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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:08 am 
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Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(The answers...raised some very questionable thoughts in Canti's head. First off...you could DO THAT to a character? This was weird. If Marionette could make himself into no class, then that technically meant he could be any class. He was still a mystery, then, unless he devoted all of his attributes to the observation and manipulation that he was so damn good at. His question about his servants confirmed a few suspicions, at least. No one would willingly give themselves over so easily, unless he found something to tempt them in. But with that being the case, it made them guilty of stupidity as much as he was the evil puppetmaster. Actually...evil? He wondered about that. Though...one thing caught in Canti's mind when he spoke of his means of control. The virus... Yes, it WAS a pain to deal with. It was clear that at some point, Marionette had even tried. How else would he know if not be experiment. Also...just as a benchmark, Canti felt that while his life sucked, he'd have to become a REALLY desperate loser to be tempted into Marionette's service like those others. Or perhaps... Perhaps they grew that way of their own volition? Angel described the outside world as something she wanted nothing to do with. If that was the case, then they really WERE the losers, two of them out of control and one a depraved pain in the ass.)

Canti: Still...I can't help but feel a bit sorry for them. Why, though...? I'd already decided they were better off dead. Why remorse now? Because I'm almost in the same boat? I dunno...

(The last one was the biggest. For all his wishes, the Twin Blade had actually hoped that Suraisu the Fist-Fighter was dead. Confirmed dead. If he was, then it was easy enough an issue to put behind him, to remember him however he wanted to and get on with regaining his own life. To be honest, Canti always felt that the evil hacker act was a bit too forced, and that his genuine self was the lightning warrior who took a giga-blast of energy for him in the tower. That made him respect the guy. Because of him, he may have been in this state, but who allowed this to happen, exactly? Nobody but himself. He could have walked away, but when you want MORE and you want the TRUTH, you get burnt for it. The truth is ugly and you have to face it. That was also why he'd asked to know more than just The Blade's fate. Listening to Marionette, it confirmed what he thought. Another victim then... And if he's alive at all, he'll be in Yamiyo, where the Elites are, where they had to keep Nall from. So, that was it. If anything, he had to find out if there was anything left of Suraisu to rescue, from either the Elites or just himself. Canti owed it to himself to try.)

Canti: I may have to ask Asgard what he knows, if anything, about the Admin-side of this. Having been one, he might know something useful. I have to get Dien and Zhao in on this too. They'll understand, even if Nighthand won't.

(The glare on Canti's face was hard to describe. It looked as though he was pondering, psyching himself up, and reeling from the verbal bombs that Marionette had exploded on him. Well, he had to ask these things, so he should expect that kind of effect. After a moment, he looked back at the walking enigma, prepared to dip into the well of knowledge again, almost certain that the well he drinks from is tainted like hell.)

Canti: So, you've already told us alot, but from where I'm standing, I think you could stand to answer some more, even I don't like what I hear. For instance, you said that the guy who captured Nall is already out of sight. Did he learn anything from him? I think it's important to know whether we could find Elites in our hideout soon. Even if we get him back, anything the hacker might've discovered is already gonna be learned by them. Also... We just went and smashed their communications hub. You may be the keeper, but don't you think someone would notice? Even in passing?

(This last one would actually concern their mysterious benefactor as well. Say one of the Elites decided, even by coincidence, to use their network and found it faulty. Now that they knew who was behind the Hubs and he wasn't anywhere remotely dead, wasn't a danger for them all for him to be discovered as a hacker with a personal agenda? You had to wonder just what makes him - Was he even a 'he'? - work.)

Canti: Finally, I just wanna get an understanding on equal terms here. You're helping us for personal reasons. I get that. But you plan to do something with your time after the Elites are done, right? Can I have some assurance that it won't be like how THEY are? Maybe once we're done, you could show a little gratitude? Your comment about your servants gave me an idea. Assuming we don't find a way out of The World and back to normal life on our own, how about a hand? As you say, the virus is fickle. But you're not saying you can't work with it. So, how about it? We do our part and you give the Freedom Fighters their freedom, if we find ourselves still trapped here. Is it a deal?

(Really, there couldn't be any way worse than dealing with a devil, but...as stated before, better the devil you know. They could at least trust Marionette's agenda. And since they were going to go and do it anyway, it wouldn't be unreasonable for this guy to push the log out button for them, not for someone who could enslave so easily. If Guardian was right, then he had the power and the intelligence, and now...perhaps the motivation. Canti waited to see, then, if he would be satisfied...or rejected.)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:03 pm 
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It was obvious that Canti didn't like the answers he got, not entirely, but he continued to question anyways. He was tenacious, that was granted, perhaps beyond his own ability. Could he find an unanswerable question?

"thE messengeR learneD nothinG froM nalL. youR leadeR iS verY practiceD iN holdinG hiS tonguE, anD littlE coulD bE donE tO changE hiS minD witH lesS poweR thaN thaT oF thosE abovE. youR haveN iS safE foR thE momenT. meanwhilE yoU arE correcT iN thaT thE hubS havE beeN noticeD, buT nothinG wilL bE donE abouT theM yeT. I havE beeN contacteD anD havE informeD theM thaT I aM investigatinG."

Finally, he got down to negotiation. What would the freedom fighters get out of this deal? The twin blade wanted assurances, wanted help, wanted a buffer in case their power failed. And while it was true that Marionette would spend a lot of time preparing for the day this group succeeded, his preparations would take place in the shadows, behind the scenes, doing little more than increasing his stock of puppet weapons and processing power. The theory of a bot net applied; networked computing, distributed computing, and all of that. While it may be true that eventually he could bring even Twilight under his heel, it was quite unlikely.

"howeveR, I wilL noT deaL furtheR witH yoU. thE agreemenT haS beeN seT; yoU wilL servE mE bY creatinG thE distractioN I neeD. bY thE timE yoU arE donE, I wilL bE beyonD contacT. neitheR thosE abovE, noR youR grouP, wilL seE mE agaiN. I wilL noT worK tO removE thE viruS foR yoU."

Unsatisfying, no doubt. Canti would be displeased, but that did not matter to the puppetmaster. As he said, his deal was set. This group would be his distraction whether or not they wanted to; they had to either go and be a diversion greater than simply the capture of Nall would be, or they had to leave Nall himself to die at the hands of the hackers.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:04 pm 
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For Phoenix to watch the images on the three screens on the current fate of Nall, he wondered what kind of lackey of the Elites could have the ability to capture Nall. He had learned about Nall being killed by Garaa but for a mere lackey to capture him had Phoenix very interested. Yamiyo server was very much a moving gate making it very hard to attack directly but even that would be fruitless as the Elites were much stronger there compared to the normal servers within the World.

The blademaster figured that Marionette had molded people into his guardians because of the whole independent thought. Also it was easier to manipulate the will of a human than an AI. Phoenix was disturbed by Canti though with his question about Suraisu as it seems to him that he was a bit obsessed with him. Perhaps the blademaster could not ever understand what happened between Canti and Suraisu but someday that obsession might destroy him. Then Canti striking a deal with Marionette and forcing the others into it because of association was a bit much. Phoenix knew the Elites want the Twilight along with their lackeys and Marionette was no exception to this. He did not want to make a deal with him but understood his intentions perfectly.

Phoenix suddenly decided to speak to Marionette as he realized there were a few more things that need to be asked.

“Marionette, there are two more things I want to know. First, what happened to the admins who disappeared after the battle in Mac Anu? Second, what are the current plans of the Elites themselves? I know their end goals but I want to know what they are currently planning to achieve their end goals.”

The blademaster knew that it was a rare chance to get information about the Elites. He was not going to waste it. The Freedom Fighters could finally make a sudden strike towards the Elites instead of reacting to them.

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Equipped Skills: Vak Revolver, Gan Revolver, Dek Vorv, La Repth, Juk Kruz, Rue Kruz, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot
Other Skills: Rue Kruz, Rip Synk, Rip Saem, Crack Beat, Rue Slash, Ani Slash, Gan Crack, Gan Revolver

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Raven stood in the room, waiting for a response to his greeting from any of the people present in the room, but found himself waiting for at least five minutes before he realized that no one was going to say anything. It seemed like everyone present was off in their own little worlds, and completely ignoring the new guy.

Please tell me I didn't just get stuck with a group of anti-social emo guys...because that's the one thing that would make this god damn coma thing unbearable. I mean, Nemera and Sidhe were pretty hard to approach outside of battle strategy, but at least they would respond if you said something to them... he thought to himself.

Finally resigning himself to being ignored by the majority of the group, Raven let out a sigh and went to sit down in one of the chair. A few others began to arrive, more of the Freedom Fighters no doubt. Still no one that Raven could recognize, but he had pretty much given up on that by this point. The only ones he knew in this group were Sekai and Raquar, and neither of them seemed to be showing up. Raven was starting to wonder if Raine had actually sent them a flashmail to tell them about his presence like she had said she would. Then again, it could just be that neither of them cared. He wouldn't put that past Sekai, as the two of them had rarely ever spoken to one another throughout the Vak Prison, but he couldn't believe that that was the case with Raquar. They had been through too much together in the Eventide Crescendo for that to be the case. He probably had a good reason for not showing up to this.

Raven continued to watch the others as they came in one after the other, taking note of each of their classes and quirks as they came into the room. Quite possibly the most noticable of all of these people was a Fist Fighter that seemed to be beatboxing to himself as he entered the room, and a talking cat. As much as that last one would have normally shocked him, he really didn't care at present. He kept in mind that this was a game, and therefore anything was possible as long as you knew how to program it. What bothered him was the area they were currently waiting in, considering it seemed to be nothing more than a waiting room in an office. Why the hell would there be such a field? What kind of hacker designed such a thing? Why the hell did no one seem to acknowlege his presence? What the hell was going on? He shook his head and continued to study the group, no idea what the purpose of this mission was. As he kept watching, he found that he recognized at least one person who had appeared in the room. It wasn't Sekai or Raquar, and that was the thing that surprised him about it. It was Hacorie. The leader of Fatal Exception, the clan that Raven was a part of, the one he had run the recuitment for. His clan leader was one of the Freedom Fighters? He hadn't even considered the option that maybe they were people he had met in the past, and he might not know it. Thinking back at the few times he had actually met Hacorie, the idea that he was a Freedom Fighter made a lot of sense. Especially at the tail end of the recruitment when he had arrived and warned them about something dangerous. If he hadn't shown up when he did, things could have gotten really bad. Raven had never even considered how Hacorie might have known about whatever was wrong there, but this was as good a reason as any. Why hadn't Raven figured it out before? He didn't know, he just had never even considered it. Not that he was incredibly close to Hacorie, but it was still at least one other person amidst the Freedom Fighters that he knew. Then again, Hacorie seemed a bit more occupied with talking to someone else who had arrived late.

Finally the door seemed to open up and everyone began to file in to the next room. The room seemed to serve as a secretary's office, and inside was a man, at least he kind of looked like one, whose presence seemed to aggrivate a few of the members. The thing seemed to suggest that they had to choose whether or not to attack and fight, or just to talk things out. As Raven had no idea what was going on, he tried to read the atmosphere in the room. He sensed no immediate threat, so he kept his cool, unlike some of the others it seemed. After a lot of questions, and circular answers from the odd man, another door was opened up, and they were allowed in to see the one they kept refering to as Marionette. Once in this final room, Raven stared at the man behind the desk, his face covered in a mask and dressed in a white suit. Raven didn't know what to make of him, but others seemed to start asking questions, which according to Marionette seemed to be the entire reason they were here. This in itself led Raven to wonder why the hell he had been brought along. He didn't know anything about their activities, he knew nothing of this Nall person several seemed to be talking about. What he did know was that he recognized at least one thing from all of these questions, one word that he had heard mentioned at least once before.

Yamiyo? So that's what Dirge was talking about. Yamiyo is a server the Elites use as their home base, huh? That would explain a few things. Then again, why was Dirge talking about leading a large army into Yamiyo? Aren't the Highers working with the Elites? Raven wondered.

As long as he was here, he figured he might as well ask about this kind of thing. If this Marionette was willing to answer almost any question, there should have been no reason for him to not answer him on this subject.

"I'm new here, so I don't exactly know what the hell is going on. So I have a few questions as well. First of all, can you explain who you are to me, and why everyone seems pissed at you? I can gather a lot about your motives from what everyone else asked already, but I still don't know who you are exactly. Second of all, what do you know about the Highers' relation to the Elites? Are their motives in order to aid the Elites, or are they betraying them?" Raven asked.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:03 pm 
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Ah, Phoenix, finally getting down to the other important questions. What of the Admins? What of the Elites? Was there information he could give? In fact, there wasn't. Not really.

thE planS oF thosE abovE arE opeN onlY tO theM, anD mostlY noT eveN tO eacH otheR. iT iS rarE thaT theY worK togetheR sucH aS theY diD wheN theY crusheD maC anU. thE adminS, thE poweR fouR, arE helD iN yamiyO. theiR locationS diffeR. beyonD thaT I dO noT knoW.

And then... Raven. A character he had little time to study, a new character, new introduction to this group. Why he was here... Only through the other faction of Nall's little side group.

"tO yoU raveN, I aM nothinG tO yoU. thiS grouP dislikeS mE becausE, whilE theY assaulteD thE fieldS I waS responsiblE foR guardinG, I testeD theM physicallY anD psychologicallY. aS foR thE higherS, theY arE doomeD tO faiL. theY arE oF nO concerN tO thosE abovE, noR tO myselF. theY knoW noT thE forceS theY toY witH, anD iT wilL destroY theM iN thE enD."

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:00 pm 
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I'd remained silent since my arrival, contemplating the words of both Guardian and Marionette. Marionette's responses to Canti and Dien were of principle interest to me. The answer to Dien's question seemed to calm him, which eased my mind a little, and the answer about Suraisu filled some of the holes in our knowledge of him as well. It also gave me some sympathy for the man... Reinier may have talked about players being enslaved by the elites when we first met him, but nothing could have prepared me for that kind of description. The image of Suraisu burned vividly in my brain, bound, face wrenched in pain. I winced, and tried to wipe it away, wanting a clear head in order to ask my own questions.

Before I had thought for more than a moment, something hit me. Marionette had been spying on us. He had eyes everywhere in the world. But some of the things he had said hadn't merely been things he could have observed. Some of his flashmails to me... it was as though he could see inside my head. See what was going on in there, where there was more activity than I cared to admit to anyone here. Even Dien and Raquar.

“Marionette... just one simple thing. Our minds are trapped in the game, and you can watch the game as you choose. Anywhere, correct? So... can you see what goes on... inside our minds?

I almost regretted having asked, as I felt like the question would bring unwanted attention from members of the group about my mental health. Thinking about it, though, I decided that first of all, I wasn't a particularly interesting person to begin with, and this wouldn't really change that too much. Second of all, I thought, perhaps the others also had secrets they'd like kept... and the answer to this would determine whether or not those secrets were safe.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:41 pm 
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Zhao brought up a good question, a good question indeed, and it took a long moment of thought to bring a proper answer to mind. What WAS it that he did? Did he peer into their very souls and know what they were, inside and out? Or did he simply make very, very good guesses?

somE portionS oF thE gamE arE blockeD froM mY sighT, sucH aS thE serveR yamiyO anD somE oF thE morE heavilY defendeD outpostS oF thosE abovE. somE arE merelY toO compleX tO interpreT, eveN witH mY currenT higH processinG poweR. thE minD oF A maN driveN bY morE thaN onE simplE emotioN iS cloudY, anD whilE hE stilL maY bE manipulateD, hiS everY thoughT remainS unknowN.

It was a simple answer, a concise one, and yet it might not really be an answer at all. It begged the question; what was his motivation?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:59 am 
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During the conversation, Dien’s mind had been following its own paths, thinking about Marionette and trying to determine just how the puppeteer could know what he knew. Really, the theories in his mind all lined up perfectly with what he knew was possible in computing these days. Most likely? Marionette was some conglomeration of supercomputer and human, fused together through Twilight and given the keys to the Admin Control Panel. Everything that they could see, essentially, he could see. He just had more eyes and more time and power to process what he was watching, and so was able to do more extrapolations about it, and more able to refine those to a high degree of accuracy.

Granted, though, thinking on all of this had left Dien with several holes in his knowledge about the character himself. Part of him had wanted to lead the group away as soon as they’d found out where Nall was, but then he realized something: they would never be able to talk to this character again, and he was giving out as many answers as they had questions. Between saving Nall and milking the opportunity, the Elite of Time could wait.

The part about Suraisu had been interesting enough to invoke his attention. Quite the tragic tale: part of the blademaster wanted to cross blades with him again, if only because it was the only duel he’d really come close to losing. Really, he also wanted to compliment his acting skills – he had almost pulled the wool over the party’s eyes long enough to stab them in the back.

Then came Zhao’s question, which was a curious matter. If Dien was right, then the answer would be no. What came instead, though, was another vague statement. Granted, with the nature of the question, it would be truly hard to give a clear answer, what with how powerful Marionette seemed. Still, after the twinblade, it was time for the blademaster to ask questions. With the realization that he had a vast well at his disposal that was about to disappear, he really didn’t care much about Nall’s safety. It was the first thing on his mind, though, so questions about it would come first and foremost.

“Though I doubt you mind, I’m sorry for yet another few questions,” the blademaster began, letting his hands rest casually in the pockets of his jacket as he addressed the puppet holding the strings, “and in different circumstances, I’d love to pick your brain about a few things less pertinent to our situation, but as it stands, my first question is this: you’ve shown us your eyes on the field where Nall is held, but is there anything further you know about the inhabitants?”

thE beastS oR thE meN?” Curt, but expectable.

“Either one,” Dien replied, “or both, if you’re willing. Anything that would help us to rescue our man.”

thE beastS oF firE iN thE fielD oF lavA arE varieD iN leveL aS I havE saiD. theY arE ablE tO casT theiR correspondinG leveL oF firE magiC, buT theiR tacticS arE brutisH anD singulaR, onlY rarelY helpinG onE anotheR. theY dO, howeveR, traveL iN packS, gatheringS arounD thE movementS oF thE strongesT theY caN finD.” A pause. “thE meN arE hiddeN froM mE whilE iN theiR citadeL, anD theY havE noT lefT.

“So then would you know if they have any other prisoners?” Fun as it would be to break out only Nall, it would be even funner to snag other people who were in line for the Elites’ review and confiscation.

nO maN enterS anD stayS foR lonG, anD remainS A maN. whaT prisonerS theY havE arE nO longeR morE thaN beastS.” So it reiterated the urgency of the situation. Still, if they were going to be going in there at all, it would be a good thing to find out just how the degeneration happened.

“Purely a psychological effect of the citadel, you think?”

faR froM iT. thE meN therE activelY experimenT oN theiR captureS, tO creatE deadlieR weaponS foR thosE abovE.Oh great, Dien thought, another bunch of mad scientists. But that meant…

“So then what of the beasts on the field? Are they the result of some experiment as well?” He was starting to get flustered at the thought, almost forgetting the realization of Marionette’s knowledge in favor of rage against these monsters. Fucking hackers, he thought, only realizing the irony of it afterward.

thosE oF firE arE merelY augmenteD, yeT simplE, creationS. thosE yoU saW capturE youR leadeR werE experimentS.” So then there was no chance of getting through there without killing someone for good. It wasn’t something he’d exactly experienced. Death had haunted him before, but he’d never sided with it. Not exactly the most comforting thought, but he’d cross that bridge when he came to it. For now, he had more questions.

“Okay, so I think that’s all I need to know about that for now,” he said, closing his eyes as he cracked his neck from side to side, “but having realized why the rest of the group is lingering here, I cannot help but ask a few more general questions.” He paused, looking to the avatar that was before him, and continued, “do you know how to get into Yamiyo?”

onE musT contacT thE gatekeepeR tO bE tolD hoW tO enteR. thE gatekeepeR wilL givE A tokeN, passworD, tesT, oR otheR prooF tO bE returneD foR accesS. thaT, oR onE musT bE captureD.

“And do you know how or where to find these gatekeepers?” He paused, but before the man could answer, “oh, and if it’s keywords and the like, just flashmail them to me. I’ll forget otherwise.” A smile crossed his face rather nervously. It wasn’t that much to ask, was it?

thE gatekeepeR iS iN yamiyO beyonD youR contacT. onE musT bE identifieD tO thE gatekeepeR tO bE A valiD contacT, anD onlY selecT hiddeN entitieS arE ablE tO recruiT anD granT validatioN. I aM noT onE oF thosE.” Well that made sense. With something as secure and hard to find as the Yamiyo server, a randomization protocol for the entrance would have been cracked long ago and he wouldn’t have been caught in this mess. Though with so many parties involved in just entering, it begged the question.

“So…just how many people do the Elites have working for them?” Thoughts of Suraisu and his group crossed his mind, along with the ones who had recruited Leek and given him the knife. Already that pointed to a good ten people in active duty on the normal servers, along with whoever these ‘Highers’ were. Just how big of a monster were they trying to behead?

theiR numberS yoU woulD noT believE. yamiyO citY iS largeR anD busieR thaN maC anU.

“Oh,” he paused, contemplating the implications of that statement, before finishing the phrase, “hell.” He imagined some of the others who had been to Yamiyo before would have had some knowledge of this, but so far as he could tell, there couldn’t have been more than a thousand. What Marionette suggested, though, seemed like millions, which was simply impossible compared to the amount of people playing the game. It took him a moment to set the realization aside so he could continue, and even then his voice was shot.

“I…I only have three more questions for you,” he finally managed, running his hand through his hair and cracking his neck again, “I have no issue with you benefiting from our actions. From what I gather, our goal is to help out as many people as possible. My first question, though, is more of a request; is there any way that you could give us some form of practical assistance in our mission—both short-term and long-term?”

I havE giveN yoU whaT practicaL knowledgE I caN.Right, he thought, of course.

“I don’t mean knowledge,” he said, cautiously, “I was thinking more along the lines of a power-up or some stash of items or weapons to strengthen ourselves with.”

whaT I coulD givE woulD beaR mY marK, A risK I cannoT takE.” That kinda made sense, too.

“Which leads to my second question: if helping us is so risky for you, why are you even taking the trouble to meet with us now? Why are you helping us like this?”

I maY bE usinG yoU shamelesslY foR endS oF mY owN, buT I aM faiR. yoU passeD mY testS.

“So then no harm will come to us by the hand of your or one of your subordinates again?” There was a brief pause, before Dien clarified, “I want your word.”

thaT worD I cannoT givE.

“Why not?” Granted, there was nothing he could really do about it, but that word was something that Dien coveted. It would mean a lot more allies, if his measure was right.

afteR thiS deaL, ouR contracT iS endeD. I havE nO furtheR wisH tO continuE iT. anY furtheR benefiT I coulD bE tO yoU woulD involvE contactinG mE, whicH I wisH tO avoiD.

“Contract, eh?” the blademaster thought a moment or two, “so then, what exactly is it that you want us to do in exchange for your help?”

iT iS aS I havE explaineD. yoU wilL attempT tO rescuE youR leadeR.

“What’s in it for you?” he asked quickly, “and on a side-note, would you be willing to enter into negotiations for another contract?”

yoU arE A distractioN, anD nO.

“A distraction;” he said, “so you’re diverting the Elites’ eyes so you can do something else without being noticed: what are you up to?”

agaiN, I wilL burY myselF froM thE sighT oF thosE abovE.

“How?”

yoU woulD noT understanD thE intricacieS oF mY datA dispersaL anD recombinancE.

“You do know who I am, right?” Half from arrogance of a time past, half from disbelief.

I dO. youR understandinG oF datA iS froM thE perspectivE oF thE outsidE, noT thE insidE.

“Try me.” There was a look on Dien’s face, a spark that no one in the room had yet seen in his eyes, besides maybe Marionette, if he’d been watching the first affair in the Corrupted Hidden Expanse. It was excited, confident, and child-like, almost as though he knew he was about to be outdone, and was eager to get it over with so he could learn and get better. So rare had the occasions become, that they became something akin to, but slightly better than Christmas morning.

Suddenly, to Dien’s eyes only, the entire world was different. Everything was in view; every object in the room was shown from every angle, but all in the same place. Every individual polygon was displayed alone, superimposed, pages upon pages of data displayed with them, about their position, their color, their speed, their owner, even a report on an anomalous reading that could only be the presence of Twilight. Everything was shown in every light it could be in, shown in wire-frame mode, shown as dots and vectors. Textures were broken down into averages and maps of pixels. More data existed about a single graphical element than the blademaster had ever seen about a field. And it was thrust into his head all at once; everything, that is, except the two main players, Marionette and Guardian. They stood impervious to his split-second sight.

And then it was gone, all was back to normal.

yoU caN noT understanD.

It was a long time before he was able to even move, his mind trying desperately to cope with the mass of information that had just been siphoned into it. Nothing looked the same. Nothing felt the same. It all made sense, but it was still such a mystery. His head began to hurt, but he didn’t even notice, standing entranced by what he’d seen. He could feel new creases forming in the gray matter of his brain, still remembering the experience. The rush! His eyes finally refocused on Marionette, doubtlessly having stirred some concern in the room around him. Of course that information made sense. It was all catalogued, all readily available to someone with the eyes to see it. It was different, though, than anything he could have come up with. His mind had slowed, but the information was still being streamed through.

He hadn’t felt this much stress on his brain since he’d erased his own memory. More likely than not, blood was leaking from his nose, and he made his way to one of the seats to recover, sit, and process. Only his imagination could show him what was happening to him in the real world.

“Why hide?” He asked suddenly and without precedent. It wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t startling, merely a thought recalled by his brain while it continued its busywork. This was going to be freaking distracting.

I nO longeR requirE servitudE undeR thosE abovE.” Many meanings were carried within, but he didn’t care to sort them out.

“Oh.” And all he could say was, ‘oh.’

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:16 pm 
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Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
While the whole question and answer session with the puppetmaster was interesting and informative, Nighthand was keeping track of his own list of questions, checking them off mentally as they were answered one by one. In the end, he had only one thing left to ask for, and to obtain from the puppetmaster if he could.

After all, how were they to know that the footage shown by the masked man before them was anything more than an elaborate fake? Everyone else was taking it at rather face value, but he didn't want to. He didn't want to believe that Nall could be caught so easily by something so... new. If power like that was in the hands of the Elites, they didn't seem to stand much of a chance in his eyes.

Not that he'd stop fighting. He had nothing else to do.

"So, Marionette, I just have one more thing to say," He spoke up, as the rest of the group lapsed into silence, seeming to have exhausted their thoughts. "And that is, can you export that video of Nall into an item I can give to Raine? I want to make sure this isn't a trap you're leading us into."

In response, the puppetmaster didn't even speak. He waved his flower, and Guardian stepped forward with a small cube. Nighthand took it, content, and turned away from the master of the field.

"I think we're done here." He said, and without further thought, left the field and returned to the hideout. One by one, the rest of the group followed, in various states of anxiety and shock. They were in for quite an adventure, it seemed.

--------------------------------
Once the last of the party disappeared from the field, Marionette and Guardian didn't move for a long time. A long time for them, anyways; for a normal player, it would amount to no more than a few seconds. Even so, the time was spent deep in analytical thought, laying plan over plan over plan until the result was so airtight it had to be foolproof.

Of course, nothing was every foolproof, especially when Twilight was involved.

Abruptly, both of the figures exploded into a tornado of spherical nodes connected with lines of light, a vast network filling the room. Everything they touched burst apart into more nodes and lines, until it was a vast cloud floating above a normal-looking field. Then, the nodes shot off in various directions, a thousand different angles, stretching the lines of light thin until they were no longer visible.

Raine, watching the field as best she could, noted the sudden absence of the shield that had protected the field from her observation, and checked it. It appeared to be a normal field, and the vast mass of data she had come to associate with the puppetmaster was gone. She sighed. The interview was over.

--------------------------------


Back in the hideout, Nighthand's first move was to head directly to Raine. Thankfully she wasn't hard to find, set up among her virtual monitors in the meeting room. He knew she had to have a real workroom somewhere, but where it was, he didn't know, and he had never seen her go into it; she was always just working in one of the various rooms when the group was 'home'.

He handed her the cube, and she looked up at him questioningly.

"I need you to verify the data on this item. Marionette gave it to me, after he showed it's contents to us. It's Nall. He was captured, and Marionette wants us to be a distraction for him while we go save the blademaster." He was on edge, and as he spoke, he could see the tension build in Raine. She immediately went to work on the cube, the trio of videos displaying on her monitors while another monitor showed a dozen different measurements and readouts.

"It's real." Raine said, after watching the video for the third time. "I'll call Sheena back, she needs to see this."

A moment later, barely the time it took for a flashmail to get from one place to another, Sheena stormed into the room. Her face was a mixture of hope and of fear.

"You've heard something about Nall?" She said, her usual chipper self hidden behind a thin veil of worry. Her hopeful smile fell, however, as she saw the somber looks on the faces of the two present.

Without another word, Raine flipped around one of her monitors and displayed the video for Sheena to see.

It was amazing, the amount of transformation that took place in the short few seconds that it took for the trio of videos to play. Sheena went from slightly hopeful and still internally happy, to stony-faced silence, to a barely-contained rage.

"I know you want to rush off, but this is still probably a trap, and we have to be carefu-" Raine began, but Sheena interrupted her.

"I'm going. Nighthand, get the party prepared and get to the gate. Now." Her happy demeanor was completely gone.

Nighthand nodded and drafted up a Flashmail to the party.

Flashmail!
To: The Freedom Fighters
From: Nighthand
Subject: Rescue Nall

We're mounting a rescue of Nall. Raine has verified that he was captured on that field, the video Marionette showed wasn't false. Sheena is coming too; if we're not fast, I suspect she'll leave us behind. I'd rather not have her going off alone.

From the video, at least the field level is Fire based and deals constant damage to us due to the heat. Stock up on health drinks and ice scrolls. This could be the toughest fight yet.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:30 pm 
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Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
This was a sort of mini-quest, and as such will be graded, but due to there not being any combat, no levels are awarded. This isn't really a between-quest break, though; think of this more as an introduction to the real quest.

All -> +3 Ice Flow, +3 Ice Storm, +5 Health Drinks

Nighthand -> +2 Permaforst, +2 Absolute Zero, +3 Ice Strike, +3 Cygnus
Asgard -> + Spiked Nunchaku, +1 Permafrost, +2 Cygnus
Phoenix -> + Nataku, +1 Absolute Zero, +2 Ice Strike
Raven -> +2 Ice Strike, +1 Cygnus, + 1500 GP
Lighteria -> +1 Ice Strike, + 2000 GP
Canti -> +1 Permafrost, +1 Absolute Zero, +2 Ice Strike, +1 Cygnus
Raquar -> +2000 GP
Dien -> + Lake & Sea, +1 Absolute Zero, +1 Ice Strike, +1 Cygnus
Zhao Xun -> +3 Cygnus, + 1000 GP
Silk -> +2 Ice Strike
Reinier -> +2 Cygnus
Hacorie -> +1 Ice Strike, +1 Cygnus
Senna +1 Permafrost, +2 Cygnus

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