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    A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

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    AHC2

    RPC : 27
    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2017-04-05
    Location : Behind a microphone, dazzling crowds...

    Character sheet
    Name: Claire
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Konig Wolf

    A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by AHC2 on 7th April 2017, 15:16

    Plot Teaser:
    One organized family of criminals attempts to steal another's prized songbird, but such an act comes with dire consequences, and the songbird herself hides more than just a delicate voice beneath her pretty looks...

    A chill wind wound its way between flat mud-brick buildings, rubbing raw the bare skin of every traveler naive enough to trust that the desert was not just as threatening as its denizens. Far out in the mountains, the little town was nothing more than a glimmering torch on the sandy plain, flickering back and forth as people scurried to and from their homes. Up close, though, the twisting streets all drew pedestrians to a central location. A person wandering the outskirts would somehow invariably find himself approaching a street crowded by throngs of others, the warm, spicy bite of hot drinks in the air, the sounds of raucous laughter and the banging of ceramic plates, and above it all, a gentle but piercing voice carrying a delicate melody.

    Inside The Sleeping Helcat, men and women alike sat, a mug of beer or a stout glass of whiskey in hand. Some smoked, and the scent of thick tobacco mingled with the sweet smell of a hard apple cider, the Helcat special. While outside, conversations carried on about who had won big that day off the Family's fights, inside was almost deathly silent. All the patrons of the Sleeping Helcat sat enraptured by the lilting song, a sordid tale of loss and bittersweet love, of heartache and hateful revenge. The singer wove a story of how she'd once been wed to a handsome, strong man, how she'd fallen head over heels for him, how he'd racked up debt after debt, and how when she found he'd been unfaithful, she'd spilled his guts all over the floor.

    The singer was dressed in a long, slender gown, black and twinkling with sequins in the dim electric light. Her dark brown hair, normally firmly swept around the corners of her face, was done up in curls atop her head. Makeup turned her normally pale skin a bright rosy color, and though she'd taken several drinks at various customers' behests, her face showed no signs of inebriation. As she sang, she stared out into the air above all the patrons as if she wasn't seeing them but rather whatever story she was still unfolding, and when the song finally stopped, the crowd was silent for several moments before erupting into thunderous applause.

    "Ladies and gentlemen," a man of sharp, chiseled features said. He wore a black suit with a bow-tie, and his hair was slicked back handsomely. "Please give another round of applause to Miss Claire here."

    Again, the air was filled with a noise like a stampede of Cannon Fort. Even some of the zoids sitting outside brayed noises of approval. It was well-known amongst the locals that Miss Claire's voice could calm even the most savage of desert beasts, and the Sleeping Helcat had a special area behind the bar where zoids were welcomed to stay while their pilots were inside.

    "She truly is a gem for our family," the man continued as Claire demurely smiled and bowed. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we'd like to take a quick intermission this evening. Miss Claire would probably like some water and a chance to collect herself, I'm sure. Please enjoy your evening, folks."

    Claire bowed again and followed the man behind the stage curtain into a back room. Out in the main room, the once silent patrons all began talking excitedly again as one table near the door emptied of its occupants. The three of them, burly-looking men, stood and quietly meandered between the packed bar towards the door leading to the back room. Their faces, however, were far less cheerful than those of the other customers. There was a job to do this evening, after all.
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    Dakitten

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2017-03-31

    Character sheet
    Name: Geomatry
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Iron Kong

    Re: A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by Dakitten on 9th April 2017, 03:19

    Seemingly unburdened by the harsh winds, a creature of peculiar sorts worms around in the darkening sky as night takes hold, looming over an occasional passerby like the phantom death, considering taking a soul away from the mortal coil before deciding against it and moving on. Only a handful of passer-byes had noticed the silent masked figure as it made its way into the bar, as Geo began to fret at the idea of startling too many individuals. Even with the dark colors, being seven feet tall and riddled with curious marsupials made it hard to stay incognito out in the open.

    Taking a seat at the end of the bar furthest from the door, four different sugar gliders began scurrying down from the neck, under the hood, and beneath the poncho to produce a piece of paper requesting a sour whiskey along with paper money and finally a very long straw. The tiny creature struggled for a moment to align the straw, and the glider with the money looked cautiously at the bartender before scurrying back under the folds of cloth at the behest of a subtle tapping at the wood. The masked creature kept its gaze low and did its best to keep the hood over its face as it drank the alcohol and noticed that, pleasantly, attention was not drawn its way. In fact, aside from the bartender giving a few back and forth glances, the ringing noise behind the gentle giant was a magnet for drawing all the attention.

    Geomatry took a minute to come out of its shell and recognize the performance for what it was, and the topic of the song left it feeling a bit uncomfortable despite the soothing voice producing the tale. It was a welcome bit of refreshment during these days between jobs, when a little bit of scouting had to be done. There were faces to record, voices to cross reference, and most importantly, information on factions and motivations to be gathered. And where there was a bit of information to be gathered, there was surely work to be had.

    Lowering to its knees and allowing a sugar glider with a dark brown patch on its head and an adorable burgundy collar to follow the singer to the back room discretely, Geo started to go back to its drink and began the task of delegating straw positioning to its remaining furry friends. Regrettably, the whiskey would go untouched for the rest of the evening as another curious and irritable party seemed to have interest in the goings on beyond that of an audience member. With "Alvin" already scouting, however, the burly gentlemen would have to receive more direct attention, and the seven foot tall giant seemed to shift and contort in a most unnatural way while approaching an empty table, shifting about what seemed like a club and two bricks underneath the long flowing fabric before sitting down in a compressed state, as though it was ready to hide in an overhead compartment. Two of its other fuzzy companions would quickly flutter up atop Geo’s head in turn, their gazes fixated on the trio, while the contortion went on silently in the dark atmosphere.
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    AHC2

    RPC : 27
    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2017-04-05
    Location : Behind a microphone, dazzling crowds...

    Character sheet
    Name: Claire
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Konig Wolf

    Re: A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by AHC2 on 9th April 2017, 15:27

    Behind the Sleeping Helcat's main room sat a corridor, dimly lit with flickering fluorescent lights. A sharp contrast to the coiffed bar area, the paint on the walls was aging from its once creamy off-white color to a yellowing earwax-like hue, and the wooden doors-- two on the left, three on the right, and one at the end of the hall-- clung to their frames via rusty hinges that needed constant oiling to stay silent. No one noticed the small rodent creeping into the back just behind the three men; there were plenty of nooks and crannies where the light did not reach, after all.

    The men walked single-file down the hall. The two on the outside were larger than the one in the middle, broader, more barrel-chested, but the man in the middle, mustache greying at the edges, had a kind of tough stockiness to him. He walked with his chest puffed out proudly like a bird strutting for a mate, and his hand twitched at his side where the gleam of metal twinkled in the dull gloom. The other two were similarly armed, hands steady and just off their hips where their own handguns were holstered. The one bringing up the rear eyed his boss carefully, a bead of sweat on his brow as they entered the room with the door slightly ajar.

    He had kids at home he wanted to return to.

    Inside the room at the end of the hall was a slightly more well-lit room. A lamp sat on a broad oak desk, ornate and rather rare in the treeless scrublands surrounding the town. Between the desk and the cloying cloud of cigar smoke, the room stank of wealthy greed. A framed picture of the man in the chair sat on the wall behind him, comically larger than the man himself.

    "Gentlemen," he said, taking his cigar out of his mouth and tapping the ashes out into a glass tray on the desk. "I take it you enjoyed the show? Miss Claire's voice is quite something, isn't it, Miss Claire?"

    Beside him, Claire stood perfectly still, eyes uncomfortably focused on the three visitors. The bigger one who had been last to enter shifted uncomfortably as he felt her gaze bear down on him. He kept getting the feeling like she never blinked, but as soon as the feeling settled over him, he'd glance at her to see her eyelids, a smokey blue veil just darker than her irises, close momentarily. It was like she was mocking him, blinking intentionally rather than on reflex.

    The stocky man ignored her and instead stared directly across the desk. "Look, Corrado, I'm not here to make small talk. Your boys interrupted our shipment on Whitesmoke Trail three days ago. Do you know how much it cost me to have their zoids repaired? They all walked back, hands tied behind their backs. That's declarin' war, Corrado Fano."

    Corrado smiled calmly and held his hands up. He and Claire were alone with the three men, and he could see the leader shaking with rage. "Johnathan, I had nothing to do with that. My boys were taking the day off, seeing to their wives, going to a movie. Why would I want your guns anyway? I got plenty here. Besides, if I had done it, why would I have sent your boys back to let you know? I'd have killed 'em, let the vultures pick at their eyeballs as they rotted in the sun. Your zoids would be scrap metal, a buckle for my boot, Johnny."

    The little man was practically dribbling spittle down his chin. "It ain't Johnny!" he shouted suddenly, hand wrapped tightly around his gun. "It's Lucky! I ain't gonna tell you twice!"

    "Alright, alright," Corrado answered, shrugging simply. "I forgot, okay? Lucky. I'll remember. Listen, are you gonna shoot me in my own establishment? Do you know what it would take to get out?"

    The man called Lucky grinned. "You sure make a lot of money off your little doll here, Corrado. I'll tell you what. I'll forget your little slip-of-the-mind and the trouble your boys caused mine if the Torrios can borrow her for a while. She can sing at our house for some private parties and then come right back."

    Corrado glanced at Claire. She hadn't moved or reacted at all. He smiled again. Atta girl. "I don't think she's inclined to go with you, Luck. She's staying right here."

    Lucky's hand whipped his gun out, leveling the barrel at Corrado. "You think I'm really askin', Corrado?" He glanced at the watch on his left wrist. "You've got ten seconds to hand her over."

    Corrado simply reached out and grabbed his cigar, taking a long drag of the tobacco burning at the end. He blew a cloud out into the air, letting the ten seconds elapse. What could they possibly do?

    And that's when a thunderous boom echoed throughout the building. and the enormous metal claw of a Saix tore into the side of the room.
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    Dakitten

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2017-03-31

    Character sheet
    Name: Geomatry
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Iron Kong

    Re: A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by Dakitten on 22nd April 2017, 02:07

    Alvin hid into the shadows quite well, being the darkest of all his kin as he tailed the android and her mister Corrado into the back room. The optics of the camera in the cleverly camouflaged collar focused and dilated as it recorded the rather heated exchange between men of questionable ethics and character… But the sugar glider had little interest in the exchange of words. Instead, it was instantly curious in the still woman, not seeming to be like all the big fleshy meatsacks that lumbered about clumsily through the world. Darting through the shadows from on high, the marsupial made a tiny squeak before attempting to land on the android’s head, and curling around into a ball atop it.

    Meanwhile, outside at the bar, Geo maintained its position and postulated leaving the building in case things might actually pop off. Shambling up to its feet, the enigmatic oddity took a few more glances at the group and merely tilted its head, some of the sugar gliders playfully hanging off the side of its hood while the ground shook from the destruction going on behind closed doors. Even as fragments of wood splintered about and patrons began to scramble due to the onslaught of an armed hostile zoid. THIS was the kind of scene that might house answers and connections!

    In a rare display of excitement, the masked creature began to make a clicking noise that rose in intensity, confirming if nothing else that whatever lay behind that mask had a fully functional tongue. As the clicking noise grew louder and louder, a roar could be heard in the distance as if in reply. Sugar Kong had been summoned, and Brittany alongside her sister darted off to reclaim their comrade before absolute bedlam might ensue. Taking along a few scraps of paper, the gliders darted through the wreckage without fear, seeming to ignore their own instinct for self preservation as they scurried across the rubble and around the warpath of the Saix outside, prior to chirping up a storm at the feet of the android. Brittany’s piece of paper would be dropped at her feet, and read as follows.

    “Dear possible client, Geomatry offers you their services. The fee is cash based, but discounted depending on shared information regarding local affairs to the point of possibly being free. All information shared is kept strictly confidential, due to my mute nature. If you agree, gently scratch the head of the marsupial closest to you. If not, tear up this note. Sincerely, Geomatry.”

    Regardless, her slightly bigger sister shared a different note, dropped at the feet of Lucky, before the critter scampered back through the rubble to a somewhat more stable place, not waiting for the note to be read. This piece of paper had far less text on it, and Geo’s pets learned early on not to be nearby when it was read. It was a very simple threat, simply saying “Retreat now, or risk losing everything. You are being watched.” The roar was not very far off now, and elsewhere in the establishment, Geomatry was leaving the building to go and engage the Mafioso backed zoid.
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    AHC2

    RPC : 27
    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2017-04-05
    Location : Behind a microphone, dazzling crowds...

    Character sheet
    Name: Claire
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Konig Wolf

    Re: A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by AHC2 on 28th April 2017, 06:58

    Outside the tavern, a number of people shouted for the authorities at the top of their lungs. They were likely wealthy tourists, spoiled businessmen and women expecting the responsive policing of their home cities. Out here in the deserts of the eastern hemisphere, few militias bothered to try and keep order. Families of bandits roamed the hillsides, attacking unsuspecting or unprepared caravans and raiding their supplies, leading visitors, traders, and freight shippers alike to seek to hire protection from the local riff-raff.

    The Fano family had begun as one of these such bandit families, but Corrado Fano's father had been a shrewd observer of the desert's social ecology. By dressing like the wealthy businessfolk that came threw their area, he used an air of composure and manipulative business practices to offer his family's services; that is, protection from the dangers of the desert, and for twenty years, the Fano patriarch had worked to ensure the Fano name was known to all who came through. Few dared to cross them.

    But Corrado was not as smart as his father had been. While he had inherited his father's cool demeanor and confidence, he had developed a lust for wealth and an impatience that poisoned his methods. If Corrado's father had been a fine whiskey, firm and flavorful, Corrado, himself, was a kind of cheap swill served simply to inebriate.

    And now Corrado was dead, a limp body on the ground with a trickle of blood spilling from his lips, crushed by rubble almost instantly.

    Claire, meanwhile, had reacted at inhuman speeds the moment the claw came tearing through the ceiling. Even Lucky Johnny had jumped in surprise when the zoid came through despite knowing exactly when the attack was planned, but Claire simply moved to cover the creature that had taken residence atop her head, holding it close to her breast as she dove away from the crumbling stone and splintering wood. The creature appeared to be startled and perhaps scared, but otherwise, it was unscathed as Claire opened soft hands, hands strangely human-like but without the warmth of blood suffused throughout or the pock-marks and ridges eroded by time and use. They were like gloves more than hands.

    Lucky and his men were still stunned when another of the creatures scampered into the ruins of the room. Claire watched it impassively, eyes momentarily flicking across to Corrado's body, as it left a scrap of paper in front of her and another in front of Lucky.

    She processed a number of possibilities in that moment. Without being able to see Lucky's own slip, she immediately assumed that perhaps whoever had sent their pets to spy on the meeting was trying to play both ends against the middle. Perhaps they were the ones who had orchestrated Lucky's big show of force and were taking the opportunity to press Lucky under their thumb. Lucky's group of thugs were dimwitted at best, after all.

    Another thought was that perhaps Lucky's scrap was a warning, perhaps a betrayal if the sender had set up the attack. Still further was the possibility that Lucky's scrap was a bluff, a nonsense message simply meant to throw him off. In any case, the question that remained prioritized. What could this person actually offer to her?

    A small twitch at the corners of her mouth was all that communicated amusement to the rodents. She reached over and gave the one she had protected a careful scratch between its ears before noticing Lucky's form move in the dust. She blinked blankly at the creatures and then the light from her eyes seemed to fade, and she slumped to the ground, seemingly unconscious.

    Lucky and his men struggled to their feet and collected Claire's unresponsive body from the ground. Both of the muscular bodyguards grunted in pain and surprise at how heavy she was, but she was eventually lifted and moved into a compartment in the Saix's head. Lucky climbed into the cockpit and gestured irritably at the other two as the head lifted and carried him out into the desert night. Strangely enough, where there had been several zoids, including Claire's own Konig Wolf, parked behind the tavern, there was now nothing except the Saix and throngs of panicked people. The Saix took off, then, towards a ridge, lights dark and only its metallic armor glittering in the starry glow.
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    Dakitten

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2017-03-31

    Character sheet
    Name: Geomatry
    Team: Freelancer
    Primary Zoid: Iron Kong

    Re: A Lyrebird's Feathers [Open]

    Post by Dakitten on 5th May 2017, 21:10

    Alvin was confused. There was the scritching the creature was used to receiving during these sorts of errands, and the target was awkwardly still and calm, making her an exemplary resting place despite the lack of warmth! But then there was catastrophe, and a human spilling out some of its innards, and the other usual incident of his sister’s note going unheeded. All this was concerning, but not outside the realm of “normal” in the peculiar service animal’s mind. No, what was weird was the still girl going limp, barely getting out of the path of her unusually heavy body as it leapt from the former safety of her hands. That wasn’t overly common in his line of work, that girl had made the deal and she was off limits, but these other humanoids somehow did her in without any sign of contact or loud booms…

    He hissed at the bodyguards, and his fur stood up on end as he arched his back and prepared to savagely crawl up one of the collectors and bite and scratch his way to what would have been little more than a moral victory, but somewhere nearby there was a familiar high-pitched whistle, inaudible to any lumbering thinking ape. He knew it was time for cooler heads to prevail as the god of the sugar gliders was in charge of acts of savagery, and it was time to leave everything up to her and her herald, the nesting thinking ape. Scampering away with Brittany into the clothes of the android, the two creatures invested their safety and livelihood with their target, confident that their presence would lead to revenge. Had the marsupial only had words, he would have surely demanded vengeance, and pronounced in bold declaration to the villains, “Big sister Ko, showtime!”

    Sadly, even if Geomatry could still use its mouth to sate its own thirst for revenge and justice (the secret of any possible voice known only to the family of gliders anymore) it wouldn’t waste words over something so mundane as a contract regardless of any irritating breaches. That being said, it was curious that so many of the zoids spotted on the way in had disappeared before the eldest of the critters, Dave, had directed the Kong to Geo’s location for an armed intervention. Getting out of the area before the police got involved wasn’t very difficult due to the head start, and with a homing beacon securely nestled in an unliving golem’s garments it was only a matter of time before the saix came into missile striking distance.

    The giant gorilla machine lumbered through the wastes with all possible haste, its giant arms beating the ground as if in protest to this trespass against the protection it offered. While it was far from the speediest creature on planet Zi, it was steadfast in its pursuit without the need for any overly covert movement, and its firing range was superior to most. No longer roaring in display as it moved, it struggled to get into attacking distance before the Saix might make it out of the homing collar’s range or regroup with allies, anxious to tear down the ridge it was approaching down atop it with one of the two high-yield explosive missiles that refracted the moonlight over the dunes as the hunt continued.

      Current date/time is 17th November 2017, 22:36