XSDF: Rulers of Shambhala

ZombieSplitter53

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#1
Rulers of Shambhala:
(A side story of Vanguard of Forseti)

Believed to be established in the 1950s, the Rulers of Shambhala is an organization that employs the most devious individuals from across the planet with the intent of leading the world into a brighter future, one free from strife and struggle, one without sickness and war, and most importantly, one ruled by Shambhala. An absence of ethics is important for anyone’s resume to get into this group.

Many of their greater dealings are done underground, out of the public eye, but it is known they have been responsible for a great number of world changing tragedies and events. It is believed they fund the computer terrorist group “Philosopher's Stone” in the 1990s and 2000s, enjoy funding eco terrorist and any uprising that makes it easier for them to manipulate others, and dabble in every form of science and technology they can, from genetic manipulation to bio terrorism.

In 2006, Shambhala was responsible for a major outbreak of a mutagen that left Manhattan crawling with mitochondrial monsters, hyper-evolved from the city’s animals, as a ‘test’ of their new products, killing thousands, but were ultimately driven away by the actions of some of the NYPD’s finest. They later appeared in the Mojave desert, trying to further their tests, but were again stopped by then FBI agent Aya Brea.

They would have their revenge on her, however. Always patient, the group remained in hiding for five years to rebuild their lost resources, and in 2013, they attacked agent Brea at her wedding, using her own adopted sister, her clone made by Shambhala, as an aggressor, as said girl was an unknown sleeper agent. While Brea was able to stop her sister, the attacking assassins claimed the life of her fiance.

Brea would spend the next five years hunting them down, until interrupted by the war and her duties to XCOM. The Rulers of Shambhala thrived using the post war underground economy and alien black market. When task forces, once again lead by Brea, threatened them, they now had space to escape to, and so they did, with the unethical sciences and technologies of the universe now within their grasp. Recognizing the growing power of the collected space pirates, Shambhala used their resources and weapons technology to work their way into their ranks. Never one to follow, only lead, Shambhala is now just biding its time until the leaders of the pirate collective let their guards down. It is then that they plan to strike, and take all that the pirates have to offer.

Of course, this is assuming they’ll be given the chance, by the pirates, or by those from Earth that still hunt them, wishing to rid the universe of the Rulers of Shambhala once and for all...
 

DarkGemini24601

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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 1”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

The Kazuya Kasagi Recreational/Rehabilitation Center
Massena, New York
July 14th, 2021
6:35 p.m., Local Time


As the sun dipped on the horizon, and the last of the day's patrons finished up, waving to the various workers as the left, a lone woman of mixed Chinese and Japanese decent sat alone at a desk. Slowly, she ran a yanmaodao against a whetstone, calmly sharpening it as she waited. A small smile was upon her face, much like a child on Christmas morning, training to hide their excitement but doing a poor job at it. She lifted the sword, examining it carefully, and nodding in satisfaction.

A knock came on the door a few minutes later, a woman in a navy blue, black, white, and yellow outfit standing on the other side. She was wearing a hat reminiscent of that of a newspaper boy, though it was more solid and formal, and stylized in the first color. Her features denoted her as being of Inuit heritage, though she had an icy, cornflower blue color in her irises, something that was not typical of her race. As for the rest of her outfit, it was a formal overcoat, navy blue as well with black buttons to close it up as it was currently, and a badge over the right breast.

This gave an idea of where she had come from specifically, the badge being a blue 'T' on a shield that was otherwise yellow, the coat of arms of Toronto. This yellow wasn't seen in many other places, as she wore white gloves and black shoes, completed with a black belt that seperated pants of a similar color to her hat and overcoat. The shirt beneath, however, was a simple white, with a yellow trim at the bottom, hidden by the overcoat, and a more visible blue trim around the collar.

"You know... I would have come to you. I know you have less free time then me these days. But I'm flattered you came to me all the same." The Asian woman stood up, leaving the sword on the table. Her long, black hair tied in a pony tail, she wore a decorative red kimono, with a beautiful array of pink and blue flowers featured on the bottom of it, and a large golden sash around her waist. Her feet clopped every so slightly as her wooden geta hit the hard wood floor. She smiled brightly, no longer able to contain her delight. "You look fantastic, Atka." She shook her head. "Sorry. I mean Detective."

The Inuit woman chuckled. "Well, not so much now, with Rei having gone off to college, plus Hitomi and Keiko finishing up their senior years, it's been fairly quiet back home. Same on-duty, so I thought I'd finally take you up on that offer. I doubt I'll ever be able to match you or Desmond, but it interests me, and it might come in handy someday."

"You'd be surprised." Ayame picked up her sword and twirled it about. "It doesn't just teach you about sword fighting. It teaches you about grace and pose, helps with dexterity. And I know you're pretty handy with a javelin. One is often surprised how learning to use one hand weapon improves their skill in another." She grinned. "Besides, any excuse I have to see you again is a good one in my book. If I had it my way, I'd want you skilled enough to beat both Desmond and I at the same time."

Atka smirked. "Well, I don't know that I could ever do that, even with my ghostly guardian. But I'll certainly try to live up to your expectations, sensei. Did you have a weapon in particular you think would suit me, or do you want me to try out a few?"

Ayame looked Atka up and down, making sure not to let her eyes linger anywhere for too long. "I can think of a few that would suit you. But with your height and your speed..." She walked over to a wall of wooden swords, and pointed to three in particular. "This is a practice katana, its younger brother, the chisa katana, and its little sister, the wakizashi. All would suit you, but it is important that you chose the one you'd be more comfortable with."

Atka nodded, going over to the wall to retrieve the weapons. "I assume we're going to practice outside rather than destroy your office?" she implored with a smile.

Ayame chuckled. "Of course." She took a wooden yanmaodao and led Atka out to a training circle. "Can't have that. Gotta watch that budget. I'd never have gotten this place off the ground if not for Mary's sister, and I know I can go to her if I'm ever in trouble. Call it pride, however, but I'd like to live off my own work. Almost saved enough to pay her back for the initial loan, in fact.... assuming I can convince her to take the money."

"How have things been going with Mary?" Atka asked, giving the wakizashi a few light swings to get a feel for the Japanese shortsword, not sure if she liked how short range it was. "You haven't mentioned her much over the phone in awhile."

Ayame nodded. "We were touch and go for awhile. Which is why I didn't talk about her much." She grinned, getting a feel for her wooden weapon. "She's still as much of a pervert as always. But she's my pervert. It wasn't easy. In fact, until a month or so ago, I thought it was over. But I guess I meant more to her then her escapades. She hasn't seen anyone else. She still flirts, but not to the degree that would cause worry. I... I didn't think it was possible for someone to settle for me, but I guess my searching and my patience finally paid off."

"I'm glad to hear that," Atka said with a smile. "Still would rather be hanging out with you than her, though. I ever tell you our first meeting consisted of her sizing up my chest and wanting me to be 'experimental' with her?"

Ayame frowned. "I've asked her to tone down on that, believe me. Leaves a bad first impression." Ayame took a few practice swings. "Still.. can't be as awkward as when we first met. I'm some mercenary you're asked to interrogate, then babysit. Not to mention I invite you to take a shower with me without telling you about my... attractions. It was only later that I realized how uncomfortable that must have been. Probably never apologized properly for it."

Atka shrugged. "It wasn't that bad, I've just never been the more adventurous type." She shook her head, giving up on the first sword. "Too short," she denoted, placing it down and picking up the regular katana. "I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had been able to fall for you, but it just wasn't something I was capable of. I just hope I never made you jealous with what happened with Jake."

"Quite the opposite." Ayame gave her a gentle smile. "I wanted you to be happy. You helped me out so much, and there was only so much I could do for you. Then this guy comes around, and I was worried at first. But once I saw what a good soul he had, and that he really, truly cared about you, I couldn't be happier." She wrinkled her nose. "Well... maybe I'd be a little happier if you taught that boy how to fight."

"We'll see. I make no promises," Atka admonished, attempting a swing with the katana and ending up with the blade flat against the ground. The Inuit woman frowned. "This one... might be a little too long for me."

Ayame nodded. "Like I said, it's good to get a feel for your own sword. They say the sword chooses its master, not the other way around. I think the chisa is perfect for you. I craves your command, and knows you can handle it."

Atka went over to retrieve the weapon, placing the other two practice swords outside the ring. As she laid them down she shrugged off her overcoat, folding it neatly on the ground and putting her hat ontop of it along with her gloves, leaving her in her short-sleeved undershirt and pants. The detective took the Chisa, getting a feel for the shortened katana as she returned to the ring. "Figured I'm going to be way too warm in my full uniform training with you, if that one practice session in the old base taught me anything."

Ayame pulled the top of her Kimono down, wearing a simple wrapping underneath. "That? That was nothing. Just a bit a tips and tricks between Vee, you, and me. This is for real. One on one training. I... I won't hurt you. But I won't hold back. I know you can take it. And I know you won't quit." She adjusted her hands on the hilt of the wooden sword, holding it in front of her. "But... I think we'll stick with practice swords. At least for a while."

"Probably for the best. But don't be afraid to give it your all." Atka shook her head. "Me, I'm not going to incorporate any of my psionic abilities into this. Doesn't matter that I've been maintaining them; I want to learn swordplay the way it was meant to be."

"And I'll hold back the gene mods... at first." Ayame shrugged. "After all, this is a new world we live in. Never know who you'll be fighting. That includes people more decked out then me." She big smile spread across her face. "You ready?"

Atka returned the expression, shifting her Chisa in her hands for a moment. "Yep. Let's do this."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 2”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

"Alright. Basic defensive maneuvers. I'm going to charge you and swing for your left side. Watch my movements. Memorize them so you can recognize them when I attack like this again. That is one of the keys to sword fighting; reading your opponents movements so you can predict their moves."

"Alright." Atka focused her vision on Ayame, waiting for her to make a move with her Chisa poised defensively, doing her best to combine reading her opponent's movements as she had done in the past with something more unfamiliar to her: defending with a melee weapon. She had done it before with the telekinetic helixes, but that was only in extreme situations, and a katana was another fighting style entirely.

Quick as a flash, Ayame shot forward. She deliberately slowed her advance for a brief moment, and sent a quick swing towards Atka's left side, just as she said she would.

Atka brought her sword up to block, wincing a bit as the defense succeeded at the cost of jarring her arm. "Don't really have the whole idea of letting an attack slide off my defense rather than meet it head on down," the Inuit woman clarified. "I know that using a Japanese sword is different than a European one, but..."

Ayame chuckled. "But you recognize it. That is something some people have trouble even grasping at first. That puts you at the head of the crowd." She walked to her original position. "Now, I'm going to charge again, and this time attack your right. Again, memorize my movements so you can learn to predict."

Once Atka was ready, Ayame surged forward again. Stop before her opponent was more, she moved in a similar motion as before, and once again swung for Atka's left side instead of the aforementioned right. Atka noticed the similar movement at the last moment, not quite expecting the trick, but at least managing to block, even if Ayame's momentum carried Atka's own sword to whack her in the shoulder. The Inuit woman winced for a moment, but seemed able to shrug off the sting. "I see what you're showing me there, but that was still dirty," Atka muttered.

Ayame laughed. "Yeah, I know, sorry. I won't do it again. But I'm impressed with your instincts." She held up sword. "Now you attack me. Try to give it as much variation as you can, and I'll try to read your attacks. Being able to trick the other person so they falsely read you is important as well."

"I'll do my best." Atka took on an impassive expression, studying Ayame for a minute before going on the offensive. She advanced, then pushed her left foot back before taking a swing from that side, then upon parried moved to do the same with her right, but switched back to a left swing and then actually slashed to the right, each true strike completing the step backwards on the corresponding side of her body.

Ayame pushed the attack away, a bit caught off guard by Atka's speed, and took a step back. "That's good. Really good. But you have a tell. Try to push it down. Get rid of it. If you can't, work with it. Make your opponent think they can trust it, then fake it."

Atka blinked for a moment before she realized what Ayame meant. "You mean the way I draw back?" The Inuit woman rubbed the back of her neck. "I think I do that to maintain my balance. I do work out a lot, but there's only so much I can do with my natural strength. I'll try to get rid of it without having to rely on Physical Enhancement, though, lest that become a crutch that would impede me of I'm out of energy."

Ayame walked up to Atka and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Everyone has a tell. Everyone. What is important is that you are aware of it, and you have the will and skill to hide it. Or, like I said, use it to fool your opponent. Like a poker player that pretends to show his tell for a good hand, when in fact he has a pair of threes. It'll take quite some time to get it right. But you'll get it. No doubt about it."

Atka smiled softly. "Then I'll just keep working on it. We have a week before I head back home, and I'll make sure to practice whatever you teach me for when I visit again."

Ayame bowed her head. "And I will be here. We'll get this down pat, until you're kicking my ass all over the place. Not to mention any perp that dares challenge the great Detective Atka."

July 17th, 6:30 p.m.


"Now, as you said, you aren't used to deflecting attacks. A straight block will leave you sore, especially the defender. What you need to do with these kind of swords is parry. Ward off the attack, pushing it away and opening the opponent for a counter-move. We'll also work on how you act when you are parried, as it'll happen, and you don't want to leave yourself open."

"So block the attack on the side and open their defenses wide, to put it simply and poetically. Got it." Atka raised an eyebrow. "I assume a lot of our work will focus on keeping my defenses intact during all this. You know how I am."

Ayame chuckled. "I hope you've remembered what I've tried to instill in that head of yours. If you want to go off and risk your life for everyone, you need to keep yourself as safe as possible. Learn to parry with a sword, and it'll help you learn to parry in other kinds of fights."

"I haven't forgotten." Atka's smile briefly wavered. "Trust me, the experiences I had three years ago won't ever fade from my mind. They've made me the person I am now."

"I'm glad," Ayame half whispered. "Now come at me. I'll demonstrate how I parry, then we'll have you practice."

Atka started to take a step back, and then took a moment to correct herself, merely running straight at Ayame and taking a swing from the lower right.

Ayame shifted her weight, and caught Atka's sound with her own, pushing it so it slid to the side. She spun in place, and motioned to strike Atka in the side, but stopped short. "Very impressive. You're learning fast."

Atka shook her head. "Still got a long ways to go. I didn't even see that last strike coming. Can't let my precognition dull my reflexes... I'll have to remember to lessen my reliance on it."

"Good thinking. But once we have this all down... don't be afraid to let that precognition help a little." Ayame gave her a quick wink. "Now it's your turn to try."

"Ahhh, I can feel the bruises already," Atka said sarcastically, cracking her knuckles and putting up her sword. "Do your worst."

Ayame lifted her sword, cautiously circling Atka. Today wasn't about heavy attacks, so no need to go all out. Only close to all out. She stepped forward, testing to see how Atka would react to an upwards swing.

Atka chose to dodge to the side rather than attempt to directly block the blow, not having any desire to try to slide off a more 'straight' attack, at least in terms of arc from her opponent.

Ayame skidded past. Without taking the time to turn, she swept to the side, aim for Atka's arm.

Atka had to take a moment to shift her footing, meaning that while she was able to slid the side of her blade against Ayame's to parry her away, she wasn't going to be able to defend herself from a third attack if Ayame recovered before her.

Ayame slid her feet, sliding them as if on skates, and brought her arm around, connected a solid palm to Atka's chest.

Atka stumbled back, though she didn't fall. "Any... suggestions on how I'm supposed to parry a direct attack and still keep going after that?"

"It is all about no wasted motion," Ayame answered. "It takes a lot of practice, but with time, you learn to judge the amount of time and effort to spend blocking an attack, so you have plenty left over to counter or anticipate the next move." She grinned widely. "When my master did that to me, it wasn't a palm to the chest. It was a fist to the face. But he had no sense of patience. I do."

July 18th, 7:02 p.m.


Atka stepped into the recreational center, the cool evening air making her feel comfortable enough to wear her uniform this time, even if she planned to forgoing the jacket once she actually started training. She smiled unconsciously, finding herself sincerely enjoying learning under the tutelage of her dear friend, and hoping that she'd be able to visit again once she had another chance. She quickly retrieved her Chisa from where it stood on a weapon rack, and then headed to Ayame's office to retrieve her tutor.

As she approached, Ayame's door opened, and an older woman, one looking like a much older Ayame, stepped out. She bowed her head to Atka, and headed for the exit. Ayame stepped out shortly after, and smiled at Atka. "Ready to practice feinting?"

"I am," Atka denoted with her voice seeming distracted. "Who was that you were talking to? She looked almost like..."

Ayame walked past Atka, the latter noticing a little red in the former's cheeks as she looked away. "Well, um... re... remember when I mentioned going back to California to maybe... give my mom another chance. Well... turns out I wasn't the only one looking to reconcile."

Atka smiled widely. "That was her? That's great! And it's easy to tell it did work out for the better."

"Well. Would have never had the nerve to do it if I hadn't seen you with your parents." Ayame cleared her throat, and finally turned to face Atka. "So thank you."

"My pleasure, as always. I don't think I need to remind you that you're one of my closest friends," The Inuit woman stated. "I'll be eager to visit you again once my vacation here comes to an end in a few days. And I hope you'll be able to talk with your mother more in the future."
 
Last edited:

DarkGemini24601

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Sep 25, 2014
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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 3”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

Ayame nodded. "I'll try and arrange her next visit around yours. In the meantime, I want to learn as much today so we can spend some time outside this building before you go." She raised her sword. "Shouldn't be too hard for you. I've seen you fight, and you obviously understand the basic concept of feinting. Now, we just need to apply that to sword fighting."

"I think I can manage that." Atka shrugged off her jacket and took a more offensive stance this time. She stepped forward, moving her right foot back, and started to swing right, but arced her Chisa left halfway through.

Ayame took a step back, having to quickly compensate for the maneuver in order to block. "There you go. Not bad. Try mixing intended attacks with feints. Keep me guessing and try and score a hit."

Atka nodded slightly, and walked around Ayame for a few seconds, considering her course, before going into action. Her tell averted halfway through but still visible, she did go for a right strike, finding it parried, and instead went for an upwards stroke, Ayame stepping to the side of this one and parrying another strike similar to the initial one. She continued this way for two more basic attacks, probably trying her mentor's patience a bit, before going for a feint sideways stroke, turning it into a jab.

The teacher was able to dodge, but this was because the jab was a feint as well, the entire move in reality pointless. The real strike came in a left slash followed by a true jab.

Ayame barely parried the slash, clearly caught off guard. Unprepared for the follow up, Atka connected with a jab to the stomach. Ayame placed her hand against the point of impact, and thought for a moment. "Hmm... probably not a killing blow, but definitely a disabling one." She smiled widely. "Color me impressed."

Atka shrugged. "I just figured you or any other opponent wouldn't expect someone to risk playing the long game. Usually most people tend to want to end a fight as quickly as possible, and that can easily be their downfall. I have enough energy to try and outlast an opponent."

"Good thinking," Ayame agreed. "Most real fights last mere seconds. And you come to expect it. Often, it is the one who has the will to wait out the opponent and look for a vulnerability that wins. It is always better to give up a possible winning blow in favor of waiting for a sure kill. Just be wary of those who are equally patient."

"Of course. The same strategy won't work for every opponent, naturally, but that's where adaptation comes in," Atka reinforced.

Ayame cracked her neck. "Well then. We'll work on this for about an hour. Afterwards..." She shrugged. "I know this excellent Teriyaki Grill that just opened a few towns over. Thought I'd treat my friend."

"Sounds good to me. Something to look forward to, and to make it worth your while to take me I'll make sure to do my best here."

"I'd expect nothing less," Ayame responded, and rushed forward for a slash.

Hotel Taisa
Massena, New York
December 5th, 2023
2:45 P.M., Local Time


Atka placed her bags on the rack for the large room, taking in the living space she'd be using for the next year on an extended vacation from the police force. The main living room had a table that could fit three chairs with comfortable seating pads on either side, and one for either end of the table, allowing room for eight people in total. Through a space on the left side of this room was an entryway into a small but stocked kitchen. To the back was the door into the hallway, being on the fifth and top floor of the hotel, this being an executive room near the indoor pool.

The Inuit woman moved away from her bags on the rack next to the door, stepping through the archway on the other side of the entrance door, and coming into a subsidiary living room with a blue cloth couch, two black leather chairs flanking it, facing a TV. On the left side of this room was a door into a medium-sized work room, having a desk with two chairs and two computers, as well as a table and shelves for storing anything from medicine to engineering tidbits. On the right side of the secondary living room was a door into the washroom, which had a fancy tub and a sizeable shower with shower heads on the ceiling and on the sides.

Further along, still opposite the overall room's entrance, was the entrance to the bedroom that Atka walked into, followed loyally by nine-year-old Taqukaq, still healthy and well. The bed was a king-sized mattress, with plenty of sheets for the cold winter of the northern U.S. so close to Canada. There were dressers opposite the bed on either side of the door, and on either side of the bed were tables with stylized orange lamps. Atka smiled, grateful that she could stay somewhere that was far superior to her apartment. "You know, this reminds me that I once I rejoin the force I need to start looking for a house to buy with the war money. It'd be wonderful if we could fit in the whole family, but if not I'm sure mother and father would understand," the woman said, both to her dog idly and to the person that had accompanied her to New York.

"I'm sure we could, considering the girls are off to college or starting their careers now," Jake responded while checking his phone for messages from said girls, or the psychiatrists he had left his patients with. Satisfied, he looked at Atka and smiled. "You know I love that you can be happy with the simplest of things. But after fighting a galactic threat, putting a hole in the head of their leader, helping to restore your people, and adopting three teenager orphans... well, call me crazy, but a house is the least this world can do for you."

"It'll still take a little getting used to," Atka insisted as she turned around to face him. "In due time, though."

"Of course." Jake leaned back in his chair. "We're on vacation. Not a time to hurry. I just hope Ayame is accommodating. I got the impression she might not like me."

Atka shook her head. "Quite the opposite, I'm sure she'd love to see you. She's not jealous in the slightest."

"Oh?" Jake rubbed his chin in thought. "When, um... when do you go to see her?"

"I'll be picking up training with her tomorrow. I'm both excited and anxious to see if my practice has kept up with what she'd expect since my last visit five months ago," Atka explained, raising an eyebrow at Taqukaq as he jumped up onto the bed out of the corner of her eye.

"Have you had a lot of time to practice?" Jake asked, standing up from his seat.

Atka considered the question for a moment. "Well, that's why I'm usually on the roof early in the morning, and I'll get the chance during the day sometimes as you've seen." Atka held up a finger. "And there was the case with the one telekinetic that tried getting into a swordfight with me after I tracked him down from a robbery." The detective chuckled. "Must have been embarrassing for my partner to watch two amateur swordfighters go back and forth before I just ended the fight with an icy helix to the guy's back."

Jake laughed. "Well, maybe if the training goes well, you could start combining your abilities with sword fighting." He frowned. "Though... I guess that would have to be self-taught, considering Ayame has no psionics."

Atka shrugged. "Well, I can already see the use for imbuing in regards to my Chisa," she stated, "Though others will come in due time I'm sure."

Jake nodded, and sat on the bed, scratching Yaw on the back of the ear. "Do you... mind if I watch? I promise, I'll be quiet. You won't even know I'm there."

"Not at all. I was planning on inviting you to come," Atka responded with a smile. "Not sure we can trust Taq to come though."

"Aw, with your animal empathy? And his faithfulness." Jake scratched Taq's neck, asking him, "You'll be a good boy, won't you bud? Probably get in less trouble them, right Taq?"

Taqukaq seemed to smirk as if to affirm that, but also insist, no promises.

Atka sat down on the side of the bed, thinking to herself. "Well, we've got the rest of today before our visit tomorrow. Anything you'd like to do?"

Jake shrugged. "Oh, I don't know. Look around. Watch a movie." A smile smile crept on his face. "Fool around..."

Atka pursed her lips. "Maybe in that order. Have to wait for a certain voyuer to go claim the couch as his resting spot first," Atka said with a glance at her husky.

Jake hid a disappointed look, and jumped off the bed. "Well, that sounds like an excellent reason to give someone a walk. Wanna see the sights, Taq?"

I can tell you just want to get rid of me now, but if you insist... The husky seemed to say, hopping off the bed and trotting after Jake in an attempt to maintain his dignity.
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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#5
DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 4”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

The Kazuya Kasagi Recreational/Rehabilitation Center
Massena, New York
December 6th, 2023
4:01 p.m., Local Time


Atka fastened her coat buttons as she walked through the cold afternoon air with Jake and Taqukaq following her, seeming pleased that she could wear her full uniform without the heat of the summer. Even so, she knew that more intense training would probably mean saying goodbye to her jacket for awhile, though it wouldn't be much of a bother to the Inuit woman, having plenty of resistance to winter's chill. She arrived at the gates to the recreational center, and rang the bell, waiting patiently for the passage to open.

A teenage girl with bright red hair and an infectious smile opened the door, likely an attendant. "Mr. and Mrs. Wiewiora? Ms. Kasagi is expecting you. I'm soooo glad you could make it!"

"I'm glad I can be here as well," Atka said, smiling but also wondering how genuine the attendant was being.

The girl led them the familiar training center where Ayame was already getting ready. She smiled brightly, and said, "I'll be just down the hall, so give me call if you need anything!"

The girl practically skipped down the hall, and Ayame rolled her eyes. "Interns..."

"That explains a lot, I suppose," Atka reasoned. "Nice to see you again, Ayame. And this time I brought company."

"I see that. Come give aunt Ayame a hug!" Jake took a step forward, and Ayame frowned. "I was talking to the dog, genius."

Taqukaq proudly walked up to Ayame, while Atka just shook her head. Completely water under the bridge, huh?

Ayame pet the husky, and looked up at the slightly pouting Jake. "Oh, don't be like that." She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him, squeezing tightly. "Of course I'm happy to see you, you pansy ass."

"Nice... to see... you too," Jake was able to say between shallow breaths.

Atka chuckled. "Now, if you're done strangling my husband, let's see if I've gotten rusty or not," she stated, pulling her Chisa out of its sheathe on her belt.

"Gladly." Ayame practically tossed Jake to the side and unsheathed her own sword.

Jake stepped to the side of the room with Taqukaq. "We're going to be okay over here, right?"

Ayame smiled. "I think you'll be fine. If we start throwing our swords at each other, I'll warn you." She nodded to Atka. "Show me what you've got."

Atka moved forward, parrying an attack from Ayame as it came from the right, and getting a bit of distance between her and her opponent. Once this had been done, she took a step back to the right, and then swung in that direction. Ayame wisely blocked, only to have the attack stop short from above and shift to an upstroke.

Ayame quickly adjusted her arms to parry the attack, smiling as she did so. She's been practicing. Darting to the left, she she swiped her sword to the right, her eyes darting between Atka's eyes, sword, and feet.

She did notice the subtle movement of Atka's heel as it started to unconsciously move backwards, before Atka corrected it and held her ground, parrying the right slash with one from the left, equalizing the two forces to the best of her ability while not meeting the attack directly to soften the blow.

Ayame grinned widely, clearly enjoying herself, as she went for a left slash, then a right, then a second right. She suddenly jumped back, shifting her feet to the left but going for a downward strike.

Atka narrowed her eyes, and swung her sword up to the left, intent on making her opponent overextend herself and fall to the right.

Ayame's move parried and her movements directed, she quickly turned right, but was a little slow on the draw.

Atka steadied her upwards strike with her left arm, targeting a vulnerable point she noticed in Ayame's defense whilst releasing a few nodes that looked like nails on a wristband. Her blade seemed to get within a few centimeters of Ayame's side before being stopped by a faint blue-yellow barrier.

Ayame took a step back, panting heavily, but still smiling. "What... was that... you did there?"

Atka smiled, holding up her left palm to reveal blood in it, carried from a tube under her uniform. "Telekinetic barrier. Jake and the force in general didn't like the idea of me carving myself up to make my blood barriers, so they got some people to build an armband that can siphon blood directly from the source. For a mild one like that I just draw from the capillaries and barely feel it, though I do have to put up with a needle way too much like an IV for anything major."

"Good thing you had that. I have to admit, I was caught off guard." Ayame laughed. "Maybe I just assumed you'd slack off with your own training as much as I did at your age."

Atka nodded. "I don't expect you to be as easy to hit again. A temporary advantage like that doesn't indicate anything beyond the fact that I've been practicing well, so I won't let it get to my head."

"Good to hear." Ayame looked over at their spectators. "How'd she look?"

Jake's dumbfounded face quickly moved to a big smile. "You two looked awesome. Like something out of an old Samurai movie, before everything went CG."

Why do humans fight each other with metal sticks?
Taqukaq seemed to wonder.

Atka shook her head at the husky. "Not all of us have built-in claws. Unless you're the Qing."

Ayame wiped some sweat from her brow. "You have so much potential. And it looks like you aren't the only one who'll benefit from this. I... I know you're technically on an extended vacation. And no matter how I might tease him, I don't want to pull you away from your husband. But... the more time we spend on this, the easier it'll be. For both of us."

Atka grinned. "If training me makes you improve as a swordswoman, I couldn't ask for more reward than seeing you improve as well."

Ayame leveled her sword. "Care to go again?"

Atka smirked. "Bring it on."

Hotel Taisa. Indoor Pool
Massena, New York
December 14th, 2023
12: P.M., Local Time


Jake finished the bit a messaging he had to do his phone to make sure everything was alright back home, and sat back in his seat. Between his parents frequent moving when he was young, the war, the work to restore Atka's village, and trying to make his name as a psychiatrist, he wasn't used to the idea of a vacation, and frequently had the thought he was somehow doing wrong. So he simply closed his eyes, and tried to relax, thinking about nothing.

Atka rested her head on her shoulder, leaning on the chair. "You bored?" she asked curiously.

"Hmm?" Jake quickly shook his head. "No, not board. Just..." He thought about it for a moment, unsure how to put it. "I'm... content. Which is a good thing, of course. I just... haven't felt this way in a long time. I've worried about so many things my whole life. But now I have three friends turned daughters living their life, a great job, and I'm on vacation with the woman I worship and adore. It... feels strange. And it feels strange that it feels strange."

"Well, you did your fair share of deserving this hapiness." Atka smiled warmly. "Between supporting me, helping out other soldiers, and studying those masks... you've done a lot of good work. I still feel a little weird occasionally walking by Phobos's ugly mug in our apartment, though. When we buy a house I need to find a room to hang those all up." I'm glad Rei took Invidia's mask with her though...

Jake grinned. "I could always hide it somewhere. I'm just afraid of you opening a cabinet, only to find it staring at you."

Atka chuckled. "Yeah, that'd probably be worse." She traced a finger along Jake's shoulder. "I was thinking we could maybe enjoy the indoor pool if we have nothing better to do. Got it all to ourselves since no one comes to this part of New York in the winter."

"Good point." Jake stood up and stretched a bit, walking over to the edge. "We can thank Ayame's friendship with you leading her to take up residence in a town on the American/Canadian border. I was afraid it would be noisy with a bunch of screaming kids and nosy tourist, but it's nice and quiet."

Atka walked out in front of Jake, wearing a simple blue bikini that wasn't too flashy but wasn't exactly prudish either. "You know, I haven't actually done that much swimming. It was too cold most of the time up north. Though any defenses I had were certainly corrected by the drill sergeant when I was eighteen. Man was exactly what you'd expect him to be like, but he made us good soldiers."

"Well you certainly have the figure for it," Jake said casually, then reddened a bit. "I... I mean, you're plenty... fit for it. You have the right... body... you know what I mean." He cleared his throat. "So you... do know how to swim then?"

"Of course, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do any of the water exercises they had me do. Come on," she invited, jumping backwards into the moderately warm water of the pool.

Jake nodded his head. "Good point." He followed her in, going for a more modest cannonball.

The Inuit woman smiled as she laid back on the water for a moment, coming up to the surface. "I should do this more often... something about being submerged in water is refreshing, when I'm not doing it for training or to drag someone out of the water."

Jake chuckled, slowly drifting towards her. "I'm sure we can find something like this back home. Probably plenty nearby, considering how enjoyable it is. Maybe get a house one day with a hot-tub."
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
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#6
DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 5”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

Atka glanced over beside the pool. "Well, we do have one for now, at least. Once we're done here, let's make use of it," she suggested before diving under the water, enjoying the rush of liquid against her skin as she went to the bottom and momentarily sat down.

Jake watched her for a moment from above, marveling at the woman beneath him, before diving down and casually circling her.

Atka eventually came up for air, getting an idea as she reached the surface. She placed her palm unsteadily on the water, and froze a chunk of it, hopping on a platform of ice even as it started to melt. "Make that one for the non-combat uses of psionics..."

"Nice," Jake said after surfacing. He smiled gently. "If you ever get tired of saving people, you could always get a job entertaining them." He slowly floated away, saying, "But we both know where your true calling lies. You're too important to the world as a whole to give it up, no matter how much I wish you nothing but safety."

"That does seem to be my calling a lot of the time... though I might take on a quieter job to break up the detective work at some point." Atka went back into the water, swimming over to the handrails. She climbed out, sitting on the edge of the hot tub, looking at the steam rising from it.

Jake joined her, quickly slipping inside. He smiled up at Atka, and asked, "Can I tell you something? Something... I've said many times before, but I feel it holds true as much now as ever before."

Atka went down to mid-torso length into the hot water, sighing in relaxation. "Of course. You're free to tell me whatever you want, that hasn't changed."

The young man before her looked deep into her eyes. "You are the most beautiful woman... the most beautiful being in the universe. And I will never stop considering you a blessing."

Atka smiled softly. "And my life has been twice as wonderful since I met you," she whispered, pressing her lips against his for a few seconds.

As the kiss ended, Jake held Atka close, as if he never wanted to let her go.

Atka didn't seem to mind. After awhile, she said quietly, "I have been thinking... i-if it's alright with you, maybe a year or two for now I was... w-was considering having a child of my own..." she mustered the nerve to say.

Jake's eyes snapped open, and her slowly looked her in the eyes. He slowly nodded, and said, "Nothing... absolutely nothing... would make me happier."

"And we're lucky enough to have experience," Atka noted, seeming relieved. "I'd like to think we did a good job with Rei, Hitomi, and Keiko."

"That we did." Jake held her a little tighter. "I don't have to say I think you'd be an excellent mother, because you've already proven it."

Atka nodded, and then slowly got a smirk. "Now, speaking of family, my parents are coming down for my birthday in a couple of days. We might as well get certain things taken care of before then."

Jake nodded. "Absolutely. What did you need from me?"

Atka reached behind her back to pull on the fabric of her top. "Well..."

"Oh!" Jake looked around, a big grin spreading across his face. "Oh... that kind of things. I'm all yours,"

Kazuya Kasagi Recreational Center
Massena, New York
November 9th, 2024
5 P.M., Local Time


Ayame sat in front of her desk, Jake and Atka seated on the other side. She shifted through some documents before her before placing them to the side. “The… the last year, you’ve improved so much. It is actually surprising… compared to some at least. Though considering who I’m talking to, I shouldn’t be all that surprised. But you’re not the only one. I thought my training was done… but I was wrong. I’ve seen clear improvement in my own technique thanks to you. And for that, I thank you ever so much.”

Atka bowed slightly. “I’m glad that both our skills have improved. And I’m sure they will continue to, though I don’t think I’ll be able to stay a full year again anytime soon.”

“I know. Which is why I wanted you to have something.” She reached under her desk, and pulled out a long case. “Something for you to practice on your own time, and to remember our friendship with.” She placed it on the desk before Atka.

Atka looked over the case for a moment. “Is this…?” She reached down to open it.

With in was a brand new chisa katana, the metal gleaming as the overhead lights hit it. “I… I commissioned it be made when you first got here,” Ayame explained. “I wanted it to be perfect, so I made sure they took their time with it. I… couldn’t afford to make it completely out of the alien alloys, since they’re hard to come by, even with my connections. So it is made with a combination of them and steel. It has been sharpened and re-enforced over a thousand times. This’ll cut through things as cleanly as possible, but you’ll still have to maintain it.” She grabbed a sharpening stone and placed it in front of the sword.

The Inuit woman smiled widely, looking over the sword with a mixture of awe and gratitude. “Thank you, Ayame. I doubt I could find a better sword if I tried. I’ll make sure to hold onto it and keep it’s edge sharp,” she breathed, picking up the chisa carefully.

“Of course. It is simply a gift to a dear friend… and training partner.” Ayame glanced at Jake. “Now, don’t you try playing with it.”

Jake rolled his eyes. “Don’t worry, mom. I won’t play with the new, shiny tools.”

Ayame chuckled, and reached into her desk, tossing him a sheathed knife. “A small gift for you. So you can learn to protect yourself as well.”

Jake pulled the knife out of the sheath, nodding his head. “Thanks. I’ll take good care of it.”

Taqukaq seemed to look at Ayame expectantly for a moment, and then realized how silly that was and shook his head. Atka patted him on the back. “You’ve already got built-in weapons, you know.”

Ayame leaned down, and whispered to the canine, “Try rubbing your claws against that sharpening stone every now and then. It’ll keep ‘em nice and sharp.”

Atka chuckled, and then pulled Ayame into a hug. “I’m going to miss seeing you so often, you know.”

Ayame patted her on the back. “Same here. I’ll keep in touch, and be sure to be prepared whenever you get a chance to come back. Maybe find someone I can trust to run things here so I can come and visit you guys for a change.”

“That’d be nice. And we do live close, so I will drive down occasionally… but I may have a kid to take care of,” Atka whispered, “if things go according to plan.”

Ayame grinned widely. “Well, now you’re just making me jealous. Might have to find a way to even that out myself.”

“If that’s the case, I’ll make sure to be watching out for an attack by a pupil of yours from now on when I visit,” Atka said with a smirk, patting her sword sheath after putting the Chisa into it. “Until then, though, this will have to be goodbye for now.”

Ayame bowed her head. “It has been a pleasure, Atka. You too, Jake.” Jake stood up and bowed back.
 
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ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
Staff member
May 27, 2013
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#7
DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 6”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

Kazuya Kasagi Recreational Center
Massena, New York
September 19th, 2033
1 P.M., Local Time


Atka circled around her opponent, not wearing her uniform this time but instead having on a simple pair of beige khaki shorts and a white tanktop, fitting with the fact that she was currently retired from her police job. For now, at least. She kept her chisa, aptly named Amaruq, or simply ‘Wolf’, in a defensive position, knowing that Ayame was easily a match for her in a duel like this one.

Ayame stepped forward, slashing left and then right. Now pushing fifty, Ayame barely showed any signs of slowing down, at least not yet, thanks to the Exalt’s little gift. She pushed forward a bit, forcing Atka back, and went for an upwards slash, something she didn’t often do.

Atka’s eyes widened a bit in surprise, bring her sword in a cross to parry, though was pushed back by the force of the strike. “You’re lucky I didn’t use a telekinetic field to balance the defense,” she muttered, her competitive spirit showing through in this even match.

“C’mon mom, you can do better than that!” Eight-year-old Yakone shouted from the sidelines, sitting cross-legged next to two other children and a husky. The guardian spirit’s daughter had black hair like her mother, though it was kept in a spiky, somewhat frazzled style to suit Yakone’s tastes. She wore a white shirt with a Canadian flag illustrated like street graffiti, and black jeans, combined with a plain blue plaid jacket that seemed a bit too big for her, but the girl planned to grow into it. She patted the husky sitting next to her. “Isn’t that right, Nannaqtaq?”

“Doesn’t matter,” the nine-year old boy sitting next to her, wearing a simple black boy’s kimono said. “My mom can always kick your mom’s butt.”

“No, Kazuya!” The six-year old Nuvuk shouted, bouncing a little. “My mommy’s gonna win. Mommy always wins!”

Ayame grinned as she slashed to the right. “I think our kids are going to start taking bets. At least it sounds like they're betting on their own parent.”

“Well, it’s two against one,” Atka affirmed, “meaning my chances of winning are twice yours.” She went into an attack near the end of the sentence, though not at the very end, using the words as a distraction. Her shortened katana leapt out in a jab, though Atka made sure to pull back after the attack, knowing her shortened range versus Ayame was probably a weakness of hers.

“Go mommy!” Kuvuk yelled, clapping his hands in excitement.

Ayame’s eyes darted around Atka, realizing she could no longer use basic knowledge as an advantage anymore, and had to rely on experience, for what that was worth. She dodged an attack to the left, parried blow to the right, and feinted another upwards swing, only to do a quick spin to try for a horizontal strike.

Atka chose to not block at all, diving backwards and managing to spring back to her feet in time to block another blow. Need a plan… maybe if I trick her into thinking I’m going for a series of fake attacks before a decisive blow, but attack sooner than normal… The Inuit woman started to shift into a pattern of regular attacks, though she would occasionally have to break that up to block a dangerous attack from her opponent. As she noted Ayame starting to figure out the pattern, she shifted her attack entirely, going for a forward thrust, activating her wristband just in case.

“No,” Kazuya whispered, not wanting to admit any wavering in his confidence for his mother.

Ayame jabbed her palm down, hitting the back of the sword and pushing it down. Atka was left open, but Ayame was in no position to counter attack, so the two jumped back. Ayame looked like she would say something, but instead went for a high swing. Atka blocked accordingly, but Ayame’s sword went high. It’s momentum not slowed, Ayame twisted her wrists, and moved the sword to go for a blow to the right side of Atka’s chest.

As it connected with the off-guard defender, she seemed to panic, her telekinetic shield wavering and causing the sword to draw a bit of blood. As an automatic response, a ghostly arm formed from Atka’s right, a black leather jacket’s sleeve and a glove of the same color reaching out to grab Ayame’s sword, stopping it before either Atka or Ayame really had a chance to react. With the momentum stopped, Xifeng’s hand disappeared from sight, and Atka stumbled back, breathing hard.

“Mommy!” Atka’s young son quickly climbed to his feet and rushed to his mother’s side. “Mommy, are you hurt?” he asked, tears already welling up in his eyes.

Atka shakily waved a hand, steadying her balance. “I-I’m fine, sweetheart. I just wasn’t paying good enough attention,” she asserted, even if that wasn’t the complete truth, something Yakone seemed to notice.

Ayame slowly approached Atka, her own son at her side. “Atka, are you okay? I-I’m sorry, I didn’t…”

“It’s alright, you couldn’t… have anticipated that…” Quietly, she added, “I-I suppose losing a lung leaves more of a mark than I realized… I had hoped that was no longer a weakness of mine, but…”

Ayame shook her head. “It isn’t something you recover from over night. Please don’t be too hard on yourself.” She smiled. “Besides, other then that… well, I don’t know if you noticed something about this fight, but…”

“She was winning,” Yakone said indignantly.

“She was not,” Kazuya responded defiantly, folding his arms.

“Regardless of who was winning,” Ayame interrupted them, “It is clear that I’m not your teacher anymore, Atka.”

Atka rubbed the back of her neck. “I guess, though I wouldn’t go so far to say that I’ve outstripped you.”

Ayame nodded. “No, we’re about even now. But now we can be sparring partners. That’s where we really learn from each other, and better ourselves together. And I can’t think of a better sparring partner.” She shrugged. “Maybe Desmond as a close second, but he always had a bit of an ego about it.”

The Inuit woman grinned. “I remember hearing about his assessment of your stealth skills. Can’t exactly argue with that, though from what I can tell he hasn’t been training as hard as we have, so he’d probably lose to either of us at this rate.”

Ayame laughed. “I wouldn’t want to be the person to test that.” She knelt down in front of Nuvuk. “Sorry if I hurt your mommy.”

Nuvuk squeezed his mother’s arm. “Mommy is strong. She’ll be fine.”

Ayame nodded. “That’s right. Your mommy has always been strong.” She smiled at Yakone.

Yakone crossed her arms. “Bet you couldn’t land a hit like that again. Xifeng would sock you if you got close.”

Ayame chuckled. “Yeah, I bet you’re right.” She patted her own son on the head, and said, “I think we’ve all earned a break. Who wants to go get some ice cream? The new shop down the street just hired this Balmadaar that gives BIG scoops.”

Yakone tried to maintain her uncaring expression, but followed far too quickly to keep up that facade. Seeming to ease up a little, Atka made sure to follow.
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
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#8
DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53:
“Art of the Sword, Part 7”
Rules of Shambhala: Prologue

Kazuya Kasagi Recreational Center
Massena, New York
June 3rd, 2043
11 A.M., Local Time


Detective Wiewora shrugged off her jacket, but kept the rest of her uniform on, including the gloves. The forty-seven year old kept herself nimble, ready to move once the fight started, and certainly not hindered by her age, appearing eleven years younger than she actually was. “Let’s see if you really are a protegee like your mother says, Kazuya,” she intoned to the twenty-year-old.

Kazuya nodded, swallowing hard. “Alright. But, I… I won’t hold back like my mother did.”

Ayame rolled her eyes as she watched. “Yeah… held back,” she mumbled to herself.

With a yell, Kazuya rushed forward, and swept to Atka’s right, stopping short and going for an upwards vertical slice.

Atka sidestepped, parrying the blow with her sword’s flat slashing along his to push him to the side somewhat. “Good feint,” she encourage, turning to face him again. “But you’ll have to do better than that.”

With a slight glare, Kazuya jumped to the left. Trying to read Atka’s movements like his mother taught him, he parried a blow and went for a slash to his opponent's right, remembering a weakness from years ago.

Atka’s eyes narrowed and she put up her sword to defend, perhaps overextending herself by doing so, though she had no intention of letting his blade near her weak point. “I see you inherited fighting dirty from your mother as well…”

Yakone chuckled. “Oh, she burned you there, Kazzy,” the detective’s daughter laughed, having finally grown into the jacket, though she did have to tailor it a bit after she turned out to be taller than her mother by two inches.

Kazuya scoffed. “Not my fault I saw a weakness worth exploiting.”

Ayame shook her head. “You won’t always have something like that, son. And are weakness might not be as great as you think. Don’t get overconfident.”

“I’m not,” Kazuya insisted, and made for a quick jab. Welding a wakizashi, his reach was slightly shorter than Atka’s, and he seemed to neglect to remember that, have to quickly jump back to avoid getting hit. He slashed at Atka’s chest, her midsection, her legs, and her midsection again, showing his mother’s talent, but clearly lacking her patience.

Because of this, Atka was able to block most of the strikes, though many came close to getting through. “Don’t tire yourself out, now,” Atka warned, her chisa seemed to take the hits in stride with barely a scratch on it.

Kazuya chuckled. “Hey, I got plenty of energy. But I’ll finish this quickly if you’re getting tired.” He ducked to the side, going over the various techniques his mother had taught him in his head as he feinted a few attacks. He slashed vertically, and dropped down, going for a sudden leg sweep.

Atka managed to push herself back, though was pushed off-balance by the sudden strike like that of a snake biting, damaging her defenses somewhat. Ayame definitely wasn’t lying… She went for a right slash, moving her right foot backwards to balance herself out again.

Noting the tell, Kazuya grinned as he dodged to the side, and went for a straight slash to Atka’s left side. “Gotcha!”

Even with Xifeng already ghosted around her to protect her from any strikes that might land on her, or conversely, her opponent, Atka didn’t feel exactly confident as she failed to block the slash, the barrier around her left side breaking. Should have put more blood into i- Atka paused as she noted that Kazuya was drawing his sword back rather slowly compared to the speed of his strike. What is… She sidestepped, noting that his vision was following her movement only partially, his gaze still where she was a second ago. Tachypsychia? No, this is much different…

To Kazuya, he saw Atka’s form blur, and as he looked around for where she had disappeared to, he found her standing behind him. “You… noticed that too, didn’t you?” Atka asked, seeming as confused as he was.

Kazuya just stared at her for a moment, then looked over to his mother. “You… teach her how to teleport or something?”

Ayame shook her head, approaching the two of them. “No. And it looked more like… you were suddenly moving at super speed. What was that, Atka?”

The Inuit woman shook her head while Yakone looked on in awe. “I’m… not sure, honestly. I’ve never done that before… it felt like everyone but me was slowing down.”

“Maybe… it’s a new power,” Nuvuk offered. “You told us that you’ve learned other things in the heat of a fight, right?”

“Right, and if that’s true it says a lot about your skill,” Atka told Kazuya, her Reflection taking independent form to her right. I wonder… does it have something to do with you? she thought silently to herself as she looked over Xifeng.

Kazuya looked away. “Do… do you really mean that?” he asked, wondering how true that was.

“Usually I’ve learned powers when I’m in a desperate situation, so you definitely had me on my toes as sure as your mother has in the past,” Atka affirmed, turning to face him again.

“Ahh, don’t say it, it’ll go to his head!” Yakone warned.

Kazuya grinned at her, but noted the stern look from his mother. His expression turning neutral, he bowed towards Atka. “I… I’m sorry for my arrogance. I’m happy you were pleased by my fighting skills… and I look forward to improving my skills in the hope of one day catching up with you.”

Atka smiled. “And in the meantime I’m going to have to figure out what exactly I just did…”

Ayame laughed. “After all these years, you never stop surprising me, Atka.” She placed a hand on Atka’s shoulder. “You make this old soldier proud. You are, without a doubt, a worthy successor. I just hope Kazuya can learn from you as you learned from me, my friend.”
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
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#9
Atka Ipiktok Wiewora
(Biography Page 1)

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Please Enter Command: Access XSDF Database
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Name: Atka I. Wiewiora
Title/Role: Criminal Investigator, Detective
Age: 47 (Apparent Age 36)
DoB: December 18th, 1996
Sex: Female
Place of Birth: Nunavut, Canada
Race/Nationality: Inuit, Canadian
Height: 1.62 meters (5’4)
Weight: 58 kilograms (128 lbs)
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Smooth, to the base of her neck
Eye Color: Cornflower Blue
Immediate Family: Ipiktok (Father, 67), Yaralria (Mother, 65), Nouja (Sister, 41), Kataktaq (Stepbrother, 47), Jake Wiewiora (Husband, 44), Yakone Wiewiora (Biological Daughter, 19), Nuvuk (Biological Son, 16), Rei Tanaka (AdoptiveDaughter, 40), Hitomi Tanaka (Stepdaughter, 39), Keiko Wiewiora (Adoptive Daughter, 39)
Specializations:
-Forward Scouting and Reconnaissance.
-A variety of rifle training, though she prefers a combination of a marksman rifle and truncated shotgun sidearm.
-Tactical Equipment (trained to use many of the support items the XSDF has in stock)
-Highly skilled with a chisa katana, having learned from Ayame Kasagi.
-An very powerful psion with strong major blue psionics, and moderate green and yellow psionics. Possesses a Reflection she calls “Xifeng”, named after the persona she took on during a covert operation in Shanghai, and a clone of herself that she was forced to battle to the death by Ethereal Overseer Invidia.

Appearance:

Atka has a graceful, smooth figure, though she is by no means weak thanks to her military training and life in the far north. Even in her mid-thirties physically, she shows not a sign of slowing down, a testament to how well she takes care of herself in addition to the Aeternam solution. Casually, Atka typically wears a brown army jacket over a white shirt with a Canadian flag with two gray wolves flanking a polar bear below it, and brown khaki pants. She does possess an Amauti, a woman’s parka, though she only wears it when out in cold conditions.

Formally, she wears a navy blue, black, white, and yellow police uniform. It consists of a hat reminiscent of that of a newspaper boy, though more solid and formal, and is stylized in the first color. The rest is made up by a formal overcoat, navy blue as well with black buttons to close it up as it was currently, and a badge over the right breast. The badge is a blue 'T' on a shield that is otherwise yellow, the coat of arms of Toronto. This yellow is not seen in many other places, as she wears white gloves and black shoes, complete with a black belt that separates pants of a similar color to her hat and overcoat. The shirt beneath, however, is typically a simple white t-shirt, with a yellow trim at the bottom, hidden by the overcoat, and a more visible blue trim around the collar.

The Inuit woman has a suit of well-kept Archangel armor, the first of its kind created by XCOM in 2018. That said, it is not outdated in the slightest, maintained in case Atka ever needed it again, and as a keepsake of the battles she fought to protect Earth.

Personality:

Atka is possessed of an extraordinary kindness. She has a gentle heart, and makes friends with people easily. Where she once was somewhat introverted, however, she is no longer afraid to reach out to anyone, and is more confident that she was due to past military failures in Canada. This lets the other side of her personality shine through, as well. When she wants to be, Atka can be sarcastic and quick-witted, possessing a rebelliousness inside her that would surprise anyone who had only seen her as the formal, calm, and collected police officer she is when she needs to be.

The former XCOM Colonel has her spiritual side as well, being a syncretized Christian possessing beliefs typical of the faith along with a connection the nature world, enhanced by her empathic abilities. She currently has one of the children of her first pet and his mate, the former being a male husky named Taqukaq, in her possession. Her children and friends got the rest of ‘bear’s’ litter.

Biography:

Atka was born in a small village on an island north of Taloyoak. The people there lived mostly by the old ways as hunter-gatherers, and times were often hard, but usually rewarding. They practiced a mix of the Christianity introduced to them from the Europeans, and many of their spiritual traditions. For a time Atka simply learned things typical to young girls such as sewing. However, the young girl was fascinated by the way of hunting, and was able to convince her father and mother to allow her to join in on the hunt at the age in which young boys went on their first hunt.

She found in her time in the village that she could empathetically communicate with the animals spiritually, and used that skill to aid herself in the hunt.

When Atka was sixteen, an army recruiter visited the village to tell the locals about opportunities to join the Canadian military. Some of the young hunters were excited by the prospect, but for the most part no one seriously considered the offer because of how interdependent the people of the village were. However, Atka made a case to her understanding father. Her sister was content to follow the old ways at the village, but Atka sought to help protect Inuit culture and the nation as a whole and saw this as an opportunity. Although her mother disagreed, Atka’s father was happy to let her pursue this path.

At the age of eighteen, with her application ready, Atka signed up for the military, taking her father’s name, Ipiktok as her last name, as the Inuit did not usually have last names. She proved to be an enthusiastic and diligent recruit, adapting easier to the harsh mannerism of the drill sergeant. The inuit woman was chosen to serve in the infantry, specially acting as a reconnaissance scout if needed, and a regular soldier if not. Once she graduated from the military academy, Atka participated in seven official operations and often acted as a military liaison to the Inuit peoples in times of crisis.

It was in the three non-regular military operations that she actually fought enemy combatants. The first of these was Operation Bulwark. A group of militants claiming to be loyal to ISIS seized the Toronto airport on October 23, 2014, claiming retaliation for Canada’s support of efforts to fight the group in Iraq and Syria. Atka’s unit was called in to try and deescalate the situation. Atka took front to help a negotiator try and calm the armed group of thirty down, who had a total of 57 hostages in the airport at the time. However, one of the nervous groups panicked when the leader seemed to be considered negotiating rather than outright forcing Canada to cut support. He shot the negotiator in the stomach, and everything went to hell.

The Canadian troops outside opened fire on the militants, hoping to avoid hostage deaths, and Atka demonstrated leadership skills in helping coordinate the defensive fire. Despite their best efforts, however, when the smoke cleared 22 of the militants were dead, but 12 of their captives had been shot by militants and a bit of stray fire as well. Canada did not withdraw its support, and eventually ISIS was taken down by the inevitable intervention by ground troops, mainly from the US and the UN, but also some Canadian assistance as well.

In Operation Styx she fought alongside her unit to help refugees cross the Syrian-Turkish border as things heated up, and fought several bands of militant, proving to be a capable leader. Despite this, there were heavy losses due to an attack by tanks. The battle left more than a hundred of the Operation Styx’s forces dead, including about a third of Canada’s unit (9 soldiers KIA). This sparked Canada and other nations to send ground troops to end the ISIS threat, putting an end to the war but certainly not the continuing conflicts in the area.

Later on she participated in operation Rancor, which was an attempt to ease tensions between the Koreas and hopefully defend the more democratic one, but North Koreans did not take kindly to US/Canadian troops on the borders. An attack lead to the death of a few soldiers under Atka’s command, but she managed to pull them through and hold the line, though tensions would only get worse.
 
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DarkGemini24601

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Sep 25, 2014
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#10
Atka Ipiktok Wiewora
(Biography Page 2)

Biography (Continued) :
[Contains Spoilers for "XCOM: Story of Defiance"

In 2018-2019, Atka fought in the Ethereal Subjugation War as part of the organization called XCOM. She began her career on somewhat of a rocky start, having to deal with uncooperative allies. This soon changed, however, as she came to be friends with Commander O’Brien and helped rescue a mercenary named Ayame Kasagi from an uncertain fate. She met many other friends and comrades-in-arms here, such as Modya Dragomirov, Desmond Walker, and her fellow squadmates Sarah Wong, Janina Adolfsson, Amanda Ortiz, Masambe Muthambi, Kris Smith, and Kevin Nash.

During all of this, she found her psionic powers begin to awaken. First her empathic connection to animals spread out into outright telepathy, and she developed a mindfray taking the form of a spiked double-helix of ice. This evolved into a secondary ability as well, one unique to her: telekinetic helixes of a similar fashion that defied her psionic color arrangement, being an incorporated red power. She would later develop a clairvoyance that became ESP, and learn physical enhancement and cryokinesis, completing the blue spectrum. In addition to this, she dabbled into psi inspiration and imbuing, the latter evolving a third ability from her icy helixes, a telekinetic javelin.

One of her greatest struggles was when her home village was attacked and destroyed by alien raiders, all of her family members and friends except for her father taken captive. Using her developing ESP, she was able to help XCOM locate the alien base in India and raid it to rescue her family. It was too late for her childhood friends Buniq and Isitoq, though they lived on in a sense as alien-created clones. Her sister had developed psionics, initially just ESP and Animal Empathy, though she would later learn Mindfray, Cryokinesis, and Biokinesis. Her mother had been modified to have a cybernetically-connected brain, known as the Interface. While her personality was retained, this was a sign that Atka’s family couldn’t exactly return to the simple life they had before.

Atka participated in the siege of New Delhi to retake the capital of India from the alien forces. This is where she first fought the Incubators, and where she learned her telekinetic Javelin. Two of Atka’s squadmates were to perish later on in the war, Kris Smith to traitorous Council of Nations forces in service to an Ethereal Overseer that would become Atka’s nemesis: Invidia. Said Ethereal attempted to cause chaos by possessing one of the friends of her future husband, Jake Wiewiora, planning on using Keiko’s body to murder two of the Exalts. Atka was able to stop her archenemy’s plans and drive her out of Keiko in a mental battle.

As Atka learned how to blur her form with teleimagery, Invidia nursed hatred for Atka, and used DNA from the alien base in India along with another sample to create grotesque human heavy floaters out of the DNA of Atka’s friends and family, as well as create a clone of Atka herself to fight against her, named Xifeng. Kevin Nash perished to the fire of a Sectopod in the room where Atka fought and tried to reason with her evil twin. Even after beating Xifeng, it was to no avail. In a last desperate attempt, Xifeng threw a plasma pistol to detonate, but Atka blocked the explosion, learning that she could use her blood to create telekinetic fields and barriers. She went on to defeat her nemesis once and for all, and avenge her fallen comrades and ‘second sister’.

On the eve of XCOM’s flight from their base, warned by a message from a darker future where the aliens bombarded XCOM’s HQ and won the war, Atka dreamt of the fate of her counterpart in this alternate history. Aboard the Jupiter, the battleship XCOM fled to, Atka learned how to conjure up a Reflection, a psychic guardian formed from Atka’s power and personality. It reflected the more wild side of Atka’s nature, and seemed to have the smile her apocalyptic counterpart did upon her death.

This power would help Atka fight a vassal of the Honored Overseer, and was used by her in the final battle against the leader of the enemy, Phobos. While Atka could not have won the battle without her comrades and Reflection, it was her that dealt the final blow to the enemy of humanity. She became a hero, though never let it get to her head.

Returning home to Toronto, she married Jake, and helped raise the three Japanese girls he had with him, Rei going on to join the XSDF in the present. Atka took a suggestion of her husband to heart, becoming a detective. While she usually handled cases in Toronto, she was occasionally called upon by the XSDF to handle tough cases involving psions, augmented humans, or extraterrestrials. Most of her work was on Earth, and the detective has actually never been to one of the colonies aside from Luna.

While she did retire temporarily in the middle of the span between the war and the present, one of the most significant accomplishments Atka made over the past 25 years was training to become an excellent swordswoman. This skill has helped her out on more than one occasion, and may be invaluable soon. During one of her most recent training sessions with Ayame’s adopted son, Kazuya, she discovered that an additional psionic ability might be lurking within her.

Psionic Abilities: (Blue)

Blue – Animal Empathy, Mindfray, ESP (10 Second Precognition), Physical Enhancement, Cryokinesis, Unknown Special Ability
Green – Imbuing, Psi Inspiration
Yellow – Teleimagery, Telekinetic Field (Blood Barrier),

Reflection – Xifeng
User: Atka Ipiktok Wiewiora
Composition: Blood Barrier Telekinetic Fields, Teleimagery
Abilities: Telekinetic Helixes, Physical Enhancement, Cryokinesis, Imbuing, Telekinetic Fields, Shockwave, Unknown Special Ability
Arcana: Judgement

Special Notes: While Atka is much more confident than she was in the past, she retains moderate PTSD from the horrors Invidia put her through. She can sometimes be uneasy around her Reflection, and has nightmares sporadically, and her greatest weakness comes from an overprotective tendency towards her right lung, which she lost to a psi lance from a dying Phobos.
 

DarkGemini24601

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Sep 25, 2014
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#11
Jackson C. Trommers
(Biography)


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Name: Jackson Trommers
Title/Role: Criminal Investigator, Detective (Assistant)
Age: 23 (Apparent Age 20.5)
DoB: January 5th, 2021
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Thunder Bay, Canada
Race/Nationality: Caucasian, Canadian
Height: 1.85 meters (6’1)
Weight: 74.4 kilograms(164 lbs)
Hair Color: Dark Blond
Hair Style : Parted to the right side a bit messily
Eye Color: Green
Immediate Family: Dylan (Father, 48), Avery (Mother, 50), Jayce (Younger Brother, Deceased)

Specializations:
-Field Medical Applications, Forensics, and Defensive Strategies
-Skill primarily in pistols of varying kinds, though he has learned to use a carbine from his mentor, as well as a shotgun in extreme situations.
-Skilled at patching up wounds and providing cover be it fire support or a distraction.
-A psion and reflection user: he has trained with his psionic abilities under Atka, but still has a ways to go, lacking psychic skills honed by the rigors of warfare.

Appearance:

Jackson has a spindly frame, but that is not to say he is weak. On the contrary, the young man keeps himself in good physical condition, exercising daily and having been on more than one trip to the far north in order to learn survival techniques. He enjoys the cold as much as his mentor does, but is wise about how to what extreme he can endure temperature drops.

Therefore, the Canadian takes to wearing a brown trenchcoat, the sash and collar a darker color than the rest of it. Beneath it lies a formal button-up white shirt, and beneath the coat are a pair of black jeans, most of his pairs seeming as if they’ve endured a bit of wear. Unlike his mentor, Jackson tends to not wear gloves, preferring to handle things directly unless it’s in a medical capacity, in which case he’ll wear a disposal pair for sanitary purposes. He doesn’t mind wearing a pair of black and tan hiking shoes, however.

Trommers has a mostly clean look to him, though he has a bad habit of forgetting to shave, allowing stubble to creep onto his chin and his sideburns to get longer. Despite this, he could be called handsome.

Personality:

Jackson is usually a straightforward person, telling things how they are and without delay. He isn’t overly blunt, though, knowing his boundaries and doing his best to avoid saying anything that he knows would upset another. He has a bad tendency to come off as aloof or distant to those he doesn’t know personally, having a very professional outlook on life. TO his friends, however, he is more sociable, having shared his career and free time with Atka, as well as her relatives and acquaintances that have become his friends by extension.

He has a love of nature, and if you can get past his initial by-the-book demeanor, he will certainly talk to you about it. Having visited many places in the north, he is deeply acquantined with the wildlife and terrain of the northern half of his home continent, and the culture of the First Nations that live there. The latter has translated into a deep respect for Atka, and although he treats her as a friend he doesn’t seem to consider himself an equal due to the gaps in age, experience, and wisdom. Jackson has a bad habit of getting upset with people that don’t seem to understand his mentor’s intellect and kindness, knowing those two things firsthand.

Biography:

Jackson was born in 2021, having missed out on the old world before the war by a couple of years, and being born into a world on the verge of receiving the Aeternam solution. His father was a banker, and his mother mostly kept to herself at home after his birth, watching over him and his brother-to-be. Jackson and Jayce, that younger brother, got along better than most siblings of the same sex tend to, rarely getting upset at each other. Their bond was a strong one, and even served as a common interest.

For Jackson dreamed of being a police officer of some sort. He wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do specifically in that field though, and initially paid no mind to it. His days in middle school and early high school were spent working with no extra effort in mind, and lounging around fishing or hunting with his father after school or on numerous vacations.

It was on these that he developed his love for nature, even if he knew in his heart that he could never become a wilderness guide or a biologist. It did become Jackson’s hobby, however, something that set him apart from his more city-minded brother that became more popular in school. Jackson didn’t mind, however, encouraging his brother along his path, helping Jayce realize that he might want to be in a leadership position.

The oddity of perhaps working under his younger brother made Jackson realize that he needed to restore direction to his life. Refocusing, and finally deciding that he wanted to be a detective and work in forensics, he applied himself more at school, taking more difficult classes and preparing his application for college. He decided on a local school, his father having fallen on somewhat harder times and his resume understandably not good enough to get him somewhere highly prestigious. He loved his town anyway, and soon found himself at the local college there.

The first year was spent learning the basics, and Jackson had to study hard. His escapades into the wilderness were at a temporary end, though he found a tertiary passion when he was approached by a visiting think tank of psionics. They offered to test some of the local students during Christmas break, and Jackson curiously accepted. He turned out to be a violet psion, his initial gift that of Psi Panic, leading him and the researchers to believe that he was going to be a psion of medium strength.

In his second year, when his brother was in his junior year of high school, something happened that would change Jackson forever. In cruel irony, while studying a cadaver at college, he learned that his brother had been killed. Horrified, Jackson tried to learn more. He found out that Jayce had been hanging out with a somewhat shady crowd, likely not exactly aware of the implications. No one was sure who he had been with last, however, as Jayce had made the mistake of going alone.

To let his brother’s killer go unpunished was unacceptable to Jackson, however. He struggled to negotiate a temporary leave to investigate further, but would have failed if not for the support of a visiting detective that had been providing the college with a seminar. She told Jackson that she wouldn’t interfere with his case, seeming to realize that this was something the young man had to do himself. Watching over him from the shadows, Atka witnessed Jackson’s methodical questioning of Jayce’s friends that ultimately led him to track down the killer.

Said person happened to be Jayce’s girlfriend. She and a few others at the school had gotten mixed up in a local gang, and tried to induct Jayce into it. He refused, and told his girlfriend, Rosalina, that if they didn’t leave immediately he was going to inform the police of what was going on. Rosa panicked, and shot him with an old pistol given to her by the gang member that had inducted them into the selling of an exotic narcotic.

Jackson did take Rosalina to justice, even if he was tempted to take matters into his own hands. Ultimately, before seeing her off, he told the girl that he did forgive her, and hoped that she would come out of jail reformed. The events of that year left a scar on Jackson, however, and he threw himself into his studies to compensate, as well as training his psionics. By the time he left college he met Atka again, who offered him a job at her station in Toronto.

The two worked together for the next year, Atka helping to improve Jackson’s combat and psionic skills and start to open up his damaged heart again, introducing him to her friends and family. This seemed to begin to help Jackson, but only initially. Discovering a reflection in the latter years of 2044, he named it after his ill-fated brother, hoping to carry on Jayce’s memory.

Psionic Abilities (Violet):

Red – Psi Lance, Telekinesis
Violet – Psi Panic, Subsume
Blue – Mindfray, Animal Empathy
Green – Biokinesis

Reflection Name: Jayce
User: Jackson Trommers
Composition: Psionic Energy, Feedback Aura
Abilities: Neural Feedback
Arcana: The Hermit

Special Notes: Has a bear-bone carving of a wolverine, a guardian spirit made for him by Atka.
 
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DarkGemini24601

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DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 1”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Toronto Police Service, 60th Division Building
Toronto, Ontario; Canada
January 20th, 2044
8:43 P.M., Local Time


Atka I. Wiewiora slid her chair from her personal computer over to another one. The second PC was slightly more sizeable, and rather than being a thin monitor, was a thicker variant reminiscent of older computers. It wasn’t dated, however. The detective placed a hand to the left of the computer, opposite of another panel where the mouse on its pad was. Recognizing her fingerprint but needing a second opinion, it followed up with an eye scan of the psion’s cornflower blue irises, the scanner popping out from the top of the screen.

Satisfied with those two inputs, the database computer booted up. The third and simplest line of defense, a password, was quickly typed in, Atka having memorized the number. Finally willing to let her in, the screen showed a simple blue loading bar before opening up an unusual desktop. Rather than being blank or having applications on it (though there was a column of them on the far left), it was made up of columns of folders, some requiring an additional password and identity clearance, but many being available to Mrs. Wiewiora.

Opening a folder entitled, “Investigation of Louise Karo”, Atka’s eyes scanned some text files within before creating one of her own. “Alright,” The black-haired Inuit woman announced. “I’m ready over here. Send in our informant, Jackson.”

Her partner’s green eyes popped up from a simple brown-leather bound book he had been reading, and he closed it with an audible thump. Trommers got up from his swivel chair, similar to Atka’s but having a beige cushion instead of a blue one, and walked over to the door, unlocking it and holding it ajar for the person waiting outside. “Atka’s ready to hear your report now.”

The woman outside smiled pleasantly, though there was a certain edge in her face that made her look like a cat ready to pounce. She was wearing a bright pink dress with a floral pattern going around the waistline, where a black belt held the clothing close to the woman’s body. Francine Roberts was by no means an old woman, but the developing lines on her face showed there was some wisdom there. “Detective.” She greeted with a warm tone.

Atka was wearing her outfit, complete with black boots, blue-black pants, a black belt, a white shirt with a yellow trim at the bottom, and a blue trim around the collar. The Inuit woman had her navy blue overcoat hung on back of her chair, however, and her gloves were laid out on the pine wood desk that she was currently sitting a distance behind at the XSDF-provided databank computer. Her head was next to said computer, on the counter between primary desk and secondary workstation. “Francine. What do you have for me?” Atka inquired with an equally familiar inflection, though there was an air of business there as well. “Ammelia has me very intrigued with this case right now,” She indicated.

Francine nodded. “As per usual, I got everything you might need. I got suspect names and locations, as well as anyone close to the victim and her fiance on that record, statements taken from friends and the person who drove Karo home.” The informant seemed to shift on her feet a bit. “I-I also took the liberty of finding out if getting the body exhumed was possible, and it is… but you will have to get the parent’s consent.”

“Understood. Give me the details of the crime first. And don’t spare the details I may already know.” Atka gestured a finger towards the computer she was at, sitting at an angle both facing it and Francine. “I want a full picture, and a fresh take on the circumstances.”

“Well… upon first glance, it would seem like just a normal domestic abuse gone wrong but a lot of the details of the case don’t make sense.” Roberts reached into a leather tote bag and took out a folder, opening it up. “The prosecutors from the original trail painted the picture as the supposed murderer, Connor Karo, came home from a heavy night of drinking with friends. His wife would have been already in bed as the meter of the cab driver who brought Karo home ended his fare at about 1:06 in the morning.”

Francine read a bit ahead to make sure she could get through the documents and report she had made without stopping too much. “The first hole in the prosecutor’s case was the lack of motive, as Mr. Karo would have had to make an informed decision to go kill his wife in bed, and to clean himself so thoroughly, as well as his clothes, that not an inch of blood was on him.”

The informant turned to Atka’s partner. “I am sure you have gotten hammered enough to know that doing such things without making even the slightest of errors is nigh impossible.”

The dirty blond raised an eyebrow. “On the contrary, I don’t drink… that thoroughly. Though I am aware of how it inhibits my ability to look at things objectively.” Jackson shook his head, leaning back in his chair and ruffling some of his brown trenchcoat. “They checked his blood alcohol levels, I assume? So there’s no room for doubt that he was lying about being drunk?”

Francine nodded. “Some time had passed, so the alcohol had made its way somewhat through his system, but even still his blood toxicity level was not just plain, he had been drinking.” The informant turned back to Atka. “Also, there is the way the woman died herself. Since you wanted the details…” Roberts took a deep breath to steel herself. “Well… to be frank, her entire skull was caved in. The most mysterious fact that was noted in the first autopsy was that it was one singular blow… not multiple. For something like that to happen… it would take a superhuman feat of strength to do that in one blow, though the prosecutor left that detail out in the trial.”

The informant continued. “However, what really broke the back of the defense was the fact there was a lack of other suspects. The security camera on the street corner by the house confirmed no one else entered the house other than Karo, or left. Neighbors all claimed there were no suspicious vehicles… no nothing.”

“A vehicle wouldn’t be necessary if the culprit were genetically modified or possessed psionic powers. Based on the injuries to Louise, I’d suspect one of those two options. A cybernetic would stick out too much in public, and couldn’t make it that far, but the other two augmentations don’t leave much of a visible mark…” Atka offered, her fingers silently flying over her keyboard to transcribe the conversation.

“And video feed can be tampered with. We can’t consider that an absolute,” Jack added, meeting Atka’s gaze. “If you look into that, I can conduct an autopsy of my own, hopefully find something the local investigators missed or otherwise overlooked.” Returning his eyes to Francine, he asked, “How hard do you think it’s going to be to convince Louise’s parents to allow me to take a look?”

“Knowing from what I observed of them and their social network posts…” Francine tilted her head back and forth. “Well… I wish you luck.”

“That’ll probably be something we’re both needed for, initially. And we can request that as part of my own groundwork,” Atka suggested, to which Jackson seemed to agree with a slight inclination of his head. “I want to get an idea of what Connor and Louise were like from their respective families. Hopefully along the way I can convince them to give consent.”

Jackson rubbed his stubble in thought. “And if you can’t do it your way, I might have an idea of how to get their approval as well. You… may not like it, though.”

Atka raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“If gentle words alone aren’t enough, I’ll play bad cop. Promise them that we’ll bring their daughter’s killer to justice, even if we end up finding out that it is Connor.” Jackson rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s not really a lie, since we’d do that anyway, even if neither of us strongly believes C. Karo’s the culprit from what we’ve read on our own.”

Francine remained silent while the two talked, but when they finished she nodded her head. “You may use whatever option you see best. However, as always... please be careful detectives. I know you are the best at what you do but it does always worry me that I may be out of the job, and a couple of friends. If that is all, shall I be off and leave you to your work?”

Atka nodded. “We’ll be careful. I promise. I assume you have no further information, then?”

“Nope. All locations and contact numbers are in these files and any other information you need processed, I am only a call away.” Roberts handed the file out to Atka.

Atka received the folder and laid it onto her desk, finishing transcribing the conversation and saving the file. As Francine left, she told Jackson, “Better get packed. Tomorrow we’re heading to Memphis.”
 
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MarineAvenger

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DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 2”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Haelstead Residence
Memphis, Tennessee; United States of America
January 22nd, 2044
6:16 P.M., Local Time


The cab car pulled up to the driveway of the house, a moderately sized two story home built on the end of a cul de sac, the outer walls of the house being a creamy white with brown roof panelings. The yard outside was wet and partially frozen. In the driveway there appeared to be two cars; a cement pathway led to the front door, some Christmas decorations still out.

Atka paid the driver with a warm, appreciative smile that seemed to lighten his spirits, and then exited the cab car onto the sidewalk, Jackson following out. Atka had her uniform on; the same could be for Jack’s more casual work attire. Naturally, both wore their coats in the cold winter air, and climbed up to the door, Atka ringing the bell with her partner to her side.

There was a barking of a small dog from inside the home, a loud ‘Shut up.’ being heard from inside as not soon after, a girl opened the door, wearing a pink shirt and kitten bottoms. “Hello?” The girl asked.

Atka gave her a gentle smile. “Are you Tracey Karo? I’d like to speak with you and your guardians if they’re not too busy.”

Tracey nodded her head, looking at the two with curious eyes. “Are you the police?”

“Sort of… my partner and I are detectives,” Atka explained while recalling something she’d learned in advance. “We’d like to help your dad, though for now let’s just keep that our little secret, okay?”

Tracey’s eyes widened and he mouth parted as she smiled with joy. “I love secrets!” The girl covered her mouth and nodded her head.

“Who is it Trace?” A woman called from somewhere else in the house.

“Some people here to see you, Grammy!” He looked back and Atka and couldn’t help but giggle as she was pulled away and a woman stepped into the doorway, perhaps in her mid-fifties, blond hair pulled back.

She looked the two up and down and her mood immediately changed to cautious. “Who are you?”

“Detective Atka Wiewiora,” The Inuit woman explained, showing the older woman her badge quickly. Although it denoted her as being from Toronto, it had an official electronic XSDF seal as well. “I wanted to ask you three some questions about the people involved in the incident over a year ago.”

The look on the woman’s face was not a good one. “What the hell for?”

Atka’s calm didn’t seem to waver, the former scout colonel having faced far worse than an aggrieved mother. “To discern the identity of the killer and bring them to justice.”

“You don’t need to find out who it is, it was that Karo bastard!” The grandmother stated, “And he is far away from here, I can tell you that, so if you need to do anything you should track him down yourselves.” Mrs. Haelstead went to close the door.

“If you speak with us and your testimony leads us to that conclusion, we will see him charged for something, even if first degree murder is naturally out of the question,” Jack spoke up. “But we’d need to actually talk instead of have a quick exchange of words from outside.”

“We already told our story to the coppers back when it happened, and nothing has changed. If you want my statement, look for it in your damn files!” The woman slammed the door in the detective’s faces, the woman walking away from the door, being seen through the glass.

“Unitsiriittuq nuliakkaaq…” “Stubborn woman…” Atka muttered under her breath. The two were silent for what must have been a straight minute after that, stepping down a few stairs back to the sidewalk and the cab.

“I… suppose we’ll move on to the other side of the family, then?” Jackson said after a time, equally taken aback by how his strategy hadn’t worked.

“Seems that way,” Atka replied. “Hopefully we’ll get something more substantial from them.”
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
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#14
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 3”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Karo Residence
Detroit, Michigan; United States of America
January 24th, 2044
5:38 P.M., Local Time


Atka’s gaze wandered the confines of the slums of Detroit as she walked with Jackson. The two were wearing winter coats, though while they had the same colors as their uniforms, the jackets the two wore were not from their formal attire. Rather, they were simple, beat-down articles of clothing over simple shirts and jeans, the two not wanting to attract attention. Even if Atka knew she could beat down any street punk that may have been tempted to go after a woman of the law, she had no desire to get into such a fight in the first place, and Jackson shared her sentiment.

It wasn’t long until they found the address of the Karo residence, though unlike the last family home they visited, this one wasn’t even a house at all but just a rundown, shabby looking tenement. Although the front door was supposed to be locked, and opened from a buzz in from the apartment, the door was off its hinges and lying to the side. Up the stairs, the apartment they were looking for was the second on the left, though the farther the detectives went in, the more it smelled of cigarette smoke and piss. Atka and Jack gagged a little, but did their best to weather the stench and arrive at the door to where the Karos lived. Jackson was the one to knock this time.

The door opened slightly, a chain holding the door to the wall, the person inside not being visible but it was a male voice who spoke. “Who’s there?”

“My name is Jackson Trommers,” The assistant detective announced. “We wanted to ask you some questions about your family.”

The man was silent for a few moments, but when he spoke up again his tone had a worry to it. “L-Look, we don’t want any trouble. I assure you, we know nothing about any crime that took place…”

“We’re not here to prosecute anyone related to you,” Atka chimed in. “We just want to talk. For your son’s sake.”

The door shut closed, though moments later the clatter of the chain being taking off could be heard through the likely hollow door and it swung open again. “P-Please… come inside.”

Atka and Jackson cautiously stepped into the room, taking a look around briefly before finding somewhere to sit down. Unlike what the exterior of the building and the hallway indicated, the apartment the Karos were living in was well kept, not a piece of trash anywhere but the house being filled with cheap furniture. A few candles were lit, giving off the subtle scent of lavender to the room. The T.V. was on, the local football game on. “Could I get you a beer, a water?” Connor’s dad asked, looking between the two visitors.

“A water would be good, thank you,” Atka said gratefully.

“Beer is fine by me,” Jackson responded.

He went over to the open kitchen and pulled the door to the fridge open, grabbing two beers and a water bottle, handing the beer to Jackson and the water to Atka. “So… why are you here about my son?”

“I want to clear his name,” Atka answered honestly, taking a sip out of the bottle. “I heard about his predicament from the Einherjar where he is stationed in the XSDF, and I decided I was going to help. Not only to help who I believe is an innocent man, but to reunite him with his daughter.”
Connor’s father chuckled and he popped the top off of his beer. “We’ve been trying to do the same for years… that family my son was going to marry into are stubborn folk. I’ve only gotten to see my granddaughter once, and that was for her birthday before I was…” He shifted in his seat. “Politely asked to leave.”

Jack nodded. “We had a similar reception. But we were hoping to ask you about your son and Louise. What is Connor like? What was Louise like? And how did they… get along?”

Johan looked down at his beer and he sighed, “Connor was always a little troubled. It was my fault really… I was the one who moved us away from our home and invested all my time in my job and didn’t pay him the mind I should have. I was just trying to give us all a good life. I knew somewhat of his early abuse, but did nothing. I had my own abuses…” He looked down at his bottle. “When Connor met Louise… he changed in every way, all of it for the better. He went out and made a name for himself. He left this life behind, and he made me proud for it.”

Connor’s father sighed and shifted in his chair. “He was a great man… he did everything for his family. When I had learned what he was accused of… I was absolutely furious. At him, at the officers who arrested him and the guys in suits who tried to paint him for what he wasn’t. Connor loved his wife, and would never, ever kill her.”

“I believe that, from your testimony and everything I’ve read so far,” Atka assured Johan. “My suspects right now include anyone that was with him the night of the murder… but if you have any other ideas as to who might have had a grudge against him, I could use the advice.”

Johan took a long swig of his beer, his face seeming to fall. “Oh yeah… he had all sorts of enemies. Old guys in high school he used to shoot drugs with, people around the hood who were jealous someone like him made it… even a few of his closer friends thought that. They might not have known it but I hear things other miss.”

“Maybe… but I doubt minor grudges would motivate anyone to murder,” Atka insisted. “They’re minor suspects, but I’m going to investigate the big fish first. Though if nothing turns up from there, I’ll consider the other avenues.” The Inuit woman straightened her coat, drinking more of her water while Jackson had a small amount of his beer, not overdoing it. “But I appreciate the help, and the reassurance that I am right to be doing this.”

“Aye… this is a huge weight off my mind. I was never a father he deserved… but I will always stand by him. If I don’t, then who will?” Johan asked rhetorically with a shrug of his shoulders.

Atka smiled. You’re a better father than you realize, she thought, but left it unspoken. “We’ll clear your son’s name, I promise,” The female detective stated as she and Jackson got up. “It was a pleasure meeting you.”

Johan nodded and he placed his beer to the side, standing up and leading his guests to the door. “Feel free to come back if you ever have any more questions.”
 

MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
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Dec 9, 2013
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#15
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 4”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Hotel Casablanca
Detroit, Michigan; United States of America
January 25th, 2044
3:41 P.M., Local Time


Atka folded her glove hands, resting her elbows on the ends of the table even if it meant causing creases in her valuable blue overcoat. The Detroit hotel’s fluorescent lights were dim, thus shadowing Atka’s back - which was facing the door, primarily, the mid-afternoon sun lit the area they sat in. This was a small living room with a simple wooden table with two chairs, Atka being seated in one with her current interviewee in the other. “Mr. Greene, please. I’m not attempting to incriminate you, nor do I consider you one of the likely suspects. I simply wish to know what you remember about that night and who was there, to help me narrow down who might have been responsible for the murder,” Atka insisted upon the man who was seated across from her.

“Look, I’ve already told you everything I remember! The entire night is a blur when I try and remember it, likely just the result of how much partying we did that night. Besides… not like we were paying for any of it.” Greene told Atka, getting somewhat annoyed with the detective at this point.

“Then who did pay for it?” Atka pressed. “Any piece of information you can offer would be useful, and then I can let you go when I have that.”

Greene sat back and shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “I’m surprised you didn’t know if you interviewed anyone else. Bruno Di Marzia, the guy Connor was supposed to fight hosted the whole thing. It was apparently some get together before their legendary fight.” The office clerk rubbed his wrists nervously and he looked down. “There was his manager as well… what was his name… Haddan Safar… I think, it was some exotic one like that.”

“I’ve heard that champion’s name come up several times in different lights now…” Atka made a quiet ‘hmm’ sound, leaning back in her chair. It seems like I need to pay one or both of these two a visit, and as soon as possible. “You’re free to go now,” She told Greene. “I think I have what I need.” Greene got up and left, and Atka walked over to the bedroom, naturally having two separate small beds for either detective, though the cheap room didn’t have separate rooms.

“I’m going to track down Bruno Di Marzia. In the meantime, I’d like you to call the Haelsteads again. If we could get through to them and give you a chance to examine the cadaver that would help with our case,” Atka told her partner, leaning against the doorframe.

Jackson was seated on his bed with his laptop unfurled, and gave Atka a nod. “I’ll see what I can do. Just be careful. We’re crossing the line from being as thorough as the previous investigators to digging deeper than them, so we should be ready for the possibility of resistance to our efforts.”

“Are we saying something about the Haelsteads there?” Atka questioned with an amused smile.

“That wasn’t what I meant, but… even if they have no involvement, which I certainly hope they don’t, they’ve been obtuse, and that hasn’t helped us at all. I will try again, though,” Jackson promised, flipping out his phone and typing in the number. “Good luck on your end,” He called out to Atka as she began to depart, heading towards the door. “And contact me if you get into trouble.”

Atka waved her hand as she opened the door and stepped through. “I appreciate the concern, but I do know how to take care of myself. I’ll be fine… especially considering Xifeng’s new trick.”

Jackson shook his head as he entered the number and waited for someone to pick up. Yeah, rely on the ability you haven’t fully learned how to control, or even what exactly it is, for that matter, he mused with slight sarcasm, though he knew in all seriousness Atka could handle herself in a fight and wasn’t becoming overconfident. Though I have to wonder if there’s at least a small degree of that. She hasn’t been challenged when it comes to physical combat, even if her intellectual skills have improved over the years from what I’ve seen and heard.

Jack’s thoughts were interrupted as the call surprisingly went through, and he brought the flip phone closer to his ear. “Hello?”

“Yes, is this one of the investigators who came to my home and talked to my wife?” A masculine voice asked, his tone rather pleasant though there was an underlying annoyance there.

A brief silence followed. Hesitantly, Jackson answered, “It is. I don’t have any further questions at the moment, but I have a request.” Another pause followed. “I understand this investigation brings up bad memories. And a good deal of grief. Neither of us are new to the practice, so we are used to this sort of thing,” Jack prefaced. “But if possible, I’d like your permission to take a look at the… at Louise’s body. Naturally, you have the right to refuse, as she is family. It would help us significantly, though. And as I’m sure you’ve been made aware, with modern technology I wouldn’t have to come into contact with the body in any way. I simply need permission to study it.”

There was a long silence from the other end of the line, all hope of getting a look seeming to leave as the time span lengthened. Finally, there was a shuddering breath from the other line. “You want me… to give you permission… to dig my little girl?” He asked again, seeming deeply distraught by the proposal, but did not outright refuse.

Jackson had a subtle but sharp intake of breath on the other line. Dammit. I thought she might have been stored due to the previous investigation, but they actually buried her… “Hence… my hesitance to insist. But for the purpose of bringing her killer to justice, and by doing so perhaps giving her peace, I must. Even if it pains me.”

More silence. However, this one ended sooner. “Could you… do it discreetly? And she will be put back?”

“I can do both fairly easily. You have my word, Mr. Haelstead,” Jackson replied.

“Then… you… y-you have my consent… I will make sure my wife does not find out about anything. If you can find her killer… or perhaps put away the man who got away… then you will have my thanks as a father.”

“I understand. Thank you, Mr. Haelstead.” Jackson hung up soon after, and called up another number, needing the assistance of a few contacts in the XSDF - minor agents - in order to assure that the retrieval of Louise would be done quietly in the dead of night, and would leave no evidence that anyone had been there. He didn’t intend to break his promise, after all.
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
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#16
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 5”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Nadi International Airport
Republic of Fiji
January 27th, 2044
1:32 P.M., Local Time


The commercial airliner, having touched down moments prior, finally came to a stop just outside the international airport, an old-fashioned stairway being pushed over to allow the occupants to exit. Atka was among them, having chosen the public transport rather than a private XSDF aircraft in order to avoid drawing attention. Glancing back up at the jumbo jet, its paint-job being a sleek light gray. The only distinguishing feature from airplanes of 25 years ago was the new engines it boasted. They were black and had an advanced look to them, in no small part due to the soft blue-green glow of Elerium emanating from them along with lights on the sides to assure that they were functioning properly.

“Makes it all the harder to accept that they’re still about the same speed as old aircraft,” Atka muttered, not that she really minded. It did amuse her, though. Even if she understood the reason. The thought caused Atka to briefly glance up at the sky, wondering what her adoptive daughter was currently up to. If the Einherjar can safeguard Forseti, than Earth can actually put its Elerium technology to use publically. No longer will vehicles have to run on the smallest E-115 batteries possible. She had already seen some of the mining colony’s supplies put into use in the world’s most famous cities. Their electricity networks had been powered by towering Elerium Obelisks with the slogan, “Endless Power Fresh from Forseti!”

Shaking her head and returning her thoughts to Earth, the detective made her way into the building, walking along the hallways until she had gotten out of the facility and to a taxi. Having gotten Di Marcia’s villa location from Roberts, the taxi drove along at a rather fast pace, moving away from the main roads and going along more of a dirt road, the sea glistening to the right as the afternoon sun was still very much in the sky.

The driver was a man was not one for many words, (most likely due to the fact he barely knew English) so much of the ride was filled with the sounds of a local radio station playing some exotic tunes. When they reached the villa, it was apparent that the fighter who Atka had come to visit had money, and lots of it.

There was a wall that surrounded the rather large home, being made from white blocks of cement that went up about seven feet in the air, sharp blades sticking up another foot up top. The white wall looked thoroughly maintained, with no vines or any wear showing on the outer perimeter, not a single tree in sight. No one would ever be able to climb the wall, that much was for sure. The taxi stopped outside of the gate, the taxi driver indicating this was the end of the line and that he wouldn’t wait. As Atka exited the car, there was a small booth set up outside the gate, a suited man with sunglasses and an earpiece standing in it at attention, no form of identification on him.

“Excuse me. I’d like to speak with Mr. Marzia,” Atka stated, not wearing her uniform but instead having a weathered white t-shirt with a Canadian flag on it, and below were two stylized wolves on either side of a polar bear. Complimenting that was a simple belt and pair of brown khakis.

The man’s expression was like of chiseled stone. “No tourists, fans or press allowed. If you want to bother Mr. Di Marzia, then you will have to wait till he returns to the states.”

“I wouldn’t fall under either of the three,” Atka insisted. “I’m here on personal business.”

“Then allow me to make myself more clear.” The man leaned forward, his eyes hidden behind a dark pair of shades. “No one is allowed unless specifically said otherwise. If you have nothing else to bring to my attention, then be on your way, miss.”

Atka sighed, rubbing her forehead and following up with a shake of her head. “You know, it really says something about the state of society - some parts of society - when people don’t have time for visitors at all. I can understand wanting solitude, but at least have the tact to tell someone to screw off yourself…” She muttered, before reaching into her pocket. If I have to throw around my weight, I will, but I don’t like it. The Inuit woman retrieved her XSDF badge and brought it to the guard’s attention. “Let me rephrase, then. I’m here on official business, and I’m not really planning on taking no for an answer.”

The man looked at the badge for a few moments, his expression not changing as he turned and began mumbling into his earpiece, minutes later the man turning back around and pressing a button. “Mr. Di Marzia will see you now. He is down at the beachfront. One of the guards will escort you there.” He told her simply, going back to standing with a straight posture and not bothering to acknowledge her presence any further.

Giving him the same cold shoulder, Atka waited for the other guard to arrive, a process that took a few minutes, and then followed the second security member out to the beachfront. Perhaps it was a remnant of her experiences fighting Viktor’s forces, but for some reason private security guards for a single man irked her. Perhaps it was just a factor of how long she had served in the police force.

The beach front was located below where the private house was located, having to take a stairway down the cliff the home rested on to reach the beach. When Atka arrived, it seemed like a small private party, barely clothed women playing in the water and in the sand with guys who looked stripped out of movies or magazines, a large table with cooks and food located farther down and a small bar set up not too far from that. Sitting in the middle of it all were two men, one with olive colored skin, the man having a large build with dark hair that was combed to the side with what seemed like tons of gel.

The man next to him had more a caramel skin tone, his Egyptian descent showing profusely though his hair was cut short, sharing a similarly colored dark color. Both men were laughing, women flanking either side of them. Atka approached them with partially-disguised distaste for the perceived decadence she saw in the party. “Mr. Di Marzia? I’d like to have a word with you.” She kept her XSDF badge in hand, having no desire to go through the same reception twice.

The fighter turned to look up at the woman and sighed, apologizing to the women but urging them to try some of the cocktails at the bar. “Yes, I was told you were coming from my guy out front. What can I do for you… detective?”

“I wanted to talk to you about June 15th, 2042,” Atka stated bluntly. “The night before the murder of Louise Karo, if you recall.”

“Somewhat… it was all very sad, but I don’t see why you have come all the way out here for something that was ended a while ago.” Bruno noted, looking up and down the woman a bit.

Atka ignored his gaze, contesting, “I’ve reopened the case. And you seemed like someone to talk to, considering you were an important figure during the festivities before the match was to take place.” Atka held up a finger. “Firstly, you and Karo talked a lot that night, but he drank far more. Which is odd, because secondly, you were the one that paid for all of the drinks without an issue, yet you didn’t exactly join in to the fullest like Connor did. Why is that?” She glanced at the cocktails on the table next to Bruno. “It’s not like you have an aversion to alcohol.”

“Because unlike Karo, I wasn’t as excitable about claiming to be the next champion, and it wasn’t like I was going to be a bad host at a party that was meant to commemorate a rival’s great achievement.” Bruno said smoothly with a smile. “I think I see what is going on here… Karo is trying to clear his name and has asked you to grasp at straws to try and find something that wasn’t there to begin with. Dude killed his wife, plain and simple. My only regret is that I was the one who provided the alcohol that led to the murder.”’

“Actually, I chose to do this on my own,” Atka replied smoothly, now having a reason to mask her contempt for this man. “And I’m glad to hear your testimony. See, I was worried that you might be the one.” Crossing her arms, the detective clarified, “You’d have the strongest motive. Frame Karo for a murder, and your match is canceled. You retain the championship title, your money, and your fame.” Her sarcasm as to her alleged confidence that her statement was a ludicrous thought began to seep through. “But I’m sure you’d never do such a thing. You seem like such an honorable person.”

Bruno and his manager shared a sideways glance for only a brief moment, but the UFC fighter stood up and looked down on Atka with a serious face. “I get that you are doing your job and all, but you are barking up the wrong tree detective. I think it would be best if you were to leave though. I have a fight next week and I would rather like to enjoy my vacation while not bringing up events of the past I had nothing to do with.” He stared into the Inuit woman’s eyes for a good while before he began to laugh, walking back over to his chair. “But feel free to grab a beer or something on your way out, my treat.” He told her, the fact he ignored her presence as the women came back indicating she would get nothing more from him.

The unphased detective sighed, and walked over to the table. Well then… looks like I’m onto something. She acted as if she were going to grab a beer, but then changing her mind. With a slight smirk, she walked off, one of the unlucky partygoers later finding that an entire six pack of beer had been mysteriously frozen solid.
 
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MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
Staff member
Dec 9, 2013
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#17
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 6”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Detroit Police DEPT; Forensics Lab
Detroit, Michigan: United States of America
January 28th, 2044
12:12 P.M., Local Time


Jackson Trommers fastened on a pair of medical gloves, analyzing the body visually to begin. He did not appear to be queasy in the slightest as he paced a short distance with his gaze fixed on the cadaver, the bright light of the otherwise darkened room casting shadows to his side. The male detective had long since overcome most of his trepidations about forensics, though understandably he had a slight aversion to gunshot wounds to the head still. That wasn’t the case at all with this corpse, though. The body of Louise Haelstead was pale and extremely withered, though the care taken to preserve the body was noticeable as even after a year and a half, everything still seemed to be there.

As Jackson went over the body, there were no abrasions or any cuts on the body, everything seeming in place with just a normal body. However, the giant hole that encircled most of her face was the most glaring thing wrong. Anything inside had been long since removed, but the lack of much abnormality with the hole was the most eye catching. Little to no bone of the surrounding skull was cracked or shattered, but rather as if it had been cut out with a laser, or like someone had used a cookie cutter.

Jackson narrowed his eyes. “No scorch marks, either,” The Canadian man muttered. “So it couldn’t have been an energy weapon… and it certainly couldn’t have been a physical blow either. That only leaves psionics, likely telekinesis.” Stepping outside briefly and disposing of his gloves, Jack flipped out his phone and called up Roberts. “I need you to check something for me before Atka gets back. She told me that the rival champion that night and his manager were her strongest suspects right now. I need to know if Bruno has psionic abilities or not.”

“Alright… let me check the registry to see if his name comes up.” The sound of the phone being put down came from the other end of the line and after a couple of minutes of saying nothing, the phone got picked back up. “No, nothing on a Bruno di Marzia on the XSDF registry. If he has them, he got them from somewhere other than them.”

Jackson sighed. “Dammit. And Atka hasn’t found anything otherwise incriminating on his record either. It seems spotless.” The caucasian ran his hands through his hair, trying to think of something. “What about his manager? It’s a long shot, but we might as well check him as well.”

“Alright… give me a bit.” Once again, phone was put down but this time, it only took 20 seconds for it to be picked up again. “Okay, listen to this. Apparently Safar had tried to become a soldier a couple of years ago. He was tested and came out positive for violet psionics. However, Safar was dishonorably discharged for selling illegal goods to other recruits, namely steroids and other performance enhancing drugs on the black market. It was never found out who he was buying from though.”

“Look into that. But I think we have a strong case forming, now,” Jackson stated. “Marzia has a match down here in about about a week, so he should be arriving in five days. Atka will be back before that, and we can think about how we want to confront Safar and potentially Marzia during that timeframe.” The Canadian moved to hang up, but then paused. “One last thing. The file should say what Safar’s initial ability was. Can you tell me what that is?”

“Sure, it was…” Roberts paused for a moment and made a ‘huh’ sound. “Says it was Mind Control… strong one too.”

Jackson nodded. “And that would certainly be effective if they were looking for ways to muddle the story. However… we have our counters for that,” Jack asserted, a Reflection forming at his side. It had a form like liquid shadow stemming into arms and a spinning column instead of legs. The solid parts consisted of two wrappings around its wrists, and wrappings around it’s body, like medical bandages. Its head was mostly incorporeal as well, having only a bandage above and below its glowing purple eyes. On that head though, it wore what appeared to be a radio operator’s helmet with an antenna and headphones. On its back, complementing this look, were two radar dishes.

The Canadian detective smiled grimly. “Jayce will see to that.”

***
Hotel Casablanca
Detroit, Michigan; United States of America
January 29th, 2044
11:56 A.M., Local Time


Atka and Jack sat on either of their beds, the latter’s laptop positioned upon a table that had been pushed over between the tables, much to housekeeping’s chagrin. On it was a list of security feed archives kept by Detroit. Jackson, wearing a simple blue-and-white button-up shirt and white pants (a contrast to Atka, who was in a dark blue tanktop and lighter blue jeans. “Let’s see here…” The younger detective mumbled to himself. “Connor Karo’s former home, side view, should be between Camera J-12 and K-1.” That house, both had learned, was now abandoned, having a negative stigma after what happened there. “There it is.”

The video feed was brought up on Camera J-13, and both watched it carefully. This one was more silent that J-12, which had shown the front of the house with a single passerby four minutes prior to the murder, and then nothing. J-13 showed no human life at all, just the light of a sidestreet lamp flickering next to a tree. At the four minute mark, counting down from five, a bird flew off. Atka watched cautiously, though was beginning to fear they wouldn’t glean anything from the analysis. The other side of the house borders another, as does the back, Atka thought to herself. If it’s on a corner like that, the killer would have either had to come through the front, which we’ve disproved, or the back.

The third minute mark, and nothing out of the ordinary. However, as they reached two minutes, another bird flew off, the same type as before. Its mate, perhaps? Atka wondered to herself. However, the same thing occurred at the one minute mark, at zero, and so on from the point when the murder likely took place. “Jackson, rewind it to four.” He nodded, having the same consideration Atka was having. At the four minute mark, the same bird flew away. Both detectives exchanged glances.

“So it’s a loop,” Jack muttered. “This practically confirms it wasn’t Karo, then… why else would this be here?”

Atka nodded in agreement, shutting off the screen. “I think we have everything we’re going to get on our own at this point. Now the question is, how do we want to approach Safar?”

Jack rubbed his stubble. “I think we should just visit them at their residence in Detroit. That way the only risk of collateral if they turn out to be responsible and resist arrest would be their security… which may or may not be in league with them, or may not know at all.”

Atka hesitantly seemed to agree. “I hate to risk having to fight security on the basis of them being innocent but not knowing who to believe, but we can probably fix that fairly easily. We’ll just call in some XSDF aid to take them down non-lethally if need be.”

“Sounds good to me.” Jackson got up and folded up his laptop. Glancing between it and Atka, he noted, “I have to wonder what your husband would think about you dressing like that with me…”

Atka rolled her eyes. “He knows I have only eyes for him. But they keep this hotel too damn hot for how cold it is right now outside. Talk about overcompensation…” Atka grinned. “But you're always dressing formal. Relax a little.”


With a shake of his head, Jack put his laptop up in his travel pack. “Unlike my senior officer, I like to remain professional.”

“It’s like looking in a mirror into the past,” Atka said to herself, laying back on her bed. Four more days… and then we get to the bottom of this.
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
5,153
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#18
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 7”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Hotel Casablanca
Detroit, Michigan; United States of America
February 3rd, 2044
11:24 A.M., Local Time


Atka put away her phone, having confirmed with the XSDF agents in Detriot that they were ready to move on her order. The detective was back in uniform, save for one missing article. Atka quickly rectified her absentee hat, securing it around her head and glancing back at her assistant, dressed and ready to go as well. “Corporal Kamala and her team of four will be heading to Di Marzia’s estate downtown. They’ll arrive before us, so let’s not keep them waiting too long.” The Inuit woman moved towards the door, but was surprised to hear a knock on it.

Jackson cautiously peered through the peephole, surprised to see Greene standing on the other side. “Mr. Greene?” He opened the door. “Can I help you with something? We have some business in a few minutes, so unless it’s important it may have to wait.”

“Y-yes… it is fairly… important.” The man seemed to be fidgeting nervously and he said, “I’ve… I’ve come to turn myself in for Louise’s murder.” He stated, standing up straight as to keep at least a little dignity.

Atka’s eyes widened in shock. “What in the world are you talking about?”

Greene asked permission to step inside and he let out a long drawn out sigh. “I… was the one who arranged Louise’s death… it’s my fault she died and I blamed Connor to get away with the murder.”

The Inuit woman across from him narrowed her eyes. “How’d you do it, Greene?” I don’t buy it…

Neither do I, Jack agree silently.

“I-I… I hired a professional to do it…” He stammered, as if reading from a script. “I was… jealous of Connor and his fame… I wanted his fiance… when she denied me I thought if I couldn’t have her then no one could.”

Atka shook her head. “You couldn’t have ever gotten his fame by killing him, and seeing you as you are you certainly didn’t. And there’s absolutely nothing to suggest you knew Louise much at all. If there’s something pressuring you, Greene… we can help you. Just tell us the truth.”

Greene looked visibly shaken, as if he was being held at gunpoint. “I-I’m telling you, I was the one who did it!” He pressed.

Atka closed her eyes for a moment, then snapped them open. With a surprising swiftness, she grabbed Greene’s hand just as it was angled down towards his pocket. “Let’s not try and stab anyone, Mr. Greene.”

The clerk’s breathing hitched and he looked at Atka stunned for a moment before growing angry. “How did you know? Just what kind of detective are you?”

With her free hand Atka tapped her head. “One that can see the future. And one that isn’t fooled by cheap tricks, Mr. Safar.” You’re up, Jack.

Jackson quickly summoned forth his Reflection, which moved forward, placing a hand on either side of Greene’s head. Neural feedback pulsed between Jayce’s palms as Jackson focused its aura into a sphere around the mind-controlled man’s brain, severing the connection between puppet and puppeteer. Greene was jolted as if shocked by electricity, and then collapsed to the ground, freed but knocked out cold. Jayce faded back out of view, back into Jack’s shadow.

Atka shook her head. “Come on. Either Safar’s writhing in mental anguish around here somewhere, or he’s getting ready to bolt.” She pulled out her phone, and called up Kamala. “Don’t wait for us, storm the estate now!” The Inuit detective then handed Jackson the phone to keep in contact with the Corporal, closed her eyes, reaching out with her mind’s eye and attempting to locate Safar. The maximum range of mind control isn’t very far… so where is he…? Despite her thorough search over about fifteen minutes, there was no sign of the manager in the small hotel.

“Anything?” Jackson asked as Atka, having gone down to sit on the couch, opened her eyes.

“No. I don’t understand… Safar was clearly speaking through him, but he’s not in a reasonable range to be using mind control.”

“Well… there is the possibility that one or both of them are Reflection users,” Jackson offered. “The wound on Louise seemed like a kinetic blow rather than focused telekinesis.”

“So it’s a modified form of the ability that Safar possesses, perhaps? Though it’d be odd if he had a Reflection capable of physical and mental combat… but not impossible.”

“Hence why it might be both,” Jackson offered. Atka’s phone rang, and he brought it to his ear. “Kamala? What is it? Did you apprehend either of them?” He asked, holding the phone out so both he and Atka could hear.

“No,” The Indian NCO confessed over the phone. “The guards surrendered to us, but neither Di Marzia nor Safar are here. They left silently at least ten hours ago.”

“Definitely modified mind control or suggestion,” Atka muttered. “Alright, we’ll-”

This time Jackson’s phone rang, and he returned Atka’s to her as he brought it to his ear. “Hello?”

There was crying on the other end in the background, a woman yelling out hysterically and the man on the other end sounded shaken as well. “Please tell me this is the detective I spoke to before, we have a horrible situation.”

Jackson paled. “Mr. Haelstead? What happened?”

“It’s… it’s Tracey…” The grandfather began to sob and he continued with, “We had left her home from school because she wasn’t feeling well… me and my wife went out to get her medicine but when we came back our home was trashed and our granddaughter missing!”

Jackson turned to look at Atka. “Tracey’s been kidnapped. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Shit. Kamala, we might need your help in the future, but right now we’ve got a lead and a whole different problem on our hands. I have to hang up for now.” Doing just that, Atka called Francine next. “I need you to find out where those two are, now. Use whatever contacts you have, try to track their recent spendings… I don’t care what the method is, they have a hostage now and we need to find them before it’s too late.”

Roberts confirmed and stayed on the line as she went to work, running from place to place, telling Atka to hold multiple times and going about frantically to try and piece together everything. It took around a whole ten minutes for her to confirm something, showing in volumes the level of skill the informant had. “Alright, I got something pretty solid. I went through bank records and it appears that both men have drained any accounts they had. However, they were sloppy and I’ve tracked one of their cells. Atka… they’re going to leave the planet. Once they meet up, they’re hopping on a shuttle to Luna but as far as I know they have no assets out there. I’m sorry, that’s all I could get.”

“Is it a public shuttle?” Atka pressed. “Or a private one?”

“It appears a public shuttle. They must be trying to blend into a crowd.”

“Then tell me where it’s taking off and we’ll get there if at all possible,” Atka replied.

“Alright… um… let’s see… it seems that the shuttle flight takes off in about half an hour. Atka… I’m afraid to say even if you left now you couldn’t catch them.”

“Not with a normal jet. But we might still have a chance.” Atka hung up and called Kamala again. “Looks like I do have a need for you after all. We need to use that Peddler dropship you came in.”

Kamala nodded on the other end. “Alright… but it can only take six. We can’t all go.”

“I understand,” Atka replied. “Leave two of your men behind here to clean up the estate and manage things there. You and the other two will come with us to secure the site… but myself and Jackson will take care of the apprehension of the suspects.”

“But… we can-”

“They’re taking a civilian craft in a public area. We can’t risk civilians being hurt, so Jack and I will deal with this using our psionic abilities that reduce risk of a crossfire.” Atka hung up, not willing to take no for an answer with so little time left, and ran outside with Jack, taking their rental car to where the dropship was.
 

MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
Staff member
Dec 9, 2013
3,310
849
113
New York, USA
#19
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 8”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Memphis Interstellar Spaceport
Memphis, Tennessee; United States of America
February 3rd, 2044
11:53 A.M., Local Time

There was a slight groan of a little girl in the busy spaceport, Tracey slowly opening her eyes as the effects of the drugs she was given to knock her out were wearing off. The small girl looked up, her vision still blurry and unable to see much, but she knew she was laying her head on someone’s shoulder. “D-Daddy…?”

“U-Uh… yeah, Tracey… just go back to sleep, we are going on a trip.” The man said back, his tone rushed and worried even though she had no idea why.

The girl gave the person a hug and she closed her eyes again with a smile. “I knew you would come back…” She stated sleepily as she felt herself slip away again.

The next time the girl woke up she appeared to be standing, being urged by a person behind her to move forward with a light push, walking through the security checkpoint. For the first time she looked down at herself, the girl wearing a fluffy purple winter coat with some pink pants and brown boots. These… aren’t my clothes… She thought to herself, a security guard looking at something behind her and approaching the girl as she stepped to the side.

The older man squatted down and smiled at the girl, watching as two other men stepped through the checkpoint. “Are those two your family?” He asked, not buying that the girl -with a skin tone and hair color completely different from theirs- was related to the Italian and Egyptian men.

Tracey looked at the two with a confused look. Where is Daddy… I thought he was here? “N-N-” Before the girl could answer she felt herself slip away again, except this time she didn’t fall asleep she was looking at herself as if in a backseat. “Yes, they are… I am their adoptive daughter…”

The guard, not really looking convinced, looked at the men and nodded. “Alright… have a nice flight then little lady.” As the older man walked away, he went off to the side and looked at the men again, taking out his walkie-talkie and pressing the button to contact his supervisor. “Sir… I think we may have a problem.”

***

As Atka and Jackson made haste to the spaceport in Memphis, Atka’s phone began to ring, the caller I.D. indicating it was her informant. Picking up her phone, Atka answered it. “Yes, Francine?” She asked simply, too busy running to waste her breath on a longer sentence. Although she and Jack were both in good shape, they still had a bit of ground to cover across the tarmac, and any distraction might cost them their chance.

“I got good news, I was monitoring traffic from inside the spaceport and security just got an alert. Two men with a little girl matching Tracey’s description have been stopped at Security Checkpoint 23. We can end this if you can get there. This might be the break you two needed.” The informant told the detective as quickly as she could, obviously in a rush herself.

Atka smiled slightly, but kept running, changing her course slightly. “We’ll be there as quickly as we can,” She told Francine, hanging up and making tracks.

***

“Sir, if you just come with me, we can sort this all out.” The security guard told Bruno. two others at his flanks.

“I told you there is no problem now, so get out of my way!” The UFC fighter said in annoyance, looking at the three ready to strike if he had to.

“Sir, just calm down!” The security guard placed his hand on his taser, ready to take it out if need be.

“We have wasted enough time…” Safar stated under his breath, having Tracey secretly mind controled behind him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone, tapping in a number in order to alert his ‘friends’ that it was time.

A few moments later, a couple of shots rang out a little aways from their position, the reaction from the people being one of chaos, all three guards turning in shock. With the three distracted, Safar pulled a gun from his jacket and shot all three. “We have wasted enough time here. Bruno, let’s go. They will meet us at the shuttle.” Safar picked up Tracey and began to ran to the nearby shuttle terminal.

The trio ran, pushing over several people and Safar having to shoot two more guards on the way. Reaching the terminal doors, Bruno used his powers to blast them open, having locked when a red alert was given. Upon reaching the large shuttle, they were greeted by armed pirates, Safar confirming who he was and the group getting aboard, the militant forces having already taken control of it before the alert was given, which meant aside from Tracey, there was now more people in harm’s way.

Atka and Jackson reached the devastation, horrified to find the dead guards and people in a state of pandemonium. Atka glanced back at Kamala and her two associates. “Lock this place down and calm down the civilians. We’ll go after those two and whoever they may have brought with them.” Not giving the Corporal a chance to protest, Atka and Jack pressed on, coming to the shuttle itself.

The door to the inside of the shuttle was locked tight, as to be expected. Atka pulled up her uniform’s sleeve, revealing some of the alloy plating she had underneath, but also the metallic black wristband she wore. Pulling a pin out, it took a portion of her blood - enough that she felt a spark of pain and dizziness before her specialized Adaptive Bone Marrow kicked in to regenerate what was lost. The blood exited through a tube in the back of the device, forming a shape vaguely humanoid over the course of two seconds. Over the fourth and fifth seconds of this process (the first being the action of activation), the shape was further defined by telekinetic fields making up its solid form. This was a combination of barriers for the exterior and fields as the ‘muscles’ - Atka’s blood serving as the ‘skeleton’ - in addition to teleimagery to give it a defined appearance.

The Reflection in many ways bore similarity to Atka, being born from her psych and not taking on an abstract or intentional form. Rather, it represented Atka’s more ‘wild’ side: her passion, her emotions, her vivaciousness. It appeared as Atka once had on a covert operation against the organization no longer in existence dubbed EXALT. A spiky black mohawk ran along its hair, black leather clothing with an outer sheen of plastics in some areas covered its form (that sometimes tended to be taller than Atka herself), though its tight pants and low collar made its ensemble of clothing more risque than Atka’s typical attire. It was aptly named “Xifeng” after the cover name Atka held, and also the name of her deceased clone, who bore the same appearance that Atka’s Reflection now did.

A blue-green glow resonated on its fists, hardening the telekinetic barriers as Atka instructed Jackson to stay back. Drawing back her right fist, Xifeng smirked, and then punched the door at its weak point, which happened to be the connections holding the door to the wall rather than the heavy lock itself. The hinges crumpled by the first punch (and Xifeng’s form unbroken thanks to the imbuing), the humanoid Reflection struck out again, this time with a left hook that sent the battered door flying into the other side of the plane, opening it up for the two to enter.

As they did, passing from the entrance into the middle passenger area, they saw the interior was in an order of disarray, but there were no passengers or attendants to be seen. They must have corralled them, Atka surmised. Good for us, as long as we get the drop on them. Jackson understood her meaning, walking silently as Atka did the same, her Reflection floating after her but in the middle aisle that Atka was backed up against, ensuring they wouldn’t be seen from the door on the right. Jackson walked down the left side to cover their bases, but remained as quiet and hidden as Atka whilst she reached out with her ESP to get a peek into the room they were approaching.

Inside, there were two guys sitting in the pilot seats, going over the controls as the engines of the ship began to drone to life. Behind one of them, a woman stood though she was slightly more bulky than usual, indicating she had something under her clothes, making sure they didn’t screw up. However, there were two more bodies inside, except these two were wearing the clothes of the pilots and they were on the ground, unconfirmed whether dead or alive.

Atka gave a slight nod to Jackson, and the two pulled out modern arc throwers - scaled-down from their bulky predecessors - and fired, the two electric charges hitting the woman first, knocking her out and enabling the two to reaim at the fake pilots. “Put your hands up and don’t make a sound,” Atka hissed.

The pilots looked at one another, a little unsure of whether to comply or not. Foolishly, one quickly reached to the side and grabbed it, spinning trying to get a shot off on Atka. He managed to shoot, but Xifeng moved swiftly, catching the traditional metal bullet with ease. A combination of telekinetic sturdiness and imbuing meant it left a crack and nothing more. Atka followed up this deflection with a taser shot that left the foolish criminal writhing. You want to try too? She asked the other one sarcastically.
 

DarkGemini24601

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2014
5,153
1,085
113
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Texas, United States
#20
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger:
“Grime of the Past, Part 9”

Rules of Shambhala: Chapter 1

Memphis Interstellar Spaceport
Memphis, Tennessee; United States of America
February 3rd, 2044
12:04 P.M., Local Time


The guy shook his head and got on the ground next to the guy she had tased, putting his hands on his head. The detective knelt down and pulled out a set of handcuffs, fastening them around the chair and the man’s hands, while also silencing him with a gag. Satisfied with her handiwork, she dusted off her gloves and got up, giving Jackson a nod. They turned back to head to the room at the other end of the shuttle.

As they stepped out into the middle passenger section, there were two guys waiting at the end of the room, their conventional pistols drawn and aimed at the two detectives, not giving any demands as they opened fire. Jackson had the presence of mind to duck behind a chair just before they fired, where Atka blocked the shot aimed at her with Xifeng. Jackson swapped his taser for a gauss pistol - the two had access to plasma but intended to incapacitate if at all possible, not kill - and fired a few covering shots, Atka psychically communicating her simple plan.

Xifeng shrunk down slightly to fit around Atka, the telekinetic ‘muscles’ being flattened against her skin whilst holding the blood like the veins of a plant hold chlorophyll. Outwardly, it looked as if Xifeng had been superimposed over Atka, or Atka had disappeared leaving Xifeng behind. The detective/reflection smiled, and then formed two telekinetic helixes that wrapped around her arms before being thrust, spike-tipped, at the enemy’s weapons, puncturing them and rendering them ineffective. “Give up,” Atka said, speaking through her Reflection along with her own voice to create an unsettling symphony of two voices.

The two looked down at their weapons with a bit of shock, but unlike the last guy, these two rushed forwards, going to use their hands since they had to.

With a sigh, Atka moved as well, backhanding one with a powerful blow and punching the other in the gut, having to hold back her Reflection to prevent its imbued fists from dealing permanent damage. They never learn, do they?

Both men went down, the one being knocked out from hitting his head and likely breaking something when he landed wrong, the second guy just lying on the floor, unable to get a breath as he wiggled around gasping before his breath returned. Everything then went dark for him as a taser from Jackson took him down more completely. “I think you enjoyed that a little too much,” Jack muttered.

Atka and her Reflection separated, and she shrugged before getting serious again. “Hopefully that just leaves those two…” The duo - or the trio, if Xifeng were to be considered - moved forward with a similar caution to before, heading towards the room at the back.

As they opened the door, everyone inside seemed to shy away, pushing back as they thought the armed men returned. When it wasn’t who they were expecting they seemed to calm down and looked around in confusion. With the rather large crowd of people back into a corner with all the luggage, Bruno, Safar, or Tracey weren’t standing out in the group.

Atka and Jackson both glanced around cautiously, searching for the two they were after, and their hostage. The former visibly tensed, going rigid. Her reflection followed suit. The latter didn’t risk summoning his reflection at the moment, merely watching with a calm gaze, though beads of sweat on his brow spoke of hidden anxiety. Finally, Atka’s eyes panned across a man that, despite different attire, she recognized from Fiji. “I suggest you come out and give yourself up…” Her gaze fixed directly on the Egyptian. “Safar.”

The Egyptian tensed and he merely smiled. “So… you caught up detective. I must say, you were more skilled than we originally thought.” The manager stood up, and he stared down the two detectives. Wherever Bruno and Tracey were, they made no moves.

“As you seem to be aware, we can’t exactly take you down without ensuring your partner can’t hurt Tracey,” Atka said, hoping her refusal to deny her predicament would throw the two off. “However, you have nowhere to run. If you resist or hurt anyone else, it’s only going to make things worse for you. If you give yourselves up now it might lighten your sentencing, though I won’t lie to you and say we’d let you go free. You no longer have that option, it’s just a matter of whether you two want to go to a maximum security ward or get at least some clemency.”

“Do not think you can reason with us, detective. It is either all in or all out at this point.” As the Egyptian man finished his sentence, something took form in front of him, a few wispy tendrils pouring out of his shirt and pants, spiraling together in front of him, taking something of a humanoid form, it’s shoulders freakishly large as something wrapped around it, holding together the form. When all was said and done, the Reflection in front of Safar looked like a mummy out of an old horror movie, its eyes glowing purple. “Say hello to Osiris, detective.” The Reflection’s eyes flashed as he tried to stun the two psions with his Mindfray ability.

Atka winced at the force of the attack, the powerful rendition of the ability enough to give her pause, at least for the moment. Jackson fared better, his neural feedback taking the attack, and repelling it with a mental jolt at Osiris, the effect dulled but still enough to be a distraction if nothing more.

Before either of them could react to Osiris’s moment of disorientation, one of the members of the crowd yelled, “Look out!” From the crowd, a small scorpion walked out, pointing its stinger at Atka and Jake, firing off a powerful, concentrated blast of telekinetic energy.

Xifeng put up an arm to block, only to have it be hit straight on and splinter badly from the central hole drilled through it by the strike. Trying to refocus, Atka had to let it shatter into pieces, wincing at the pain and drawing another dose of blood to reform the arm (the process taking half as long as the summoning, or 2.5 seconds). While Xifeng recovered the psion herself lashed out with a telekinetic helix, only able to form one at the moment, but the scorpion dodged to the side, evading the blow. High destructive power and considerable speed, but it shouldn’t be that sturdy by the looks of it… “Jack, deal with Safar! I’ll take care of this one.”

Jack nodded, forming a psi lance in his hand, having a focused bolt rather than a large blast, and fired it off at the former sports manager. Safar was in a cramped spot but in no means restricted, the manager dodging to the side and the lance slamming into a wall of luggage, causing several passengers to scream out. Osiris moved in, trying to get close to Jake so he could reach out and touch the detective’s mind directly.

Jack seemed to be wary of getting too close, or firing off another psionic or physical shot, and thus backpedaled. Violet energy rimmed his eyes, and he pointed at Safar. “Know my anguish,” He whispered darkly, and a jagged line of psionic energy slammed into Safar’s temple, images of the detective’s deceased brother mixed with fears that clawed at him and his anguish at his brother’s death being made the manager’s own.

The scorpion danced to the side, being sure to stay away from Atka and weave it’s way with the crowd so she wouldn’t have the guts to fire on innocents. As the detective tried to stay with the reflection, someone stood up from behind her and tried to tackle her from behind, the attacker Bruno but his once stylized and heavily gelled hair cut away.

Unable to muster the strength to resist, Atka was pushed to the ground, and growled in frustration. “I could have Xifeng pummel you right now, but let’s do this the old fashioned way.” Blue energy shimmered around her form, crackling like ice exposed to the summer heat, and Atka’s strength was heightened by physical enhancement. Tensing her muscles, she did her best to throw Bruno off her, while keeping Xifeng between her and the enemy Reflection.