[RP] The Cradle

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[RP] The Cradle

Post by Nyx » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:10 pm


A scarred hand brushes the touchscreen, manipulating the water-resistant device with a sense of familiarity. The device responds in kind, and the shower is activated. This was the routine. Cycle, rinse, repeat. Blood sweat and grime circle around the drain. The day begins anew, and the demons of yesterday are swept away with the water. Nostalgic. The scarred hand swipes up on the touchscreen and the heat increases. Steam fills the stall and hot water cascades down the tall figure within, his pale flesh flushed with heat.

An orange and white strobe blink angrily in one corner of the bathroom, they signal the general quarters alert. Normally you’d hear the PA all across Cradle, the message repeated every ten minutes, but Castle disabled the speakers to his small flat a long time ago. Making rank had its advantages. He saw the door to his bathroom slide open soundlessly through his periphery but didn’t offer an acknowledgement. Instead, he leant forward with a hand spread against the wall before him, enjoying the scalding hot water on his scarred flesh.

“Captain Lindon, you’re running late again.”

A decidedly feminine voice called from outside the stall. She sounded more annoyed than usual, which was saying something. Castle was sure if he lifted his head, he’d see her standing there with arms folded over her chest, an impatient expression etched across her otherwise angelic features. It was almost a shame really. Almost.

“Lieutenant Keyes.. common curtesy dictates you knock before interrupting someone’s shower. It’s rude you know.”

Castle could hear the eyeroll in Naname Keyes’ voice.

“I did knock. For fifteen minutes. Then I overrode your lock. You’re late.”

That made him pause, he had spent an hour tinkering with interface to his room out of boredom, and to prevent anyone from coming inside and annoying him. She didn’t wait fifteen minutes to come inside, it took her that long to break his code. Damn.

“You’re a demon, you know that? And all your worrying is gonna give you grey hair.”

With a flick of a couple of digits the shower water cycled off and vents opened, blasting Castle’s frame with warm air. It wouldn’t get you completely dry, but it would knock most of the water off for recycling. He slid the door of the stall open and stepped out. Keyes stood next to the sink and glared at him. He casually pulled a towel off the rack and began wiping himself off.

“Tampering with Peacekeeper equipment is a crime you know.”

He threw her a raised brow and she responded with a huff, but Castle cut her off.

“All in good fun Lieutenant. More importantly, you watching me towel off is extremely unladylike. You don’t even have the decency to blush, what’s up with that?”

His grin was a flash of pearly white teeth, the red flush along the pale skin of his muscular frame was already returning to its normal complexion. While he went about his morning ablutions, racking the towel, brushing his teeth, shaving, trimming his dark hair, Keyes watched him quietly in thought. He was about to ask her what was up, but then she spoke.

“Jesus, I think you’re right. I’m ruined. I’ve seen so many buff naked men while in the Peacekeepers that I don’t even think about it anymore.”
They shared a look, the seriousness of her voice giving length to the awkward silence spreading before them. Then they both started laughing.

Keyes left Castle to finish his preparations while she reported his status to the XO, Major Briggs. He took five more minutes getting ready. The donning of one’s armor was as close to a religious ritual as one can usually get. The mistreatment of one’s armor was considered sacrilegious. Everyone’s armor was different to an extent. Everyone had their own neurosis. First was the form-fitting nanoweave bodysuit, clinging to the body like a second skin. Next was the armor, coming together like a puzzle. Each piece fit precisely in place. Boots first, then the shins, then the thighs and so on until Castle sat comfortably within his personal shell of AAP, or Adaptive Armor Plating. The helmet he slipped over his head was snug.

Green text floated into his view and the HUD snapped on immediately. Lines of purple light were flickering along his armor and helmet while systems self-diagnosed. The process took no more than five seconds as the suit began drawing power from the internal battery.

[Diagnosis complete.
Systems nominal.
Internal battery reserves full.
Sensor suite fully operational.
Adaptive kinetic-response nanites operating within parameters.
You have 11 unread messages. 3 messages are flagged as Priority Alert.]

Castle stood, stretching lightly, and dismissed the status update, moving to his weapons locker. He pulled his personal rifle from the rack and it took only a moment for the dumb AI to add a reticle and ammunition counter to his HUD UI. He slipped out of his personal quarters and headed for the nearest lift down, dark cloak shifting around his black armor.

0600, January 6th, 2042.
433rd Expedition.
Cradle, Reception Hollow.

To the residents of Cradle, the lowest level, or ground floor, was known as the Reception Hollow since Cradle was quite literally built within a hollowed-out mountain, and the bottom floor is where one receives entrance to the city via 35ft reinforced vault door whose controls are only accessible from the inside. There was buzz to the atmosphere here, with hundreds of people gathering for 433rd Expedition send off. It had long become tradition for citizens, and families of the volunteers to come and show their support. It was a source of pride for the citizens of Cradle, a declaration of defiance in the face of a new world that was hostile in every sense of the word.

But that also made it a nightmare navigating the crowds to get anywhere within a sensible amount of time. A voice was droning off over the PA system throughout Cradle, sounding off general quarters in preparation of opening the vault door. Members of various Occupations were moving to and from different areas, busy with one task or another, and the presence of the Peacekeepers were amped up accordingly. Sounds of machinery could be heard above the general hubbub of excited conversation, and emergency lights strobed along the ceiling. Castle slipped through the crowd like a ghost.

The volunteers were given space to gather and prepare, while high-ranking members of the Peacekeepers and a member of the High Counsel watched over their progress and chatted amiably with one another. An armory was set up for the members of the other Occupations to equip themselves accordingly. Supplies were gathered and spread out along tables, with Peacekeepers standing by to make suggestions.

As the group of volunteers gathered together, Castle spotted a boy couldn’t have been a month or two past eighteen years old, standing around watching the others in a daze. He had his helmet tucked into his arm pit and stood at rest, looking decidedly uncomfortable in his AAP shell. Castle paused for a moment, but stepped in beside the young man, watching as the other members of the Expedition began preparing their gear. Castle engaged his external comms, the reception deck was plenty loud enough for a private conversation.

“They’re sending you to die ya know.”

The young man started next to him, taking a step back to look at Castle with a wide-eyed gape, taking note of the wraith standing before him draped in black. The young man cleared his and said, “I-I—Who’re you? What do you mean?”

Castle turned to face him. The young man’s skin was pale, with splotches of red in his cheeks and a smattering of freckles. He had defiant green eyes, dark brown hair, and maybe average height. Castle studied ‘PFC Jerome’, according to his name tag. Advanced Reconnaissance Division got a lot of nifty little perks, not limited to some of the more advanced toys those eggheads up at the Guild could cook up. Jerome’s armor was one of their more recent additions, like Castle’s own, an adaptive armor-plated suit made up of nanites. It was a sleeker model, with the new adaptive camo coating. Castle’s armor was ancient by comparison, scuffed around the edges with use. Castle also wore a hooded cloak over his tall frame, using the heavy cloth to break up his silhouette and cover the metallic sheen of his armor. Castle’s helmet gave no hint of the man inside, and he wore no rank insignia, which was technically against PK protocol.

“You’re a problem then,” he said, as if confirming to himself, “A fuck up. You gotta bad attitude, so they selected you for Expedition duty. They’re sending you to die, kid.”

Jerome paled visibly, his helmet creaking slightly as he squeezed it against his frame. But like the flip of a switch, Jerome sneered and lifted his chin, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Beside, it can’t be all that bad—”

But Castle cut him off, nodding his head toward the huge vault door that led to the outside world. “There’re things out there roaming around that’ll kill you in ten seconds flat, Kid. Lights out, just like that.” He snapped his fingers using the gripping pads built into the gauntlets of his armor. ”You’re angry? Good, that anger will keep you alive out there.”

Castle turned his head to look at Jerome. The kid didn’t seem so sure of himself anymore.

“Anger may keep you alive but being reckless gets you dead. That dumb thing you did to get here? Remember that. Don’t do it again.” Castle tapped two fingers against his helmet, once, twice. Jerome shook himself and scrambled to put his own helmet on. With a thought, he opened up a private channel to PFC Jerome Hendricks. Over internal comms Castle sounded less cold, more human. When he spoke to Jerome he turned back to face the crowd in contemplation.

“My job is to keep everyone on this Expedition alive. If we don’t work together, we will won’t make it back home, understand?” Despite his words, the mood here among the others was almost jovial. That kind of complacency was a disaster waiting to happen. Castle would’ve preferred quiet anticipation instead.

“Me? I like it out there. I volunteer for every Expedition even. I’ve been doing this for something like seven years now.” Castle folded his arms over his chest. “I only need one thing from you, kid, and I’ll do everything in my power to get you home.”

“Sir..? What do you need?”

“That’s Captain, Private First Class Jerome Hendricks. I need you to follow my orders, when I say, no questions asked. So? Can I count on you?”
Jerome stood straighter immediately, snapping off a crisp salute.

“Sir, yes sir!”

After a moment, Castle returned the salute.

“Good soldier. One more thing I need you to remember. Out there? We’re all we got. Those guys giving you a hard time back there? That’s their job. Maybe you’ve had a rough life up until now. But in this world, everybody’s lost something. Understand? Think about that, because they might be the ones fighting next to you one day and we gotta depend on one another.”

With that, Castle strode off leaving PFC Jerome with his words. The briefing was set to begin soon, and he took his place along side the other Peacekeepers coming along with him. This was shaping up to be a motley crew of individuals. There were Physicians, Guilders and Culters, each easily identifiable as they went about preparing their supplies. It was rare that they had representatives from every major occupation. This was shaping up to be an interesting Expedition at the very least.

Outside of Cradle, Brotherhood Camp

A figure sat at a large oak desk, smoke curling from the end of a lit cigarette. The man was in his late 40s or early 50s. His dark grey hair was cut close to his scalp, complimenting his cold, blue eyes. An old, viscous scar spread from just above his temple down to one side of his top lip. He wore vestments of white atop casual business apparel consisting of light slacks, a dress shirt and white tie with suspenders slipped over either shoulder. The man took a heavy drag from his cigarette. Someone knocked on the door to his office. The man exhaled.


The man’s voice was rough and carried a sense of weight with it. The door to his office opened and another man stepped in wearing a dark grey cloak over his clothes. There was a noticeable bulge at the man’s shoulders suggesting shoulder holsters
“Apostle Kruger.” The new man saluted with an arm across the chest. “Scouts have confirmed sighting a team from Cradle nearing the Hunting Grounds at speed. They think they may have something, sir.”

The older man tapped at his chin for a moment, considering.

“Capture one, kill the rest. I want the survivor interrogated thoroughly, brother. I want to know what Cradle is up to.”
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Vintage » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:57 am

Jason lazily pried his eyes open to the morning lights of Cradle, shining through the blinds of his small apartment room. His roommate, a young African-American man by the name of Samari, seemed to have already woken up. Rubbing his face, the young Guilder slowly swung one leg over the side of his bed, slowly followed by the other, picking himself up as he did so. As he sat on the edge of the bed, Jason silently contemplated what he was forgetting. What was today again... If last Saturday was the 4th... And today is Monday, then... Jason's eyes shot open at the realization.

"The expedition."

Checking the clock, Jason found it was 5:39 in the morning. He still had to get dressed, eat, get Duke, and be at the Reception Hollow by 7:00. Rushing to the bathroom, he thanked whatever greater force was at work to let it be empty. Glancing at the shower, the mechanical prodigy decided he didn't have time, throwing on a nice pair of pants, a dress shirt, and a vest. Splashing his face with water, Jason rubbed an oil stain with his thumb before simply giving up. Rushing to the living room of the apartment, he grabbed a bag of dried granola, before heading for the door. Waving to his other roommates, the inventor headed for his workshop.

"Bye Mr. and Mrs. Chu, I'm heading off for the expedition!" With that, the middle-aged couple happily waved to Jason as he left.

It was 6:15 by now, with Jason waiting in an elevator, rising to his workshop. The tune playing on the speaker did nothing to soothe his nerves, as the lift made a small 'ding' with every passing floor. When his stop finally came, Jason practically squeezed through the door, before eventually busting through the door of his workshop. Scanning the room, the Guilder laid his eyes upon the large figure in the corner, draped over with a fairly dirty sheet, oil and grime decorating it's once-clean surface. Pulling off the sheet, Jason yanked out the plug attached to Duke before switching the metal man online.

The eight-foot robot stood up straight from its slouched position, a light shining behind it's eye-like sensor. "Systems initializing... Launching program... Duke: version 1-"

Throwing on his goggles, Jason cut off the droning of the bronze giant, "Duke, I love ya buddy, but skip launch service checkup. Just find your gun and follow me."

With that, Duke grabbed his rifle from somewhere in the corner of the workshop as Jason prepared the rest of his gear. The large rifle was one-of-a-kind, with the prototype gun being found by Jason on his third expedition, which has been modified by the young inventor across a year or so, being dubbed "The Advisor". A quick old prototype AAP breastplate and backpack later, Jason was ready to go, tightening his ever-present omni-tool. The two of them jogged down to the lift, catching the first elevator down to the Reception Hollow. Duke was surprisingly fast for his bulk, but still slowed down his inventor as they just barely made it into the lift.

As the elevator doors opened, Jason and Duke seemed to be right on time for the main event. With Jason riding on Duke's head and back, he was able to see wherever the two of them were supposed to meet with his squad. Heading straight for the gathering, it wasn't quite as hard to get people to move out of the way, Duke's presence being known for some time now from the last few expeditions. Jason had a strange feeling that this one would be special in particular.
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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Maxx[2.0]ine » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:04 pm

Em woke up and stretched. She checked the time. 04:59. Just over two hours before she had to be in the Reception Hollow. For the Expedition. Her first Expedition. J had been on Expeditions before, but Em hadn't, and she was excited.

Em hopped off her bunk and went to shower. After a long soak, and a thorough cleaning of her long strawberry blond hair, she wrapped herself in a towel and went back to her room. She shared the room with another woman. The older Peacekeeper wasn't going on the Expedition, but was happy enough to share her experiences as Em got ready. Em put on her nanoweave bodysuit, and then her roommate, who's name was Amy, did Em's hair.

"Thanks, Amy," Em said.
"You're welcome. You know I love messing with your hair," Amy replied, braiding Em's hair.
Em smiled. "Yeah, I know."

Amy finished doing Em's hair and gave the 18 year old a small hug.

"Be careful out there. If anything happens to you, I swear, that boyfriend of yours is gonna be dead meat."
Em laughed. "Okay. I'll tell him you said that."
"You do that. You want me to help you with your AAP armor?"
"Yeah please. Thanks."
"You're welcome."

After Em had her AAP armor on, Amy gave her another quick hug and handed Em her helmet.

"Now, you better get going. You don't wanna be late, and you don't wanna keep your man waiting."
Em grinned. "Alright."

She left the room and headed to where she and J usually met up.

J was already there - he had been for the past half hour - and as soon as he saw Em, he went over to her. He put an arm around her and kissed the scar that ran along one side of Em's face.

"How'd you sleep?"
"Very well. How about you?"
"Not at all."
"Oh, J... You promised you would get some sleep last night."
"Couldn't sleep. Anyway," he said, changing the subject. "You ready for your first Expedition?"
"Yep. By the way, Amy said that if anything happens to me, you're dead."
"Did she?" J asked, laughing. "Well, I would happily give Amy my dagger to kill me with, if anything did happen to you."

Em laughed.

"Come on, we should get to the Reception Hollow."

J began walking, and Em slipped her hand into his, her helmet in her other hand. They walked like that until they got to their destination. The Reception Hollow was packed, and J and Em still held hands as they made their way through the crowd.
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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Shinigami » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:32 am

Samuel's apartment, 4:54 am.

Samuel wakes up, dazed from the long shift he pulled yesterday, and looks over at the clock. Just a few minutes before five. He rolls from the top bunk, landing on his feet, and bolts to the bathroom, hoping to beat his roommates to the call. Fortunately, it seemed they had already gotten up and cleared out a while ago, and he was able to take his morning shower unhindered. He emerges about fifteen minutes later, still drying himself, and tosses the towel into the bathroom hamper. Generally, he'd take his time going about his daily grooming, but he had a deadline today and couldn't afford to be late.

His morning routine complete, he opens his small locker of a closet and pulls out his nanoweave suit. It was his least favorite piece of equipment - he hated the tightness of it, the way it clung to his skin. Once he finally manages to squeeze himself into the skin-tight hell of his suit, he then begins piecing together the rest of his gear. It wasn't as heavy as the more combat-oriented divisions, but it was still a pain to get on. The entire process (including the nanoweave) took him anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, depending on how patient he was feeling. Once he'd adjusted the chestplate and made sure the other fittings were in order, he opens the door and heads out into Cradle's morning bustle.

The reception hollow, 5:59 am.

Samuel had managed to grab some food from a vendor on his way to the hollow. It wasn't the best he'd had, but it was nourishment. He slips into the crowds and makes his way through, dodging quickly through the masses of people. A few moments later, he pops out into the clearing, looking over the rest of the volunteers. A tall ARD who resembled a Darth Vader impersonator; an inventor with a large, bronze robot, a... couple? Definitely an interesting group...
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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Myrn » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:10 am


From the dark, the rustle of sheet and creaks of a mattress could be heard. The practiced movement of a certain body slipping out of the top bunk was nothing short of methodical routine. There wasn't a need for further light other than the soft glow from an unused alarm clock. The room was small and minimalist in nature, it's not that difficult to navigate your way around. Could possibly do it all blindfolded at this point.

Over the past few days, Celine had fallen back into her old regimen that consisted of late work nights and early rising for the daily morning rituals. However, it seemed Celine had slept in quite a bit as the communal showers were rather lively with patrons and chatter. The only stall left available was in between a dark brunette named Nadia and Celine's bunkmate Gabrielle. The two had been gossiping over last shift's work as work drama was what most physicians would talk about it. Nadia was first to notice Celine entering the stall and smiled over to her. Gabrielle had noted the pause and looked over, acknowledging her presence in the process with a smirk.

"Someone sure slept like a rock. If I hadn't known better, I'd have thought you'd sleep forever." the blonde joked. "Worked yourself ragged again didn't you? Come on Celine, we can't have you doing that anymore. We need you mostly intact after all." Celine shrugged the comment off along with her sleepwear. As much as her roommate was correct about taking care of herself, Celine will always be the workaholic she's always been. Being a physician is no 9-5 job. The ever high demand will always make it so it's hard to catch a break. Nadia had redirected the shower head so as to spray Gabrielle who let out a surprised shriek with the sudden cold water.

"Ah, let her be Gabrielle," the amusement was evident in Nadia's voice as she then rinsed her curly hair. "The girl gotta do what she gotta do.. even if it means going on every possible suicide mission." The older woman had muttered the last bit to herself but had not bothered trying to hide it either. It was clear that the two disproved Celine's work ethic and possible addiction to putting herself in dangerous situations needlessly, but who were they to judge? They both had avoided volunteer work and had no intentions of volunteering anytime soon.

Again, Celine could only really shrug and even gave them a half smile. They weren't exactly wrong, everyone was allowed to view things differently. She just felt compelled to volunteer and to push herself past her limits. She needed to do this, if not for herself, then for the others out there who are like Rufus. Speaking of, she needed to call him before she had left as promised earlier. It'd be difficult to talk afterward otherwise.

"Yeah, but how long are you staying out there for this time?" Celine glanced over to Gabrielle all the while scrubbing herself clean. It's hard to determine the answer as anything can go wrong, or maybe everything will go smoothly. From the past 300 or so expeditions Celine had taken a part of and survived, one should never rule out the worst possible outcomes.

"I can't exactly say. Depends on how well we can cooperate and get what needs to be done as efficiently as possible. Of course not everything will go exactly as planned but we can circumvent that by preparing ourselves properly first. I've seen it firsthand, and all the more the reason for me to be there."

"Well.. alright then, just stay safe out there."

The two had left Celine as they had finished up first while she rinsed off. She stayed behind in the steamed room for a minute or two contemplating. Perhaps that question was more than what was on the surface. Just how long will she be going back out there?

0600, January 6th, 2042.
433rd Expedition.
Cradle, Reception Hollow.

Celine had managed to slip through the crowd with minimal struggle, she had donned her personal gear and was rather worried as Rufus hadn't answered her call. Thousands of excuses and possible scenarios played in her mind she hadn't realized she nearly bumped into some iron giant, well, bronze to be more exact on closer inspection. Someone had been riding on top of the robot and Celine mumbled an apology before heading over to the armory. Unsurprisingly, she noticed an old friend per se.

"Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes." Just as Celine greeted Eli, she had received a call from Rufus.

"H-hey, I- I got called to help wi- cough- COUGH- WITH THe cough expedition." Celine quietly listened as the young boy rambled on about items he'd need for-

"I'm bu...ying things. I have water and food but do I need anything other than food and water because- Well, is it gonna be sunny and should I get a hat or maybe I need to get some sunscreen- wait, am I going to get any sort of gear or protection or am I going out like this- They're not gonna kill me right? Because then I wouldn't get paid and I wouldn't get to go to your place afterward and I wouldn't be able to eat that cereal you have, I forgot the name, and I really- What's the mortality rates? No wait don't- yeah, tell me- no, I'm almost there you could tell me then.
I dunno.
If you w-want to."

Rufus was going on an expedition? Rufus was going back outside? Celine hadn't said a word even after Rufus had disconnected from the call. She didn't know whether to feel glad he was attempting to do something outside his own comfort zone or scared of the fact Rufus will be going with her outside. They say not to get attached to but how do you not? It's near impossible to not to and- She stopped her own rambling mind and focused. Rufus is grown and is allowed to do these things right? Surely he is capable, right? Better to not think of this anymore than she had to.

"Sorry about that, seems we're still waiting on a few others."
"He seemed the sort to even Dream in suave."

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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Wint » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:56 pm

All over the place - 529 am

It was another day, and with another day came more work.
More work was good.

Only this wasn't normal work. Well, it was, but it didn't arrive like one.
Well, it did, but it was from the Peacekeepers. Why did it have to be from the PKs...

Rufus was freaking out ever since he got the call, helping load and unload stuff- letters, supplies, whatever they needed out there.... in the outposts.
Oh, God.
Rufus was moving. He couldn't stop moving, not even if he wanted to. He's been gathering whatever he needed, a small bag with granola bars and a couple of small bags with nuts, all small enough to stuff inside his satchel but not small enough to worry over, and a couple of extra bottles which he ended up getting a mini-backpack for. The one he already had in his satchel he had filled up back in his apartment.
Oh God, how would he tell Celine? When would he tell her? She goes on every expedition, well, not every but so so so so many, he couldn't drag it out forever. Nor did he want to, he told her everything. But even then...
Oh, God.

This was real. This was serious. He'd be going out there. Back out there.
Other than his Rations, nothing was liquidated that morning, his fear that caused the occasional shiver when he would stop where he needed to go next.
In the motion of running, Rufus slid his hand inside his satchel and blindly tapped what he knew was the power button for his phone.

"C-call Celine." He said, too focused to notice the fact that he had yet run out of breath.
The ringing sound of that which when he had only arrived was so unfamiliar to him. Even in the Brotherhood, these technological expenses would be admired. Well, if they would look past the whole Cradle aspect of the deal.
Oh God, it stopped ringing.

"H-hey, I- I got called to help wi- cough- COUGH- WITH THe cough expedition." His voice betrayed him as both the emotional and physical stress make him have to stop, nearly breaking his nose against the metal catwalk scaffolding that ran everywhere, what people here considered ground, at least in some of the levels and in some of the places.

"I'm bu...ying things. I have water and food but do I need anything other than food and water because- Well, is it gonna be sunny and should I get a hat or maybe I need to get some sunscreen- wait, am I going to get any sort of gear or protection or am I going out like this- They're not gonna kill me right? Because then I wouldn't get paid and I wouldn't get to go to your place afterward and I wouldn't be able to eat that cereal you have, I forgot the name, and I really- What's the mortality rates? No wait don't- yeah, tell me- no, I'm almost there you could tell me then.
I dunno.
If you w-want to."

Oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God o- 618 am

Getting everything he needed but not everything he wanted, and not wanting to go bankrupt, Rufus made sure he had all that he needed while walking towards the lovely and, hopefully, alive and forgiving Celine.
"Tablet...bottles...granola...more granola.... more granola... nuts...first aid...knife." He muttered to himself, quieter than the wind that was practically nonexistent some days.

Looking up, all he could see was a crowd.
People upon people upon people.
Oh God, how would he find her?

But right now, at that moment, he could not.
He couldn't find Celine.
He... couldn't...

He had to get over himself. What would she think if he arrived as the wreck that he was?!
He looked around, and got someone's attention.
Someone in uniform, just without the helmet.
He had white hair, short but tall. Spiky. he was tall, but he didn't seem too old. A small scar on his left cheek, and, at a closer examination, his left eye a bit brighter than the right. But not quite. Was it an aesthetic or was he going blind? Rufus could only hope it was the former. Maybe it was a nano...thing. Rufus remembered Celine had mentioned the active use of neural implants of some of the residents, most likely those who went on these kinds of expeditions.
"Uh... I got an assignment... From the Peacekeepers... I-"
The man got what the kid wanted to say, and told him where to go to change. It was the armory. He remembered Celine mentioned it before, and now he was there.
Leaving the kind but somewhat bitter man, Rufus now knew his name was Alfred.
Rufus could only hope he would see Alfred back in the Cradle when they came back.
If they came back.

Rufus, although somewhat reluctantly, was curious and showed no sign of remorse as he entered the changing room.
He was geared up with... stuff. There were people there, in charge of gearing him up.
He was flattered, but also somewhat embarrassed as he had to somewhat disrobe before he was given this... weave. Was that what they called it? They explained it to him, but it was all so new and incredible.
After that, he was given actual armor.
He was covered in it, but it was super light.
He got a really brief but enlightening explanation, but was still stunned at how freely he could move, even though he was covered from neck to toe.

From there he needed to pick out what tools would later on save his life.
He grabbed the standard Snap Rifle and grabbed a whole bag full of ammunition.
Standard. He couldn't afford to get the same amount of special ammo, explosive or otherwise. Though, if you're going to die does it really matter?
Ugh, maybe he would've been better off just telling her then. Just call her up and ask her what she thought.
Buuuuuut now wasn't really a good time.
In addition to the ranged weapon, Rufus searched for whatever he could utilize as well as his own knife, as well as his father's knife if he hadn't had lost it. From the huge, huge huge huge huge.... huge array of options, Rufus picked out the classiest of weapons- the machete.

Before he left, however, Rufus had one other thing to do.
Before he would put the helmet on, before he would go out there, Rufus grabbed a piece of fabric he could pass over his head, have it dangle over the armor around his neck, loose but very much so going to stay there until he or anyone else would remove it.
Or if it tore off. That's also a possibility.
He grabbed some red paint and painted, with his fingers, over the right side of where the fabric would be.

Now that he was out of there, Rufus looked so different.
Felt so different. But it also felt kind of right.
His helmet hugged by both his hands against his chest, Rufus could see Celine- finally, he could see her- talking to a guy on a... was that seriously a giant robot? Oh God, please don't be vindictive. Please don't hurt Celine.
Other than the robot and person on top of the walking skyscraper, Celine was also talking to a PK. Hopefully, he was going to be kind like Alfred.
Alfred was really kind.
He hoped he would be as kind.
"H-....Hey, don't hurt....her..." He said, approaching the crowded trio. Even if she wasn't in danger, she could be, and if she wasn't, well....
Then it would be really awkward.
“sorry i cant hear you over the sound of me running headfirst into a concrete wall” - Shaw

“Fuck your cloud of blueberry lies” - Fang

“I had a chungus tea once. It was a chunky boi. I chucked my change at Charles who chucked up chunks of chungus chai.” - Ser

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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Arlaz » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:05 am


Prrrrring. The loud, familiar sound gave a low echo through the lab. A chair wheeled across the floors to check up on the test samples that had been curing for almost one month. Hardened fingertips stuck a thick piece of tanned paper into one of the containers. «Normal PH..» Freya mumbled as she checked the now dark brown piece. With a push of her legs she pushed herself back to a small desk where a journal laid open with a pencil in it. She flipped quickly through the papers until reaching the one she was looking for. It was filled with notes of discoveries and labresults, along with scribbles and drafts that would make little sense to anyone but her.

«Freya! Are you still here?» Freya jumped at the firm, but kind voice of her superior and slowly spun around on her chair. «What time is it..?» she replied with a grimace and noticed a couple of workers coming through the doors, but most of them hurried out again in an excited manner. «You havent been home yet, have you?» Sasha, an elderly woman in a plain beige outfit crossed her arms and shook her head to Freya. Second time this week this had happened. «Noooo..» Freya sighed and rubbed her face, slowly turning back to her table. «I was too excited about the results from the samples, but there was no update yet.»

«Have you forgotten what’s happening today?» Sasha continued, finger tapping on Freya’s shoulder. «Huh?» Freya looked up from her journal and realized how empty the lab was. Today...? .... EXPEDITION. Her attention spun towards the clock. Seconds later light footsteps sprinted towards the door with blonde, braided hair flowing behind her as she grabbed the backpack on the way.

«Freya. You’re forgetting something.» Sasha Gernova rested her face in her palm. A hand barely showed through the door and grabbed a belt with equipment hung on a knob on the wall. Sasha chuckled and yelled as the door slammed shut. «Good luck!»

The stairs and streets on the way to the meetup area were mostly empty since most the inhabitants were gathering where she should have been right now. With a bright red apple in her mouth, she ran while pulling her jacket over the thin tanktop she had been wearing at work. The belt she had grabbed dangling from her arm as she desperately tried to fasten 10 things at once. Jacket. Belt. Pouches. Knives. Sample-tools. The rest was being organized by the Agriculters and she hoped they knew she would be running late. Again.

«Hi, have a nice day!» Freya excitedly greeted one of the shopkeepers as she rushed past, apple now in her hand. A thin streak of juice from the apple ran down her chin. To be fair, she was more excited about this expedition than she was scared. To be a part of progress and help Cradle succeed in the future was worth the risk. Maybe this time; the successrates were higher than the last! That would make sense, right?

A huge grin spread across her face as the large group of people came closer with high speed. Almost there now. «EXCUSE MEEEE.» she yelled, waving her arms. A couple of the people gathered turned in confusion to see the young lady run towards them with a stupid-big grin and arms flailing about. Surprisingly, they stepped aside with a chuckle or a laugh. Freya knew of most of the inhabitants of Cradle and it was common knowledge that she was spontaneous and forgetful. A thin path was creates in front of her. She could feel pats of hands wishing her good luck and cheers as she came through, making people further ahead turn and look for the commotion in the back. In a matter of minutes she had arrived at the checkpoint.

«Thank you, everyone! See you soon!» Freya turned and waved her arms at everyone, skipping backwards towards the Agriculters’ area in this zone.

It was time. It was awfully exciting but also terrifying. What would happen? What would meet them outside the comforting gates of Cradle? Maybe she would find a new organism. New resources for plants and food within their small village? YES! The smile never left Freya’s lips and her eyes were sparkling with excitement and lust for adventure. What did her team look like? Would she meet someone new? Questions and thoughts spun around Freya’s mind at godspeed. Her gaze curiously looking around for anything that would give her a clue as to who she would be working with.

Her curiosity never ceased as she went about to prepare her equipment for the Expedition. Most of her things had been prepared already, but Freya was not used to wielding the weapons and basic armor-parts given by the armory. Basic equipment to protect herself and support her teammates with, but the thought of hurting someone to protect another made her feel sick. Though it didnt necessarily have to go that bad, right? She would deal with that situation if it came to it!

Now.. Where would she be heading..
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Nyx » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:17 pm


General Armstrong was a bear of a man compared to the relatively slight advisors standing next to him on the raised platform at the head of the gathering in Reception Hollow. He had a face that looked like it was cut from granite, with piercing blue eyes, and hair cut close to his skull. Though he was nearing fifty years old, you couldn’t tell by looking at him. Armstrong had the kind of physicality that put most of the younger guys to shame and the only clear indication of his age was grey slowly creeping into his black hair at the temples, and the crow’s feet in the corner of his eyes. He cut a smart figure standing there in his black parade dress, mingling with the small group as Castle neared.

The General’s security gave Castle and he was let through. Armstrong caught the captain’s eye and gave the gentlemen he was talking to a smile and handshake before excusing himself. Castle snapped him a crisp salute as he stepped closer and the general returned it. “I was wondering if you were going to show up Captain Lindon. But it seems like a lot of people are having a late start today.”

Castle cleared his throat awkwardly and stood at rest, coloring slightly underneath his helmet at the redress, “Ah, yes sir. Sorry sir. I’m still getting use to having hot water, and I may have lost track of time.”

The general chuckled softly and slapped a ham-sized hand on Castle’s armored shoulder, “That’s alright, son. Like I said, we’ve had quite a few stragglers this time, so we’re waiting a little longer to get this little show on the road. In the meantime, have you gone over the roster? You’ve got some real characters this time.“

It was hard to tell from the general’s expression and tone if he thought that was a good or bad thing, so Castle simply shoot his head, and flicked his eyes to the notifications he had received. He scanned the unread messages until he found the one he was looking for and with a thought, downloaded the documents. “I’m actually going over them now, sir.” It actually was looking like a diverse bunch. He quickly read the profile a young scrappy-looking Physician named Joseph Miller. He was apparently in a relationship with one of the young Peacekeepers coming along with them. Castle wasn’t sure how he felt about that, but that bridge could be crossed later. He continued flicking through the roster with his eyes. Celine was coming along again, a definite plus. There was a young ex-Brotherhood member tagging along with a rather impressive list of concerns about the boy’s mental health. Why he was being allowed to even leave Cradle, Castle would probably never know. Another potential liability, but overall, not completely unmanageable.

The profile of the next volunteer gave him pause. The picture attached was of an attractive young woman named Freya from the Culters. She had kind blue eyes and an easy smile, with sun-bleached blonde hair. He scanned through her sheet. Culters were always an interesting bunch, though they along with the Guilders mostly kept to themselves or hung around with Physicians whenever they tagged along, they were generally good company.

Finally he came across the profile of the young Guilder that had volunteered for the Expedition. An interesting Jack. There were some references to a mechanized unit of some type, but when it came to Guilders, Castle was always prepared for the worst. They were impulsive at the worst of times, and the typical eccentric nature of their personalities often clashed with the members of the Peacekeepers.
“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.”

With a flick of his eyes, he closed the documents and noticed that the general had already walked off to talk to someone else and Celine had slid up to his side without him noticing. She looked good, despite the fact that Castle knew she was slowly working herself to death. She was definitely what you would call a workaholic. But she was also probably one of the bravest women he ever worked alongside with. Before Castle could reply to her, she made to answer a call. He raised an eyebrow, watching the vast array of emotions flitting across the woman’s features. She ended the call without ever saying anything, and her confused expression was enough to make him chuckle softly at her confused expression.

“Sorry about that, seems we’re still waiting on a few others,” she said finally, almost ruefully as she scanned the crowd. Castle couldn’t help his grin, though she couldn’t see it. “Yeah, we’re having a bit of a late start, but it looks like we’re about geared up to go.”

He looked out into the mass of people gathered here to scan the excited crowd himself. He saw the young Guilder out there with his monstrosity of a mech, which was easily getting people’s attention. Castle almost brought his hand to his face in resignation, but he checked the motion and sighed instead. This was definitely gonna be an interesting Expedition. As he continued scanning the crowd, he caught sight of some of the others coming along. Most were gathering equipment, but he caught sight of the blonde woman slowly making her way through the crowds, looking like she ran all the way here. A few moments later a flustered looking young man reached Celine’s side, his eyes darting nervously toward Castle while he fumbled over his own words.

This was the one that escaped the Brotherhood? Castle could just barely see the kid’s tattoo keeping from under his shirt. He wasn’t exactly what Castle was expecting. It actually seemed worse. He nodded to the young man and took the opportunity to slip away. It looked like Celine was going to have her hands full. He moved through the crowd slowly, looking this way and that, absorbing the details and snatching bits and pieces of conversation as he moved about. Castle cut a pretty distinctive figure against the mass of people gathered here to observe them, so the whispering and pointing in his direction was normal. Truth was, Castle was actually somewhat legendary among not only the citizens, but also some of the other Occupations, due to the fact that he volunteered for every Expedition. So he nodded to the people around him occasionally as he mingled, because the citizens had to know that people like Castle were the ones standing between them and the savages outside of Cradle.

20 Miles outside of the Hunting Grounds

The tires of the Jackals ripped through the packed earth as they navigated the rough terrain of the rolling hills. The mountains up ahead reached into the low clouds of this early morning, and as the Jackals crested the small hills, the large expanse of forest near the mountain’s base slowly crept forward, like a sea of green and brown. They were so close to home, PFC Jacobs almost relaxed. The anticipation had built up and was reaching a breaking point, but being this close was sending a wave of relief through the young Peacekeeper. This was the first time he’d ever been so far away from home, and he hated it. But it was necessary. Not to mention the discovery they made about the megacity to the west.. Jacobs looked off towards the other two Jackals. He was part of a six-man team conducting deep-reconnaissance into unmapped territory. Things outside of the Hunting Grounds were bad, especially near the remnants of the huge megacities of the Old World. Destruction on the sort of scale that boggles your mind when you see it in person. Jacobs had heard the stories.. but it really was different when you saw it with your own eyes.

The team had been tracking a convoy of New Conglomerate soldiers for the past three weeks, when finally it paid off. Intel on the NC had been extremely scarce, despite Cradle’s best efforts. No one had been able to ascertain what their motives were or what they were doing, or even the strength of their faction. Several teams had been sent closer to gather information, but none ever returned.

“We’re about twenty-five minutes outside of the HG, Bravo Team. Keep your eyes peeled on that tree line, I don’t want any surprises,” Lieutenant Lanzo’s harsh voice cutting through the comms snapped PFC Jacobs out of his reverie. The team voiced their acknowledgment and Jacobs scanned the area ahead of him from the back of the Jackal as they tore through remaining miles.

“Here they come, everyone get ready.” The man spoke quietly, and the order was relayed. He was set up atop one of the hills to the east, laying prone with his legs spread. His long rifle was resting tightly against his frame as he peered through the scope. The vantage he was maintaining was perfect for maybe a single shot, so he had to make it count. The man slowly pulled the slack out of the trigger, finding that perfect spot on the edge as he calmly lined up his shot, running the calculations through his head. When the lead element came into view, he had to readjust slightly, but that was okay. He lined up his reticle and smoothly squeezed the trigger the rest of the way.

The projectile exploded from his rifle at three-thousand feet a second and tore through the air at supersonic speed. The small team of Peacekeepers were only visible for ten seconds, and it only took three seconds for the projectile to reach the driver of the lead Jackal. The round impacted with a force somewhere between fourteen or eighteen thousand foot-pounds of energy, promptly tearing through the Peacekeepers nano-armor and flesh, destroying the man’s ribcage and spine, where it deflected into one of his lungs and blew a six-inch wide hole out the other side of his body. He was dead before they even heard the shot.

“Alright boys, remember, we need one alive,” the man grunted, a cruel grin spreading across his face.
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Maxx[2.0]ine » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:14 am

"You alright, Em?"J asked.
"Uh huh. Just a bit nervous, I guess..."

J gave Em's hand a reassuring squeeze.

"That's understandable. It is the first time you'll have been outside the Cradle since we got here. Everything will be alright. I'll admit, I felt the same. But it goes once you get outside."
"Let's hope so..." Em looked up at J and smiled. "I'm so glad you're coming..."
"Well, I don't think that roommate of yours would be best pleased if I let you go on your own." That was part of the reason. It was also because J wanted to be there to protect Em as much as possible.
"Yeah, I guess so. Amy would've probably killed you if you didn't volunteer with me..."
J laughed. "She would kill me for a lot of things, wouldn't she?"
"Yes, yes she would."
"And rightly so. Neither of us want to see our sweet little Em hurt." He ruffled her hair, messing it up a bit.
"Hey, I'm not sweet. Or little. And you just messed up my hair. Amy spent ages doing it."
J laughed. "I know. That's why I did that."
"That's not very nice..." Em laughed as well.

Someone came up and tapped Em on the shoulder. It was Amy.

"What're you doing here? I thought you were in our room..."
"Can't a girl come to wave her roommate off? Anyway, I have something for you."
"Do you?"

Amy pulled a small box from behind her back. She handed it to Em, and Em opened it.

"Oh my gosh, thank you. But didn't your mother give this to you...?"

It was a simple choker necklace, made of ribbon, with a gold colored clasp and a little dove pendant.

"Well, I want you to have it."

J looked at it.

"That's beautiful..."

He picked it up and put it on Em.

"What if it gets broken...?
"I'm sure it won't." Amy turned to J. "I'm sure Em already told you I said this, but she gets hurt, you are dead."
"So, do you know when you're leaving?"
"Um, soon, I think."

J looked around the Hollow. He saw the unmistakable figure of Castle. It really was no surprise that Castle was coming. J hadn't properly met him before, but obviously knew who he was.

Amy whispered something in Em's ear. Em went red and laughed. "Of course we haven't, Amy. And we're not gonna either."
J looked at the girls. "What are you two talking about?"
"Nothing..." Amy said, with a sly grin. Em just looked at the floor, still blushing. "I hope we leave soon..."
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Re: [RP] The Cradle

Post by Vintage » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:25 am

Jason felt almost like a celebrity in the hollow as he caught the sight of his fellow expeditioners. On previous expeditions, a few people may have seen the young Guilder drag along pieces of what would become Duke, most notably The Advisor, but have never actually seen the finished project. Whether or not this extra attention was a good thing, Jason wasn't sure. Nevertheless, Jason spoke something to his colossus in the chaos of the Hollow, and the large metal man gave a slightly awkward wave, his long arms easily raising above the surrounding residents. He wasn't exactly the prideful type, but Jason was glad that his project would be noticed by the crowd, and hopefully by higher-ups in the Guild. Before continuing onwards, Jason spotted a familiar face in the crowd.

"What the hell are you doing here, Jason?" A voice called out over the general sound of the Hollow. A young, blond haired man was already swimming his way towards the duo, before squeezing his way next to Duke. Alex was an old childhood friend of Jason's, a Culter by trade now. Before the placement test, the two of them would play with a few of the other Cradle kids. Ironically enough, Alex saw Jason's parents more than the young inventor did, due to the connected careers.

"Same reason as always," Jason began with a smile. It was good to see a more recognizable face in the Hollow, already brimming with people. Jason scanned for his parents before continuing, "On paper, I need find old world relics for the Guild. Personally, I just wanna see what the new areas have to offer."

Alex more or less snorted at the two-sidedness of the confession. "Being a Guilder must be the life, huh? They giving all of you fancy robots, now?" At that comment, Jason raised his eyebrow. The two caught up about recent events as they chatted amongst the nigh-huddled nature of the Hollow. Eventually when they had their fill of talk, Alex bid Jason farewell before blending back into the crowd. "Tell my parents 'hi' when you see them next!"

As the two of them made their way through the crowd, a fairly young woman with pale skin emerged from seemingly out of nowhere, nearly running into Duke. Jason opened his mouth to respond, but she simply muttered something and made her way even further through the rolling sea of people, stopping not far off next to a very familiar-looking Peacekeeper. Not long after, an even younger man came through, also mumbling something to himself that got quieter and quieter as he spoke. He was wearing Peacekeeper-grade armor, but it seemed a little bit of an older model than what the Guild souped up recently. If there wasn't a peacekeeper under that are armor, it was probably a rougher on a brand new mercenary job.

Taking a moment to consider his options, Jason looked around. The Peacekeeper the woman was talking to seemed to have drifted off, followed by the whispers of those around him. The young Guilder still had no idea who that man was. Alex was nowhere to be seen, and the only other real interaction he's really had was with the two standing not far off from him. Making his way towards them on the back of Duke, Jason extended his hand out to them, bending over while balancing himself on the bronze giant.

"Hi, I don't think I introduced myself to you two! I'm Jason Sullivan! Guilder, if you, uh... Didn't notice."
I was walking along, minding my business, when out of that orange colored sky...


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