Map - In: 0 // Out: 1 - Riverdale

2f43d  Paige Guthrie: The smile withered, and she dropped her gaze. "I don't want you pityin' me none. I didn't want you sad for me, or thinkin' you owed me somethin' that you don't. It's my own choices that got me where I am." Paige's gaze hesitated briefly on the way back up to meet his again, lingering on the edge of the table. It took some effort to lock eyes with him. "I been sleepin' in my truck for th'better part of a year. It ain't bad. Got a bench seat, and I ain't particularly tall t'begin with."
5af22  Nathan LaBelle: "Right, right; no apologies. Sorry." Well. This was awkward. Not knowing quite where to go with the conversation(being apart for so long after everything that had happened,) Nathan shifts his gaze down to the table and taps his fingers again. She said she'd figure something out, and that was enough for a normal person, but...something ate at him about that last remark. "You ain't got a place, do ya? Fer how long? Why try to hide that from me? Don't'cha remember where ya found me?"
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : "No apologies," she echoed, a small smile on her face. Her gaze swept over his face, and for a moment at least, she could almost forget all that was stacked against them, and the fate that might await her if she stayed. Imprisonment, reconditioning, or worse. She corrected her posture and let the thought slide off of her. "A place to... No, but I ain't had—" Paige cut herself off. She didn't want to see the soft look of pain that would come if he knew she hadn't had a place to stay for nearly a year. Lifting her free hand, she tucked her hair behind her ear with a confident smile. "I'll figure somethin' out. I'm resourceful, y'know."
5af22  Nathan LaBelle: A smile comes to his lips as he looks down, the candid moment of tenderness something he didn't quite expect from her. "I've missed you too. Sorry." Because how else do you say "Hey, sorry I started to act nutso and all that, lol teehee?" He takes another drink of water and thinks back to her "sleeping on it," and he sets his glass of water down. "Do you have a place to stay in the city?" He knew of her family's place, but that was dozens of miles away from here. She'd be driving all night if she left right now.
a0bd0  L: I'm enjoying reading your RP
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : This wasn't how she'd expected their reunion to go. She'd thought of a hundred different scenarios; in some versions he treated her with distrust and coldness for the way she'd turned her back on him. In others, they'd run into each other on a mission, or she had rescued him from an Imperial ambush, or he'd worked out who was behind her supply runs and sought her out. Never had she imagined that she would be too late.

"Well, that ain't so bad. In th'meantime, while I'm figurin' out what I'll do, kin I still see ya? I don't want ya gettin' in any kinda trouble, but I-- I missed ya somethin' fierce, baby." The word was followed by a brief moment of realization and Paige pinkened, her drawl suddenly thick. "Sorry, Ah--- Ah guess it's a force o' habit still."

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: Well that's me."
5af22  Nathan LaBelle: He nods, running his thumb along the length of her hand. "I understand. Take all the time ya need." He clears his throat again when she asks what he does, and there's a slight blush to his cheeks that accompanies anothet fidget. "Well, it's not really something the Institute trained me for...and not flashy at all, but I'm a courier. Some times they have a package or data that can't be sent through traditional means and
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : It would be so simple. "I'll... Have t'sleep on it, Nathan. Th'things I saw..." As his fingers intertwined with hers, Paige tightened her grip. Her heart gave a lurch, and it was as if nothing had changed. He was still the boy who had asked her to Homecoming. Perhaps she could affect change from within.

"What d'you do for 'em?"

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: "I meant what I said about no apologies." Her hand finds his and he smiles, taking the time to lock his fingers around hers. "I'm not gonna push you, if you wanna be just friends, we're just friends and I understand. If you come back though Paige...everything from before ends. The Empire is gonna ask where you've been. They're gonna ask questions you don't wanna answer, but they're really trying ta help. I didn't believe it, but they did help me. And I'll be there with you, I promise. No more runnin', no more separatin'. I'm there."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : It could work. She'd kept her activities so secret, so off-the-grid, using the same faces and names for her missions to avoid suspicion. As far as the empire knew, Paige Guthrie had gone missing. She could miraculously reappear. All it would cost was the knowledge that humans were facing their fates without her aid. It would be ridiculous to pretend she hadn't missed the Institute, the team, her path to glory. Nate.

Paige reached out and stilled his fidgeting hand, covering it with one of her own. "I shoulda been there for ya. I know ya said no apologies, but I left when y'needed me most. Maybe if I'd stuck around, I coulda... Helped you."

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: "Yes." He answers immediately, trying his best to keep her from doubting him or even outright running. Placing his hands on the table again, he taps his fingers a few times on the wood and then shrugs. "I missed you, I guess. I was tired of the running, living like a rat. I want to settle down, live a normal life, like we did in the Institute. You were part of that normalcy...and we have a chance now."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : The bottom dropped out of Paige's stomach, and she closed her eyes in resignation. She'd abandoned him when he needed her, and now? Now...

"D'you work for 'em?" she asked softly, and there was no bitterness there. How could she possibly hold it against him if he said yes, knowing what he'd just told her? Then, another thought occurred to her. "Why'd ya ask me here?"

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: His hands come up, one hand shushing her and the other up as just a general "stop talking" gesture. Taking a shaky and tagged breath, Nathan manages a smile and rolls back the sleeve on his left arm to reveal a bracelet. It's black and slim with a green light pulsing slowly, fading in and out every few seconds. Placing his arm on the table, he turns it over to reveal an "X" tattooed into his wrist, partially underneath the bracelet. "Several months ago, I turned myself into Imperial custody. I was kept in a cell for several weeks before I was offered a...deal." Pulling his sleeve down again, he does up his cuff and smoothes out the wrinkles, taking another breath and looking her in the eyes. "Paige, I...Im not going to lie to you anymore. That part of me is gone. I started seeing stuff that wasn't there, hearing things no one else did. I needed help. I had hurt people, killed others. The Empire discovered that my mutation was causing a mental deterioration...see, my body was capable of withstanding the electricity I absorbed and generated, but my neural pathways couldn't. I was rewriting my personality every time I abused my power. In exchange for... Amnesty, I volunteered for the Null program and I entered a plea deal. So while I understand your discomfort with the Empire and some of her practices, I can't...be apart of that anymore."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : She nodded, and somewhere deep inside of her, a tightly tangled knot began to loosen. As he placed the water glasses, she reached up and tugged at her hairline, peeling back the false face. If they were going to do this, she wanted to be herself.

With a small sip of the water, she nodded again. "Alright. I... Know th'truth about th'Empire. Learned it not long after we parted ways, in fact, an' I tried t'look for ya, but... Well, I guess you must've moved along."

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: "No apologies." He's quick to cut her off, but his voice is soft and non-confrontational. He grabs two glasses and pours two glasses of cold water. Setting on down on the table in front of her and another where he'll sit, he offers a smile before taking his seat. "Please. Let's just...explain things."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : Paige watched him, swept her gaze over him to take in everything that had changed and everything familiar, but her gaze never strayed long from Nate's face. She stepped inside without a second thought and clasped her hands behind her -- then smoothed her dress again and re-clasped her hands in front of her. "S'pose you've got some too," she chimed in, then sat where he motioned. "But jus'-- lemme say somethin' first."

Her nervous smile faded, and she folded her hands on her lap to keep them from fidgeting. As she spoke, Paige's eyes drifted away from Nate's and she locked her gaze on her hands.

"Ah owe you quite a few 'pologies, an' Ah fully understand if y'ain't ready or willing ta accept 'em."

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: "C'mon in, wouldja?" Stepping aside, he holds the door for her and manages quick glances at her, then back to the ground several times over. Assuming she steps in, he'd close the door and step around her, motioning to a chair at his kitchen table. He finaggles with his shirts cuffs, anxiety clear on his face and in his body language. "So uh, I know you have questions...obviously."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : There could have been an armed ambush and Paige wouldn't have heard it coming. The sound of her blood pulsing in her ears was deafening, and she had to consciously count out her breaths in an attempt to slow her heart to a safer rhythm. God, she hoped she wasn't sweating. Maybe she should have doubled up on deodorant.

"Nathan," she drawled, and couldn't stop a grin from spreading across her face even as her hands nervously smoothed the fabric of her faded sundress. "S'good t'see ya."

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: The door unlatches a single lock within seconds, opening its full length to reveal a clean shaven young man. His hair is shaved close to his skull and he's wearing a buttoned up white shirt with a black vest covering a tie. His pants are likewise black, ironed neatly and clean. With a slight gulp, his eyes scan her face for what seems like an eternity. With a small, awkward smile, he nods. "Hi."
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : In the months since her disappearance from the city, Paige had grown guarded in ways she had never been before. Paranoia kept her safe when trusted contacts turned out to be playing both ends against the middle, and she'd developed processes and systems for vetting any potential contacts, consisting of at least one decoy meet before ever setting foot in an agreed-upon location. These had never failed her before, and in at least two instances they'd saved her life. But when the address came through, she didn't hesitate. Leaving a handful of change on the table for her meal, she gathered her belongings into a bag and made her way out of the diner.

Her own truck would have been too recognizable — the thing was ancient and enough of an eyesore to make an impression. It wasn't an issue, though. In an hour, she had new transportation and a new face. In two hours, she was pressing the buzzer to apartment 230.

5af22  Nathan LaBelle: There's another moment of hesitation when his phone buzzes, and he reconsiders his initial plan to open this dialogue. With a pit growing in his stomach, he begins to type.

I have a place in Central.

Nope. His thumb jams down on the backspace key for several seconds, deleting letters and then whole words. Taking another drink of water, he takes a deep breath and sets his phone down. It's been a long road that led him, and by extension, her, to this point...and he wasn't entirely sure they should continue down it. Once again, however, he reaches for the phone and begins to type.

I have a place in Central, 4888 MacTaggert. Apartment 230. It's legit...dont worry about cops or anything. I'm on the up and up.

With a final press of his thumb the message sends and he sets the phone down. Depending on how far away she was, it could be days before they see each other. Or, it could be minutes. It could also be never, but...well, he's an optimist.

2f43d  Paige Guthrie : The buzz of her phone might have gone unnoticed, had the corner of the device not been in contact with the surface of the table. Instead of a soft vibration in her hands, the notification set the wood loudly humming, reverberating enough to set her teeth on edge. Paige sat up, briefly sheepish at having taken a quick nap in such a place, her cheek red and creased from the edge of her binder. As she blinked her way back to alertness, she turned her gaze to the message that had woken her, and everything stopped. For someone who spent so much of her time engaging in written communication, she was suddenly at a loss for words. Finally, forcing the veil of sleepiness off of her like a heavy coat sliding off her shoulders, she tapped out a response.

"Where?"

5af22  Nathan LaBelle : It couldn't have been more than a year, he rationalizes. Struggling with the concept of time for the moment, he stares down at the phone in his hand and runs a finger over the surface. It's cracked, black screen comes to life and illuminates the dark apartment bedroom, and his thumb taps twice. Checking his texts, and he sighs with what seems to be mild surprise and frustration. Leaning over to grab a glass of water for a small sip, he wets his lips as if to prepare a speech. Tapping his thumbs slowly, almost hesitantly, he types out one very difficult sentence.

"Meet with me?"

a0bd0  L: You were here too long ago.
a0bd0  L: When there's something strange, in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters)
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : Nine months ago, Paige Guthrie had left her dorm to carry out her annual charity work. Eight months ago, she returned to her dorm and cheerfully packed her things for the holiday break, piled her bags into her truck, and waved her teammates and classmates goodbye as she headed out to a Christmas at the Guthrie farm. That was the last anyone had seen of her since. No social media posts, no texts to her family or her friends; Paige had vanished. In fact, she was nowhere to be found in all of Neo-X. Riverdale was a different story. There was an old beat-down truck that spent each night in a different alleyway, a young woman curled up on the bench seat inside. With as hot as it had been this summer, she was having more difficulty sleeping, but it didn't matter. Her days were spent in whatever establishment would allow her to spend hours at a time next to an outlet, charging her new phone (equipped with a ghost chip) and tapping the screen with her thumbs. Last night had been unbearably hot, though, and she hadn't gotten much sleep. It had been the same for several nights, which left her exhausted — and prone to dozing off in the booth at the diner she was currently occupying. Her meal was paid for, so the staff didn't much care, and she had something of a death grip on her phone, so there was little chance of anyone pocketing it. Spread out in front of her were several books and notebooks. Even without the institute, Paige never stopped learning. She was currently hunched over a binder with colorful tab separators and laminated pages, her blonde head resting on crossed arms. Graphite stained her hands and sleeve, and pink eraser dust clung to her eyelashes as she slept, a cold cup of coffee neglected nearby.
8f820  Rhino: Whoa, wtf? There was life in here recently?
a0bd0  L: I thought I was the only ghost still running around here
760ad  Katherine Pryde : She lets him have his say, the implication about just what he needs her for hitting her solidly in the gut. Okay, so business, not friendship, had called him out her way. Maybe if he had some manners, and asked to come over, and said hello, and given her a hug, or whatever, she would have been enthused. Excited, even. The problem was that Kitty had never really had much defense against the European demonling’s careless charm or the way he domineered any situation he found himself in. His presence was compelling, and her heart was sore. He was beautiful and peppy and scathing. As he slurped her noodles, the meager wall of her contrition crumbles, face collapsing into a moment of grief. She was sorry she had disappeared, left them all behind … it’s gone before he’ll have time to note it. It might have been nice to think he was brought out by friendship, but … surely she owed him one for … something. Whatever. She was bad at saying no.

“Fine,” She mutters, straightening. “Then it’s you who owes me one.” Man. She knows better than to go on an escapade with Kurt. She knows better than to be drawn in. She doesn’t have the will to spar with him about it, to argue the general callousness of his arrival and invitation, the rudeness of it all. Shutting her bedroom door, she’s gone a scant ten minutes before emerging in a suit that’s unmarked but had clearly been designed by engineers far outstripping her own abilities, the fabric synthetic and probably designed to accommodate her specific mutation. It’s cut like a sleeveless, knee-length wetsuit and disappears under a frothy sundress in short order. “Recycling’s under the sink. Put the fork in the dishwasher.” Toeing on a pair of flats, she snags her bag-of-tricks off a coatrack by the door and joins him wherever he’s migrated.

cb2ee  Kurt Darkholme : His luminescent eyes roll nearly clear out of his head as she confirms that she got his texts. It’s all the smarmy – and wholly European, Imperial political realities be damned – can do to keep from firing back again. Of course she’d received them. She’d responded, hadn’t she? That’s how he’d ended up here and found himself at the point of a sword.

“Out,” he replies as he comes up from the fridge, container of leftovers in hand. He cracks open the container and sniffs the contents briefly before beginning a search for an implement. If he’s going to have to wait for her to get ready, may as well help himself to a bite. Seeing as he’d had to come out to the ghetto to retrieve her, it seems only fair. A moment later, fork in hand, he digs in.

When next he speaks, it’s around a bite of damn near the best noodles he’s ever eaten. Cold? Who cares? “You vill have to forgive my charade…but vee von’t be going dancing. Not really. I need your help with a personal matter. Entschuldigung!” he says, his apology no more than half-hearted. A cursory attempt at best.

“I guess I should say…vear somesing…light. Somesing zat you can move around in, ja?”

760ad  Katherine Pryde : Propping herself up in the frame of the bedroom door, she watches him mosey and observe. There’s little to see, the minimalist inclinations that had been prominent in her former life holding true now. An impressive computing rig, but that’s only to be expected. Comfortable but practical furniture not designed to accommodate anymore than a few guests at a time. The paint is clean and cheerful, and the view of the park across the way not half-bad from her second story digs. Folding her arms across her chest, she lets the arrows of his words cut her to the quick, exactly as he intends them to.

“I’m not upset,” She answers swift enough. ”Surprised, is all. And yeah, I mean, I got them. Out where?” How much effort is he looking for her to invest, here? She’s tired. She’s been tired for forever it feels like. Besides, the world was getting on just fine without her in it. As for what held her away from it? It went beyond her dead parent, but Kurt wasn’t the one to listen to her crisis of faith. Her conflict. The fridge is well-stocked; at least she hadn’t let her healthy eating go. “I haven’t been back in a few months. Where are we going?” At least she seems receptive to the idea of accompanying him somewhere, but there’s no denying the catch of hesitation as she asks the question. She’s nervous. If he’d only just set a date instead of barging in, she would have had the time to build up the courage for this encounter. Been able to prepare some coherent words of apology for going AWOL … something.

cb2ee  Kurt Darkholme : “Has your retirement from public life seen you up to no good?” he shoots back at her mention of arrest. What does she take him for, local law enforcement? How insulting! At her prompting he steps inside, tail trailing unfettered behind him. At least it has the manners to push the door shut as he passes. “You seem upset, katzchen. Did I come at a bad time? Maybe anozher six months to find ourselves vithout so much as a vord vill see us in a better place, hm?” he replies pointedly.

As she moves off he doesn’t so much trail behind her as wander, following his whims as he cuts a trail. It would be an understatement to say that her presence has been missed, but everyone had understood that she’d needed some time. Some time, but not a lifetime. It was out of respect that they’d stood down after the death of her father, but six months and no word? Come now. While she grieves and rests, the world move inexorably onward and he’s worried. Besides, it’s not as if he has a frame of reference against which to feel the pain associated with losing a parent. His were both absentee scumbags. To see them off? Good riddance.

“Did you not get my texts? I mean to take you out. Vhen vere you last in Central? It looks…vell, almost back to normal,” he says, tone softening as he pulls open her fridge and begins digging around.

760ad  Katherine Pryde : She stared up at him, aghast at his weak excuse of an introduction, waiting for more, expecting that it would come, but all he offers is a toothsome grin. Kitty's not one for anger, and the only thing she ever pushed was herself, so in the wake of his hello - just a really terrible introduction, seriously - she steps aside and gestures him in with the point of her sword. "So long as you're not here to arrest me, come on in." She purrs, sheathing her weapon though she keeps a white-knuckle hold on it, puttering past him toward the bedroom she had left. "They let you out of babysitting duty for a night and your first thought is to pop in, huh?" She shoots over her shoulder, as much consternation as she's capable of darkening her gaze. "I mean, not that I'm not glad to see you, I am, really. I want like a million hugs and at least three waltzes, but what are you doing here?" Kurt got to his business in his own time, but this was an outrageous invasion of her privacy and … stuff. Stowing her sword, she scrounges a sweater out of her clean hamper and tugs in on over her camisole.
cb2ee  Kurt Darkholme : If he’s at all startled as she throws open the door in a near panic it doesn’t show, gaze drifting from her face to the sword in her hand and back again. “Catching up vith an old friend, I sink...or do you mean to do me harm?” he queries, brow knotting though he remains otherwise unflappable. As if to defuse the situation, he smiles – a brief, pointed flash of ivory – before his features slip back into casual impassivity.

He knows, of course, that his sudden appearance must be something of a surprise, but it’s not enough to put him off. Being possessed of boundless confidence, her off-kilter reaction is easily pushed aside; that he’d broadsided her never acknowledged with so much as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wink. They are comrades. Good friends who haven’t seen each other in months. What do the details matter?

760ad  Katherine Pryde : The stability of the mutant Empire had been dealt a blow but not been knocked down by a techno-virus that possessed the living and animated the dead. Great minds and greater powers had come together to banish the virus and restore the world to order, but not without great loss and great suffering. Those to suffer most were the common folk and the human cattle that existed on the lowest social rung. Mountains of bodies were collected and incinerated, without categorization or identification, leaving a billion people with only one answer to their sorrow: their loved ones were gone, and the only logical assumption was that they were dead.

What started as a whisper in the gutters became a national outcry: who was responsible for the virus? How had the House of M been able to end the outbreak so quickly? Were the dead really killed by a virus at all, or had it been a shield for the truth: that the Empire had murdered millions of malcontents to lessen the likelihood of an uprising? Rather than rejoice at living another day, reveling in the opportunity to rebuild and the roads left clear by the absence of so many souls - giving rise to new innovation, infrastructure, development across all fields - the public was restless, distrustful, wounded. The answers to their questions were unsatisfactory and the collective voice rang with rage.

The Imperial loyalists who should have been applauded, had their names etched into the legacy books for the life of the M Empire - who were responsible for saving the Empire and the world from utter ruin - were instead confronted with and buried by the public’s animosity. There was no escape from the flocks of paparazzi and throngs of protestors that demanded transparency from a government shrouded in mystery.

Among those now shuttered behind the walls of their homes or institutions, accompanied by a guard to protect their valuable persons from the violence of the mob on excursions, was the promising young computer scientist, Katherine Pryde. In the aftermath of the virus, Kitty had resigned from her post at the Imperial Institute, her place on the secondary X-Force team, dropped her doctoral programs, and gone into hibernation. For a little while, she visited home in Indiana, spending days at her father’s graveside. Chase had been there with her, but it wasn’t meant to last. He was lovely and charming and kind, but Kitty had lost so much of herself in the aftermath of saving the world that she had nothing to give him. It wasn’t fair to him, besides. She couldn’t come out as a human advocate, compromise the lives of her brothers and mother, and to be with Chase that’s what it would take. He deserved her support but she wasn’t brave enough to give it. All her life she had studied and strived to assure that her family was protected from the Imperial eye, above all speculation and doubt, paragon humans in a world where very few existed. Her own behaviors and choices reflected back on her family, and the world was not ready to reintroduce humans as equal players in the game. Chase had left bitter, returning to Neo X weeks before Kitty had the strength to do the same.

Kitty moved from her fancy digs downtown near the Institute to a two-bedroom place ten miles from the heart of the city. She cut her hair off to the shoulders. If she went out - and with everything a delivery option away, why would she? - she dressed like a boy in clothes two sizes too big, with big sunglasses and a hood so her face was obscured. She survived on a stipend from the Imperial accounts for services rendered and the inheritance left by her father. Sometimes she found side jobs she could work from a computer under an alias, but she was scared to dive too deep back into life. Life was terrifying. Life was so, so temporary and what if she was making all the wrong choices in the way she was living it? Paralyzed by fear and indecision, six months had passed without her making contact with any of her old friends or colleagues. It was better that way. She didn’t want them to see her like this, to question her about what was wrong or where she had been, what she had been doing. Let her star burn out into a cold, dead ruin and then maybe, maybe she might go back to teaching. At a community college or the like, under an assumed name, living simply and unobtrusively and no longer needed or wanted by the House of M for any of their lofty business. She was decided: she wasn’t cut out to save the world, or even to serve as one of its protectors - and was it a world worth saving or protecting? There was so much wrong with it. So much …

She marked her twenty-first birthday alone, with two bottles of wine, cheap pizza, and a binge marathon of Neo-X Housewives Exposed: Dirty Laundry Edition. Kitty didn’t like much about herself or her decisions as of late but at least they were safe and simple and plain. She could pretend very effectively that she was a normal person with a normal life. It was better that way. She kept herself healthy and fit and applied her mind to studying whatever interest struck her so it wouldn’t atrophy. Even depressed, she managed to be productive. It was strange to live while feeling mostly dead. In such a state, she didn’t expect to receive a message over an old secure channel from a dear friend and former mentor. She let the note sit for a day, let it ping on her phone as it recycled unanswered notices and flashed Message from Kurt Darkholme across the screen. It was late - or early - when she opened it at last to read. Leave it to the stern German to say so much while saying nothing at all.

Katzchen. Let’s dance.

Was it a trap? A lure? Nobody knew her - had known her - as well as Kurt. Few things in her life before the disaster had been as fulfilling as time spent with him. What had he told her once? He knew how to make her happy. Easy to do when they shared so much common ground. But what about now? Kurt had gone on with life, doing … well, she didn’t know. She didn’t watch the news, she didn’t read the command briefings. Maybe she should have. Was he still the guardian of the heirs to the throne, master of the Royal Guard? In the past, Kurt alone would have been enough to get her out from behind a computer screen or the bowels of a science lab; Kurt and dancing was a drop-everything event.

Now she regarded his simple message with equal parts longing and suspicion. The government could have come to collect her at any point, but in a queer show of humanity - or for some nefarious reason her tired mind couldn’t fathom - they had left her alone all these months. What if he was meant to change that? Worse yet, what if he was just being a friend?

The Russian Tea Room got destroyed during the outbreak. Nowhere to waltz.

No, no. That was too cold. She had been sad to hear that Travosky’s had been destroyed, a perfect jewel of antiquity wiped from the planet and the collective memory.

Haven’t you found someone else yet?

Jesus. She chided herself and backspaced. It had only been six months, yet it felt like a lifetime ago. She had never been great with people, a social catastrophe waiting to happen, yet it had always been easy to be with Kurt…

When and where?

She slid her thumb against the green send button. It was done. Stupid, impulsive, consequential. The first real decision she had made since the world hadn’t ended. She was shocked when his reply came through a moment later. What was he doing up at this hour, anyway?

Now and here.

Kitty jerked upright in bed. A knock sounded from out in the hall, pulsing against her front door.

“What the fuck?” she whispered, reluctance pulling her to her feet. Pocketing her phone in her sleep pants, she slid her sword out from its place just tucked behind the headboard, popping it free of its sheath as she ghosted toward her front door. At least she didn’t cast a shadow on the floorboards or the peep hole. The long-familiar, acrid burn of brimstone smoke wafted past the door frame and on the other side was the familiar blue face of a man - a friend - Kitty thought she might never see again. Neo X was a big city, after all.

“Kurt?” I mean, obviously, stop being stupid. “What are you doing here?”

4e329  K: endgame tho
It sent a :msg: to K.
4e329  K: :(
f6755  IT : live?
f6755  IT : LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE
f6755  IT : ahoy
f6755  IT : *Dances*
8f820  Rhino: Right?
d728f  Felinx: Infinity War! Oof!
IT sent a :msg: to Spec.
4e329  K: WHAT
f6755  IT : !
93c2a  James Proudstar : *To the right of the female known as Jack was the opposite number of the pair. The Loyalist. The form of Proudstar didn't move as Omni would move to twist his tongue around Jack's throat to note the ever so slight tension in the appendage. Noting that it was not enough to actually strangle the female. His shoulders stiffened ever so slightly as he brought his body foward a few steps to slip his arm ever so slightly around the waist of Jack in opposition to Omni's pressence there. Like Omni, he also bore a collar around his throat though rather than a studded leather leash as it's companion, a chain held loose from that collar instead. Braided red threads forming its grip. He didn't quite touch Jack in his motions, his gesture was less provocative bute more intent of preparation. If Omni acted against Jack, James would not hesitate to act as her protector even if Jack did not need such overt acts of aggression to defend her. *
b8fbe  Omnivore : *The Brotherhood was a family. That was the general idea of the small band of anarchists who had loosely bumbled into a cohesive unit around the only slightly charismatic and distinctly eclectic female known as Jack. She had a habit of collecting strays and misfits who rejected the conformity of the system. Rejects and outcasts. Viewed in the lens of bonding, the fierecely loyal James Proudstar had fit neatly into the pack. However, his bedmate and de facto charge, Omnivore was less of a loyalist. To call the Omnivore a loyal member of the Brotherhood was to speak as a fool. It wasn't love or familial synchrony that kept Omnivore on Jack's both proverbial and at times very literal leash. It was instead a relationship of mutual benefit. The Brotherhood used him and by proxy he used them for his hunger was often sated in the order of serving them. But it was also not fair to label him as unloyal. Omnivore wouldn't betray the Brotherhood, even in service to his hunger though he might choose to consume any of their members if they were unfortunate enough to be careless in his presence. Which is why the muzzle existed. Black iron, formed to seal his jaw just enough to allow him the ability of speech but not the ability to open his jaws to consume.

A small access grate on the muzzle allowed food to be slipped into his mouth but was mostly safe for others unless they chose to stick their fingers past its guard. And that was their own misfortune. The muzzle was attached to a collar around his throat where a leash hung idly, its studded leather length swaying with his footsteps as he paced in agitation. Hunger gnawed in his gut as it often did. The feed gate was slid open to allow his tongue to slip out past its guard.That tongue would snake towards the figure before him, moving to twist around the soft expanse of her neck.*

Spec sent a :msg: to Felinx.
21d38  Z: >.>
f6755  IT : *wanders around*
8f820  Rhino: o.o
21d38  Z: *Scooped up!*
d728f  Felinx: *Scoops up Z and hauls her off to PM!*
21d38  Z: I actually PMed you in /liz cuz I randomly popped into tides and saw your PM. lol
21d38  Z: Yes, I hang around in /liz. I can't discord very well
d728f  Felinx: Do you have discord lady? I want updates on everything you! I can go somewhere you have a handle if you wanna PM! I saw you in /liz, yes?
d728f  Felinx: *Clings to Z!* Naaails!
21d38  Z: >.>
21d38  Noname: *cuddles Fel*
d728f  Felinx: Noname!
21d38  Noname: Felinx!
f6755  IT : HEART-0
d728f  Felinx: You!
6444e  Anya Heart : :'(
f6755  IT : j;lk
d728f  Felinx: Lurky turks!
f6755  IT : #RISEUP
8f820  Rhino: o.o
Felinx sent a :msg: to Spec.
8f820  Rhino: I'm not that guy because I don't ever get home til between 11:30 and 12am
d728f  Felinx: Spec! Pinch yourself for me.
1ec8e  Spec: Happy St. Party's day everyone. Enjoy jg.
d728f  Felinx: And why not? :p
8f820  Rhino: Well, people need to be around for that, Fel! And I'm certainly not that guy lol
d728f  Felinx: #BringbackRP!
f6755  IT : #WasteLanderNation
1ec8e  Spec: #bringbackneox
a60ac  Zaria Wolf : *The Empire and it's allies had been long quiet... And in that silence, the Tribes have risen up and taken over a few territories. What was once Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and many other Island nations were quickly overwhelmed by the Tribes... And it would be a hard fight to take those territories back. This had been planned long before she had been born, and they were ready for counter-attacks...*
f6755  IT : WHO LURKS WITH THE LURKERS?
50a99  Vy: It misses you too K.
50a99  Vy: Color change.
4e329  K: :( i miss this place.
f6755  IT : Ouch
1ec8e  Spec: I have the flu . And it sucks. I've been fighting it all this week and I am fairly certain I will need to go to the doctor tomorrow about it.
IT sent a :msg: to X.
f6755  IT : Hmm
8f820  Rhino: huh
e17d4  X: t'was just last week or so.
8f820  Rhino: o.o how long ago was this? lol
e17d4  X: You been keeping busy with work and stuff?
e17d4  X: yeah. We all got our flu shots but the wife brought home a cold from her work. Kiddo got it first, now I finally got it last Friday.
d728f  Felinx: I have my only day before a long week of craziness. I'm wearing several hats until the end of the month at work. Sorry to hear about the cold! Oddly glad to hear it's not the flu though. Apparently this years is pretty scary.
e17d4  X: mornin. I'm fighting a cold
d728f  Felinx: I was just checking on pjj, only to spy lurkers!
d728f  Felinx: Morning!
e17d4  X: :P
d728f  Felinx: :p
4d5f3  Lorn: Not ALWAYS, it seems.
4d5f3  Lorn: ...always? Always always?
f6755  IT : I'm always lurking
1ec8e  Spec: So who all is lurking?
b0a0a  Stane : *You have the worst taste in music. You should be shot in the kneecap*
0c144  Forge : **Within the workshop, Forge was standing in the middle of his project area. He had several cables attached to the cybernetic arm he had, and stationed across several smaller workstations, a multitude of drones, parts, and most importantly, Jean Grey’s gear, stood at the ready. Forge stood at it’s center, and his eyes focus from one hologram that displayed his designs above the appropriate piece of equipment, each hologram getting its own moment of his full attention before he turns his eyes to the next one. After he looks over all of the various holograms once, he stretches his arms straight out in front of him and wiggles all of his fingers, before interlacing his fingers, turning his palms out, he pops what knuckles he can. Then his cybernetic fingers pop each of his real fingers, as he places each finger in the palm of the cybernetic hand and pressing down. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Each finger popping is audible as he opens the area between his bones to air. Next, he clasps his wrist with his cybernetic hand, and rotates his hand, which is balled into a fist, as he holds his wrist stationary with the cybernetic hand. Lastly, he rolls his shoulder blades forward twice, before reversing the roll backwards twice and arching his back, stretching his arms out to either side as far as he can. He sighs contentedly as he does, because it was the small things in life that made it worth living.**

”Alright, ANIA, give me a good track to work to….”

”Of course, sir.”

**The voice of his artificial Intelligence crackles over the various speakers and even echoes in his mind, all at once, and almost immediately, a song starts on the radio.**

”Just a young gun, with a quick fuse,
I was uptight, wanna let loose…”


”Next. While I do enjoy that song, I need something more upbeat….give me more treble…”

**For a moment, there is silence, before the warbling of a new song comes on. As soon as he hears the beat, he smiles, immediately recognizing it. It was a classic, as far as he was concerned anyway. As the beat plays on, he can’t help but get into a bit of a groove. He pushes the air around him as though he’s clearing himself space on a dance floor, before he holds them up, bouncing them to the beat of the song. his hips drop and his pelvis begins to thrust slightly to the beat. His movements seem to be more of a dance than of someone who was about to craft some new designs, but that was because others didn’t understand his connection with machines. In fact, even as his body moved to the rhythm of the song, his mind is ordering the various drones and equipment to begin whirring into gear. Each movement of his own to the beat seems to correspond with a movement of one of the various drones or pieces of machinery at the workstations he had set up around him. As Forge enhances his control over the various machines at once, his cybernetic eye would begin to blink a bright blue color. In response, the machines he control also have a blue light, which seem to respond and match his eye.**

Wind me up,
Put me down,
Start me off and watch me go,
I’ll be running circles around you sooner than you know,
A little off center,
And I’m out of tune,
Just kickin’ this can along the avenue,
But I’m alright,


**As the word’s bellow from the speakers set up around him, Forge smiles as he bobs up and down, but really his mind isn’t in the dance. The dance is almost a secondary action, as more importantly, his control over the drones deepens and he begins to get to work. As he works, the drones move and bob in the air as though they are dancing to the music as well, even the sparks which they let off from the welding and fabrication of Jean’s new gear. The first thing they work on is Jean’s new drone. As the drones weld and fabricate the drone to match his specifications and blueprints, the drones almost seem to be enjoying themselves, spinning unnecessarily when there is a catchy part of the song, as well as welding with laser precision in a way that mimics the beat of the song being played. It isn’t long before the drones move on to Jean’s new pair of glasses. As the glasses and the drone were almost a combo, it made sense that the drones complete the two items together at the same time.**

‘Cause it’s easy once you know how its done,
You can’t stop now,
It’s already begun,
You feel it runnin’ through your bones,
And you jerk it out,
And you jerk it out,
Shut up,
Hush your mouth,
Can’t you hear you talk to loud,
No can’t hear nothin’ ‘cause I got my head up in the clouds,
I bite off anything that I can chew,
I’m chasing cars up and down the avenue,
But that’s okay,


**Once again his blue prints get completed, with every detail and specification he had placed within the concept blue prints being applied to the gear which Jean had offered up for him to work on. With snap of his fingers, the entire room shifts again, though even he knows that the snapping of his finger to cause the shifting of his surroundings is entirely unnecessary. It’s really more for his own personal amusement and choreographing. As the second workstation rotates out and the third one comes in, the blue print of the gloves and boots come up. These were special, in his eyes, a completely new invention of his which he hadn’t even gotten to try out yet on any gear. These items would be the first to receive the particular modifications which he gave them, and the work was extremely detailed. These particular modifications take longer than the others, coupled with the fact that that the gloves received additional mods on top of the new invention he had already given them. As he applies these modifications, he can’t help but sweat a little because of the intricacies of the modifications and what they do. He bites his tounge as he concentrates, as even one slip up could cause the entire modification to fail and force him to start from scratch. Thankfully for Forge, though, this isn’t his first rodeo. He manages to keep his concentration and connection all the way through, and when he finally finishes. He yanks the large cable jack out of his arm and the blue light from his cybernetic eye disappears. The drones lull in their speed, and finally come to a rest parked on what appears to be drone docking stations nearby.**

‘Cause it’s easy once you know how its done,
You can’t stop now,
It’s already begun,
You feel it runnin’ through your bones,
And you jerk it out,
And you jerk it out,
‘Cause it’s easy once you know how its done,
You can’t stop now,
It’s already begun,
You feel it runnin’ through your bones,
And you jerk it out,
And you jerk it out,


**With another snap of his fingers, the room again shifts, but this time, a small workbench is rotated into view. On the workbench is what appears to be a belt with various smaller gadgets attached to it. Forge goes through each of these one by one, checking them to make sure they are up to snuff, before putting them back where he pulls them from on the belt. Additionally, there appears to be two dart launchers of some kind. They’re small, and look to be sized for a small hand to hold. He picks each one up in turn, his cybernetic eye zooming in to allow him to see the smaller mechanisms which enable the shooting it at a drone across the room. The dart hits the drone and bounces off of it before imbedding itself in the wall, and Forge snorts a little chuckling as he sets the dart launcher back down the work shop. The belt, of course, was simply a multitude of smaller gadgets which he already had. But they still had to be assembled and attached effectively and efficiently. Over all, he felt good about the modifications he was going to be able to give to Jean.**

And you jerk it out,
And you jerk it out,
Oh baby don’t you know,
You really gotta jerk it out,
When you jerk it out,
Oh baby don’t you know,
You really gotta jerk it out,
When you jerk it out,
Oh baby don’t you know,
You really gotta jerk it out


**Hours pass before Forge is finally finished. In actuality, it isn’t one song which plays over the stereo that he works to, but a multitude of them. The end product though, is fantastic. Jean would be outfitted with some of the best gear in the Empire. Of course, the details for what that gear is exactly, is yet to be seen. But judging by Forge’s face, and the twinkle in his eye, it would definitely be worth the unveiling that would certainly be happening soon for Jean.**

**What does our hero have in store for Jean Grey, those questions and more will be revealed in the next edition of FORGE: THE WORKSHOP!!**

b731c  Descent : ( :( :( :( =O=====dgzhhhtrhernbarrrrrffff*)
b731c  Descent : (Wtf happened to all the RP? *FROWN face*)
29c92  Cordelia Frost : *The Frost Family certainly knew how to throw a Party, and that's definitely what they had done on Christmas and New Year's Eve, with the New Year's Party lasting until the second of the Month. As a Frost, she had been at the party, mingling with others who had attended. Liquor was drunk, food was eaten, shit was shitten and as always, the Frosts were awake for the entirety of the New Years Party. Games had been played, Countdowns watched and Parades watched. She was still washing Glitter out of her hair. Clearly, Emma had found some great sale on glitter and it had literally gotten everywhere. She had had a lot of fun, even dateless. Oh sure, she'd invited a boy, but he had not replied so she'd attended stag, but hadn't wanted for male attention. Many flirted with her, and she somewhat flirted back. All in all, it was quite a great ending of a Year and a beginning of a Year. Looking up at the ceiling of her room, she smiled, contentedly. The glow-in-the-dark-stars glew with light, as the shades were drawn shut. Her gown was being cleansed and stored by staff. It was almost a pity she'd have to return to school after all this fun, but education was important!*
f6755  IT : Happy New Year
f6755  IT : MERRY SITHMAS
4e329  K: sigh.
      IT rolls
L sent a :msg: to Forge.
8f820  Rhino: o.o
Scott Summers sent a :msg: to Madelyne Pryor.
Madelyne Pryor sent a :msg: to Scott Summers.
0c144  Forge : *Hmmmm....eyes projects...*
Spec sent a :msg: to Scott Summers.
4375f  Scott Summers: And back)
4375f  Scott Summers: Hm)
Jyn Collins sent a :msg: to Felinx.
2f43d  Paige Guthrie : Ten days ago, Paige Guthrie had left her dorm to carry out her annual charity work. Eight days ago, she returned to her dorm and cheerfully packed her things for the holiday break, piled her bags into her truck, and waved her teammates and classmates goodbye as she headed out to a Christmas at the Guthrie farm. That was the last anyone had seen of her since. No social media posts, no texts to her family or her friends; Paige had vanished. In fact, she was nowhere to be found in all of Neo-X. Riverdale was a different story. There was an old beat-down truck that spent each night in a different alleyway, a young woman curled up on the bench seat inside. With as cold as it was getting lately, she was having more difficulty sleeping, but it didn't matter. Her days were spent in whatever establishment would allow her to spend hours at a time next to an outlet, charging her new phone (equipped with a ghost chip) and tapping the screen with her thumbs. Last night had been a cold one, though, and she hadn't gotten much sleep. It had been the same for several nights, which left her exhausted — and prone to dozing off in the booth at the diner she was currently occupying. Her meal was paid for, so the staff didn't much care, and she had something of a death grip on her phone, so there was little chance of anyone pocketing it. Spread out in front of her were several books and notebooks. Even without the institute, Paige never stopped learning. She was currently hunched over a binder with colorful tab separators and laminated pages, her blonde head resting on crossed arms. Graphite stained her hands and sleeve, and pink eraser dust clung to her eyelashes as she slept, a cold cup of coffee neglected nearby.
cb7ae  Victoria Shade : *does the robot*
8c8d3  Carol Danvers : *stares at vision*
cb7ae  Victoria Shade : BEEP MOTHERFUCKING BOOP
0c144  Forge : "I wouldn't have it any other way. C4010 will guide you to to your wing. It's right down the hall. **He nods at her statement of being a medic, and he holds out his hand and shakes hers firmly.**"I'll make sure to send you some files of the different projects I'm working on, so you can get more antiquated with my, I'm sorry, OUR work. We have multiple projects going on I'm sure...you'll love...." **And thats about the time Jean turns her back on him and half strips, revealing the tattoo. He can't help himself, with a simple thought he's taking dozens of pictures, focusing on the tattoo and the symbol on it. He would need it. For research purposes!! >.>** ..Um. To see. You'll love to see the projects." **He would take the suit as it floats back to him, as well as grabbing the trench coat on the chair.** "Oh believe me, it'll be astounding..." **He holds the two pieces of clothing up to the light, already contemplating the various possibilities that the battle garments offered.** "Just follow C4010. He'll guide you...Sleep well, Ms. Grey." **But he's more focused on the suits, and Jean seems to be an after thought at this point as his incredible mind took over.** **Fade Here**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Damn, what an offer. Jean couldn't turn it down, especially with where she was. The place was a veritable hideout and she had a good feeling that she would be safe from whatever might be hunting. Plus she had already sent the message out to Stephen that she would be away for a bit. So it wasnt like she was just disappearing on him. She listens to what he has to offer and after a moment to consider, the clothing would float from the platform to her hands. "Long as this is on the level, you have a deal. In exchange, I'm also a trained medic. So if you get hurt physically..i can help. I know field, basic, advanced as well as minor surgery skills but thats rusty as Hell." Jean offers a hand for him to shake. Once he's done, Jean will turn her back even as she unzips the front of her suit. The battle damaged uniform would slide from her body, revealing her bra..but more importantly, the back covering Phoenix branding on her skin. It was a mix of colors, almost like a tattoo..but different. Clearly otherworldly. She'll put the shirt on and move behind a tall enough structure to finish changing. Once she's finished, the uniform would float back around the corner to him. "Do your worst, good sir. I need a shower desperately ." And shall we fade here?
0c144  Forge : **As soon as Jean says they have a deal, Forge claps his hands together loudly and makes an audible WHOOP!!, practically dancing up and down in enthusiasm, though, he at least refrains from physically jumping up and down.** "Alright!! Working with the legendary Jean Grey herself, you and me, we're gonna corner the market and make ourselves a good deal of money. Not to mention all the good we're gonna do!" **Then, Jean asks about the supplies and repairing her armor, and for a moment, he's almost offended.** "Listen...to be honest, I like the suit. It looks good, it does. But...we can do better." **Suddenly, he would snap his fingers twice, and just stands there, rocking back and forth slightly as though he was waiting on something. Indeed, he was. He would hold up a finger to Jean, mouthing "give it a minute" but saying nothing, and after a few moments, a drone would come flying in, much like the one which had served her the water when she had first arrived to his home. Only this time, the platter on top of it had a set of clean clothes. Most of it would be stretchable, a one size fits all, including the sweatpants and under garments.** "Call it a forward payment on your services. Here's what I propose. I have a spare wing here on the living quarters. Your own bedroom, bathroom, and living area. You can shower and rest up, and while you do so, leave your suit and trench coat with me. I'll outfit it with my latest and greatest tech, that way if it comes to blows...you aren't so reliant on your....mental prowess..." **It was a pretty good offer, no lie. Having Forge install some of his tech into a battle suit could go a long way...**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Hey, the suit had to be formfitting. She couldn't fight with a baggy outfit that could get torn easier. Of course, it did have other perks- such as showing off her body. When he starts babbling, she just gives him the mother of all blank looks, shaking her head a bit as if to say 'what the fuck is this guy babbling about?' And then he comes back to the real world after looking at her body and Jean can't help the small blush that creeps up her neck and into her pale cheeks. Shit! Jean quickly clears her throat, blinking once before she looks over the screens again. Her mind was whirling. this could be a very good way to stop the Empire. She's quiet for a moment before she looks back to Forge, nodding in the affirmative. "You do what I ask and we got a deal." and then as an aside.. "Do you have a needle capable of puncturing leather and some steel twine? I need to fix my uniform. It got torn up." Jean gestures to the exposed armor plating on her back, arm and thigh.
0c144  Forge : "Of course. I'd intended to perhaps automate the systems, so that they didn't require a pilot...or perhaps some kind of on board authentication system that will enable only the approved pilot to start the machine. Or perhaps..." **He begins to mumble more to himself, as he further contemplates the detail which Jean was requiring. Of course, a fail-safe had always been on the agenda with this design, but Jean had perhaps exposed it as a greater flaw than he had originally thought, but the actual technical aspects of how to do so began flying out of his mouth as his power of insight into technology and machines took over. He wouldn't even notice that she had taken off the trench coat. He would be suddenly pulled back by her...some what tight uniform, and he stammers more unintelligable technical talk as he watches her for a moment. Then, he quickly gains control of himself once more, clearing his throat and returning back to the screen.** "So, yeah. Suits. Safety over ride. No problem." **His eyes dart from the screen to Jean.** "So you'll help?" **One hand goes over his mouth in anticipation and excitement that it may actually happen.**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : "The Iron-what now?" That causes Jean's lips to purse a bit as she looks at the screens, following his actions with her eyes as she listens to his pitch. The problem was that she was able to identify a problem right off. "That's all well and good, but what happens when the raiders manage to overpower people who aren't skilled with the suits and they get a hold of them? People'll get terrorized more and who knows where that will lead." Jean shakes her head in the negative to his idea, her arms returning to their crossed position over her chest. She knew what his intentions were and it made sense. it was very altruistic..but the devil was in the details. "I can help you get your suits...on the condition that you make something that prevents people from using them. whatever you call it." Jean gestures with a hand, trying to emphasize her point, but she isn't technologically inclined. And then with a bit of a grunt, Jean slips out of the trenchcoat, tossing it onto a chair.
a8d2e  Jean Grey : *might be able to help Scott with his psyche too. >>*
0c144  Forge : *Just, you know, use those fancy optic beams enough and I'll find you*
0c144  Forge : *Well if you ever wanna be found and kept off the grid, Scott. Give me a call. Lets do business.*
0c144  Forge : **Forge sees her wink and he chuckles loudly, obviously thrilled at her response. Clapping his hands together, he rubs them for a moment before turning to the closest monitor. He waves a couple of times at the screen, and the images on it would shift to a satellite photo of the city. Another wave of his hand would bring up various power readings and pieces of data which he had deemed important enough to track. He begins to close in on one in particular, both hands coming up as he attempts to further isolate the energy signatures. As he does, the monitor would zoom in on a bar in Neo-X, known as The Stained Glass Window. Something there, had obviously attracted his attention. He tries to get deeper, but the readings begin to be sabotaged and, in his brain, Forge knows that large amounts electro-static energy could throw his readings into disarray, as they had just done. Sucking his teeth slightly, he flicks his wrist, and the monitor changes to frontal view of the bar. While Jean may not know it, Forge knew of it, thanks to his connections with underground black markets. This bar was often used as a Resistance hide-away and gathering spot, but that wasn't what was intriguing him.** "Ok, Jean. Here's what I need. This bar has some readings off the charts. Ever heard of the Iron Monger? Kind of like this crazy suit, back in the human-mutant war? Identity was never revealed, and he was never caught? No?" **He would pull up some news clips in the corner of the screen from way back during the war, and Forge, for a moment, would marvel at it's beauty.** "Here's the thing, Jean. Making a suit like this...whoever made it...has some serious skill. I was able to isolate the energy signatures of the suit a long time ago, but now, when I try to track it, I always end up here, at this bar, and unable to get any more information. I'm assuming it has to do with the power plant located damn near next door to the bar. Electro-static of that level could cinsiderably hamper my ability to close in on the target energy signature." **He looks at Jean, then back at the suit.** "If we can find the man, or the suit, we could rapidly reproduce a large number of these suits. Imagine the village you protected earlier today, having these suits to protect themselves from Raiders. Or humans had them to carve out their own little place on Earth, free from Imperial control." **He chuckles slightly, then turns to her.** "A lot of money and good could be gained from us being able to put these out there. The Empire already has suits like this. So it's not like the technology isn't already being used. What we'd actually be doing is closer to leveling the playing field. Which is very good for business." **He holds up his arms, as if his grand scheme is the best ever in history, and he just has that look of pure enthusiasm and excitement in his eyes.** "I could use your help with locating these things. Once I get to the bar, the electro-static is going to severely impair me. I'll basically be useless." **Of course, he would still be going with her, though. He might be weakened by the amount of electricity the power plant created, but he was still ballsy enough to go anyway**
4375f  Scott Summers : *Doesn't know most people*
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (*doesnt know Scott in this verse, sadly.*)
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Is that a bit of a blush that creeps across her cheeks? perhaps. She offers a small smile at the man before she shifts in her spot, letting her body weight shift from one foot to the other. While she doesnt trust Forge, she at least finds herself at ease enough with him. Maybe its the fact that she could finally unburden her secret on someone else besides Stephen. Then he mentions the job offer and she quirks her lips in a bit of question before she remembers the whole thing: he wanted her to work for him. And indeed, leverage on Jean was little. She already had what she wanted: space to save the people she used to care about- the citizens of Neo-X. But then again, the idea of money was pretty tempting. Her lips turn upward in a bit of an impish grin and she gestures. "I'm not a girl who works for others, but make it worth my time." She playfully winks, showing that she actually is relaxing enough around him.
0c144  Forge : (*Points at Scott* Gonna find you next! Maybe. Possibly. If Jean wants me too.)
0c144  Forge : **In response to Jean’s answer, he nods. While it was obvious Forge may not personally agree to Jean’s decision, he did understand that ultimately, it was her decision.** ”I understand. Personally, I don’t know If I would make the same decision as you, but, we are obviously different people with different experiences and expectations. It’s good to see someone so sure of their own decisions. I like that. Fortitude and assuredness looks good on you.” **Was that flattery coming from Forge? Perhaps.** ”So I take it this means you’re going to decline my employment offer too? It would be a real shame if you did…” **He could talk to her about the potential profit margins and how high they would be if she were in his service, of how much money they could make and how successful they could be, but he knows that’s not the kind of thing that drives a woman like Jen Grey. At the end of the day, Jean wanted to help people. That was the entire reason for her remaining so hidden and far from Neo-X.** ”What else could I do to make this happen? Certainly there’s something I could do in order to convince you to take the job offer.” **Obviously, even with his current negotiation leverage being as low as it Is with Jean, he’s still not content to just let her walk out without trying to convince her. He was willing to pay a high cost for it, because he knew the net gain margins of the scenario where she did work with him. And it was genuinely what was in his, and his businesses, best interests.**
7a199  Franklin Richards : If thats in the propfile then thats my bad it was supposed to be deleted but I mean whatever bruh
a8d2e  Jean Grey : "It was either that or it would start right that moment and everyone on Earth would've been killed. I think I made the best possible choice at the time. Besides...maybe with me in there, I can..I dunno. Be a voice of reason or something. It's been dormant ever since that night. No voices, nothing. That's why I was in the Wastes. If it ever does wake up, at least the collateral damage would be minimal and I can try to get myself and it off the planet." Jean brings a hand up, running it through her red locks before tucking the sides behind her ears again. "I don't want to mess with it, to be honest. If I feel it trying to waken, maybe I'll let you know."
4e329  K: and as for trying to get people involved, i literally held a room event last week that would've gone very differently if anybody other than me and nate had shown up, but lmao you can't exactly do a full scale event with two people, so.
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (...i was about to say LMAO)
4e329  K: everyone shut the fuck up with your fighting
4e329  K: that wasnt supposed to be private
K sent a :msg: to Jean Grey.
7b3b1  Warlock: No problems. Get back to RPing you nobs.
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (thank you, L.)
a0bd0  L: Eh. Everybody calm their tits. Unless someones trying to bring down the sky with their OMGPOWUH there's really no reason to get uptight.
1ec8e  Spec: (And lastly, for the record "Telepathy: As "Psi-Lord", he demonstrated a wide variety of psionic powers. Even as a kid, he at least displayed a remarkable resistance to a psionic Celestial assault." Is the furthest thing from "toned down." IJS.)
0c144  Forge : (Huh, more people in here now, than the past two weeks when I've been trying to get people to actually be involved in actual plot lines I've spent actual time coming up with. Curious.)
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (so if you wouldnt mind, please quit derailing the RP.)
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (dude, the admins okayed everything in her profile. its a part of her.)
7a199  Franklin Richards : I mean I toned him down and haven't made any mention of the stuff I'm not allowed to have, so, I mean. Y'know, apples, oranges, etc
0c144  Forge : (Of course, if you want to be all concerned about the Phoenix while having Franklin Richards, feel free. I think you'll be disappointed, though.)
0c144  Forge : (there ya go.)
0c144  Forge : ( ­https://pjj.cc/nx/register/viewer.php?su=Jean+Grey­&fm=view )
0c144  Forge : (Well when you discuss someone's past things in their past tend to come up.)
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (well for one, Jean was literally explaining her history.)
7a199  Franklin Richards : I mean I see a lot of dancing around it >_>
a8d2e  Jean Grey : (read the RP.)
7a199  Franklin Richards : I thought we weren't doing Phoenix stuff in here
7a199  Franklin Richards : *Stare*
0c144  Forge : "And you're just going to hand your body over to the Phoenix whenever it decides it wants to wake up? You said yourself it destroys solar systems. Is giving this kind of entity a free vessel really what you want to do?" **Forge wasn't positive, but he imagined that what came after the Phoenix decided it was time for Jean to pay her debt. A lot of death, and a lot of destruction. And while Forge openly saw war as a money making opportunity, global destruction was generally bad for all businesses.** "You can't tell me you're simply okay with the terms of your "contract"." **As he says the word contract, he even gives it air quotes for emphasis.** "Like I said, I can't guarantee anything. But I can try..." **He had nothing else to hide from Jean. And while he was uncertain of how truly helpful he could be, offering her his assistance was really the only chance he had to get what he wanted: her power on his pay roll. And the deal itself was sure to be incredibly profitable for them both.**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : "There is no 'if', Forge. It is inside me. there's more to this story." Another drink of water, this time draining the bottle before it levitates into the air and is crushed telekinetically. The bottle would then float to a trash can, landing in it. As for Jean, she leans back against the table, crossing her arms over her chest. "That news footage you saw was the Phoenix awakening inside me due to the stress of everything. It was awake and it was pissed, so the Institute's first response was to lock me in their version of quarantine. I can't really blame them. There I was, at the top of my power game and now an ancient entity awakens in me and is pissed? Id be afraid too. I spent some time in that cell, having an internal war with the Phoenix for control of my body. Eventually we came to an...agreement. It would go back to sleep for now, and when it was time, it would re-awaken and I would hand control of my body to it so it could continue with its prime objectives out in interstellar space. It went back to sleep, but not before it gave me one last parting 'gift', as it were. my psionics are enhanced by the dormant Phoenix. When i was in the Central District, I could easily read the minds of anyone in the District unless they had a way to block me. That's how wide my range is. my telekinetics are strong enough that I can literally level a city block. If I honestly wanted to, I could destroy this place. I don't want to, so don't worry about that. What you saw in the Wastes? that was a small fraction."
0c144  Forge : "You were the child..." **For a long moment, Forge contemplates to himself, saying nothing more on what Jean had just told him. Instead, he seems to ponder on the idea, scratching at his goatee as he thinks.** "If this...entity, is within you, maybe there's a way to remove it...or at the very least keep it subdued." **Forge would push himself off the wall, looking at Jean.** "Maybe we can help each other. I could use someone with your talents on my payroll. And in exchange, I'd be happy to study and see what can be done to help you fear whats inside of you less. I can't guarantee anything right now, you'l need to understand that. But I've never encountered a problem I couldn't overcome with technology..." **Of course, Forge had never tried to remove a primordial entity from a person's body either, but that didn't mean he wasn't willing to give it a try. Was it dangerous, even suicidal? Certainly. But then again, you were talking about guy who ran an illegal arms market out from under the Imperial guards nose. So, what did suicidal or dangerous mean to a man like him?**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Jean wasnt counting on him to know what the Phoenix was and that was fine. Not many, if anyone at all did. She takes a breath, debating the merits and flaws of actually letting in this potential stranger to her deepest darkest secret. Strange knew, but they worked together and were good friends. This was different. However, on the other hand...Forge did show her his hand. A small sigh escapes her lips before she starts in. "In the beginning of time, there were a few primordial beings around. Death, a being known as Galactus and a few others. However, there was an entity that later became called the Phoenix. Its responsible for life, death and the cyclical balance of the universe of anything that was, is, or ever will be. It can destroy entire star systems in the blink of an eye...and it has. More than once." Jean pauses to take a deep pull from the water bottle, her gaze never leaving him. gauging his response. "Back when the Earth was still forming and cooling, the Phoenix came here and was attacked by an ancient alien race. It was weak and starving, so it was somehow bested and trapped within the planets core. It slumbered for eons, drawing life force from things on the planet's face. Then it got loose during the last big extinction event. you know, the one that killed the dinosaurs. that much energy fed it and it took off. It wandered, feeding until it was drawn back here by the advent of mutants. When it got here, it found a small infant that it knew would have great psionic power..which is what it is attracted to. It bonded itself to the infant at its core and slumbered until the infant grew to a child, and then to a young woman. It enhanced her powers subtly, waiting. waiting for the right moment. when that young woman hit just the right moment..it awoke." Jean's eyes flare red again, but this time to make a point. To show what she really means.
0c144  Forge : **Indeed, Forge gives Jean the ability to use the computer, and once she pulls up the news filing, Forge has his own little ‘Aha!’ moment in his mind. So, there was a reason Jean was hiding. He watches the explosion and he bites the corner of his lip at the sheer power of the blast.** ”I’m sorry Jean…I didn’t…” **Somehow, these images had eluded his search, and Jean would be able to see that by the look on his face.** ”Look, I apologize. I meant no offense. I’m taking just as big of a risk bringing you here, as you did by coming. I get a little paranoid, sometimes. It’s the business…” **Waving his hand, the screen Jean used to pull up the images would be turned off, and Forge would keep his eyes on Jean.** ”So, you fear something called the Phoenix? What is that, exactly?” **Obviously, he hadn’t heard of it. Crossing his arms over his chest, Forge would listen to anything Jean would tell him intently, his eyes never straying away from her. He casually leans himself back against the wall as he waits for her to let him in on the secret.**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Oh, you can bet that Jean saw his reaction. At first it was irritating. And then he pushes her. That causes her to turn to face him and he'd see her eyes start to glow that fire red color even as he attempts that guilt trip. But then the glow melts back into her eyes as she calms herself down. "Watch who you're talking to like that. Just because I can't read your mind doesn't mean I cant hurt you." Jean moves over towards a computer before she gestures. "Unlock this thing." Provided he does, Jean will start typing in a browser. It'd take a bit, but then a screen would pull up. On the screen would be an old news video. The video would show aerial footage of the top of the Xavier Institute blowing out in a rather spectacular fashion along with fire red energy glowing in the hole. The newscasters would be talking, but Jean had it muted. She turns back to face him. "If you know who I am, then you know that I used to be an X-Man. One of the first. I was a top student at the Xavier Institute as well...I had it all. But there was a fellow student there named Emma Frost who hated me. I honestly think she wanted to be me. Typical girl bullshit. She made it incredibly difficult for me on a daily basis until the stress was too much. Then something happened. Have you ever heard of something called the Phoenix?" Jean finally takes a sip of the water, never breaking her gaze from Forge the entire time.
0c144  Forge : **For a moment, Forge is baffled by Jean's response. It simply didn't make sense. Unless she meant protecting people from her, or perhaps she spoke about her genetic code? His thoughts ran wild for a moment, as his suspicion of her and what she's saying grows. Jean would see his eyes narrow, and he takes one hand off of his bottle of water, swishing it around slightly in the other as he stares down at it, saying nothing but obviously thinking about something very hard. After a long moment, he finally takes a drink of the water from his own bottle. He takes a prolonged drink, gulping down several times, before he sets the water on a nearby table, the bottle now completely empty. As the bottle hits the surface of the desk, the area underneath the bottle would become bright red, as the surface becomes incredibly hot. If Jean watched the bottle, she would visibly see it melted down on the table until its nothing but ash, and it would happpen in the matter of seconds. Then, from underneath the table, a spider like robot smaller than the size of one of her shoes would crawl out, and suck up the ash very similarly to a vacuum cleaner, except it was completely self-guided and incredibly efficient. ~Up yours, Rumba!~ Meanwhile, Forge, who had not once looked back at his bottle as it burnt, would step towards one of the windows, and waving his hands, it would shift from the simulation of a window, to several smaller screens. They would show various angles of the fight Jean had recently been in with the raiders out in the wastelands, and for a moment, Forge would simply let them play, as he watches. Turning to look at her for a moment, he would frown deeply, and with another wave of his hand, another window simulating the outside would shift to smaller screens as well. This one, however, would show Imperial soldiers committing what can only be called atrocities to people all over the world. From human work camps, to beatings in the Outer District of Neo-X, and everything in between, right there on full display, caught by one of Forge's many drones he had everywhere.** "Jean, I may be a lot of things. I deal in death and destruction, and I do it for profit. But one thing I'm not is a liar. And I have to say, this....story, this "reason", you're hiding, whatever you wanna call whatever it is you're trying to sell me...." **Forge clicks his tongue audibly, and shakes his head.** "I ain't buyin' it. You're really gonna tell me that you want to protect people, like here in Neo-X? Hell if you wanna protect people Neo-X is where you need to be." **Forge snorts slightly, shaking his head a little as he calls Jean's bluff.** "C'mon Jean. You may have secrets but don't treat me like a fool. What are you really afraid of?" **Her answer, at the very least, had let him deduce to that. This chocie to hide wasn't something Jean had been forced to do, it was her own choice. Which meant she was afraid of something...But what?**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Most of it went over her head anyways. She was smart, but not that smart. the cap to her water bottle unscrews smoothly of its own accord before lifting off and gliding into her other hand as if she had done it physically. She always tried to keep her powers honed and ready to go, so she works more on manipulating small objects. Her gaze flickers all around once more, quite like in the avatar before she finally lets her eyes rest on Forge. When he asks why she was hiding, one could almost see Jean throw her guard up if they were trained for that sort of thing. under the trenchcoat and armored uniform, her body tenses just a bit but she keeps it under control. Then again...he had taken one hell of a risk by bringing her down. She steps away from him, moving towards the nearest table to look at an invention. when she does speak, her voice is a bit guarded. "To protect everyone in the cities." Wait...what?
0c144  Forge : **Forge would grin mischievously as Jean asks her questions. The robot which gave Jean her water would fly by her, moving around to come to a rest beside Forge. He takes a bottle of the water from it as well. He pops the cap off of it with a single motion, and then turns to face his back to Jean, his arms going up in the air as though his work was a masterpiece. Which in it’s own way, was true.** ”Back in the 1940’s this place was used to manufacture lead used in many of the products at the time. Paint, insulation, metal working, automobile manufacturing. You might be surprised to learn how many things they actually used lead for at the time. The side effect, of course was that lead was showered on the ground, walls, and ceiling of this building for over a decade. Even the most advanced sensory detection systems can’t penetrate the lead coating here.” **He looks back at Jean, that grin still on his face.** ”Of course, that’s only the base defense measure against the Empire and their… we’ll use the term surveillance. The psionic baffler, the multi-leveled encryption..” **As he rattles them off, he waves his hand in the air as though they were just technical aspects or individual components of a much larger machine, which was true, and he had little interest in the small stuff. It could also be completely true that he simply didn’t want to give away all his secrets, even to Jean. Which was also completely plausible.** “”Of course, you’re no stranger to staying hidden to the Empire yourself. Possibly the most powerful psionic user on Earth, and yet for years you’ve remained in the Wastelands, hiding.” **He turns to stand face to face with her, tapping the bottle of water with one finger.** ”Certainly there’s a reason for that. You know why I hide. It’s a fair question, I think, to ask the same from you…” **As suddenly as the dull tapping of his bottle began, it would end, as his finger gently rests on the bottle as he awaits her response.**
a8d2e  Jean Grey : Jean cautiously moves to stand by Forge, a very low level telekinetic shield around herself invisibly for protection. She was playing nice, but she still had to protect herself. At the mention of his psionic baffler, Jean merely rolls her eyes with a bit of a smirk before they're lowered into the mill. Jean tenses, her eyes flicking back and forth before she really starts to see everything. Jesus christ! But then they go even further and her eyebrows rise in a mix of approval and interest. one hand comes up and a bottle of water would hover towards her to gently land in her palm. slender fingers wrap around the bottle and she shakes her head in the negative. "Thank you." she then looks about once more, really taking it all in even as she steps off of the elevator behind him. "It's...something. How did you hide this all from the Empire? I mean...I know we're in the outer districts but still."
a8d2e  Jean Grey : >>
b0a0a  Stane : *Cleans the bar*
f6755  IT : Will Our Easy to Forget About Hero escape and live to fight another Day? Tune in to the next episode of... Wait, where am I? What am I talking about
c0e2a  ForgetMeNot : **As the guards move towards the door, FMN crawls his way around the AC unit. Inside, he knows it’s going to become 1000 times harder to get away if the rest of the building is notified about the door he just broke. With his good arm, which thankfully happens to be his shooting one, FMN draws his SHIELD Icer pistol, and turning the corner, he shoots the Imperial guard about to radio in what they’ve found first. It hits him squarely in the chest, sending him flying backwards into the metal unit behind him. He lands with a Thud!!, completely unconscious. FMN keeps walking forward, and turns the second corner, finding himself face to face with the other two soldiers near the door he had just come through. They see him and raise their weapons to take aim, but they are a second slow, as FMN already has his Icer pistol levelled and aimed at them both. He fires two more shots in quick succession, hitting each of them in the chest with a shot. They both crumple, and for a moment, everything is quiet. His arm hung limply to the side, FMN lowers his pistol and sighs slightly, feeling the weight of the mission begin to pound on his body. That’s when he feels the bullet hit him in the rib as a burst of gunfire across the rooftop breaks the silence. FMN falls from the impact, grunting as he forces his bad arm to cover the bullet hole on his abdomen. Thankfully, its nothing more than a graze, but FMN knows that there are more on the way. He forces himself back to his feet, and as another burst of gnfire goes off around him, he lunges towards the edge of the building, and jumps off of it, feeling bullets whiz by him in the night air.**


**The rush of air over takes his ears as he falls. He loses the noise of the gunfire above quickly, as the rushing of wind as he falls takes over. His body hurts, and as the ground quickly closes in on him, he considers just closing his eyes and letting what will be, be. But at the last instant, that ever present fight inside causes him to yank on the back pack ripcord, and from a separate pocket on the top of it, a parachute emerges. His body is yanked upward momentarily by the parachute slowing his descent, giving him enough time to steer himself away from the building and the sirens and police lights, and towards the darkness of the alleys a few blocks away.**


**FMN lands in a heap in an alleyway full of trash, quite literally coming down on a pile of garbage, and the set down isn’t the most gentle thing. He hits the ground hard and he grimaces intensly as the pain from his ribs and shoulder throb. For a moment, he just lays there, half in and out of consciousness, before finally, he forces himself to his feet. He uses a release cord to rip away the parachute from his backpack, and then, he grabs his hologram projector on his belt. Somehow, it had miraculously not busted on him through the trials he had been through. He adjusts the settings, then reactivates it, making himself appear as an Imperial guard. He uses this disguise as he sticks to the alley, hobbling his way back to the safe house he had here in the Central District.**


**It would be hours before he was actually back at the safe house, and when he does, he’s bled out quite a lot from the bullet wound. He gets himself inside, stumbling over to his workstation near the cot. His bloody fingers send out his location and an SOS to the two people who he knew actually knew he existed. Vision, and Tessa. Both are the same.**

”Failed operation knowitall. Need immediate assistance. Locate me via the following coordinates…. “

**Once it’s sent, he cant help but pass out…** **Fade on FMN for now**

f6755  IT : *Flattened by a wall of text* ....ooooooooooooow...
c0e2a  ForgetMeNot : **As FMN rides the elevator up, he can’t help but think how badly he has screwed up this attempt to breach the Imperial State Building and get the intel he needs. He grumbles audibly as he hunkers down on one knee, taking a few items from his back pack as he elevator continues to climb upwards. He knows that there will certainly be more Imperial soldiers coming in from the roof, because the Empire wasn’t stupid. In response to this tactic, FMN stops the elevator about three quarters of the way up with an emergency stop. From there, he locates the emergency exit hatch, and climbs up onto the top of the elevator.**

**It’s here that he decides he has to cause a decent enough distraction to move the Empire soldiers away from the rooftop floor of the building. While the Empire had been alerted by NED through motion sensors and advanced algorithm’s from the security guard’s being drug across the lobby, even NED would have extreme trouble locating FMN. However, NED would also be aware that the elevator stopped three quarters of the way up, through the manual emergency exit. FMN would not be surprised if at this very moment, Imperial troops were being re-routed from the lobby and the roof to the floor where the elevator had been forced to stop. He didn’t have much time, but he had enough. He hooks a small, electronic pulley device up to the elevator cable, then attaches the other end of it to his own belt. He presses a few buttons on the pulley, and from the small LED screen on it, it gives him a count down from 5.**

**Five…FMN checks his belt and his backpack. They were one and the same, and in this instance, they were going to be keeping him attached to the pulley. That was going to be quite necessary, considering everything that was about to happen.**

**Four….Next comes his weapons. He had yet to fire any of them, but it never hurt to check the chamber and magazines to make sure you had what you needed, just in case. This was the Empire, after all…**

**Three…FMN makes sure that the next part of his plan when he gets to the roof is ready to go. It appears to be two small pieces of thin metal, held together by an engine of some kind. To make sure it doesn’t go anywhere, he attaches this to the pulley he’s also attached himself to.**

**Two…Lastly, FMN takes a grenade from his belt, a basic fragmentation grenade. He pulls the safety pin and chunks it down the shaft, holding the grenade in his hand with the lever clenched in his fist as tightly as possible….**

**One…..FMN closes his eyes, and grabs the pulley system with his free hand on a spot with a built in handle. In his mind, he has himself a bit of a prayer, because he always hated what came next…**

**BEEP!! The pulley system lets him know only a millisecond before the engine winds up, and the pulley system attached to himself and the cable begins to yank itself up the cable, at an extremely high velocity. FMN lets out an exasperated grunt as he’s lifted rather harshly by the unforgiving machine, and as his feet come off the ground, he releases the grenade in his hand, he rises quickly as he hears the thud of the grenade on the top of the elevator. He doesn’t look down, but a few seconds later, the grenade explodes. The force of the explosion causes the elevator cable to snap off the elevator itself, and the elevator is knocked off it’s rails by the impact. The safety locks try to snap into the elevator as it begins it’s descent, but they have nothing to hold, and the elevator falls over 20 stories before it hits the ground.**

**Meanwhile, the grenade causes something else to happen with the elevator cable. The force of the grenade cause a violent vibration and whiplash in the cable, which runs upwards towards FMN and the pulley system he’s attached to. The pulley may be fast, but the whiplash of the cable is even faster. FMN watches it approach, his eyes going back and forth between the the top of the cable above, and the quickly rising and writhing cable below. He honestly doesn’t think he stands a chance, and even lets out a bit of a yell as it closes in. The pulley gets met by the whiplashing cable right as he clears the elevator shaft and rises into the elevator maintenance area above the shaft, and FMN is thrown across the room by the writhing cable. He hits a cement wall solidly, his feet level with his hand as he hits it, and he feels all of the oxygen leave his body as he smacks into it. There’s also a loud POP!! as his shoulder takes the brunt of the damage. He falls to the ground after hitting the wall, landing chest first, and for a moment, he just lays there, completely unmoving. To be completely honest, he isn’t sure if he’s able to. Inside he wonders if the lack of pain everywhere is a sign he broke his back and is now paraplegic, but sudden, jolting pain from his shoulder lets him know that he isn’t paraplegic, just extremely lucky.**

**FMN grits his teeth as he forces himself to his feet. He’s in a room full of elevator machinery and equipment, and not much else. On the far side of the room there’s a door, which he’s fairly certain leads to the roof. However, because of the security here at the building, the door was an inch of steel with rebar inside, and a single steel frame it locked into. FMN was prepared for that though. He takes a step, but immediately falters from the ringing in his head and the pain in his shoulder. He’s sweating profusely, but forces himself back to his feet yet again, he lets his dislocated arm hang awkwardly and limply as he grabs the device he had set aside earlier and detaches it from the pulley and cable, wincing the entire time he does.**

**Moving to the door blocking his access to the roof, FMN shoves the two long pieces of metal through the door near the door knob and locking mechanism. He’s forced to drop to one knee in order to see the small display on the device, and with a click of a few buttons on it, the device powers up. The engine iinside of it spins and whirrs loudly, as the engine begins to pull the two pieces of high tension steel apart. As it does, the steel on the door gets bent inwards, causing the locking mechanism in the handle to be pushed backwards, and out of it’s hole on the frame. As though it were unlocked, the door swings open freely, and as it does, FMN sees search lights and several red lasers on the rooftop. He wasn’t alone up here. Worse than that, his device doing its work wasn’t exactly quiet, and already three Imperial guards were headed his direction. He grabs the device off the door, and throws himself behind a large AC unit to the left of the door. As the Imperials approach, they all know something has happened to the door. One stands back to radio it in, while the other two move towards the door.**

b0a0a  Stane : *Plays Pong*
29c92  Cordelia Frost : *It was okay. I think Emma might've blinked literally one time during the whole thing.*
8f820  Rhino: o.o
6444e  Anya Heart : Corbin almost made you a bridesmaid
L sent a :msg: to Kimeria.
562d9  Lilli Stephens : mushy shit..
6444e  Anya Heart : :3
6444e  Anya Maximoff : Anya was already weak in the knees, but the way Corbin — the way her husband pulled her close had her all but melting against him. She was already leaning in when his lips met hers, both arms looping around his neck and drawing him close. Lifting one hand, she cradled the back of his head as she kissed him. It took some time before Anya realized that the rushing sound in her ears wasn't just her heart racing, but also the roar of applause from not only the wedding guests, but distantly from the streets outside the garden. At long last she drew back to gaze adoringly up at her groom, just in time to hear the officiant's words to the guests. "Ladies and gentlemen of the Empire, I present to you Her Imperial Highness Princess Anya Maximoff Heart and her husband, His Imperial Highness Prince Corbin Heart." Only then did Anya pull away, keeping an arm around Corbin as she turned to smile brightly at her father and her guests, taking back her bouquet from her sister. The quartet began a gentle and familiar tune, and the couple descended the steps of the gazebo, hand in hand as tiny white petals rained down from above. They were followed into the palace by the rest of the wedding party, and immediately Anya's bridesmaids were upon her, adjusting her dress and bustling her train. They would make a public appearance as husband and wife, and then they would proceed in horse and carriage to the estate for the reception. Anya leaned in to kiss Corbin again, letting her thumb brush over the smooth band on his finger.
e8f16  Corbin Heart : His own iris contracts in unison, and he sends her the picture he had already took: Of her kissing her father's cheek, one last moment of her as her father's one and only. Corbin had heard everything the officiant had to say, but he'd mostly tuned him out in favor of that one, precious thing in front of him: Her. Stepping in, Corbin lets her hand drop from his and instead wraps his arms around her, pulling her body into his. Once he's snug against him, he lets a hand slowly pull the veil from her face...and presses his lips against her's. Dun, dun duh-dun.
6444e  Anya Maximoff : well it is still technically an act of love
e8f16  Corbin Heart : AND THEN CORBIN FINGER BANGS HER RIGHT THERE, STARING AT MAGNUS AS HE DOES SO
6444e  Anya Maximoff : She didn't so much as glance down as he placed the ring on her finger, too wrapped up in gazing at him with a small, dreamy smile on her lips. That adorable smile on his face was too precious to let slip away, and so the pale blue aperture of her iris contracted, forever preserving the image in her memory. The officiant was speaking again, but Anya wasn't listening. She'd heard the ceremony enough to understand that he was now speaking about how they would strengthen the Empire through their bond. All of it she already knew, could probably even finish the speech herself. At long last came the words that brought goosebumps to her arms. "By the power vested in me by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Magnus, I declare you to be husband and wife in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of the law. May your first act as a married couple be one of love. You may now kiss one another for the first time as husband and wife." Anya's heart stopped, and she took a small step forward, the flimsy veil suddenly stifling.
e8f16  Corbin Heart : His eyes never leave her own, but unlike that icy stare that so many have attributed to him, there's something else in those eyes. Something more akin to a need is there, and his hand grips her's gently as she speaks. He fights the urge to kiss her on the spot as the ring slides onto his finger, and he again has to fight to stop himself from laughing at the thought of the Emperor's face if he did so. Instead, Corbin clears his throat quietly and speaks. "Anya, my Annie; this ring is a symbol of our unique bond. Testifying to something unbreakable is it's shape, signifying something unwavering is it's design. It's alloy is like our love: Nothing can shake it, nothing can break it. What's more, it's hard material is contrasted by your delicate skin: A true symbol of what we are. You temper me. You took a hard man and made him care, made him understand compassion. You made me better. I will love you as my wife from here, as we grow old, through any sickness, and through any storm. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." ...Look he's paid to shoot, not to speak. Cut the guy some slack. After he's finished, Corbin sheepishly smiles at Anya...and it's the first "sheepish thing" he's ever done.
6444e  Anya Maximoff : Clasping hands with him, Anya brushed her thumb across his and turned to the officiant, but the pulse in her ears made it difficult to hear much of anything. She had opted for a more traditional wedding, as Corbin wasn't Jewish, but the betrothal blessings she had insisted upon. They each sipped from the same cup of wine, and then the princess turned to take a ring from her sister before turning to face Corbin once again. Her hands were trembling as she took his. Her voice rang out clear, though she had no idea how; she was light-headed and far away. "Corbin, I give you this ring as I give you myself, and in return I take you as my husband. When we were children we held one another as we cried over scraped knees and elbows. We laughed together until we both felt sick. From this day forward, I will hold you when you cry and join you when you laugh. I promise to grow with you, to help shoulder your burdens, to push you and inspire you, and to love you through happiness and hardship, until my dying day. Wear me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is infinitely strong. Many waters cannot quench love, no flood can sweep it away, I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine." As she spoke, Anya slid a simple band onto Corbin's finger. Her eyes flicked back and forth slightly, and then she gave him a gentle smile. An encouraging one.
e8f16  Corbin Heart : The noise starts to die down and Corbin swallows hard, his head tilting up as it struggles against the tight collar of his suit. As the violin starts and the doors swing open, Corbin's eyes first with the Emperor's, and then settle on Annie's. Her grin is met by a smile of his own and when she finally makes it to the altar,(how long did that take, because to Corbin it felt like an hour,) his hand reaches out for her's. Nodding to the Emperor before he takes his seat, Corbin looks back to the Princess and bounces both brows as if to say "Oh boy. Oh bother."
6444e  Anya Maximoff : The steady and pleasant sounds of the string quartet ceased, and for a moment there was silence in the garden. Then a solo violin began to play, accompanied by the soft sounds of a piano — Clair de Lune. The white doors of the palace opened and the princess stepped onto the garden path, her hand tucked into the Emperor's elbow as the other cradled a small bouquet of pale pink roses tied with a pale green ribbon. Her gown was simple, classic ivory with delicately embroidered flowers of all colors; her hair was piled on her head carefully, and a thin gauze veil flowed behind her like fairy wings. A smaller veil covered her face, drawn up over her tiara. Makeup was simple and plain, likely because she kept drawing her lip between her teeth nervously. Her eyes immediately found Corbin at the altar, and a bright grin spread across her face, almost as though she had spotted him at a party where she hadn't expected to see a familiar face. As she reached the gazebo, she handed off her bouquet to Wanda and turned to kiss her father on the cheek, then stepped up to join Corbin. Her eyes didn't leave his again.
da306  Gabriel Summers : *Gives thumbs up to both of them*
e8f16  Corbin Heart : Oh boy. Oh bother. Corbin fidgets ever so slightly upon the altar, his hands clasped in front of him as he nods to each of the groomsman as they walk by. Dante Hudson, his longtime friend and squadmate, takes his position as the best man. Anya's brother, Jean Paul, is next to him, and they sport the same black and green(eco green, as Anya explained to him, but honestly Corbin would just call it mint)that the rest of the bridal party wore. Corbin and Dante wear their own military dress uniforms, though Corbin's is now adorned with a sash with his various medals pinned on in display. He fidgets again; of all the ceremonies and balls he had to attend, now had given him any cause for nervousness or fright. Even in all the combat situations, Corbin had never felt so...so unnerved. His eyes travel the crowd until they fall on the door. With a deep breath, Corbin steadies himself. Oh boy. Oh bother.
6444e  Anya Maximoff : The entire Central District was brightly lit and bustling with life. Crowds formed along the streets closest to the palace as people throughout the Empire gathered around their televisions to watch as the broadcast began. The gardens themselves were a tiny pocket of springtime in the middle of the winter, daisies blooming alongside violets, flower petals dancing on the breeze. The ceremony itself was fairly small, perhaps a dozen rows of seats in front of a gazebo wrapped with honeysuckle vines. Distinguished guests ranged from prominent government officials to friends made at the Institute, and there was no shortage of representation from the Imperial military. Most of these had already taken their seats, and the activity began to wind down as the groomsmen escorted the bridesmaids to the foot of the gazebo and then took their places on either side.

Last Post:8:48pm, August 23 (UTC) (1)

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