Transcend Humanity

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  1. Plot
    The Vatican is struck by a strange anomaly, as the whole St. Peter Square is stuck in what seems to be a perpetual state of limbo for those who are visiting. A sudden anomaly making every visitor of the Vatican, and even the locals to be caught in a constant state of limbo. A strange transcendent light coming from the moon itself shines brighter than the sun on a high noon on the Vatican - causing all those in higher power including the Pope, to be transformed into transcendent beings - the 'Advent'.

    The anomaly fades. But those who survived are stunned by the experience. St. Peter's Basilica becomes a haven of new converts, with the Pope promising 'eternal life' and 'freedom from suffering'. Many now officially claim that Catholicism is the only religion worth following. The religious community trembles, for what power does a converted Catholic hold?

    St. Peter's Basilica is now filled with people, even rivaling the ancient city of Mecca worshiped by those of the Islamic faith. A spark is lit by the Catholic leaders. Promises of power untold - only if 'thou must worship God and God alone'. Islamic terrorist groups begin their plans - to see if conventional weaponry can withstand the might of these so called 'religious dogs'.

    Within weeks, Muslim terrorists begin to raid the Vatican, but with each desperate shooting, even with the typical 'suicide bombing' attacks - many videos were leaked of Islamic insurgents and terrorists attempting to gun down leaders of the Catholic faith - all with a bright light serving as a barrier - blocking their bullets from hitting them. Even during a suicide bombing, a very viral video of an explosion being blocked off by a Vatican bishop has served as the final warning to those of Islamic faith. Pope Peter XIV released this statement:

    "Your time is nigh. Turn to the light, or face the wrath of those touched by God's light. We are not afraid. We are not afraid anymore."

    Afterwards, Pope Peter XIV has declared themselves as an independent state. With the powers set forth by the Catholic Church, their own armies were raised - both conscripted into service, or part of the current Swiss Guard. Their powers allow them to wield weapons of light, equivalent to pulse rifles and long, slender blades that can cut through even the thickest body armor - all while dressed in grand golden armor. An army of fanatics rained down on the Middle East - rivaling even the sheer number of Islamic insurgents in places such as Turkey, Iraq and the rest of the Islamic countries.

    Unprovoked attacks to these countries caused the UN to slam down on the Advent, seeing them as 'terrorists' and 'religious fanatics' after videos and reports of civilians being 'cleansed' by several Vatican bishops and their soldiers. Rape, torture, and unsolicited murder of citizens fill the Internet, and news outlets shape societies in the Americas, Europe and those who have witnessed the wrath of Advent. In fear, and sometimes outrage, citizens in America have reportedly started attacking newly converted Advent, burning down churches - and even politicians were being assassinated for being 'converted'. New converts do not possess the power of the Bishops in the Vatican - and this caused them to be vulnerable. Their soft, glowing white eyes give them away - causing beatings and straight up murder to be uncommon in many third world countries.

    Governments do not advocate Advent converts. They do not help them. This outraged the Pope, declaring war on NATO and the UN, unless they try their best to help Advent converts. While the Middle East burns, and every single Islamic man, woman and child was being put to the sword, the UN tried their best to quell the situation. Riots, protests, even armed conflict and rebellion forced the UN and NATO to back down, and proceed to try and 'act' like they were helping, but they were not.

    And such begins the life of hatred and bigotry against the Advent. For what their leaders have done, the rest have paid the price. Seeing the Vatican as the 'Nazis' they are - and NATO patrols are tasked to 'help only when they see it as a necessity'.

    Living in a world of hatred and madness - powered by the promise of power. Is this a life worth living?
  2. Germany. Once a haven for activity - after the 2016 migrant crisis - the European Union had to buckle up. Abandoning it's political correctness, they began deporting migrants, even fighting insurgencies left and right. Armed conflict and crime skyrocketed in the later years, but despite that, Germany managed to solidify itself as a functioning country after a brief moment of respite. Maintaining their borders for the longest time has actually managed to stabilize Germany's economy - and the job market as well.

    Then, the Advent came. Threatening and carrying out their attack on Middle Eastern countries in all but in a span of a few months, they swept through the Middle East like a plague of locusts - clearing out cities and burning villages, raping and executing women and children alike. Their swath of terror, and despite many of the Islamic leadership and citizenry surrendering, the Pope - with a gallant ego and a long blade, personally executes every single one of their leaders on live broadcast. The rest of the devout Islamic people - slaughtered by the rest of the soldiers.

    Insurgents have tried to 'regain their land'. But their bull rush towards Jerusalem proved to be unstoppable. The rest is history. Time and time again, the same terror tactics have proven to be ineffective against Catholic bishops, and little to no casualties from their two hundred thousand strong troops. Jerusalem fell in less than two days, and Pope Peter XIV was deemed the 'Holy See', having powers unimaginable. Controlling a barrier rivaling even the thickest tank armor, even Islamic insurgents have deemed their bombs and mortars to be ineffective.

    This led to the general public fearing what an Advent convert might do. What power a convert might possess. Will they rival the Pope himself? Or will they be weak? People did not take the chance to see things peacefully.

    The cold, dark streets of Berlin. A lone woman is seen carrying her groceries - dressed in a white summer dress. Her eyes are glowing a pale white as she passes by the sidewalks of the Kreuzbasar. A group of young thugs, tattoos and all seem to eye her as her eyes glow with a warm light. As she swiftly starts walking faster, the group of five men seem to be following her - in their leather jackets, black jeans and similarly matching mo-hawks. Two seem to be brandishing metal baseball bats - and eventually, one takes a swing at her.

    She drops her bag of groceries and is shocked - but not totally surprised. She curls up as she lands face down to the ground, the men shouting German expletives at her. The French woman couldn't even hear them, or even speak, as boots were being smashed on her body - swift kicks, and even baseball bats bruising her and beating her up as they take their ruthless swings and punches - the pain causing her to scream and grit her teeth.

    If only she wasn't converted. She would have lived a peaceful life. But now - her life has become a living hell.
  3. Iskander (open)

    Name: Iskander Çelik (most people just call him "Spec" in regards to his military rank)
    Sex: Male
    Age: 33 years
    Rank: Specialist Second Class with patrol team A, NATO 12th Infantry Division
    Augmentations: Counter-Riot Model KJ-2; respiratory system replaced with an artificial breathing apparatus, enabling insertion into situations in which the air is hazardous to a non-augmented soldier (ex: tear/sleeping/poison gas, smoke, pathogens, debris and dust). Synthetic lungs analyze inhaled substances and provide feedback to eye visor, which locks on to targets and monitors their vitals as well as providing an audio-visual feed to HQ. Augmentation extends down arms and chest area to fortify living tissue. Subject's trachea and esophagus have been replaced; vocalization possible via robotic voice bank, which civilians have described as "deeply upsetting" to hear. Research underway to develop a more natural voice synthesizer.
    Weapons: The purpose of a Counter-Riot model is not to dissuade civil unrest from occurring, but to suppress it once it's underway and a regular task force can no longer handle the situation.
    Standard-issue assault rifle: fires pulses of energy and remains locked in a magnetic harness until lethal force has be authorized. Replacement power cells are to be carried at all times.
    Baton: holstered at his hip; a portable handheld riot shield generator, though when not activated it makes a suitable bludgeoning weapon.
    Sidearm: a simple old-fashioned pistol.
    Military-grade body armour interlocks with cybernetic augmentations to protect as much of Iskander's body as possible (complete with a helmet). It can withstand most munition types and renders blades ineffective.
    Physical: 6'3'', 200 lbs (pre-machine augmentations). Originates from Turkey but has mixed bloodlines. Light brown skin, usually covered by body armour. Brown-black eyes. Dark, wavy hair. Unusual features include scarring around the edges of his augmentations; especially prominent where reconstructive lower jaw surgery was required. Breathing apparatus can be removed, but everything beneath it is severely disfigured. Finding this to be grotesque, Iskander usually keeps the lower half of his face covered with a backwards-tied scarf or bandanna. Wears army fatigues when not suited up for riot insertion.
    Mental: No previous behavioral infractions. Entered military service willingly and complied with all rules and regulations. Noted for his introversion and is perceived as odd, though most show him some inkling of respect (or at least wariness) based on the number of traumatic surgeries becoming a Counter-Riot involves.

    Patrol team A was on foot that evening, for maneuverability in Berlin's narrow streets. To the unaccustomed it might have felt like the walls were constantly closing in around them, but a majority of the soldiers were European recruits and paid it no mind. It wouldn't be much longer until they'd be rotated with another division in another country.

    The scenery changed. The world did not.

    The twelve members of patrol team A varied in size, bulk depending on the exo-armour they were outfitted with and their role within the group. Although there was no talking, the heavy metallic clunk of their footfalls bounced along the cobblestone roads and around corners half a minute before they appeared. They were a mere subsection of the larger NATO Infantry Division currently residing in the heart of Berlin, but pedestrians still made a point of crossing the street to avoid them.

    Near the Kreuzbasar, a group of thugs had abandoned the eave of an alley to assault a woman carrying groceries. Someone might have intervened had her eyes not been glowing soft white. In the growing shadows, even several yards away her status as an Advent was plain. The patrol team leader's visor captured the scene and relayed the audio-visual feed to headquarters for assessment.

    "HQ says move along," he ordered after a moment of deliberation. His men and women promptly looked away. Well, most of them. Patrol team captain Alejandro Herrera glanced at the man walking astride him-- Iskander Çelik. They'd been through more than a few battles together. His body armour was markedly different from the other soldiers, as it was made for a different purpose, and his rank as a Specialist Second Class put them on equal footing. Çelik's eye visor followed the woman even as they continued to walk away. Herrera sighed.

    "I don't like it when you get like this, man. Say something," he kept his tone low so as not to alert the others. When his companion did not reply he tried again. "Hey, look, it's just one lady. We have to let people vent like this once and a while or they'll start rioting again. HQ said leave it be. So leave it-"

    Çelik's armoured feet diverged from the sidewalk, starting him on a path towards the altercation. The Spec was being difficult again. Herrera muttered a string of curses in Spanish and turned to the soldiers behind him.

    "Hold position," he ordered, gesturing to a handful of men and women. "You four, with me."

    Çelik had already approached the thugs. He stopped less than a yard away, arms idle at his sides. His artificial voice synthesizer began to project.

    "Please lower your weapons and vacate the premises."

    Perfect German, but a far cry from a perfect human tone. It was more the skin-crawling rasp of some sentient android-- and in his riot armour, Iskander certainly looked the part. He awaited the thugs' reaction. Intervention was not permitted unless they escalated the conflict.
  4. She already accepted her fate. In this day and age, the fear of the Advent rearing it's ugly head to charge headfirst into another fanatic driven war with the rest of the world dawned on everyone. Even the more 'civilized' refuse to hire Advent, and they secretly do so. People have learned the hard way during the refugee crisis. Religious fanaticism is a cold, and ruthless killer - ignoring all in the glory of securing their 'afterlife' - or in this case, to ensure that their powers remain. Whether a higher power, or an abhorrent anomaly caused this, regardless - people usually try to suppress any more Advent converts outside of heavily Catholic areas.

    Berlin is no stranger to this. Even NATO patrol groups were forced to 'keep the status quo'. As long as it wasn't a full blown brawl, they were secretly ordered to leave it. NATO was waging it's own psychological war against the Catholic Church, but even their top brass knew this was just fueling the flame. They needed to prove to the world that they were strong - but in truth, they were just afraid.

    Her thoughts were shattered into hatred and bitterness about this supposed oppression. She grunted and took blow after blow, her body begging for them to stop - and her audible screams were just as disturbing as any other. But these people were a dime a dozen. Wishing to keep the 'streets' clean of any supposed terrorists, they attack every Advent they see, regardless of the Military Police having a presence. With this gang and similar groups cropping up like wildfire - many authority figures just back off.

    She didn't expect to be saved. If she was, it wouldn't be at the hands of a heavily armed NATO soldier. Maybe a young idiot, who would also get beat up. Maybe a vigilante who would most likely be hunted down by NATO instead. She was a broken woman already. She couldn't take back being an Advent convert. It's too late. She has no powers - and still, what little respect people have for her have all been eradicated after she converted.

    The gang stopped their ruthless beating - and to her surprise, she peeked her head out for a moment. Bruised and bloodied, she tried to see who attempted to stop them. The cold, authoritative voice most commonly attributed to NATO Military Police. But these thugs weren't going to let a few jarheads ruin their fun. Heated yelling from one of the youths, and one pulling out a firearm caused all of the thugs to charge forward.

    They were disorganized and outnumbered, but they still posed a threat. The one with a handgun instantly grabbed April by the collar, aiming the barrel up at her head. "You better say sorry and leave, before this bitch gets a lot more than just a quick beating!" He spoke in a raspy German tone, but he threatened Celik in perfect English.
  5. Seeing that their damn Spec was already reaching for his weapon despite the gang's warning, patrol leader Herrera made the impulsive decision to raise his silenced pistol and fire a shot at the dominant shoulder of the thug holding the bruised and bloodied Advent. Nothing fatal, but hopefully enough to stop him from blowing the woman's head off. He motioned for his subordinates to move in and separate her from her captor while switching off his visor's audio-visual feed. The longer they could keep headquarters in the dark, the longer he had to clean up Iskander's mess.

    Meanwhile, Çelik stepped forwards to meet the incoming enemies-- or perhaps just insects --as they cropped up on his visor. He slid his nightstick free of its holster. It activated at his touch, charge lines glowing blue up its sides. Avoiding the first thug's errant baseball bat swing, he returned the favour by striking the side of his skull with his baton, arm piston releasing so forcefully that the crunch of bones could be heard on contact. The thug's head popped wildly to one side before he crashed to the ground. Nightstick crackling with sudden electricity, Çelik advanced towards a second weapon-toting delinquent, whose bat glanced off the NATO officer's armour to little effect. To much greater effect, he jabbed fifty-thousand volts of electricity into the young male's body, keeping the momentum going to stun a third who had charged in alongside his friend. The fourth came at him from a different angle. He adjusted his grip on the nightstick, which became a handle for the contained energy field that burst from it and took shape. The last remaining thug was repulsed off his feet as the riot shield bashed into him. He hit the pavement and rolled. In a final act of defiance he reached for a bat that a fellow gang member had dropped. Çelik's energy shield slammed down on top of his reaching fingers, flesh and blood hissing as it severed them. The thug screamed. Çelik was about to lift a boot and stomp the wretch when he heard the very audible click of a gun.

    "For the love of whatever fucked-up god's watching us, stop," said captain Herrera from behind him, pistol held unflinching in his outstretched hand to hover over Çelik's head armour. The patrol leader's brows were creased deeply together-- the Spec had tended to throw his weight around now and then, but he'd never so blatantly and violently disregarded a direct order from their superiors. Over something so trivial as an Advent being beaten, no less. Protocol dictated swift punishment. A better captain would've shot him already. Herrera scowled. "You're not a rabid dog, Iskander. Control yourself."

    The Counter-Riot operative said nothing for a moment. Then his voice bank whirred and clicked.

    "Dogs. Yes. That is exactly what we are." The energy shield vanished as he switched its generator off, slotting the baton back into its holster. "Prize dogs being paraded from country to country, barking and never biting."

    Until now, apparently. Herrerra sighed and lowered his gun. Iskander's visor redirected from the ground littered with blood, bodies, and weapons to the battered white-eyed woman. His voice bank clicked again as it switched languages to German. "Do you require a medic?"
    #5 Killjoy, Jun 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2016
  6. April blinked, and her fear reached it's height. While they occasionally beat her up - none of these so called bigots would dare try to pull of a stunt like this. With one of the officer's quick thinking, she crumpled as he brought him down, the thug's firearm flinging away as he flinched heavily, dropping down to the ground as he seethed in pain. He then releases a string of German expletives, again escaping April's comprehension as her mind blanked out. She was still conscious, but she could barely stand without help.

    Her eyes darted to the man that approached the thugs in the first place. He easily took out the thugs one by one, the mechanically augmented man easily taking down these thugs as if they were made of cardboard. He clearly used his baton way above the appropriate safety settings - and he could have easily fried the bastard if he wanted to. Her hearing was ringing at the gunshot, as she struggled to get up from the ground. Fazed, injured, and most of all - somewhat scarred, and also somewhat relieved. Her mind was a mixed bag of emotions. She kept her eyes on those who saved her - but for whatever reason, one of the officers pointed a gun at the most augmented of them all - and probably the first to try and actually protect her.

    Eventually after exchanging a few words, she met his eyes with the bloodied, visored metallic man. She sighed and tried picking herself up, but fell back down again. She spoke in German - although fluent, she clearly wasn't a native to Germany by her light French accent. "I... I need some medical assistance, yes..." She meekly responded. She didn't know what to say. Violence begets violence - and the cycle continues - although she wasn't sure if they deserved that sort of punishment or not. As her conscience was muddled with thoughts, she eventually shifted her gaze away. To think that before, the most she would worry about was some sexual harassment. But as an Advent, she felt like she couldn't belong here. Or anywhere, for that matter.
  7. Nodding to show that he understood the Advent woman, Çelik turned to captain Herrera, who despite having put his gun away still wore the expression of someone who wanted to shoot him.

    "Please call over our medic," he said, voice bank switching to Spanish. The patrol leader scowled at him

    "We've done enough. Headquarters is already gonna be pissed that we got involved."

    "Then there is no reason not to see it through."

    The Spec's tone dropped towards the end; it was the closest he could get to sounding argumentative given his current state, voice choppy and restricted from using contractions. Herrera's eyes wandered to the thugs on the ground. The one Çelik had hit with his nightstick lay either dead or severely brain damaged, but the others would recover if given prompt medical attention-- even the one with his fingers cut clean off and the other with a bullet in his shoulder. Taking ownership for the latter, the patrol leader sighed, glancing to bark an order at the soldiers still holding their position across the street. From their midst trotted a recruit wearing the white lightweight armour of a medic. Notifications began popping up on Herrera's visor. HQ was getting antsy. He sighed through his nose again.

    "I'll deal with them. You deal with this," he said, turning to move a short distance away where he could talk to their superiors in peace and try and explain the situation. He glanced over one shoulder at his comrade. "And Çelik? Quit talking. Your voice'll give that poor woman a heart attack."

    The Spec said nothing, instead watching their medic approach. In order of grievous injuries, she moved to kneel beside the thug who'd been shot. Çelik's synthetic voice whirred as if in displeasure. Opting to treat it as such, she continued along to crouch in front of the Advent woman.

    "What's your name, Miss?" she asked in passable German, detaching a kit that had been mechanically attached to her back armour and inputting an access code to open it. Behind her Çelik oversaw the process-- though as Herrera had suggested, he did not speak.
  8. April was still reeling from that recent beating - her bruised and cut body, while looking rather unsightly, it was nothing in regards to what happened to the thugs that had the audacity to try and standing up to a NATO patrol group. While she was well aware of them having absolutely no reason to butt into something like this, she was thankful.

    She squatted down, trying to breathe after she was physically and roughly handled. She waited for the medic to come through, as most of her cuts started bleeding slowly - tricking blood down to her dress. She thought maybe - maybe she could hide her being an Advent. Not even today could she do that.

    Regardless, she eyed Celik - and with what seemed to be Celik's superior telling him to quit talking - she sighed softly and looked over to Celik. "We're the same... both... treated like monsters." She says, in what seemed to be her native language, French. As the medic approached and asked her name, she turned her attention to her. "April Bellefleur..." She replied in her peculiar accent, but in German.

    As the medic was busy treating her, she slowly returned his gaze on Celik. For better or worse, he saved her. It seems like his superior was against it, but he apparently did it anyway. She blinked lightly, and then spoke. "...Monsters... Are people just scared of what an Advent can do? About... how intimidating someone like you can be?" She asked. She was slowly being stabilized, and the procedures the medic was performing on her were rather painless, as she starts to treat her wounds. She continually stared at Celik, looking helpless - like she lost all hope for humanity.
  9. While it was obvious that Çelik was paying close attention, for a long while he said nothing. His respirator could be heard hissing quietly as it drew air into his synthetic lungs and analyzed its composition. His visor remained dark except for the messaging flashing across it, in reverse and unintelligible to the beholder. They did not even look to be written in a known language.

    "I do not think you are a monster," he said at last, voice bank clipping some words as it changed to French. "If anyone is inhuman, it is the golden ones in the Vatican."

    Or those like himself-- but that was less from a moral standpoint and more due to the fact that his ratio of flesh to machine augmentations was no longer equal. The golden ones could at least still lay claim to their own bodies...though he was suspicious of whatever omnipotent force safeguarded them. The acquisition of power almost always involved sacrifice. He wondered what they might have lost to attain their strength-- unwittingly or not.

    It wasn't the place of a soldier to think of such things. Çelik glanced at the medic crouched in front of April, applying antiseptics and gauze patches where necessary, back to the Advent woman herself.

    "Is there a place we could escort you to?" he inquired. Judging from the not-so-distant snippets of conversation and the amount of times patrol leader Herrera had to apologize to whoever was yelling at him on the other end of their communications channel, the Spanish captain would not be pleased by Iskander's offer.
  10. She looked at him once again. A man - who either lost or sacrificed his body to be a mechanical masterpiece. Stronger than the average human, he can easily crush a man under his boot. He can easily kill someone. But looking at him - she almost peered into him. His soul. He was still human. He showed compassion, by fighting fire with fire. Maybe she wasn't a monster - like how he is fully human.

    What he said, despite it not being within her views - he was right. The Vatican did nothing for those oppressed. It was as if they were pushing their own agenda - regardless of the risk other 'non-essentials' face. They wear a golden mask, and underneath lies the dirty, twisted truth of the Vatican's inner sanctum. Still, she was blind to it all. She refused to believe it. But she knew that her merely being an Advent was grounds for this sort of beating to happen on a day to day basis.

    She remembered her Advent Converstion. A peaceful day. Her parents, both Advent - oversaw her conversion. She saw to the light, and was renewed. She was promised everlasting life, and power beyond her wildest imagination. She prayed. She worshiped. She followed their twisted dogmas and when she was stamped down by those 'non-believers' and 'heretics', nobody helped them. Not even NATO, who promised protection for all. They were nowhere to be seen.

    April looked at Celik, a small smile painted her face - despite her being clearly injured, she slowly rose to her feet. Her knees trembling lightly as she struggled to stand properly. "M-My... apartment." She picked up what was left of her groceries - a small bagful of fruits, vegetables and a few cans. Some fruits and the bread she bought were strewn on the ground, as she sighed. "...I hope I can buy groceries tomorrow..." She mumbled, and set her gaze to Celik, looking up to him. "My a-apartment is a few blocks from here. The Connection apartment complex... apartment... one-eighty-two." While she was somewhat wealthy enough to afford a decent apartment in the heart of the Kreuzbasar, that didn't stop the harassment. Luckily, they only managed to attack her and Advent like her from the supermarket down the street - not following her far enough to know where she and a majority of the 'higher-than-average' Advent live.
  11. Though Çelik had seen them hundreds of times before, every time an Advent turned their white eyes onto him he felt like he was being appraised by gods. As if some higher entity were seeing through them. Having never been an exceptionally religious man-- not even after religion physically manifested itself in the Advent --he tried not to dwell on this.

    The medic stepped away from April when she was done patching her up, moving on to treat the thug with the gunshot wound. The one now missing his fingers was barely lucid but in no danger of death-- Çelik's energy shield had cauterized the wounds as it made them. The soldier in question looked from April to her spilled groceries, reaching down to pick up a stray soup can and handing it to her with a nod to show he understood her words. A map pinged to life on his eye visor, tracing the most common route from their current location to the Kreuzbasar and the apartment she'd indicated.

    "Iskander," patrol leader Herrera barked from behind him. He glanced over one shoulder to see the captain approach, wearing the harried expression of anyone who had to deal with headquarters. Herrera paused to nudge the most-likely-dead of the delinquents with his boot. "They're sending a meat wagon for these boys. Ready to move?"

    "Miss Bellefleur will accompany us," Iskander said. Herrera's eyes cut crossly over to him.

    "The Kreuzbasar's that way. And the locals are high-strung this time of the week," he snapped, reverting to Spanish as he often did when annoyed. "Christ, Çelik, you know how angry HQ was? If anything else goes wrong we'd be lucky not to get reassigned to fucking Greenland."

    "Miss Bellefleur's home is there," Iskander replied. Herrera looked from the uncharacteristically stubborn Spec to April, patched-up and bruised. For a moment it seemed like he might argue the issue further. Then he sighed and turned away, ordering his subordinates to reform their patrol group and resume moving. Iskander followed. His head turned to April, voice bank clicking. "I would highly recommend you purchase a civilian grade weapon to protect yourself with in the future."
  12. The promises of divinity, a place among the High Council in Heaven - that was what was promised to her. The same powers that the Holy Seven - the Bishops of Yore. Like Jesus, they were all risen from the dead - mysteriously, but were given one goal in mind. To convert all of the Earth into Advent. That was what she was taught. Religion physically manifested itself, but what they did immediately after shocked the world.

    She looked at Celik, and her eyes glowed a dull white - a dim white color, as it glowed softly. She accepted the stray soup can, and placed it in her paper bag, but she was too injured to pick it up. "C-Could you pick it... up... for me?" She asked him, clearly physically incapable to. While she had no broken bones, her bruises and cuts were painful enough to make her feel like she was.

    The mostly injured, and nearly dead thugs were being treated as much as possible by the medics. While she felt no love for what they did, she knew that the populace was scared of people like her. With the Catholic Church slamming it's iron fist on 'non-believers' and 'places of sin and debauchery', they didn't win anybody over. Many people thought they were doing real, good work when detaining and imprisoning pedophiles masquerading as 'God's own' - but on the streets of places such as Turkey: many knew of what horrors awaited. Massive, golden armies of well armed men, and the remnants of these traitors of God's teaching - amalgams of these former men, turned into weapons of war. Genetic experimentation, with the power of the Holy Seven. While they were wearing golden, glorious armor, they were less men and more hulking masses of flesh. Limbs haplessly reattached, and forced into nine foot suits of armor, and meant to wield the power to summon a weapon capable of destroying heavy armor instantly.

    These people were afraid of the Advent. As they cut the stem on Islamic religion, NATO abandoned them, like they abandoned Advent like her. Within months, the Advent managed to retake Jerusalem, and showed the destruction of Mecca, the holy city - reduced to rubble. People of Islamic faith were not given the chance to repent. To convert. Instead, they were beheaded. Advent leaders say: "We saw Christians alike be beheaded by those who follow this religious dogma. We cannot stand idly by and let our people be slaughtered. They thought they can make us into cattle through terrorism and abusing liberalism, but now - we have out chance. To serve up a cold dish: revenge."

    April was thinking back on the horrifying news. As she was working in as an intern in a law firm, she knew how hard it was to be an Advent. While she was still on the job, the people outside constantly harassed men and women just like her. And now, this was her third beating.

    She felt comforted that Celik would take the time to escort her. She looked to Celik, approaching him and holding his arm, trying to balance herself.

    "Thank you... Mister Celik." She tried pronouncing his name, but regardless, she was legitimately thankful for his kindness.

    "I would highly recommend you purchase a civilian grade weapon to protect yourself with in the future."

    She didn't know how to feel. She didn't feel resentment - but she knew that she had to put her foot down. She breathed deeply, and looked back to Celik. "Should I buy a gun...? I... I've never thought of... shooting someone. I... I don't know if I want to be arrested..." She knew that despite it being in self defense - most men are crafty. In fact, she knew that NATO - while treating Advent defending themselves fairly, they would sometimes overlook a few important details, just to 'appease' the rabid public.
  13. Scooping up April's paper bag of groceries, Çelik passed it to the woman, ensuring that she was steady enough to hold it before moving to rejoin his patrol team with the Advent at his side. A few of the soldiers' stares lingered. The Spec's eye visor hovered on them as if challenging them to speak. Combined with patrol leader Herrera's orders to hurry up, they soon looked away.

    "It does not necessarily need to be a lethal weapon," Çelik said to April as they walked. The robotic filter to his voice hitched before leveling out again. "The temporary incapacitation of an assailant would allow you to escape. Traveling in numbers would also be advisable."

    They had fallen into step beside Herrera at the head of the patrol. The Spanish captain glanced over at them. Despite his harried mood, a smirk twitched at the corner of his mouth.

    "Jesus, Iskander. They program that thing for casual conversation?" he ribbed in heavily accented German, nodding at Çelik's augmented throat armour.

    Çelik continued looking ahead. "It still speaks better German than you."

    Herrera grinned briefly before resuming his stoic demeanor. The captain's capacity for humor, though infrequently shown, was one of the qualities that made him bearable to serve beside. That and he was possibly the last remaining human who used Iskander's birthname. NATO had little need for it. He was the Spec, or a serial number, or whatever monikers his current patrol team gave him. Hearing it reaffirmed that despite all of his mechanical parts he was still a person...not the same person, but alive nonetheless.

    Çelik turned his head to check on April. So far, it seemed that the woman was able to continue walking.
  14. April slowly walked with them, but gingerly started to walk at a more normal pace, as she holds what remained of her bag of groceries. Celik's suggestions made sense, but it still wouldn't mean anything. "I cannot... travel in numbers. Everyone is equally scared of these thugs. If we fight them, we may end up in worse shape than those we defended ourselves against.

    The walk was slow, tedious. Several things hindered her somewhat - but she was able to walk at a relatively normal pace. While not exactly keeping up with the other soldiers, she knew that without them, she'd probably be beaten half to death.

    Several thugs saw her, slowly creeping into view - but seeing the armed NATO soldiers near her vicinity, they receded back into alleyways, retreating back onto the sidewalks or generally just avoiding them altogether.

    If only she had this level of protection. She knew this was temporary, but she turned her attention to Celik, taking a deep breath.

    "Celik... is that your name? D... Do you have... how do you call it - any leave? I feel like we could... be friends." She rubbed her arm as they approached her apartment complex, as she awaited his response. She wasn't thinking he might be a romantic partner - she just wanted to stave off loneliness. Even other Advent keep to themselves, alone. Not unlike the words of the Bible, where the persecuted hid underground and worshiped God.

    None of the Advent she even remotely knew had any faith in their own Conversion. While not exactly a stunning social butterfly, she longed for some form of connection. Be it friendship or romance. But she wanted to see if he actually had any time to spend.
  15. Çelik's voice bank hummed in understanding-- or perhaps it was contemplation, or maybe just a glitch. What April said was true. Advents were viewed with greater suspicion the more of them gathered in one place. Even if she and another were to walk to the store together, it might increase their risk of being attacked. Or it might increase their chances of surviving an attack. It was impossible to say, be there as many variables as there were.

    Eye visor turning slightly in response to his name, Çelik said nothing for a long moment. He presumably studied the Advent at his side before looking back to the road ahead. "I am afraid not, Miss Bellefleur. My apologies."

    What exactly the Spec was saying no to was vague-- he no longer had much of a capacity for companionship and was also being shipped out of Germany with the rest of his squad sometime within the next few days, though of course April had no way of knowing this. The Kreuzbasar sprawled before them. On Iskander's other side, patrol leader Herrera stiffened, hand twitching instinctively towards his pistol. There seemed to be some sort of commotion on the far end of the bazaar. One could hope that it was just a minor scuffle, maybe involving a thief. Experience dictated otherwise. It was getting late in the week. No matter where their NATO detachment went, it was a trend for citizens to get riled towards Friday. They were often sent in to 'mediate' when these affairs got out of hand. Rather, soldiers like Iskander were sent in. People didn't like them much. Herrera glanced at the Spec beside him.

    "Hey, Iskander..."

    "Acknowledged," Çelik replied; the distant scene had not escaped his notice. "Where is your home, Miss Bellefleur?"
  16. The Advent didn't have any high hopes that he would be allowed to even have breaks - or if he's even capable of compassion. Many military men were all steely, cold - they were hardened, battle ready soldiers that even have wiring that reroutes their fear of pain. Plus, they were either already fully built men, or a majority of their body parts were all synthetic. It was less mind over matter, but who has the most technologically advanced augmentations.

    Their eyes met, presumably at least, as the silence ate away at her. It might mean a number of things - possibly him trying to think of an excuse, legitimately considering it, or something else entirely. She still wasn't sure why he decided to step in - it was common knowledge that NATO backed off the general populace as they attempted to light the flames of war by continually harassing Advent converts. Thugs and rioters were all abound, but as long as they were only attacking Advents, NATO didn't care at all.

    But Celik cared. At least, that was the thing on her mind at the moment. Her train of thought was crashed as she heard what seemed to be a large commotion on the far end of the bazaar. It clearly wasn't just a mere scuffle, and on a Friday - many of the drunken men and those out of a job usually have their weekly riots. Especially with the Pope threatening Europe, holding the city by the knife, many and more anti-Advent groups make it a habit to deliver their protests on Friday. And on Friday - many sympathizers and affifliated Advent groups try to counter protest. Without NATO touching them, they usually engage in violence - and the Kreuzbasar, despite it's sprawling maze-like location, the riots usually don't stop at the bazaar. Many looters jump into the mix, and usually April has to hide.

    She picked a wrong time to get some groceries, but as soon as Iskander asked her where her home was, she answered dutifully, "My home is a few blocks left... shouldn't be far - but I'm afraid they usually try to break into the grounds when the riot gets too heated..."

    This was bad. She totally lost track of time, and she knew that she was going to pay the price. Whether this NATO patrol can hold off waves of rioters, she tried to hold Celik's arm, a bit fearful.
  17. The slurred German of drunken rioters rose up in a din. How bad could their timing have possibly been? Herrera's eyes followed the commotion as the NATO patrol entered the bazaar. It didn't seem like they'd been noticed yet-- but since they were traveling in the direction of a common riot target, it wouldn't be long. Quietly, he radioed an update into headquarters. Beside him, Çelik made no motions to pull away from April. While he processed her words his visor watched the not-so-distant protesters rally. Their shouts swarmed like angry hornets.

    "I see..." he looked from the rioters, to April, to Herrera. His voice bank whirred softly as if in contemplation. "I do not think there is a point returning Miss Bellefleur to a building that will be ransacked the moment we leave."

    The patrol leader's half-face visor offered several perks, like the ability to watch his expression darken every time Iskander said something insane.

    "We ain't her bodyguards, Spec," he snapped in Spanish. "We shouldn't have even done what we did back there. Besides, where the hell else would we take her? Advents aren't safe anywhere. And neither are we if you keep pushing orders. We're taking her home. That's it."

    April's home was still a block or so away, and the rioters were drawing closer, their arrival heralded by the shouts that echoed through the mazelike bazaar. Another equally annoying noise came from within Iskander's own helmet-- headquarters and their constant audio feed. Do not engage with the rioters. This is an anticipated and cathartic event. All patrols should complete their directives and vacate cells B-15 through-

    His voice synthesizer switched to French-- nobody in the patrol team capable of challenging his rank spoke it. But judging from her surname and accent, the Advent woman did.

    "Is there somewhere safer you could take refuge?" Çelik inquired. French was ungainly in his robotic tone, though at least possible to understand. He glanced off at the distant sound of crashing glass. Red markers cropped up on his visor. "I am sorry, but please move to my other side. You are holding my shield arm and I may need it soon."

    Walking between a Counter-Riot solider and the patrol captain was about the best place to be under the threat of armed conflict. If they were very lucky, it was possible that the protesters wouldn't notice April. Most members of the NATO patrol were significantly taller than her; certainly bulkier, with their armours and augmentations.
  18. "...I-I don't know. I..." She was clearly panicking as soon as Celik asked her if there was anywhere else safe. She never had rioters come this close before. While Advent could enjoy their little gated community, this sort of place was always the scorn of the local populace. Local Germans, dubbing themselves 'loyalists', have been moving their riots closer and closer. Crashing glass, screaming men and women, even the faintest sounds of metal crashing down, the crunch of bones - all was clear to her.

    She felt faint, but she backed away from Celik, biting down on her lower lip as her knees trembled with anxiety. "I do not know." While she was secure in between these two NATO military policemen, most rioters have threatened to even attack riot police if given the chance. While the rest of the patrol was heavily armed, sheer numbers make up for their staggering augmentations and armor. While they were only a handful, usually riots of this scale range from an entire football stadium's worth of rioters.

    While her home was so close - she knew that if they left her side, she would be attacked - the apartment complex trashed. The Advent converts currently staying are all hastily boarding and securing their homes. Anyone outside the complex would be stupid to try and simply lock their door - they were swiftly closing up their windows with plywood, and the rest of the 'Advent establishments' are doing the same. Some with steel, some with wood - it didn't matter. This was the sector where most of the Advent feel safest, and with the regular Friday Night riots reaching it's most violent point, people didn't take chances.

    April didn't know what to do, so she stayed in between the two, still somewhat nervous. She struggled to keep her composure, her entire body was growing pale, fearful for her life.
  19. The apartment complexes were bigger than anticipated. How many converts lived in Germany? Iskander recalled seeing a roundabout statistic once, not that it mattered now. From the corner of his eyes he glanced at April. I am sorry, Miss Bellefleur, but I cannot assist you further unless I am instructed to intervene with the riot. That was all he had to say to absolve himself of responsibility. It was practically a script by that point. There was no reason to protect an Advent. Advents had destroyed his homeland and his life. And yet...

    And yet he knew that civilian feeling of fear and helplessness. A long time ago; bleeding in the ruins of a Turkish market, watching one of the Vatican's gargantuan golden soldiers hoist a woman off her feet and tear her arm from its socket when she resisted. It didn't matter which side of the conflict he was on; nobody ever helped and nothing ever changed. He listened to his comrades' dog tags bounce off their armour as they walked. Dogs. Prized, muzzled dogs kept on NATO's short leash. He'd done as he was told-- in the Middle East, then Portugal, Spain, France, now Germany --and still nothing changed.

    "This is your stop, Miss," patrol leader Herrera suddenly said in his passable German, slowing before the apartment complex. "The Spec can escort you to your home." He glanced at Iskander. "Not long until the rioters get here, and I sure as hell don't want it to look like we're defending the place when they do. Make it quick or I'm leaving you behind."

    Çelik called his bluff on that one-- the other soldier had been presented with plenty of opportunities to leave him behind in the past and had never taken any of them. Regardless, he nodded, ushering April out of earshot of the rest of the patrol before speaking. "Miss Bellefleur, do you have anything to fortify your home with?"
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