Knight Hunters: Project Shine

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Lunatic AI

Original poster
[FONT=&quot]Patchwork Lives

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[FONT=&quot]Thursday, August 19<sup>th</sup>, 22:47.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]​
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[FONT=&quot]San Francisco is beautiful at night. Most cities are. The darkness smooths away the details that make a city physically ugly; graffiti, cracks in the asphalt, garbage and mud and old gum and other, even less appetizing stains on the sidewalks… You notice the lights, not garish anymore, now that night has swallowed the city up, but beacons, stars plucked from the sky to fill the bay. So many thousands of feet above flashing to warn planes the buildings are this tall; directing traffic down the block at the intersection; here laughing, beckoning people out of the cooling air into shops and restaurants, inviting and warm. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The stink of beer and Chinese food looses it's suffocating cloy in the night breeze, and now you're hungry, when an hour ago you wanted to gag walking three blocks away from China Town. It's the time of night people are headed out for a well earned round of drinks- but turn aside from the little bar not quite at the corner up the street- to the noisier lights, their friends calling them to someplace that does dinner too, or else no one's gonna be able to drive! <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Leaving the cold blue cursive of a neon sign to flicker at an empty street; closed, even if someone happened to stray from the flock…<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The lights are on, more soft blue creeping around the edges of the fabric to reflect tapestry swirls on the glass front; there's a handwritten sign taped to the inside of the door, hesitant printed letters saying they will be opening again Sunday: "Please to come back round! ~Love Roulette!" And signed with a kiss.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Aya blinked at the careful scrawl- Only Roulette would try to couch a directive (We are closed. Come around to the back.) in engrish. He thumbed the key-chain in his coat pocket and a white Porsche, left at the corner and two blocks up-just within visual range, parked close enough to bolt to in an emergency, far enough passerby would have no reason to associate it with this end of the street- bleeped plaintively. Somewhere a not-so-well-meaning teenager cursed it. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Nevermind, my brother got some pot, you wanna go smoke?"<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The conversation drifted off into the night.[/FONT]

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[FONT=&quot]Aya liked San Francisco. It wasn't nearly as crowded as Tokyo, he didn't stand practically a head above everyone else, and his red hair was just another color in the sea of blondes and browns and blues and greys and greens- He shivered and shrugged deeper into his coat, heading around to the back door. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Only up close was it obvious the lock holding together the chain winding between the heavy doors wasn't actually fastened. It occurred to him to wonder how Russian had managed that, or if Roulette had left it that way on her way out. He knocked, two echoing raps just to let her know to switch the safety on her gun and let himself in. There was nothing to be done about the lock, but he turned over the bolt from the inside.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Hadrwood chairs had been turned up onto polished mahogany tables for the night, plush blue carpeting vacuumed, windows clean and curtains drawn. An oil burning lamp above each end of the bar cast the room in faint light that only pronounced the shadows- it was a picture Yoji would have flipped over- though, probably more because of the woman in a tank and shorts too short to be in any way conducive to hiding a weapon…<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Aya wiped off the end of the bar and reached up to dust above the lamps. "At least keep your shoes on." <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Russian smiled a little, finishing drying the last of the glasses and tucking it below the counter. Only Aya would frown at a beautiful woman and mean the world by it. "You just missed 'Roulette'."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Hm. Head count?"<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Four, so far," She said quietly. Out of twenty six operatives on the northwest coast that was… dismal. "Roulette believes she may have leads on another three, but nothing confirmed."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Contact is in the works."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Yes. Roulette is printing up an advertisement for the bar…"<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"What's wrong with your printer?" He had his own laptop- well, he'd taken Omi's laptop- but he needed to know if he needed to buy a printer before tomorrow night. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Russian paused. "She's… angry." She gestured to a tray sitting at the far end of the counter. "I'm going to burn them."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]He leaned against the bar and shuffled through the photographs. Pictures of Russian's son. The two women were hardly important to the organization, not on a professional level. Neither knew anything, had access to anything, they had only to be on hand to provide a cover for meetings and alert agents when Weiss had orders for them. The odds were one in millions anyone would ever know the boy existed, let alone seek him out for harm.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"You're his mother." It was a protest and a statement of understanding. She didn't see him, he didn't know her, this was all she would have of his childhood and she was not going to risk keeping it around if things went... the way they usually did. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"I wanted you to see him."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Aya gathered the photos up and slipped him inside his coat. "I'll take care of it."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]He would have to destroy the originals, but he could use the Director's private encryption for filing scans of the pictures- The other Weiss would have Aya's head if any one of them found out Aya had done nothing. It seemed the more vital it was to keep from forming personal attachments the more difficult it became. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Saturday night, 2300." He confirmed. "Have her distribute fliers to the unconfirmed operatives as well." It was standard Kritiker procedure to meet in a closed business cove;, to a false lead it would be just another business misprint by a couple girls who couldn't speak English. <o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Yes, sir."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Aya turned to go.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"Do you have a place to stay?"<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]"An apartment."<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Russian nodded. "Remember you have an appointment to have your stitches out on the 30<sup>th</sup>." It was perhaps the longest conversation either of them had had.<o:p></o:p>[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Aya didn't tell her he took them out himself, two days ago. He wasn't cleared for field work until the 4<sup>th</sup> of November anyway, he could use a calendar- he didn't need the stitches to remind him.[/FONT] It wasn't like it mattered.

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Musical Score: Kalinika - Red Army Choir

in a dark dingy basement in San Fransisco, two men sat at a table, between them sat two pistols, three bottles of Vodka, two glasses and a large stack of Rubles.

Ivan shuffled the cards whilst Mikhail filled the two glasses

"Так, как - семья?" Mikhail asked, putting his old freind's glass before the balding, middle aged man who shrugged as he dealt the next hand.

"они - хорошо, и что из Вас? Вы наконец нашли, что симпатичная женщина успокаивает то ваше сердце воинов?" Ivan replied, his reply more of a freindly jab at the unmarried and seemingly always single Mikhail, who laughed before replying

"Вы ранили меня товарищ" he said, raising the glass of vodka as he checked his cards

"Поднимите их и погрузите их и позволяет, имеют другой!" both said in unison, the old drinking oath of the 34th Guards regiment still fondly remembered as the two men downed their glasses.

"однажды, когда Вы столь же стары как я мой небольшой freind, Вам жаль, что Вы не нашли, что женщина готовила и убрала для Вас" Ivan said quietly, Mikhail sighed heavily and put a handful of crumpled notes in the pot

"возможно я буду старый freind, но нет многих женщин, которые бросили бы все их мировые желания, и возможности также готовят и убирают для меня, кроме того, я предпочитаю женщину, которая может бороться по домохозяйке, которая действительно только заботится обо мне" Mikhail's reply was said jovially, but both men knew that behind that Mikhail felt rather lonely, especially since work had "dried up" though Ivan still had no Idea what Mikhail did other than the odd charter flight here and there.

Mikhail and a old freind from his Army days (not all that long passed) play poker and drink, they speak of mostly trivial things, such as Mikhail's seeming inability to find a girlfreind/wife, much to Ivan's (who is around 57, he was Mikhail's commanding officer) confusion.
There's a lot to be said about the human race. Everyone agrees we have the potential to create and the potential to destroy. History tells us we end up destroying the very things we create.

Somewhere in San Francisco, the door to a church pushed open, letting in a gust of wind that threatened to extinguish the lit candles at the front. It was a small church, ten pews on either side with a worn, faded red carpet. There was a statue of Mary at the door with arms open to greet everyone who walked in the door and a flight of steps that led up to a platform for choirs long since past. There was a holy water font opposite the statue of Mary and a small altar in the front with the lit candles to one side of it.

The man who had walked in shut the door gently behind him and then took off the black felt winter hat he wore. He dusted it off lightly, the church's dim light catching the short blonde hair that brushed against the lapels of the long black coat he wore. Glaive paid his respects to the statue of the Virgin Mary with a quiet bow and turned toward the movement that had caught his eye.

The African-American man in the priest's robes was in his fifties and breathed a sigh of relief. He had told him, the very first night he had appeared, that he kept his church doors open all the time. Little had he known back then that the man he had spoken to would end up coming back at odd times of the night fairly often; but it wasn't uncommon for him to be gone for days or weeks at a time.

Glaive put the hat on the coat rack and walked to the front. The priest stood there and fell in step beside him. Neither of them said a word as they sat on the front pew in front of the candles.
The trip back to the States hadn't been a comfortable one, a storm delayed his trip by an entire day, and he'd been sitting in an uncomfortable chair for at least three hours before being told such, most fun he had in a while was buying coffee and walking slowly.

He'd made it in the end, trying his best not to think about if all of this could be or not a lie, but he'd been gone for a few years, and he'd stopped trying to not be found recently, if they'd wanted him out, they would have done it already, England was a much lonelier place than this city anyway.

The cab ride to the hotel now settled him down, he was starting to urge for a cigar.

He checked the place for any type of surveillance, paranoia had struck him long ago when he stopped working for official authorities.

Now he needed a good cigar, still too worried to open the window, since he didn't have a gun with him, but he'd hold, at least until he went to the bar for his assignment, which would be soon enough.
Kuro, codename 'Roulette', could have been any college student. Young, Asian, short black hair clipped back in sparklie berets, a striped shirt and jeans, sneakers; she didn't look like a secret agent. But then that was how Kritiker worked. Random people; 'normal' people. She didn't know how Aoi- Russian- had managed to track down McGregor's private address overseas but she had taken care of contacting him with the bar's address and the time of the meet-up, so Kuro could scratch that name off her shopping list.

Jack Daniels
Martini Mix
Cocktail Stuff...

Under which Aoi had scribbled 'Don't forget the beer this time!'- for effect, and because they were out.

She frowned. Vodka and Kahlua had vanished off the map when the fan hit, Gin was dead- Vermouth was a confirmed traitor (She assumed Aya would be taking care of that)- which left Martini; for whom she'd left a flier tacked to the entrance to his apartment building, and Molotov, who she was currently following. Kuro stepped into a convenience mart and picked up some cocktail mix so she could scratch his name off the list and looked up as she was digging in her purse for her credit card-

And completely forgot she was an outspoken lesbian, in a committed relationship, and on a secret mission. Later, it would occur to Kuro exactly what she had done and-oh god Aya was going to skin. her. alive... But her brain had conveniently shut off at the sight of the man checking out ahead of her. Tall, brunette, American, all things she absolutely hated in men. He was leaning against the counter casually, paying cash for a bottle of Wild Turkey and Kuro scratched the meeting time out on one of the fliers in her hand absently.

"Can I help you?"

She swore in Korean, realizing she'd been staring. And that she didn't actually speak English. She cussed again but shot him a bright grin and scribbled her phone number next to where she'd drawn a line through the meeting time. "Ah, friend opened a- aam... Bar? First round on house?" And then she realized she couldn't just hop off- she still had to pay. Because they actually did need cocktail olives...and stuff... Kuro blushed ducking her head, all but throwing her phone number at him.

Fifteen minutes and six blocks later Kuro caught up to a soft featured man in a Russian hat who matched the description they'd been given of Molotov. She skipped ahead of him to walk backwards with a smile, holding out one of the bar's fliers. "Any time could use a drink yes?" He paused, body language indicating he wasn't sure this was what it seemed (Kuro thanked god it seemed she hadn't gotten mixed up) and glanced down at the flier before taking it. She watched his eyes scan for a Kritiker tell, in this case she'd worked up an eye to look like Shine's logo. He nodded.

Half way back to the bar her 'ohmigodhe'ssohot' high had faded a little and Kuro was suddenly struck with what she'd done at the convenience store. The down was rapidly spiraling into a 'whatdoItellAya?' sort of panic and she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and dialed the number at the top of her speed dial, trying to get her breathing under control. To say she was scared of Aya was... complicated. He had never hurt her; in his own quiet way he'd actually always seemed rather fond of her and Aoi but she'd also seen him angry and oh god... But then what were the odds Mr. Wild Turkey man would show up tonight? Even with her luck- and anyway they'd still be closed... Kuro groaned and pressed her forehead to the brick wall with a thump.

"Mmf. If this isn't an insanely beautiful woman I'm hanging up."

She had once chance of Aya not killing her.
A muscular figure was strapped into a large chair with a myriad of wires running from it to various large machines. A robot stood guard while what looked like a surgical instrument tray on legs scuttled up a large table to stop near a figure in a white lab coat.

Pulling hid goggles over his eyes Dr. Soulstien picked up one of the nastier looking tools from the tray and examined it, holing it close.

"Where are you you freak!?" Agent Pureshadow shouted Turning his blindfolded head "I know you're here doctor come face me."

"All in good time agent Pureshadow...... All in good time...."

He walked over to a bank of readouts and tapped one of dials causing it to jump to a higher reading then turned to the captured agent. He examined his prisoner the dim light of his lab glinting off of his goggles and making it look as if his white hair glowed.

"You're strong........."


"QUIET!" Dr. Soulstien shouted as a strap wound itself around the agent's mouth. "Its not polite to interrupt when someone is talking. Especially when they're just trying to reward you for your efforts." he pulled the blindfold from agent Pureshadow's eyes and examined his prisoner again.... "Yes. You're strong we just need to get you out of this...." he pulled at the agent's skin a look of disgust on his face.

"That was one on my most important facilities, untold damage you caused. So many souls lost.... your skills will prove most useful Pureshadow.... most useful. Skill like yours should be rewarded, and I plan on freeing you from your fleshy prison and giving you... something better." Pureshadow's eyes went wide as Dr. Soulstien fitted a helmet to the top of his head, electrodes digging into the scalp. The struggles against his bonds and shouted against the strap across his mouth as similar electrodes dug into his arms and body.

"It will soon be over, you don't heed to struggle so.." he said driving a spike attached to a large high voltage line into the center of Purshadow's chest. "Just one more thing to do." his gloved hand curled around a large lever set into the wall and pulled it down. All the dials on the panels went int overload and lightning arched around the Agent's body. It flew upward breaking the straps and his scream echoed around the lab.

When the lightning stopped and and two robots carried the body away Dr. Soulstien pulled what looked like a pink glowing florescent tube out of the machine..... its glow lighting up his face as he smiled.

"A very fine specimen....I have something special for you."
(Musical Ambience: White Car, Atom, Appleseed)

I called that cute girl about the bar. I could tell right off the bat that she was hot for me.

Then again more than half the population of this city has said the same. I've taken many precautions to avoid wearing my old PT shirts. See when most people hear you say 'I was in the Navy' they immediately think 'fudge packer.' I've pretty much had to send all my Navy related shirts and uniforms, except my fatigues, to the homestead in Tuttle, Oklahoma.

God I miss the farm... Well, maybe not that much...

I grab my shoulder rig on the way out of the apartment. It's a bar scene so I decide to go with jeans, steel toed boots, just in case I have to curb stomp someone, a black t-shirt, because bad guys wear black, and a woodlands pattern BDU jacket, just because. The weather is nice, the people are friendly...

...sometimes too friendly. I could have sworn I left 'nut to butt' behind when I got out of the Navy. As I walk on my phone rings, KMFDM's 'WWIII' blaring out.

"Yello!" I answer, not bothering to look at the screen.

"You see the headlines, cockfag?" GMCS Howard 'Seiger' Steiner, my former platoon Chief from DEVGRU*, says as I stop at a crosswalk.

"Yes, I know your beloved Texas Longhorns stomped a mudhole in my equally beloved OU Sooners. Tell me, is Lonestar burning an OU flag out on the lawn again?" I ask. A couple years ago our sniper, a Texas native much like Steiner, set an OU flag on fire in the parking lot. Dam Neck Annex went into lockdown as a result and our liberty was cancelled for a month. I had a date ruined thanks to that psycho...

Fucking cockblocker.

"Naw, he did one better. We had some trigger time this week. Qualifications with the Mk 17s." Steiner replies.

"You didn't..."

"We did. New Fat Mike's pretty good at single, but he could use some work with burst fire." How Steiner and Lonestar managed to turn the rest of the team against OU is beyond me.

"So, you just calling to rag on my alma mater or is there something important you want to tell me?" I ask as I walk on.

"Yeah. If you still can't find a job, Black Adder Industries is hiring." I grimace, thinking about the North Carolina based PMC. We've worked with them before.

"Well, you're in luck, Senior. I might have found something. No idea what it is, but it's something." I reply as I look about for the address from the flyer. "I had a flyer handed to me. Something about a bar job."

"If it's anything like Thailand back out. Just be damn careful over there."

"Will do, Senior. I'll talk to you later, okay? I'm going in for the interview." I say as I find where I'm going.

"Right on... Laters." I disconnect then dial in a new number. The phone rings for a bit before the answering machine kicks in.

"High, you've reached Leona Jean Pierce. I'm sorry I can't get to the phone but just leave a name, number, and a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thankies!" In eight years my sister has yet to change her answering message.

"High, dear sister, it's your most hated brother, Joel. I know you don't want to talk to me but that doesn't mean I won't call because I still care about you, even if you think I'm a murderous baby killer. Seriously, Nam ended forty years ago. Any who, I'm doing fine. I'm still alive, if you care to know. Call back if you care or go ahead and delete this message. Eight years is a long time, y'know." With that I hang up and pocket my phone. I see the note on the door and make my way around back, taking in the surroundings. A few cardboard boxes in the back alley, one dumpster, several trash cans, and a black cat crossing my path. I reach into my jacket and unclip the strap over my Sig. If I need to grab it I can. I always carry it in Condition One, magazine slapped into the mag, a round chambered, safety on. The back door is cracked open slightly. I stack up and do a quick mental count before slowly entering.

"Well what have we here. I hope I'm not interrupting anything." I say, expecting either being ventilated with hollow points or some sort of rhetoric.
Mission One


Ghost Ship

Friday August 20th, 22:50

It had been a damn long day. Week. Month. Life. There weren't many days Aya was ready to give in to fatigue, sleep was it's own special hell for him, but tonight he thought he was looking forward to the nightmares. Codename Vermouth had broken away from Kritiker, using the opportunity presented by the chaos to track down and eliminate several other operatives- No word on why. The director wanted reasons, and Aya didn't blame him; but this wasn't some staged betrayal like Weiss had been forced to perform. Vermouth had murdered her handler, three of her team, and six other agents without provocation. Yoji had called earlier to tell him Roulette was an idiot (old news) and not to be too hard on her- which had had Aya worrying all day about what she'd done since she wouldn't say. Russian was livid but she wouldn't say either: Aya wasn't sure that was comforting or not. But then Ken called, threatened to break Aya's face if he didn't change his ring tone (It was actually the highlight of Aya's day. Ken couldn't. Aya wouldn't. The story of their relationship.), and ranted about how french food was evil and the human trafficking ring masquerading as an illegal immigration ring had been cleaned up but they hadn't managed to stop the ship from leaving harbor...

Which was supposed to be discussed with the Director, not Aya, but Ken never did have a very good grasp of chain of command. Aya wasn't sure why; Ken wasn't stupid.

The back door creaked on it's hinges. Not much, but it was a useful alarm. Aya hefted one last crate of glasses into a cupboard and winced at the sharp pull in his ribs. It wasn't the weight, it was the turn. He was not parting with that ring tone, ever. Roulette shuffled into the kitchen and stood holding the swinging doors closed behind her and spoke in a hushed whisper. "Ok. First, I'm sorry. Second, Yoji will cry if you kill me. Third-"

"Well, what have we here? I hope I'm not inturrupting anything."

Aya waved her off. The black eye Russian had given her before stalking out was worse than anything Aya would have to say. "Go home, Roulette."

Kuro sighed in relief and hurried out, giving Mr. Wild Turkey a shy wave before casting a nervous look around and slipping out the door. She mimed a quick 'call me again' even though their last conversation had been a bit awkward, her English being broken at best and him not speaking a word of Korean. Or Japanese. They both knew a little bit of French though, so who knew? It could work out... And Aoi would warm up to him eventually.

Aya heard the door slam shut as Roulette left the bar and shouldered his way through the kitchen doors with a bottle of scotch and a handful of shot glasses. It was just as well the new recruit was early; not everyone joined Kritiker with a literal gun to their head, those who didn't usually wanted some kind of explanation. Aya was lousy at explanations, but if the man walked out he would have to be silenced somehow.

Aya was working out how to break the silence, sizing the man up out of more habit than intent when he spoke first, jerking his thumb in the direction Kuro had left. "You hit her?"

Aggression and protective indignation. That could be worked with.

Aya glanced up from pouring them each a shot and shook his head slightly, but didn't offer any further explanation. Russian and Roulette's private lives were not his business to be discussing. "She called you Wild Turkey."
He didn't ask his name, if the man was naive enough to think that by the end of tomorrow Aya wouldn't know- well, let him have the comforts of ignorance- but given names were never used during Kritiker business.

"I am Weiss."

The two men sat on the pew, still not saying a word. Glaive stood up and left a roll of bills in the priest's palm after shaking his hand. The priest was speechless until he tried running after the man in the coat.

"Wait! Please, stop!" He couldn't accept this, he just couldn't, even if the church did need the donations. But by then Glaive had not just retrieved his hat and left the church but he had disappeared from the quiet streets as if he had simply vanished.

Glaive never looked back. It had been a long eight months but he had gotten by. He'd found temp work as a bartender at a few bars around town and money had been under the counter and from tips. When he returned to his apartment, he found the flier that had been left, a slight hint of the corner peeking out from under the door.

Glaive crouched down and glanced around. No one hovering in the halls but it never hurt to check. Rather, it always hurt not to check as Pure often told him. He stood and read the flier, then folded it into four squares and tucked it and both his hands into his pockets.

Not long after, the Kritiker agent found himself standing in front of Shine. A long eight months, he thought. He had only been vaguely interested in what Kritiker's other agents had been up to since all hell broke loose. He had decided to go quiet and the only one he had even tried to keep contact with was Pureshadow. Communication had gone fairly well until the other had told him he was "following up" on something. In other words, he had a lead but in what, Glaive could only guess.

He went around to the back, just missing Roulette. He had his gun, he always had his gun which is why he never left the country by air. The airport security was too much of a hassle to deal with if you didn't have a good reason to deal with them. He stepped in behind another man and took off his hat to dust it off.

"Good evening to you both."


Selene thought she had the most awesome father in the whole wide world! ... Now why didn't everyone else think so? She skipped into the lab, Pikachu backpack on her back, and stopped to look at all the lights and listen to the sounds. She always took her time walking through here because there was always something new to investigate.

"Daddy! Daddy, are you in here?" Maybe she had missed him and he had gone into the kitchen for a snack? Hm. Nah, she would've met him on the way. Unless he used one of his trapdoors or secret passages again. He had a ton of those!

Selene wandered farther into the lab and heard the BZZZT! BZZT! of something being welded or being given a jolt. She saw some flashing lights and followed it until she found who she was looking for.

"Daddy! There you are!"
It was perpect.

This latest soul was strong enough to fuel it, and..... he plugged a feed line into the plasma manifold with a sharp electrical buzz, and pulled the cover plate down and reseating his goggles as the welding torch flared to life.... this one was his greatest yet....

A familiar voice behind him made him extinguish the torch.

"Selena...!" he stepped down from the platform he was on and walked up to he daughter, kneeling in from of her.

"You see that...." he pointed to the large unfinished bot, large bulky and it already had enough weapons to destroy an armored company. [color =purple] "That agent you caught for me it going to fuel it. Hes over there..."[/color] he pointed the the pink canister. "If you want Daddy will let you turn him on... But for now I had a little job for you but you have to be very careful and not let them know who you are. If you do they will take you away."

He took her hand in his rubber glove and walked with her over to the big screen, it was showing a boat....

"The ninjabots will take you to the ship... there you must remind the captain to keep his promises,. You mustn't let anyone else know who you are. Understand?"

Selene looked up at her daddy's latest creation with wide, awe-struck eyes. She blinked when he took her hand and then, when they got to the screen, she was studying the ship carefully. It was a large ship. It would take quite a lot of turns and remembering where you were and where you were going to navigate it around it. But she could do it!

Selene quickly nodded. "Yes, Daddy. I can play dress up and act just like one of those lab rats. I'll even get dirty and dusty just for you." They wouldn't notice her, she'd just be a little girl among a bunch of other little kids. Downcast eyes and scared expressions. She'd seen so many of those she could imitate it in a heartbeat.

But first ...

Selene looked up at him. "Daddy ... can I take Snuggles with me? Pretty pretty please with cherries and whip cream on top?" Something in her backpack moved although Snuggles didn't jump out, not when it knew they were in the lab. She just couldn't bear the thought of doing a mission without Snuggles. She just couldn't!
"No!"Dr. Soulstein said immediately. He looked down at her.... she was doing the face....

"Ok... but don't let anyone see F 1 Alfa. If they do they will take him away." he sighed, he could never resist the face. "By the time you get back I should have a treat for you. He stood and pulled a small chip out of a small computer on the table and taking her arm pushed it into her watch. "There now go, the ninjabots are waiting for you, you remember how to command them, yes? Ok, now be careful Selene." He pulled her into a hug before standing.
"Well it's nice to meet you, Mr. Weiss. If you don't mind my asking I'd like to get myself a stiff drink. Preferably something with rum in it." I reply. "And yes, she did call me Wild Turkey. I should mention, if she's yours then I won't pursue her unless I give in to my hormones. Us former sailors are prone to think with the little head from time to time." A little something to throw him off. The more someone thinks you're a dolt the more you'll surprise them when the shit hits the fan with a backup plan...

...or, in my case, the right proportion of high explosives.
"Absolutely not." And Aya cringed inwardly because that had come out almost as harsh as he had meant it, shooting well past the professional tone he had been keeping and into the realms of indignation- which wasn't fair to Kuro, and was likely to be interpreted wrong no matter what spin he tried to put on it. So Aya did what he normally did when a line of conversation wasn't going the way he wanted- he dropped it completely and turned his attention to the blatant contradiction at hand.

Wild Turkey had the attitude down. There was no twitch in his expression or body language to suggest he was anything but what he presented himself to be; a fairly simple ex-sailor with more caught in his zipper than going on between his ears. For the love of orange this was going to be worse than working with Yoji and Ken both...

But he wanted to pour his own drink.

Now, Aya was not one of those naturally suspicious people. His paranoia was hard learned and it was currently whispering (he hoped it was paranoia whispering...) that no one so easily distracted by a woman would so casually- but with so little room for argument- insist on pouring their own drink. He would have filed it off under 'you're just being an ass again', but when he reached under the bar one of the two bottles of rum he found stored there was sealed- and one was not. There was no harm in a test. As he had no prior knowledge of the subject to compare a result to it wasn't anything but idle curiosity... He set both bottles on the counter with a motion to Wild Turkey to go ahead. He hoped the man wasn't as stupid as he was putting on. It would make things easier for Aya, but stupid people were annoying even if they were easier to kill. Except for Todt. Todt had been stupidly difficult to kill.

Aya needed to sleep.

The back door creaked again and he only just took note of which bottle Wild Turkey selected. He held up a hand as the arriving agent sidled into the room to stop him before he could say anything; to let him know the air wasn't open. The blonde man nodded and pulled the chairs off one of the tables, righting them to sit on one with a short, "Martini."

Aya nodded. "Weiss." He gestured to the bar. "Help yourself." He hadn't waited tables in years- months- if you must count the mission-which-shall-never-again-be-mentioned-on-pain-of-pain; moving a couple boxes too heavy for Aoi didn't mean he was going to be playing step and fetch it for the team. Any team.

He went around the counter and started setting up the laptop and webcam. The director was too busy to handle every mission but he wanted to be there for the initial briefing and Aya almost smiled. It was no wonder Manx had always just brought them a pre-recorded tape; it had taken Aya nearly two hours to figure out how the damn tiny thing-tiny dammed thing- worked. But at least they didn't have to work with second rate technology anymore. The others would be arriving soon and the director could take care of explanations, and Wild Turkey would be in or out, same as the rest.

Selene smiled and clapped her hands when her daddy relented. Snuggles was equally pleased. She could already hear it purring in her backpack. She hugged him and kissed his cheek, nodding.

"Yes, Daddy! Snuggles will behave and he won't come out unless he absolutely has to." And she meant it. The threat of someone taking her or Snuggles away from her daddy was too scary to bear. They would send her to some social service and maybe even force her to return to her mother. And Snuggles would be dissected and put to death. She refused to let him die again.

"Be firm and don't waver when giving commands. I'll do my very best, Daddy!" Selene even gave him a wink and made a "v-sign." She couldn't wait. Daddy's treats were always the best! But she wasn't going to get too excited and slip up. "I love you!" she exclaimed before she disappeared outside.

Selene found the ninja bots ready but she wasn't. She went back to her room to pull out some dirty clothes and worn, old sneakers, mess up her hair and then put it into a ponytail with an old dark scrunchie. Then she had to put Snuggles into an old leather satchel she kept in her closet and she remembered to give the silver ball a kiss before she closed the flap. The last thing she did was rub her face against the long sleeve of her shirt which would hide her watch.

Selene examined herself in the mirror, turned slightly, turned around. Yep, she looked the part. To anyone who didn't know better, she was just another stowaway on a really big boat. She returned to the ninja bots. Remind the captain about his promise to her daddy, make sure no one sees her or Snuggles, and only the captain was to know who she was.

One of the ninja bots turned and crouched down to offer its back to Selene. She shifted the satchel to her back and climbed on. She didn't need to worry about Snuggles bouncing out. Her daddy's ninja bots made for really smooth travel.


Glaive smiled slightly at the offer and reclined his head. "Perhaps later but thank you," he said. He folded his arms and waited for Weiss to signal everything was good. He moderated how much he drank and when. It was something he did for personal reasons. Some people called him a social drinker. He disagreed with that.
The ship neared a mass of floating garbage, nothing unusual for the busy harbor even if this has a particularly large mass the ship would have no problems as it would just break apart. A the bows got closer bits of it seamed to jump onto the side, just flashes of shadow. On the bag of one a small girl clung as they climbed and some going though porthole some over the side infiltrated her and soon where lurking in every available place, watching, waiting. No one aboard noticed them but they noticed everything, the only thing visible was the little girl and not even she looked out of place.

In the lab several screens showed the inside of the ship, everything was normal, everything as planned In the construction bay sparks flew as Dr. Soulstien attached his latest weapon to the arm of the large robot. The ectoplasma cannon was simply genius even in he said so himself, it ran from the souls at the heart of all his machines and testing had shown it would be devastating. He almost wished he hadn't promised the task of turning this one on to Selene, it was his most beautiful creation yet. He inserted the last connection and stood back marveling at his creation.

"I promised you a reward Pureshadow, and now.." he picked up the canister and walked up to the belly of the metal beast. "Now you will see things my way, you will have no other way to see. he started laughing, a loud maniacal sound as uphoria gripped him, "Soon everyone will see things my way."
Aya nodded in approval, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth at the man's obvious challenge. He knew Aya was watching him and so he chose the opened bottle.

They were short two agents, but he had the computer set up, they could begin as soon as Molotov and Jack Daniels arrived.
Jonathan had been waiting for a few hours now, he'd began remembering how boring hotel television was, and started to miss actual football, he'd never actually liked it, even while he was in the Army, must've been his father's doing.

He finished the cigar he'd been smoking, letting it sit and cool down in the ashtray while he prepared to leave, thankfully management had told him he'd be equipped once he was at the bar. That didn't ease his worries too much, but things did seem legit enough.

He took off to the bar, his hands on his jacket's pockets, fiddling with the box of matches while he waited for a cab to get him there. He made some idle talk with the driver, and got off where he had to, two blocks before the bar.

A few minutes off, but he wasn't one to pride himself for his sense of timing. The front door seemingly locked, he smirked, remembrance of younger days, when he still carried a gun with him. Not like he couldn't manage himself well without one, he just found it a lot easier to shoot someone than to disarm and break someone's hand, though it was whole lot less satisfying.

He walked over to the back of the place, never too aware of what he considered safe surroundings, and not too caring about his own security either at the moment, he still remembered quite clearly the last words his handler told him, 'you're on your own now'. He'd never stopped being, obviously.

He opened the door, looking over at what started to seem like a motley crew, but that was how Kritiker worked, couldn't have a bunch of gritty soldiers in thick jackets working together when one was enough.

He tilted his head to a side, and righted it soon enough. Well, at least two of the men in the place were armed, and he still wasn't, funny thing, he was the one supposed to be packing heat all the time. He figured it wouldn't hurt him to try his luck, they already knew who he was either way.

"Jack Daniels 'ere," he started, then gave himself a second or so to speak again, focusing on the two men at the counter, "I figure I have to pay for the drinks?"

Well, he'd been careful for a bit too long now, and for whatever little he had to lose, besides some money he still had on a Manchester vs. Liverpool match the next weekend.

The ninjabot landed neatly and crouched down, knees touching the ground to let the girl off its back. She put one foot, then another down and adjusted the satchel's handle so it hung at her side as the ninja stood. It was gone without so much as a whisper.

Selene looked around. No one in sight. Daddy's lab rats were down below, watched over by a few of the crew. She remembered the layout of the ship and she wasn't about to cheat by pulling out the digital 3-D map from her watch. She wasn't interested in them.

Selene had to deal with the captain. She remembered what he looked like. He was tall, dirty. Stubble. He liked to smoke and drink. He probably stunk and had bad breath. She took a deep breath and then knocked on the door.

By the time the door opened and a tall man with a cigarette in his mouth and a bottle in his hand stood there, she was already reaching into her satchel. She kept her eyes down and looked unsure of herself.

"Bonsoir, le Capitaine Jean-Pierre. J'ai un message pour vous du docteur Soulstien," she said in fluent French, her voice soft but her words clear.