Welcome to the War Games

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Midian, May 11, 2015.

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  1. “Sofia Addison Giffard, you have until the count of five to get down here and eat your breakfast,” her mother, a stocky woman with short brown hair, yelled up the narrow stairway. Sofia had elected a long time ago to live in the attic room rather than on the third floor with her siblings. It gave her more privacy and more room to work on whatever project she had managed to sneak past her parents; it was also near an Elevrail and the front facing, huge window let her watch people ride it up and down between the different city levels. She’d rarely ridden it herself since her family was pretty well off and they mostly shopped at the nicer places on the ground or their own level, but it was interesting to see all the different people that got on it to go up and down. Her brother rode it, but she was rarely up in time to see him leave in the mornings. He was a pharmacist to some lower-ranking nobles and always gone before the sun rose and back after it had set.


    Addie hurriedly pushed the pin into the giant, emerald-green beetle she’d found over by one of the stable towers where they kept the rabbits and chickens. She’d never seen one quite like it before, and hadn’t been able to resist secreting it home and adding it to her collection. Her mother hated bugs and her father thought it was frivolous, so to avoid lectures or confiscation she kept her collection private.


    She pulled on her heavy, ivory-colored coat and sat down to lace up her tan boots over the black leggings that were all she’d had clean. Addie had meant to do more laundry before leaving, but she’d ended up packing all of her clean clothes and leaving the dirty ones behind.


    The boots made a nice clicking noise on the stairs as she raced down, making an L-turn around her little brother, who had not gone to his apprenticeship under their older brother that day.


    Addie flew down the landing and bounced into the dining room just in time for her mother to put a plate of breakfast on the table with one hand, cradling her tablet computer with the other. Frequently they’d been lectured about how lucky they were to have so much technology as opposed to the poor, who barely had electricity.
    “I’m here, I’m here,” she panted, plopping in the chair to inhale her breakfast.
    “Slow down,” her mother said automatically, checking her to-do list on the computer. She’d gotten the morning off to see Addie to the school acceptance ceremony, but that just meant she had more work in the latter part of the day. Truthfully, she had no doubt Addie had passed the written exam, but it was learning to work on a team she wasn’t sure if her daughter could do.

    “Sofia, we’ve got to be leaving the house in ten minutes. You’d have had more time to eat if you’d come down on time,” her mother reminded her. Addie mumbled a response around her scrambled eggs and went to go pick up her bag. Her mother waved goodbye to her and returned to the tablet, trying to get a little work done early.

    By the time the sun was peeking pinkly over the horizon, Isaac was peeling an apple with his pocket knife and feeding the scraps to the rabbits below. It was quiet this early in the morning, which is why he usually came by. The rabbits were his favorite; soft and gentle-eyed, but feisty when they had to be. He thought it was a shame they spent their whole lives in a pen, their only purpose for being as meals for those that could afford rabbit. They didn’t know any better, would never know any better, and probably thought, if they thought, that they had a pretty cushy deal in life.

    Isaac thought it was a waste of what could be a very spunky creature. He swung himself off the gate and left the pen area, heading over to one of the Elevrails and hopping on. The great platform rose and rose until he was about halfway up and let passengers off. He made his way among them to his home, squeezing into the tiny kitchen to find a plate of cold bread and porridge near the sickly fireplace. It was a special day; there was a tiny bowl of honey on the plate too. He ate in silence and then washed the empty plate and bowl, placing them neatly in the cabinet.

    There was little else to do before the acceptance ceremony. He combed his hair again, straightened his best black jacket, and set off towards the school. There was a large crowd at the front steps, all people around his age waiting to hear the names announced of those that would get to enter the Exo Training Academy and train to be Exo pilots who fought for fame, glory, and most important, fortune from wealthy noble patrons who lived on the ground behind shimmering while walls and black wrought iron.

    The ETA was peach stucco with terracotta tiled roofs and had great green lawns spilling out before it. That was where they waited, all 200 give or take. Only 50 would be admitted. The other 150 would go study harder and try again next year, or if they were too old, find another apprenticeship. Isaac looked around at the huddle of anxious, eager students standing on the dewy lawn. Fairly certain he was the poorest there, Isaac slunk back, accidentally bumping into the person behind him.
    "Sorry," he muttered, avoiding looking at them.
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  2. Lycus Stark sighed as he considered the ceiling in front of him. It was about 4:40 in the morning and he was up. Lycus mentally reviewed his last few years as a whole. He considered them to be pretty efficient. He considered most of the alternatives. His parents could have rejected his Exo dreams again. Only one of his parents could have accepted him. He could have had to train by himself. But, nope. Thankfully his parents had finally understood that he was not budging. He was not interested in climbing a socioeconomic ladder. Lycus had his impressions of how he wanted his life to be, and who he wanted to group up with. He knew what he wanted. He wanted to be the fastest Exo on the field.

    As none of the other students really had any drive or potential, except maybe one of them, and even that was a coin flip, he tended to be a loner. He was often immersed in training. His reflexes were so strong they bordered on precognition. These next few years were going to be the hardest. He would not be able to take a single hit, or he would be forced out of the program by his parents.

    He sighed and rose out of bed. He tugged on a pair of dark gray pants, and put on his vest and blazer, bouncing a pair of socks in his hands as he prepared to open his door. He opened his door, rolling immediately afterwards and springing to his feet, dodging a series of virtual lasers and traps. He dashed across the hall and opened the door, expecting the simulation to end. First mistake. He recovered though, jumping through that door as well and out of the simulation hall where the lasers could not get him. He landed, spun and skidded on the carpet, nearly breaking the railing, but for one thing.

    The press of a gun to his back.
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  3. “For God so loved the world . . . “ a soft voice whispered as it’s owner stared down at the passage open in his hands. “How could anyone love this world, much less a God. Huh? Mom?”

    “Because in spite of all the darkness there is still the potential for great love,” a loud, booming woman’s voice answered behind him, “The potential to do something great and good with our lives. If this was not true we would have been wiped out already, like the flood in the beginning . . . She loved that book, your Ma.”

    Henry didn’t even look up.

    The morning light poured through the dust colored windowpanes to bath the pages of the book in his lap. He closed the cover and traced tan fingers over the name inscribed on the red leather cover. Helen Ainsley.

    “I don’t like this plan of yours,” the woman continued, and this time Henry did look around. From where he was sitting on the window bench he could see her putting her tiny little closet of a living room together. Dusting her photograph selves, plumping the cushions on the thread bare sofa where he had been sleeping. The front door split the room down the middle, to one side was the living are, to the other was a minuscule, if clean and serviceable kitchen. Two doors off the counter led to a cubby of a bathroom, and a cozy bedroom. They must have downsized since the kids left, Henry thought aimlessly and not for the first time. Now they were burdened with him.

    "It's dangerous and reckless."
    She was a stocky woman with formerly ebony hair and a once pretty face. Now gray marred her temples and the weight of baring six children settled around her hips. There was a noticeable sag to her once plump breast for the same reason. Henry supposed one did not nurse child after child, and then play the part of wet nurse to more without showing some sign of it. Noble women, it seemed, liked the heath benefit a mother’s milk gave their children, and could not be bothered to do the job themselves.

    He had learned much since coming to live here, some of which he now wished he did not know. At least in ignorance he had been happy, now . . . Now he knew things had to change. For himself at the very least.

    “Your mother would not like it either!” she protested at Henry’s silence. “I knew her well, better that any you might say. She would not like this, just as I do not!”
    “Peace, Mama Rosetta,” He started, but she cut him off, grabbing a small frame from among the collection of photos of her children (all grown), and sisters, and other family. “Here, Look here! Look at your mother’s face, into her eyes, and tell me she would be pleased with this fate you have chosen for yourself!”

    “Better one I choose myself requiring hard work and integrity, than a dishonest path chosen for me.” But his eyes traced the photo all the same. Himself as a child, huge nose, big ears and all, and hugging him from behind was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. The hazel/brown eyes and dusty brunette head were the same, but the face was like one of the angels he has seen printed in the old, worn Bible she had loved so much, the book she had lived by.

    Rosetta frowned. “But there are other things. Your head for numbers and investments doubled my husband’s profits this past year. You could apprentice at one of the banks . . .”
    Rosetta, the only link he still retained to his past, just looked at him. His heart nearly broke. It was the same look he had seen her give her granddaughter upon learning she’d punched her older brother in the nose. He was so tired of disappointing everyone.

    “I’ll ah . . . I’ll come back for my things tonight, regardless . . .”
    “I didn't mean . . .”
    “I know.”

    Henry rose leaving the Bible on the table next to his mother’s picture, before grabbing his brown, leather jacket and heading out the door. The elbows were worn and the collar scuffed, it was an obvious hand-me-down from Rosetta’s youngest son, yet it seemed to fit him better than anything Henry had ever worn before.

    He rode the Elevrail down, down, down, until he reached a place where he could disembark and reach the ETA by foot, Disappearing easily into the crowd once there.

    The press of waiting students was thick, all clamoring to their friends, speculating on who had gotten in, and what their plans were if they had not. Henry pressed through, searching for a place where he might stand without feeling like a bird in a cage. He felt like that often enough as it was.

    He had just found a spot when he felt someone step back into him.


    "No worries," Henry answered not really paying attention to who it had been. "I think we've all stepped on a few toes getting in here."
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  4. It was that time of morning where he was contemplating staying up and going back to sleep at the same time. It was that time where he figured going to bed or watching the sun rise were just two of his options, but he knew one would be cased out soon enough. The wall was high, and it was almost impenetrable. A small coat of newly hatched rays hit his face with a warm good morning, but that was as much as he could see. He opened the window and stuck his head out as much as he could. His hands were firmly planted on the window sill. He pushed his body forward, and felt the humid morning air.

    He had a feeling it was going to be a long day.

    Cy sighed, and looked at his wrist-watch, still supporting himself with one hand. His watch was very much advanced, more so than most peoples, and noticed the time. He must have underestimated the time, because it was only a few minuets before he would usually time to wake up. It was hard to tell, being farther away from the sun was probably getting to him. Was this how vampires felt? Being locked up all day, not knowing exactly the time, and leaving it to the thoughts of technology? Cy pulled himself back into his room, and closed the window.

    Whatever vampires felt, he knew that they probably felt something. Cy walked towards his extensive closet, and pulled out his uniform. It was ironed, pressed, folded and starched to perfection. He pulled it over himself in record time, and looked at himself in the mirror. He looked like a million bucks, and felt it, too. Not a single wrinkle on his new outfit! He walked back towards his closet, and opened a small display case in the corner. The display case held all of his classes, if different shades and colors, and sometimes even styles. He pulled out a pair that stood out-- a pair of yellow, regular frames, and pulled them over his face.

    Cy cared very much cared about how he looked. He pulled a pair of yellow socks over his feet, and smiled gently. He pulled on a pair of white sneakers on, with bright white laces. They were brand knew, and tailor made just for him. Cy wondered if he could get away with a dresscode violation, and were this if and WHEN he got into the academy. He figured that if he was anyone else, he'd never get away with that kind of dress-code violation, but because he was Cy Vester, he'd get away scotch-free. He walked towards his dual-door'd entrance, and exited.

    He pushed past the oak doors, and looked towards the massive architecture. The first thing that met his eyes was a giant chandelier, and the second one was his massive mother. Note this, she wasn't fat, nor was she anything that could be described as massive, but she simply appeared in front of him out of thin-air. He jumped, stepping back and tripping slightly in the presents of such a beautiful lady.

    She had soft coils that fell anxiously over her head, and soft freckles that criss-crossed over the bridge of her nose, as if the sparks and wires she worked with every day left marks on her face. While she was beautiful, Cy would never meet with her for any formal occasion. The massive women, who stood a pathetic 5'2", reached a long arm up and grabbed her sons ear to pull him to her level.

    "You're up already?" She teased him, patting his face gently. "I was going up to wake you."
    Cy smiled. "I didn't recognize you without a pair of goggles over your head. " He looked over his mother, and saw that she had them around her neck. She seemed dressed for work, so he didn't continue with what he wanted to say. Cy stood up, and watched his mother try to fix her posture. She liked to think that she was still a growing women, and she would soon beat both her husband and son when it came to height.

    "Where's Attic?" Cy inquired about his father gently as he rolled up the sleeves on his outfit. Cy wore a yellow V neck shirt, with a black hoodie over it. He cuffed his pants, and reviled his pressed yellow sockssocks. His sneakers where white, and brand new. Well, so much for no wrinkles.
    "He's in the library." She said, as she soon walked down the steps. They were extensive, and cascaded downwards with red fabric. The Vester family got to walk down the red carpet every morning, evening and night. As the massive women walked down, she took a turn, and headed towards one of the larger rooms. As Cy followed her down the stairs and into the living area, he felt the heat of the crackling fire-place. He looked at his watch, and figured he had time to waste before it was time for him to depart. He followed his mother into the library, and thought that if Dracula had a library as extensive as this one, he'd be rolling in his grave.

    The morning was long, and Cy had a feeling it was going to be a little longer yet. Armed with great aliveness, he meandered his way to ETA atop of his scooter.

    The sun, Eddie thought, was hot.

    Not only was it hot, but it was very big. Maybe it was only big because she was the only one who lived in the loft, and the large skylight let in the most light. It was stuffy in her room, sure, and if she had it her way, she'd sleep in the basement, but she was thankful that she had her own level in the two-lever house. She was thankful she even had a house! Eddie sat up in her bed made up of a mattress and a thin sheet, and kicked her feet over the side. The floor was nothing more than squeaky hardwood, but it was more than what most people had.

    She lifted herself up from her bed, and felt herself crack in places she didn't have bones at. As she did, she did a few arm motions. While sleeping on something like that was a little less than desirable, she made due with what she had. Eddie looked down her oil-streaked tanktop, and faintly wondered if she could get away with wearing it again. She took a smell, and let it process in her nose. It took a moment before she pulled it off of herself, and threw it in the corner to wash. While others might have had decent sleeping cloth or silks, Eddie again, made due with what she had.

    The walls of the loft were bare and cracking, with the paint job peeling and the plaster falling like snow. Eddie felt hot in her room, and soon walked over to the other side of her bed. On the floor, atop of a paper bag, was her new outfit. She spent all of the money she had to get it pressed, ironed, starched and washed. While it was a cheap job, and was as stiff as some types of sheet-metals, she atleast had an outfit to go with.

    Eddie raced down the steps with a creek, crack, groan and grumble. She faintly wondered when the stairs would collapse and kill her, but she didn't dwell on the thought for a long time. She was excited because, one, it rained last night, and two, she would be able to get a shower before her first day at school. She ran outside, grabbed one of the many buckets laying around the yard, and pulled it inside.

    Once she was inside, thought, was when the morning really got interesting. There was an old lady making her way towards herself, and she looked like she was about to invoke the power of god into her. She held her with a cane and a shawl over her hunched shoulders. She was gray and tired, but seemed on the move for something that was already dead. She had curly hair that was once dark, but was now a bright white color.

    "Young lady," She started sloudly. "What do you think-- running out with no shirt? Into the outside?"
    "It's a sports-bra, Nana--"
    "What if those bad kids saw you, running out half naked out into the world?"
    "I'm wearing pants, Nana--"
    "Nana this, Nana that. Get dressed, you. Wash your hair! Under your nails, too!" Eddie rolled her eyes, and walked back up to her room, armed with her bucket of freezing cold water. Her Nana gave her a sharp hit on the calf with her cane, which caused Eddie to spill some of her water. "If you get anymore water in this house, young lady--"
    Eddie and her Nana spoke in unison. "You won't have a house to spill in!" Eddie laughed gently, before she went over and kissed her Nana on her cheek. "I'm not a kid anymore, Nana, I know better than that..." She dipped her hand in the water, and flicked droplets at her beloved Nana. The old women started spitting hellfire.

    "Devilchild! Hellborn! Oh, you're asking for it! I'm getting those bad kids over here, right now! You dirty, dirty, unforgiving fool!..." Eddie's Nana yelled like that for a good fifteen minuets as Eddie washed her hair in cold water. As she let her short hair dry, she changed into her outfit. By the time she had it pulled onto her body and walked down the steps, her Nana must have had a change of heart.

    Her hard edges turned soft, and she seemed to have forgotten what had happened earlier that morning. Eddie walked down the dilapidated steps and onto the dirty lower level. It was hardwooded, sure, but it was a little worse than the loft. Her Nana gave her a hug, kissed her on the cheek and bid her a good morning, and good luck, aswell. Eddie went down, down, down to the Earth, and walked the rest of the way to her new life, armed with great aliveness.
    #4 Dip, May 12, 2015
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
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  5. The sun had yet to rise when Teagan had begun to make breakfast. Today, she and her mother would be enjoying a vegetable omlette, the eggs were a congratulatory courtesey given by her grandfather. She could hardly contain her excitement, even with her sweat slick skin and fiery red hair pinned back in a messy ponytail. She looked up at the ceiling when they creaked rhythmically; her mother was awake.

    The tanned girl didn't have much time, but happily, the omlettes were finished mere seconds before her mother sat at the table. Teagan plated the food and then set one in front of her mother before she sat down. It was then that she noticed the wrapped box that sat at the table.

    "Why didn't you tell me that were we expecting company, Ma? Now we look like savages." She teased the older woman. The nurse looked less than impressed.

    "Eat your eggs, smart ass." The older woman chowed down quickly and pushed the box gently towards her daughter. The girl sliding it over to herself and opened it quickly. She was rendered speechless by the contents of the box and looked up to object. "I already know it. Both Dad and I feel it in our guts. I know you got in, Tea." Her mother gave her a gentle smile. "I can't be late for work, but everyone at the hospital is rooting for you. I'm proud of you." With that, the woman stood and took her dish to the sink. She washed it quickly, then ruffled her daughter's hair as she headed to get ready for the day. "Thanks for the delicious breakfast!"

    Teagan stared quietly at the small figure of herself in an Exo Suit. The model was made with such loving attention to detail that she could scarcely lift it for fear of breaking it. This was her mother's craft. She could have made millions with her skill with metals and molds, but she gave up all of that for a steady income for herself and her kid. She scarfed down her eggs and quickly headed back to her room, box in hand.

    She set the figure amongst the various exo suit models she'd put together over the years, then got dressed for the day. Since, unlike most of the rich kids, she didn't know if she'd made it into the school, she decided to wear her cleanest and best attire. Teagan showered and washed her hair, then pulled on a plain white t-shirt before putting on a black button down shirt. She kept the top two buttons open, pulled on loose but fitted jeans and her lucky black shoes with white laces. Once done, she clipped her grandfather's skulk necklace (a silver skull held close to her collarbone but a leather lace) on, styled her hair into her customary ponytail, then left the house. Her mother was long gone by the time she'd locked up.

    She vaulted over the railing of her house, and slid down one of the support poles to the elv-platform below. Teagan waved at a few people that she'd seen around the neighborhood. Many greeted her with well wishes. She got on the transport to the ground and quickly made her way towards the school.

    She'd felt out of place almost immediately in the richer district of the city. But she was comforted by the more normal looking kids as they all waited for the names to be called. She shifted nervousky and hoped that her name would be called. She was sure that she did well on the entrance exam, but briefly pondered on how many people had been made to take the test.
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  6. "Predicatable." reproached his father. He pulled the gun back and stowed it away, and spun Lycus with the other hand forcing him to look at him. "You must learn to become the wind, unpredictable, and ever-changing. If you react the same way everytime things go wrong, you will not survive these next few years." He said.

    "Yes, father." Lycus nodded and looked over. A few years ago he would complain that the rules were changed on him, but he knew better. One lesson his parents drilled into him. Battle is unpredictable. There are no rules, there is only the enemy.

    "Come on now, son," his father said with a smile. "Lets go eat."

    They went down to the breakfast table, where food was waiting, piping hot. They ate as they discussed this morning's exit. His parents praised him on his recovery from the door, where the rules changed, but admonished him for turning around and missing the real threat. He needed to become more aware.

    His father pulled him aside before they left and told him one more time. "Remember. Not a single hit in training. We will be watching." There was no question that Lycus would make the test. Lycus nodded and his father embraced him. They stepped outside, and headed to an Elevrail. They had not gone very far, maybe about 2 floors before they got off. They did have "company" housing, a house they bought from Exo, as they were both working for them.

    They stepped off, and Lycus' mother hugged him suddenly. She was crying. "Be safe" she whispered, her long red hair flowing in the wind. Lycus, stunned at the sudden emotional display, froze, but then hugged her back.

    "I will," he promised.
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  7. Sydney was fast asleep curled into the warmth of her pillows and sheltered by a well loved blanket when morning came and a gentle hand shook her by the shoulder.

    “Sydney,” the soft voice of her mother whispered, “Sydney, honey, it’s time to get up. You don’t want to be late, not today.”

    “Awe, mom,” Sydney groaned burying her face in her pillow, “I was piloting a mecha and fighting off a swarm of daemon warg . . .”

    “Warg?” Sydney could hear the question in her mother’s voice.

    “Like the monkeys in my book, but with boar tusks, and lion’s claws, and eagle eyes, and . . . a snake’s . . . tale . . .” the last part of her sentence was cut off by a large yawn as she scratched the small scar on her cheek and tried to burrow back in the bed.

    “That . . . sounds like a very, exciting, dream, dear. But if you want to be a pilot for real you need to get up now and eat so you can be at the ETA on time.”

    At this Sydney bolted straight up, nearly colliding with her mother, started to move to the dresser, got tangled in her blanket, and crashed to the floor.

    “Thank God you can’t be a klutz in a Mech suit,” Sydney heard her mother mumble as she untangled herself. The blanket was, at this point, wrapped around her head and arms, but Sydney could almost see her mother’s hand on her temple as she shook her head. Her mother did that often, made the gesture. Sydney had seen it aimed as much at her father as herself, so at least she knew it was a gesture of love.

    By the time she was out of the tangle, Sydney’s mother was gone her voice trailing something about eggs as her footsteps faded down the wooden steps from the “loft” where the small bedrooms were located.
    Sydney quickly threw on her favorite pair of kaki workpants, what she lovingly called her “pocket pants” as they were covered in various pouches of all sizes, a teal shirt, and a black cargo vest. Not her nicest outfit, but she wanted to be comfortable. The young girl then proceeded to bounce down the stairs, trip over the door frame into the kitchen, and nearly upset her father’s chair (and her father with it) when she tried to catch herself.

    The man in question was a large muscular fellow with hair so blonde it was hard to tell where the gray had set in. He was currently working on what seemed to be a section of mech suit dashboard (Sydney could see what looked to be a fuel gauge) while enjoying his morning coffee, the paper open beside him.

    “Morning, Daddy,” Sydney chirped as she finally flopped in her own seat.
    “Morning, Sweetheart,” he answered in reply without even looking up, tinkering with something she couldn’t quite see on the gauge.

    She took a chance and glanced at the Article he'd been reading:

    Billionaire Announces New Innovation to City Food Production
    Esteemed noble and proud son preside over new irrigation pipeline.

    Charles Grant (age 50) announced today that the scientists and engineers of his history making company Grant Inc. have developed yet another innovation that will improve the lives of ever denizen of Babelona. His Son Alexander (14) stood proudly at his father's side, no sign was seen of his brother. In spite of rumors of troubles at home, both men stod tall and confident as they made this monuments announcement to the public.

    "These brilliant men have found a way, not only to recycle and utilize 25% more of the water runoff we see in our current irrigation practices," Grant Sr. Announced, "but they have found a way to reduce the runoff itself by half . . ."

    Saving water was certainly a good thing, Sydney mused as she scanned the article, most of the rest of it explaining exactly how this new pipeline worked, but her thoughts were cut short by her mother.

    “Howard, put that away and join your family for breakfast.” Sydney’s mother stated firmly as she put breakfast on the table. A steaming bowel of oatmeal on one side, a plate of scrambled eggs from the family chicken coup on the other. Her father made decent money fixing mechs, most of it went toward the bills, but there was some for special things, like eggs, occasionally. And with her mother as the best laundress in the neighborhood, Sydney’s cloths always looked well preserved, no matter how old they were. Of course it helped that Sydney hadn't grown in years.

    “I’ll walk you over,” her father stated loading first her plate and then his own, and as soon as both had wolfed down their food he was as good as his word.

    Standing with her at the edge of the crowd both waited with bated breath to hear the announced results.
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  8. "No worries," Henry answered not really paying attention to who it had been. "I think we've all stepped on a few toes getting in here."

    Isaac looked at the young man he'd backed into and frowned, considering his words. Stepping on toes was probably a mild statement, especially if they actually got in; anyone accepted was denying another their place in the academy. And the stakes were high, especially for those from poorer families. A child in the academy meant social climbing beyond what any other job could do. Their success was success for anyone alive in their family.
    "Yeah, I guess so," he replied, glancing around before looking back at Henry again.
    "So do you have a special, I dunno... Think you're looking to do?" he asked lamely. "I'm Isaac, by the way. Do you know anyone here?"

    As he surveyed the others standing around, he saw a tanned redhead farther to his left being eyed by a tall, blonde guy who was trying to creep up behind her to put what looked like gum in her hair. Isaac shook his head at the scene and had almost opened his mouth to intervene when the scene was taken care of.
    "Well, I'm betting she'll get in," Isaac mumbled, putting his hands in his pockets. Somewhere else in the distance he saw a tall young man with white dreads being circled by a large jewel beetle apparently attracted to the flash of the sun on his watch. The girl standing near him was having a similar problem by proxy since it seemed to want to bounce off her arm to get to the watch. The pair was soon interrupted by a tall, gangly brunette with glasses who caught the beetle in her cupped hands and introduced herself to them as Addie Giffard.
    "They're harmless," she explained. "But their eyesight is pretty bad, so they bumble all over the place trying to get to sources of light, and he probably thought your watch was one, but since their eyes are bad..."

    She trailed off and then simply walked on, holding the beetle in her hands. Addie regretted not bringing any collection jars, but she was out after her last excursion. Maybe she could just carry it until she got home--

    Someone backed into her and knocked her forwards, causing her to let go of the beetle. It immediately zoomed away from its jailer and bonked into the red hair of the young man standing in front of her, repeatedly bashing into his temple until it got around his head and flew away.
    "Uh, sorry about that," she said. "They don't see too well, and I was trying to take it home, but... Man, everyone's really packed in. I dunno why no one will spread out. Anyway, I'm Addie, what's your name...?"
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  9. "Henry," Henry answered the boy who now looked like he wanted to talk. "I wouldn't say I knew anybody here, at least I don't see anybody I do know. As for what I want to do . . . " he raised a hand to rub the back of his neck and made a face that looked either like he had no clue, or that he didn't particularly want to discus it. "I suppose I want to prove I can do something . . . something other than the preconceived notion of my future my father seems to have for me . . . ." Henry gave a short laugh as if to shrug the whole conversation off. "What about you?" he asked trying to shift the topic slightly. "What is it you want to achieve?"

    He studied the young man in front of him for a moment. From his cloths alone Henry cold tell that Issac was not so well off as others he had known, certainly not so well off as several people he could in the crowd. For a moment Henry felt a pang of guilt. He had been thinking in terms of financial status and not talent or learning ability which was all that should matter to the ETA.

    Sydney had never seen a crowd like this before. Granted she had never really been in a place where people could congregate like this. She loved every moment of it. The movement, the chatter, the sight of so many different people in one place. For a moment she had forgotten that they were all waiting on the same thing. Every person there of the appropriate age there was facing the same anticipation, and the same fear as every other, the same announcement eagerly awaited them all. Some, like Sydney, had friends or family with them, ready to console or celebrate them as the occasion would require.

    As she watched the crowd her eyes fell on a girl chasing a bug and close by her stood a boy with white dreds who was dressed better, and more richly, than anyone she had ever seen.
    "Daddy . . ." Sydney whispered suddenly feeling uncertain and tugging on her father's sleeve. "Daddy, if a noble's applied . . . do they automatically get in?"
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  10. "Hey, hey, hey," said Lycus' father as he approached another man. "Mister Carton. How the hell are you?" He said as he pulled the man in for a one armed hug.

    "Hello," said Lycus's mother with a nod of her head. "What brings you here on this fine day? We are here to hear Lycus' results for the Exo School," she continued.

    Lycus bowed and said, "Hello. I am Lycus. How are you?"
  11. Quinn somehow managed to bite back a groan of irritation with the pushing and shoving that had begun. While she had a fairly mild temper, it was too early for anyone to be starting anything. Heck, the results hadn't even begun to be read and people were becoming more and more impatient. She'd managed to get used to the shoves as people clamored to get closer, when she felt like her stomach had dropped to the ground. The redhead shifted slightly to look around discreetly until her gaze landed on a creeping figure just barely inside her vision in the corner of her eye. She shifted a little more so that she had a better view of the young man behind her. He stood frozen with his hand extended towards her amazingly flawless red hair. Said apendage held a ball of gunky looking bubble gum. Her eyes narrowed as she turned to face the blonde male.
    "How old are you, seven? Remove your nasty ass gum from my personal space. I'm sure you could find a more acceptable way to work out your creepy as hell crush, yeah?" Her tone was even but her eyes were enraged. NO one screwed with her HAIR. The blonde, probably some upper middle class or rich kid, narrowed his eyes back. He was richly dressed, with a fashionable blue shirt, dark colored slacks, new shoes, and a sparkle or two on his fingers. He smirked at her, which sounded alarms in her ears. Her arms reacted before the boy flicked his gum at her, which she caught in the palm of her hand. "You're a twit." she growled as she looked at the gross mess of sugar that stuck to her hand. "Ew...it's still wet..."

    The boy's eyes widened in stunned confusion, but were nothing compared to the size of them when the girl shoulder-checked passed his body and cuffed the back of his head. He'd turn to yell at her for daring to cross him, until he heard the snickering of a few onlookers. He yelled in outrage at her back and struggled to pull the gum from his hair, which she managed to smear and stick with the slap.

    Quinn continued to push her way, albeit it gently, through the crowd until she was in a more open area. There was some kid that, like the blonde boy, was richly dressed. Her was dark skinned and had the oddest white hair and equally odd eye color. But she just shrugged her curiousity awat and turned back towards the school to await the results.
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  12. Cy wanted to simply turn around and head home before the day had even begun. He was ridged when he had so many... freaks around him, not to mention the mini heart attack he endured when he found that pest flying near him. Cy wanted to scream and kick the bugs, people, and very air around him away, but he didn't. He kept himself composed, and he decided to grin and bear it. But he wasn't grinning.

    Cy took a moment to fix himself, which included taking a set of deep breaths and repositioning his tie. He fixed his fair, cleaned his glasses, and popped in a stick of gum before he went through the disgusting crowd. Cy didn't even have to go up to the board-- he knew he got in for a fact. His grades were perfect, his test scores were at the top of his class, and he was one of the richest kids in the entire school building!

    It does help to have some extra money laying around, too. He was sure that the schoolboard appreciated the kind donation. Cy pushed up his yellow glasses and rolled up the sleeve of his hoodie. Cy hoped that his worked had payed off, and that this situation wouldn't backfire on him in the end. A little white lie never hurt anyone, right?

    Cy moved through the crowd, and they seemed to move like the tide. He was dissapointed to find that they hadn't put the results up, but he figured that if he was there, he could just stay till the board was updated. Cy was sure that nothing would eliminate his chances of getting in-- he had some of the smartest kids in the school do all of his homework for him, which he knew would pay off in the end. But he couldn't have done it without the teachers, they were the real MVPs! What, all of those standardized tests would have been for naught if it wasn't for them.

    Eddie was one of the last people to show up, but she wasn't late in the slightest. Eddie was jogging when she managed to get to the crowded building, and she was thankful that she was in the back of the crowd. She rested herself a bit, catching her breath and watched silently. She had a small grin on her face, trying her best to see over the rest of the heads.

    She was sad that she was so short. Everyone else were average size, which was freakishly tall for her. She was tempted to climb on someone's shoulders and propel herself forward, but she just decided shoving, jumping and standing tall were all she had to offer herself for now. She had a feeling that they didn't even put the names up yet!!

    Eddie soon got sick of standing and jumping about, and slithered her way into crowd. She budged through people, slipped past them and cowered under them sometimes. While they did call her certain names, she didn't think much of it. Eddie was thankful that she was so small, so this feat could be mastered easier.
    #12 Dip, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  13. Oil spurted out, covering his black tank top. Eric sighed. He had worked through the night, trying to get the inline-four engine running. Cleaning out the fuel system had done nothing. The shut-off valve was open, he had cleaned the inlet screen, and the fuel tank cap was ventilated. Yet something was preventing the engine from starting.
    "Maybe if I try adjusting the float in the fuel bowl," said Eric to himself. "The choke could be set too high. Maybe. That's a big if. Probably not even a flooded engine that's the problem."
    It was a very old engine after all, not designed for modern fuels. It was possible that the mixture was exceeding the upper explosive limit. If that was the case then he would need a different fuel type, which would be very expensive.
    "Hey Eric!" he heard his father shout up the stairs. "I'm heading to work, you should be going soon too."
    He was right. Eric had almost forgotten! He had school to attend to, no doubt he was already late for the acceptance announcement. With a quick check of the clock Eric saw that he only had an hour to get ready. He put on a pair of shoes before heading for the door. Then quickly remembering; he spun around and made for his wardrobe. Abandoning the tank top on his bedroom floor he opened the wardrobe and took out a black t-shirt. From a hanger he took down his orange jacket, sleeveless, and began dressing himself. With one hand he closed the wardrobe and with the other he reached for a hair band from the nearby table. Once again he headed for the door as he tied his hair back.
    Down the staircase and int the living room he went. Without so much as glancing at his younger siblings or mother he left the house.

    Upon arriving at the school Eric saw a small crowd around a bulletin board. They awaited some results to the entrance exams. Eric pushed through the crowd. Some girl shrugged past him and nearly knocked him over.
    "Hey, shorty, watch it," he called out though he doubted that she heard.
    Eric made his way through, trying his hardest to get to the other side. With a sigh of relief he burst through the other side. He took a quick rest to catch his breath, only just noticing the grease on his jeans. Too late to go back and change now. He tried to wipe the grease off as best as he could, just getting his hands covered in the stuff instead.
    "Great, now my hands are all greasy," he complained to himself. "I'll go to the toilet and try to wash it off before the announcement starts." Eric had developed a habit of talking to himself.
    #13 Jack Doyle, May 23, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2015
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  14. ((collab))

    Sydney watched as Her father was suddenly approached and embraced by another man. It took her a moment to recognize him as one of the EXO design engineers her father worked with on a few projects. It was also easy to tell by their manner of greeting that the two men got along and got along well. Sydney offered everyone of this new family a big smile, it wasn't often she got to meet her parents friends. Her grin only got bigger when they boy, who appeared to be only a few years older than her, bowed and introduced himself.

    She was quick to wipe her fingers on her vest (just to be sure there wasn't any oil or dirt on them) before sticking out her pale hand. "I'm Sydney," she stated matter-of-factly, "I'm, here to see if I made it in too."

    Beside her the adults continued their own conversation.

    "Yeah, me too." Lycus replied. "I wonder who will make it and who won't. It's gonna be a fun time seeing what will happen. I can't wait to learn more about others and what they can do." He chuckles a bit here. "I'm a bit of a speed deamon myself, how about you?"

    Sydney shrugged. Truth be told she had never really been in the pilots seat of an exo suit and she was forced to admit it now.
    "Don't know really," she answered. "I'm a little worried that I'll get in and then we'll discovered I'm no good at all. But then, if they thought I wouldn't be able to do anything they won't accept me right? So I guess we'll find out when it's time."

    She beamed a contented smile up at the older boy and gestured out at the crowd as the people milled around. "Do you know anyone else here?

    "Nope, just here with my parents," he said as he looked slightly down at her. "And don't worry about your first Exo. Its easier than walking. I think for sure that you'll get in."

    He leaned back a bit and sighed. "So... how about you? Any friends joining you in the academy? You think you'll miss your parents?"

    Again Sydney shook her head, but her smile was still in place as she explained.
    "I get sick a lot so I had to go to school at home and there aren't really any other kids my age around where I live.

    She took a step back and looked around and above them where what was left of the rib-cage of a once great being jutted above them into the sky. The buildings of the upper levels were built almost one on top of the other upon careful scaffolding that wrapped around the bones in questions. Some were on levels that suspended between the bones in structures that Sydney thought looked like one strong wind could blow them apart along with the walkways strung with them, but any person who lived there could tell otherwise. It was state-of-the-art engineering that kept everything in it's proper place no matter the weather that assailed it. The builders had know exactly what they were doing. In fact so certain were the people of the city that their homes and places of work were safe and securely constructed that Sydney had never heard anyone doubt it. It was a life they had all grown up knowing. She could see the elevrail tubes jutting up, up, up, to the very top most level and on the closest one she could see the pattern of the platform moving between one level and the next.

    "I live there," she pointed to a spot halfway between two obviously flourishing main levels on one of the ribs. The place in question was just as well built as the rest, but there seemed to be fewer homes and more warehouses from what could be made out at a distance. "Most of the people around us are exo-mechanics or warehouse workers and their families when they have one. The kids there are are either already well into their apprenticeships, or too little to be interesting."
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  15. The night Leon had so far had yet to end. Who knew that the death of his family would cause such a problem and cause the orders to pile up? His father had pushed him to go to the academy when he was younger and each time he came home after a ceremony, he was immediately put to work in the forge. Taught him the tricks of the trade. There's a certain benefit to running a traditional smithy and gunsmith workshop. Works of the forge that exceed customer expectations in terms of quality. The more modern smiths didn't like the fact that Leon family heels onto the old ways, unlike the customers that frequented the old school forge.

    The sound of a hammer on white hot metal could be heard throughout the night and the authorities understood how much work Leon had to do and left him to it even if his neighbors complained about the noise at the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning. The boy hardly slept or ate. He simply didn't have the luxury to do either of those when he had so many orders. He felt like it was planned out to make him look bad. His mother and sisters were killed to break his father's spirit, which they were successful on doing, but they failed to take into account what Leon would do. When they figured it out, they killed his father and had everyone rush over to place an order for some complicated weapon. The rush of work made him tired and he only slept when he collapsed from exhaustion. He simply had to much to do and nobody to teach what he had been taught to. Nobody he could trust anyway.

    It was at four in the morning he stopped working, let the furnace die down and started packing everything away after closing the shutters and sliding the heavy titanium plate over the door to keep prying eyes from seeing where he hid everything. He had a reason to be paranoid these days about the forge, so he upgraded the place himself and put a special system in place to hide everything.

    Luckily for him, his family left the everything to him and he never accepted payments until the order had been fulfilled. He activated the system and watched the forge and workshop sink into the floor and walls, which were designed to not give any hints about being hollowed out and left a seamless, smooth surface.nobody could steal from him anymore. As soon as the cavities were filed and the compartments were sealed, he did the same upstairs and took the documents saying the house belonged to him asking with his bag, which held a large knife and a revolver along with a few changed of clothes and a compacted forge so he could continue to work when he had the chance. His computer was in his hand and the hologram display was shut down. His phone was implanted in his left hand and followed the lines of total recall. As soon as he had everything, he locked up and left for the academy. He passes several people on his way and they all offered him their condolences along worth a few words of comfort. He was the last Corvinus. The last raven. Soon enough, he arrived and kept to himself. He didn't feel like talking to anyone there. Didn't know who could be trusted. He was there for one thing. To move up and forge greater works if he survived.
    #15 Victor Markov, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
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  16. Addie looked up at the tall, tank-like guy she'd bumped into; he hadn't even seemed to notice her hitting his back. The beetle had zoomed up to cling to the back of his shirt, and she doubted he could feel something so small. He also didn't look too inclined to talk to anyone either, but Addie wanted that beetle and didn't want to just go grabbing at his back. She wasn't sure if he'd wallop her or not.
    "Um, excuse me," she began quietly, but the courtyard was so loud it would have been impossible to hear a voice that small.
    "Um, excuse me, hey," Addie said a bit louder, but before she could try again someone came up to the microphone at the top of the stairs. A woman in her mid-thirties with a halo of golden frizz and hot pink cateye glasses shuffled out to the microphone, her tight pink skirt's sequins catching the morning sun.
    "To all prospective students gathered on the Greens today, I extend you a warm and hearty welcome on behalf of the Exo Training Academy. Our Board of Regents is making its final review of all applicants' scores and application essays. We have a wonderful bunch of competitors coming to us this year, and the selection process is quite difficult. I hope you all will remain patient in light of this and please enjoy this lovely weather a bit longer as they make their final choices. Thank you!"

    She shuffled away and shut the tall doors behind her. Eric found the doors tightly locked, but despite their enormous size, he could hear several voices inside.
    "Well, one spot is already guaranteed to Vester's son, the payment cleared, and another to the Desjardins's kid, what was her name... Emily? Theirs went through yesterday. Am I forgetting anyone?" the first male voice said.
    "You forgot the Faraday family, they got spots for each of their twins."
    "Right, right..."

    They seemed to walk away from the door, leaving nothing else for Eric to hear. Meanwhile, Eddie had finally been able to reach the front just in time to be more or less in his path as he came down. And although Quinn had found an open area, it didn't stop her from being roughly shoved by a tall, stocky blonde with green eyes and a cocky smile.
    "You really think you'll get in, gingerbrains? Bet you can't even afford the uniform. My family is the Desjardins and they're going to make sure I can get in. Who are you, anyway?"

    The scene didn't go unnoticed, however. Isaac, wandering around, had run across Sydney and Lycus, watching them from a distance for a moment before he saw the tall blonde bothering Quinn. Making it seem like as much of an accident as he could, he bumped into the two, directing their attention away from each other and allowing them to see the scene before slipping away. Henry saw him scouting around, although for what was unclear, and eventually he drifted past Cy, glancing down at his fancy watch and making a disgusted sound before moving on. He passed Addie just as she grew tired of trying to shout over the crowd and instead grabbed the beetle off Leon's back with a sound "thunk" of her cupped hands.
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  17. Quinn had never been one that tolerated being pushed around. Metaphorically as much as physically. She was a fighter by nature, and unfortunately, had something of a Brawler mentality. While swords and guns were awesome, nothing was as satisfying as punching something. She relished it when others called her a Brute, when someone yelled that she was a Maniac. The words described her perfectly, so why not take pride in them?

    Besides...it kept them from knocking out her self-esteem. Words had always hurt more, but she could deal with them with a smirk or a grin. What she couldn't deal with, was people shoving or otherwise touching her in an aggressive way.

    So, with that thought firmly kept in her mind, she caught herself from the shove and slowly turned to face the boy. She met him, eye to eye then smirked, "If you need to rely on Daddy'a money to get into school, then you're no threat to me. Picking a dick measuring match with a girl, ya must be feeling pretty manly right now, eh? Now, I could give you my name, give you some token threats. Blah blah." She put her right hand into her pocket and shrugged her shoulder.

    "As awesome as it would be to punch you so hard that you'd go crawling back into your father's balls, I'm a much better person than you. So...I'll let you have that one for free. Now go back to hiding under your father's dick. You're stinking up the air that I'm trying to breathe with your ineptitude and absolutely ill-mannered and boorish attitude." She said with a smirk.
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  18. "What the hell?" Leon grumbled as he pulled his shades off and looked at the girl behind him. "What was that all about?" he asked as he looked down at the shorter girl after she had recovered the insect from his back. He wasn't exactly angry with her. He was running on fumes and extremely grumpy at the moment. He had been working two days in a row before the ceremony and hadn't even finished the order yet! He was worried that his family's shop would have to close for good and he would make his father disappointed and start turning in his grave. The young weapons smith wanted to make his family proud and didn't want them to worry from beyond the grave. Before she got his attention, his thoughts were on his work.

    He had hundreds of orders to fill and he hoped he was in the academy. He had tired six times before and each one he missed the mark, but he was so close to passing the exams each time. He felt like he got it this time around, but he was on the verge on collapsing due to exhaustion and hunger. He was surprised he lasted as long as he did without eating and being sleep deprived. He spent all his time at his forge pounding out order after order after order. And he barely even dented the incredible pile off work he had! He didn't know if he would even be able to finish the seven hundred plus orders he had.
    #18 Victor Markov, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
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  19. Eric gave up on trying to overhear and turned back to the entrance. To his surprise he saw a short girl mouthing off to some boy. That isn't what shocked him, short people were always trying to overcompensate or were just fed-up of being pushed around. No. What caught his attention was the boy that she was shouting at.

    "Well I'll be damned," Eric said to himself. "That is one tall guy, he's mean looking too. Yikes."

    Eric slowly descended the stairs. Getting into this school was his best chance at providing for his family, but he was too tired to care about it for now. He just wanted a place to clean up. After reaching the bottom of the stairs Eric went to the nearest wall and slumped his body against it. Allowing himself to slide down a sitting position the boy decided to rest for the little time that he could. Then it occurred to him!

    "Of course!" Eric exclaimed to himself with a click of his fingers. "It's the ignition, likely the spark plug. And all this time I thought that it was the carburetor or fuel that was the problem. I'll be sure to check that when I get back home. Not to mention I'll look over the flywheel and key. I think the ignition switch could possibly be shorted out too. How could I forget something so simple? It's definetly to do with the ignition, otherwise it would start up but pack-in soon after. Them old engines. Sometimes it's the simplest reason but the last thing that you would think to check."
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  20. Emily glared at Quinn, ruddy anger welling up in her cheeks.
    "You little mongrel bitch. You don't know who you've pissed off," she snarled, balling up her fists. "I'm gonna fuck you up."

    Quinn wasn't the only person facing a fight, however. As if out of thin air five young men and women had appeared, all in decently nice clothing that was very serviceable for a fight. Eric and Eddie were met at the foot of the steps by a tall, solidly-built redhead in dark glasses. She immediately swung first at Eddie, not bothering to speak to them first.

    Sydney and Lycus were met with a beefy, redfaced young man with narrow eyes and a greedy smile. As he slowly approached he cracked his knuckles, popping his neck by twisting it as well.
    "So, who wants to get KO'd first, huh?"

    Isaac had just passed Cy when they were met with by a tall, lean young man with blonde hair and a wide smile. He waved to a brunette farther down the yard before turning to them, grin widening.
    "Sorry to have to do this, but not really," he said, spreading his hands in a mock apology. Isaac glared at the interloper in return. They were probably here to rob everyone anyway, and it was the perfect setup. A bunch of rich-ish kids all in the same place, most without their parents. Great for a robbery. Well, then let them! He didn't have anything worth stealing anyway. Isaac shoved his hands in his pockets and shrugged.
    "Whatever," he said, taking the opportunity to duck into a passing gaggle of people, leaving Cy alone.

    The brunette that approached Leon and Addie had just finished waving at someone farther away, but as soon as she turned to them, her mouth settled into an ugly line. As her eyes flickered between the two of them, it became clear she'd marked Addie as the weaker target and shifted her stance to focus on the skinny brunette. Addie looked at Leon and then the girl, hoping Leon would stay and back her up before releasing the beetle in the woman's face. While she was batting the bug away Addie struck a kick at her shins.

    Henry found himself confronted with the last of the attackers, a quiet and svelte man with dark brown hair and a calm, detached demeanor. Like the others he did not introduce himself, instead lashing out at Henry with cold precision.
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