[Episode Two] Union


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Juryrig felt, felt, the infinite cosmic power of whatever the fuck he held, and oh did it feel so, so good! He never felt that eerie sensation of the hairs on his neck standing up in years, and rather than scare him, it excited him. Dahlia and Rhea can see that excitement on his face, spread throughout his body as potential energy. Yet here he was, listening to a child suggesting a ... Safe... Course... Of action...

... Unless that ISN'T what Rhea is implying. That little street brat is so confident and special, she's challenging his ability to skirt danger and death by a great many threads while everything else burned! A crazed smirk grew, and his attention turned to Rhea, and the moment he opened his mouth was the moment trouble reared its head.

"Okay, Rhea... Give THIS to Osco!" He whipped his throwing arm and chucked the bolt-shaped harbinger of... Of whatever. The mad scientists aim was true, his target was Rhea, and the ONLY way he can be disappointed is if Rhea died.


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ISS Downrider

Romulus was about ready to smash something. Getting this caught up in a web of both his own lies, and the lies of the mechanic clearly had him in a state of intense panic. "I originally took the job to research how to use these keys as tools for the future." He held up one of his keys to the Pixy, before walking to the 'unfinished' cloaking device Reman had built out of spare parts, flipping it over to reveal a slot beneath it, just the right size and shape to store a key. "There was a change of plans however when we eventually started experimenting with the properties of the husks themselves."

"I still don't know exactly how, but these little keys started filtering out certain 'Memories' within the material itself. On the inside it's exactly the same as if the material was used in any other contraption, and the husks themselves are inert, basically raw bits of material." He started turning over the key in his hand before putting it back in his holster. "The union of the two elements however-" Pausing for a moment, he looked over the missing bits of tubing and design inconsistencies in the cloaking drive. "Creates a brand new way to use the material. It focuses that energy, and applies it to what it's hooked up to. That's why I can do something like this." Romulus set fire to his left index, and started to heat the rubber trimmings around all the lose cables Reman had been using.

"However, with the added properties, some new issues had come up. I originally saw it in a data collection device I had used the- Well the data key for." Romulus recollected thoughts in his mind, and remembered back to that day he had originally started Round Table. What he saw, what he experienced... What that mechanic became... It was almost enough to send him boiling over into a fit of fear-induced rage. He took it out by setting his hand up next to one of the metal panels of the device, and setting his hand ablaze, charring the edge of the object before putting it out altogether.

"My point I'm trying to make before you ask questions- If you can ask questions... What happens if you happened to intensify the properties of over-intake of Echyllis? I'm sure the overseer knows better than anybody what it results in. But does she know the extent of what I've done? If Reman isn't regulated by the driver Marie made for him..."

"She has inadvertently put the entire crew in danger."

Alipier Observatory
Upper Ledge

"I think at this moment, I'm a little lost. I wouldn't be opposed to some redirection... After all our crew's probably found a new route in, or perhaps found who poured the gas out on this facility... Maybe." Reman looked around, checking the Process's display occasionally checking the rather minimal amount of Fusion buildup, and checking the progress to the next fusion level. To him, It'd be fun to check when he would be able to conjure his weapon, despite how much strain it would be at first.

Though what scared him a little is that the device itself seemed to be malfunctioning. The display wasn't exactly working properly at some points, and most of the bits and pieces were replaced with these unintelligible symbols that felt somehow... familiar. Seeing them made him feel uneasy, for no particular reason at all. He looked up from the device and looked at the inside of the observatory.

Whatever kind of place this was, it was beautiful to him. Serene even.


Alipier Observatory

Having just finished going through his crewmates' recent tracks, Ausse half-expected to receive a warm welcome from them as he further closed the gap between themselves. It was no surprise, then, that the informant was caught off-guard as he had just finished uncloaking after turning a corner, getting his poncho speared through as the projectile's force jolted him backward alongside his now-ruined clothing. On top of that, he ended up dropping the myriad of trinkets he had acquired the room before onto the gasoline-coated floor, drenching the various fabrics in flammable liquid and causing the disembodied late overseer's head to bounce around for a bit... before finally deciding to land facing the pinned ex-soldier with its hollowed gaze.

"Oi! What the...!", he yells, surprised, in an uncharacteristically informal voice, before realizing his slip up and cutting his sentence short. A quick look to his side was all it took for the informant to recognize the weapon as the robotic overseer's own. "...Tara?", he said in a hushed whisper to none but himself, before raising his voice once more, in a considerably more formal tone. "I do not believe this is proper manners on greeting your fellow crewmates..."

He reached out to grab the glaive, trying to yank it out from the surface wherein he was pinned. It took a few seconds of tugging, as the blade was surprisingly quite firmly wedged into the ground, before the physically fit ex-sergeant was able to pull it out and use it as a support to bring himself back to his own two feet, making a bit of a show, afterward, of spinning the polearm around and resting its head on his shoulders like one would a greatsword.


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Alipier Observatory

Arbles took a couple of seconds to process all that had happened. She blinked and refocused, looking over to the decloaked person with a sniffle. "I could say the same about you in regards to sneaking around, without at least letting us know you were here first. That's probably why the overseer decided to pin you down." She started walking back towards the entrance the party had made, waiting for some form of update from Demios - and anybody else who had decided to split up. Just because she was tiny didn't mean she was the best at sneaking, after all...


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Alipier Observatory

Deimos nodded to the captain, and before Osco could even speak, he had already jumped into the nearest vent, scuttling his way through. With the leather jacket over his metal arm, his ability to sneak was as good as it;ll ever get, with minimal clinking and clanking as he shimmied through each shaft. For a facility such as this, he was surprised at how wide these ducts were, allowing to keep his ears perked up to keep track of anyone to eavesdrop on, with the added bonus of being less likely to be spotted.

On the downside, it was hard to tell when these ducts had last been cleaned. The dust and debris was enough to make him flinch, but he had doubts that there were any alien spider creatures that could be lurking. Besides, this was probably his best bet. As much as the others would need the assistance, he felt he would be more useful scouting ahead in search of enemy troopers and letting the others know of their direction.

In the corner of his HUD, a minimap had begun to emerge, his every movement taking a scan of his general direction in relation to the rest of the facility. It even connected to the devices the others held, each one appearing as a colored dot. Dahlia was blue. Osco a teal, and Juryrig was a deep red that somehow was always twitching or even slipping off the screen on occasion. He took a note to not focus on the bug, chalking it up to the massive amount of alchemical energy causing interference or something like that.


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Alipier Laboratory

"In all honesty..." Marie began, taking in the surroundings, her eyes filtering out everything that she needed to be aware of at first glance. An observation lens of some sort. An apparatus, possibly electrical in nature if previous experiences were cross-referenceable. It appeared, however, that a majority of the equipment was...analog.

Hold that thought.

"In all honesty, I am absolutely clueless," Marie admitted. "No conjectures have been made yet, and I know as a definite that the real treasure here still has not been found by us. And by the glory of science, in all of its capricious hideousness that people warp it into, I need you two to keep quiet about the real treasure here."

They will make a useful pair. No need to collect many allies this time. Covert operations would be a far superior tactic.

"I don't think most of the crew know about this. In fact, with any amount of ego, I can say that in this group only I and Osco know about this, and maybe Romulus if he's been mucking around in my desk. Which, all in all, is pretty likely, so...no pressure?" Marie cracked a bit of a shitty smile. Eh, whatever. "But apparently there's something here called SARCOM, a federal communications platform for..."

She trailed off. Her memories sifted, recalling the words of her Pixy friend.

"Sarcom was in service for centuries leading up to the downfall of the Grand Republic of Avisten. Several deep blacksite servers remain even after their collapse, but we were never able to find a way in. The men in the black and teal appear to have access, and are using it for some form of recruitment."
Noted: Recruitment. Optimizing neural processes. Possibilities...considering all feasibilities...52.2% certainty of a pyramid scheme. Arguments against: Arcadia is real and Sarcom would not assist in the construction of a scam. 62.8% certainty of cult activity. Arguments against: Leader does not appear to have the same mannerisms as a 'holy man' of sorts.

89.7% certainty: Weaponization. Arguments against...null. Feasibility increased to 93.75%. Additional feasibility in the form of willingness to purchase an armed machine as well as already possessing a heavy duty machine that appears to have been reconstructed for combat purposes.

"...this situation. There's...no way." Marie gasped, suddenly out of breath, sweating once again despite the cold. For a moment, the polished metal of her driver reflected luminescent green eyes back. She blinked, and her eyes were back to being their regular deep blue, the flash of one of Osco's Pixys vanishing. A trick of the light. She closed her eyes in exhaustion, leaning against the wall, her voice becoming a much steadier monotone.

"Objective changed. We can, with given information previous from OSC-01, extrapolate the data that the Arcadian Union is attempting to weaponize the data in Sarcom." Marie's breath began to heave, before steadying back out. "This may cause a repeated Institute incident, repeating human experimentation, and worst-case scenario, re-create the disaster that destroyed Arcadia. We must inform the group. They need to be stopped here before they gain momentum."

She said a few magic words that would very likely change their fate.

"A horrible turn of events, isn't it. Romulus is to be trusted as of this moment."
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Alipier Observatory

A quiet, decaying whine was released from the glaive as the extra weight pressing it through the informants poncho and into the tile began to die. It wasn't long before the rightful owner came to reclaim the hefty polearm, which seemed to fall out Ausse's hands towards the approaching Overseer. The glaive wavered and stopped halfway down, the business end lining up with OSC-01s out stretched wing.

"The pilot said it. Cloak signature logged." The Overseer said brazenly, an eye falling briefly to the dropped fabric. With a flick of their arm, the polearm spun around, snagging the loose white veil with the hook on its back end. The glaive followed it's owners wing as it raised towards the ceiling, folding neatly back into a feathery shape with the fabric caught snug in the seam between light and dark metal as she turned back towards the stairs.


Deimos had likely begun to regret his decision about halfway through the vent, past the point of no return. "Vent" was a bit of a loving term, as it was more of a utilized crevasse in the mountain itself: tight, uneven, and cold. After a few minutes of struggling, covered in dust and husks of deceased insects, he emerged at the other end of the Nave, on the balcony outside of the the Observatory dome. He managed to finally squeeze out of the gated hole, but with some loss. His pata (and several pieces of metal arm) were stuck firmly wedged at the exit of the vent. It seemed like the sword was not coming out without some kind of obnoxious force. It would have to wait.

From his new vantage point, he could see Marie treading about the Observatory dome, as well as the new silky black banners that were strung from the ceiling. At the opposite wall of the grand hall was a pile of stacked pews, concealing something dark behind them. It appeared to be a large set of double doors. At the end of the balcony was a small ladder, which ran down one of the many support columns.

There was no sign of the man named Bryce, or his mechanical follower- however, there laid abandoned on the balcony the guts of... some form of machine.At first there was no rhyme or reason to the pile of loose casing and machinery, but it seemed that it originally formed a ring. It had been laid out on a mat, but then that mat was shoved loosely out of sight from the floor. Given the rusted and broken state of some of the finer guts, as well as the gutted wiring, however, it didn't look serviceable.

Most notably, it seems someone had been there to inspect it first. Laying at the basin of the dissected ring was a piece of paper, stuck to a flat reddish crystal nonchalantly with a piece of tape.

Gate's fucked. Too much lost to degradation.
GATE M# EC-412??E
FUSE M# Homemade.
AVISTEN: No Avisten stops registered.
OAKHI: Possibly. Near province.
INCIPERE: Messy. Destination has either been destroyed, moved, or something has gone wrong in between.
Two unregistered locations, one possibly nearby. Similar errors.

Stuck to the bottom end of the page was an equally snarky post-it note. "Zever, Peter. I told you to upload it."


As Marie circled the device, she could feel a familiar draw causing the hair on her neck to stand. Also, quite the possibility of her stomach turning as well. Outside the cold windows, she could see the partly-excavated remains of some kind of courtyard, grey bricks and stepping stones quickly becoming covered by ice once more. There was a broken fountain in the center of the courtyard, whatever stone figure it was meant to bear having been eroded by constant weather. The sound of a quiet wind chime could be heard through the cracks in the pain, barely powering through the swirling wind.

Just beyond the fountain, however, was a series of out of place metal pikes. It looked as if someone has ripped them out of a gate and stuck them carefully spaced apart. They were recent, but their wear suggested they may predate the "restoration" . There were four in total.


"That looks a little like the crystal from Loinia" Befuddled the captain, shortly before interruption.

Rhea fumbled about the bolt, getting a grip before she could let it drop. The crystal gripped firmly between her fingers, the orphan could feel a familiar tinge to it immediately. As she rotated to face the captain, a small force reverberated through the bolt. It grew in frequency and magnitude quickly, as a bright blue spark ran from one tip to the other.

Within a moment to bolt detonated with force, sending a searing blue beam of heat and light towards the wall with howling cry that echoed clear through the entire observatory. Dahlia let out a less-than-heroic yelp and jumped straight into the air, fall out of the door frame and into the hallway behind her. The bolt did not lose it's trajectory as it punched straight through the stone wall separating the galley and the bunkroom, leaving a baseball-sized hole in its wake.

Rhea's hands were left lightly burned, with small flakes of crystal puncturing her fingertips in several places. The crystals didn't stick around for investigation however, and quickly began to seep into her very skin.

Hallway, Again

OSC-01, in light of the news received through her Pixy unit, OSC-01 was prepared to hasten her search of the other detachement of the group. The Overseer's head snapped around a clean 180 degrees at the sound of the familiar screech of echyllis, raising a hand in alertness. In the cargo bay, the Pixy mimicked the motion away from Romulus, unintentionally transmitting the sound as well.

The Overseer reached back, twisting around to grab Ausse by the still-whole half of his poncho. With a heave, the robot swung the man away from the back of the hallway with an urgent amount of force. Not a moment afterwards, the door to the bunkroom erupted with roaring flames, the gasoline within ignited by the wayward bolt. The flames trickled out of the room, slowly igniting the more diluted fuel that had seeped away from the source.

Nave, Again

Shortly after the howl permeated the air inside the nave, it became dead silent. After a few moments, a loud thud echoed from a room beyond, in the opposite direction. The brief ruckus came from the left side of the room, behind the large stack of pews.
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Deimos had to cut his losses as the shafts grew tighter around him. He was lithe, yes, but the way his weapon stuck out from his hip would be troublesome. He was sure that even if he managed to yank it out from where he had foolishly jammed it, the tip would be so bent out of shape that it may as well be a mini executioner's blade, or, for his purposes, useless. Though he knew if the haul from this lot was good enough, he'd be able to buy more than just one replacement weapon for his gauntlet. However...

He eyed what bits of his arm remained. The guantlet and some sleeve, but his pauldron had been torn to hell and back, leaving just a few pieces of that, his rerebrace, and gauntlet over a black bit of cloth. It could probably take one or two hits before being tossed every which way. With a deep breath, he let his eyes drop to the floor of the Nave, and while his vantage point was to his benefit, its access was more than to be desired. If he wanted to scout around and help his team at least slightly with the heist, he'd be better help with what remains of two arms than only one.

The dusty fox kicked eyed the device sitting by him on the balcony. To him, the text that lined the attached paper was a salad of words tossed for a little too long with extra ranch dumped across it to make it even more illegible - but if anyone would know what it meant, the Downrider's resident egghead probably could. He plucked up the sheet and flashed a couple of photos with the camera of his HUD as a reminder - and in the event this piece of the puzzle met some untimely end.

He took a couple steps back, turning to face the silver-haired crewmate below. Despite all he saw, it was clear there was more going on. The echo of the observatory didn't help him hearing that last couple parts. Something about weaponization - and even further, something about their fedora-toting gunslinger.

But most importantly... there was a thing called SARCOM.

"What's SARCOM?" Marie would hear in her earpiece. He was taking a risk switching his frequency away from channel 2, but something told him he should approach the conversation on a one-on-one basis. He patched into her headset directly. "Don't worry, it's me, Deimos. I could hear your panting and rambling from over here on the Balcony." She could hear a laugh bubble through. "So do you always talk to yourself like this when you think or only when you're piecing things together?"


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Hallway- one less wall

"Ah... this is-" After she had finished juggling the crystal, and turned, she took a... very, very brief moment to look at it. And got a very bad feeling. Acting on instinct, she deliberately pointed the bolt in a direction that was... distinctly not in the direction of the captain. Unfortunately that new direction it was pointed in, seemed to have caused a secondary explosion... in the room full of gasoline. How delightful.

Most likely accidental arson aside, Rhea was nearly floored as she stumbled backwards, shaking her gloved hands. How??? She asked herself as she looked at her hands. She could FEEL it- they had been burned- and it felt like she had tried to grab a cactus- what- Oh god what is this in my- She desperately shook her hands as the flakes of crystal started sinking past the fabric, taking several steps back. Her pupils had srunk to pinpricks, and her heart rate reached almost record levels for her, adrenaline flooding through her system like so much tea being dumped into the harbor.

In the midst of that complete, and utter panick- she had one thought, about how similar this, invasive crystal ways, how it felt to her own abilities. If she could, just stop it from sinking into her and take it out... With a few flicks of the wrist, she tried to get the invasive crystals OUT of her body- into the wall, into the sky, it didn't matter where, just Not in her. At the very least, she made sure to... at least try, to fling them in the oppisite direction of the downed captain, if they came out at all.

"I- I'm sorry I..." She only now noticed, she was shaking. Practically vibrating. It was hard to say she felt a more pungent, distinct fear untill now... Even so, she turned to the captain after a moment, taking a step towards her "D-you... need some.." She stopped herself. No, why Would she want your help... you almost killed her too, didn't you? That nagging voice in the back of her head had her sit put... just, for a moment... At best, she would follow the captain, but didn't want to get too close right now. She didn't even have time to think about how much of this was all juryrig's fault instead of hers even, only breifly glancing at him out of the corner of her, shunken to a pinprick pupils, just waiting for the the slightest sign of a provocation to run... or to take drastic action.


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Marie's senses refocused.

"Huh?" she wondered what Deimos was talking about. "Oh...um...it's...normally internal, but yes. I should probably explain what SARCOM is, or at least what I got from Osco."

"It's an Arcadian comms channel for scientific research. She specifically emphasized scientific. It's definitely got things I really want to read about in there...like things pertaining to the blacksite research that was conducted at Amperia. There's also little other things that she talked about, like Echyllis and whatnot, which I'll send you a picture of right...now."

There really wasn't any point in concealing data anymore, as the entire group would benefit more from knowing which direction they should head in. So Marie sent Deimos a picture of the Echyllis Fuse that was in Osco, the glowing green crystal.

"Osco seemed to be really bitter about this stuff, by the way. Bad history with it? Anyways, there's these really weird-looking structures from where I'm looking. Check them out."


Hopefully, she was making the right decisions. For the glory of science. This time, truthfully.
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