MAD: Class S (Peregrine x firejay)

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
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  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
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  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Let's do it," Vala agreed, smiling brightly. Her enthusiasm was two fold, although neither of them really had anything to do with killing fake squid.

One, she couldn't help but be excited about the idea of getting into the sim again. Even though it was nothing but an illusion, it still felt so real to her. Vala had done a little bit of self-study on the various mech lines in the month she had been waiting to start attending classes, and while she was still somewhat unaware of their exact specifications she wouldn't wait to try out a new one.

The second was, quite simply, the fact that Aemer hadn't turned down her proposal. Whatever her teacher had to say about it, whatever the logic behind the people who had paired her with someone else, she and Aemer both knew that they could work well together. That hadn't disappeared, and it wasn't about to.

They headed off, Vala following half a step behind Aemer as she tried to figure out where they were supposed to go before the other woman led them forward. Among it all, Vala was much more conscious of the gazes that followed the both of them as they traveled. Except for those who were too busy or distracted to take note of the people around them, everyone who caught sight of them seemed to do a brief double take.

Who were they looking at? Aemer? She certainly had the reputation for it, Vala now realized. Or... were they looking at Vala herself? She no longer knew. She wasn't sure she really wanted to figure it out, either.

Vala's concerns about the training room being full seemed to be proving true, but that didn't seem to deter Aemer in the least. Vala hesitated for a second, wondering if they'd really be able to get a spot. In the end, she sighed slightly and continued to follow Aemer, deciding to simply trust that the other woman had a plan.

Of course, Vala hadn't guessed that Aemer's plan would consist of taking a spot from someone else. She watched Aemer and Trip converse with her arms crossed, wondering if she should try and interrupt. However, despite the veiled insults and tense atmosphere, Trip didn’t really seem all that reluctant when he finally stepped back and allowed the two women forward. Vala cast a smile in the direction of the two. “Thank you,” she said, smile filled with gratitude. “I’m really looking forward to getting in a sim again.”

Two pods were connected next to each other, wires running back and forth across the two. Vala momentarily stared deeply into the open hatches, before glancing over at Aemer. “I can do it if it’s like the other one. But, uhhh, which of the two is mine? Does it matter?”
 
  • Sweet
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firejay1

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  2. 1-3 posts per day
  3. One post per day
  4. 1-3 posts per week
  5. One post per week
  6. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
My times are pretty erratic, but I try to avoid being on EST 11pm-9am.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
Aemer clicked her tongue and gestured brusquely at the bigger one as if it were obvious. "That one's the mech sim." In truth, both pods looked like a mass of machinery to the untrained eye, Aemer's just looked significantly smaller and a bit simpler, but to her, it was the biggest difference in the world, the various cogs, tubes, and axles structured very differently. "It should be the same as the last one." She was staring up at the screen again, and stepped forward as soon as the doors of each sim opened. The bioengineer who stepped out was a younger boy, who gave a small shriek of surprise when he saw Aemer, before he managed to awkwardly cut himself off with a cough and scramble out of the pod, scooting past Aemer as if he was hoping she wouldn't see him. Aemer ignored this over-the-top reaction entirely, gesturing at Vala to enter her own sim, before popping into the pod.

As she settled herself in, Aemer found a smile settling on her lips. She'd been so focused on Vala's talk of the squid frenzies, that she'd been distracted even during her practices. But she had a mech driver to take care of in this scenario, her first in a while, and they were about to play for the whole arena. There was no way most of the others in the room would want to miss the opportunity to watch them in a battle. Best give them a show. She cracked her knuckles loudly, though no one could hear it from where she was, and powered up the simulation. Welcome to... The familiar greetings and procedures flew by in a flash, and as soon as comms were open with Vala, Aemer said, "Hope you remember how the game is played, soldier. Wouldn't want to disappoint our audience." A sharp grin was hidden in her voice, which emanated much more clearly in Vala's sim than it had in her actual mech. She closed her eyes as the simulation really began in earnest, until she caught through her impatience, the words she'd been waiting for: Calamar detected within 500 feet. Please activate your parasite.
 

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Vala nodded in response to Aemer’s gesture, studying the outside of the mech sim with a trace of fascination. She’d been hustled into the other one almost instantly, and had been so distracted by the thought of being evaluated that it hadn’t occurred to her to wonder about the machine itself. However, she hadn’t forgotten about her experience in the previous simulator, even though a month had passed since then. Now, she could only stare at the contraption’s exterior with fascination. It was remarkable that it could feel so different once she got inside, and she couldn’t line up the little bits and bobs on the outside to the sensations that were finally transmitted to the capsule’s interior.

Vala climbed her way inside the vacated mech, and only fumbled twice in strapping herself in. Only a moment later, the hatch closed in front of her, sending the capsule into darkness, before a glowing interface appeared in front of her.

Welcome to the mobile armor division. The soft voice that greeted Vala seemed far more familiar this time, and Vala tried to remember how this new introduction compared to the one she had been given last time. Unfortunately, Vala realized she was in something entirely different the moment the introduction continued.

This device simulates the function of a battlefield-ready MI-1988B. Please input your weapon selection.

A series of weapons appeared on the screen, causing Vala to gasp slightly. Curiosity surged within her as numerous different weapons tumbled in front of her. However, she had no choice but to quickly suppress it. As much as she wanted to learn about all these weapons and their different capabilities, that wasn’t what this was supposed to be for. It was supposed to show exactly how well she worked with Aemer, and that she didn’t want to be assigned to some other bioengineer. She couldn’t risk messing this up due to overeagerness. Calming her heart, she selected the familiar ion sword and dual-mode gun, before adding the two secondary, short-range missiles she’d used the last time she was on a real battlefield. Confirming her selection, the sim quickly continued.

A bioenginner has been detected in the attached pod. Please complete mech calibration to finalize all settings.

A few seconds later, and Aemer’s familiar voice sounded next to her. Unlike the last time they’d fought together, this time there was none of the faint, intermittent static that had disrupted their previous connection. Vala could almost imagine that she’d see Aemer sitting next to her if she turned her head.

“Yea, I remember. You line them up, I mow them down.” There was also no panic to be found in her voice this time. Why would there be? The comforting hum of the mech’s engines vibrated behind her back and under the tips of her fingers, and even if she somehow managed to mess up, it wasn’t as though it would cost her life.

The darkened screen in front of her brightened, showing the vaguely familiar visage of a mech port, facing the outside of the tortoise’s shell. However, unlike last time, Vala couldn’t see any other mechs in the area. It looked like the simulation wasn’t advanced enough to take into account the actions of countless other mechs as well. It would just be her and Aemer against the virtual squid, which was also something of a relief. Her one tactics class was nowhere near enough for her to coordinate with an entire squad.

“We’ll be out in a second,” she commented, sending the mech running towards the opening. A second later and it was falling down through the air, a fake squid trailing a few feet behind it.

As though to illustrate exactly how much Vala had changed, even after only two times in a mech, this time she didn’t land heavily on the ground. Instead, the engines began to hum up, slowing the mech down before it began to hover in midair. The squid were approaching.

“Fine if I stay in the air this time?” Vala asked, prepared to drop to the ground if Aemer thought it would better anchor their position.
 
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firejay1

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  5. One post per week
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My times are pretty erratic, but I try to avoid being on EST 11pm-9am.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
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Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
Aemer laughed softly at Vala's comment. Most experienced mech-drivers didn't think of it as her lining the squid up to be mowed down. Still thinking like a meatshield. Maybe that would change in time, but then, she was the right bioengineer to carry out that strategy, and Vala was the type of rare talent that didn't necessarily need to do anything more complex.

"Do whatever you want." Aemer answered in response to the question, activating the parasite as she spoke. "Everyone here has seen me flex before, but they have no idea what you're capable of. If you see a reason to ground, do it. Otherwise, plenty of mech-drivers are aerial specialists."

That didn't mean she didn't intend to do some flexing of her own, of course. She smiled at their overwhelming odds. Just the two of them against almost a full battle's worth of squid from the looks of it. In real combat or a sim with multiple bioengineers, her job had to be about specificity to some extent. She had to know which squid to focus on and which ones to ignore because other mechs would be taking care of them. She had to separate the battle her driver was fighting from the entirety of the battle as a whole. In a fight like this, it was all about range. The goal was not just to kill as many Calamar as they could, but also preventing any from reaching the city behind them, which meant she had to be aware of everything, in as much control of as many Calamar as possible. And no one was better at that than her.

"Alright, here we go." She said, quietly, as the Calamar began to coordinate their attack. "Get ready, Vala! You can't let any of them get through, and it's just us out here, so if I tell you one's getting close to the turtle, it's your job to shoot it down. A majority of their focus will be on you, but a few will try to slip through the cracks. They're already planning to split into groups to make it harder for you to know where to put your focus, but I can stagger them slightly. If you can dual-wield the gun and sword at times, you'll be more effective." Not many people could do that very effectively, but like she said, this was Vala's time to shine, and if anyone could do it, she expected Vala could.
 

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
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On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Got it," Vala replied, her fingers twitching and causing the mech to grab its gun. She was fully aware that this situation bore far more resemblance to the test she had taken a month ago than it did the true battlefield. If there was really only one battle pair trying to defend the entire city, there's no way the squid wouldn't simply flank around her and tear the moving city to shreds. Only the magic of the simulation could keep the majority of the squid focused on her rather than the hundreds of thousands of defenseless lives she was guarding.

But just because it wasn't real didn't mean she didn't have to take it seriously. There were other things riding on this fight.

The squid began to swim through the air towards her in waves. For a moment they seemed like a swarming mass, a wall that would threaten to overwhelm her, before she began to make out the gaps in their numbers. Aemer's work. Some among the crowd dropped to the ground, others flying up higher. This would be a true three dimensional fight.

Vala didn't wait any longer, aiming her gun at the approaching squid and tearing them apart with quick, accurate bursts of bullets. It was easy at first, while there was still a lot of distance between them. However, as the Calamar moved closer the fight grew more hectic. Unable to hold the squid back with only the gatling gun any longer, Vala drew out the ion sword, using a swing of the blade to take out five startled squid that had entered the range of melee combat.
 
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firejay1

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  5. One post per week
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My times are pretty erratic, but I try to avoid being on EST 11pm-9am.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
Doing a sim with a driver again felt like breathing, as if she hadn't realized that someone had been smothering her until now. With her eyes closed and body still, it looked as though Aemer was sleeping, especially since nothing needed to be said yet. With barely any direction, Vala seemed to pick out the patterns Aemer had laid down for her, picking off squid with the same precision she'd shown during the battle. It really was outrageous to watch. As the Calamar advanced, however, Aemer found her anticipation building. This was the easy part, directing the squid to attack in fairly simple formations that made it easier for an astute driver to pick off, but once things got more close-range, they would both have to get a bit creative.

Aemer smiled a little as Vala ripped the sword into play. "Remember: two-handed job. Be ready to switch to shield. Both low and mid-bosses are planning to enter the arena at the same time in a bit." With the low boss ability to phase through bullets and allow those under their influence to do the same, the shield was going to be a better friend than the gun. It had been a bit of disappointment to discover that Vala had only chosen the few weapons she'd gotten used to from her first few fights, as Aemer was pretty certain she'd have a ball with a few extra missiles, smaller time-delay bombs, or a flame thrower, but she supposed it never hurt to practice with the basic settings.

Vala had instinctively anchored herself within a certain range of the turtle, swooping agilely through the squid, but never straying particularly far from the spot she'd originally made her stand at. It was a good instinct, that allowed Aemer to divert her attention for a moment from scanning for outliers. Aemer reached out to the closest mid level boss. It was time to try something she'd been working on for a while. "Get ready to take advantage of an opening." She directed Vala out loud one last time. Zeroing in on her connection with this mid boss, she put a burst of mental energy into shoving its mental attention back towards where the last bosses would have been waiting. One of the easiest ways for a bioengineer to get killed was to disrupt squid force too obviously, trying to direct the mental pressure of the group in the completely wrong direction, but this particular trick was one Aemer had been testing on her own for several months. She had directed this shove of energy at the mid boss specifically. If she'd done it right, only it knew that she was not one of them, while the rest of the squid had felt the rebellious spurt of energy from the wrong squid. The mid boss shot for her at top speed, and Aemer spread the message, Aberrant behavior detected. A bioengineer. Aemer held her breath for a second. From her trial runs, this should work in simulation at least. Sure enough, she was of a lower level, but the proof was on her side, and several squid broke formation to tackle the mid boss. The mid boss set itself on fire and began ripping its attackers apart, but it was no match for this many opponents. "Now, Vala!" Aemer yelled, feeling a vicious satisfaction tinge her voice.

She did not pull the same stunt again, as it was a risky move that had already taken a lot out of her, but it had been a good way to start the battle. The rest of the showing off was going to have to be on Vala's part, as Aemer kept her head down and her manipulations simple unless Vala had a specific idea she wanted to carry out.
 
Last edited:

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
When it came to squid, Vala was very much of the opinion that 'a good offense was the best defense'. However, after her first battle and the previous mech simulation, she was well aware of how easily a group of squid could tear their way through even a heavily armored mech. There were only so many times she could let the mech take a blow before it would start severely impacting its ability to strike back against her foes.

"Got it. I'll be careful."

Aemer might have called it dual wielding, but Vala quickly began to realize it was far closer to triple wielding. After all, the squid didn't care about directions. Since she was in the air, they not only had the chance to come at her from all sides, but also from above and below. She needed to be prepared to shield herself in any direction, and that meant mixing it in with both the gun and the ion sword.

Fortunately, the controls to switch between her weapons were easy and comfortable, and didn't impact her ability to defend herself and fight back other than the occasional slow-down required when she switched weapons. Darting through gaps, Vala even threw her gun into the air at one point, using her shield to bash open a group of squid that were gathering in front of her, swiftly moving through their number and cutting them down with the ion sword before catching the gun again on the other side.

She had to thin out as many of the squid as she could before the bosses showed up. Her previous battle in the testing sim had taught her that much. What was more, she'd never fought a mid boss before. She'd only got a glimpse of one through the fractaled display of her broken mech screen, before the elites had arrived to fight the greater boss they'd been shadowing. What was more, although she'd read a description about them and their abilities from the books Aemer had given her to read over the past month, she still only had a vague understanding of what changes it would bring to the battle. The squid's behavior changed drastically the moment the lesser bosses arrived, she couldn't even fully imagine how their coordination would grow under the influence of a mid-boss.

And around all that, she still was supposed to keep an eye on the few squid that were attempting to circumnavigate her little battlefield, and make for the fake city that was behind her. With Aemer's reminder at the beginning of the battle, she didn't dare let a single squid pass by her. Who knew how the sim would evaluate it if any of the squid were able to breach the 'city', but she doubted it would be good.

Fortunately, she wasn't out here completely on her own. She surely would have been dead by now if that was the case, let alone be able to defend the city. "Tell me when and where the squid open gaps towards the stray squid," she said to Aemer. "I can't keep track of them anymore."

Whenever Aemer issued a warning, Vala's eyes would flick towards the side, her mech spinning on the spot, firing off a few quick bursts with her gatling gun that would take out the strays. None of them made it past her.

Wrapped up in the battle, Vala almost missed the arrival of the bosses. However, a moment later and she sensed it, the same rippling pressure that has left her frozen in shock for several moments—and almost led to her death—in the last simulation. However, between the adrenaline that raced through her body and what she now knew was Aemer's influence, it remained nothing more than a faint pressure that could easily be confused with simple anxiety.

In the distance, two mid-bosses lazily flowed through the air, surrounded by a group of ten lesser bosses. Without much knowledge of how this simulation worked, or what its end point would be, she could only assume that these bosses were their final enemy in this fight. After all, if a greater boss showed up, Vala didn't think she'd be able to do anything about it before she was drowned in a tidal wave of squid.

Of course, that assumed she even knew what to do right now. She had the confidence to handle a group of lesser bosses—even if they could help the other squid dodge her bullets, they couldn't avoid the ion sword—but mid bosses were a whole different challenge. All that she could do was keep doing her best, and hope an opportunity would present itself.

However, before that thought even fully had time to flit through her mind, Aemer's voice echoed through the mech's cockpit. "I'm ready," she replied, feeling her tension and excitement rise hand in hand. She continued to take down the lesser squid that swarmed around her, relying more on the ion sword than she had on the gun up until this point.

And then Aemer's shout echoed in her ears at the same time several squid lurched away from her chaotically. Vala's eyes flinched in the direction the squid were flying.

"Holy shit!" It really did spit fire! Vala alternated between shock and envy, momentarily wishing she'd picked the flame-thrower she'd caught a glimpse of, but her reaction didn't cause her response to delay. Two swings of her sword and a burst of gatling fire were enough to clear a path between her and the mid-boss, given the other squid's momentary distraction. An instant later, and her gun lifted up into the air, narrowing and lengthening as it transformed into a massive sniper barrel. Barely taking an instant to look down the sights, Vala fired the shot.

The finger sized sniper bullet tore through the battlefield, shredding the tentacle of an errant Calamar that got in its way, before piercing through one squid and right into the head of the mid-boss. An instant later, both squids all but disintegrated under the excess energy, sending scraps of squid flying in all directions.

"Holy shit!" Vala said again, this time more excited than shocked. This was the first time she'd ever used the sniper mode on the dual-mode gun, and it was even more powerful than she'd expected. Confidence once again begun to bubble in her heart. She still had a good number of shots left with the sniper rifle. If she could line them up well, the two of them should be able to take out all the bosses remaining on the field, especially if she could get a second opening as good as that one.

Unfortunately, one quick question was enough for Vala to confirm that Aemer wouldn't be able to pull off that kind of stunt again, unless she fully intended to blow her cover. However, even her more covert help proved enough for Vala to take out the remaining bosses, one after another. One lesser boss died when she "exposed" her mech's back, only to twist as it approached and cut it open with the ion sword. Another died when she lunged through an open gap and took it out with another sniper shot. The battle rushed onwards second by second, and before Vala knew it, the remaining mid-boss and its three remaining followers were retreating from the battlefield.

Gasping slightly for breath, Vala couldn't help but pause for a second to overlook the battlefield. "...Is that it?" she finally asked, faint traces of confusion coloring her tone. "Do we... go after them?"
 
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Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
Aemer whooped loudly as the sniper bullet ripped through the mid-boss, but the resulting explosion of energy caught her off guard. It was closer than she usually was to the death of such a high level boss pulling out all the stops like that, and it rang through her head with surprising force. She winced slightly, but shook it off quickly as the fight continued. By the end of it, Aemer was exhausted. It was a good kind of exhaustion, though, like a good workout. The only thing bothering her was a small headache that hadn't left since the miniature explosion. She leaned back as the last of the squid ran off, and laughed tiredly. "No. We exterminate them all if we can, but never forget. We're not squid hunters. We're here to protect the city. Chasing squid leaves it vulnerable, or gets you to chase them into a larger group of squid before you can realize." Bioengineers couldn't sync well enough to know in time if they were going to run up on a secondary group of squid, as large groups of squid could sometimes see farther than the link extended. "That's it. The simulation just takes a second to wrap up." Just as she said that, the fake squid went far enough out of range for her link with them to break altogether, leaving her vision dark. Aemer opened her eyes as the inside of the simulation lit up for her.

A cool female voice announced, Simulation completed. Please wait for- Aemer didn't hear the rest of the automated message, because a familiar voice suddenly rang in her head, So this is what your fake skin really looks like. The squid from her dreams. The small headache she'd started nurturing suddenly worsened, sending sparks flying behind her eyes. She squeezed her eyes shut placing both hands on her temples. My foolish child. Aemer gave a quiet grunt of pain as she groped for the wristband with the parasite and began tugging on it. The voice in her head continued, Why do such a thing, when you can- She barely heard the pre-recorded voice of the simulation complain, Caution, disengaging parasite without release can damage delivery system. Please refrain from tampering with parasite. The wristband unwillingly unhooked itself, and Aemer ripped the parasite from her arm. Her headache vanished, as did the voice, and Aemer was left breathing hard in the lit simulation. It took only a moment for the simulation to unlock, allowing her to shove her way out, back into the reality of the practice room.

She was breathing hard, staring down at the floor, one hand on the pod to steady herself. What was that? She felt something soft brush against her shoulder, and she smacked it away harshly, wild eyes looking up at the person who'd touched her. "Aemer?" A worried voice said softly.

It took Aemer another second to focus her eyes on the person in front of her. "Myra." She said, heart rate slowing, a sense of comfort and relief spreading through her as she registered who it was. She'd known Myra for years. They were both bioengineers, but they'd met at the adoption agency long before then. Myra was as close as Aemer had left to family.

"You're bleeding." Myra said, soft brown eyes scrunched up in concern.

Aemer looked down to see a small trail of blood making its way down her palm to the tips of her fingers. Ripping the parasite out so violently had left a much larger mark than usual. She whirled around, realizing she'd left her glove in the simulation and snatching it up, pulling it on and looking around to make sure no one else had noticed. A couple of people were eyeing her, but the majority of people were more interested in Vala, and Myra had covered the vision of most of the others. In the distance, she caught sight of a boy with fluffy brown hair and a shrewd pair of eyes behind plain glasses. He hadn't approached either of them, as he was working his way through a sandwich, but his gaze was fixed on the rapidly growing crowd around Vala. Aemer found a smile tugging up one corner of her lips. He'd shoved most of the sandwich into his mouth and the rest was sticking out of his mouth, as his hands were busy typing something on his personal device.

She looked over at Vala, and found she couldn't see the other girl at all. Vala was being practically mobbed with people, both mech drivers and bioengineers, several asking questions, but most just waiting their turn to introduce themselves, or trying their best to get a good glimpse of the person who had just pulled off that battle. She leaned against the pod, one fist quietly closed in case a little blood had gotten on her fingers, grateful that the attention was all on Vala. Then, she took a breath, and began pushing her way to rescue Vala. She didn't know about mech drivers, but she always found herself hungry after a good sim, and if this went on, Vala was going to have trouble getting lunch. Some people didn't seem to care, but some of those who recognized Aemer backed up and let her pass.
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
All of the Calamar on the battlefield began to drift away as the bosses retreated, and Vala couldn't help but let out a faint breath, slumping forward slightly to rest her elbows on the console. However, the vibration of the mech behind her back kept her focus tight, and her fingers stayed poised in front of the console.

Yet Aemer's words came only a few moments later, and true to her promise the edge of the world began to go dark, swallowing up the fake Tortue City alongside the squid in the distance.

Simulation complete. City successfully defended on difficulty 'Primary II'. Please exit the immersive sim.

Finding herself shaking slightly, Vala quickly massaged her weary hands before unstrapping herself from the seat. She was somewhat tired, but mostly happy. The young woman took a moment to quickly review the battle, and couldn't find anything to nitpick with her superficial knowledge of battlefield tactics. However, she was confident that she'd showcased her compatibility with Aemer.

There was a faint, muffled hum that was vibrating through the casing of the sim, but it wasn't until Vala opened the hatch that she realized the noise was a veritable tidal wave of human conversation. Briefly stunned at the sound, Vala paused at the hatchway. There were more people than she could count at a glance staring at her right now, and a few of them let out a cheer at the sight of her.

Unconsciously, Vala let out a sigh of relief. If everyone else was so enthusiastic, it meant that her initial impression had to be fairly correct. Turning around, she began to climb down the steps from the pod.

She hadn't realized how much closer everyone had gotten until she turned around to see that everyone had moved closer. Much closer. The dark-haired woman froze for a second, awkwardly positioned with one foot still on the bottom rung.

One of the people closest to her was the girl with unkempt sandy hair who had been waiting for her own evaluation when Vala had gone to take hers. She was pressed up close, barely allowing Vala space to step onto the ground. Her eyes gleamed with excitement. “I knew I recognized you! Do you remember me? You’re the girl at the evaluation, right? I heard later that you had no user adjustment and wow, do you always do battles like that? It’s Vala, right? Vala Davans? I’m Jessica!” She reached out a hand to shake upon introducing herself, but her mouth went trundling right along. “That was amazing! How many hours did you put in sniper training?”

Barely managing to orient herself with both feet back on the ground, Vala was already vaguely starting to consider climbing back into the pod. However, she offered the other woman a tentative smile. “N-nice to meet you, Jessica.”

Whether or not that was the proper response considering they were supposed to have already met—an encounter Vala could barely even recall—wasn’t exactly at the top of her priority list. Instead, her mind went towards Jessica’s final statement. “There’s sniper training? That sounds fun. Is it a class? Or something on the sims?”

Jessica laughed, seeming a little taken aback at the question. “Well sometimes you can get a training officer to help you, but usually it’s just a lot of hours on the sims, on the sniper setting. Haven’t you done it before? If you’d like, I-”

“Jessica, move over.” A boy with coffee-colored skin practically elbowed the girl out of the way. “I can help you, if you’d like. I’m Jason Ramie!” He wasn’t being quite as talkative, but he shared Jessica’s starry-eyed look of excitement.

“Um.” It was impossible for Vala to miss the look of near-worship in Jason’s gaze. However, she couldn’t help but stumble slightly at the sight of it, primarily because that was the first time she’d ever seen such a gaze directed towards her. Vala quickly tried to reorient herself, focusing on the conversation. “Do you… perform sniper training a lot?”

Jason frowned for a moment, “Well, not a lot, but some. I can still help you get set up and stuff!”

Jessica nodded emphatically and added, “I put in a lot of sniper training, so I’d probably be more useful, Jason.”

A taller boy behind them tapped her shoulder. “Could we also get a chance to talk to her? I’d like to ask about that feint she used to kill one of the low-bosses.”

Someone to Vala’s left added, “And what classes she’s taking!”

But that was all the small mob managed before the taller boy turned to look behind him, and jumped to the side. Vala couldn’t help but offer a smile when Aemer’s petite form appeared in front of her. “Good job,” Vala congratulated. “We did well.”

She glanced around, subconsciously expecting everyone to start badgering Aemer the way they had been speaking to her only moments ago. However, the entire area had gone as quiet as it had been loud only a few moments ago. It was only then that Vala recalled the expression on her professor’s face when he’d discussed Aemer.

Her cheerful mood dampened slightly.
 
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Aemer practically shoved the last couple enthusiastic people aside with a rude, "Alright, that's enough. Leave her alone." Her expression was her best blend of bored and annoyed, and it was as effective as she was used to it being. Even those who didn't seem outright scared of her at least went quiet at the sight of her. Aemer ignored it, and Vala's pleased compliment. "Yes, yes, come on, let's go get you lunch." She beckoned with her gloved hand, only for a little twang of pain and the discomfort of the blood in her glove to remind her she didn't want to show off her little mishap. There was a little blood on her fingers after all. Great. She might've gotten blood on some of the people she'd shoved out of the way, and that was bound to cause rumors to spread.

She dropped her hand as casually as possible. "You must be hungry after a battle like that, and you won't have forever before your next class, right?"

People were still staring at them, those who hadn't mobbed Vala, mostly curious about the source of all the commotion, but as with everything else, Aemer barely seemed to notice, sauntering through the crowd that parted for the two of them almost intentionally not looking at them. The commotion died as they exited the practice room, though a couple people popped their heads out to watch them head towards the mess hall. "How was your first taste of stardom?" She asked Vala, eyes still straight forward.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
“Are you heading to lunch?” Jessica asked, seeming reluctant to part ways with Vala so soon. Vala nodded casually in response. In truth, she wasn’t all that hungry, breakfast hadn’t been that long ago, but she also wasn’t one to turn down food when it was offered. Besides, she was looking forward to trying the various foods the College offered.

Vala’s nod seemed to cause Jessica's eyes to glow with excitement. “Have you been to the little café near the teacher’s offices? It’s a wonderful place, I’d be happy to show you.”

“Ah,” Vala said, a trace awkwardly. Distracted by Jessica's question, she missed the little trace of discomfort Aemer showed. “I don’t know what Aemer has in mind, but if you’d like to join us you certainly can.”

This time it was the blonde-haired girl’s turn to look awkward. “Ah, oh...” she waffled, glancing towards Aemer before turning to face Vala again. “I’d… uhh… hate to interrupt you two. I’m sure you’ve got things to discuss after that practice battle. Maybe tomorrow?”

“Maybe,” Vala agreed, her tone sounding like far less of a rejection than she felt inside. “See you later, Jessica. Jason.”

She left quickly with Aemer after that conversation, weaving her way through the gathered people and mostly just nodding back whenever anyone tried to talk to her. She didn’t bother looking back when they finally made it back to the edge of the practice room.

She’d never been the center of attention for so many people before. And while it had been pleasant enough, they’d all been quite nice, she couldn’t help but chalk the whole experience up as quite unusual.

A moment later, and Aemer’s words seemed to echo Vala’s own train of thought.

“It was strange,” the dark haired woman responded, fairly flatly. Vala may have never been the center of so many people, but there was one absolute fact the Wastes had taught her. People didn’t act for no reason. “What do they all want from me?”
 
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"Want?" Aemer said, nonplussed, never having once considered the question before. "Why do they need to want something? The only thing they want from me is for me to stay away from them, but they stare anyways. Do you think they really think that far or deep ahead?" She gave a snort of laughter. "Isn't that just a case of curiosity is bigger than want, or something? I've never met anyone who asks as many weird questions as you. Not that that many people actually want to ask me questions in the first place." She rolled her eyes, then pointed at Vala. "You better get used to this." Then half-muttered to herself, "It's been years since I came anywhere near being news, but they still treat me like a goddamned plague." She hadn't really meant to mutter, and went back to full volume as she said, "Well, in your case, you'll probably eventually get subsumed into the ranks of the elites and people will get sort of used to idolizing you as a pack instead of an individual. Bad news always makes more of an impression than good news. And-" She turned to actually look at Vala, and give sort of a sardonic grin as she said, "I'm still more 'special' than you or any other mech driver will ever be."

Laughing again, she added, "If they start pissing you off, just tell them I'm coming to meet you. People have probably started noticing we have a lot of contact already, and it won't disperse everyone, but more people are scared of me than they're willing to admit."
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Ummm..." Vala didn't quite know how to respond to Aemer's blunt statement that the people who had gathered around her didn't want something. While she could understand where Aemer was coming from, it didn't sound quite right to her. Whether or not they were aware of it, everyone always seemed to want something. And, what was more, she'd never seen people that enthusiastic about anything unless they expected to gain something from it.

However, there was no window for her to say anything. As Aemer continued to speak, the subject of conversation suddenly shifting from the crowd of people to Aemer herself, any thoughts or concerns Vala might have had over the behavior of strangers vanished from her head. Instead, she glanced covertly at the side of Aemer's face, subtly mulling over her own words as she listened to the other woman speak.

She'd been living with Aemer for the past month, ever since she and her group had been scooped up from the Wastes. Even if they'd spent the majority of that time isolated from each other, Vala focused on gaining a basic knowledge of the city and Calamar from Aemer's notes and some other research books and Aemer seeming wrapped up in who-knew-what research, she'd felt she had a pretty good understanding of her friend. The past few hours had shown how woefully ignorant Vala truly was.

Most people finding Aemer distasteful was one thing. She was vitriolic and demanding. It was something Vala considered mild in comparison to the personalities she'd met out on the Wastes, but she could easily understand how it would be quite unbearable in the more cultured society of the Tortue Cities.

But Bailey's cruel words and their professor's accidental half-comment were another thing altogether. Aemer's own words about herself made it all the more clear that her relationship with other people was far, far more than a matter of simple like and dislike. She thought of Ange's story about Aemer's past; something that seemed far more worthy of awe than terror in Vala's opinion. And, Bailey's words. A monster, a danger, a liability.

None of it made sense to her. Just like with the way people's eyes seemed to glow when they saw her, Vala was clearly missing something about the situation. She didn't understand.

"Why are people so scared of you?"

She asked the question so casually that it even impressed herself slightly. Hopefully Aemer wouldn't read any more into it than a natural flow of the conversation.

Of course, Aemer hadn't been much help in figuring out why people were treating her the way they did. Vala could only hope that this line of questioning would prove more fruitful.

And start figuring out who else to ask if it didn't. If she wanted to get Aemer as her partner, she couldn't just ignore this.
 
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Aemer stopped in her tracks, and stared at Vala. Speaking of weird questions. No one had ever asked her that question. No one. Vala did ask a lot of questions people didn't usually ask her, but she thought she'd made it clear by now. And if not, she had thought the people around her would've made it clear. "You really don't know? I mean..." she shook her head, "I suppose you wouldn't have heard of and understood everything, but I thought the sims and other things would've made it obvious by now." She stepped to the side, so as not to block the hallway, and leaned against the wall, dragging Vala with her. A few people glanced at them and seemed to notice Aemer was there, giving them both curious stares and a wide berth, but otherwise they were left alone.

Aemer heard one person loudly whisper to the person next to her, "Since when does Aemer Correny hang out with people?" But she kept her eyes fixedly on Vala, not realizing the person was looking at her with more curiosity than hostility.

"You know those questions Albert asked me, when you first arrived, after the battle? Or the warnings at the beginning of the bioengineer sim. Maybe you don't remember. Here's the thing, Vala. Bioengineers are...." She found the words suddenly failing her. "So there's this thing that happens to bioengineers, at least the really good ones. After a while syncing with the Calamar, they seem to start acting like squid. They lose their minds, lose control of themselves, start attacking people. Eventually, their body seems to reject their very being, and they die. People call it going squid. No one knows why it happens. All they know is that human beings who sync too long and too well with the squid seem to succumb to squid in a way. Become like them - creatures whose only purpose seems to be to kill."

Aemer looked down at her hands, pressing a thumb to her gloved palm. Her expression was hard as stone, but she spoke genuinely, "For the most part, it's more sad than scary, I'd say. They're not squid, and they lose enough of their intelligence that they can't really be that much of a threat. Not that many people actually manage to injure anyone."

Her voice grew sharper again, as she looked back up at Vala. "But imagine if someone did actually become a squid mentally, and no one knew. If they could sync with the squid whenever they wanted, without the help of the parasites. If they held the same animosity towards humans, but kept their intelligence as the squid do, could hide their change. If they could tell the squid the location of the Tortue Cities at all times. If they knew the details of human strategy, knew the weakest points of every model of mobile armor, could tell the squid in the middle of the battle exactly what was being planned by their mech driver, or worse if they were in contact with multiple mech drivers, and could drive them into the waiting arms of the squid. All it takes is one battle to be completely lost, an entire Tortue City would be destroyed. And if she then posed as a poor scavenger and allowed herself to get picked up by other Tortue Cities..."

She smirked slightly, but there was no joy in it. "I spent my entire life learning how best to help people kill squid -" hoping that her talent and her pain would mean something in the end "- and the better I got at it, the more dangerous I became. The more terrified everyone became." She tilted her head to the side. "The truth is, I do connect with the squid better than anyone else. Dad didn't want me to know, but Albert told me when I was little, they saw me talking to the squid, somehow. They had me hooked up to endless supplies of fresh venom, and even without any sign of a mental link, I was communicating with it. Verbally. Everyone knows squid verbal sounds are impossible to translate, so what I was saying to it, no one knows. I don't even remember it happening. If that was common knowledge, and if dad hadn't adopted me, I'd be dead right now. Or locked in some government cage while they tried to study me. So the funny thing is, they're right to be afraid of me. They don't even realize how right. In fact, I'm the only person in these whole damn Cities who knows that they're far past right." Aemer chuckled to herself, and very very quietly said, "I'm already going squid, I've been going squid since I was 8 years old. They can't stop it, and they're just too stupid to use me before I become useless."

Pushing herself off the wall, she twisted to face Vala and pointed a finger at her. "You probably don't need to know this, but if you have any doubts about me now, just remember: it may not seem like it, but every squid has its own will. And even if I lose every other shred of my humanity, the one thing I can trust is that my will - the will to kill squid - will be the last to go. I'm not threat to you or anyone else until that will is gone. Not that there's a rat's chance in hell any other person in the Tortue Cities would even come close to believing that." She muttered the last sentence half-under her breath.

Pursing her lips, she raised her eyebrows and said, "Now, any more weird questions? Might as well get them all out now."
 
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Peregrine

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Vala aeasily allowed herself to be dragged to the side of the hallway, her face a mask of seriousness as she stared at Aemer. It was only suitable that she matched Aemer's own level of seriousness. It seemed, perhaps for the first time since Vala had arrived, the other woman intended to put serious effort into trying to answer one of her questions.

It was only suitable she returned the same level of courtesy.

So Vala listened with all the effort she could muster. She listened, and tried to internalize it all, putting it together with the scraps of information she'd had in the past to create a complete picture.

And there were bits of it she knew. She'd read the long list of side-effects that accompanied the use of the parasite's venom. Madness. Unexpected violence. Death. It was a cost to pay for getting access to the Calamar's thought, for gaining a position of authority that could allow them to turn the tide of the battle. It was no wonder people didn't hesitate to pay it. Death was a looming threat for all of them, after all.

But the second part of it. That was truly new information. Information that, at the very least, let Vala begin to understand why people were afraid of Aemer.

Irrational paranoia.

Perhaps some of them, like Bailey, genuinely believed she'd already turned traitor. Perhaps for some, it was a fear that she'd suddenly go mad right in front of them. For the majority, it was likely an abstract fear that her presence might somehow bring harm to them, either in the short or long term. Regardless, it was all mere speculation, with absolutely no evidence to back it.

She knew for a fact that no one understood why some Bioengineers went squid. Nor were there any concrete answers about why the Calamar were so dead-set on driving humanity extinct. Therefore, how could anyone say with confidence what future Aemer would have if she 'went squid'?

Worse yet, it seemed Aemer herself considered their theories plausible. Perhaps that, combined with her natural rough attitude, was why she didn't try and do anything to settle their worries, just letting it stew as she focused single-mindedly on her own efforts.

For a moment, the entire situation seemed so ridiculous that Vala was almost disappointed that this was the reasoning behind it all.

Perhaps she just didn't understand the situation well enough.

As Aemer's speech drew to a close, two questions immediately sprung to the forefront of Vala's mind.

She immediately discarded the first. While she couldn't deny a deep-seated curiosity about why Aemer had such a deep hatred for the squid, it was likely a very personal matter, and not one she had any particular reason to need to know.

The second, however, was relevant enough to Aemer's summary of people's fears of her that Vala almost immediately decided to voice it.

"Do squid... take covert action?" Vala finally asked, the question one borne of true ignorance. She hadn't seen many squid in her life on the Wastes, but they'd always seemed rather up-front to her. Perhaps it was simply because nothing on the Wastes posed a sufficient threat to them. "They never seem particularly sneaky in any of the sims."
 
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Aemer stared at Vala for a second. Then threw back her head and laughed. She laughed... and then couldn't seem to stop for a bit, giggling almost hysterically to herself. "Oh man. You really are precious, you know that?" She gasped, when she had a moment between laughs to catch a few breaths. "I should introduce you to Myra and Jensen. Fucking cinnamon rolls." She slapped her cheeks between two hands for a bit, trying to calm the last of the giggles, but a few bubbled up again, and it was only once she got the last of those under control, that she spoke again.

"They're smart, and they understand some sort of strategy, but the squid you see on the battlefield? For the most part, no. The sneakiest they get is maybe trying to hide one of their rank in a group so it has a chance to break free and make a straight shot for the turtle. But I'm not sure if..... well...." She hesitated for a long moment, indecision and unease clear on her face for quite a moment longer than normal. The strange voice in her head at the end of the sim today.... The squid in her dreams had felt more... real lately. Less like a dream, more like an actual living being. And if that was the case, she had to wonder what it wanted, why it contacted her, why it had been contacting her since she was a little girl. There was nothing straightforward about the squid in her dreams, and she'd had the dreams almost every day since the battle.

It was always the same. She was sitting on a stool in an otherwise quite empty white expanse. While the white space seemed to the eye to go on forever, Aemer always got the feeling that it was actually a tiny space, illusionary walls hiding a wider and much more cluttered area, as though someone had decided to clean by stuffing everything in the closet. But she never wanted to reach out her hand to test it. There was something scary about the idea of doing that. But scarier still was that sitting right across from her in an identical stool was a Calamar. It was small, as they went, not that much larger than Aemer herself, tentacles just brushing the ground and seated head only about two human heads taller than her own. It was dressed in something resembling a suit, oddly fitted to its strange features, and was a solid, dark grey color, and occasionally, it would put a cigarette between its eyeballs and somehow smoke it. As if it knew she hated smoke. It always started with a snide comment about her or humanity as a whole. Or at least she decided to treat it as snide, even though the squid always spoke in perfectly calm, level tones, as if only ever mildly curious. And on it would go, for as long as she could sleep. They sat there and talked until she got angry enough to attack it, or it reached out its ugly tentacles towards her, as if to embrace her to her death. Lately, she'd stopped responding at all, and let it talk and talk. It was too exhausting to respond every night.

She shook her head, realizing she'd been quiet a bit long. "Nevermind. You're right. They're not really sneaky. But well, it's not really them they're worried about." She shrugged and laughed a little, but there was a hint of unease in that laugh.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Aemer suddenly bursting into laughter earned a bewildered look from Vala, who had most definitely not expected her question to bring about such mirth in the other woman. She couldn't quite track what about the question made Aemer think she was 'precious', but she was forced to abandon that mental line of questioning only an instant later.

It seemed that the crumpled ball of paper in her pocket was burning her skin again, almost causing her to shiver.

'I should introduce you to Jensen.' 'You have been assigned a bioengineer. Mr. Jensen is an excellent all-rounder.'

It had to be a coincidence, didn't it? How common of a name was Jensen? How small was the bio-engineer community? Was it reasonable for Vala to assume that Aemer somehow wasn't talking about the same person?

...Had Aemer known all along they wouldn't be fighting together in the future, and just hadn't told her?

Suddenly feeling wildly uncomfortable, Vala lightly rubbed her hands together. However, this time, it was her turn to laugh slightly at Aemer's comment. "Right. Squid aren't sneaky. And I think they're all being silly. Come on, Aemer. Let's go grab lunch before my next class starts."



Over the course of the week, Vala quickly came to realize why there were so few classes each week. What she'd once considered an almost empty schedule quickly became a monumental burden weighing down on her shoulders. After all, not only did she have to keep on top of the homework that was added on with every single class, she also had to balance catching up on what had already been taught, supplementing her education on what should normally have been taught in middle school in the Cities, and fleshing out her own understanding of the rules of living in the Cities.

Most of the time, Vala felt like she barely had time to breathe. Every waking moment of her life was consumed by learning. The only good thing about it was that the Wastes had prepared her well for working under trying conditions. Outside of the Cities, there was rarely such a thing as a day off. Even if you didn't have to leave the camp that day, there was always work to be done.

The only difference now was, instead of going to bed feeling like her arms were about to fall off, she went to sleep feeling like her brain was about to start oozing out of her ears.

The week passed by in a blur, and by the time Friday rolled around Vala wasn't certain if she'd made even a small dent in the massive pile of information she had to absorb. The only good thing about today was it was finally time for the practical class. The idea of getting back into a mech, even if it was only a simulated one, made a smile light up her face.

The practical course was not only cross discipline but also cross-year. Almost the entire student body of the college would be involved in the class in one manner or another throughout the day. That meant that almost all of the classmates Vala had met over the past four days would be in Vala's allocated three hour session. For those who were not actively participating in the large-scale battle simulation this week, they'd either be watching and analyzing their classmates, or broken into smaller groups to complete specific tasks relevant to their current classes.

A number of eyes turned in her direction as soon as Vala entered the practice lobby. However, she'd grown somewhat more used to people staring at her since she'd started attending college, and other than rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly, Vala managed to mostly ignore their gazes. Instead, she quickly found a group of familiar faces, and waved in their direction.
 
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The Phoenix
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FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Look for groups
  2. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. Multiple posts per day
  2. 1-3 posts per day
  3. One post per day
  4. 1-3 posts per week
  5. One post per week
  6. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
My times are pretty erratic, but I try to avoid being on EST 11pm-9am.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
Jensen Miles had been watching Vala. He'd received notice about two weeks ago that he had been assigned a mech driver. He had, at first, been caught off guard by the name, but when he thought about it, it made perfect sense. He'd been a temporary bioengineer for the three years of his career so far. This was common enough for bioengineers whose partners died often, but not for someone of his caliber. His partners had a decent survival rate, they just kept getting shuffled on to other more permanently assigned bioengineers. He'd never really had any mech driver fight to keep him, nor did that particularly surprise him. He'd heard one call him a robot once, and had even started to somewhat enjoy his role as training wheels bioengineer. It let him diversify. If anyone could work with a relatively fresh top-tier mech driver until they settled on their permanent bioengineer, it was him.

So he'd rolled up his sleeves and done what he did with every new partner. He'd gone out of his way to learn everything he could about Vala Davans. There wasn't much information out there beyond the most reasonable rumors and whatever he could get out of the evaluators, so the most he could do was wait for her to start classes and reach out to him for practice, as most mech drivers did.

He'd been lucky he'd been close by when news that Vala Davans and Aemer Correny were running a battle had shot through the school. He had rushed to the practice room, and the first thing he'd thought upon laying his eyes on their display was, "Yep, that's Aemer all right." He hadn't entirely been sure how reliable the rumors were that Aemer had been matched up with Vala in the battle. Aemer hated working with newbies. But he'd gotten there just in time to see a mid-boss make a break for the squidpod, and there was no one who could pull such a Calamar power move as baiting a mid-boss besides Aemer. Most people didn't seem to even recognize that was what had happened, more focused on the mech driver, and assuming it was one of the vagaries of aggressive Calamar behavior, but he supposed this was one of the advantages of having been in so many battles, especially practice battles with Aemer. He recognized her demonic style. Hell, at times he'd almost obeyed her on instinct during a sim.

The driver was certainly holding her own, though, ripping her way through the Calamar with speed and precision the likes of which he'd only ever seen among the elites. He could see why she'd pair well with Aemer. An aggressive, assertive fighting style that saw little reason to hold back unless executing a feint. Even feints were dealt with like the stab of a needle. A mech driver like that, working that well with a personality like Aemer's, for a newbie, she had to be pretty sharp, no doubt decent at directing her own battles. He got down what he could glean from their battle, asked her professors what they thought of her, and then he waited....

But even though Professor Hedderman had assured him that his information had been passed on, he had not heard a peep from her. She was either busy or difficult. Since even the busiest mech drivers seemed to reach out to their bioengineers quickly to get as much practice in as possible, difficult was more likely. That was fine. He knew how to work around those types, too.

So on Friday, when the entire college was focused on their practicals, he sat in the bleachers watching the entrance so he could catch her as she came in. It turned out he didn't need to put in so much effort. The moment she stepped in, she caught the attention of several people close by, so he didn't have any difficult keeping his eyes on her as he made his way down from the bleachers.

She had just reached what seemed like a group of her friends or acquaintances, when Jensen reached her and tapped her on the shoulder. Thank God she hadn't come with Aemer today. "Vala Davans?" He asked, voice raised just enough to be heard over the hubbub in the practice room.

He reached out his hand to shake hers, unconsciously pushing up his glasses with his other wrist and altogether forgetting to smile as one was supposed to during introductions. "Hi. I'm Jensen Miles. I've been assigned as your bioengineer for now. That means that we'll be working together in today's battle. I look forward to our partnership."
 

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
Original poster
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Vala jumped around in shock when she felt a hand tap against her shoulder, eyes slightly widened in surprise. Aemer had been very fond of grabbing her and tugging her around, but most of the people at the college had remained a suitable distance from her, regardless of how excited they had been to talk to her.

A young man with fluffy brown hair greeted her, fidgetign with his glasses as though he was nervous. Vala stared at him in confusion, until he extended his hand to greet her.

Jensen. How many times had she thought about that name in the past week? It had practically seemed to haunt her, and the best solution she could think of was ignoring it.

It hadn't really occurred to her that meant he would come track her down instead.

Of course, that didn't make her any more inclined to deal with him now, but it wasn't as though she could just ignore him. She hadn't told anyone she'd been assigned a bioengineer, but with her luck someone was going to have overheard his introduction and the rumors would be flying about it before end-of-day.

But, as little as she liked it, she did need a bioengineer to practice with, and Vala didn't think the school would let Aemer onto the grounds to join her training on a weekly basis. Until she could find a way to get this whole 'assingment' thing sorted out, she'd try practicing with him.

"Vala Davans," she replied, extending her hand to accept the shake, face as studiously blank as his own. "Thank you for helping me practice today."

Consciously, Vala knew that Jensen likely has no say in whether or not she was working with Aemer; he'd been assigned to this partnership just as much as she had. If it wasn't him, it would be someone else. But, that was just proof that she didn't dislike him for him, but simply for what he represented. If it wasn't him, she would dislike that someone else just as much, simply because it wasn't Aemer.
 
  • According to Plan
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firejay1

The Phoenix
SITE SUPPORT
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Look for groups
  2. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. Multiple posts per day
  2. 1-3 posts per day
  3. One post per day
  4. 1-3 posts per week
  5. One post per week
  6. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
My times are pretty erratic, but I try to avoid being on EST 11pm-9am.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Modern, Historical Romance.
She looked upset... or at least not actively pleased or even entirely neutral. Facial expressions were difficult sometimes, but that was the impression he got at least. Difficult it was, then. But she shook his hand politely, and hadn't made any kind of specific face, so it was better than it could've been. "You're welcome." He said, because it was all he could think to say to the strange "thank you" he'd received for tracking her down and doing his job.

He waited for her to choose a sim she wanted to work in with her friends, but she didn't seem inclined to make so forward a move, so he a bit awkwardly said, "Let's go, then." And made his way over to the closest free bioengineer sim that was linked to a mech sim and the other sims close by. Not even guessing she might be the slightest bit unfamiliar with sims, he got into his own sim and began setting things up, sliding through set up with a calm efficiency, until the simulation prompted him to say, "Bioengineer on stand-by, waiting for mech dispatch."

The sim they were doing was a cooperative one, with a few other sims linked to theirs, and fully simulated companions to fill enough roles for a full battle. "Would you like me to let you know when I activate my parasite?" He said, having gotten used to walking each mech-driver through his process relatively gently.