”

“Gawain? I thought it was clear that we wanted him alive for extraction?”

“Not him, Kat – a bodyguard – his lover I believe.” Mental pictures resurfaced: definitely lovers. Sometimes she wished she didn’t delve within someone’s past. You never know what you might find there and all. However, learning about someone’s history would be the best way to determine a weakness within in them. It’s a dual-edged sword. Information bleeds more than any open wound, if enough of it leaks around, it doesn’t take much for a person to wind up dead. Learn about the target’s daily rituals and all of a sudden as an assassin you have the perfect shot lined up.

“Does he know?”

“Kiln, if you can hear this (understand this), fall back we’re getting out of here now!” Sarah ignored the moronic question. Of course HE knew.

“You’re leaving . . . but –“

“I’m in no condition to continue. Radio silence from now until extraction. Sarah out.”

Back at headquarters Sophie stared blankly at a digital hologram. The read-out mapped the progress of her two agent charges, and how far they actually managed to infiltrate within the complex. Although without cameras it would be impossible to see the exact details of what transpired, indicators (and bugs) attached to the equipment that had been given out filled in some of the blanks. Abandoning the assignment was not something she had expected from a harden operative, but then again, the pair did only arrive in the Omniverse a day ago: what more could she really expect? Regardless, she would at least respect the command for radio silence until they could make a clean getaway. So with a gesture, she flicked away the multiple displays before her. Sighing she exited the room, now, there were preparations to make. If any of their Intelligence about Gawain rang true, he wouldn’t simply let two operatives of the Empire out of his turf alive, especially not after one of them murdered his favorite pet.

In yet another part of the Merciful Knight – where construction was less complete and structure barely held together – Kiln kept the Goons busy. Goons with guns to be specific, they had fired out him over and over again. The bullets ricocheting every which way as he darted about from one cover to the next. His breathes came quicker (harsher), now haggard and overblown. There were only two this time, but the others that he had fought before left their own remembrances. Rounding a corner he suddenly stopped; the guards still made chase. He turned donned his shield and ran forward. Clips from machine guns were ejected, active reload already occurring. Spinning out he slammed the closer of the two. Then, reaching at his side his sword flashed forward in a lunge. Blood splattered. He retreated back a step, leapt forward and (while parting his shield-arm to one side) he horizontally slashed his other foe, while the trooper scrambled to get off a clean shot. They would bleed out in a few minutes. He left them there, first walking past them, trying not to look at the gory mess, but Sarah’s voice caught his attention.

Stopping cold in his tracks, he listened and heard the frustrated tone. Knowing he still needed to reach her, he wondered how to proceed. He titled his head in all directions, attempting to get some hint as for which route to take. Unlike the Ghost, he couldn’t recall the exact path he took to get here. There had been too much going on at the time to take ‘notes’ in a manner of speaking. That and fatigue clouded his mind. For a time, confusion overwhelmed him, and he only stood there, as blood pooled meters off directly behind him. As he managed to catch his breath though, he peered around at the trail of destruction he and his adversaries as left. He thought blankly for a moment, then followed the havoc out of the maze. It wouldn’t be a restful trip, at any moment he expected more yelling, more ‘bangs’ and the rushed steps of advancing footfalls. They didn’t come however, and the entire garage became strangely silent.

Passageways crept by in a blur to the Teenager. Wobbling in and out of focus she slowly let the fatigue wash over her; she let her brain up adrenaline, and let her heartbeat race. Whereas she had been merely walking, now she jogged, barely stopping to observe the cameras that captured her every movement. Eventually, she found herself by cars, somehow managing to exit the labyrinth of empty office space, storage and supplies. At times thoughts told her to lash out at the tech equipment: just smash it up a bit – let out some of that boiling self-depreciation, but she restrained herself. Having already failed to further infiltrate the Club, the last thing she needed to do was mindless to destroy private property. Her abilities would no doubt be under scrutiny now, and her state of mind could come into to play if things got dicey with the Empire. Ghosts by the very nature of how they were created, aren’t stable minded individuals. They constantly teeter on the edge of insanity. Failing at a mission – at what they believed their purpose to be – would drive any mad.

Sarah leaned against one of the cars, hopped up and thereafter sat on the hood. There, she waited, shutting her eyes and calmly seeking out the mind of the Boy. Hopefully that would be enough to draw him in the proper direction, but honestly she had never tried maintaining this sort of bond with anyone before; it was all really one big guessing game. This isn’t over. She reminded herself, as there was one thing she hadn’t told Sophie (even if sophie had figured it out for herself): Gawain would follow them. Revenge like any emotion could be exploited. Yes, she had retreated, but that in itself could be a strategy . . . and while she camped out, she replayed the memory of Kat’s death over and over. Emotions, so utterly useless. She told herself, and believed she felt nothing, but the Omniverse had already begun to alter her conditioning.
[Image: SarahKerrigan_sig199_zpswcfeq7fe.png]

As the rhythm and noise of the discotheque above continued unabated, the facility underneath it once again became quiet. The guns — along with their operators — turned silent, the acrid smell of death and gunpowder hanging in the air. The already disorderly factory floor was given a gruesome makeover, splatters of blood and dismembered corpses littering the area.

Standing amidst this butchery was the dark boy, attempting to catch his breath after besting what seemed to him a countless amount of foes. He was overwhelmed by a burning sensation, both from his heaving lungs and the innumerable wounds littering his body. Though the goons weren’t able to best him, their efforts had certainly exacted their toll.

But the youth’s focus was neither on his injuries, nor on the messy handiwork surrounding him. Once more, he was able to sense ‘her’ presence. He could feel his companion tugging at his mind, drawing him to her whereabouts. With a staggering step, he pushed his way to where she was leading him, plastic and glass crunching underneath his feet.

His movement intensified as he drew closer to his destination. The boy’s haste was not solely motivated by his desire to be reunited with his partner. The sensation she was emitting to him was of a fervour he had yet to experience, leaving a sense of weight in his gut. Though it was unfamiliar to him, it felt threatening enough to cause alarm.

He found his destination to be the underground parking lot they had passed by earlier. Not encountering any further obstacles in his way, the boy had broken into a sprint, at least to the extent his injured legs permitted him. Feeling like she was close enough that he could practically touch her, he turned a corner and his eyes of crimson expectantly laid upon where he knew she was located.

Nothing. The surface of the large moving object, where he had anticipated to see her, was vacant — there was nobody there expecting him. The sensation that had drawn him to that place instantly vanished, as if it had been an illusion. As much as he strained his blank mind, he was no longer able to sense her presence, giving way to confusion and solitude.

The young man frowned. It dawned even upon him that, wittingly or not, he had been abandoned in this unfamiliar and hostile place. After what had seemed like an eternity of attempting to survive and reunite with his only companion and guide, for the first time in his short-lived existence, he found himself well and truly alone.

Now what?
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

With no one to guide him, Kiln could do little but default to hobbling his way back through the entrance he and his companion had come from. Dragging his feet away from the carnage he left behind and up the concrete slope, he heard the now all too familiar footsteps of reinforcements coming from right around the corner. Defying the pain in his arm with gritted teeth, the boy brandished his sword, anticipating the arrival of new foes.

The incoming lackey, however, did not anticipate encountering the intruder right at the entrance — he expected getting cut down a moment later even less. Bearing witness to this brutal killing, the two that were immediately following him were brought to a halt. They stopped in terror, awestruck by the dark figure that towered over the fresh corpse, stained with the blood of so many of their peers. Though they were holding up their firearms, they remained silent in their shivering grasps.

After slaying the first target, the boy turned his attention to the other two gunmen. But the sheer act of facing them was enough to rattle their composure into submission.

“F-fuck this! I don’t get paid enough to deal with this crap,” one of them remarked before hightailing out of there in a desperate bid to seek refuge amidst the desolate streets.
The other quickly followed suit, responding with: “Y-you got paid?!”

Though Kiln considered pursuing and dispatching them, his wounded state made him settle for not having them as an obstacle. He resumed his arduous escape. He knew not where he was or where he was headed. At that moment, all he wished was to get away from the blood and the bullets.

He roamed for what seemed like an eternity, down roads both more and less taken. Stopping to take a breather, his crimson eyes scanned around for anything that could help guide him. But it was of no use — everywhere he looked, he was surrounded by unknown faces and worn down places. In this part of the city, even the swordsman was just another figure lost in the twilight.

He took deep breaths, leaning against a wall as he instinctively tried to wipe the sweat that ran down his brow and stung his eyes. But just as it seemed safe to take a bit of a respite, his sense of danger perked up again. Something was coming… Looking at the surface he had been leaning on, he reactively raised his shield in defence.

Suddenly, a high pitched charging sound cut through the silence before something smashed through the wall right into Kiln. Though he managed to protect himself from the direct blow, the sheer force of the impact was enough to send him flying across the street and into the opposite wall. Having the air he had just breathed in knocked out of him, his body slid and slumped down as he reeled from the pain.
[Image: LsiSHXa.png]
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. "
- Carl Gustav Jung

Ezrihel Wrote:I'm so glad DL linked it

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