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Skorpynekomimi

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Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:56 am

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

The OCSB! Where the food eats you!
Location: The OCSB. Duh.
Characters: Lucius, Eikichi.
Authors: Skorpy, Arsenal.
Timestamp: Doesn't really matter.


----

Eikichi

I found it. I found the place I was informed of, after searching for the better part of two hours. If I had better resources then maybe I would have gotten here quicker. That isn't the case. I'm just one man, on an indefinite leave. I haven't heard from the Major, Sergeant Major, or either of our First Sergeants. I'm beginning to wonder if I've been written off as AWOL. But no matter. I'm here now, at the OCSB. I can smell all sorts of, well, smells. Not quite sensory overload but just about there.

It's the kind of smell that makes you think of home. Of mother's cooking. If it was a bastardisation of Japanese and Mexican cuisine. Sans the threat of the chancla because you dropped a plate or left a customer hanging because you were swamped. I really should call home.

I've stalled enough. I step inside and do as the toucan says, following my nose.

-----------

'Nae, lads an' lasses, we get tae the int'restin' bit.' Lucius explained, surrounded by blood and bits of cow and sheep. 'After ye discard the brains an' spinal column tae avoid diseases tha' ken be transmitted tae ye from these wee an' nae-sae-wee beasties by eatin' them, ye take the cow's stomach, an' empty it.' He rummaged through the pile of cow parts, emerging with a few bloody red organs in his hands. On account o' cows havin' a few o' them, we get a fair few haggises out o' the beastie.' He sliced the stomach from the array of tubes and wiggly bits, emptying it out into a bucket on the floor.

The crowd made a collective noise of queasiness as the contents of the stomach hit the bucket with a splatch.

'Nae, when ye've done tha', then ye take the heart, lungs, an' liver o' the sheep.' He turned to the pile of bits of sheep, rummaging through it to produce the aforementioned organs, dislodging the head from atop the pile and causing an eyeball to roll away down the length of the table. 'Once ye have those, ye dice or mince 'em. On account o' havin' a kitchen wi' gadgets, I'm gonnae mince 'em.'

The crowd made another noise, this time of interest.

Lucius grinned, cramming the organs into the intake hopper of a nearby mincing machine and turning it on. Using a handy thigh bone, he forced the organs through the mincer. 'Nae, along wi', tha', I'm gonnae add some o' the coo fer texture, an' barley tae help mix it all together, y'ken?' He turned to the crowd, as if expecting a response. On being met with a confused silence, he shrugged and continued, adding the beef and barley to the mixture. 'Ye shouldnae do tha' by hand; I've los' more fingers'n I can remember tae these things.' He tugged the thigh bone from the machine as the meat finished being fed out, now somewhat truncated. He tossed the bone over his shoulder, to where it was set upon by a batch of noodles dangling from an airvent nearby. 'When ye've got the mixture good an' mixed, ye ken add a wee bit o' somethin' fer taste. A wee nip o' whisky is traditional, but tha's a waste o' perfeclty good whisky. Instead, ye use somethin' tha's got a nice taste, but nae good fer alcohol content. Nae, as we came out wi' las' week, I hae a batch o' cider tha's good fer cookin' wi'.' He tugged a large bottle out from under the table, emptying it into the mixture. 'Next, ye cram the mix intae the coo's stomachs, like so.' He picked up one of the stomachs, stuffing it full of the mixture, before doing the same with the rest of the cow's stomachs. After a few minutes of grunting and packing, he had a set of taut, round bags of meat and offal, tied up with tendons from the sheep. He held them up proudly, before sticking them into a nearby oven. 'Ye cook 'em at high temperature, y'ken? 'Specially here, on account o' havin' tae kill off everythin' tha's hidin' wi' it.'

Eikichi had stepped in when the Luc began feeding the the meat to the grinder. He'd never seen a cooking show so visceral, so gory. It was as if someone had been catering to his culinary desires without him knowing it. Licking his lips of escaping drool, he watched and waited for more.

Lucius caught site of the newcomer, an ear flicking as he grinned. 'Ah, an' I see we hae a connoisseur in th' house.' His grin widened. 'Nae, while we're waitin' fer the haggises tae cook, let me tell ye about the origin o' the dish. We can deal wi' the rest o' the coo an' the wee sheep later.' He nudged the piles of bloody mess to the side. 'Nae, the haggis is a wee beastie tha' inhabits the very tops o' the highlands. It's 'specially adapted tae tha', tae the point o' havin' one leg shorter'n the other. Ye get two varieties; clockwise an' anticlockwise. Nae, those lowland pansies who donnae live up on the highlands, an' live off o' the highlands will tell ye one's the male an' ones the female. Tha's a wee shaggy dog story told tae tourists. Tha'd end up wi' vanishingly rare haggises.' He paused, grinning. 'Nae, they're rare beasties, aye, but tha's because the wee beasties are delicious an' easily cooked. They mate by catchin' up tae each other an' slippin' it in from behind. Tha' leads tae them bouncin' down the hills an' mountains coupled taegether like tha'. Nae, occasionally, ye DAE get one o' the clockwise an' anticlockwise meetin' an' matin'. Tha's when we get the hybrid haggis; the deadly hunter o' the valleys. His wee legs are the same length, ye see, an' he scours the valleys fer food; mostly matin' haggises an' lost ramblers.'

He paused for breath, and to check on the haggises in the oven. 'Nae, the name o' the dish is the same as the beast, on account o' the traditional dish bein' an imitation o' the increasingly rare haggises. Safer, tae; the wee beasties are predators. They donnae live on heather an' grasses like the coos or sheepies; rather, they eat small animals like bunnies an' foxes, maybe each other. Get a few together fer long enough, an' they'll take down a coo in about half a minute, give or take. The imitation dish means ye donnae hae tae brave the snow tae get yer haggis fer Burns' Night, an' ye're nae feedin' good food tae southerners an' lowlanders up fer the 'culture'.'

Ei's hand shot up. "When do we eat them?" he asked, a wide grin on his face.

Lucius grinned back, producing a cardboard box from under the table. The box was shaking and bouncing, with tufts of fuzz seen through the airholes every so often. 'Nae, 'cause ye're clearly a man o' taste, I've got one here; 'specially imported from back home on the highlands, personally caught by my grandpa himself, y'ken?' He winked, tapping his nose. 'Donnae ask how it got here. Tha's a matter fer ye tae take up wi' Sealand's marketin' department.' He opened the box, and a fuzzy creature sprang out with a powerful hop, landing on the table and running around in circles on the surface, obviously hampered by seemingly mismatched legs. 'Here's yer haggis. Common or garden hilltop predator o' small beasties, an' lost poachers. Here, he's nae threat.'

The haggis snarled and growled, turning to Lucius and looking him in the eye.

'Aye, he knows a highlander when he sees one.' Lucius' hand shot out, grabbing the haggis by the neck and holding it up. 'Clearly a predator. Ye see the claws on his wee feet, an' the razor-sharp teeth? They're nae fer strippin' leaves off heather an' chewin' grasses. This wee scunner'll have yer fingers off given half a chance.' Lucius reached around, prying the haggis' lips apart to show the aforementioned teeth. 'Ugly scunner, aye?'

"I only got half of what you said. The other half is being translated by my brain as 'predatory animal that you can eat if you kill it.'" He paused, reaching back to unsnap the strap keeping his KA-Bar in the sheath. "Sound about right?"

'Aye, tha's the gist o' it, ye yankee scunner.' Lucius replied. 'Nae, tae KILL the wee beastie, ye donnae need anythin' sae vulgar as a blade, y'ken?' He tossed the haggis up, grabbing it by the legs as it swiveled in mid-air to go for his jugular. 'Ye simply grab the wee scunner by the legs. BOTH legs, nae jus' the long one. The short one'll rip yer wrist out soon as blink a' ye if ye do tha'. But when ye've got the wee beastie...' He swung the haggis out, up, and over, before braining it on the corner of Ei's table, killing it instantly. 'Ye bash 'is wee little brains out.'

Eikichi let out a delighted squeal, a sound most often associated with teen girls at a pop concert. "That is so fucking awesome!" he declared, poking a bit of brain on the table. "When do we eat it?"

"When it's COOKED, ye dimwit.' Lucius replied, taking Ei's knife without even touching it, and slicing the haggis' belly open. 'Firs', ye gut the scunner. Mostly fer the liver; tha's poisonous tae humans, bein' a predator an' all. The intestines are best removed tae; ye can make 'em intae wee sausages later. Most o' the rest ken be left inside, though. Ye stuff the wee beastie wi' beef an' barley like the imitation haggises, maybe wi' the offal as well; shame tae waste good organs, aye?' He winked at Ei, before returning to the table to stuff the haggis with the aforementioned mix. After slicing off the legs, he returned the knife with a flick of the wrist, causing it to land point-first in the leg of Ei's chair, pinning a tentacle there.

Ei focused on the tentacle, eye twitching. He slowly reached for the appendage, grabbing it firmly in one hand before taking hold of his knife. Without warning he began stabbing it repeatedly, screaming in what had to be a mix of japanese and Spanish.

"Desgraciado! Donde estas?" he shouted, jumping up and looking under his table.

Lucius sighed. 'Pipe down, laddie! This is ORAZ; did ye nae come here and NAE expect tae be tentacled, even a wee bit?' He sighed, rolling his eyes as he resumed stuffing the haggis. 'Put tha' away, tae; nae knives except by the chef, y'ken? Makes the food skittish, y'ken?'

Ei took a few breaths before swiping his knife clean and sheathing it. "I'm okay... Had a bad experience with tentacles, once..." he said, taking a seat. "So... the food..."

'Aye.' Lucius nodded. 'When it's done, laddie. Nae, fer the regular haggis, ye wrap the beastie up in a cloth, an' toss it in wi' the rest. The fur singes off in a regular oven, but traditionally, ye'd dig fer clay an' wrap it up in tha' tae get the fur off. Much like the pikeys do wi' hedgehogs, the scunners.' Lucius gave the crowd a Look at the mention of said pikeys. 'Nae, while tha's cookin', I'll show ye what tae do wi' the rest o' the animals.'

Ei settled in, wary of any more tentacles. His attention was divided between was Luc was doing and keeping his eyes on the floor. The next one would meet the Tomahawk. The one after that would get a full metal jacket.

---

Lucius was midway through cramming a pot with snapped bones when the oven pinged. Slamming the lid onto the pot, he turned around and opened the oven, which greeted him with a cloud of thick smoke. 'Aye, donnae panic, tha's how ye know they're done, y'ken?' He extracted the haggises, the fat around the stomachs blackened, and still burning in a few places. Lucius smacked the haggises against the table to knock off the fat and remains of the fur from the 'real' haggis, and started to slice them into portions. One plate, however, got a majority of the 'real' haggis, a small mountain of the 'imitation', and a large slice of a steak and kidney pie that had been set in to cook with the rest. 'Here ye go, donnae eat it all a' once. Or dae; ye've all signed yer waivers.' He shrugged, setting the stocked plate down in front of Ei. 'Eat up, y'ken, yank? Good scottish food fer ye. Get some meat on ye bones, ken aye?'

Ei looked the pile over, popping his knuckles before he dug into the mess. Endorphins released gave him nothing but pleasure as he ate, his HUD displaying a list of what he was ingesting. He didn't care. It was food. It was new. It was delicious.

'Nae there's a man who likes his food.' Lucius remarked, grinning as he stepped back to the kitchen. After a few moments of rummaging in his jacket, he produced his bagpipes, inflating them. 'Nae, fer the proper atmosphere, a wee bit o' pibroch fer ye.' He took a deep breath, before launching into 'Scotland the Brave. This, naturally, caused the various stray pieces of food, ingredients, and assorted livestock to freeze in place in shock, and every flat surface in the room to start vibrating in tune.

Ei paused, mid bite. His HUD was showing an increase in aggression. Ei began eating more ravenously now, forgoing utensils and using his bare hands. Warnings were beginning to pop up on his HUD, the list of materials looking more and more dangerous.

'Calm down, laddie.' Lucius cautioned, pausing the piping between songs. 'Ye'll be eatin' the plate next...'

Ei didn't hear him. He was focused on eating the once living beast. "Must... feed..." he said, returning to the meal. He was half finished with the main course, taking the occasional bite of the pie as well.

'D'ye wannae gie yerself indigestion, lad?' Lucius asked, before launching into 'High Speed Dirt'.

"I know what I'm doing." Ei said, continuing his feast. The warnings were popping up in red now.

'Aye. An' so dae I.' Lucius pointed out. 'Ye'll be leavin' here on a stretcher if ye're ne careful, laddie.'

---

Meanwhile, halfway across the city, a chill ran down Alexis' spine as the bagpipes sounded. The wolfgirl's ears folded back as she quietly slunk into a nearby building to wait out the noise.

---

Were this a videogame, say, Final Fantasy VII, then one would have seen a limit break gauge filling up for Ei as he ate. The gauge built, and built, and built until finally it was full, Ei ready to unleash his limit break. He slammed his fists on the tabletop and rose, letting out a primordial scream. Not quite the same as a Scream of Ultimate Suffering, but on a similar level.

"Pardon me, but I can't seem to figure out what wifi network here isn't password protected." he said, suddenly calm and collected. "I'm trying to post a review to Yelp but all the networks I've tried connecting to are password protected."

'Ye donnae hae mobile internet, laddie?' Lucius inquired from beyond the counter. 'An' I donnae about passwords an tha'; One o' my students sorted tha' out fer me.' He smiled proudly, tapping a pocket of his jacket.

"I didn't see the need to get my phone switched over for international use, so all it's good for is YouTube and Facebook, but only if it's connected to a network. I also kinda didn't bring it, so... I'm..." Ei tripped up, trying to think of how to say he was using the computer grafted to his brain and spine by the SDI without saying he was using a computer grafted to his brain and spine by the SDI.

"I'm using a new interface by Google called Google Human. Think of Google Glass, except instead of wearing it they implant... stuff into you. So you can connect. And stuff..."

Lucius nodded. 'Aye. So, jus' crack the passwords. Friend o' mine does tha', on account o' havin' a similar thing goin'. Computer in his head an' all.' Lucius paused, thinking briefly with a catlike head-tilt. 'Or I could jus' text Lola an' get the passwords.'

"Oh, good, I don't have to lie about it. And, I'm not EW, I'm geared more toward Direct Action and as an Armored Infantryman." Ei replied. "Honestly, this haggis was simply amazing. Top notch."

'Aye, o' course it was.' Lucius stated, without a hint of modesty. 'Quality, fresh ingredients, an' a recipe from the best cook in all o' the highlands; my grandmother.' Lucius grinned proudly. 'Ye should totally hook up wi' Skorp, though; ye seem like the two o' ye'd get on like a house on fire.'

"I'm still active, actually. I've been on leave since that unpleasant business with that mob and our Lancers. I should prolly get back to-" Ei paused for a moment, staring off into space. "I really have no idea where I'm supposed to report to. That aside, I've posted to Yelp. 10/10, would eat here again."

'I think tha's the first positive review on there nae posted by the food.' Lucius quipped, starting to pile the used pans into a metal crate. 'Interested in dessert? There's somethin' I've been wantin' tae try...'

"Oh, god, I shouldn't, I couldn't, I want to have dessert."

Lucius grinned widely, displaying a mouthful of pointed teeth. He then turned his back on Ei to retrieve a variety of items from a freezer, grabbing them with one hand while using a rolling pin in the other to bludgeon them into submission. A few moments of assembly later, and he presented Ei with what looked like a banana crossed with a watermelon turned into something akin to a banana split. A boat of a foggy but clear material sat atop a sea of icecream inside the bawaternanamelon, containing a seething, boiling mass of an angry red liquid. A wooden spoon was thrust into the icecream, the tip sharpened nearly razor-sharp and with a wooden mace head on the end of the handle. 'Enjoy, laddie.'

Ei picked up the spoon and gave it a once over. "Somehow reminds me of a saying I heard." he mused, looking at the mace head. "'Every fight is a food fight when you're a cannibal.'" He then began to dig into the bawaternanamelon's contents.

"I don't know how to describe it. I love it, but I just can't quite describe the taste..."

'Tha'd be the cinnamon.' Lucius explained. 'Scorches yer tastebuds so they're nae burned off by the hellfire chili. Donnae eat the boat, mind ye; tha's aerogel and nae edible.'

"I'm getting some warnings on my HUD about the contents. The system may be identifying them as toxic but I find them to be delicious." Ei said, tipping the spoon/mace toward Luc.

'Aye, tha's the OCSB fer ye. Even if the chili's a wee bit weak compared tae the curries ye'd get down Glasgow way.' Lucius sighed wistfully. 'Aye, twas a loss fer the ages when Shargo's van got destroyed by tha' fire. All o' the best food's on wheels, y'ken? I may start up a food van myself, if I have time tae around bein' a teacher an' all.'

"Oh, that would be awesome... I wanted to start a food truck with my brother at some point. Unfortunately he's 4th ID in Colorado and I'm 1st Cav in Fort Hood." Ei said between slurps of the slurry. "God, I want to finish it but I can't. Tank's full and my HUD won't stop bitching at me."

'Doggie bag?' Lucius asked, fishing an armoured box from under the counter. 'Kinda heavy, but it's got wheels on. Wi' clickety-clackers, tae.'

"I have to decline. I'm staying with my cousins and they're what you'd call 'normals.'" he said, pushing his seat away from the table. "I will have to come back some day. The fare has been exceptionally decadent."

'Ye'd dae well tae. Check out Skorp's science cookery show sometime, but wear yer armour an' a dosimeter.' Lucius advised. 'Oh, an' mind the noodles.'

"I'm bringing my machete, if they're anything like that tentacle... Only turn off for the experience." he admitted, eyeing the underside of the table and contemplating his sidearm again.

'Worse. All thin an' wriggly, an' nae slime tae trace 'em by. An' endless, so ye cannae jus' cut 'em.' Lucius pointed out; having had run-ins with the endless noodles before.

"Fun times. Welp, I best be going. Que le vaya bien." he said, turning to leave.

'Hasta la vista, baby.' Lucius replied, waving. 'An' really, mind the noodles.'

Eikichi

I don't want to think about the noodles. I really don't. Like little, sentient tentacles... If they were earthworms, I wouldn't mind, but tentacles. Ugh, what a put off. I think this trip has been a rousing success. Woe upon anyone who is lacking the intestinal fortitude to survive the fare here. Maybe I'll tell the platoon about this place. I mean, years of eating MREs and institutional food should give them enough of a strengthened stomach lining to survive. Then again...

Lucius winced as a bundle of tentacles wrapped around Eikichi's ankle, tripping him and sending him to a date with the floor, face-first. 'Less narratin', more lookin' where ye're goin', laddie.'

"I'm okay!" Ei shouted, kicking the noodles loose before getting back to his feet.

---

Summary:
Ei finds the OCSB!
Lucius is cooking. Haggis. Doing all the work himself, on-site.
Yes, that includes slaughtering and butchering the animals.
Ei is entranced.
The story of the true haggis.
Ei wants to eat one!
Lucius can tell a connesieur, and produces one he had imported/smuggled specially.
Use a KNIFE? Nothing so advanced here.
*thwack*
Tentacle! Stabby stabby.
Food is served.
Entertainment? BAGPIPES.
Alexis is still wary of the noise.
10/10, would eat there again. Not posted by the food.
Mind the tentacles.
No, really, mind the...
*sigh* He DID warn you...
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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<<

Hyuuint

Posts: 13

Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:27 am

Post Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:16 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Teacher's Night Out
Timestamp: Just after A Budding Friendship.
Locations: FGTL HQ, an Italian restaurant, and Shiori's apartment.
Characters: Shiori, Tiffaney, Johnathan, Evangeline, Alexis, and Skorpion.
Authors: Hyuuint, Oblivion, and Skorp.




Shiori had finally let go of Tiff's arm, and had hopped into the passenger side of the SUV. "Neat armoring. Anti-piercing, or simply bog standard armors?"

"Standard Largoist vehicle, enough armour to keep most bullets and explosives out." Tiffaney informed before backing out of her spot and beginning the drive back to HQ.

"How's the gas mileage, or has it been refitted with more appropriate energy sources?" Shiori couldn't help herself as she checked out several of the buttons and stuff on the dash. Didn't TOUCH anything, but she was definitely showing off her nekomimi's side of curiosity.

"The mileage is terrible, but with all of the armour one can't be surprised, though who knows what kind of 'upgrades' Skorpion has planned right around the corner." Tiffaney answered with a shrug as she drove like most Largoists wouldn't and obeyed traffic laws.

"Pity cold fusion isn't viable yet. Though, if Brittany's hints are anything, she's been working with folks on that." Shiori peered out into the street, keeping in mind of where they were turning and when. Just in case.

"Oh? She's the one who's responsible for your training room, right?" Tiffaney asked, taking a moment to adjust her glasses.

"And the Spider Force's AI. Neat thing? She gave it to me as a 'packet' if you will. That way, they start up with the same basic ideals and such, but different personalities, with filters for the, uhm, unwanted aspects of AI. Know what I mean?" Shiori had finally stopped messing with things, and had simply leaned her chair back to relax.

"The one back at HQ is going through puberty. Needless to say, I've deactivated certain cameras." Tiffaney started.

---Flashback---

Tiffaney looked at the camera in the vent and smiled before crushing it beneath her thumb.

---End flashback---

"That aside you're quite. Hmm. Gifted aren't you?" Tiffaney asked passing a momentary glance to the gym teacher's chest. "Bet you have trouble keeping men away."

Shiori reddened a fair bit, and crossed her arms over her chest. "I uh, yeah. A few times. Good chunk of women too. I'd like to think it's my personality too, but I know. It's these. And, uh, bit of narcisim? Whole package to boot." She gave a self-concious giggle (causing a jiggle). "Thanks for the complement at least. Gifted you say, eh?"

"Mhmm." Tiffaney mused as she pointed to her own chest, which was also quite large, with one hand. "Not many people can pull these off without back pain." She noted before returning her hand to the wheel. "Super-human strength is quite useful in that aspect."

"Welll.....believe it or not, the super strength is actually kinda enhanced by these things." She gave herself a heck of a heft before letting them drop (and subseqently bounce a fair bit) to their normal placement. "You said you read our files, right? What do you remember reading about what the nanites did for us?"

"Strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance, and occasionally some retain their youth, whether or not this extends their life or not is yet to be determined, though I don't know if your nanites created an organ to reproduce in or made do with an existing one." Tiffaney explained, passing a quick glance to the bounce.

"On the nose, yet a fair bit off." She grinned a bit. "While we all got each of those, we were all affected differently, just a bit each. See, the nanites decided to settle in certain parts of our bodies around when we hit puberty. Before then, they just kinda settled evenly throughout our bodies. The majority of my sisters got Arms or Legs, which enhanced their upper or lower body strength each, and both areas greatly enhanced their stamina. You've kinda seen me in action? They can last way way WAY longer than me." Shiori tapped her leg as she thought. "Two of them got Brain. Brittany is one, Olivia is the other. Both of them got extreme levels of intelligence and cognitive function boosts, and thanks to where they settled, head-shots are near impossible to keep. The nanites also protect their memory in the process. They got the lower end of the whole strength boost thing, but Brittany can still lobby a left hook that can take out many a foe, ya dig?"

Tiffaney nodded quietly in response.

"Now me and two others? We got, quote unquote, Chest. Ya know. Boobs." Shiori explained, shaking her head. "Near as we can figure, the nanites saw these as nothing more than useless fat to us, but prime real estate to themselves. And, uh, cause I know you'll ask? I'm actually the biggest girl period. The other two are actually only B and C cups each."

"So, were you always this well endowed?" Tiffaney asked, an ear perking.

"Pretty much. I blossomed quickly and early, so the nanites settled pretty quickly in response. By age 16 I was in the double d's." She looked out the window, leaning on an elbow as she continued. "The guardians...they tried everything, every known reduction surgery or balm or whatever, but still. These remained. Hells, according to the doctors, they were actively fighting the nanites the whole time, and they just gave up when they started making it impossible to keep me under to boot." Shiori hefted herself up again. "Thus, they stayed, and have become my more....noticed attribute. In the process, they not only keep these things permanently perky, but also help with my would-be back issues. This had a couple extra effects. I have a really strong back, and it actually increased my overall strength multiplier, so to speak." She let them drop (and bounce) again. "But that's not the biggest thing this whole ordeal boosted. You know about the tiers of healing, right?"

"There are nine tiers to healing factors. One through three are fast healers, like Lexi. Flesh wounds close easily though more serious wounds can keep them down for a good while. Four through six heal progressively faster, and are better put down through heart shots or removal of the head. Seven are the ones who can re-attach dismembered limbs, and are only put down by 'killing' them until their healing factor gives out, though some, Wolverine for example, have a near unlimited capacity for restoration. Tier nine can be described as immortals, such as Lucius. They can sustain just about anything and heal back without a scatch. Whether sucked through a jet engine, ground to dust, or compacted to a one foot cube, they'll come back good as new. There's speculation of a tenth tier, but there's not much evidence to back it." Tiffaney explained in a single breath.

"Not any more. You are driving with the only known proven ten in existance so far."

Tiffaney raised her eyebrows and looked to Shiori for a moment before returning her eyes to the road. "Really? How would you restore your body's mass after being obliterated down to nearly every cell?" She asked, passing glances to her every few seconds.

"We're....not sure. We only know I'm what I'm at cause of how quickly I healed from...." Shiori hesitated, not sure if Tiff knew about this part of her life. "You read anything about me and a refinery in all those reports?"

"No. I only peeked in on standard research progress." Tiffaney said with a shrug.

"When was about twelve, a vampire and some immortal got into a huge fight at this oil refinery. Having just gotten my first mech in my own name and everything, I ignored orders, hopped into my new beauty, and went to go deal with things. No one knows WHAT happened exactly, but at some point, the mech imploded a bit before exploding, taking out the refinery. And me with it to boot." Her eyes narrowed a bit as she went back to the window. She wasn't even pretending to watch the street names anymore. "All that was left of me was a torso. No legs, most of my left arm, right arm completely gone, head, some of the chest, all of it. Vaporised. They found me about 8 days after the incident, and yet I was still...fresh. No blood leaked when they picked me up, though they could tell it was in there. The nanites saved me. Moment they got me back to base? I healed. Injuries like that, even for an immortal, would take days, weeks even. Me? I came back in hours. But..."

"But, what?" Tiffaney asked.

"I didn't come back whole. With what was lost physically, that came back, when I came to? I thought it was two weeks prior. EVERYTHING that had happened in those two weeks are gone. I don't mean amnesia stuff you see in soap operas. This is like....like when a computer gets rebooted from a older backup. All that new stuff you had done in the meantime is...gone. No triggers, no lingering images, nothing. I only found out about all this years after the fact, when I hacked my own case-files, and uncovered the truth." She tapped the window with her finger, her face hardening. "The guardians, they theorized that from the sheer speed of how I healed up, even after being under rubble and picked at by who-knows-what parasites in the meantime, that I COULD come back from as little as point-zero-one percent of my body mass. But as a result, unless it happened to be brain matter that survived? I'd lose...years. Hells, maybe even a decade or two if I'm old enough at the time. So while I COULD bounce back from something that big....would I want to? Would my friends and family want me to? All those memories, those experiences. Gone."

"I won't let that happen to you. Not if I can do anything about it." Tiffaney said in an attempt to comfort her friend, reaching over with one hand to pet her ears.

Shiori nuzzled into the petting, and wiped the tears that were coming from her eyes at this point. "Uhm, ahem, how far is your place? We've been driving a while, I think...."

"A minute or two. You can see it from here." Tiffaney said as she pointed to the building; a slab-sided atrocity of concrete studded with turrets and surrounded by a minefield.

Shiori ducked down a little to see out the front window. "That is some building."

"Yup. And that's only the above ground portion." Tiffaney said with a smile.

"Impressive." Shiori sat back in her seat, and figeted a little. In a small voice: "Say, could you keep the whole ten thing on the down low? Kinda supposed to keep mum on that, and I got a bit into the moment."

"Don't worry. I won't tell a soul." Tiffaney assured.

---

"And here we are!" Tiffaney announced as the duo entered the lobby, causing Alexis' ears to perk with intrigue.

"Hi mom!" Alexis said with a wave as her and her kin stood to greet their mom's new friend.

"Hello." Shiori gave a friendly wave to the lot of them. "Ya'll are the kids?"

"That's right! I'm Alexis, Lex for short." Alexis greeted as she motioned to herself. "This is John, or Johnathan if you're boring." She said as she gestured to her twin brother.

"Greetings." Said twin brother greeted with the emotional range of a brick.

"And this is Eva, which is the fun sized version of Evangeline." Alexis continued, now gesturing to the winged elf on the other side of her.

"Hello." Eva said with a wave and a smile.

"Nice ta meet ya'll. I'm Shiori, one of Tiff's coworkers and recently-made friend of hers." She gave her now signature grin to the trio. She had sharp looking teeth, no doubt from her kemonomimi heritage. "I think your mom needed to get something done here, before we headed out again for our 'date'."

"Date?" Alexis inquired, her right ear tilting to the side.

"Not that type of date, Lexi." Tiffaney said before patting her daughter's head. "I'll be right back." The scientist informed before taking her leave for the time being.

"So you work at the school? What's your job?" Eva asked with a friendly curiosity.

"I am the gym-slash-non-magical-self-defense-slash-life-lesson-teacher-slash-spider-maker." Was how she answered, in one breath. "It's just as bizarre as it sounds." She looked to Eva first. "Whatchoo do?"

"Spiders. Unfortunate." Johnathan stated blankly.

"I'm a surgeon-slash-doctor-slash-pharmasist-slash-field medic." Eva responded, mimicing Shiori's method of informing before giggling a bit.

Shiori giggled herself, before responding to John: "Easier build for me to emulate, seeing as I'm more used to mechs. Besides, they're plenty useful, adorable, and have a tendency to be adopted against their will." Points to the twins "How about the two of ya'll, what do you do?"

"Melee weapons specialist." Johnathan responded flatly with his usual lack of any emotion.

"And I'm your ranged weapons specialist, and with the addition of Dev; we're the Land Warrior busters, or would have been if we weren't so graciously liberated." Alexis informed with a confident grin.

"Land Warrior busters eh? Better than what I got. Our team never officially got a name cause they couldn't think of one that wasn't used, stupid, both, or fit for us." Sage-nodded to that. "And yes, Dev. Will need to be talking to him soon." To any looks she got: "No, he's not in trouble, but if he keeps up what he's been attempting he will be. Saying no more, sorry." There was another one of her grins, before she looked around again. "How'd ya'll get used to living in a place this huge? Granted, I lived in a heck of a facility myself, but I've gotten used to my cozy little apartment."

"Land Warrior busters was something I came up with, but I gotta ask since you brought up teams. You're augged too?" Alexis asked, completely disregarding the mention of her brother.

"Does Devin get in trouble a lot?" Eva asked with her head tilting to the side.

"Very augmented. Nanite style boosted strength, healing, and a lot more. As for Devin." Shiori crossed her arms at this point. "He doesn't get in trouble much, if at all, near as I can tell. Though, lately, I may have given him a look into something very tempting, but it's not mine to show off. Again, all I can say at the moment because of what is involved. I have plans to help him out, I just hope he doesn't do something foolish for the sake of 'seeking out knowledge' or somesuch."

"Bet'cha he'll do it." Alexis said to John with a smirk.

"Based on his personality I would agree. It is likely he will do as you hope him not to."

She gave a concerned look to John. "You alright there? Haven't even so much as raised an eyebrow to any of this."

"I am currently unwounded, does this qualify?" Johnathan asked with a straight face.

Shiori merely blinked. "Welp. Guess it does." This time she gave a more directly friendly smile, before setting herself down on a couch. "Ya'll alright with me taking yer mom out on the town?"

"As long as her safety is assured I will be fulfilling my role as son." Johnathan stated.

"I don't got a problem with it, just don't do anythin' too out there or Skorp might come after you." Alexis said with a chuckle.

"Not at all! Have fun!" Eva agreed.

"Heh, cool. As for 'out there', that'd be up to your mom more than me." She gave another sage nod to this.

"I'll give you an idea." Alexis said mischievously before slipping behind Shiori and playfully groping her breasts. "None of this!" She said, her tail wagging excitedly.

Shiori gave a rather adorable "Gyeep!" at the sudden boob-attack, before wriggling a bit. "I knew whatcha meant!"

"Damn! These things are huge!" Alexis noted, hefting them a bit. "Wow! These puppies are soft! They got a little bit of heft to them, but damn! Would you mind volunteering as my pillow from now on? Maybe donate a little size to me?" the semi-flat chested wolfgirl teased before letting them bounce and hopping back.

"Lexi! No fondling mom's friends!" Eva scolded with red cheeks.

"Believe me, if I could donate, I would. But... have have gotten used to them by now." Shiori's face remained red even after she had let go. "And as for the whole, uhm, pillow thing, we just met? And what would your mom think?"

"I've done stranger, but as for the mom thing, I dunno." Alexis said with a shrug. "On a slightly more normal note, welcome to FGTL HQ!" She said, extending her arms in a welcoming manner with a slight bow. "Any questions?"

"I'm good. Not gonna try and recruit me are you? Lucius said something about exploding heads and bad idea and stuff like that."

"Nah, that ain't my job. As fer explodin' heads. That's my specialty!" Alexis stated, pointing to herself with her thumb. "Amazin' what you can pull off when you know where every bullet will hit at any moment."

"Heck of an ability. Must come in handy." Smirks, then to Eva "What's your specialty?"

"I'm the healer." Eva dutifully responed, holding up her hands which gave a faint glow for a moment. "Whether it be a paper cut or a severed limb, I can fix it up, good as new!"

"Hm....and I bet you, John, have something that pertains to your whole melee aspect? And Devin was made with being the intelligence in mind, right?"

"Correct. My strength and stamina surpass my kin, and with Evangeline in close proximity my combat effectiveness is near doubled. I am as they call a 'meat shield'." The wolfboy stated factually. "Devin's technopathic abilities were designed to shut down healing nanites for easier dispatchment of Land Warriors, though our primary objective was never initiated."

"Huh. If I may say, that all sounds impressive, though I can guess the whole reasons to why you have them aren't so happy." She tapped her chair a bit. "Does explain a bit for Devin then." She kicked back to relax, despite the subject matter of their conversation.

"Oh yeah. We got the disecting, the slicing, a name engraved into our femurs... The works!" Alexis said with a smile dispite giving off an aura of murder. "So." She mused, the mood entirely changing as she walked up behind Shiori to wrap her arms around the woman's neck and poked at her boob. "When was your first kill?"

She gave another cute eep at the poke. Her face went even REDDER, adding to the adorableness of the situation. "Uhm. Technically age twelve, though first official was sixteen. Superpowered jerk decided he was gonna blow up a few buildings, with civvies inside." Alexis moved around the chair. "Got the order to take him out permanently, and did so. By mech, not by hand. Still. A thing to live with." She wriggled a bit. At this point, Alexis had planted herself on Shiori's lap, her finger having never left the initial poking spot. "Comfy?"

"Quite." Alexis said with a grin.

"Lexiii." A flustered Eva said with a heavy blush.

"Your first kill was better then mine. I was six at the time, and it was just me and this guy strapped to a chair with a bag over his head. Guns are heavy when you're that small, but it's hard to miss someone who's right there. Now before you go thinking I was a six year old sociopath, I'm gonna tell you I didn't want to at first." Alexis said before leaning against Shiori. "But they threatened to put me in the box again, and I didn't want that to happen. It was dark in there. Quiet. Quieter than anything you could imagine... So I shot him. Never saw his face, never knew his name, but you never forget your first." The wolfgirl let out a sigh. "Cozy~"

Shiori was at maximum blush when the wolfgirl had finished leaning fully against the snowleopardgirl, but she listened diligently to the story nonetheless. When she finished, at the sigh and the comment, Shiori simply wrapped her arms around Alexis and hugged her. It wasn't a sexy hug, but a comforting one. Motherly almost. "Sorry you had to go through that. At the risk of sounding callous, I really wish more programs had been more like mine. Would have helped a lot more for the world, I suspect." Shiori simply kept the contact like that till Alexis made some movement to indicate she was done.

Alexis' ears perked alertedly as she was drawn into a hug, twitching a couple times before settling. "Did I tell ya they engraved our femurs?" She asked, chuckling a little bit before relaxing. "Hey... Thanks for puttin' up with me." She said with a light blush.

"Ya did. The jerks. And you're welcome." She didn't do much more physically with Alexis, but seeing as they just met, it's just as well. There was a few pats to the back at least. "You have an interesting choice in potential bedroom talk, by the by."

Eva's ears drooped a bit as Alexis chuckled. "I'm so sorry about her! She gets a little excited about meeting people."

"I'm cool, and so is she. I just hope Tiff doesn't freak out if she sees us like this."

It was then as if decreed by fate that Tiffaney returned. "Okay. My Nekomimi batch is done, just gotta wait until it's safe to change back and-why is Lexi on your lap?" The mother asked as she pointed to Shiori and Alexis.

"Cause she's comfy, and I like messing with people.." Alexis said, making no effort at any sort of lie.

"I think that about sums it up, though I suspect she's kinda stuck now in the comfiness. As a bonus, you know now that she is cool with me, right?" She pat Lexi again. "Hokay, I think you ought to get up now. If you can."

"It's nice that you're getting along." Tiffaney said with a smile as she walked over.

"But you're so soft... Just gimme like... Five minutes." Alexis asked, her right ear flickering occasionally.

"Lexi!" Eva called out with crossed arms.

"Noooo. You don't understand! It's like they're made of clouds." Alexis explained.

"Lexi, what would Rekko think?" Tiffaney asked.

"I dunno. That it's hot?" Alexis mused her ears perking alertedly at the 'mom look'. "Okay, I'll get up." She said rather quickly.

Shiori helped her get up, undoing her arms and giggling a little. "I am sure you'll do this again at some point." She sat up, stretched, and started to get off the chair herself. "Ready Tiff?"

"Only if you let me." Alexis said with a smile.

"Yup! Let's go." Tiffaney said happily as she started for the door. "Stay safe you three."

"Understood." Johnathan stated.

"Mhmm. Have fun with your friend, mom!" Eva said with a wave.

"You know me, always safe." Alexis said with a mischievous grin.

"That goes double for you Lexi." Tiffaney said, pointing a finger to the trouble-making wolfgirl, who chuckled in response.

"Welp, if you can get me to the main street, I can remember the way to the restaraunt again. From here, I'm a little lost." Shiori gave a nervous giggle. Her face was slowly un-reddening by this point.

"Sure thing. What did you think of my kids?" Tiffaney asked as the two left the room.

"Very nice, all three of them. I look forward to seeing them again."

"I'm glad. It makes me happy to see them doing well outside of that lab."

"They seem well enough. John worries me a little, but I suspect that his unemotive state is a result of the stuff that happened?"

"It is. They implanted a chip in his brain that suppresses emotions. It was meant to make him more... 'efficient.'" Tiffaney explained as they approached the SUV she'd parked out front.

"Hrmph. I oughta get some of my contacts to mess with the idiots who did all that." Shiori hopped into the vehicle again. "Maybe flush them out, give them atomic wedgie from hell."

"Skorpion's promised the same. We just need to wait for them to resurface."

---

Tiffaney pulled into an open space in the restaurant parking lot, putting the SUV in park before turning it off and exiting the vehicle. "Looks nice." The bunnygirl scientist complemented.

"They keep their area very clean, and the food is amazingly well done, considering." Shiori offered an arm to the bunnygirl. "Shall we? Shouldn't be too busy, even at this hour."

Tiffaney tilted her head to the side, one of her bunny ears perking as the other succumbed to gravity. "Okay." She said as she took the offered arm due to being completely inexperienced with girls nights out.

Shiori took the lead, kinda, and made the way into the restaraunt. As suspected, the building wasn't too totally full, and the two got a cozy little booth to themselves within minutes. Menus were left behind, waiters were greeted, and soon enough, the two were picking through bread pieces and perusing the menus.

"I think you might like the carbonara....though you DID say you love italian, so you likely have what you want in mind already, eh?" Shiori giggled again.

"I think I'm gonna get a chicken alfredo. I'd get a drink or two, but I'm driving so that's definately not for the best." Tiffaney said with a cheerful smile.

"I'd offer to drive, but I'm terrible with cars. Gimme a mech any day." Shiori thought for a few seconds while reading. "Though, if you want to get a drink or two, go for it. You can either spend the night at my apartment, which isn't too far from here, or I can do the whole jump-you-home thing."

"Oh, no. I couldn't possibly trouble you like that."

"It would be no trouble at all, really. It's a night to hang out, so if you want a glass or two, get a glass or two. I like being responsible sometimes, afterall."

"Are you sure?" Tiffaney asked to confirm.

"Very sure. I wouldn't insist on it if I wasn't. Though, before you lose your senses, decide: A hop home or mine?" Shiori picked up the glass of water she got moments ago, and took a stip.

"If your place is closer, then maybe that'd be less of a hassle... What do you think?" Tiffaney asked, feeling a little lost.

"My place it is." Shiori gave a determined nod, and when the waiter finally reappeared, gave her order. She decided to go for the chicken alfredo as well, but very heavy on the chicken and not the noodles so much. Unsweet tea to drink.

Tiffaney went with her originally planned chicken alfredo with some red wine, and a glass of water. After the waiter parted Tiffaney turned back to Shiori. "Is there anything you wanted to talk about over dinner?"

"Hmm. Strangely enough, I thought we'd discuss about....oh! I know!" She leaned in, grinning impishly. "How'd you gain your own age-stop? Augmentation, magic, voodoo curse, random kumquats?"

"Actually that's a bit of an embarrasing story. I was about twenty one and I had the worst acne, so one day I thought 'why do I have to put up with this? I'm a genius.' So I started development on my own anti-acne cream. One thing led to another, I wound up expanding on it several times, and by the end of the year I'd made a serum that 'in theory' should permanently remove all unsightly blemishes. So I tried it and after several weeks of intense chest pains and hypersensitive skin... My blemishes vanished, and I haven't aged since." Tiffaney said, blushing a bit.

"A true anti-aging cream, you say? Huh. Surprised you haven't marketed the heck out of that. I take it you thought the side effects were too extreme then?" Shiori nabbed a bread bit and nibbled on it.

"The notes were lost in a fire from a couple other students smoking in the dorms. Plus it really hurt." Tiffaney said with a sigh. "Seven months... Gone in a fire."

"Yikes. That sucks. Hrm. Probably for the best though. There are several people I can think of that should never have eternal youth, ya know?" She nibbled some more. "Well. Anything you want to ask me? Aside from a few things I can't talk about, I'm a near-open book."

"Hmmm. What do you do in your spare time?" Tiffaney asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Well, lately, I've been focusing on my classes. Other than that, I work out, research, jog, help out a friend with a thing she has, and keep my ear to the ground about developments concerning problems involving folks like us." Shiori took a moment to contemplate what she just said, her ears drooping. "I need a hobby. Or a person. A pet? Something. I sound way too work focused."

Tiffaney giggled. "Don't worry about it. I'm the same way." She said with a smile. "So. What is it you can't talk about?" She asked, the curiosity driving her to ask.

"Anything involving Brittany's projects, the tech she's given me....and anything about my parents. Everything else, fair game." She set her bread bit aside, and fished out the lemon from her tea, setting it on a small plate. Shiori's tail flicked from place to place beside her.

Tiffaney glanced at Shiori's chest for a brief moment as she took a drink, immediately scolding herself for the lack of restraint before asking. "What about Brittany herself? Can you tell me about her?"

"You can, but I can't say much. She doesn't like being talked about, and I respect that. I will say that she's a little cold cause she's been thinking so scientifically for years, but she's a good person nonetheless. What she takes on for projects proves that." With her drink set aside, Shiori put her hands under her chin and waited for more questions.

Tiffaney nodded. "Does she like her work?"

"I think it's what she lives for. When she was younger, any time she wasn't figuring something out, she was always a little on edge. It's a comfort thing for her." Shiori grinned impishly again. "I am guessing you want to meet her at some point?"

"It would be nice, but I'm not going to force the matter." Tiffaney said as the food was brought to the table, complete with Tiffaney's drink.

"Looks good again." Shiori undid her fork and knife, and dug in with relish. After a good fifteen minutes of silent eating, Shiori is halway done before she wondered. "Is Alexis bi, or does she really simply enjoy messing with folks?"

Tiffaney spent the fifteen minutes sipping wine and eating. "She does have a boyfriend, I don't know if she's curious or not, but she's far too loyal to act on any curiosities she may have... But yes, she enjoys joking around with people." She said, slightly shrugging her elbows and taking another sip of wine. "Why?"

"Simply wondering is all. She seemed rather....touchy-feely with me. Well, certain bits of me." Shiori reddened again.

"Hm? Oh. Oh, my. I'm so sorry... If you want I could scold her for you." Tiffaney said apologetically.

"No no! It's ok, I'm kinda used to it by now." Another nervous grin, and the reddness on Shiori's face deepened. "Uhm, anything else you'd like to know?" She asked as she went back to what was left of her food.

"Not particulary." Tiffaney said as she finished her glass of wine. "What about you? Anything you want to know about me or my kids? Maybe the bits of my work I can talk about?"

"Sure. What can you talk about in your line of work outside of the school?" Shiori polished off the few bites she had left.

"Lately I've been working on a consumable that alters one's genetic code to alter one's gender and physique. It's immoral I know, but I've always been interested in genetic research. It'll be really useful If I manage to nail it like I did with the kemonomimi serums." Tiffaney said in a manner that could have one question if she was already a little drunk after three glasses of wine.

Shiori gave her a concerned look as Tiff spoke. "Hm. Here's the thing, if that stuff could work? And the people who take it actually have their own say on the matter? Imagine how many lives you could change for the better! Folks with genetic diseases could have a second chance. People who felt they were given the wrong gender can reverse it and live how they feel. It's when it gets forced on people who COULD decide for themselves that it gets morally wrong, I would think. Would need some regulation over age and stuff like that, but I can see a lot of good potential out of that stuff." She peered over at the scientist. "How's your thinking right now?"

"I agree. I'm hoping I can use this as a base to do some real good in the world. Make up for my mistakes in the past." Tiffaney said with hope in her voice. "Hmm? What do you mean by that?" She asked tilting her head to the side.

"I guess I was hearing things." She gave a shrug. "And I bet it could. What else are ya working on?" Shiori looked over the dessert menu as she asked, debating on sweets. She mumbled to herself "Not like this could make things any bigger...."

"Mostly trying to come up with ways to get Largoists to stop getting themselves hurt. Now THAT. Is a conundrum." Tiffaney said, pouring herself another glass of wine before starting to sip at it, pausing to take look at a dessert menu as well. "Aside from that I cloned a few raptors and accidentally bought three lion cubs."

Shiori looked up in shock on that one. "How can you accidentally buy lion cubs? And where are they now?"

"I wanted lion's blood, and I got a lion's brood." Tiffaney said with a shrug. "Right now they're in a habitat I built for them, and I must say I'm surprised at how well behaved they are!"

"Give them time." And that was all she said on that matter. "Tiramisu looks good, buuuut I think I'll skip dessert tonight. You?"

"Yeah. I think I'm done too." Tiffaney agreed, putting aside her magical girl desire to consume any and all sweets.

Shiori set the menu off to the side, and asked for the check. "How're you feeling?" Shiori eyed the evidence of drinks.

"I think I may have gone a lil overboard." Tiffaney admitted. "Definitely not safe to drive."

"I can agree to that." Shiori paid up, tip and all, and when she got the reciept: "Come on, I'll lead you to my place. How good is the security on your SUV?"

"Someone shot it with a rocket once?" Tiffaney informed before giggling.

"Good enough for me." Shiori giggled along with Tiff, and stood up, offering the tipsy scientist a hand "To the apartment!"

"Yaay!" Tiffaney cheered as she got up and stumbled into Shiori.

Shiori gave a very mild oof at the stumbling. "Heavy clothing?" She gave a smirk, and did her best to help steer her out of the building and onto the street.

---

About twenty minutes later, they make it to Shiori's cozy little apartment. "Was kicking that guy in the shin necessary?" Shiori asked with a huge smile on her face despite herself.

"I was gonna givim a hallucino... Hailuk... Halucinogenic, but you shtopped me. Plush he grabbed by boob." Tiffaney complained. "Somthin like that doeshen't go without revenge."

"Fair enough. But if you're gonna do that, do it like I teach my students. Aim for the ankle." Shiori tried her best to get her new friend to the couch to sit down. "Given how you are, I think I better take the couch tonight, and you get the bed."

"I coulda broken that man'sh leg if I wanened to." Tiffaney informed. "No, I couldn't take your bed. I can shleep on the floor or coush."

"Oh no you're not. You're the guest, you get the bed."

"But thash rude. I'll be fine, I promish." Tiffaney promised.

"Nuh uh, I'm putting my foot down. Now come on, off to bed with you." And after making an effort to get her onto the couch, Shiori tried to usher her into the bedroom.

"Noo. I dun wanna impose!" Tiffaney protested adamantly.

"Yer goin." And in one fell swoop, Shiori picked up Tiff like a doll, and slung her over a shoulder. "OK, I see where the weight's coming from." On the way there, Tiff was deprived of her incredibly heavy and stiff lab coat. In moments, they reached the foot of the bed. Shiori carefully tried to put Tiff down gently.

Though Tiffaney didn't protest much to being picked up or having her labcoat removed, she did put up a struggle when she realized she was being placed on the bed. She wrapped her arms around Shiori and pulled her down with her. "If I'm gonna shleep on the bed, then you're gonna too." She said, feeling too tired to argue further and instead locking Shiori in place until she consented.

That was not something Shiori expected. Strong as she was, she was still liable to be grappled like anyone else, and when Tiff pulled her down? Down she went, straight ontop of the tipsy gal. And when she finally realized where she was, as well as what Tiff said and did? Shiori went beet red. Shiori struggled a little, but when she realized the grip wasn't gonna let go, not without worry of accidentally hurting Tiff, she relented. "OK, OK Could you at least let me get into my sleep wear?"

"Yay!" Tiffaney cheered, releasing her friend to let her arms plop onto the bed, crawling under the sheets and placing her glasses on a nightstand as her friend got dressed.

Another small giggle from the kemonomimi, before she got out of bed, and changed into her lesser preferred sleepwear. Namely, a new pair of really short cloth shorts and a white tank top. She slid back into the sheets, and laid down. There was a moment's hesitation, then a shrug before she pulled Tiff into a cuddle.

As her friend got up to get changed, Tiffaney decided her current outfit was a little uncomfortable for bed, so she reached into hammerspace and pulled out one of Skorpion's tee shirts (which functioned well for her as a type of night gown) and changed into it under the blankets, tucking her old clothes back into hammerspace before settling again.

"Sleep well, Tiff." Shiori settled in a bit more.

"You too." Tiffaney muttered before snuggling her way into a comfortable spot and falling asleep.

-----

Come the dawn, Shiori moved a little, still in half drowsy stupor, before she became aware of a bit of weight on herself. She looked down to Tiffaney who was still fast asleep snuggled against her, using her breasts as makeshift pillows.

The redness that had been plaguing her all night returned with full force. She lightly placed a hand on Tiff's shoulderer, and shook it a little "Morning, Tiff?"

Tiffaney stirred a bit, lifting her head from the impromptu pillows. "Mmm. Wha?" She mutted before adjusting herself and plopping down on the actual pillows.

Shiori gave yet another one of her giggles, before getting up to get dressed again. "Come on, gotta get up. Imagine your family is wondering and rumor making by now."

"Where are the other pillows? They were softer." Tiffaney asked, completely ignorant to what those 'pillows' actually were.

"Those, uh, those were me. I mean, if you want, I can crawl back to bed, so you can sleep like that more." Shiori paused mid-shirt-change to await Tiff's answer. Or reaction.

"What do you mean?" Tiffaney asked, slowly sitting up, looking at her friend for a couple seconds before it dawned on her. "So those were your..." She paused for a moment as her cheeks grew red. "I'm so sorry!" She apologized, bowing her head to Shiori.

"Nah, it's alright. We were both asleep, no harm done." Shiori finished getting dressed, before giving a concerned look to Tiff. "How are you feeling? You eneded up a little tipsy last night."

"I'm fine. Everythings a little bright, but some water will take care of that." Tiffaney said as she took her glasses from the nightstand and put them on. "Thanks for taking care of me."

"Very welcome, though you took care of yourself quite well." Shiori passed a massive grin to Tiff. "I don't think he'll walk quite right any more.' She left the room, got a glass of water, and handed it to Tiff. "Here."

"That's what he gets for groping me." Tiffaney stated, making it clear she didn't regret that particular action. As her friend left to get her water she stood and stretched. "I'm glad I keep one of Skorpion's shirts with me." She said as she accepted the water and took a drink.

"Me too. I think anything of mine would have the same effect as his does." Shiori sat herself on the bed. "Thanks for last night. It was fun. And, uh, sorry if this morning made things awkward again."

"Oh, no. That was my fault, so you shouldn't apologize." Tiffaney said assuringly. "And I had fun last night too!" She smiled, that being her first girl's night out.

"We should do it again some time, eh?" Shiori smiled very happily at this. She loved making new friends, even if things always seemed to end up a little physical.

Tiffaney nodded. "Mhm! Minus the chest pillows of course."

"But of course."

---

A while later, after Shiori had made sure Tiff had made it home safely, she was walking along with a spring in her step. As she rounded a corner, she was met by a net and a damp cloth in front of her, and a tranq dart from behind.

When she awoke, she was tied to an office chair in concrete room, with a big, bright light shining on her. Silhouetted in the light was a large, bulky figure. "Wakey wakey, Shiori-sensei."

"Eh what huh....who....ooh, whoever you are, you're gonna regret this." She struggled with her bonds, trying to break free.

The figure chuckled. "Don't bother; it's stronger than you are. I just want to ask you a few questions. First of all being what you were doing with Tiffaney Jawoh last night."

"Who wants to know? I'm not gonna just talk about that with anyone, especially some random kidnapper." She struggled anyways. She wasn't gonna give him the benefit of her giving up.

"Her boyfriend, that's who." The figure answered, holding up a remote control. "Am I going to have to shock you?"

His answer is what got Shiori to stop for a moment, while she thought. "Wait....Skorpion? Is that you?"

"Yes. Are you going to answer my questions, or do I have to use this?" He asked, stepping forwards.

"Didn't recognize your voice, it's been so long. And that's all you want to know, really? Jeeze, dude, just pull me aside and ask me next time." Shiori relaxed, completely unfazed by his threats. She leaned back in her bonds and started detailing out the night to him, being rather honest in the process. "....And when we got up this morning, we took a few moments to chat, got cleaned and dressed, took her back home and....well, the present has caught up to us now."

Skorpion set the remote down. "Okay. And what about the guy that groped her? Who was he?"

"No clue who he was, but considering where and how hard Tiff kicked him, he won't be running any marathons any time soon, that's for sure."

"Just some random drunk?" Skorpion asked. "He won't be doing a lot of ANYTHING, though. Other than decomposing, or being cleaned off the surroundings, anyway."

"Random drunk, relatively innocent overall, and he's been punished enough. No killin random folks like that, or you'll become the villain." Shiori frumped back at him.

"Too late now." Skorpion shrugged. "But thank you for your time and cooperation." With that, another tranq dart hit her from behind.

"Ugh." And she was out.

---

Shiori awoke in her apartment, tucked into bed with a plushie nestled against her. On the nightstand rested a glass of water and a packet of painkillers, along with a box of chocolates with an apology duct-taped to it.

Shiori blinked blearily at where she was, and picked up the note and the Johnathan plushie. She gave the plushie an approving nod, and read the note:

"Sorry for abducting you. I forget that people will willingly answer questions sometimes. Please accept the chocolates and the plushie by way of apology. Yours, Skorpion. P.S. Don't ask why I had a Johnathan plushie on hand."

"This is gonna be an interesting relationship." She remarked as she set the note aside and tested out a couple of chocolates.

---

Summary:
The girls' night out begins!
Shiori and Tiff discuss tech, sisters, boobs, effects of boobs, nanites, mortality.
World Building: The Tiers of Healing.
Memory loss. Not like on television.
Shiori gets to see inside of the FGTL HQ's lobby!
Shiori also gets to meet and greet the kids.
John emotes as much as he is able.
Eva enjoys the new company, and is very polite and curious.
Alexis gropes a lot. Gets a nice hug in the process.
Alexis' choice of pillow talk? Death.
Tiff finally returns, they go out for the night.
Restaurant impresses.
Shiori shows off good manners. Designated home-taker.
Tiff talks of how she got so permanently young.
Shiori talks about how she doesn't have much of a life. Yet.
Food enjoyed, wine especially so by Tiff.
On the way to Shiori's apartment, Tiff gets groped. She de-shins the guy in the process.
An argument about sleeping arrangements, before they end up going to bed together.
Tiff discovers the wonderful pillows. Now she knows why Alexis didn't want to get up.
Small talk and plans of doing most of this again in the future!
And thus, a wonderful new friendship is formed.
Shiori's boobs seem to be a sticking point for EVERYONE.

Shiori is abducted off the street.
And interrogated.
By Skorpion. In regards to the date.
And then tranqed again for dropoff.
<<

Arella

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Posts: 129

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Location: Ontario, Canada

Post Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:28 am

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Into the River

Location: FGTL HQ
Timestamp: towards the end of August
Authors: Arella and Oblivion
Characters: Marina, Jason, Johnathan

It was raining when they hauled her out of the van; the kind of torrential downpour that soaks through your hair and clothes in seconds, though her hair remained dry an extra moment or two thanks to the black hood on her head (though even that was soon soaked through). It was also cold, being mid-November; a few degrees colder, and it would have been snow coming down instead of rain. They dumped her on the hard, muddy ground, a shivering mess of a child who had long since cried herself out and was now lost to a quiet terror; she couldn't even try to slow her fall, for her hands had been tied behind her back with the unforgiving plastic of a ziptie.

She heard muffled voices, the first she'd heard in who knows how many days - the first since they'd hauled her off the street and pulled a bag over her head. A moment later, and she was being roughly hauled back on her feet and half-dragged to who knows where.

Marina never knew which of the many uniformed guards of the program had been the ones to bring her in - never saw their faces, or heard their names. It might have been any of them, and that had made them all equally terrifying even before the punishments and experiments. Even before the training.

Of course, the "Psi Youth Program," as it had been called (and always with such pride in the voices of its employees, as if the program was actually something to be proud of), ran on terror, as each and every one of them had quickly learned.


---

She was going to leave her room today. She was. Really, she was. And not just to make a quick trip to the bathroom, either. Not for one of her three-minute showers (they could be longer, Jason kept reminding her, as long as she wanted, but she was too used to the timers by now, too used to the water shutting off at the three-minute mark - she didn't know how to relax in a shower anymore).

When Jason asked her if she felt up to going down for breakfast with him, she was going to say yes, and he was going to give her that relieved, I'm so proud of you, big brother smile, and would lose some of that worried look in his eyes that said he was afraid she might really be broken, that he might have lost his sister forever. She could do that for him - would do that for him. He needed her to get better, to try, and she couldn't let him down, not after everything he'd given up to save her.

But then he was there, repeating his daily question, extending the invitation... and she was looking down at the floor, her whole body beginning to tremble with fear now that the moment was upon her. Marina shook her head, too ashamed to even try to look up at him, too afraid of the disappointment she might see there.

She was safer here, in her room. Nobody could hurt her here. And she couldn't hurt anyone else, either.

Maybe... maybe she could do it tomorrow. Tomorrow she would go down for breakfast.

Tomorrow she would be brave.

---

There were a great many rules to follow in the Psi Youth Program, the most important of which was likely do as you're told; when orders were given, you were expected to follow them without delay. Of course, another important one was do not use your powers - unless you were told to do so, that is. And then you also had no questions and no talking, no touching and no eye contact... Generally speaking, it was best to just shut up, keep your eyes on the ground, and do as you're told. Nowhere was safe, either - so far as any of them had ever been able to tell, every inch of the place was covered by surveillance. Even if the guards couldn't be watching every camera at once, the fact that they could be watching any of them at any time was enough to keep most of the kids in line.

Boys and girls were kept separate at all times, of course - they slept in different cabins, kept to different schedules. Well, except for during training. You could be up against anyone in training.


Breaking the rules, as Marina had quickly discovered (being a naturally inquisitive girl, it had been hard for her to keep quiet, to avoid asking questions, especially when she was so scared), had serious consequences. The favoured punishment was both simple and effective - any rulebreakers would be handcuffed to the flagpole outside for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. During that time, they were given no food, no water, no bathroom breaks - and no shelter or outdoor clothing. From the hottest days of summer to the coldest days of winter, you stood out there in the elements, dressed in your flimsy uniform, until such a time as they decided to let you go back to your cabin.

More than a few of the other kids had died cuffed to that flagpole. Marina had been lucky - if you could really count surviving being chained to that damn pole over a dozen times lucky, that is. Her personal record had been four days.

Four days with no food, no water, and no coat to ward off the growing cold. That was when she'd caught pneumonia - not that she knew it at the time.


---

Marina didn't really know what to do with herself, now that every second of every day wasn't being planned out for her. Now that nobody was giving her orders, telling her where to go and what to do.

Jason had taken to downloading movies for her to watch, and she'd built herself a little nest in a corner of her room with the pillows and fuzzy blankets and stuffed animals he kept bringing her, to watch them in. She liked Tangled the best so far, and found that she still liked Annie and Lilo & Stitch. She didn't like Pollyanna anymore, though; the titular character was too happy, too perfect, too hopeful. And she knew Jason had noticed, too.

Her best days where the ones when her Jay-Jay would come and sit with her, watching her silly kids movies and letting her cuddle up against him the way she'd done as a child. He never tried to touch her skin, never pressed her to talk if she didn't want to, never forced her to look him in the eye; he let her do things when she was ready, and kept her safe in the meantime. He loved her, even now that she was broken.

She'd forgotten what it was like to be loved. But there was a strange kind of pressure that seemed to come along with it, a need to get better for him, which carried a weight all its own. She wouldn't have traded it for anything, but the weight of it was there nonetheless.

---

It was raining the night her brother came for her too, now that Marina thought about it; it made for a strange parallel, though it certainly hadn't been a cold rain as it had for her arrival. She'd been in her cabin, which seemed to grow emptier every day; where once she'd been one of 30, she was then only one of 14, and the only one currently awake (she could tell by the familiar sound of their steady breathing). She'd had another nightmare, and woken without a sound - not even a visible start - for such things attracted attention, and attention never lead to anything good. Staring up at the bottom of the empty bunk above her (Alice's bunk, before she'd gone for training three weeks ago and never came back), she'd been focusing on calming her breathing, getting her thoughts under control (don't think about it, don't think about it, don't think about it...); she'd been so intent upon her goal, in fact, she hadn't even noticed the addition of another person's very much awake breathing in the cabin - not until they were right next to her, and a hand was firmly (yet surprisingly gently - a foreign concept in this place) covering her mouth to stifle any noise she might make.

And for a moment, there was nothing but panic and agonizing fear, though she still made no attempt to make any noise, to fight or struggle, or even
look at her accoster. She knew the rules after all - do as you're told, no questions, no talking, no touching, no eye contact... Even if they were there to haul her off for late-night training, or some new experiments, or worse, it wasn't worth it to break the rules. But then, a voice...

"Rini," the figure whispered, still not moving his hand, not until he knew she
knew him - and her eyes were instantly filling with tears that had gone unshed for years.

She knew that voice, would know it until her dying day (and perhaps even beyond that). She'd also never expected, never dared to hope, she might hear it again.

Jason removed his hand, slowly so as not to startle her, and immediately began helping her to her feet. It was time to go, his haste and almost-tangible urgency told her, and she wasn't about to argue the matter. He'd pulled her close, and she'd let him, in spite of the years of learning to fear any sort of physical contact with another person; his arms were tight around her, protective and reassuring - and then he was hitting the button on his suit's belt, activating the xenothium core, and they were gone.

When the alarms went off a few minutes later, Marina and Jason were already too far away to hear it.


---

"Rini?" Jason's familiar voice came from the door, which was already closing behind him; more his way of letting her know he was there, than a prod for any kind of response.

But Marina turned to him all the same, granting her big brother her full attention, even if she wasn't yet ready to meet his eyes - and she knew he smiled because of it. She freely looked towards him now, rather than keeping her eyes trained on the floor, and they both knew that was important, even if he didn't quite understand why.

It only took Jason a moment to cross the room, coming to kneel beside her in the little nest she'd created, where she was further greeted with a cautious hug - cautious, because he was always careful to give her time to pull away, just as he was always careful not to touch her bare skin. "Hey, little duck," he greeted softly, gently.

"Hi," he was rewarded with in return, her voice barely more than a whisper, but there all the same.

He was also worried about something - moreso than usual. She didn't need to be able to touch him to pick up on that.

"I've got a job that might take me away for a day or two," big brother confessed. "D'you think you'll be alright without me for that long?"

Marina nodded, wishing that he didn't have to worry about her so much, that she wasn't such a burden.

"Can I get you anything before I go? Do you need any more movies to watch or anything?" he asked.

Marina shook her head this time, knowing that her attempted "no, thank you," had likely been too quiet for even her Jay-Jay to hear.

"Jay-Jay" gave her a comforting squeeze. "Okay," he acknowledged, before going on to explain, "Johnathan's going to check in on you, and keep you company from time to time while I'm gone, is that okay?"

Another silent nod.

"If you don't want to go downstairs, he can bring your meals up for you," big brother reassured, knowing that she still hadn't gone down for a meal yet. "And if you want some time alone, you just need to let him know, and he'll give you some space, okay? You can let him know however you want, he won't be upset."

Nod.

"Call me if you need me - any time," Jason urged, placing a kiss atop her head, where her golden-brown hair would keep him from touching her skin. "I love you, little duck."

Marina was suddenly turning in his arms, to wrap her own around him in a tight hug. "Love you," she forced out in return, managing the teensiest bit more volume this time, before further adding, once more barely above a whisper, "Be safe."

"I promise," the big brother returned, hugging her tightly once more before forcing himself to leave the room.

The wolfboy, Johnathan, stepped in a moment later, but this time Marina's attention remained on Tangled, which was still playing on her laptop; Rapunzel and Flynn had just entered the Snuggly Duckling tavern, and one of her favourite songs was coming up. Johnathan quietly closed the door before moving to stand to the right of her, keeping his distance, yet remaining in view.

Marina could feel herself tensing up over the mere presence of someone who wasn't her brother, and it was hard to keep from shrinking in on herself in an attempt to make herself a smaller, less noticeable target. He wouldn't hurt her - Jason promised she was safe here, and Jason would never lie to her, never let anyone hurt her again - but knowing something in your head and convincing instincts you'd spent almost a decade cultivating in the name of survival were two very different things.

You're safe, you're safe, you're safe, you're safe, the teen girl promised herself silently. Still, she couldn't seem to keep her hand from shaking as she used it to turn the laptop a bit, so that Johnathan could see it too.

Johnathan noticed the trembling, as well as the gesture. "Thank you, but If I make you uncomfortable, I could wait outside."

Marina's head gave a bit of a wild shake, hair the colour of brown sugar flying about for a moment; she didn't want him to have to stand around outside her door all day, she'd feel terrible to make him do that. She just couldn't quite seem to find her voice to tell him so.

"I see. I will stay. Let me know if you have a need." Johnathan said, taking a seat on the floor with crossed legs, hands in his lap, and closing his eyes.

His charge, in turn, proceeded to try reeeeaaaally hard to forget he was there, or at least convince her instincts that he wasn't going to hurt her. And she did, eventually, manage to relax at least a little bit, albeit not while Tangled was still playing.

They (or rather she, since John's eyes were still closed) watched Frozen next, and Marina began to miss her brother a bit; he'd become a fairly constant presence over the past few weeks, ever since he rescued her, and she found she didn't like knowing that he wouldn't be coming to see her again for a couple days, that he wasn't somewhere nearby and might be popping in to see her at any moment.

About half way through this next movie, Johnathan opened his eyes and looked to Marina. "Are you hungry?" he asked, greatly reminded of how he would help Alexis when they were kids.

The girl in question thought about this for a moment, before eventually finding that yes, she was a bit hungry - at which point her stomach rather answered the question for her with a gentle growl, causing her to blush and quickly nod her head, still avoiding looking directly at him.

Johnathan stood from his spot. "Would you like to come with me or wait here?"

It ended up taking Marina a few tries to get an answer out, and she was trembling again when she finally did, acutely aware of the fact that she was breaking one of the rules - something she hadn't actually done around Johnathan yet, or around anyone who wasn't her brother. Even when she'd spoken to Doctor Tiffaney, it had only been when it was required of her, and doing as you were told had always trumped the no talking rule; the scientists had always expected prompt answers to their questions, after all.

"Wait here," she finally managed, in a voice that was very, very small - the very definition of unchallenging and unthreatening.

Johnathan nodded to her. "I will be back shortly. I will keep the door locked for you while I'm away, if you desire me to do so," he said as he approached the door, waiting for an answer before he left.

Marina shook her head, only to realize he might not be able to see it. "No, thank you," she then managed to get out, her voice almost sounding a bit rough from disuse.

There hadn't been doors that could be locked in the program (not by the kids, anyway), and Jason promised that she was safe here; it rarely even occurred to her that she had the option, let alone to take it.

"Is there something in particular you would like me to get you?" Johnathan then asked; he knew the girl didn't want to speak, but he wanted to ensure he got food that she would eat.

"No, thank you," Rini managed again, perhaps the teensiest bit easier this time; she wasn't in trouble yet, after all, wasn't being dragged off for punishment. You're safe. Jason always tried to bring back her childhood favourites, she knew, but in the program you ate what you were given and didn't dare ask for more - she wasn't picky.

"I'll try to bring back something sweet," Johnathan informed before taking his leave.

Marina continued to watch her movie, still trembling a bit over the rather monumental amount of courage all that had taken, and struggling with a sense of disbelief that she wasn't in trouble. There had been a time, before each of the kids in the program had fully internalized the rules, when their guards had enjoyed toying with them by tricking them into breaking a rule, only to bring swift and terrible punishment down upon them. But Johnathan wasn't trying to trick her. The idea was so foreign to her now, it was actually a bit bewildering. This was a person who wasn't her brother, who didn't want to hurt her.

It was about twenty minutes before Johnathan returned, knocking on the door twice before entering. "Marina, I brought your food, and I've managed to acquire some of Evangeline's cookies for you as well," he informed as he approached her with a tray balanced on one hand and a basket in another.

"Thank you," was her soft, but no less unexpected reply as she almost-but-not-quite looked at him. She was still trembling, still half expecting him to turn on her suddenly, but she'd done it nonetheless.

You're safe, Jay-Jay promised, she kept reminding herself.

"Here. It shouldn't be too hot anymore," Johnathan said as he offered her the tray, placing the basket of cookies next to her.

Rini's gloved hands reached out to accept the proffered tray, before setting it down before her and immediately claiming a cookie with a faintly guilty look on her face. When she was little, Jason had always been reminding her that cookies were for after dinner, but after going almost ten-years without them, she couldn't quite seem to help herself now. Marina liked cookies, and that was allowed now.

"You don't need to feel guilty. The cookies are yours, just be sure to eat your meal as well," Johnathan said with the faintest bit of warmth in his voice; he was rewarded with a very small smile. He then took a seat on the floor, this time just barely within arm's reach. "How are you feeling?"

A faint shrug served as her answer; Marina wasn't really sure how to respond to that. Her tiny smile remained though, as Frozen's trolls began to make a fuss about Kristoff having brought a girl home. She also went ahead and ate another cookie.

Johnathan nodded in response. "Do you enjoy my sister's cookies?"

And now it was Rini's turn to nod. Just because she was getting to be not so afraid of trying to talk around him didn't mean she was suddenly going to shake off nine years of silence and turn into a chatterbug, after all.

"I will let her know," Johnathan said, before returning to silence.

Summary:
-We learn a bit more about the Psi Youth Program Marina was forced into.
-Long story short, it was not a nice place.
-Marina wants to get better for her brother, but it's a struggle, and she's not sure she's really getting anywhere.
-Jason is going to be away for a few days, oh no!
-Johnathan's going to keep an eye on her, though.
-Marina reminds John of Lexi when they were younger.
-Johnathan is very quiet, and maintains some distance from Marina. He also brings her cookies.
-Marina confirms that Johnathan is an adult other than her brother who doesn't want to hurt her. The concept is a bit difficult to wrap her head around.
-Marina finds that she maybe doesn't mind having Johnathan around so much, after all.
Image
<<

Skorpynekomimi

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Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:08 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Cuteness and Sparkles
So, so many sparkles...

Location: FGTL Aircraft hangar, the fair (again)
Timestamp: Oh, it's totally a Sunday. Couldn't you tell?
Authors: Skorpy, Oblivion, Elle, DT, Hyuuint
Characters: Skorpion, Tiffaney, Elsie, Freddie the Forklift, DarkTan, Lola, Shiori

---

The Beast rolled up to the airfield, pausing for a cargo aircraft to taxi past before cruising over the runway and into a hangar. "We've arrived!" Skorpion announced, as if the hangar hadn't made that plainly obvious. As he pulled into the hangar, the floor shuddered and started to descend. "Mostly anyway." He reached up, flicking a light on as the sun's light was cut off by the edge of the hole they were descending into.

"And with a new record low for traffic incidents!" Tiffaney congratulated. "I'm proud of you, dear!"

"Only because I'm carrying nuclear fuel." Skorpion pointed out. "I can't risk it shifting, or it'll go critical. And nobody wants that, least of all me. I'd have to find new nuclear fuel, for one thing." He sighed. "I just wish it was easier to make a fusion rocket more efficient. The one in the mech works fine, but it's not suitable at all for an efficient design. And it's huge and mounted on the bottom of a mecha."

"I'm sure you can make do, stubborn and smart as you are, it's only a matter of time before you're ready." Tiffaney said with a smile.

"Or before the engine shakes itself apart with such a high rotating mass, but I'm sure I'll come up with a better design for it before that happens." Skorpion grumbled.

"Good luck, dear. We're counting on you." Tiffaney encouraged.

---

The elevator stopped with a *clunk*, and Skorpion pulled forward into the hangar. A short while of picking his way through parked aircraft, parts, de-mounted engines, and various support vehicles later, he arrived at the cordoned-off area around the shuttle, and parked next to the craft. "And here it is. My new project, and what's going to help get you home, Elsie."

The young magical girl blinked up at the space shuttle with rather understandable confusion. "How's going into space gonna help me get home?" she quite reasonably wanted to know.

"Didn't I explain this earlier?" Skorpion asked with a sigh. "The time machine's stuck in an asteroid, and I'm sending Devin in this to go fetch it."

"Oh, right," Elsie brightly agreed, as if she'd totally still been listening when he'd previously got around to mentioning that. Then she paused in thought a moment, before asking, "Why is Dev going?"

"Because he's good with computers and maths, and he's smaller, lighter, and easier to feed than I am." Skorpion explained. "See, mass takes fuel to push it. And then you need more fuel to push THAT fuel, and more fuel to push THAT, and so on and so forth. With Devin on board instead of me, since he weighs about a quarter of what I do, we need far less fuel. And he eats far less too. I'd probably have to pack the cargo bay out with rations, and I'd still have to go easy on it. Plus, I'm busy. Too much to do down here."

"Yeah, but Dev doesn't go anywhere without Whisp," Elsie pointed out, as though that was a given. And it was a valid point.

"I've packed enough supplies for her to stow away and not starve, and enough fuel for them both." Skorpion smiled. "Besides, she might actually learn something out there."

"I hope this goes well." Tiffaney sighed.

"So do I; Elsie needs to get home, and I don't need ANOTHER nuclear accident."

"Why can't you just build another time machine?" Elsie wondered.

"I don't know how." Skorpion admitted. "Besides, hasn't someone already attacked YOU for the paradoxes you caused? They'd surely go after me for trying to make another one. On top of that, I don't WANT to cause another source of paradoxes, and it's just going to be easier to go fetch a time machine rather than try and build one from scratch." He sighed softly, leaning over to hug Elsie. "Besides; I already told myself where the time machine is, so I'd cause another huge paradox by NOT retrieving it. And it's just faster this way; you want to get home quicker, don't you?"

Not only hugging her grandad back, but also making it fairly clear that she wasn't likely to release him again anytime soon, the young girl gave a nod. She did want to get home as soon as possible - she missed everybody terribly.

"So, it's out to the asteroids to find the right time machine, and retrieve it to get you home." Skorpion concluded, picking up the little magical girl and settling her on his hip so he could move again. "Now, where's that forklift to get this unloaded?"

Tiffaney shrugged. "There should be one nearby. Did you call for one to be here?"

"Yes. Where the hell is..." Skorpion looked around, pausing as he fixed his gaze on a forklift. "You! Come here!" He pointed at the forklift in question, which turned around and motored over, the sensor dishes on either side of it sweeping to and fro. "Unload this vehicle. Carefully!" Skorpion ordered, stepping back from the Beast to let the robot go about it's work. "Gotta love drones."

"Ever so convenient, they are." Tiffaney commented with a cheery smile.

"What's his name?" Elsie rather inevitably wanted to know, since she gave just about everything a name.

"The forklift?" Skorpion looked down at the magical girl, frowning slightly. "Uh. Frederick. Freddie for short, but Frederick the Forklift." He had a sudden vision of name badges painted onto all his robots, along with chalk, pastel, and marker drawings. Such, apparently, was the cost of having the cutest magical girl ever as your granddaughter.

Tiffaney looked to Skorpion and giggled. "Be careful Freddie. We don't want anything to fall." She advised to the drone to play along.

The forklift, now known as Freddie, beeped as it (he?) unloaded the nuclear fuel from The Beast.

Elsie, meanwhile, gave the forklift an affectionate pat. "Good boy, Freddie," she assured.

Freddie whirred in a way that sounded almost like a purr, causing Skorpion to give it a wary look. "Oh, no. You are NOT anthropomorphising my drones, young lady."

"Can you stop her, dear?" Tiffaney asked, finding it to be adorable.

"I don't know." Skorpion admitted. "I can try, but she's just too cute. I don't even have a conscience and I can't bear to make her sad."

"A magical girl's greatest strength." Tiffaney quipped.

"Well, I'll leave 'Freddie' to it, and see what else is going on." Skorpion decided, turning and walking off towards another aircraft stand, Freddie the Forklift weaving around him as he walked by it.

"Bye Freddie!" Elsie called back with a wave, following close behind her grandad.

Freddie beeped as the magical girl walked away, continuing to unload the nuclear fuel.

"Want to see something really cool, Elsie?" Skorpion asked, grinning.

"Ooooh, yes please!" came the young girl's rather predictable reply.

"I hope whatever it is, it's PG." Tiffaney stated, not wanting the young magical girl to see anything too bad.

"Oh, it'll be fine. It's not like Lucius, who thinks taking Cathal to a strip club was a good way to teach him to respect women." Skorpion pointed out, dismissing Tiffaney's objections. "Besides, this something IS pretty cool."

Elsie was starting to bounce a bit in her excitement now. "What is it, what is it?" she wanted to know, all wide-eyed with anticipation.

"Okay. I'll trust you on this one." Tiffaney conceded.

---

"Behold!" Skorpion cried, opening the door of a container. As it opened, plush Arellas, Luciuses, Alexises, and Johnathans toppled out in waves, accompanied by those of other well-known factionists. "Merchandising!"

The young magical girl let out a sound that could only mean ahhhhh, cute~~~, before promptly claiming an Arella and Lucius for hugs. It might've been a bit silly, but it somehow made her feel better about the whole homesick thing.

Skorpion chuckled. "I thought you'd appreciate that. I think there's a Sharky in there too, somewhere."

"May I keep them?" Elsie wanted to know, turning those big blue eyes upon her grandfather; meaning, of course, the plushies of her parents she was currently cuddling.

"Go for it." Skorpion replied, reaching down to hand her a plushie of himself as well, complete with grumpy expression. "They're still technically illegal in Tokyo, so they're not doing any good just sat here."

That, of course, earned him a great big hug, complete with the three plushies still in her arms (which she wasn't likely to let go of any time soon). "Thank you~"

"Awwww. You're such a good grandpa!" Tiffaney commented at the sheer adorableness.

"She's so cute it's hard NOT to be." Skorpion replied, petting the magical girl's head gently.

Elsie just shed some sparkles, as if to prove the point.

"Agh, those won't come out for weeks."

That, of course, earned some giggling. "Sparkly grandad~" Elsie declared with more than a little glee.

Tiffaney giggled a bit. "They look good on you, dear."

Skorpion sighed. "People are going to make fun of me. I'll just have to shoot them extra hard."

"No shooting people!" Elsie promptly scolded, looking adorably disapproving.

"It's kind of my job..."

"Nope, no shooting people~" the young magical girl informed, as if the matter had just been decided and was now closed for discussion.

"Well, darling. It looks like your hands are tied." Tiffaney said with a smile.

"Fine, I'll just have to defeat people with her cuteness. Maybe strap her to the front of the Beast as a sort of sparkly cute hood ornament."

Tiffaney briefly reflected upon the image of the Beast getting a magical girl themed paint job and chuckled a little. "Sure, dear. And we can paint rainbows on the side and mount glitter cannons to the back."

"Ooooooh, can we?" a rather excited Elsie immediately wanted to know.

"... No. Maybe you can do it to your OWN car when you're old enough to drive." Skorpion replied, as he was totally not having THAT.

"Oh come on, dear. We could make it all pink, and pretty." Tiffaney teased the flustered Skorpion.

"While it WOULD be unexpected, it would also destroy my credibility. Arella and the magical girls do enough damage as it is." Skorpion protested.

Elsie rather concerningly looked as though the thought of credibility was funny. She didn't say anything about it, though.

"Don't you laugh at me, young lady. I still happen to be taken seriously most of the time."

"You give me piggyback rides while you're working," the magical girl merely informed. He'd even ended up taking her to the UN when she was four, because he got stuck babysitting. It was hard to have tough guy credibility after that.

"I guess I'll just have to leave the intimidation to my air force and space program."

Elsie nodded solemly at that - it certainly looked that way.

"And to being a nuclear power." Skorpion grinned, nodding towards a large cone-shaped piece of metal in a corner. "Even if I've been diluting my arsenal with fake warheads. But hey, who knows which one's the real one?"

"Dear, you don't need to look intimidating to be intimidating. I do it by accident all the time!" Tiffaney pitched in happily.

"Actually, the lab coat IS pretty intimidating to most people. So are the needles, and the casual disregard for the sanctity of life." Skorpion pointed out, tugging Tiffaney over to join the hugs, which she happily did.

"Really? But I like my coat." Tiffaney commented.

"Did I say you should change it?" Skorpion asked, reaching up to stroke one of Tiffaney's bunny ears. "It's nice having some science around here to balance out the random undocumented experimentation."

"Yay!" Tiffaney cheered, leaning her head towards Skorpion.

"Are we done with the errands now?" Elsie wanted to know the moment all the nice hugging was over.

"Maybe. We DO have to drop you back in Tokyo, though. And I'm hungry again." Skorpion added as his stomach growled. "Why, was there something you wanted to do?"

"I wanna go to the fair again. Can we go? Please~?" the young magical girl asked, once again turning those biiig blue eyes on her grandad.

Skorpion sighed. "I can't refuse that, can I?" He reached down, picking up his granddaughter and setting her on his shoulder. "So, let's go to the fair!"

"Yay~!" the magical girl exclaimed, shedding sparkles again in excitement, before adding, "And grandmum, too. And you have to go on the rides with me!" She was also very clearly used to riding around on his shoulder like that.

"Donnae make her wibble at ye, lassie. Ye cannae ignore the wibbles." Skorpion warned, imitating Lucius' accent and immediately earning giggles and more sparkles from his granddaughter.

"Sure, dearie. I'd be happy to come along." Tiffaney responded, using her familiar maternal smile.

"Yay~ Let's go, hurry up, grandad!"

---

"I'm not getting on that; it won't take my weight. And I think I'd hit my head on some of the support beams." Skorpion said, looking at the small roller-coaster Elsie was tugging him towards.

The proprieter looked at him, nodding in agreement.

"You'll be fine," Elsie insisted, determined to have her grandad come on the ride with her. "And if you let me put your coat in hammerspace, you won't be too heavy. You don't need the coat anyway, nobody's gonna attack us here, and you don't need all that stuff anyway~"

"Yes I do." Skorpion pointed out. "This isn't the future, remember. This IS a time period when people are trying to take me out, and when I'm picking fights with the yakuza to stop them sticking fingers in my business."

"So you can keep the boltgun thingy, and the rest can go in hammerspace," the young magical girl decided. "Besides, you've got me and grandmum here too, if any bad guys show up."

"I'm not spending half an hour taking my armour off, in public no less, just to go on a rollercoaster that I'm too tall to ride on anyway. And if you put my armour in hammerspace, the leftover magic will give me migraines for a month." Skorpion explained. "You go with Tiffaney, I'll wait here for you."

"Pleeeeease?" the young girl pleaded with those biiiiig blue eyes. She was also looking more than a bit sad at the thought of grandad not going with them; they were getting dangerously close to wibble territory.

"I'm sorry dearie, but your grandpa's too big. How about I go with you instead, and we tell him all about it after?" Tiffaney suggested as she pet the young magical girl's head.

Elsie wibbled, looking just heartbreakingly sad at the notion of not having grandad on the ride with her.

"You can't wibble the laws of physics, Elsie." Skorpion pointed out. "I'll be waiting for you when you're done. With cotton candy."

"Will you go on the swings with me after?" the still-wibbling magical girl asked, in a way that suggested that would make everything better. The swings were her favourite, after all.

Skorpion turned to look at the swings, eyeing them. "That should be able to take it, so sure."

"YAY~" the cutegirl declared, throwing her arms around her grandad for an excited hug. And then she was bounding onto the current ride, pulling grandmum along after her. "We'll be back soon, grandad!"

The poor man running the ride, meanwhile, appeared to have gone into a cute-induced state of shock. Fortunately, he retained enough sanity to start the ride.

---

A rollercoaster ride later, Skorpion was waiting by the exit with a pair of candyfloss sticks, eating a large hotdog with the other hand. This, of course, attracted strange looks and comments from passers-by, which were quickly shut down by glares. Glares, and subtle indications of the swords and shotgun on his back.

Of course, this intimidation routine fell more than a little flat the moment Elsie came bounding off the ride, shedding sparkles and a palpable sense of excitement, to launch herself at her grandad for a hug and to claim her cotton candy. Accompanied by a very excited, "Cotton candy~~~!"

"Of course." Skorpion smiled, handing one of the sticks to her before shooting a death glare at a confused passer-by. "How could I deny a magical girl her sugar fix?"

A minute or two later Tiffaney finished purchasing the pictures from the ride and joined them. "Sorry I held you up, but they were selling pictures and I just had to have them." She said with a smile as she looked at the aforementioned pictures.

Skorpion moved over to look through the pictures as well, Elsie still attached to him like a limpet. "Cotton candy, dear?" He offered the stick of sugary fluff to her.

"Thank you, darling~" Tiffaney chimed as she took a bite of the cotton candy from Skorpion's hand.

"So, where next?" Skorpion asked, tossing the napkin from his hotdog into a nearby bin. "The spinny thing, the dodgems, or the ferris wheel?"

"The swings, the swings, the swings~!" came Elsie's insistent reply, letting go of her grandad for the appropriately excited bouncing that had to go with it. Seriously, the sparkles were getting all over - even passersby were going to have trouble getting them out of their clothes and hair. But instead of giving the young magical girl dark looks for so clearly being a meta, most of them looked like they were wondering how to steal her and take her home because OMG CUTE.

"Swingy things it is, then." Skorpion grinned, shifting to block someone who was reaching in to try and steal Elsie.

"Yaaaaaaaaaaay~" the oblivious magical girl cheered, grabbing her grandad's hand and immediately proceeding to drag him off to the ride. "Hurry up, graaaa-- uh... Tiffaney-sensei?" And now she looked rather adorably puzzled as she realized she didn't know what to call her grandmum without revealing she was her grandmum. Though that in no way impeded her race to the swings.

"You're so cute~" Tiffaney exclaimed, catching up to hug the girl on impulse.

Skorpion followed the magical girl, trying to stay out of the sparkles trailing from her. "Okay. Want me to win you some plushies later, then?" He nodded to an array of stalls with games, offering oversized plushies as prizes.

"Haaaaaiiiiiii~"

"I'll wait for you two at the exit to the ride, okay?" Tiffaney said as she pulled a camera from hammerspace.

"Alright. Enjoy your sugar on a stick, dear." Skorpion kissed Tiffaney briefly before he was tugged into the ride by Elsie.

Tiffaney waved the two off before readying her camera for any photo ops.

Behind Tiffaney there was the distinct sound of a latin-accented hiss, then nothing but shadows and a single ostrich feather.

"Hm?" Tiffaney turned to see nothing behind her before shrugging and looking forward again.

The carnie at the entrance gave Skorpion a look over, hrming to himself. "<We're gonna have to do some shuffling around to get you on proper. Probably for the best; we got this lady on the other side that's way friggin heavier than she looks, so you're gonna counter her.>"

Skorpion nodded in agreement. "Fair enough; you're bound by the laws of physics. Breaking them is my job."

"<As you say, sir. This way please.>" He took the two riders, and after some shuffling around of the other passengers, finally got the ride nice and balanced. The two clicked themselves in as the poor carnie had to explain to the folks waiting in line that they had reached their weight limit, and would have to wait a little longer.

"What's the hold up?" DarkTan grumbled, muching on his sixth consecutive cotton candy, "I only saw like three people get on." the dhampir reached down to the wagon he was pulling to take a seventh sugary treat.

"<Friggen' metas.>" Someone grumbled from beside him. "<'Heavier than they look', he says.>"

DarkTan glared in the direction of the commenter, his red eyes searching for anyone that dared to repeat themselves.

The worker heard none of this, as he was more focused on making sure his job got done right. He made his rounds, double checked that everyone was fastened in properly (and seemed to go to the side opposite of Skorpion and Elsie a few times extra), headed to his post, and set the thing to go already.

DarkTan gumbled something about idiots and reached for his tenth cotton candy as a small child looked forlornly at the empty stall of the cotton candy vendor, and the pro-human commenter writhed on the ground, clutching at his knee.

Lola nodded as she collapsed the baton she was holding, and slid it back into her purse. "Just ignore them."


Elsie, meanwhile, was alternating between ridiculously adorable laughter and equally adorable shrieking as the ride whirled her around and around, with the occasional "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE~" mixed in for good measure. The swings were the best!

The crowd's earlier grumblings were soon replaced by appreciative oohs and ahhs as they watched the little magical girl swing round and round, spraying sparkles everywhere in the process. Well, most of them oohed. Some were still grumbling, one was still clutching his knee, two were just watching open-mouthed and drooling lightly, and a few were more interested in riding the ride.

Skorpion, though not outwardly showing it, enjoyed his ride. This was, however, despite the sparkles filling the air, and the delighted shrieks coming from the magical girl shedding said sparkles.

After the requisite few minutes were up, the worker messed with the controls, and brought everyone back to earth. He spoke to each group as he helped them out of their harnesses. "<Please make your way to the exit in an orderly fashion, and I hope you had fun.>" He took a small moment to add to Elsie "<And you are officially one of the most adorable riders ever, even if the sparkles add to the clean up later. Thank you, miss.>"

DarkTan, meanwhile, was busily trying to get all the sparkles out of his wagon full of cotton candy.

The worker went about his buisiness, though Skorpion could hear him saying to the passenger on the opposite side "<I am so sorry miss, I'll see if....what? Oh, ok. You sure? Well, if you say so.>" He had a nonplussed look on his face as he headed back to the entrance of the ride to set up the next group of people.

Skorpion stepped from his swing, shaking sparkles from his armour and weapons before going to help Elsie down. "Have fun?"

"Let's go again~!" the young blonde enthused, bouncing a bit in her excitement.

"Let's try the spinny thing instead." Skorpion pointed to a spinning ride with chairs. "Hopefully it'll hold up."

The young cutegirl looked torn for a moment, because she really did want to ride the swings again, but grandad making a request was pretty rare, so she rather wanted to do that, too. "And then can we ride the swings again after?" she finally requested.

"Sure. We can shower an entirely different set of people with sparkles." Skorpion grinned, mussing Elsie's hair.

"Yay!" the magical approved, rewarding Skorp with a hug as she positively beamed up at him.

Skorpion grinned back, picking Elsie up and setting her on his shoulder to navigate the crowd better.

---

Lola tugged on DT's sleeve, pointing to the magical girl being hoisted up above the height of the crowd. "Isn't that Skorpion over there? The big bad Largoist super-soldier?"

"And the supplier of everything we own that goes bang," DarkTan nodded, "Yeah, it's him. You know, he gave me a b33r as change once, but needed the can back."

"Well, he's got a magical girl on his shoulder, he's covered in sparkles, and he's actually smiling. He NEVER smiles, unless he's about to shoot someone or blow something up."

"This is true," DarkTan stroked his chin and pondered a moment, "She is obviously a highly evolved head crab."

"Or he's got a daughter we don't know about. Or he's a lolicon and that's his new girlfriend." Lola remarked, tugging DT towards him. "Let's go investigate."

"I really hope it's the second one," DarkTan visibly shuddered at the thought of Skorpion's descendents taking over the world's arms manufacturing.

Lola slipped through the crowd to get ahead of Skorpion as he strode through it, before hopping in front of him and peering up at him past her bunny ears. "Hiya, Skorp!~ Who's the kid?"

Skorpion stopped, turning to Lola and raising an eyebrow. "She's..." He paused, remembering about spoilers. "I'm watching her for someone. She's a magical girl from the Academy; transfer student."

"He paused, totally a head crab."

"What's a head crab?" Elsie (of course) wanted to know.

"It's a videogame monster; crawls around, then leaps at people and latches onto their head and turns them into a zombie while eating their face off." Skorpion explained. "And she's not a headcrab, she's a magical girl. Ever seen a sparkly headcrab?" He shifted Elsie for emphasis, sprinkling sparkles from her hair.

"Highly evolved head crab," DarkTan pointed out, "And yes. Rule 34 is a scary thing."

Skorpion sighed. "She has a name, you know. DT, Lola, meet Elsiebeth Smith. Elsie for short. Elsie, meet DarkTan Canto, and Lola Usagi. And yes, that actually is her real name."

Lola giggled and smiled. "Got it changed officially. And hi, Elsie." She offered a hand to the magical girl, reaching up before realising that due to the difference in heights, she couldn't actually reach.

DarkTan, noticing that, remedied the situation by picking up Lola, "Yes, nice to meet you. Just don't make him forget the launch codes. Or my discount."

Elsie politely shook Lola's hand, being very good and not acting like she knew anybody, or about anybody, at all. "It's nice to meet you, too~" the magical girl replied (adorably), before looking down at her grandad with a frown. "And it's Elspeth Stark," she corrected, tone very disapproving. "Only papa gets to call me Elsiebeth."

"Oh my God, did you kidnap Tony Stark again?" DarkTan blurted out.

"What? No! I didn't even MEAN to kidnap him the first time, and I definitely didn't steal his daughter." Skorpion corrected, ignoring Elsie's protests about her name.

"So what is this? Borrowed?" DarkTan asked, "Can't you steal his robot instead?"

Lola facepalmed. "She doesn't look anything LIKE Tony Stark..."

"Of course not, he has a goatee."

Skorpion grinned. "Already did, actually. Reverse-engineered the ones I encountered on the helicarrier." His grin widened. "In my underground lab complex, turning them INTO a box of scraps."

"Ooooh, I'm gonna tell Tali, and you're gonna be in Trouble," Elsie rather gleefully informed. "She always wanted to take one of those apart, and you had some and already broke them all!" When she got home, obviously.

"I need a new assistant for the show, getting volunteers has been difficult," DarkTan said, "Gonna have a production model?"

"They brought it on themselves when they shot me. And no; I don't trust robots." Skorpion replied. "Unreliable, prone to possession and being hacked, and they have this annoying habit of either uploading to the internet and going brain-dead, or deciding they no longer have need of you. Why not just buy yourself an EDS, or, y'know, stop using assistants as ingredients?"

"Oh come on, it was one time," the dhampir said, exasperated, "And he fell in. Wasn't my fault. And exploding robots might help the ratings now that you mention it."

"Hey, robots have rights too." Lola objected. "Especially ones that think."

"Only the ones that think." Skorpion corrected. "Or you could use drones."

"I want the dumb ones," DarkTan interjected, "Or drones with hands. And feet...or at least treads."

"So, you want bomb disposal bots?" Skorpion asked.

"You know he'll only roast them..." Lola sighed, turning to Elsie. "You know, you remind me of someone..."

"Might work," DarkTan nodded.

"No I don't," Elsie was quick to counter in the least believable way possible, with just a hint of adorable alarm in her big blue eyes.

"No, no, you totally do. There's this one girl I used to know; hair just like yours, about the same size. Nowhere near as cute, though, and she was kinda derpy, to be honest. Once ended up wrapping her hair around a pole as she twirled on it, nearly broke her neck when she left the stage."

Elsie blinked. And then blinked again. And then blinked some more. She... really hadn't been expecting that. "Oh," she finally replied, not knowing what else to say, but still managing to make it ridiculously adorable.

Lola patted the magical girl on the head. "It was downright hilarious. Knocked the airs and graces right out of her. Of course, we had to get her to hospital after unwrapping her, but the patrons still left her loads of tips in sympathy."

"I snarfed an entire b33r that night," DarkTan mused, "Most pain I've ever experenced."

"That was hilarious as well." Lola giggled softly.

"Yeah, I label that stuff as 'do not inhale' for a reason." Skorpion commented.

"Well, it needs a label that says not to exhale either," DarkTan muttered while sticking his tongue out at Lola.

Lola reached out to grab DT's unnaturally long tongue, pulling it out and flicking it. "Don't stick it out unless you plan on putting it to good use~"

Skorpion sighed. "Not in front of the magical girl."

"Isn't sticking it out using it?" a rather confused Elsie wondered.

"Not properly. You'll understand when you're older." Lola explained.

Looking rather adorably confused, the young magical girl turned questioning eyes on her grandfather in hope of getting an actual answer.

"Ask your mother." Skorpion responded, chuckling. "It's an adult thing."

This, of course, resulted in the young girl pouting; she didn't like not getting answers.

Tiffaney walked through the crowd to approach Skorpion. "I got the pictures~" She cheered. "They're so adorable I could die!"

"Of course they are; they have Elsie in them." Skorpion grinned, leaning down to kiss Tiffaney. "Have you met DarkTan and Lola?"

"I've met Lola, but the only place I saw DT was at the pre-raid briefing." Tiffaney informed before smiling and waving to Lola.

"Ooooh, does that mean you have Black Widow's phone number now?" a wide-eyed and excited Elsie interrupted, looking to her grandad expectantly. Because of course she would share her mother's interest in the heroine/spy.

"Of course." Skorpion grinned. "I have her phone, too."

That earned a frown from the young girl. "But then how can she answer her phone, if you have it?" Because obviously the point of having Black Widow's number was so she could call her.

"She can get it transferred to her new phone." Skorpion explained. "Besides, now I have Thor and Tony Stark's numbers."

An adorable little hand with sparkly pink nails suddenly popped in front of Skorp's face in a silent request for the phone, so she could call the Avengers.

"Nope, you'll spoiler them." Skorpion pointed out. "And you're in a crowd; it's rude to make phone calls in a crowd."

"I promise I won't tell them any spoilers, I just wanna say hi and let them know they're awesome, and ask Black Widow to come over for a tea party~" Elsie assured, with those biiiiiig blue eyes.

"Dear, that's probably not the best idea, given recent developments." Tiffaney advised to Skorpion.

"Ooooooh, maybe all the Avengers could come for a tea party! We could have it at HQ! Or maybe the school? Which d'you think would be better, HQ or the school?" Elsie wondered with all due excitement, completely missing her grandmum's concerns.

"Not for a while, Elsie. Maybe when you get back home; they're still angry about me stealing the phone." Skorpion reminded Elsie. "I'm sure your mother would love to host a tea party for them, though. Maybe on the original bit of Sealand, the tower."

"Aww, okay," the cutegirl accepted with some disappointment.

"Ah~" Lola grinned, spotting someone in the crowd. "I'll be riight back~"

---

Lola picked up speed as she ran along behind a row of stands, the gaps allowing her to keep an eye on her quarry. As she reached the end of the line, she gave a hop, a hop, and a bigger hop, sailing through the air to tackle Shiori.

"Gyah!" Shiori cried as she was surprise pounced. Her hands flew up, her icecream cone whizzing into the air. "Who....Lola? H-hey! Nice to see you!" She pulled the bunnygirl into one heck of a squishy hug.

Lola giggled, returning the hug tightly before catching the ice-cream and giving it a lick. "Ooh, strawberry. Anyway. You totally need to come meet some people~"

"Meeting new people can be fun...hm. Sure, ok!" She grinned, and locked arms with Lola. "Lead the way!"

Lola grinned, leading the way back to DarkTan and the rest. "Shiori, meet Skorpion, Tiffaney, my boyfriend DarkTan, and the cutecute magical girl there is Elsie.' She paused, thinking things over. 'Okay, you already know Tiffaney from the academy, but never mind.'

"Heh, actually, aside from DarkTan here, I already know all of them. Though it's nice to see Skorpion in, ah, different circumstances. Hi guys!" She gave her signature super-grin to the group. "And nice to meet you too, DarkTan."

"Hi Shiori!" Tiffaney said with an excited wave.

Skorpion nodded in greeting. "Elsie here insisted she was bored, so I figured she needed to go to the fair... Ah, she got you with the sparkles too?"

Elsie gave a welcoming wave, before happily declaring, "And now we can all go on the spinny ride together~!"

Shiori's tail and ears twitched, spreading sparkles a little. "Just a bit. Hm. So you two were on that teacup-eggcup-thingy earlier?"

"Not yet, gra-- um. Skorp wanted to go on that one next, so now you can all come with us! And then more of the swings after." Because there should always be more of the swings.

"Ohhh, it was the swings then." She giggled. "You got everyone good, shortstuff. Including the jerk who...uh, made the ride unpleasant." Shiori gave Lola a nudge. "Nice to see you about for once. And Tiff!" She reached over and gave Tiff a hug too! "You too! Best meeting ever so far!"

"Yaay!" Tiifaney cheered, returning the hug.

"Welp, I'm uh, kinda by myself. Alright if I join in with any of ya'll, or would I be third-wheeling?" She asked honestly. Shiori noticed that her icecream cone was taken by Lola now, but hey, she let her have it.

"You should come on the rides with us!" Elsie insisted, as only a young cutegirl can - and by 'us' she meant all of them, of course.

Skorpion shrugged, jostling Elsie slightly since she was still perched there. "If the magical girl insists, I think you're pretty much bound to. Don't make her turn on the wibbles."

"Oh believe me, I know the power of her wibbles." Shiori giggled a bit. "And yeah, I'll join, shortstuff. Just know I might end up being on the opposite side like last time thanks to the whole 'weight balance' thing, kay?"

"Yay!" the young magical girl declared with delight, utterly unphased by the whole weight issue thing (she was pretty used to it in the future, after all). "Let's go! C'mon, graaa-- Skorp, let's go get in line for the spinny ride!" Or in other words, mush, mush!

"Spinny thing sounds good." Lola remarked, handing Shiori's icecream back to her in a slightly reduced form.

"Heh, keep it, I can get more, and it's not like I need it. Besides, you seemed to enjoy that treat a bit more than me." She gave a giggle, and strolled along with everyone. As they walked, Shiori took a moment to lean near Tiffaney, and whisper well out of Elsie's earshot: "So... How's it feel to meet your granddaughter thirteen years or so early?"

"You figured it out too, huh?" Tiffaney asked with a smile. "It makes me happy to see her as such a bright and cheerful little lady, though it's actually only seven or so years early."

"I coulda sworn she was older than 7. She looks it, and on some level, acts it?" Shiori gave a confused look, but shrugged. "Then again, I could be wrong." That cute calculating look on her face reappearred, then slapped her forehead. "She's thirteen, but she's from further than what I- yeah, I got it."

"Sooner, dear. If she were thirteen from thirteen years, it would be later than thirteen from only seven." Tiffaney corrected with a giggle.

"Yep, what I figured." The snowleopardgirl giggled, then gave Lola a nudge. "Enjoying the icecream? And that is DarkTan, eh? Nice to meet him finally, considering how often you mention him."

Lola nodded. "It's pretty tasty. And so's he, really." She giggled. "He just happens to own the building my club is in, on top of being an infamous TV chef. You ever see the Oprah cookery incident?"

"Nah, never liked Oprah. Found her too preachy. That, and one of the guardians kept going on about her all the time. Got annoying very very quickly. BUT! I suspect this has a funny DarkTan story involved?" Shiori bat her eyelashes to entice the story out of Lola-bunny.

Lola grinned, giving a mischeivous ear wiggle. "It's not suitable for little ears. Just look it up online, and you'll see. Just make sure there's no students around, even though they've probably seen it anyway."

"Aw. Fair enough." Shiori looked around, then ducked low next to Lola, and whispered. "We still on for....?"

Lola nodnodded, her ears bouncing. "Definitely."

"Good. Good. Been looking forward to it!" Shiori grinned hugely, snatched Lola up into one of her hugs, then let her go (all too quickly) to get back into line with the rest of the folks. "Huh. Spinny thing looks a little frail for me. Hrm."

"I'm sure it'll be fine. It's handling American tourists just fine." Skorpion pointed out.

"Good point." Shiori conceded. She leaned around folks as she waited, so she could get a good look at the riders and stuff.

"Then we can all ride together!" Elsie declared happily, as though it had been decided. Which it kind of had, simply because she'd decided, and would be sad if that wasn't the case.

"Always a fun idea." Shiori grinned widely, matching up with Elsie easily.

Tiffaney tapped Shiori's shoulder for attention. "How did you find out about Elsie?" She whispered just quiet enough for her to hear.

Shiori looked back and forth, then lowered down so she could whisper into Tiff's current kemonomimi ear. "She's been hanging with me a little after school, and I basically get a 'future babysitter, honorary older sister' vibe from how she reacts. She clings to Skorp's head in a way that suggests extreme familiarity. Nearly said grandpa at least twice now... Lots of little things that add up. Besides, you and Skorp are such a good couple, I definitely see you two tying the knot and staying together for years." The tone of her voice was not unlike that of someone gathering intel on an enemy camp.

"I'm happy to hear you think that of our relationship, and those are very acute observations. Though do be discrete about it. We don't know who's supposed to know." Tiffaney said with a wink.

Shiori nodded energetically. "Oh yeah. She's already expressed a fear about the reapers, and I don't want to make her more scared. Very much on the down low."

"No paradoxes." Skorpion said as he leaned over. "Things have a habit of just changing when they happen. I don't want to risk the time machine moving or something, or we'll never get her back."

"Gotcha. No paradoxes. No ruining trips. Got it." Heavy nodding from the snowleopardgirl.

"Not, of course, that we want rid of Elsie here, but she has to go home sometime. She misses her parents something rotten." Skorpion patted Elsie's leg for emphasis.

Elsie gave a big nod at that, looking more than a little homesick. She wanted to dance with mama again, and have papa call her Elsiebeth and make her fly. And she wanted Tali; she'd never gone so long without Tali beside her.

Summary:
-Dangerous cargo is dropped off at the FGTL airfield hangar.
-Dev AND Whisp will be going into space, because one never goes anywhere without the other.
-Elsie gets to work anthropomorphising the drones.
-Plushies!
-Awww, Skorp's being such a good grandpa.
-Even if Elsie does get sparkles everywhere.
-Hugs!
-Are we done with errands yet?
-Fair time!
-Not even Elsie can wibble the laws of physics into submission.
-Metas make fair rides kinda tricky - some of them weigh a lot more than you'd expect.
-Elsie is the cutest ride rider ever. And gets sparkles on everyone. EVERYONE.
-Tiff takes lots of pictures!
-DarkTan and Lola are there, too!
-No, DarkTan, Elsie is not a headcrab. No, not even a highly evolved one.
-Shiori hugs!
-More rides now, please.

Meanwhile, about twenty years in the future...

"I mean it, Dev, you have until I get there to get that thing ready, and if it goes wrong, you get to explain to mom why her baby girl got lost in another dimension, or between dimensions, or eaten by a dinosaur, or whatever," a blonde teenager was threatening over the phone, while stuffing all the supplies she'd already gathered into a bag that connected to hammerspace or something similar and was thereby actually capable of holding said supplies (there were rather a lot of them, after all - and all of them rather suspiciously appropriate for the mid-2010s). "I'm not leaving Elsie there alone for even one more day, you know how much she hates being alone." Not to mention the silly thing was likely freaking out about reapers.

"First of all, it doesn't matter how long we take to get ready due to the fact you'll still arrive at the same time and will both return immediately after I send you back, and second, I've been ready for fifteen seconds now." Devin informed Tali over the phone. "And that means that you're the reason you're not there already."

"I can still hit harder than you, y'know," Tali rather idly threatened, picking up the pace with her packing.

"And I can still cut you off from the parts your parents don't let you get hold of." Devin idly threatened back.

"Aww, don't be mean, Dev," the teen audibly pouted over the phone.

"You know me. Nicest guy on the planet." Devin retorted with a smirk that could likewise be heard over the phone. "See you soon?"

"Yup!" Tali promised, before promptly hanging up.
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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Arella

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Location: Ontario, Canada

Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:12 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Sweet As Sugar, Hard As Ice
Cross me once, I'll shoot you twice~

Location: the outskirts of Tokyo, and the CMGY Academy
Timestamp: like, twenty minutes after Tali's last appearance. And about twenty years before it. Time travel!
Authors: Arella, Oblivion, Skorpy
Characters: Tali, Elsie, not-the-Doctor, not-a-reaper, Auger, Tomoe, Lucius

Tali's arrival in the past was accompanied by some very dramatic arcing lightning and, for a brief moment, a ridiculously bright flash of light. Immediately followed by a dramatic pose, because Tali knew her Dramatic Moments. It was also night, which worked out well for her - it meant she had time not only to get to the Academy and her niece, but also to coordinate a suitably Dramatic Entrance when she got there (she was thinking maybe something with spotlights and jacking the PA system for theme music). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), her arrival in the past seemed to have drawn her some relatively unwanted attention. Sort of. She wasn't really in the habit of complaining about needing to punch someone.

"Well howdy there, miss." Said the rugged sounding skeleton dressed as though he were straight from the old American west. "I must say, that was quite an entrance." He commended as he lifted his hat so his four eye sockets could get a proper look. "Now, pay no mind to the lack of temporal flow. I assure you it's quite normal."

"Howdy~" the teenager ever so sweetly returned. "And thank you." As though she conversed with talking, four-eyed skeletons while time was stopped every day.

The skeleton laughed. "You're quite the dangerous one ain't ya, miss? Good'n bad at the same time."

"Oh, I'm only dangerous when I have to be," she (again, ever so sweetly) returned. Just a friendly chat, no suspicion of danger here, nope~

"Well. I can tell you know what's happenin', that's good. Saves me from explainin'." The skeleton said as he held his hand over his holster. "So tell me, what's yer name, miss? It would be right ungentlemanly fer me ta take shots at someone when I don't even know their name'n title."

A quick and practical transformation sequence later, and Tali had ditched her civvies for a lightly armoured magical girl costume in a golden shade of apricot and black, and was armed with a pair of shotgun gauntlets, which she promptly cocked. "Tali Texas," she (still!) ever so sweetly replied. "But you can call me Tex."

"You don't sound very 'Texas' to me, but that'll do. On Earth I go by Nathred, the Lawman of Time. Now, I go by the principle of Iron Justice, and Miss Tex, you just broke a pretty big law... You ready for the showdown?" Nathred asked.

Having no qualms about attacking an unprepared opponent herself (it was called a tactical advantage, damnit!), Tali answered by launching herself at him, using a gauntlet to boost the already-pretty-impressive punch she aimed at his face.

"Draw!" Nathred called out, drawing his revolver to fire a couple shots at the magical girl, one grazing across her cheek before passing by. The skeleton then ran at Tali, sidestepping the initial swing to fire two more rounds from her flank.

Impressive reflexes and instincts (and a helluva lot of practice) allowed Tali to dodge both shots almost seamlessly, before dashing in for another punch, this time adding some zigzagging to her route to make herself a harder target.

"Not bad, she's definately had her life on the line more than once." Nathred thought to himself before cutting short one of her zags with a well placed bullet to force her into a straight shot.

---

"Time distortion field?" A familiar odd man in a hoodie said to himself as he looked up from his coffee. He sighed and looked down to his mug. "One day... In one of the infinite possible timelines, in one of the infinite possible universes. I swear. I will be able to drink a coffee without work interrupting. So until then, sweet yet bitter, heated, caffeinated beverage... Wait for me." He set down his mug and disappeared without so much as a breeze to indicate the space had ever been filled by anything in the first place.

---

Instead of altering her dash into a straight line, Tali just went ahead and fired both gauntlets into the ground as she jumped, propelling herself up into the air where she executed a nice flip and moved to bring her heel down on her opponent's head as she landed.

Nathred stood his ground, holstering his gun in an instant, the bell of an old clock tower ringing off the sound of noon. "Time for some old Iron Justice." He called out, and in the next instant the gun was free from its holster and firing at Tali with an accuracy that belonged in old western tales... Or it would have if both parties' attacks weren't blocked by a manner of invisible wall.

"Hey. Sorry I'm late... I, uh. Was trying to do something." The odd man explained from a spot slightly to the side of the impromptue battlefield that he seemed to just appear on. "Anyway. I got this one Nath."

"Mhmm. Much like you got the last one, Human." Nathred said, calling him human as casually as though it were his birth name, taking the couple seconds to load his revolver before holstering it.

"Yeah. I've... Uhh. I've got some personal investment on the... Odd. Handling of these cases." Human(?) said while scratching his head.

"Uh, do you mind?" a rather irate Tali interrupted; the invisible wall had just stopped her in mid-air, after all, and she wasn't a big fan of sitting up there on it. Plus, that should have been such an awesome kick!

"Not really. I mean it's not too much of an inconvenience. It's just a lot of work that I'd rather not do... But by this point I'm invested in the venture and kinda have to..." The man said, trailing off for a moment before looking to Tali. "Oh, hey. What's up Tali? You know. Aside from yourself..." He asked before moving her to the side a bit, then down to the ground.

"Not that this ain't absolutely enthrallin', but are you gonna explain to me why you're lettin this timeline jumpin' lawbreaker draw further breath?" Nathred asked as he stuck his thumbs under his belt.

"Actually I'm not, sorry." Retorted the odd man.

"So can I hit him already?" Tali wanted to know, much happier now that she was back on the ground. So happy, it deserved celebrating by punching skeleton-man in the face!

"No." The man answered.

Nathred looked to the man, then to Talitha, then back to the man. "I never could wrap my head 'round how you operate. Tell ya what? I'll mosey on, you don't even gotta force me like Ta'Rei, but you take note. I'm keepin' tabs on this case too now, an' no pencil pusher's gonna keep others from comin'."

"I know. Thanks for understanding." The man said with a friendly smile.

"Not'a problem. Tex, Human, y'all have a good day now." Nathred said with a tip of his hat.

"See ya, Skeletor," Tali tossed back, determined to get the last word in. She also gave him the finger, for good measure.

Nathred laughed before stepping back and vanishing.

"Well. That coulda gone worse." The man said with a pleased nod. "I didn't even have to fight."

"So who are you, then?" Tali quite reasonably wanted to know as her magical girl outfit disappeared in a rain of sparkles, returning her to the usual skater skirt and camo top (and combat boots, obviously - what else was she gonna wear on her feet?).

"Just a time-space operative who's got a personal stake in you two surviving this, depending on which yous you are in this now." The man answered with a shrug. "I've already talked with Elsie, so all I need to do is let you know, then wait and see what happens. You don't respect authority and take rules as challenges, but believe me when I say there are forces that are a true danger; likewise, there are methods to avoiding them. I know it's not your 'style' but you should listen to this little 'threat' of mine."

Tali blew out a rather irritated sigh and gave her hair a bit of a toss to get it out of her face; the fact that her arms were crossed over her chest and her posture screamed "don't tell me what to do" was more habit than anything else. "I'm not gonna go fscking up the timelines or anything, I'm not an idiot," was her rather insulted reply.

"I'd be saying the same thing if you were Devin. Don't mistake friendly reminders for condescension. I'm on your side. At least until I get a reason not to be. If I don't get one, good. Less work for me." The man said with a shrug. "So we understand each other on this little matter? Avoid killing us, heh, 'reapers', it only queues progressively more capable ones to handle your case."

"Fine," the teenager allowed, relaxing her posture a bit as she rather unconsciously shook out her wild and almost ridiculously thick blonde hair (which she absolutely adored, and absolutely no one was allowed to touch) some more. "But if anyone tries to kill Elsie, I'm not making any promises." Because clearly, trying to kill Elsie was the equivalent of forfeiting your life.

"They're just doing their job. Newer agents can't gauge threats on their own and wind up trying to prove themselves. Don't be too hard on them." He said with a smile, just waiting for her to glance away for a split second so he could resume his date with that coffee.

"Then we'll have to hope a punch in the face is enough to make them back off, won't we," Tali snarked. Of course, she would be the one doing the punching - that was practically a given.

"Yep." The man responded simply as a conversation terminator, slipping his hands in his pockets as time began to flow around them again. He could walk out of sight, but she'd probably follow him just to bug him, so playing dead it was.

Tali continued to watch him in silence for a moment or two, before a big grin broke out on her face. "You're waiting for me to look away so you can disappear dramatically, aren't you," she observed a bit too happily.

"They're just doing their job. Newer agents can't gauge threats on their own and wind up trying to prove themselves. Don't be too hard on them." He said with a smile, repeating every word with the same emphasis as though he were an npc reusing the last line of dialogue.

That, of course, earned him some rather loud laughter from the teen (who didn't remotely believe in holding back laughter for the sake of propriety). "You are definitely waiting for me to look away," she then confirmed for herself, specifically avoiding doing so just to see what he'd do next.

"Man, that guy sure had a 'bone' to pick with you. Or maybe he's just 'bonely'? Bet he's got a 'skele'-ton of work to do." The man joked with a shrug and a smile.

Tali snorted most inelegantly at that one. "So are you just gonna stand there and tell jokes until I look away now?" she teased.

"You're quite the Sherlock Bones, ain't ya? But seriously. He's a good guy. I'd invite him to dinner, but unfortunately he doesn't have the stomach for my cooking." The man continued to joke.

Grinning madly, Tali finally decided to take pity on the poor man. "Well, as much fun as this is, I do have things to do, so..." the teen made a great show of turning her back on him, "See ya, time guy."

"Carry a jacket. It's getting to be that season. Don't want you getting chilled to the 'bone' out there." The man said with a wave. Standing there like an npc for a bit before cheking his watch. "Now then. Coffee." He said before vanishing.

After checking to make sure he was gone, a still-grinning Tali set off herself; it was going to take her a bit to walk to the academy, and she still had a Dramatic Entrance to set up.

---

The first step was the lights; they hadn't changed much in the intervening 20-ish years, so rigging them to serve as her spotlights, to be activated at her command, was easy. While she was working, though, Tali had the brilliant idea to add some dramatic smoke to her entrance as well, so then she had to set that up. And then she rigged up the PA system, because you couldn't have a suitably dramatic entrance without theme music. And of course, she had to decide where, exactly, her entrance was going to take place. Selecting a suitable spot in the field where Skorpion typically landed his chopper, she gave herself a quick once-over before declaring herself ready.

The field was suddely filled with light, enough to wake any sleeping magical girls all on its own, accompanied by a bloom of Very Dramatic smoke, while the PA system began blaring one of Tali's claimed . And at the center of it all, stood Tali, in a favourite Dramatic Pose, looking incredibly awesome.

And somewhere back in the dorms, a certain young magical girl could suddenly be heard shrieking in excitement, "TALI~!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

With the sort of speed only an extremely excited and homesick magical girl could manage, Elsie raced from her room and out into the field, where her best friend in the whole wide universe was promptly glomped and clung to while she tried very hard not to burst into tears. Tali, for her part, just held her niece who was more like a sister close, as comforting as any magical girl could ever wish for.

"It's okay," Tali promised. "I'm here, and we're gonna get home. I promise."

"Wraargh." Agreed Sharky from close nearby. "Wraar arr wrrg." He shook himself off, scattering the magical girls with clumps of dirt before turning back to the dorms as Tomoe approached, pulling a jacket on while trying to carry another for Elsie.

"<Ohayo~ Tali-chan, I presume?>" Tomoe asked as she reached the pair, handing Elsie her jacket as she leaned over to get her breath back.

Elsie, of course, made no move to take the jacket - she was too busy clinging to Tali. But with a show of gentleness and caring that rather defied the theme music still playing, the slightly older blonde accepted the jacket and wrapped it around Elsie herself, before returning to the comforting hugging.

"<That's me,>" Tali confirmed, with the sort of self-assured confidence most people would have killed for. Not even the lack of a crowd responding to her Dramatic Entrance seemed to have phased her. "<The famous Tali. Or infamous, if you're one of the people I've punched, they always seem to take issue with that for some reason,>" she snarked.

"<Obivously because you've punched them.>" Tomoe pointed out, snapping her fingers to summon Sharky to her side. "<I'm Tomoe-chan; Elsie's friend and roommate, at least from this time period. This here's Sharky, and you already know Elsie.>"

"Arf." Sharky said in greeting, before turning to nudge Tomoe's leg with his tail.

Tomoe staggered slightly as the tail knocked her, reaching down to pet her landshark. "<What's up, boy? Sandworms again?>"

"Arf warf urrf."

"Oh. <Yeah, I kinda figured he was gonna turn up after the magical burst there.>" Tomoe patted Sharky behind the crest before standing up to address the two time-travelers again. "<I am reliably informed that Lucius-sensei will be here shortly. He'll probably enroll you as a student so he can get you a room here. Elsie-chan is from Kyoto, officially, so you're probably from there as well.>" She smiled. "<Wanna have a sleepover while we make a cover identity for you?>"

"<Of course!>" Tali enthused, as though that were the only possible answer. Elsie, of course, was still rather firmly attached to her, but the slightly older teen seemed used to it. "<And thank you for keeping an eye on Elsie for me; she's always hated being alone.>" Tali was quite certain she'd never been so scared as she was when the younger girl had suddenly disappeared during their encounter with Warp; she was supposed to be keeping her safe, not watching her vanish in a burst of light. It was curious, really, that time travel seemed to be so bright - it had been when Dev sent her back, too. She'd have to look into that...

"<I'd noticed that. Fortunately, she's got family around, even though most of them can't know they're her family. Skorpion-sama seems to spend a lot of time with her, though, and HE knows she's a time traveler.>" Tomoe pointed out. "<According to Lucius-sensei, he pretty much knows everything, though.>"

"<Of course he does,>" was Tali's response, in that particular sort of tone that made it hard to tell if she was being sarcastic or not (she was, in fact, only being about half sarcastic, along with a bit of exasperation and maybe even pride).

"<Okay, so who are y->" Tomoe's question was lost in the roar of Nicole's engine as Lucius arrived.

'Can we nae go a month wi' nae magical accidents?' Lucius complained as he dismounted, ears flattened back against Tali's intro music. 'An' who the hell is tha'?' He looked to Tali, looking distinctly like he'd been roused from something he'd much rather be doing than wandering around the school at night.

"At the Academy?" Tali returned, with a raised eyebrow that seemed to suggest that had been a stupid question. "No, you really can't. And I'm Tali - Tali Sullivan." Who was much better at lying and fake names than Elsie was (when she could be bothered, anyway).

'Alright.' Lucius sighed. 'Another accidental teleportation? An' ye seem tae know Elsie fair well, tae. Come tae investigate where she went?'

The eyebrow gained new heights at that (as if she could ever fall victim to accidental teleportation!). "Intentional, thanks," the blonde teen informed, sounding just a little insulted. "And of course - she's my best friend." In case you couldn't tell by the fact that Elsie was still very much attached to her, looking happier than she had since ending up in the past.

Lucius sighed. 'Kyoto needs tae keep a better handle on teleportin'.' He grumbled. 'So, I'm guessin' ye want tae join the Academy until ye figure out how tae get Elsie back, aye?'

"Sure," came Tali's casual reply, as though she was throwing him a bit of a bone by accepting; in truth, she found school rather boring (a typical problem when you were so far ahead of the other students, and more than a few teachers), but nothing was going to keep her from Elsie. She'd promised to keep her safe, and safe she was going to keep her. Besides, Elsie needed her. "And it isn't a question of how," she corrected. "It's when."

'Aye, sure. Skorp's workin' on tha' already. Information from the future an' all, but he's nae tellin' me wha'.' Lucius shrugged. 'Talk tae him if ye want tae get her home. I'm jus' trying tae keep her safe while she's here, y'ken?'

"Yup," the teen confirmed, before rather cheekily asking, "Can we get back to our slumber party, now?" As though he'd interrupted their night, instead of the other way around.

'What slumber party?' Lucius asked. 'Ye jus' arrived, lassie.' He sighed, glancing back at Nicole. 'But aye, fine, ye can go hae ye pillow fights an' talk about boys or whatever ye do thar. Paperwork can wait fer mornin', an' I'm goin' back tae bed.' And to the magical girl and dhampir awaiting him there. 'Tomoe'll know what tae do if there's an emergency or a fire; she's a fair good student. Aren' ye?' He turned to Tomoe, who had been mostly following the conversation. Okay, a bit more than half, but still.

Tomoe smiled brightly, saluting. "Haihai, Lucius-sensei~"

Lucius returned the smile, patting her on the head and reaching down to (carefully) pat Sharky's snout before getting back onto Nicole. 'Keep yerselves out o' trouble, lassies. Aye?'

"Aye!~"

"Grawr!"

"Great!" Tali replied, somehow making the single word a clear dismissal; seriously, she was entirely too self-confident to be allowed. "See you tomorrow, then." And now she was somehow ushering the other girls towards the dorms without either of them feeling as if they were being ushered, giving Lucius a casual wave as she went.

Elsie, meanwhile, was practically skipping, she was so happy to have Tali with her again.

Lucius shrugged, before setting off back to bed. 'She seems familiar somehow...'

"<So, which room are you in, Tomoe-chan?>" Tali inquired as they walked, one hand rather absently stroking Elsie's hair in a comforting manner; the younger girl was still very much attached to her side, and not likely to be letting go anytime soon.

"<309.>" Tomoe answered brightly. "<Most awesomest room in the building, too, 'cause it's got Sharky in it.>"

"<And Sharky is pretty awesome,>" Tali agreed. "<So, I'm guessing I'm just in time for summer break, then?>" The place was pretty quiet and empty, after all.

"<Nah, summer break's about two thirds done. Enough time to top up your tan and do some shopping before school starts again.>" Tomoe explained, skipping along ahead of Tali.

"<Works for me,>" was Tali's agreeable reply, along with a rather wide grin. Of course, her idea of shopping tended to include more than most girls'.

"<Then we start tomorrow, once you're done with Lucius-sensei's paperwork. You totally need a new wardrobe if they dress like THAT in the future.>" Tomoe remarked. "<Not as bad as Lucius-sensei, but totally unstylish.>"

"<Hey, I've got a great sense of style,>" Tali informed, something about her tone managing to make it playfully insulted, while at the same time reassuring that she wasn't insulted at all. "<I won't say no to shopping, but let's be honest - I can make anything look good.>" Which she somehow managed not to make conceited. And to be fair, she did have a helluva figure for a 16-year-old.

"<Yeah, but you're sooooooo 2015.>" Tomoe pointed out.

That earned a laugh. "<It is 2015,>" Tali pointed out. "<And this,>" the teen gestured to her and combo, topped off by her typical combat boots, "<is super cute.>" And she wasn't so interested in following fashion trends as simply wearing whatever she wanted.

"<You stick out like a sore thumb, even here. You need a disguise. Plus, we can get Elsie to dress all loligoth because she'd be super cute in it.>"

"<I always stick out - that's part of my charm,>" Tali teased, with a toss of her magnificently wild hair.

"<And I don't wanna wear black,>" Elsie finally managed to pipe up (though she still very much did not release her hold on Tali).

"<We're still going shopping.>" Tomoe insisted, with an air of finality.

"Wawr."

"<Yeah, you tell 'em, Sharky.>"

---

It wasn't until after a great deal of chatting and giggling and consumption of chocolate and marshmallows and pocky (not to mention a round of manicures) that the three girls finally managed to fall asleep, with Tali curled protectively around her niece. Moments after falling asleep, however, the blonde teen awoke to a familiar field of discarded weapons enshrouded in a thick fog, and a familiar wolf staring at her.

"Oh, hey Augie," came her almost disrespectfully familiar greeting, as the teen tried to wipe the sleep from her eyes.

"Tiffaney? No. Your scent is mixed with... Excellent. Yes, this explains quite a lot." Said the highly pleased voice of Auger. "Tell me, spawn of my charge, what is your name?"

A single blonde eyebrow raised to impressive heights at that. "Did you just call me 'spawn of my charge'?" Tali asked, her voice making it clear that she did not care for that.

"Did that ruffle your feathers?" Auger mocked with a mildly playful sway of his tail. "That one got your mother too. Do you prefer child? Daughter? Future charge? Or mayhaps you have a name?"

Being a teenager, Tali just made a face at that before informing, "My name is Tali." Well, technically it was Talitha, but hardly anyone actually called her that unless she was in Trouble.

"It is enlightening to meet you, Tali." Auger said with a chuckle that echoed through the field. "Going by your aura, you are everything I had hoped from the pairing of Tiffaney and Skorpion. But how can I expand on this improvement? What can I get from the next generation? What is this generation capable of? You, my dear charge, have a very bright future. One I do not intend to waste. Now, what is your gift, Tali?"

"You're really going to have to be more specific there, Augie," the teenager informed - she had plenty of gifts, thanks.

"Your power, I need to witness it for myself." Auger said with anticipation. He would find out eventually regardless, but every success can be expanded into a greater success, and if he knew now he could begin plotting for later.

"Uh, I hit super hard, and every hit I take makes me stronger," Tali informed, as though it should have been obvious. "I'm also super smart, and have a great sense of style, and amazing hair." Just to make her point.

"I see. Can you redirect the power from an opponent's blow back at them with one of your own? You appear to be at about that age. If I didn't teach you already you will learn soon." Auger asked.

"Yup," came the teen's somewhat bored-sounding response. Her Augie already knew this stuff, after all, which did make the conversation rather boring.

"Good. You're progressing rather well. Mayhaps your great grandchildren will be powerful enough to return the favor, but I will see that for myself when the time comes. Until then, I will release you to your dreams and watch you with great interest." Auger said with a wolf grin.

"Hang on!" Tali objected, sounding more than a little annoyed. "What's that supposed to mean, 'maybe my great grandchildren will be powerful enough'? I'm plenty powerful, thanks!"

"Not powerful enough. This is not an isult, you are excellent progress. Thanks to you I'll have to wait at least four less generations. Being so close to the end, you must forgive me for being excited. I have been waiting for a very long time." Auger said, with happiness in his tone.

But now Tali was looking interested again. "Close to the end of what?" she wanted to know. "Why do you give us powers, what are you getting out of it?"

"More than you could possibly imagine." Auger responded as the field began to disappear. "How much longer? Eighty years? One hundred? Hell, even one thousand is fine." He muttered to himself before his laughter echoed through the disappearing field. "Good night, dear charge. The future is bright."

"Oh, c'mon, that's not fair! You can't say something like that and then just disappear!" Tali quite loudly complained as the world began to bleed back into her regular dreams. Seriously, that was cheating!

Summary:
-Tali has arrived!
-And immediately runs into one of Elsie's "reapers."
-Sweet, she just got here, and now she gets to punch someone!
-Not-the-Doctor shows up to stop the fight (and before she even gets to punch anyone, too!).
-Tali is pretty genre-savvy, and definitely knows when someone is waiting to make a Dramatic Exit.
-She also knows how to make a Dramatic Entrance!
-Elsie is ecstatic to have her bestest best friend in the history of the universe back.
-Tali gets to meet Tomoe and Sharky. Clearly this can only lead to a slumber party.
-Tali also doesn't take Lucius very seriously.
-Auger turns up in her dreams, to find out who this random person with his power is.
-Augie is a total cheater who disappears without answering questions.
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Skorpynekomimi

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Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:16 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Like Father, Like Daughter
OR, OMG, Dad, No One Likes A Non-Budger!

Location: FGTL HQ, a nightclub, a hilltop
Timestamp: a few days after Tali's arrival, on a Wednesday morning (to start with, anyway)
Authors: Arella, Skorpy
Characters: Tali, Skorpion

---

It was a few days before Elsie was secure enough in Tali's arrival for the older girl to be able to slip off somewhere without her, but slip off she ultimately did. She missed her motorbike (which Dev had so cruelly refused to let her bring back with her), which meant she needed to build herself a new one - and there was only one place she could do that. And so it was that around 11 o'clock Wednesday morning, the blonde teen could be seen waltzing into the FGTL as if she owned the place, bypassing a rather confused Mary, and heading straight down to Skorpion's lab.

Skorpion's lab was, as always, a cluttered mess of parts, technology, containers of various substances, and Skorpion up to his armpits in something mechanical. As Tali walked in, he looked over, raising an eyebrow. "Okay, who the hell are you and what are you doing in my lab?"

"Spoilers," Tali rather cheekily informed, having heard Elsie use that more than once already. "I need a few things, and I know this is the place to go," she further explained, handing over a list of parts, equipment, and tools. "Also, a space to work in. Preferably either in or near the garage."

Skorpion sighed. "No, no, and no. Oh, and no. My lab, my stuff, and I'm not willing to share unless people, y'know, pay for stuff." He pointed out, waving the cutting torch in his hand around for emphasis. "You're right in this being the place to go, but I'm not about to let some time-traveler from the future mess with my stuff."

"But I already have will have paid for it. Well, you have will have paid yourself for it. Still, it's totally mine, and I need it, so don't be so stingy," she said (almost scolded, really), with the sort of confidence only she could manage - and with the proper grammar for all that time travel stuff.

"It's MY stuff, and if you needed it that badly you'd have brought better stuff with you from the future." Skorpion answered with a grin. "So, why DIDN'T you bring it with you? Also, remember that I'm not the Skorpion you're used to arguing with." His grin widened as he tapped his head. "I haven't gone soft from years of family life."

"Dev wouldn't let me," the teenager complained, clearly unhappy about it. "Besides, aren't you even the least bit curious what I can do with all that stuff?"

"Not enough to let you fiddle around with it. Now, if Devin wouldn't let you bring it, it's probably either big, dangerous, or both. What DO you want, anyway?" He asked, getting around to the important question. "Because you seem to be doing a lot of walking lately. Forget your railcard in the future?"

"I need my bike," Tali informed, as though it should have been bloody obvious. "And it's not big or dangerous, but it wouldn't fit in the machine, and he refused to fix it so it would. And I need a space to work in anyway, unless you think my experimenting with stuff at the Academy is a good idea." Which nobody ever would.

"No, you'd probably get in Lucius' way, and you should know how grumpy he gets when people borrow his tools. Even if they put them back better than they were before." Skorpion reasoned. "Anyway. If you need one that badly, you can borrow mine. You don't want yours to be created by a paradox anyway." Skorpion held up the discoloured, battered USB drive that had been through infinite loops of time travel and residing in Haro-chan and his pockets. "This thing was, or at least was when I questioned how future me would have one of these. And just look at it now."

Tali shook her head, wild mane of blonde hair flying about her, looking more than a little stubborn. "I need my bike. And then I'll destroy it before I go home, and you won't keep any information on it." Paradox averted, simple as that.

"Like hell I won't. I've already created enough paradoxes just with Elsie, and I probably don't have the tech around for you to create it anyway. At least, that I'd be willing to let a little girl loose on, especially if she's going to be around my granddaughter. I have bigger things to worry about, like making sure this shuttle doesn't explode and strand Elsie and now YOU here and now, and possibly destroy the world through a paradox if he's the one who sent you."

That earned him the sort of glare that only a teenaged girl could deliver. "I am not a little girl. And you are going to give me the parts, or I'm gonna bring Elsie back with me to wibble at you." Seriously, Tali did not like to be called a little girl.

Skorpion stepped forward, meeting her glare with the beginnings of an Angry Dad glare. "No. More. Paradoxes. I don't care if you get Elsie AND Arella here to wibble at me, it's not going to work. Remember; this is the past, at least for you. I haven't gone soft. And also..." He tapped her on the head with his cutting torch. "I'm busy. Either take what you're offered, or go make it in a cave. From a box of scraps."

"It's not a paradox!" a stubborn Tali insisted. "I make it, you don't get the plans for making it, I destroy it before going home, there's no sign it ever existed, it's fine!"

"Except that anyone who's ever seen it is going to remember it. Now." Skorpion dangled a set of keys in front of her. "Two wheel drive and steering, 3-litre V8 engine, 500 horsepower in a frame lighter than you are, and it's sitting there waiting to be ridden. Or you stick to your guns, and you get nothing. You lose. Good day to you, and you're stuck with buying stock or buying from EM and hoping it doesn't explode the first time you go near one of their ANFGs."

"People remembering I had a cool bike isn't a paradox, they still won't know how it works, or even that it's based on something from the future!" Tali insisted; she was at least as stubborn as her father was. Then she had a Thought. "Lemme build it, or I won't give you the notes to decipher the time machine's controls, and you'll have to figure it all out yourself," she threatened.

"You think I didn't think to include them in the notes I sent myself?" Skorpion asked, dealing with time travel tenses by just ignoring them entirely. "Otherwise, all I know of the controls is that Lucius couldn't figure them out, and he can't operate a damn washing machine without help. For all I know, it could be incredibly simple to use unless you're Scottish."

"You do need them, though," Tali informed casually. "It'll take ages to figure it out without them, that's why Dev sent me with copies." Which she was now going to hold hostage in exchange for her bike.

"Copies of what he might have discovered while studying the thing during his trip back here with it." Skorpion pointed out. "Either take the bike you're offered, or I'll tape you up and throw you out with the..." He paused, leaning closer to her. "Wait. I recognise those cheekbones. And that nose. Tiffaney..." He tilted his head, before turning to rummage through a nearby desk for parts, quickly assembling a small scanner that he ran over her, before scooping her up in a hug.

"Hi Dad," the teen greeted casually, allowing the hug. Then, of course, she added, "Can I have my bike now?" Seriously, she wanted her bike.

"No." Skorpion responded as he put her down. "No paradoxes. You can use mine, and even modify it if you need to, but no future tech."

"I can make it with all modern parts. I can even modify the design so it isn't so futuristic," Tali argued, before seeming to relent. "But fine," she agreed, casually hopping up onto a nearby workbench, grabbing a few parts and tools as she went. She then immediately began to tinker with them. "I'll just play with stuff in here, then." Until you budge - seriously, no one likes a non-budger.

As if to further hammer in her point, the teenager helped herself to a few more parts from what Skorp had been working on when she came in. This was how she'd ended up with her own space and equipment in the first place, after all.

Skorpion reached over, taking the parts and tools back from her. "Not unless you want to end up fighting dinosaurs until you're thirty." He warned. "Or sent out to get the time machine yourself, stuck in a shuttle with only Devin and Whisp for company for a few months."

"You can't," Tali informed, starting to pay more attention to his current project than was likely safe; she had that dangerous glint in her eye that suggested she wanted to take it apart and see how it worked. "Mom would kill you."

"And then you'd cease to exist." Skorpion finished for her, grinning the smug grin of someone who'd figured out to exploit paradoxes.

"Nah, she's smarter than that - she'd wait until after I went back in time to do it. But you'd still end up dead," Tali corrected, also well aware of how to exploit them.

"I'm immortal, remember. I've died twice already, and a third time probably won't be too much trouble."

"And mom's mom. If she wanted to, she could find a way to kill you and make you stay dead. Or she'll just kill you repeatedly while nagging you non-stop in between deaths," Tali returned. And was she getting closer to that project of Skorp's? She seemed closer than she had been a minute ago.

"A compromise, then. You can modify the bike I'm lending you. You'd probably end up with something similar anyway."

That earned him the special sort of smile a girl saved just for her dad (the daddy's little princess smile, if you will), as she accepted the keys and presented him with a different list. "I need this stuff, then. Plus a place to work, and tools to work with, please."

Skorpion took the list, looking it over. "Yes, yes, I have a few thousand of those in a sub-basement, you're not having THAT, I'd get nuked for even trying to FIND one of those, and how the hell did you know I had one of THOSE?" Skorpion read off as he went down the items. "And just grab a workbench wherever; most of the techies went off to the airfield for bigger workspaces and more clearance for twinkie-powered antigravity."

"Great!" Tali declared brightly, hopping back down from his workbench. "Thanks, dad!" He was rewarded with a quick peck on the cheek that suggested she was very used to such things (or his height should have been more of an issue). "I'll go find a place, and can you get the parts for me?"

"Just create yourself an account on the system, and the ones you can get should be delivered to you. You're not getting your hands on weapons-grade vibranium, though. Even I can't get hold of THAT."

"Fine, fine," the teenager agreed, seeming to wave the matter off. "You have fun with your little project - I'm gonna get started on mine." There was something about that gleam in her eye that just screamed mad engineer.

Skorpion chuckled as she left. "Definitely my daughter." He mused as he resumed work on his project, returning his tools and materials to their proper places.

After a while, something occurred to Skorpion. "Wait, how old is she? Well, damn. That means I've got to get busy."

A while later, something exploded, snagging his attention from the part he'd just finished aligning. "That better not have been her."

---

Skorpion headed over to the main labs, tracking the signal from his motorbike to where Tali was working by her claimed workbench (which was now sporting a sign that declared "Tali's stuff. Don't make me punch you.") and was laid out on the floor, hands all kinds of dirty, and working on some pretty impressive modifications while blared out of a pair of portable speakers which in turn were hooked up to her time-appropriate phone. Which normally would have been fine, but the teen either didn't care or had forgotten what she was that day, because her short skater skirt wasn't really doing its job given the position she was in. In other words, you could totally see up her skirt. And her occasional foot-tapping in time with the music really wasn't helping matters.

"It's okay!" the teen called over the music. "I meant to do that, nothing got broken!"

"Uh-huh." Skorpion remarked skeptically. "And do you mean to be giving a panty-shot to the rest of the workshops, as well?"

Tali made a dismissive sound in response to that, before adding, "I catch anyone staring up my skirt, and they're gonna end up with a broken nose." She paused a moment, then grinned rather wickedly. "Or broken balls, either/or." She wasn't picky. Hey, it was high time someone taught the Largoists to watch where they got caught staring.

Skorpion looked around at the pile of smashed camera drones. "I'm surprised you're getting any work done."

That earned a bit of a shrug, though not enough of one to actually interrupt her work. "I grew up here, remember?" she pointed out. "They learn eventually."

"It's nice to know that your honour is self-defending, at least. Saves me having to shoot people." Skorpion mused as he started to walk around her work area, inspecting her work. "You know you're meant to empty the fluids before dismantling engines, yes?"

"I get to do the shooting," Tali informed, just to make sure they were clear. Seriously, she would be very upset if he shot anyone for her. "And I can, yeah, but this way's more fun~"

"What's Tali short for, then? Because otherwise I'll just have to call you Spoilers all the time."

"Talitha," the teen replied, still very much tied up with her work, but in no way incapable of talking at the same time. "But I only get called that if I'm in Trouble."

"The lack of armour suggests you're a magical girl, so I assume you've met the wolf."

"Oh yeah, Augie and I go way back," Tali informed with a grin. A bit further back than even the wolf had anticipated, in fact. "I've got armour too, though, for the big fights. Designed it myself."

Skorpion looked down at his own bulky powered armour, then back at his daughter, feeling a strange pang of envy. "It's nice to know that the magic intolerance isn't hereditary. However, in the interests of finding out what IS, would you mind a blood sample?"

"Go for it," was her rather casual reply. She had grown up with him, after all.

Skorpion leaned down, producing what looked like a combination of needle, pistol, and tablet computer and jabbing the girl with it. A fairly large sample later, he withdrew it, inspecting the screen with interest.

"Fascinating, aren't I?" the teen snarked, still working, and clearly unphased by the whole thing.

"Indeed. Somewhere between 'Augie' and the nanites, you seem to have gotten most of the useful boosts without requiring the invasive surgery, and without needing the brain augmentations to run them. You do, however, need to eat your greens, or at least a nice steak. You're low on iron, and a few B-vitamins."

"Thanks, dad," she snarked some more, grinning madly because he actually was her dad. "I'm well aware, though - girl stuff. Just have to be more careful what I eat for a few days, and it's fine."

"At least you're not pregnant. I don't need more grandchildren around; Elsie's enough for now." Skorpion quipped, continuing to poke through the results. "Ah, you have nanites as well. Little blighters seem to be getting everywhere now, what with Alexis' accident with them."

"Yeah, they seem to like me for some reason. Can't imagine why," Tali stated, in a tone that suggested she knew exactly why - because she's just that awesome (obviously). "And I'm not having sex, so can we just skip that part of the dad talk? I'm too busy for boys anyway."

"Atta girl. They're nothing but trouble anyway." Skorpion grinned proudly, reaching down to pat her on the head. "Wanna go shoot some vampire thugs later? I want to check your skills, and we may as well get some work done while we're at it."

"Obviously!" Tali was quick to agree; that was probably one of her favourite dad-activities. "Try to avoid outright killing them, though, I promised Elsie. I can show you my gauntlets!" Because this Skorpion hadn't seem them yet!

"They've vampires; technically they're ALREADY dead, so we can shoot them all night without making Arella pout. Or Elsie, apparently." Skorpion grinned. "Plus they've been antagonising the magical girls lately, and I don't want to risk vampire magical girls ever happening."

"W00t!" came her appropriately l33t response. Vampire hunting time! "Soon as I get this bit done, let's go!"

"W00t. Want a hand?"

Tali paused in her work for the first time throughout the entire conversation to look him over with a critical eye, clearly considering the matter. "Sure," she finally agreed, passing him a tool and shifting over a bit to make room for him to actually help.

Skorpion grinned, moving in to help his daughter.

---

"Right. They're in that nightclub. You don't stick out like a sore thumb, so you sneak in and pull the fire alarm. Then we go in, find the scumbag vampire yakuza members, and murd... Shoot them. Repeatedly. And probably run them through with a sword as well." Skorpion instructed Tali as they stood in an alleyway nearby. "If there isn't an alarm button in easy reach, just light a flare and set off a smoke detector or something."

"Got it," the teenager confirmed, before taking a quick, critical look around, hopping up onto the fire escape, disengaging the alarm, and letting herself in so casually you would think she did this every day.

"Obviously, I've trained her well." Skorpion remarked, watching her clamber up.

Inside was the fun part; Tali knew how to play to her strengths, and a great figure combined with a short skater skirt and crop top made for good business at a nightclub, and even better with vampire creeps. Making her way through the crowds as though she totally belonged there, the blonde teen went ahead and ordered herself a drink (strawberry sunrise, no ice), which was immediately paid for by another patron, and integrated herself into the crowd. When the fire alarm went off about five minutes later, no one was quite sure how it had happened, and she'd ID'd most of their targets. It was so handy of them to bunch together in one part of the club like that, she almost wanted to thank them!

As the fire door was pushed open by panicked revellers, Skorpion shouldered his way in past them; shouldering through the tide of scantily-dressed panicking humans like water. On catching up to Tali, he stepped up to her; ankle-deep in the dance floor. "If you hadn't noticed, we're here to kill you. Again."

"And it's so nice of you all to cluster together over here, too!" the teen thanked, as sweetly as if she wasn't suddenly holding a gun and aiming it at the nearest vampire's head (in fact, it was the head of a vampire who had been hitting on her a moment ago, and was therefore even more deserving of it).

"Indeed it is!" Skorpion added. "Now, the contract dictates I read off a list of your crimes before I kill you, and record your reactions. But that would be boring, so I took some liberties with it." He pointed to the DJ's station, now abandoned, which started playing said list of crimes, rearranged into a metal song. As it continued on, Skorpion drew his desert eagle, taking aim at the fanciest-dressed vampire, as that was how you knew which one was in charge with vampires. As the song finished, he pulled the trigger, and Tali immediately followed suit, with a single comment of, "perv," before she pulled her own trigger.

The vampires reacted instantly to the gunfire, drawing guns and swords and attacking. The silver bullets slowed them, but they were able to close the distance to the pair of hunters. Skorpion caught the charge of the first one on his sword, tossing the impaled, burning body off to one side, using the motion to move back to back with his daughter as the vampires surrounded them. "Tali, I'm sure you know what to do in this situation."

Tali, meanwhile, was suddenly in her lightly armoured magical girl costume and grinning like a maniac while letting bullets fly with impressive accuracy. She'd also jacked the DJ's station herself now, for a bit of . "Kick ass?" came the teen's casual reply.

"Of course." Skorpion grinned, before laying into the vampires with sword, gun, and elbows.

Tali Texas finally ditched her depressingly normal guns in favour of her gauntlets, which she used not only to shoot vampires, but to propel herself about the room with greater speed and reinforce her punches. Seriously, there was nothing quite like beating a vampire with your own fists.

Skorpion simply laid into the vampires in his usual style, using his own weapons along with reinforced sections of his armour to take them down. As more vampires stormed in from a back area, he reached out to Tali with a grin. "Okay, miss shotgun fists, I have an idea."

"Done~" came the teen's rather overly-enthusiastic response, as if she was totally used to being thrown at the bad guys and rather enjoyed it.

"Watch your hair." Skorpion advised, tensing before throwing his future daughter into the swarm of vampires and following her up with a barrage of shotgun fire. The varied shells struck the vampires shortly after Tali did, slicing into and through them, setting them on fire, and simply annihlating one poor vampire.

Clearly in her element and having a blast (and not the least bit concerned with her father's shooting at her), Tali continued her dance with a shotgun propelled fist here, a roundhouse kick there, a few kicks to the balls wherever, quite thoroughly wiping the floor with them, while seeming to grow stronger any time one of the vampires actually managed to land a hit.

Skorpion stood back, dealing with any vampires that made it his way, and picking off any from the outskirts of the melee. This continued until a particularly large vampire stomped down from a balcony. From the elaborate clothing, the multicoloured dreadlocks, the fancy hat, and the expensive-looking platform boots, Skorpion assumed she was the local boss fight, and acted accordingly.

Unfortunately, the elaborate corset was also apparently armour-plated, turning aside the barrage of silver bullets. "<Ohoho~ You really think you can take me down like THAT? My dear, you have another thing coming.>"

"<But here's right where the talking ends.>" Skorpion replied. "<Because I have bigger guns, and I didn't come alone.>" He ducked a spray of buckshot fired from behind the vampiress as Tali hit her in the back of the head with a shotgun fist, before switching guns and charging.

"<And also, don't quote Judas Priest at me.>" Skorpion added as he made contact, forcing his blade down against the pair of sai the vampiress had produced. "<I met them a few times back in the day, and they would NOT approve of you.>"

"<Maybe you could use some of that corset money to pay someone to write your lines for you,>" Tali ever-so-sweetly suggested. "<In your next life, anyway.>" Then jabbed what she liked to call her anti-vampire combat knife into the vampiress' neck.

The vampiress jerked as her neck was sliced into, reaching back to rip Tali off her. Her hands almost made it to Tali's neck before Skorpion's sword was thrust down the front of her corset, through her cleavage, and into her heart. "<Assuming, of course, you actually retain any memory when you wake up. Which you probably won't." He raised his boltgun up to the immobilised vampiress' head; the chambers rotating into place before he pulled the trigger to empty the contents of said head over the bar, smoking as they ignited.

"Ew," Tali rather idly commented, making the appropriate face. "She was a juicy one." She then gave the body a good kick. "Bitch."

Skorpion kicked the now-burning body as well, in the process of tugging his sword from it. "Now to start an ACTUAL fire so we didn't make a false alarm; the fire department hates that." He looked around at the club, now full of holes, smouldering vampires, and a few small fires from incendiary shotgun shells. "Okay, a bigger one. Grab some booze and pour it around the fire, I'll add kindling."

But Tali was already in the process of making herself a molotov cocktail using a bottle of booze she'd snagged from behind the bar, and missed most of what he'd just said. "Hmm?" the teen hmm-ed, looking up from her work with a look that clearly said she hadn't been listening.

Skorpion pointed to the nearest fire, before dropping the couch he'd picked up next to it. "More of those. Bigger."

Tali just lifted the molotov cocktail, as if to say duh, then suggested, "You might wanna move," while lighting it and the two others she'd made to toss around the room.

Skorpion did so, adding a few more flaming shotgun shells to the furnishings as he moved to the bar, browsing through the bottles behind it and taking various ones. "No sense wasting good booze, is there?"

"Nope~" the teen agreed, helping herself to the mixings for her strawberry sunrise (what? they were tasty!).

Skorpion raised an eyebrow. "At your age?"

"Most people would say the same about taking me to a nightclub and hunting vampires," Tali smartly pointed out. "Besides, I should be able to handle a few drinks if I'm playing the distraction, shouldn't I?"

"Sure, if you were the distraction. I only had you pull the alarm to get all the humans out the way." Skorpion pointed out in return, pulling himself a pint as he talked. "Just don't go overboard, or be too obvious about it."

"Of course not," the teenager agreed, tucking the bottles into hammerspace (something which also reminded her to switch back to her civvies, which she did in a rain of sparkles). "So, time to go, then?"

Skorpion held up a finger as he finished his drink, shaking the last few drops from the glass before tossing it over his shoulder. "Okay, NOW we can go." He remarked, heading for the front exit, collecting the fallen weapons on the way. "Just make sure not to look back."

"Duh," was Tali's rather insulted reply - that was practically lesson one (read: too cool to look at explosions).

Skorpion grinned, falling into step with her as the club exploded behind them, assisted by the few pounds of C4 he'd stuck under the bar. A lump of shrapnel span past them as they crossed the threshold, embedding itself in a building across the street.

Tali just slipped on a pair of aviators and looked awesome.

---

After a series of odd jobs, miscellaneous mayhem, and a couple of street races mysteriously ending in both sets of participants encountering each other at an intersection, Skorpion leaned back against the bench and looked over the city below them. "Parenthood is more fun than I thought it would be."

"There's a compliment in there somewhere," Tali rather idly observed, licking at her peach ice cream (two scoops, in a cone - a traditional post-slaying treat).

"Probably." Skorpion admitted. "I'm impressed that you can fly, though. Not many teenagers around here can fly a helicopter at all, let alone land it." He gestured to where his helicopter had indeed landed, atop and in the wreckage of a portacabin. "The right way up and intact, no less."

"Yeah, funny story about that," Tali admitted. She might have made off with one when she was six, and had to figure it out on the fly to avoid crashing and getting grounded (pun intended).

Skorpion chuckled, reaching over to tug her into a hug, being careful not to tip her icecream. "Fun times, huh? I bet I wasn't too happy about finding out about that."

"You were a bit torn, really," the teen admitted. "On the one hand, I kinda stole a helicopter, and those are kinda expensive. But on the other, I totally figured it out, and landed it fine, which was pretty awesome." She tended to worm her way out of a lot of trouble that way, really.

"Sounds about right." Skorpion sighed softly. "So, DO you actually know how to operate the time machine, or were you just bluffing?"

"Oh, Dev totally gave me his notes to hurry things up a bit. I'm just not supposed to give them to you until after the shuttle takes off," Tali informed.

"Oh, good. I thought you were just gonna say 'spoilers' or something, and leave it at that."

"Nah, that's Elsie's thing. I may have let her watch too much Doctor Who," the blonde admitted. "So~ when are you gonna tell mom?" she then asked, in a rather teasing tone.

"Isn't that YOUR job? It's not my fault I have a visitor from the future, after all."

"I dunno," Tali mused, making a great show of her pondering, "that sorta seems like the kinda thing a woman expects to hear from her boyfriend. Seeing as it involves them having a child together and all. We wouldn't want you to get in trouble for not telling her, after all."

"Telling her at all would cause a paradox and risk you not happening in the first place, however." Skorpion pointed out.

"Oh please, you're both smarter than that," Tali chastened, seemingly waving the argument away. "And she probably will get mad, if she finds out you already knew about me and didn't say anything."

"So, what am I supposed to say?" Skorpion asked. "By the way, dear, we need to conceive a child. She came from the future to help save our granddaughter, but she insisted I tell you about her and not her?"

Tali made a face at that; honestly, he was hopeless sometimes. "Or you could just try something more along the lines of 'so, there's another time traveler in town, and apparently she's our daughter, would you like to meet her?' You've still got about four years, so there's no rush there."

"Don't you make faces at me, young lady. If you remember, I'm not MEANT to be good with people beyond armed negotiations. I'm learning as I go, which isn't helped by flat-out missing a year or two, and anything before three years ago being in a big un-indexed chunk of backups."

"And I'm a teenager," Tali countered cheekily.

"You're not even born for four years, remember." Skorpion shot back.

"And yet, here I am," she carelessly returned, something about her tone seeming to say what a fickle world we live in!

"Purely because I presumably kept a time machine for study instead of destroying it, on account of your niece stumbling into it and appearing a couple of weeks ago." Skorpion explained. "If she hadn't done that, then it wouldn't have needed to be around in the first place, and could be left floating around in space where it ended up last time someone tried using it." He concluded. "Of course, I'm sure Lucius had something to do with THAT, so I should ask him about it sometime."

"Yes, you really should," Tali agreed with a nod, being familiar with the story.

"Good thing I emptied that club, then." Skorpion grinned. "Getting stories out of him requires a LOT of booze."

That earned a good bit of laughter from Tali, who immediately wanted to know, "Can I be there, for that?" Drunk Lucius stories were hilarious.

"Sure. You can take a backup recording in case he tries to deny it all later." Skorpion grinned. "And to capture any drunken antics."

"Excellent," Tali responded, with a rather wicked grin.

Summary:
Tali arrives at FGTL HQ. Just wanders on in. Because she lives there.
Who the hell is this?
Spoilers!
Impasse!
Waaaait... Surprise hug!
Tali is Skorpion's daughter, by Tiffaney. As the scan reveals.
No, you are NOT building a future bike! No paradoxes!
A compromise. She can mod Skorpion's Hayabusa, because he never rides it these days.
It's grown a bit since it was last seen...

Tinker tinker tinker.
Blood sample? Girly problems.
Tali's attitude to boys is revealed.
Way too much bother.
Father/daughter tinkering.
Wanna go shoot some bad guys?

Bad guys are shot.
Lots of vampires.
Cybergoth vampiress boss fight!
Because vampires are totally goths.
They make short work of her.
Drinking? At HER age?
Just don't overdo it.
Looting. Arson. KABOOM.

Mayhem.

Discussion.
When's Tiffaney going to be informed?
Who's gonna do it?
The threat of 'don't make me make you stop existing'.
How DID the time machine end up in space?
Time to get Lucius drunk and talkative?
Can Tali watch?


Summary summary:
Skorpion meets Tali, figures out who she is, kills vampires with her, has fun, and someone has to tell Tiffaney.
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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Arella

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Location: Ontario, Canada

Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)



Location: FGTL HQ
Timestamp: after the father/daughter bonding
Authors: Arella, Skorpy, Oblivion
Characters: Tali, Cathal, Skorpion, Tiffaney

---

Cathal crawled through the vent above the workshops, on the trail of a cleaning bot that had gone down a few hours before. As he passed a grate, however, something caught his eye. Something blonde, and with a surprising amount of curves attached to it. Well, hello there... He paused to watch her work on the motorbike she was laying under, parts and puddles of fluids everywhere, all nice and tight, once again failing to do its job (not that he could see that part)... And then the next thing he knew, that pleasant view was being obstructed by a gun, which was rather impressively aimed right at him.

"You have until the count of three to stop the pervy staring," the owner of said curves informed, somehow still working on the bike in spite of holding and aiming the gun (and how on earth did she manage to train it on him without even looking?). "One," she then immediately started counting. "Two..."

Cathal snapped out of the boobs trance, scrabbling to get out of sight. This, however, failed him as the grate beneath him gave way, dropping him to the floor beneath with a *thud*. "Ow." He remarked. Then the grate fell on him, followed by the cleaning bot he'd been tracking, and the live, angry ROUS it had jammed trying to shred.

"Serves you right," Tali informed, utterly without sympathy, as she added a rather heavy wrench to the list of things that hit him. She then shot the ROUS a good few times, because of course she did.

Cathal grunted as the wrench hit, knocking him out., while Tali just went ahead and started the next on her phone/speaker set-up and returned her focus to the bike.

---

A few moments later, Cathal snapped awake, realising where he was. He scrambled under the nearest workbench, drawing his pistol as he crouched under it, trying to stay as small and hidden as possible. "If you see a gnome, fucking kill it. They want to eat me."

"Uh huh," replied a skeptical Tali, before informing, "I would suggest being more concerned with the armed girl in front of you, whom you were just perving over. That's still too close, by the way, so I would also suggest getting out of here before I shoot you, too." This, of course, was followed by her restarting the counting. "One..."

Cathal jumped up, knocking his head on the desk before scrambling away and fleeing, picking up the cleaning bot on the way out.

Skorpion sidestepped the fleeing teenager as he entered the room, raising a questioning eyebrow at him, the fallen grate, the very dead ROUS, and the mildly irritated Tali. "Check your inventory."

"For what?" the teen girl inquired, her current occupation all the explanation needed as to why she didn't just look herself.

"Anything missing." Skorpion explained, holding up the socket wrench she'd been using before. "He's a sneak-thief."

"And a perv," Tali added. "He's lucky to still have both legs. Pass me that, will you?"

Skorpion tossed it over before reattaching the grate. "He's a teenaged boy; they're all like that. And you should know who his grandfather is and what he's like."

"Well, he has to learn the dangers from someone - might as well be me," Tali said with a bit of a shrug. Most boys tended to end up learning the dangers of perving from her, really.

"He's learning. Slowly. And I see you've met the ROUS." Skorpion changed the subject, nudging the dead example. Or mostly dead, as it twitched and tried to run away despite being in two parts. Skorpion frowned, went to stomp on it, thought better, and put a bullet through its head instead. "Please tell me I've cleared them up by your time. Or at least stopped them getting worse."

"Kind of," was all Tali would say on that particular subject. "Have you talked to mom yet?"

"No, she's been busy in her lab all day, and I don't want to know what she's doing in there." Skorpion explained. "And what do you mean by 'kind of'?"

"What happened to all that worry about paradoxes?" the teenager teased; that was the whole reason she wasn't making an exact copy of her usual bike, after all. Though this one was still showing signs of turning out pretty similar.

"Superceded by worry about you being eaten by ROUS." Skorpion explained. "I mean, obviously you weren't, but the future might not be fixed."

That got a good laugh (as if a giant rat would ever stand a chance against her!). "Fine, fine," she agreed. "They aren't gone, but you've got them under much better control. They can be kinda handy sometimes." Especially when used against villains - made them scream like little girls, it was hilarious. "Has mom started on the raptors yet?"

"Yes. There's a small pack inhabiting one of the basements, eating old rations and ROUS." Skorpion sighed. "I'm tempted to release them topside to keep the zombie bird population down."

"Don't even think about it!" Tali immediately objected. "Something might happen to Yang's mom, and then I won't get Yang!" And Yang was awesome. And Tali loved her.

"Zombie birds don't have kids, though..." Skorpion replied, somewhat puzzled.

"Yang's a raptor!" the teen corrected, as if that should have been self-evident. "My raptor, and she's awesome!"

"I'm sure your mother will just clone more if you want them. I'm surprised she hasn't tried to clone YOU, frankly."

"No, no messing with anything that could affect Yang," Tali declared, clearly putting her foot down on the matter. "And I'm enough trouble without another one of me running around." There was a good chance she was actually quoting someone, there.

"Fine, I'll have her clone up another batch to eat the birds. Maybe I can set them loose in the city to deal with the Yakuza." Skorpion mused, starting to take notes.

"Or, y'know, the yakuza will figure out how to train them, and just end up adding raptors to their ranks," Tali (hopefully?) teased.

"Then we need to make them smarter, and loyal to me. Or condition them to attack people with missing fingers on sight, but that would gain a lot of trouble from people who AREN'T yakuza but are missing fingers."

"Or limbs," Tali pointed out (not that it would mean much to anyone yet). "I'd just keep them here for now, let mom do her thing. Oooooh, has she done the lions yet? Elsie loves the lions." She'd have to bring Elsie next time, if she could snuggle with the lions.

"She has done the lions, and yes, Elsie loves them. They seem to be very good about not eating her, too."

"Could you eat her?" Tali pointed out. Seriously, you had to be bad to the bone to be willing to hurt that girl, if not outright evil.

"Maybe if she wasn't my granddaugher. Speaking of which, though..." Skorpion grinned. "Got anyone in mind for any direct ones?"

"Nope," she rather shortly informed; she had better things to do, thanks.

"Should I try setting you up with someone, then?" Skorpion asked, winking at her. "I'm sure I can find you a nice boy who can stand up to a few punches."

"How well do you think you can stand up to a few punches?" was Tali's only reply, a clear tone of warning in her voice, and a glare in her eyes. In other words, no thank you!

Skorpion grinned, reaching down to pat Tali's head. "That's almost as adorable as Elsie."

Tali gave him a good whack with her current tool for that. Not in the head or anything, but she made sure he felt it.

Skorpion laughed, ruffling her hair. "I'm still wearing armour, you know."

Eyes narrowing a bit, she responded by hitting him even harder - definitely hard enough to be felt through that bloody armour of his, and even hurt a bit. "And stop touching the hair," she added. Seriously, you did not mess with the hair.

"Skorpion~" Called Tiffaney as she entered the room. "Have you seen a vial of greenish blue liquid on any of the cameras? I'm afraid it's gone missing from the lab and I really don't-- Why is there a teenager working in your shop?"

"Crap," Tali rather idly commented, looking longingly at the bike she was still laid out under. She was totally about to have her work interrupted, wasn't she. "See, this is why you should have told her earlier - now I'm not gonna get to finish this upgrade."

"If I have to deal with it, you have to deal with it." Skorpion replied smugly, before turning to Tiffaney. "Tiffaney, meet Talitha, or Tali for short. She's apparently our daughter from the future, the same time as Elsie.Tali, meet your mother's past self."

"Hi mom," Tali obediently greeted, with a wave from under the bike.

"Huh?" Tiffaney said, taking a moment to emotionally process what she'd just been told.

Skorpion took a moment to snap Tiffaney's confused expression with a camera. "Yeah, that was my reaction to this whole time travel nonsense as well."

"Admit it, your lives would be totally boring without us," Tali snarked.

"I'm juggling building a nation-state, smuggling oppressed minorities out of the country, running a corporation AND a mercenary company, and starting a space program. Life was pretty busy already before you two showed up." Skorpion rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, but none of that includes me, and I make everything better," the teen informed.

"I admit, it IS a lot more fun murd... Slaying the undead and wreaking mayhem with someone who knows how to do it properly." Skorpion conceded.

"I have a daughter from the future?" Tiffaney asked before tearing up a little. She then hurried over to the motorcycle and dropped down to her knees. "Can I look at you? I want to see your face."

"She totally has your nose." Skorpion added, helpfully. "That's how I recognised her."

Relatively resigned to her fate of not getting that upgrade done today, Tali's blonde head poked out from under the bike, wild mane of hair glorious as always, purple eyes standing out stark as ever - and smudges of grease or oil or something across her nose and cheek. "Hi mom," she greeted again, while Avril Lavigne rather ruined the moment by starting up with another .

Tiffaney examined her daughter's face, wiping a smudge from her cheek. "You really do have my nose." She commented before giving Talitha a hug and gently stoking her hair. "It's nice to meet you, Tali."

"You too, mom," the teen girl assured, actually returning the hug this time. Then she frowned - Avril really was ruining the moment. "Jarvis, can the music, please."

"Of course, princess," a familiar British voice responded, as the music switched off.

Skorpion raised an eyebrow. "Talitha, have you been picking up random AIs?"

"Hey, you raided a SHIELD helicarrier and stole all kinds of stuff - I just borrowed Jarvis," Tali argued, immediately on the defensive thanks to the use of her full name. And by "borrowed" she of course meant "stole."

"Honey, you should develop your own AI. You don't need to take Jarvis." Tiffaney commented, not ready to stop hugging her daughter just yet.

"But I was busy with other stuff! And he sounds cool!" the teen defended. She also seemed more than a little used to the lengthy hugs.

"Still. I'm sure Jarvis has plenty of things he needs to do in the future, so when you get back, be sure to return him. And remember not to get caught." Tiffaney advised, releasing her daugher from the hug.

"But Tony still has his own Jarvis, I just copied him!" Tali protested. She liked her Jarvis, he was all British and called her princess.

"I will not have my daughter copying AI from Tony Stark." Tiffaney lightly scolded. "If you want I can run you through a few advanced AI programming courses, though you'd probably be better off having Devin teach you."

"I know how," the teen sulked. She'd studied Jarvis' coding pretty extensively before actually loading him onto anything, after all. "I just haven't had time. And I like Jarvis."

"Originality is important, young lady." The mother advised. "But right now, what's more important is that I get to meet you, so I'll hold off on the rest of this scolding until you get back in twenty years. Okay, dear?"

"Okay!" Tali was quick to agree - with any luck, mom would forget by then anyway.

"I'll be sure to leave a note on Haro-chan." Skorpion grinned. "He seems to exist for taking messages through time anyway."

"Thank you, dear!" Tiffaney said with a smile.

"He exists to protect Elsie," Tali corrected. Seriously, it was his prime directive.

"Yes, by making sure she gets home in one piece. Protecting her day to day is an added bonus." Skorpion grinned, holding up the USB drive, which by now was held together with aging electrical tape and had changed colour. "I left myself notes."

Tali just rolled her eyes in a very teenager kind of way.

"So, where's YOUR companion?" Skorpion asked. "Or is that Elsie's role?"

"Augie doesn't come with companions," the teen pointed out. "And I couldn't bring Yang, 'cause paradoxes and stuff. And I haven't decided what kinda robot I wanna build for myself, yet. Besides, I don't really need one like Elsie does." She kicked plenty of ass on her own, after all.

"It's true. Thought Auger is our familiar, he refuses to manifest himself in the physical world." Tiffaney informed with a smile.

"Probably because he'd spend more time being petted by magical girls than actually rescuing them." Skorpion pointed out. "Otherwise, you could take Arella's route and adopt an animal companion. Lucius seems to be filling that role fairly well, after all."

Tali gave a good snort of laughter at that - she was totally telling Lucius her dad had said that.

"It's not like he can deny it. He protects her, and he's an animal. He's even got the ears!"

"You do realize I'm going to tell him you said that, right?" the teen inquired, looking highly amused.

"What's he going to do? I subsidise his magical girl school, and I'm training his grandson." Skorpion pointed out. "Speaking of which, why don't you come out here and actually introduce yourself instead of hiding in the vents?"

"I'm actually stuck in here." Cathal pointed out. "You closed a blast door on me."

And Tali immediately dissolved into laughter.

Skorpion rolled his eyes and extracted the teenager from the airvent, dumping him in an unceremonious heap on the floor. "Traditionally, I'd threaten you for peeping on her, but I'm sure she can do that just fine herself."

"Cathal clambered to his feet, blushing. "Uh. Hi? I'm Cathal."

"I know," Tali informed. "And the next time I catch you perving over me, I'm going to shoot you in the foot." This last was said as casually as if she'd been letting him know it was raining out, and as certainly as if she'd been stating that one plus one equals two. In other words, perving equals shot in the foot, and she was totally comfortable with that.

"Maybe you could just punch him a little instead. Considering who you are, try not to hit too hard or you may vapourise his upper torso..." Tiffaney commented.

"Or his balls," Tali threatened, with a rather frightening glint in her eye.

"Don't you dare." Skorpion objected, frowning. "He's already dealing with culture shock from being somewhere that ISN'T full of people out to get him, and he's still being hunted by vent gnomes."

"Toldya they were real." Cathal grinned, moving to put Skorpion between Tali and himself.

"That, or I've got a dwarf infestation again. Anyway. No punching him. And no spoilering him either. Cathal, this is Tali; she's working with us and studying at the Academy. She's from Kyoto, so don't be surprised if she acts wierd."

"This whole damn city acts wierd." Cathal pointed out. "Your dudes are at least predictable."

"Especially when it comes to rewarding perving with bullets," Tali added, just to really hammer home her point.

Cathal just gave her a confused look. "No, I mean the random armed idiots wandering around. They don't seem to care WHO looks at them."

Eye roll. Followed by a return to her work on the bike.

"I can see THIS is going to be a struggle."

"What?"

"Ignore that. Spoilers."

"Oh, like Elsie says all the time."

Skorpion nodded. "Exactly. Need-to-know basis only."

Cathal saluted, surprisingly sharply. "I won't ask, then, 'cause I don't wanna know. If it's important enough to not tell me about, it's not worth knowing."

"And that's why you ignore half of your grandfather's stories?"

Cathal nodded. "Yeah. That, and he rambles. On and on and on. About the most random irrelevant crap, too."

"His grandfather's stories are much better," Tali rather idly commented, once again beneath the bike.

"What, HIS grandfather's still alive?" Cathal frowned. "Don't tell me he's immortal too."

Skorpion shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. He's survived three wars so far with no sign of stopping, but he HAS gotten old. As for you, I don't know either, but probably. Seems to either skip a generation, or Lucius' parents are as useless as they seem."

Tali let out a decidedly un-ladylike snort at that, as if to suggest the answer should have been obvious. Especially to her dad.

"Don't you start. It wasn't until you turned up that..." Skorpion trailed off, glancing at Cathal. "Never mind that."

"Never mind WHAT?" Cathal asked, eyebrows furrowing.

"Spoilers." Replied Skorpion, with a grin.

"Jarvis," the teen girl prompted, at which point River Song's voice could be heard declaring the same thing from her phone. Y'know, because she could.

"."

Cathal hmphed. "All the good stuff is spoilers. It's not fair."

"Life ain't fair." Skorpion responded on reflex.

"Also, you just said you didn't want to know important, need-to-know stuff," Tali pointed out. "That is important, need-to-know stuff."

"Not when it's boring, no. But interesting stuff that might actually be useful to me? I'm all over that." Cathal pointed out, his logic impeccable as always.

"Sucks to be you, then," the teen girl informed, utterly without sympathy.

"You're a right bitch, you know that?" Cathal remarked, unaware of the glare of death from Skorpion.

"Thanks!" was Tali's only reply, honestly sounding sincere about it. Tex was a bitch too, after all, and she idolized her. Then she rather contemplatively added, "I probably shouldn't tell Elsie you said so, though. It might make her cry." Because Tali had the ultimate trump card to play. Always.

Cathal grumbled and stalked off. Skorpion watched him go, shrugging. "Teenagers. I have to say, I'm glad he's not my grandson with that attitude."

"And I'm much better than any grandson could be, anyway," the blonde teen was quick to retort. "Besides, you have Elsie for grandkids. You can't really top that level of cute."

"True." Skorpion admitted. "That doesn't excuse you from providing any, though, even if you're probably immortal."

Tali rolled her eyes - not that anyone could see it while she was under the bike. "Remind me when I'm 30, then," she deadpanned. It was hard to tell if she was being serious or not.

"Trust me, dear. I will." Tiffaney said with a smile. "Speaking of grandchildren, what about Lexi, Evie, and Johnny?"

"Jarvis," Tali prompted, leading to another playing of River Song's "spoilers."

"I can wait." Tiffaney said plainly.

"Like you even want me around boys in the future..." the teen muttered to herself, still working away on that upgrade. Seriously, she got a pet raptor largely because of the effectiveness in keeping boys away - and that had nothing on dad's method of handling them. Not that she actually minded any - boys her age were more than a little stupid, not to mention hormone-addled, and she had better things to do, and a cutecute magical girl to protect.

"Of course I don't want boys around you, you're a teenager!" Tiffaney said as though it were obvious.

"Only boys I can approve of. No hormone-crazed teenagers, creepy older guys, or anyone the least bit resembling your uncle Lucius." Skorpion added.

Tali let out a long-suffering sigh. "And I don't want to bother with them at all. I've got better things to do. Like unravelling the workings of hammerspace and how to manipulate it." Seriously, boys were nothing but a distraction.

Skorpion shrugged. "Don't expect me to help with that, then. All I've determined is that I can't use it, and that Arella doesn't know how to operate the stuff I tried to measure it with."

"Why would I want help?" Tali asked, as if the very idea was unthinkable - that would take all the fun out of figuring it out!

"You'll learn someday. You think I hold this place together on my own? I need help somewhere, even if it's Strider doing all the work that isn't interesting or explosive." Skorpion nodded sagely. "Of course, if I didn't keep starting gang wars it'd be easier, but they don't just wipe themselves out."

"Well, yeah, running a country requires delegation, but I don't need someone helping me do my own research and experiments and stuff," the blonde insisted, still very much sounding as if the whole concept was just ridiculous. Mind you, her very first sentence had apparently been I do it myself!

"Not even fetching stuff, watching boring things and writing down results, and adding stuff to mixtures?" Skorpion asked. "Because that's what lab technicians are for. Like real scientists, only they do all the hard work."

"That doesn't count," Tali informed. "Also, you forgot about drones and AI. And I like adding stuff to mixtures, then you get to see the reaction first-hand!" It was much more exciting that way. Especially when things exploded.

"The AI's unhelpful at best when it comes to concentrating on stuff, and drones are, well, drones." Skorpion pointed to one hovering nearby, straining to hold up a wrench. "That one looks about as likely to hit you in the head with that as it does to get it into your hand. Unless there've been some serious advancements in AI, and this one's gotten a clue..." Skorpion paused, turning to the nearest camera and pointing into it. "Yes, I mean you. And don't think I don't know about the terabytes of hentai you downloaded last week." He sighed. "Then they're not gonna be a lot of help."

"Well, Jarvis is plenty helpful, he even helps speed up calculations and monitors safety measures and stuff." He was also good about reminding her to use safety measures when she was too caught up in her current Idea. "And drones are fine for fetching stuff, so long as they can get a good grip on it and aren't hovering over your head with something heavy."

The drone with the wrench shifted sideways so it wasn't above Tali's head.

"I think I need better drones." Skorpion concluded. "Bigger. Stronger. Smarter. And with better grip." He paused, before grinning widely, grabbing the nearest drone out of the air and flipping it over onto a workbench. He then set about opening it up and swapping out motors and controllers, even as it tried to buzz away and get loose.

"Don't let Elsie catch you doing that," Tali advised.

"Immune to wibbles, remember." Skorpion pointed out as he plugged himself into the drone. "Besides, this will help her as well. Somehow."

"Mhmm," was Tali's skeptical reply. "And just how many times has she dragged you to the fair, or shopping, or ended up riding on your shoulder already?"

"And I'm supposed to just let her cry?" Skorpion asked. "The troops would beat down the door to try and comfort her. She radiates so much cute she should have a warning sign and shielding."

"So, in other words, not so immune to wibbles," Tali observed, rather triumphantly.

"Says the one who came back in time to look for her." Skorpion pointed out, smirking. "Weren't you frantic about having lost her?"

"I never claimed to be immune to them," the teen pointed out, before rather guiltily admitting, "Besides, we were on patrol together. Buddy system. I shouldn't have let her head him off like that."

"No; you should have hobbled him with something. A bullet to the knee is always good, but she's inherited her mother's dislike of shooting people." Skorpion pointed out.

"It was just Warp, though," was Tali's rather weak defense. Weak because she didn't consider it good enough - in reality, it was a fair point. The guy was kind of an idiot, and incredibly predictable. "If I'm gonna shoot someone in front of her, it's got to be for a better reason than that. I still should've stopped her, though, or done something."

"Hey." Skorpion reached down to rest a hand on Tali's leg, since that was all that wasn't under the bike. "Don't beat yourself up over it. What's done is done. Or what's going to be done is set. Or whatever; time travel is confusing. Either way, you can't change it.

"But I let her get stuck here alone. She's never alone, and she must have been so scared, and I promised to look after her." Even if no one else actually held her to that promise, seeing as she'd been three, and holding her niece for the first time, and Arella had just been trying to make her feel important now that she wasn't the baby of the family anymore.

"She wasn't alone. She found friends, and even Lucius was there to help her. Plus, I knew the whole thing was going to happen and sent myself a message."

"I should have been here with her, though," Tali insisted.

"You're here now, dear, and that's all that matters." Tiffaney said, kneeling next to Skorpion. "It doesn't matter how strong, smart, or fast you are. The future's always going to throw things at you that you couldn't possibly have predicted. So all you gotta do is keep your chin up, and deal with these unexpected developments as best you are able." She said in a comforting tone.

"Yeah, exactly. Now, come out here and give us a hug."

There was a moment in which the teen girl didn't seem to move (though in fact, she was rather roughly trying to wipe away any and all evidence of the few, traitorous tears that had escaped her over being such a failure of an aunt). And then she was hugging them. Actually hugging them, rather than simply permitting the hugs like the 16-year-old she was.

"It's okay, dear. Mom and Dad are right here, and we're gonna help both of you through this." Tiffaney said as she stroked her daughter's hair.

Skorpion patted her back carefully, trying to avoid his hand tangling in her mane of hair. "She's safe now, and we'll get you back. Don't worry."

Tali was quiet for a while, mainly out of concern that she might start crying if she opened her mouth, and she was too old for that. Finally, she rallied herself, dredging up that familiar confidence and laissez faire attitude for a snarky, "So, can I just go ahead and turn this into my proper bike, now?"

"No, because spoilers." Skorpion grinned.

"That's my girl." Tiffaney stated proudly.

"Then tell dad to let me build it," Tali was quick to return, much more comfortable with a bit of familiar bantering.

"Hey, I already gave you MY bike to work with. Don't make me take away your printer privileges."

"Sweetie. We're not going to let you make a bike with specs from the future." Tiffaney said, siding with Skorpion in the matter.

Tali made a big show of rolling her eyes at that. "Fiiiiine," she said with a sigh, sulking a bit. "Can I at least have a new rocket launcher and some ice cream, then?"

"Sure, just head down to the armoury and the kitchens. Or have it dropped off by you. What's wrong with your old launcher? Out of ammo already?"

"No, I just like them," Tali admitted with a casual little shrug. Seriously, she had about six of them already. And then she was suddenly looking up at him with biiiiig purple eyes totally modeled after her niece. "Can you get them for me, while I finish working on the bike?"

"Your wibbles are nowhere near as powerful as Elsie's, but sure." Skorpion ruffled her hair, grinning. "I'll get you something nice."

"Peach ice cream, please~" the teen sweetly requested, before less-sweetly adding, "And stop messing with the hair." Seriously. You did not mess with the hair.

Skorpion ruffled her hair again before turning to leave. After a couple of steps he stopped short, realising his hand was trapped. "Well, this is awkward."

Tali, meanwhile, was suddenly radiating a sense of DANGER. "Dad," she said, in a rather frighteningly calm voice, "you have ten seconds to get your hand out of my hair, without damaging said hair in any way, before I remove your arm and do it for you."

Tiffaney looked at the two and snrked a bit.

Skorpion tugged a couple of times. "It's stuck. And I swear, if you so much as think about removing my arm, I'm sticking you in a spaceship with Devin for three months and only giving you chicken curry to eat."

"I'll put it back on when I'm done," the teen informed, her calm starting to sound a bit strained.

"Tiffaney?" Skorpion asked. "Little help here?"

"Alright, give me a bit." Tiffaney said, moving closer to untangle Skorpion's hand.

"Maybe I shouldn't touch the hair." Skorpion mused. "Or perhaps you need Arella to teach you how to comb it."

"And there... We... Go..." Tiffaney said as she untangled the last bit of hair, freeing Skorpion.

"Thank you." Skorpion smiled to Tiffaney, patting Tali carefully on the head before stepping away sharply. "Want anything while I'm doing fetch quests, dear?"

"A quick kiss before you go?" Tiffaney asked with a smile.

Skorpion chuckled softly, obliging her with a kiss. As he did so, his hand slipped down to squeeze her bunny tail, which caused Tiffaney's ears to perk for a moment.

Tali just returned to her place beneath the bike, muttering about people needing to stop messing with the hair!

---

"So. Something classic that's likely to be rare even in the future, or something brand new... Aha!" Skorpion grinned as he set his eyes on something buried under a pile of AK47s in the back of the armoury. After a (long) while of digging through them, eventually digging out a from beneath the pile. "Perfect. And someone's already added rails!"

---

Skorpion returned to Tali with a grin, the recoilless rifle, a crate of ammo, and a big tub of peach-flavoured ice cream. "Found you something. I figure something modern would just be obsolete by the time you get home, so I found you a classic. And some improved ammo for it, which I should remember how to make in the future. Or I can just reverse-engineer it or improve on the design or something." He shrugged, offering the gun, crate, and tub to Tali. "And I have a feeling it's been involved in a terrorist incident somewhere, so it's probably better off with you anyway."

Tali let out the sort of squee most magical girls would save for an especially adorable and cuddly kitten, and immediately claimed the rifle to fuss over it. Again, like most girls would a kitten. She was even stroking it like a kitten, and cooing at it. All while rather expertly looking it over.

Oh, and it was apparently now named Bill. Because all her favourite weapons got names.

"My god, you're like Elsie with a plushie." Skorpion remarked.

"I am a magical girl," Tali reminded, amidst continued fussing over the new weapon. Someone was probably going to need to remind her about the ice cream before it started to melt.

Skorpion set the ice cream down with a thud. "Also, I got you ice cream. I don't know what your appetite's like, but experimentation shows that magical powers are fuelled by sugar, so I got you a gallon."

"Thanks dad!" was the teen's happy reply, as she claimed the ice cream and a spoon and took a seat on the floor to consume it. All while cradling her new weapon, because she wasn't ready to put it down yet.

"Want to go kick some more butt when you're done?" Skorpion asked, smirking. "I'm sure I can do with clearing some of my list of targets."

"Duh!" Tali enthused, sounding more than a little excited by the idea. "Just, y'know, no killing unless necessary. Elsie always seems to know, and then she gets all sad." And Elsie should never, ever be sad.

"I'll make sure it's people who really need it, or are already dead anyway." Skorpion assured her. "Probably vampires again, looking at my list. There's been a few rather predatory ones around lately, and they need to be dealt with." He paused, eyeing Tali carefully. "Think you can do sweet and innocent well enough to attract them?"

"Oooooh, does this mean I get to be bait? I love being bait! I'm awesome at it!" the teen enthused, looking genuinely thrilled by the idea.

"Sure, just don't let your mother hear you calling it that." Skorpion chuckled. "They hang out in malls to try and pick up young girls, so try and lure them into buying you stuff so I can blast them."

"I get to keep the stuff, right?" Tali sought to clarify. Priorities! "And wouldn't it be better if I let them lead me outside before you shoot them? Less mess and panicking civilians that way."

"Sure, you'll be earning it." Skorpion rolled his eyes; teenagers. "And I don't know where they're luring the girls. I'll be following you through the cameras, so you might have to fend them off while I get there."

"OR we could scope out the place, pick a nice alleyway, and I'll just happen to decide to go with them outside of it every time, making it the obvious route," she suggested. Clearly, this wasn't her first rodeo.

"They'll catch on too quick, for that. Also, they might be using back areas for it." Skorpion replied, scratching his head thoughtfully. "Maybe try and attract them outside in a group, and I can get them with an area weapon. Maybe set them a trap?"

"NOT a huge fan of being blown up, dad," Tali informed, completely serious and apparently speaking from experience.

"I'm not blowing YOU up, just the vampires. I'll leave somewhere for you to stand that'll be free of shrapnel and explosion. Here." Skorpion tossed her a pair of glasses. "Put those on, they've got a HUD built into them. Plus, these vampires tend to go for the meganekko types."

"Uh huh," was the teen's skeptical response. "You do remember we're trying to convince the vampires I'm sweet and tasty and make a good target, meaning they might get a bit close for that, right?" Besides, she totally had her own glasses for that. An array of them, in fact. Along with appropriate bait outfits.

"Yes, which is where your magic comes in. All else fails, just punch them."

Lips pursed, Tali finally relented. "Fine," she allowed. "But if you end up blowing me up by accident, I'm going to hit you. And I've got my own glasses." Seriously, she hated the look of those stereotypical round ones - you could be plenty cute without giant circles around your eyes, thanks.

"Just move the electronics over, then. Also, if all else fails, pull the fire alarm. I've had someone dump holy salt into the sprinkler system." Skorpion grinned. "I'll drop you off there, so they don't suspect you when you arrive on a bike you're too young to legally own."

Tucking her new rocket launcher away into hammerspace and abandoning her ice cream, Tali made a great show of rolling her eyes at this before traipsing out of the room with a backpack that hadn't been there a moment before. "I'll meet you in the garage." Because no way was she changing clothes out in the open around here - especially with Cathal lurking about.

"Alright. Five minutes enough?"

---

"LET GO OF MY HAND!" Cathal kicked at the cleaning bot he was fixing, using his free hand to try and pry open the jaws of the grinder that had clamped around his wrist. "Bastard thing. I should let the magical girls dismantle you. Or feed you to the gnomes."

---

"Did you just hear cackling?" Skorpion asked, peering into the nearest vent as he approached Tali.

"Of course not~" the teen girl assured, looking surprisingly un-Tali-like now that she was dressed in a the likes of which Elsie might wear, and a light decorated with a hint of lace which carefully avoided showing off her figure too much, complete with a pair of lacey ballet flats and a purse shaped like an owl. Oh, and a pair of girly, purple . Needless to say, it all rather clashed with her current expression - at least until she turned the cute face on.

She was good at the cute face. She'd grown up with Elsie.

"That's almost creepy. You've definitely spent too much time around Elsie, and they'll eat you up. It's perfect." Skorpion grinned, opening the door of the SUV for her. "I know the car's uncool, but it's meant to be a dad car. They'd have me clocked instantly if I showed up in something obviously Largoist." He tapped the bodywork, which promptly turned to an unevenly faded shade of red and acquired a few parking scrapes. "It's still armoured if anyone tries to take potshots at us, though."

"You do realize you're also going to have to drive like a normal dad, right?" Tali teased as she climbed inside.

"Only within sight of the mall. Now, don't make me start with the dad jokes." Skorpion threatened as he settled into the driving seat.

"Start with the dad jokes, and I'm telling mom you got me to play bait," Tali very seriously threatened. She hated the dad jokes, with the awful puns and total lack of a working sense of humour.

---

"Turns out, it was a shitzu." Skorpion finished, pulling up in front of the mall. "Here you are, dear."

Tali removed her hands from her ears with a wicked glare. "Forget telling mom. I'm going to tell Elsie you used me as bait," the teen informed, before returning to her cute face and letting herself out of the car. "<Bye papa! Thanks for the ride!>" she then added, in a completely different tone, in Japanese, and accompanied by a cute little wave. Then she closed the door and headed into the mall, even her walk somehow managing to be adorable.

"<Have fun, my little princess! Make sure to keep away from any boys; you know what your mother's like about them! And don't spend too much!>" Skorpion replied, returning the wave. As she walked off, he pulled away, managing to only shunt a few vehicles on his way out, completely ignoring the one-way system.

---

"<Look over there.>"

"<Where?>"

"<There! By the fountain! White skirt, striped top, glasses.>"

"<Ohh, HER. Daddy's little princess. Where's she headed?>"

As if on cue, Tali paused a moment to look around at the different stores while looking adorably conflicted, before finally seeming to settle on a cute little clothing store. She was going to have to bring Elsie back here at some point, she would totally love that sweater on display. And the skirt. And the little matching faux-fur hat and muff.

One of the vampires detached from the group to tail after Tali. Wearing dark trousers, a leather jacket, a T-shirt for an obscure technical metal band, and a pair of skate shoes, he followed her near-silently. As she stopped to look over a display, he slunk up beside her. "<So, what's a pretty girl like yourself doing in a place like this? These clothes haven't a hope of matching your beauty.>"

Tali gave a little start, as though she hadn't known anyone was there, before turning those biiiiiig purple eyes up at him (seriously, Elsie made for the best lessons in cute) and blinking a few times, as if uncertain he was talking to her, because surely he couldn't be. Finally, since he was pretty clearly talking to her, she sought to make sure (while blushing prettily).

"<Me?>" the blonde asked, all adorable innocence, like no one had ever tried hitting on her before.

"<Of course. You're the most radiant girl in here.>" The vampire smiled, carefully hiding his fangs as he tried to restrain himself from just biting her there and then. "<Even those frumpy clothes can't hide your beauty.>"

Tali ducked her head to shyly stare down at her feet, blushing like crazy, and nervously tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, as if she didn't know what to say.

"<Would you possibly allow me to purchase you some that might come close to complimenting you?>" The vampire asked, his smile and aura turning slightly predatory.

The young blonde looked back up at him with wide-eyed surprise, stammered a bit, nervously bit her lip, and finally managed to get out, "<I-- Would that be okay?>" Like she didn't know how insanely creepy he was being. Someone needed to invent vampire pepper spray. And then use it all on him, before making more and actually marketing it.

"<Of course. I offered, did I not?>" His smile softened again as he offered his arm to Tali. "<I know a store that'd be perfect for you, but you'll have to trust me.>"

"<Oh, well...>" Tali fidgeted a bit nervously with her purse straps, in the most adorable way possible. "<I... I was actually thinking I might get the outfit on display for my little sister. Would it...>" Another anxious and flustered little pause. "<Would it be okay if I did that first?>"

"<Be my guest.>" The vampire smiled again, hoping that snaring her wouldn't end up too expensive. Girls as cute as this didn't come along all the time, but women's fashion was expensive.

Immediately brightening, Tali lead the way into the shop, where she was immediately rewarded with the attention of an employee, who helped her find the whole ensemble in Elsie's size and bring it up to the counter. All the while providing the 'nice man' with an oratory about how her little sister wasn't allowed to come to the mall after dark yet, and she always felt so bad when she got to go and her sister didn't, so she was hoping maybe a present would make her feel better about not getting to come, and it would, wouldn't it? Followed by more of the biiiiiig purple eyes pleading for confirmation that yes, it would absolutely help her sister feel better.

The vampire nodded along, handing over a credit card without question, his expression decidedly like a rabbit caught in the headlights of Tali's cute act. With the outfit paid for, he took Tali's hand to lead her onwards.

And Tali obediently allowed herself to be lead, happily carrying her new shopping bag like a normal girl and positively beaming at the thought of being able to make her sister feel better about not getting to go shopping. Of course, being a cutegirl modeled after Elsie, it wasn't long before she got distracted by something and had to go have a look - in this case, it was a display of nail polish in just about every colour and shade known to man, which she was now staring at with wide-eyed excitement. "<Ooooh, aren't they pretty~?>" she admired.

"<Ah, but not as pretty as you are. May I suggest a sparkly purple one to match your eyes?>" The vampire smiled again, now somewhat frustrated by the distractions.

"Hai~" the cutegirl Tali agreed, already reaching out to claim it. Along with a sparkly pink one. And a shiny gold one. And a sparkly silver. And one sparkly one that rather resembled confetti, with all the different colours. And then, of course, she needed an opinion; returning her attention to the creepy vampire/nice man, she asked, "<Which do you like better, the sparkly blue, or the shiny blue?>"

"<The blue.>" The vampire picked at random. Seriously, this was just getting ridiculous.

---

Skorpion knelt by a planter, wearing a bulky high-vis jacket he'd lifted from a supply closet and muttering under his breath in Polish as he affixed something to it. "Kurva planters. Kurva customers." He finished the last screw, and moved onto another planter.

---

The vampire gave a despairing look as he passed his accomplices in the food court, laden down with bags and packages. "<My dear, how about we find somewhere more secluded to chat? I would LOVE to know more about you.>"

Tali made a great show of giving this some thought, as if childhood lectures about stranger danger were running through her head, only to be dismissed, because he was clearly just a nice man and not a scary stranger at all. "<Okay~>" she agreed. "<Should we go get some ice cream? Oh!>" she suddenly seemed to notice all the bags he was carrying. "<I'm sorry, you shouldn't be carrying everything - here, let me take some. Why didn't you say something?>" Clearly, she was rather distressed by the thought that she'd been using him like some kind of pack mule.

"<Of course, of course. We'll get some on the way.>" He flashed hand signals to the other vampires behind his back as he lead her off.

---

Skorpion looked up from the junction box he was 'fixing' as Tali approached, a grin spreading over his face. "Just stand in the purple box there, and you'll be fine."

Happily chattering away, as cutegirls do, (and also seeming to have somehow managed to end up with all of her shopping bags without arousing any suspicion), the blonde took her place in the appropriate spot, pretending to suddenly need to dig her cellphone out of her purse to excuse the sudden lack of movement.

Skorpion snapped his fingers, and the planters, benches, lights, and a nearby kiddie ride exploded in showers of flame and shrapnel. The gathered vampires were shredded by the explosion, leaving greasy stains littered with ball bearings as smoke drifted up from them. Tali was, of course, unhurt and untouched in the middle of the carnage, without even a hair out of place. Not, of course, that her hair had a 'place' to be in.

"That was fun!" a normal-sounding Tali happily declared, already starting to tuck her shopping bags away into hammerspace. The purple glasses also seemed to have suddenly disappeared. "Even if I didn't get to punch anybody this time. Seriously though, they were CREEPY - how is vampire pepper spray not a thing yet?"

"Holy water's a bust, because the salt jams nozzles. Also, priests are expensive." Skorpion explained as he walked over to her, leaving the junction box open with wires dangling out. "Most other things that dissolve vampires will eat clean through any spray can, as well. White phosphorous will melt their faces clean off, but it'll also do that to normal humans as well. And your hand if you're not careful." He finished, reaching over to hug Tali. "I think that was all the vampires. Want me to blow up the other pack of admirers as well?" He nodded to the group of teenaged boys that had been trailing around after her.

"Nah, I can handle them," Tali replied with a rather dismissive wave. At which point she suddenly rounded on them, all traces of the sweet, innocent little girl utterly replaced by the usual mouthy, overconfident Tali. "<OI, LOSERS - GET LOST BEFORE I KICK YOU IN THE BALLS AND FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER ON YOUR ASSES!>"

The boys scattered, leaving behind an assortment of discarded cans and packets. Skorpion watched them go, chuckling softly. "Works every time, huh?"

"Well, not every time," the teen girl admitted, nonetheless looking rather pleased with herself. "But then you just kick one of them like you warned, and they really move fast." Seriously, it was funny to watch.

"Sounds about right. You should try to see how much distance you can get out of kicking them." Skorpion remarked as he set off for the car, stepping to avoid leaving footprints in the dead vampires. "Want to go grab lunch? I'm getting hungry."

"It's dinnertime," Tali corrected rather habitually. "And yes, I could go for some food. Anywhere to get a decent burger around here?"

"It is? I guess I lost track." Skorpion shrugged. "But sure, I know a place. Big burgers, too, none of that skinny diet gourmet crap."

"Excellent!" the teen approved. "Now, do I have time to change, first?" She missed her combat boots. And skater skirt. And more fitted tops.

"Sure. Find a fitting room, I'll get the car." Skorpion replied. "And try not to attract any more vampires."

"Awww, but what if I wanna punch one?" she playfully complained.

"Only if you're going to deal with it properly." Skorpion warned, wagging a finger at her. "No leaving half-dead vampires for the staff to find."

Summary:
-Cathal's in the vents again. He spots boobs, and Tali promptly threatens to shoot him for staring.
-Cathal, a cleaning bot, and a ROUS fall out of a vent...
-Tali isn't saying anything about the vent gnomes, one way or the other. The ROUS, on the other hand...
-Skorp teases Tali about boys. Tali indirectly threatens to punch him. Skorp accuses her of being adorable. Tali hits him with a wrench or something.
-Stop touching the hair!
-Tiffaney shows up. Crap, Tali is not gonna get this upgrade finished, is she?
-Tiff, meet your daughter from the future. Daughter from the future, meet your mother from the past.
-Tali might have, er, "borrowed" Jarvis from Iron Man. She likes the accent, and the fact that he calls her "princess." Besides, she's too busy to make her own AI right now, and it's not like Tony doesn't still have his version, too - she only copied it!
-Cathal's spying from the vents again. Or stuck, either/or.
-Tali can be a bit of a bitch to pervy teenagers, and she's okay with that. Doesn't mean she won't occasionally play the Elsie card, though.
-Turns out, Tali's actually feeling pretty terrible about letting Elsie get sent back in time. She takes her duties as the younger girl's protector very seriously, even if no one else expects her to keep a promise she made as a three-year-old.
-Tiff is comforting. Shockingly, Skorp rather is, too.
-SERIOUSLY, STOP TOUCHING THE HAIR!
-Tali fusses over new rocket launchers like most magical girls fuss over adorable kittens.
-Time for some more father/daughter vampire hunting! Only this time, Tali gets to play the bait. She loves playing the bait!
-She's also very good at it.
-Pervert vampires totally deserve being blown up. But Tali makes sure to rob them blind first.
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Hyuuint

Posts: 13

Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:27 am

Post Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:58 am

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Yoga Time. (No peanut butter involved, or jelly.)
Location: CMGY Academy.
Characters: Lucius, Shiori, Elsie, Cathal, Miyu, Lots of Students
Authors: Skorpy, Hyuuint, Elle-Chan
Timestamp: After Shiori's Lesson.


---

It was late in the afternoon on a Friday, just after school had finished, when Lucius recieved the umpteenth knock on his door.

Lucius looked up, flicking an ear in irritation as he set aside the folder of paperwork. 'Aye, what?'

"It's Shiori. Mind if I come in?"

'Aye, lassie. I'm sick o' paperwork anyway.' Lucius answered, clearing a pile of papers off the other chair and setting it in it's correct place.

With that, the gym teacher opened the door, strode on in and sat herself on one of the chairs in front of his desk. "Phew. Long day. I take it you've been getting a lot of stuff on your plate, or is this simply the fallout of the, ah, thing I did?"

'Nae, lassie, this is jus' normal levels o' paperwork. History papers tae mark, reports tae write, an' field trip forms fer the siege weaponry club tae visit a proper workshop.' Lucius explained, pointing to various stacks of paperwork. 'Oh, an' there's legal action fer one o' the girls groped on the subway an' puntin' the scunner down the length o' the train, out the back doors, an' shortin' out the power.' He pointed to another pile, which was tottering dangerously. 'City wants compensatin' fer the loss o' time.'

"Hrm. I see." She shaked her head at the sight. "Anything that I caused or helped cause?"

'Nae; yer mech is covered under the standard insurance fer the place, an' nobody noticed it was ye rippin' out tha' telegraph pole tae whack some scunner wi' the other week. Ye're clean.'

"I was meaning more the whole punting thing. And yeah, I know, I should've controlled my temper, but you didn't hear the jerk. And it wasn't even me he was talkin to." She forgot why she was there for a minute, then she snapped to. "OH! Right. You remember my yoga proposal, and your reasoning as to why it might end up being a bad thing?"

Lucius nodded. 'Aye. Blindfold the wee laddie, perhaps. Maybe if ye can teach him without havin' tae show him stuff.'

"Ohhhh, I have a much better idea..." She pulled up her little wrist controller, typed up a few things, and pulled up a small hologram blueprint.

Lucius poked through it, squinting at it a little. 'Donnae be tae hard on the wee lad. He's jus' a teenager. Cannae help the hormones.'

"Hm. Tone it down a little then?"

Lucius nodded. 'Jus' make it so he's able tae concentrate on the yoga rather'n ye or the girls.'

She thought for a few moments, typed in a few things, then showed it to Lucius again. "How about this?"

'Tha'll work. Yoga'll be good fer him; maybe get a wee bit more in shape.'

"Shape, sure, but I am wanting to get these kids to balance better. You know how many clumsy accidents have happened in the last few days? One girl in particular seems to be a magnet for the kawaii-style accidents." Shiori giggled a little bit despite herself. "I was thinking tai-chi at first, but I think this would be more applicable to the overall student crowd." A little bit more typing, and Shiori pulled her hand away. "That mean it's green?"

'Aye.' Lucius confirmed. 'Kawa-chan in particular needs tae learn balance.' He pointed out the window, to where she was dangling from the flagpole again, the line wrapped around her ankle. 'I'm leavin' her tae sit there fer a while tae think about how she got there.'

"Poor girl. Least she's not wearing a skirt."

---

The following Monday, Shiori had set up her class and had given the students instructions to appear for the training room instead of the usual gym. When the doors opened, the throng found themselves stepping into a very spacious looking, if stereotypical, asian outdoorsy setup. The mats were already in place, and at the front of the artificial classroom was Shiori herself. She'd kept the sports top she always taught in, but swapped out her shorts for a pair of complementing yoga pants.

"Alright, glad to see you on ti- Kawasaki, pipe down back there, you can gossip later. Glad to see you all. Names are by the mats. Ya'll set your stuff over there" She pointed off to the side where there were some lockers, "And go to your mats, we'll begin soon enough."

The class did as instructed, lining up by the mats. There was plenty of hustle and bustle as the students made their way, with a few people accidentally running into one another. Shiori watched, smirking a little to herself. After a moment, she noticed Cathal, and his wandering eyes.

"Hold on there, Cathal. I have a special bit of equipment for you. Come here please?" Shiori made a come hither movement with her finger.

Cathal looked up curiously, and walked over, trying valiantly but failing utterly not to look Shiori in the bust. "Y-Hai, sensei?"

"Eyes up here." And when he met hers: "Alright. You need to learn this stuff, but I think you'll be very distracted. Close yer eyes a moment, there."

Cathal did so, blushing at having been called out.

Shiori took a few moments to type out some commands on her wristpad, and then tapped Cathal lightly on the nose. The watching classmates saw a very brief glimmer around his eyes, then nothing. "Alright, open them up."

Cathal blinked in shock, looking around. "What the f-" He cut himself off, remembering he was still in school. "<How unusual.>" He waved his hands in front of his face, brow furrowing in confusion. "Magic, or more holo-crap?" He asked Shiori, now able to look her in the eyes without trouble.

"Holo-stuff. It's a perception filter, helps mute certain aspects. Must admit, makes focusing on your task easier, doesn't it?" She gave a grin. "If you feel any dizziness, let me know. And no worries. Thanks to how the stuff in here works, it doesn't last beyond the door." She gave a wave to Cathal, back to his mat. "If you're good, back into your spot, and we'll....hm. We seem to be short a couple people..."

Cathal looked around as he walked back. "<No Elsie or Tomoe-chan, so they're probably together.>"

But the mystery was soon solved, as a certain young blonde practically toppled into the room, Tomoe not long behind her.

"Gomenasai!" Elsie promptly apologized (in the most adorable way possible), looking a bit red in the face from the running, and a bit mussed thanks to her great battle with the rope for the flagpole; apparently, it had ended up loose on the ground after Kawasaki's latest mishap with it, and of course that meant Elsie got tangled in it just from running by.

"<You're fine. Stuff in the lockers, take yer places at yer mats, and we'll begin.>" Shiori gave them a few moments, before: "<Yoga. Simple enough concept, with the lot of us going into various poses to help boost our flexibility, balance, breathing, and get a damn good workout without extremely heavy weights, long track runs, or tentacles sprouting from the walls. Next couple weeks, we'll be covering the basics and maybe a few of the harder poses, provided we can get to that point, and help every last one of ya'll to be a little less liable to keel over for no reason.>" She let any resultant giggles pass through before continuing. "<Mark my words, it's not nearly as easy as the media leads folks to believe. If any of ya'll already have experience with this stuff, no critisisms or such. The others are here to learn, not get prodded.>" She smirked again, before typing once more, and a large standalone view-screen popped up behind her. "<Let's begin with some deep breathing...>"

Kawasaki took this chance to raise her hand. "<Sensei, does this involve lions at all? Because I read a book on yoga once and I think it said you were meant to do it with lions around.>"

"<No, no lions. Well, unless we get a lion-person transferred in, but that's different. Would a snowleopard or a catgirl do?>"

Kawasaki nodded, apparently satisfied with the answer.

The screen behind her showed off the poses and movement for each maneuver, so that the class could follow along. Shiori kept things to the simpler levels, to ease things for the majority of the class. At the half-way point, Shori stepped away from her position, and let the screen go on automatic so she could stop by from student to student, and give them pointers to their positions.

The students kept up well, despite Kawasaki wobbling alarmingly in places, and Cathal having trouble flexing enough in others.

"<Kawasaki, here, I'll you how to find your center of gravity.>" The teacher marched over and lifted her arm a little, and demonstrated the feeling of shifting weight to the young girl. "<Arm here rather than there, lift the leg a little more. Got it?>"

Kawasaki nodded, trying again with less wobble this time.

"As for you, young man, I suspect you need to get into more stretching exercises. Hm. Try that again, let me see what's wrong." Shiori made her way to Cathal after making sure Kawasaki wasn't going to keel over. She watched intently, to see where he needed more work.

Cathal tried again, blushing slightly as he failed to stretch far enough once again.

"Hmm...mind if I put my hands on you a moment?"

"If it'll help." Cathal answered.

"It should. You'll feel some popping, so heads up." Shiori held his elbow, and twisted just a little, bending it back and forth before he felt a small pop there. She did the same at his ankles, knees, and finally gripped him around the middle before helping his back muscles get loosened as well. "Ok. Try that." She patted him on the head.

Cathal winced as things popped, trying the pose again and mostly succeeding this time, despite the heavy blush on his face. "Th... <Thank you, Shiori-chan.>"

"Very welcome. Though the correct term is sensei. Chan has a little too much familiarity for our environment." Shiori considered Cathal for a few moments, before saying "I'm gonna start talkin to you in Japanese. Help you learn and all that. But fear not." She waved up again, and the screen from her speeches appeared "<This'll help. And you'll understand what other people are saying too.>" She pointed at the screen, and he noticed a small chibi-face of Shiori-sensei next to her last sentence.

Cathal nodded, trying to watch the screen while keeping his balance.

"<OK, anyone else having trouble? You? OK, gimme a moment.>" Shiori went from student to student, helping with poses, gravity, and the occasional stretching.

Elsie had been doing well. Honest. She could be very graceful when the universe wasn't interfering to make things cuter. Speaking of which...

The youngest of the magical girls suddenly let out an alarmed squeak as she lost her balance and toppled over. Into the person next to her. Who then topped over into the person next to them, and so on. It was as adorable as it was embarrassing.

Shiori shook her head at the scene, trying so hard to hold back the giggles induced, before she made her way over and helped them all up again. "<Centers. Gravities. Now ya'll know why I am wanting you to do this.>" She patted Elsie on the head, and smiled, then went from student to student before stopping yet again.

"<Miyu, how exactly did you end up upside down?>" Shiori headed over, and made to make her right-side up.

"Um. <I sort of fell, and tried to avoid changing, and ended up like this?>" Miyu explained, the fluffy tail she'd sprouted swishing to try and keep her upright.

"<Good! Keeping control, a good thing. Congrats.>" The teacher easily picked up the student like she weighed nothing, and set her right. "<There we go.>" Shiori took her place back at the front of the class, and joined them in a few more poses, demonstrating how to do them. At a couple girls' feet, a few of the Spider Force joined them, imitating the yoga poses and gaining a few giggles.

Elsie, meanwhile, had completely lost focus due to the cuteness of the not-scary-spiders, and was no longer paying the slightest bit of attention to what Shiori-sensei was doing; instead, she'd taken to mimicking the spider-bot in front of her, which in turn was trying to mimick its creator. While giggling, because cute.

Shiori looked up after a while, and waved to the class. "<OK, OK, simmer down folks. Get back into the neutral position, cause now it's time to clean up and get ready for lunch. Everyone, prep for showers."

The students chorused a response before scattering off to the showers and changing rooms, leaving Cathal behind to head to the boys' changing rooms on his own.

"<Any problems with the filter, Cathal?>"

"It's a..." Cathal sighed. "<It's confusing, a little. I'm used to people, not shapes.>"

<I can imagine. But admit it, you were able to focus better, weren't you?>" Shiori gave him a teasing nudge to the shoulder.

Cathal nodded. "<Girls are kind of distracting. Can I take it off now?>"

"<Hmm. Sure, why not?>" Shiori tapped the bridge of his nose again, and the filter disappeared. She stood before him with her hands on her hips. "<That better?>"

Cathal gave a brief bow, wincing slightly as he pulled at muscles in his back that he hadn't known existed until they started hurting. "<Much better, thank you.>"

"<Glad to hear it. Now, you need to skeddadle and get ready.>" Shiori moved out of his way "<And watch them wandering eyes ok?>"

Cathal nodded, heading off to change.

Once she was alone, Shiori looked around, and then grinned to herself. "I think that went well."

---

- Shiori and Lucius discuss a special addition to gym class.
- And they discuss Cathal's lack of attention for...reasons.
- Solution is provided.
- Cathal discovers the wonderful world of perception filters.
- Yoga is described for the class, once everyone arrives. Elsie.
- Everyone is off to a wobbly start, but eventually people start getting into it.
- Shiori helps some folks, especially Kawasaki (centering issues), Cathal (He really needs to stretch more) and Elsie (The human domino)
- Spider Force joins in for the lesson. Cue magical girl kawaii motions.
- Everyone finishes up, Cathal expresses his thanks for not being distracted, and Shiori feels this lesson went well overall.
<<

Skorpynekomimi

User avatar

Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:54 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Croikey!
Location: Akihabara.
Timestamp: A tuesday, and later that week. After the last post with Bruce in it.
Authors: Skorpy, Elle-chan, Hyuuint, O-ring.
Characters: Electric Bruce, Ayano and Miyu the magical girls, Shiori, Raven, Alexis, Skorpion.


---

"So, 'ere we are again. Evenin', internet. Roight, so, magical girls. After last time, I'm gonna go fer a bit of a younger specimen tonight." Bruce moved the camera around away from his face, to focus on a pair of magical girls walking along the street. The girls were chattering away, peering in the windows of closed shops, and checking dark alleys with flashlights. "O' course, it's hard to find 'em in anythin' less than a pair. Some sort o' survival mechanism, perhaps. But we'll check that when we catch them, eh?" He moved the camera around to grin into it, and winked.

---

"<Ohh, that dress is so cute! I should totally get it for the prom next month!>"

"Celidh."

"<Bless you.>"

"<Nono, it's a celidh, not a prom.>"

"<... There's a difference?>"

"<Yeah, Lucius-sensei says there's gonna be a scottish theme to it, and traditional dancing.>"

"<Ugh, is he gonna be playing those bagpipes, then?>"

"<Don't make that face, they're totally awesome.>"

"<They're so LOUD, though!>"

"<So wear earplugs. Apparently they're meant to scare englishmen from across a valley and charm haggises, so they've gotta be loud.>"

"<... What's a haggis?>"

"<He explained that in geography class last week. Apparently it's a small furry thing with uneven legs that they trap and eat in scotland.>"

"<That's a myth they tell tourists! Like kappas and onis!>"

"<And demons, which invaded the city a few years ago. And vampires, which we fought last week. He had a picture of him holding a dead one.>"

"<A dead vampire?>"

There was a smack as palm met face. "<No, you idiot, a dead haggis!>"

"<Ohhh. That makes more sen... GET DOWN!>"

Ayano dived for the floor as a net flew overhead, catching Miyu as she started to move. There was a flash of light, and there was suddenly a fox in the net surrounded by sparkles, legs tangled in a set of underwear.

---

"<Well, go on!>" a rather irate Raven demanded, shooing the ridiculously young and idiiotic hoodlums away from the storefront window they'd been planning to throw a brick through. The fact that they were actually listening so well had her feeling both bored and satisfied at the same time. "<Get your asses home, and don't ever let me catch you up to no good again, or I'm calling your parents and the police, now SHOO!>"

And shoo the five boys did, casting worried glances back at the hooded heroine behind them as they went. Raven, meanwhile, kept up the threatening glare until they were well out of sight.

---

A ways away from the commotion, Shiori was trying to figure out a good place to relax for the night. School had been a bit crazy, moreso than normal, and Devin had caused a new slew of problems for her. She decided on a nice little teashop she had been to before, and made a bee-line for the place.

"A nice oolong or darjeeling...that would be good." Shiori smiled to herself, and headed inside. "Evening. Nice to see you again."

The teashop lady gave a grin, gabbering away about it was nice to see her again, to sit sit sit, and went about getting Shiori her tea and cookies. She may not have been around long, but Shiori has made quite a rapport with the owner. A bit of polite conversation, and the supersoldier leaned back carefully in her chair, ready to relax.

---

Ayano ducked down, trying to pry the net apart as Miyu chewed at it. "<Who just fires nets at people? Seriously! This is NOT honourable!>"

"Rrrr! Grr rrr!"

"<Yeah!>"

"Got one! A right bonza specimen as well! I was aimin' for both, but one will do. Note the transformation; do they all turn into animals? Any animals? Just... Fluffy-tailed dingoes? Let's find out!"

"<Who the HELL are you?> By the blood of Odin, identify thyself!" Ayano stood up, drawing her axe as her blonde hair flowed in the wind. "<You have assulted my friend and partner dihonourably, and you WILL pay for your crimes! Identify thyself so I may put the correct name on thy headstone!>"

Bruce looked up from the camera to the magical girl in front of him. "Croikey, she's seen me!" He pulled out a stubby shotgun, firing it at Ayano before grabbing the net and running away down an alleyway as the magical girl fell to her knees in the cloud of gas, screaming in pain and clawing at her face.

---

Miyu glared at Bruce, blushing heavily. "Hentai!"

"Sounds like she's objectin' to the cause of science, folks."

"Chiikan! <Who are you even TALKING to? Is that a camera? Good lord that thing's primitive.>"

Bruce moved in, grinning widely as he reached in through the net, only to snatch his hand back as Miyu lunged to bite him, teeth snapping shut half an inch from his hand. "Croikey, she's a biter! Maybe we need to muzzle her?>"

---

Ayano sniffled, wiping the last of the substance from her eyes with one hand, dialing her phone with the other. "<Ugh, this is worse than that time I snorted wasabi for a bet. Better call someone.>"

The phone beeped a busy signal. 'Huhwha? Wha, nae? Aye, this is Lucius, or at least Lucius' phone, y'ken? I'm nae available right nae, sae leave a message, ken aye?' It beeped again, and Ayano frowned and hung up. Not like he ever checked his voicemails anyway. She wasn't sure he even knew how.

"<Who else... Ah! Raven-sempai! Maybe Shiori-sensei.>"

---

Of course, Raven's moment of small triumph with the hoodlums was shattered a bit the moment her phone began to play - it didn't really fit with her darker heroine persona, and it was rather lucky the boys were out of earshot already. She should probably get a new ringtone to use while out batmanning. But that would have to wait - first she had a phone to, y'know, answer.

"Hello?"

"<Raven-sempai! Miyu's been captured by some pervert in a stupid hat, Lucius-sensei's phone is busy, he shot me with something spicy!>" Ayano babbled, sounding close to panic. "<I'm in Roppongi, the pervert can't have gone far on foot. He's got something that fires nets, so watch out!>"

"<I'll find them, Ayano, don't worry,>" the totally-a-magical-girl-why-did-she-even-bother-denying-it automatically reassured, even as she prepped her wings (it would be much easier to find them by air, after all). "<You go rinse out your eyes just to be safe, do you know how to do that?>"

"<Yeah, I do. I paid attention when Arella-sensei taught us first aid.>" Ayano replied, a hint of pride in her voice. "<And thank you! I'm gonna call Shiori-sensei as well, so we can kick this guy's arse!>"

"<Good girl,>" Raven praised. "<Though watch the language - butt may not sound as cool, but it's more appropriate. Now go look after your eyes, and I'll call you when I've got Miyu back, okay?>"

"<Okay~>" Ayano hung up, before dialing Shiori.

---

A simple ringtone greeted Shiori just as she got her tea and cookies. She pulled out the flip-phone, saw that it was from Ayano, and answered. "Hello? <How can I help, young lady?>"

"<Some pervert with a stupid hat captured Miyu!>" Ayano explained, now somewhat calmer. "<We were in Roppongi, and he can't have gone far, but I don't think I can deal with a net-gun on my own. I've called Raven-sempai, but can you come help too?>" She asked.

Shiori sat up-right, nearly toppling her seat from under her in the process. "<Ayano, remember in class? I need you take a breath, and tell me everything you can about the guy who took Miyu.>"

Ayano paused for breath as instructed, calming slightly. "<He was big, like Lucius-sensei, but skinnier. He was wearing a leather jacket; SO last season, and a stupid hat with corks dangling from the brim, and a scraggly beard like he hadn't shaved. And he smelled like old socks.>" Ayano explained.

"<Did he say anything at all? If so, was there an accent?>" Shiori already had a feeling, but if Ayano said what she suspected...

"<Thick accent; I couldn't understand what he was saying. Different from Lucius-sensei's.>"

Close enough. Shiori thought to herself. "<OK. What street are you on? What shop?>" She got up and paid for the untouched food to the confused teashop owner as she left, plotting out what to do next. She was already mentally arguing with her nanites to turn off her pain receptors. She was going to need to focus.

Ayano gave the information on her location, as the teashop owner swiftly packed the food into a take-out box for Shiori, chasing her to the door to encourage her to take it.

---

Bruce frowned at Miyu as he bandaged his other hand. "Looks like we're at an impasse, folks. She won't let me touch 'er, and she's a biter. Teeth sharper'n a drop bear with a nail file. Might have to resort to the knockout gas, much as I hate to miss 'er reactions.

"<IF YOU DON'T LET ME GO RIGHT NOW, I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR ENTRAILS OUT AND FEED THEM TO YOU!>" Miyu shouted at Bruce, growling and baring her teeth. "<And if you touch me again, I'll feed you your damned fingers as well. And give back my underwear!>"

"<Now now,>" Raven tsked as she came to land neatly behind that bloody Aussie (and damn, but she still wanted to hit him for last time). "<Is that really the sort of thing a magical girl should be threatening, Miyu-chan?>"

"<He groped me, stole my panties, and keeps trying to poke at me!>" Miyu protested. "<And he tastes AWFUL!>"

Bruce span around, backing away from Raven. "Bloody 'ell, we've got another one! This is the old one from last week again, folks; be sure to watch the previous cast if you missed 'er. Look at that plumage!" He reached into his pocket, producin a bullwhip. "Now, let's show 'er who's boss!" He set the camera down, pulling out his shotgun with the other hand and taking aim. "Eat hot sauce, you-"

Right at that moment, the door shattered into splinters. Pieces of wood flew everywhere as Shiori stepped into the room, clad in a rubberized version of her normal armor-suit, her hair tied up again, and glaring straight at the so-called magical girl hunter. "Bruce! Stand down, or be taken down. Now!"

Bruce turned, aiming and firing the shotgun at the doorway on reflex.

But Raven was finding that Bruce's presense made her that much more pissed about their last meeting and, instead of giving him the necessary chance to stand down (not that he or anyone else ever took it), she just went ahead and clocked him in the face while he was distracted by Shiori. And it actually did help her feel better!

In the mean time, Shiori took the hit, ready for any form of ammo, and was a little surprised with the idea of hot sauce being the ammunition.

Bruce staggered away from Raven's punch, racking the shotgun and firing it at her, only to have that handy little shield pop up and block it while she seemed to move in as if for another punch. Seriously, Raven did NOT like him!

Bruce stepped back again, swinging his bullwhip loose and swinging for Raven, the tip curling around the shield to reach for her, crackling with electricity. "Girly, it's time fer you to taste the wrath of ELECTRIC BRUCE!"

Shiori caught the whip, her rubberized suit having prevented any electric shocks. "I warned you." She pulled back on the whip, catching Bruce with the momentum, and reared back. In a split second, he caught his second fist of the night, from someone much more used to throwing. And someone who hits a hell of a lot harder.

Bruce was flung across the room, smashing through the table with his camera on before fetching up against the wall. Miyu cheered from under the net, bouncing and clapping excitedly.

"Whoever you are, get Miyu to safety. I'll keep Bruce pinned, and then we'll teach him to stop stalking underaged girls." Shiori took a few steps foward, deliberately stepping on the camera in the process. It shattered to tiny bits despite the appearance of barely touching it.

"Or me," Raven added, already moving to free Miyu from the net; she had more spare clothes for the poor girl, too. "I've had enough of him stalking me, too."

"<Miyu-chan, soon as you can, get to the police and tell them everything. Remember what I taught you about details, ok?>"

"<They won't help us metas, though.>" Miyu pointed out. "<Why do you think Ayano called you and not them?>" She slipped out of the net, walking over and kicking Bruce in the ribs. "<And that's for stealing my underwear, jerk.>" She pouted, wiping blood from her mouth before poking at stains on her magical girl outfit and kicking him again. "<And that's for BLEEDING on me!>"

"Miyu-chan," Raven said in that reprimanding sort of tone only mothers should be capable of. Magical girls shouldn't kick beaten opponents, after all.

"<He BLED on my OUTFIT.>" Miyu explained, before kicking him again. "<And I can't just change back because I turned into a fox when he netted me. That's really unhelpful, you know.>"

Bruce groaned, now bleeding all over his floor.

Raven, meanwhile, cleared her throat to get the teen's attention, holding up the spare change of clothes she could change into.

Shiori took this time to get the dropped bullwhip, and made to tie Bruce up.

"He's an immortal, by the way," Raven added thoughtfully. "Y'know, just in case you wanted to hit him a few more times." Okay, so she wasn't exactly the perfect magical girl these days.

"Only if he forces me to. <Being a teacher, I need to be a good role model, right?>" Shiori shifted seamlessly from language to language, and got Bruce all wrapped up. "I'll keep an eye on him. Get her safe, wouldya?"

Miyu accepted the change of clothes, giving a quick bow of thanks to Raven before slipping into the nearby bathroom to change. There was a pair of flashes of light, and she returned in a much cleaner magical girl outfit, frills and ribbons all in place and no bloodstains. "<I can get myself safe, thank you. You two can work together and go toss him in the river or something.>"

"<Be sure to give Ayano a call,>" Raven reminded. "<She was very worried about you.>"

"<Of course I am; that's how the buddy system works!>" Ayano commented as she stepped through the remains of the door. "<Is he down yet?>"

"<Currently. You two, get home before he wakes up. It could very well get ugly. I don't want you two caught in the crossfire.>" Her tone was very unlike the usual teachery voice she had in class. Far more...commanding, determined. Shiori kept near him, ready. She was trying to figure out the best place to take him. To contain him.

Raven looked rather longingly at the downed Bruce. She really, really wanted to hit him again. Maybe stick him in a net, and poke at him - maybe even use one of her tazer arrows on him as payback. But she had a duty to her students, and she should see to the girls before doing anything else. Finally, the masked heroine let out a small sigh of defeat. "<Alright, but be sure to call someone if he starts acting up again. Being stuck in a net sucks.>"

The girls nodded, bowing sharply. "Haihai~ <Thank you very much Raven-sempai, Shiori-sensei~>" They bowed again, this time at Shiori, before scampering off out the door.

Shiori kneeled down, checked his pulse, then pulled him over her shoulder effortlessly. "I think I'll take him to Largoist HQ. Only place I can think of that might hold him best, especially with Lucius overseeing most of the things that go on." She held out a hand. "Think you could keep to the rooftops and keep them safe in secret? And thank you for the help, miss...?"

"Raven," the hooded and masked girl provided, with a faint hint of amusement, while giving Shiori's hand a polite shake. "Luc has me keeping an eye on the girls when I can. And really, if you wanted to drop him a few times on your way to HQ..." This last part wasn't said with quite as much humour as one might have hoped; she really kind of did want Shiori to drop him - maybe more than just a few times, too.

"Maybe. But I have a good grip." She smiled. "Things could happen. Nice to meet you, Raven." Shiori took a moment to realign the weight on her shoulder, before she made her way to the rooftops. Easier to hop that way.

"Bloody scunner," Raven muttered to herself as they disappeared (meaning Bruce, of course). Still, at least she'd got to hit him - that had felt good. She should probably let Luc know what had happened, too.

---

Lucius grumbled, picking up his phone. 'Aye, lassie? Why've I got missed calls? I miss somethin' importan'?'

"Oh, just Bruce being a scunner - he went after some of the girls. Shiori's got him now, and is taking him to HQ. I even got to punch him!" a very pleased-sounding Arella informed.

Lucius growled. 'I'll meet her there. Shoulda hit him harder; scunner'll pay fer goin' after my students. Think he'll miss a few fingers?'

"No maiming," the magical girl scolded. "Besides, Shiori punched him, too." And he knew how hard Shiori could punch.

'They'll grow back in time.' Lucius pointed out. 'Mine dae, an' he's immortal tae. Ye on patrol, then?'

"For the moment. It's been kinda quiet tonight," Arella admitted. Seriously, she'd only run across one group of armed thugs, those hoodlums from earlier, and Bruce. Kinda made her wish she'd stayed home and slept instead.

Lucius chuckled. 'Ye should come home an' get some proper sleep fer once, then. Let the girls handle it, and Shiori can take backup duties fer the night. Maybe see if we can coax Skorp out o' his cave tae do some.'

"Oh God, please don't - I'd just end up following him around all night, instead," was the heroine's rather exasperated reply; she still couldn't believe he was trying that hero thing. Sleep did sound tempting, though - it was just hard to convince herself, knowing that the second she quit for the night, something terrible could happen. And then she would feel responsible.

'I'll come get ye after I see to the scunner, then. The girls've noticed ye've been nearly dozin' off on lunch break.' Lucius chided her.

"No, no, I'm fine, really," Arella was quick to deny. "I'll just make a few more rounds to be sure, and then I'll come home and sleep, promise."

'I'll come get ye.' Lucius promised, before hanging up.

---

Lucius approached Raven from above, following the trail of exhaust from her wings. 'Lassie! Pull o'er so I can pounce ye!'

"Not yet, I'm just gonna make one more round!" Raven stubbornly insisted. "I'll meet you back home, really!"

'The girls've all gone home, Raven.' Lucius moved down next to her, edging closer carefully. 'C'mon back tae me an' Kat, ye need yer rest. Cannae help nobody if ye're passin' out all the time.'

"I told you, I'm fine!" she insisted again, for about the millionth time that month. "I'm just gonna make sure there aren't any more bands of thugs about, and then I'll come sleep, I promise." She couldn't just leave, someone might get hurt while she was gone!

Lucius sighed. ''Rella. Ye cannae keep doin' this. Donnae make me hide yer wings.' He reached out to her, placing a hand on her shoulder.

"If you hide my wings, I'm confiscating your bagpipes!" the magical girl was quick to threaten in return, more than a little alarmed by the thought of losing her wings. She also may have tried to shrug off his hand, though she felt bad for doing it. Just one more round - one more, and then she could rest easy. Just one more...

'Get. Some. Rest.' Lucius insisted. 'Donnae make me tie ye tae the damn bed so ye'll actually get some-' He was cut off by a sizzling noise, and yowled in shock and pain, falling away from her, trailing smoke from the tail he'd just burned on the jet exhaust of her wings.

"Luc!" was an alarmed Arella's response, as she practically stopped in midair, acting on rather problematic instinct, since the wings wouldn't keep her up so well if she wasn't moving. Which in turn led to an alarmed squeak as she suddenly dropped a few feet. Bad idea, BAD IDEA!

Lucius bounced to a halt on a nearby rooftop before turning to put his tail out, grumbling about Largoist engineering and a lack of guards. As he finished, he looked up to see Raven falling. 'Arella!' He tensed and jumped, catching her as she dropped, using his powers to direct the force of his impact to pushing her to a speed where her wings would gain lift again. 'Ye alright, lassie? Engine still runnin'?'

"I'm okay!" Arella was quick to promise, even if her heart hadn't resumed a normal pace yet; she was definitely not a fan of falling. "I'm okay, is your tail okay?"

'Jus' a wee burn, nothin' tae be worried about. Ye're tired, I'm takin' ye home.' Lucius insisted, brushing away her concerns about him. After all, he WAS immortal.

But Arella was shaking her head, looking all kinds of stubborn. "Not yet, I'm not done yet. Just let me finish my rounds, then I'll come home and sleep. You should go home and take care of your tail, and I can meet you there."

'Lassie, ye nearly crashed. Ye're comin' back wi' me, an' were goin' tae bed. Otherwise, I'm stayin' out wi' ye so ye don't get hurt.'

"I told you, I'm fine!" the blonde argued, beginning to sound a bit annoyed. She just needed to make sure the city was safe, then she could sleep, why didn't anyone ever seem to get that?

'Then I'm stayin' out wi' ye, an' ye can tell Kat why I wasnae back.' Lucius stated, releasing her to coast along a little way off. 'An' ye're gettin' Skorp tae put a guard on yer exhaust there.'

"Oh, just go home, I'm perfectly safe on my own, and I'll be there soon anyway!" the now definitely annoyed Arella insisted. To be fair, lack of sleep could make anyone a bit irritable now and then.

'Lassie, as long as ye're out here, I'm out here. I'm worried about ye, Kat's worried, an' the students are worried. Ye need tae take more care o' yerself.'

"I told you, I'm fine, damnit!" Yep, she was definitely irritated. And annoyed. And starting to lose her temper a bit.

'Ye're nae fine, lassie!' Lucius snapped back. 'Ye're fallin' out the sky, ye've been up all night an' all day, an' ye went patrollin' afore school.' Lucius reached out, nudging her trajectory around a phone mast. 'An' ye're nae even lookin' where ye're flyin'!'

"Because you're distracting me!" Arella argued back. "How many times do I have to say I'm fine before people start fscking listening?!" Yeah, that losing her temper bit might be becoming an issue.

'Maybe when ye're actually fine, an' nae stayin' awake all hours o' the day an' night fightin' petty criminals tha're nae even THERE half the time!' Lucius shot back. 'Barely better'n drinkin' yerself stupid like ye were doin' afore.'

"Well, SOMEONE HAS TO! AND DON'T YOU DARE--" whatever she was about to say was interrupted by a very loud and surprised squeak, accompanied by another sudden stop and falling a few feet again when she almost hit a bird.

Lucius darted to catch her, holding her in his arms. 'It doesnae hae tae be ye, lassie. Nae all the time. Take a night off, fer me? Please?' He looked down into her eyes pleadingly.

"Why can't you just let me finish ONE MORE ROUND?" the magical girl railed at him, trying to escape his arms, and feeling terrible about being so mean - but not enough to enable her to rein in her temper; it had already gotten away from her, and she wasn't even sure when that had happened.

Lucius released her, having slowed her down without realising it. 'Because one round turns intae two, an' two turns intae jus' a few more hours, an' then ye're nae comin' back all night again. Take some time out, lassie!'

"I'M NOT DONE YET! Just go home!"

'Nae without ye, lassie. Ye're comin' back wi' me, if I hae tae stalk ye all night.' Lucius assured her.

Feeling angrier than she could ever remember being, and not for any particularly understandable reason, Arella decided she was done talking to him and just sped up her flying in the hope of losing him.

Lucius kept pace with her easily, only the wind betraying the fact that he wasn't just lounging around somewhere. 'Last chance, lassie. Come back, afore I take ye home myself.'

The only response he got was a stony silence that screamed LEAVE ME ALONE! while she tried to pretend he wasn't there.

'Am I gonnae hae tae stop ye the hard way, lassie?' Lucius asked, moving in front of her. 'Donnae make me stop ye.'

"FOR FSCK'S SAKE, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" Arella outright yelled, trying to go around him while picking up some more speed. And trying to remember that no, hitting him with something heavy was not the answer.

'Nae, lassie. Nae until ye come home.' Lucius reached out, taking hold of a wing as she passed him, applying just enough force to send her skywards.

In all fairness to her inborn flying instincts, Arella managed to correct herself pretty quickly, especially when one considered they weren't her real wings. She also let out a stream of curses she'd picked up as a bartender, before finally finding that wasn't enough, and bursting out with a much more direct, "FSCK YOU, LUCIUS!"

Lucius growled, leaping off nothing to tackle the totally-a-magical-girl out of the air, his weight overcoming the lift from her wings. 'Ye're comin' back wi' me lassie, even if I hae tae knock ye out first.'

"FSCK YOU!" the struggling magical girl repeated, not even entirely sure what they were fighting about anymore, but definitely certain she didn't like being told what to do. And that she was pissed.

'Nae the thing tae say to someone who's the only thing between ye an'-' Lucius was cut short as he suddenly realised he wasn't looking at what they were dropping towards. Although, really, what cut him short was the rooftop he crashed into, instinctively taking the impact to cushion Arella.

Of course, the first thing Arella did upon recovering from the impact was give Lucius' chest a good whack, because she was still so mad she was barely registering anything else at that point.

Lucius winced, still holding her tightly despite the strike. 'Sorry, lassie...'

"I'M--" Arella tried to yell some more, only to find she was so angry she could barely speak, and wasn't even sure why. She was practically choking on the emotion, and it wasn't one she was terribly familiar with in the first place. In the end, the only words she could find were more of an observation than anything else, though she sounded plenty pissed when she said them. "I'M MAD AT YOU!" And then she hit him again, for good measure.

'I know ye are, lassie. Tha's why I'm forced tae do this.' Lucius replied, before releasing the magical girl. Only briefly, however, and then only so he could tape her wrists and ankles together with a roll of tape that had been sitting on top of the desk they'd crashed through the roof into. A little fiddling with the controls collapsed her wings and shut the engine down, and Lucius was able to lift the magical girl up over his shoulder as he stood up, swaying a little. 'Where's the door?'

This, of course, was accompanied by a great deal of angry swearing and squirming as she stubbornly tried to escape, including quite a few FSCK YOU's and PUT ME DOWN's. And she very definitely was not helping him find the door.

Lucius sighed, creating his own door in the wall and walking out. After a few steps, he landed a sharp smack on her rump. 'Hush, lassie. Do ye want people tae notice ye like this or somethin'?'

"PUT ME THE FSCK DOWN!" the now even more pissed Arella demanded, while attempting to kick him.

---

'I ne'er knew ye had such a mouth on ye!' Lucius remarked as he trudged back to the OCSB, a steadying hand on Arella's thigh as he carried her.

She wasn't struggling anymore; in fact, she was having trouble keeping her eyes open. Either the sway of his walk was incredibly soothing, or she was really, really tired. Or possibly both. She was also terribly aware of the fact that she'd done quite a bit of yelling, and may have hit and kicked him a few times, like some kind of angry toddler.

"Are you mad at me?" Arella finally asked in a soft voice, and sounding more than a little nervous. And sorry - definitely sorry. Why had she even been so mad at him?

Lucius patted her leg gently. 'Only a wee bit, lassie. I know ye're jus' over-tired. Want tae come tae bed nae?'

Arella nodded sleepily, before adding, "I'm sorry."

'I know, lassie. I still love ye.'

The sleepy magical girl murmured something illegible in return, already sounding more than half asleep.

---

Meanwhile, many roofs away, Shiori had taken a pause to drop Bruce down (not gently, but not overly roughly either), pulled out her phone, and searched for the Largoist number. "Where did I save it...oh, here it is, Bro-Fest-Headquarters." She picked the quickdial, and waited through the ringing.

"Yes?" Skorpion answered after a short while. In the background, a fire raged, coming through the line as mostly white noise.

"Oh, hey , didn't expect to get you directly. By any chance did ya'll get the containment unit ready for Bruce?" Shiori heard said white noise, wondered what it was but shrugged to herself. Must be something unimportant if he was ignoring it. "I have him tied up, but I don't know how much longer he's gonna be out for the count."

"Oh, that electric aussie bastard? Yeah, sure, I've got room for him." Something exploded in the background, accompanied by screams, cheers, and secondary explosions. "Did you knock him out? Because immortals like him tend to just get back up after they... PUT THAT DOWN!" There was another explosion, larger and closer, followed by a slap. "I'm surrounded by idiots."

"You mean Largoists. But yeah, I took him out, punch to the face, through a table, implanted into a wall. Deserved it, seeing as he abducted a student by the name of Miyu. Am I missing party night? Cause it sounds like party night." Shiori made it so that she was supporting her phone with her shoulder, leaned down, and readied to pick Bruce back up again.

"Did you tie him up as well? Or is he just laying there unconscious, because he's gonna try to-" Skorpion was cut off by spray of gunfire, followed by more gunshots, which were followed by even more gunshots and what sounded like a cannon.

"Yeah, I have him tied up. Used his own bullwhip to do it." The superlady hefted Bruce over a shoulder easily once more, then grabbed her phone back to her ear. "Thank you for the concern though, it means a bit to me." She looked around, and made ready to continue her hops to the headquarters.

"Hey, don't get me wrong; I'm just worried for the-" The line cut off in a burst of static as Bruce awoke. He looked around, before charging the whip with electricity, straining against it. "Croikey, I've been captured!"

At the sound of static, and feeling Bruce struggle a little, Shiori refleively flexed her arm and pinned Bruce to her shoulder in a vice-like grip around his midsection, further disabling his arms for the moment. "Yes, yes you have. Kind of a problem that occurs when you stalk underage girls, tie them up, take their unders, and repeat the process for even grown women. Now you have either the choice of coming quietly, or you can give me more reason to beat you senseless for the second time tonight. Am I clear?" That conversational tone she had moments ago was again replaced by a far more direct one. Clearly, this was a gal he would not want to get on the bad side of. Well, further anyways.

Bruce twisted to glare at Shiori, electricity dancing between his eyes before he zapped her. "And why should I listen to some fluffy-tailed shiela with a rubber fetish? Which, by the by, doesn't cover everywhere." He zapped her in the face, though the gap in the suit that had allowed her to use the phone. "Or when you're airborne."

Shiori twitched a bit as she got shocked, but thanks to having turned off her pain receptors earlier, she didn't feel much. In response, she tightened even harder, threatening to crack some ribs. "Cause this 'shiela' is capable of benchpressing buses, and currently has you in her grip."

Bruce winced, zapping her again, this time with a more tazer-like effect. "You can't fight the lightning! I'm a bloody force of nature!"

Lack of pain or no, the shocks were enough to cause a slight spasm in her arm carrying Bruce, just enough to loosen her grip against her will.

Bruce squirmed out of her arms, the whip uncoiling from him and returning to his hand. He swung it at Shiori, before detonating a smoke grenade to cover his escape straight over the side of the building.

Shiori grabbed his whip for the second time tonight, but when she pulled it this time it snapped in half. The force of two yanks from her strength was too much for the material. She kept a trained ear out for his footsteps, and when she heard him go for the side of the building they were on, Shiori moved after him. Quickly. Very quickly.

Bruce hit the ground slowly, slowed by the lightning spraying from his hands after abandoning the broken whip. He dashed into the nearest alleyway, switching his corked hat for a beret and applying a false moustache before sauntering out the other end. He adjusted the garland of (plastic) onions around his neck before proceeding to look down his nose at the city.

He didn't get more than a step or two towards the exit of the alley when Shiori just landed right infront of him, creating a minor dent in the concrete when she did so. Standing back to a full upgright position, Shiori glared down at Bruce, before taking a couple menacing steps forwards.

Bruce looked up at her, squinting down his nose at her. "Mon dieu! What ees a girl like you doing falling out of ze sky like zat!"

Her only response to this failed attempt at disguise was to quickly rear back, sock him straight in the face with enough force to send him flying backwards once more, and rip off that stupid mustache in the process. No quips, no, drama, no theatrics. When she said she was going to beat him down, she very obviously meant it.

"Zut alors!" Was all Bruce managed to get out before being punched back down the alleyway and across the street at the end. Halfway across, he was hit by a bus and flung into a conveniently placed branch of 'Sharp Objects, Loose Salt, and Cleaning Chemicals'. The storefront, proudly proclaiming being under a Largoist protection policy, then exploded in a shower of fire and shrapnel.

I think I overdid that one. Shiori thought to herself, as she made her way to the store. Politely stepping through the doorway, Shiori looked around, trying to locate the bastard.

Bruce was, however, long gone; blasted skywards by the claymores in the window, leaving only a lingering "Strewth!".

---

Alexis had been wandering through towns, skulking alleys for thugs to incapacitate and rob when her ear twitched at the sound of an explosion in the distance. "Aww. People are havin' fun without me!" She stated in disappointment before letting out a sigh. "Figures. I find nothing and people over there get explosions."

Bruce landed a little way behind Alexis with a thud, staggering to his feet. "Croikey, she's a vicious one." He shook himself off, before laying eyes on Alexis and taking cover in a nearby alleyway, tugging out another camera. "Looks like we've got a new variety here, folks."

"Sup, weird dude."

"I've been spotted! Time to act natural!" Bruce declared to the camera, before turning to Alexis. "G'day, mate."

"Howdy. Ya have a nice trip? Correct me if I'm wrong though. Isn't it a bit early for fall?" Alexis joked, keeping her left hand within easy reach of one of her concealed weapons, just in case.

Bruce rolled his eyes, turning to the camera. "And they say MY jokes are bad. Now, I've got to show this one I'm not a threat. The ones with the tails are apparently dangerous, as we learned earlier." He turned back to Alexis, hands held visible. "Just an encounter with a storefront, and an over-protective teacher."

"Red flag one." Alexis commentated. "So, what's with the cameras and self-narration?"

"Wildlife documentary." Bruce explained. "Be sure to like this video and subscribe to my youtube channel, yeah? It's better'n a poke in the eye with a snake!" He winked at the camera, before handing Alexis a card with his details scribbled onto it in marker.

"I know I'm a bit on the wild side, but I don't think I belong in a wildlife documentary." Alexis commented, squinting her eyes at the chicken scratch hand writing before giving up. "Yeah. Shouldn't you be like, studying animals or something? Plus if you're in the wilderness you'll have an excuse for smelling so bad, you wouldn't look near as crazy, and the accent would fit the circumstance." The wolfgirl listed off as she tried to find an opportunity to break away from the conversation, or at least ditch the card.

"Croikey, you're a rude one, ain't ya?" Bruce remarked. "Now, folks, shall we see how this one reacts to a few thousand volts?" He grinned at the camera, holding up a handful of electricity as he turned back to Alexis. "So, tell me, shiela. Are you a screamer, or a twitcher?"

"What about you, mate?" Alexis asked with two pistols pointed to the man's knees. "Now, you can turn right around, or you can try to shock me and get shot."

Bruce looked at the pistols, and sighed. At least it was better than being punched into a bus again. "Croikey. I see we've got an impasse here." He turned to the camera. "See what I said about the tailed ones being dangerous, folks? This one's flippin' armed."

"Naw, mate. If this were an impasse, neither of us could make progress. I could easily gun you down and go on my merry way, but a friend of mine would be mad if I did, hence the you not lying in a puddle of your own blood." Alexis clairified. "Now just list me as a dangerous creature in your little nature documentary, tip your hat with a polite bow, and move along before I shoot you into a mound of twitching flesh." She threated, making it clear that she was not to be trifled with.

Bruce sighed. "I'm tryin' ta narrate here, yeah?" He rolled his eyes, and stepped back away from Alexis, picking up the camera as he did so. "Electric Bruce, away!" He cried, pointing to the sky before taking off like a rocket on a plume of lightning.

"Well. That was stupid." Alexis noted as she holstered her pistols. "Bright side. No police were involved... This time." She said to herself before looking back and forth. "Where was I? Oh, yes. Explosion." She decided, putting her hands in her pockets before heading to the sound of the blast.

---

Back at the shop, Shiori had waited around for the owner, to explain what happend. She was tempted to find a broom or a mop or something to clean up, but wan't sure what the protocol was for the whole insurance thing.

The owner, a standard-issue little asian lady, appeared shortly after the explosion, yawning and wearing a yukata. "<Oh, someone hit the store again? Bah. They better fix it properly this time. At least this is self-cleaning, unlike the TPCD.>" The woman sighed, walking over to inspect the remains of the window display. "<Bah, I spent an hour setting up that display of bleach yesterday!>" She looked around, finally noticing Shiori. "<Ah! You hit my store, caused all this damage?>" She glared up at the catgirl, eyes full of suspicion. "<You don't look like the kind of person who crashes through windows. Or like someone who just got blown up by a display of sharp objects and claymore mines. Too many limbs for that.>"

"<More like I accidentally shot a pervert through one. Nasty one too. Stalks girls and women, acts like they're setpieces for a nature documentary, steals their underwear in the process. Tonight he made the mistake of taking an underaged student.>" Shiori looked about. "<I really am sorry about the mess. Got a broom or a mop or something? I'd like to help clean up.>"

A couple minutes later Alexis approached the building. "This seems like it could be the place." She said before walking through the door next to the hole in the front of the shop. "<Hello?>" She called out as she surveyed the damages.

"I know that voice. Alexis?" Shiori turned, keeping an ear on the owner for the answer about the whole mop or broom thing.

"<Here.>" The owner tugged one of each from hammerspace and handed them over, along with a bucket. "<Sweep the glass off the street. The Largoists should be by soon to fix the window and put the mines back.>"

"Shiori?" Alexis said as she moved towards the sound to find the woman in question. "Sup." She stated simply, her hands still in her pockets. "Taking up a part time job as a cleanup crew? Also what's up with the S&M type rubber suit?" The wolfgirl questioned, moving a hand from her pocket to point at Shiori.

Shiori gave her thanks to the shopowner, and started cleaning up. "It's not an S&M suit, though I can see why you would think so. It's a modified version of my normal armorsuit made to counteract electrically enhanced foes. Be surprised how often it comes up." She swept carefully, making sure to get every ounce of glass she could.

The store owner looked at Alexis, and handed her another broom. "<You can start sweeping anytime.>"

"<What, me? Why?>" Alexis questioned as she accepted the broom.

"<Because you're standing there. You wouldn't make a poor old lady sweep up her own broken glass, would you?>"

"<But... Fine.>" Alexis conceded before starting to sweep loose glass. "Stupid guilt trips..."

"Thanks for the help. Didn't expect to see you, though I am glad to. How're you?" Shiori asked, talking rather conversationally, considering the results of the night and what she was wearing. After a few minutes, Shiori had managed to get the sidewalk-glass swept up and cleaned up. "<Didn't know the Largoists set up shop traps. Bit much from the original cardboard robots, isn't it?>" She asked the owner.

"<Protection scheme. Shop gets broken, they fix it and punish those responsible. Don't need to pay the TPCD, even if they come around demanding it and smash the window in with a mecha if you don't.>" She replied. "<Mines are an extra.>"

"<Wait wait wait, you mean to tell me that not only do the so called law officers refuse to help out a teenager if they are meta, but they are acting like stereotypical mafia gangsters in the process??>" Shiori stopped what she was doing, looking and sounding completely gobsmacked about the whole situation. "<I mean, I kinda knew about the first, but the second is news to me!>"

"Wouldn't be a problem if we would just take over." Alexis stated flatly. "But at least I don't get bored." She shrugged. "Though oddly enough, there weren't that many thugs and muggers to rob tonight."

"OK, I can approve of taking down muggers, but robbing them? You're at least giving the stuff they stole back, right?" Shiori paused long enough to give Alexis a minor look.

"Of course I am! I'm only stealing personal things. Licences, credit cards, family photos, cell phones, things like that." Alexis

The storekeeper nodded. "<That, and pushing for the refusal of medical care to metas and kemonomimi. The Largoists do a much better job, even if you have to mop up all the bootprints after.>"

"<Bah. Glad I have my other contacts. Hrmph. I haven't been this disappointed in the proper authority in years.>" Shiori shook her head, and soon enough had the inside area pretty cleaned up too. "<How's it look, ma'am?>"

"<Good enough. Glass shouldn't hurt anybody, bloodstains are gone. Did you deal with the idiot with the stupid hat?>"

"<No. He got away. I think he was blown skyward by the mines or something.>" Shiori sighed, slumping a little. "<I hate messing up this badly.>"

"Stupid hat? <I almost shot a guy with a stupid hat. Wanted to zap me then flew off before I could get an excuse to shoot.>" Alexis said, leaning against the remains of the counter now that the floor was clean enough.

"You saw him? And he got away. Damnit. Well, thanks for telling me. I know to keep up on his trail again." She pulled out her flipphone again, and sent a text to someone. "There. Already started."

"Not a problem." Alexis said with a yawn. "That artifact of yours tell time?"

"Well, yeah, it does." Shiori held it up to show. "Does what I need it to, at least."

"Cool." Alexis said, her eyes glowing blue as she zoomed on on the time. "That late already, huh?" She said as her eyes returned to their usual deep blue.

"That's a neat tr-" She looked at her phone too. "Oh crap it is that late! I gotta contact Skorp and, uh, other people." She slipped her phone back into her usual place, and shook hands with the owner "<Again, so so sorry about the mess. But I gotta go, is that ok?>"

"<It's okay. You probably don't want to be here when the Largoists arrive anyway; They do good work, but they're not so hot on the parking.>"

"Where are you going, and can I come?" Alexis asked before walking up to Shiori. "Warning: if it sounds fun I'm coming anyway."

"Uhhh...heh, I'm not sure if you'd want to go where I am going. It's a little weird." Shiori cleared her throat. "Buuuut if you want to, I can fill you in after I contact Skorp and the, uh, other people. OK?" She got her way out of the store, and flipped out the phone again. Numberdialed for Skorp, and waited.

"Yes?" Skorpion asked, now with a much quieter background. "Don't tell me he got loose."

"Not by choice, and not without a fight. Immortal or not, he's sporting some serious wounds right now. Punch to the face, bus to the side, explosion shrapnel and bleach to the everything." She sighed nonetheless. "But I already got a person hunting him down via his own net-working, and I should be able to get him soonish. Ham as he is, he'll spring up soon enough."

"He seems mostly harmless; just encourage your students to beat him senseless if they see him again." Skorpion pointed out. "Otherwise, I'll have the troops keep an eye out for him, maybe stick a bounty on his head for encouragement." Skorpion sighed. "It'd be easier if I could just kill him, but immortals are a pain in the ass like that. What? No, I don't mean you. No, shut up, I'm on the phone." Skorpion sighed again. "Anyway. Be easier if I could just shoot him, but I have no idea how to actually KILL these immortals, and the only other one I know is too valuable to test things on. Plus, y'know, Arella wouldn't let me. I think our best bet is to capture this guy and dump him into the ocean. Maybe blast him into orbit to power a space station or something, I dunno."

"Why don't we just cut off his-"

"Because it'll grow back, that's why." Skorpion replied, cutting Alexis off. "Immortal. Removing bits doesn't stop them for long, especially if you leave them lying around. Ask the magical girls how often Lucius slices his fingers off with saws and just tapes them back on again. And yes, I can hear you, Lexi. If you catch him, I'll get you a new gun." Skorpion paused, remembering he was talking on a phone. "Okay, Shiori, can you tell her I said that?"

"A new gun?!" Alexis questioned, her ears twitching alertedly before she ran over to the phone. "What kind? Tell me!" She questioned, looking at the phone with massive puppy dog eyes.

Skorpion chuckled. "The puppy eyes don't work down the phone, Lexi. And it's something I got from H&K a while back; caseless ammo, super-high rate of fire, the lot. I even fixed the overheating problem."

"Where is he? I NEED that gun!" Alexis demanded, her tail wagging at about three hundred wags per minute.

"Ah, see, if I knew where he WAS, I wouldn't need to get you to get him for me. You just saw him, go fetch!"

"Fetch? I'll fetch you an ass beating if you tell me to fetch again!" Alexis threatened, knowing that there would be no way for her to apply said ass beating. "Forget it. Shiori! You have a lead don't you? If you get me close enough I can pick up his scent and track him indefinitely." She said her voice changing from the temporary anger at the fetch comment back to the impatient excitement of a new gun.


"I knew you'd do it for a Lexi treat." Skorpion added, chuckling. "Track him down, bring him back, help me lock him in a faraday cage, the usual."

"I'm not a dog!" Alexis protested.

"No, you're a vicious wolf who isn't afraid of anything. Now mush; you're not the only one who'll be looking for him." Skorpion replied, before hanging up.

"Come on, Ori! I don't wanna lose this!" Alexis said the moment the phone hung up.

Shiori simply shook her head at the craziness. "I said I had someone help me with a lead. Not that there is one yet. Given the beatdown he had tonight, I'd say he needs about a week to get over what he went through before he starts up his business again. Though if he really is that stupid, it could happen sooner." She waved her flipphone. "And if he doesn't, my person will know." She took a few steps before she stopped. "Wait, what, Ori?"

"But we need to find him nooow. I can track him by scent I just need a fresh lead that doesn't lead into the sky." Alexis said. "And yes, Ori. It's shorter the Shiori. Like Lex is shorter then Alexis. I nickname people."

"Ehhhh, if you say so. But it kinda makes me sound like one of the dwarves from that Hobbit book. One of the forgotten ones." Shiori gave a bit of a awkward grin to Lexi.

"Fine. I'll find a proper one for you later." Alexis said with a shrug. "But for now. That Aussie ain't gonna cripple himself and turn himself in! We'll make it an adventure!"

"Hm. Well, I have one more person to contact. I'll check with them, and then I'll let ya know, ok?" Shiori flipped open her phone again. She liked doing that.

There was some unintelligible muttering. "Hey, you wanted me to call?" Hollywood gibbering. "What's up? Everything ok?" Blah blah blah. "Oh dear, what happened?" Unknown details made out. "Ach, that...that sucks. Tomorrow you say?" Mutter mutter talking. "Gotcha. What about what we had planned tonight, that still able to happen?" Affirmative chatters. "Good. I'll see you soon then." More chatters. "The other one you say, eh. Strength or...?" Detailing chatters yet again. "Ooh, that's different. OK, will do that too. Gimme a bit to finish up what I have here, and I'll be with ya soon, ok?" Chattery chatter chatter. "Ok, see you. Yes, I love you too. Bye!" And with a click, Shiori hung up her phone and stashed it away again. "I have about an hour or so to help out, then I have to get to the thing I promised before. But I really doubt we'll find him if he flew off. Do you remember where he flew off to?"

"Looked like he was going southwest. Who was that?" Alexis said, an ear tilting to the side.

"We can head southwest then." Shiori turned a little red at the question though. "That was, uh, a very good friend of mine. One of a few, I would like to think." She cleared her thoat. "Shall we then? Our abilities should either find him or find out we can't find him. Agreed?"

"Looks like we have a deal." Alexis said as she began to lead the way. "So, friend as in boyfriend? Maybe girlfriend?" She guessed, clearly messing with Shiori.

"Well, she's a girl who's a friend, yes." Shiori conceded that much for her as she kept up with Alexis easily.

Alexis shrugged. "Fair enough." The wolfgirl said as she took to jogging. "How's work?"

"Work's been doable. Devin's been paying attention, Whisp's been freaking out, Miyu actually has gotten better control of her transforming, and Lo- uh, people have been enjoying my charity work elsewhere." Shiori jogged along with her, keeping a good pace.

"Lo?" Alexis questioned. "Ah, nevermind. If it's a secret, it's secret for a reason, and I can respect that." She said as she cut through an alley. "It's nice that we helped that lady, but it's really gonna make this tougher then it could be."

"Yeah, yeah it could. But at the same time, I needed to do the right thing. If the word spreads, who knows? Opinions could change." Shiori hopped over cans and such as she ran with Lexi.

Just then, Shiori's phone buzzed with a text message.

Shiori pulled it out again, and read it aloud. "Don't read this out. If you catch Bruce and bring him to me ALIVE AND INTACT, I'll extend your gym. Skorpion."

"Well. Whoops." To Alexis "This is kinda odd now."

"I just miight shoot him." Alexis said out loud, if Shiori wouldn't turn it into a competition then neither would she.

"Might? You're fighting the impulse?" Shiori grinned to the wolfgirl.

"Hardcore. There are implications to shooting Skorp that I'd rather not deal with. Plus he's kinda my dad." Alexis confessed. "But sometimes he just makes he wanna give 'im a good wack at the very least."

"Wait, Skorp's your dad? How's that work out? I thought you were adopted by Tiff." Shiori had that really cute confusion look on her face. "Wait does that apply to the other siblings too?"

"I guess. I mean I'm a bit early on callin' him that, and I don't even know if that's how things'll work out. But he's the closest thing to a dad I ever had. He's nice, supportive, a little supervillan-y at times, but it just feels right to call him that." Alexis explained with a happy smile.

"He is a good guy overall, just a little shocked. Didn't know he had kids." Shiori was definitely shocked, but hey, she was rolling with it. Lotsa family secrets everywhere, apparently.

"Arella's his legally adopted daughter." Alexis informed to see if she could cause any further mind blowing.

"That one I knew, but only through whispers and stuff." Shiori snickered.

---

"Not a damn sign of the bushman anywhere." Alexis sighed, kicking a can into a dumpster.

"Not even a plastic onion anywhere. Was sure at least one real Frenchman woulda been around, and smacked him silly for the stereotyping." To any odd looks Alexis gives her. "We live in a world that loves tropes. Surely a contrived coincidence was bound to happen."

Alexis shrugged. "Well, I'm gonna call tonight a bust."

"I think he will too, considering I broke one of his cameras. And probably a rib or three." Shiori sage-nodded.

"Yeah, going by the other camera I'm guessing that the ribs will be more of a reason to turn in for a bit." Alexis stretched. "'S fun's this is, I'm goin' home. Take care, soft-chest." She teased with a grin to let her know it was only a joke.

Shiori rolled her eyes at the comment. "Ha ha, funny, wolfie." She smirked back. "Stay safe, ok?"

"I'm always safe." Alexis said with a grin, thinking back to several instances where she was, in fact, not safe. "You too." She waved before jogging off in the direction of the SUV she'd left a dozen or so blocks back.

"Goodbye!" Shiori waved, before the flipphone is brought out once more, and dialed. "Hey! Get things started, I'll be there in a few minutes!"

Lola giggled. "Okay! I'll get the popcorn on!"

"The hyper-buttery stuff?" Shiori was on the edge of squee.

"I'll add extra butter to it." Lola assured the catgirl.

"Eeeeee!" She squee'd, and jumped off to the apartment.

---

Summary:

Some guy with a terrible australian accent is narrating himself to a camera. Guess who again?

Magical girls gossiping and window shopping while ostensibly on patrol.
Prom?
No, celidh!
Suddenly, NET! Someone's caught Miyu!

Raven is patrolling, and mooks are listening to her. Shocking.

Shiori is taking tea.

Shotgun fulla chili sauce.
Miyu calls him a pervert.
Then bites him.

Ayano phones for help. Shiori AND Raven!
Shiori's phone is totally uncool.

Miyu is ANGRY. Teeth sharper'n a drop bear with a nail file!
Bruce is still narrating.
Raven arrives, sneakily.
Miyu is totally justified; he's a pervert!
Shiori appears, and gets shotgunned.
Bruce proceeds to get his ass kicked.
Shiori takes him off to FGTL HQ.

Raven calls Lucius.
Lucius tells her to come home and sleep.
One more round!

Lucius goes to find her. Pull over so he can pounce you!
BUT RAVEN DOESN'T WANNA TO TO BED!
But you need to sleep, Raven.
NOT TIRED, IT'S NOT BEDTIME!
Fight-o! Fight-o!
Arella's wings can't lift both of them.
Crash.
Arella hits Lucius.
Lucius loses patience and just tapes her and carries her home.

Sleeepy Raven.

Bruce escapes!
Or tries to.
Bruce? Bruce? Who ees zees Bruce? Mon dieu, I am Dartangnan! Note ze french outfit and ze french accent!
Shiori punches him across the street and into a bus that punts him into a shop.
Which then explodes, because the Largoists filled it with claymores.
STREWTH!

Bruce lands by Alexis.
Croikey, we have another one! Now, viewers, the ones with tails are dangerous.
Alexis mocks him.
And gets away with it because armed.

Alexis arrives at the shop just in time to help with cleanup.
Largoist protected store, so there's a cleanup crew on the way.
They're cheaper than the Yakuza and the TPCD, and they actually fix stuff instead of just not breaking it.

Shiori calls Skorp to explain that Bruce got away.
Skorp teases Alexis through Shiori's phone.
Fetch!
Shiori calls Someone to explain stuff about why she'll be late.
Text message!
He's setting Shiori and Alexis against each other to catch Bruce. With bribes! Gym extension for Shiori, new gun for Alexis. (An H&K G11 to be exact)

Alexis and Shiori can't find Bruce aaanywhere.
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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Hyuuint

Posts: 13

Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:27 am

Post Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:05 pm

Re: (Insert Clever Title Here)

Title: Of Lights and Locks
Location: CMGY Academy
Timestamp: Some point soon after Date Night with Tiff and Shiori
Authors: Oblivion, Hyuuint
Characters: Shiori, Brittany, Devin

---

"Damnit. More cracks in the floor. Gah, I just got this place repaired too." Shiori looked over her precious training room, scowling. "Next lesson will be about AIM and self control. Sheesh." She poked a bit at one of the cracks, and hrrms to herself. "Archimedes, get Brittany on the line. I gotta talk to her about this. Well, this and other things."

The little spider mech gave an affirmative chitter, before giving directions to a few others of the group. They got to fixing the floor and walls as Archimedes dialed up a long and complicated number. He gave a chitter to Shiori, who took her place in the center of the room.

A large screen popped up, and in the center was a dark-blonde, pony-tailed, turtle-neck wearing, and extremely busy woman. She looked to be about 24 years old, "Yes, what is it?"

"Hey Brit. It's-"

"I know full well who it is, you are the only one who calls me this much on this number and on that particular holo-screen. And I told you, stop calling me Brit. I am not English, and that is a terrible name to begin with." Brittany's voice was cold and sharp, very much to the point. It was obvious this was a woman who liked to get straight to the point. Most of the time, anyways.

Shiori sighed. "Sorry, Brittany. I was-"

"What are you needing this time? I already told you, the tech is as advanced as I can allow it, and I do not want to send any more tech in a place that will get torn up by magical students."

Shiori hrmphed a little. "Actually, I was wantin advice on how to set the safeties better, and how to reinforce the floors so they are less susceptible to cracking. As you said, magical students." She paused. "And could you stop cutting me off? Please?"

Brittany stopped typing on one of her computers (her left hand going blazing fast still). "Sorry. I am...I am trying to work on that."

"I know. You think so much faster than us, I get that. But please, my questions?" Shiori gave a warm smile up to her sister on the screen.

"Thank you. Hm. My suggestion is to download the packet I am sending to your personal server in the room, make sure to set it at least to the new six, and as for the floors, nothing I can do until I can get approval to release my new super material out for beta testing." Brittany's right hand went back to blazing fast typing, her eyes continued to be locked onto the middle computer.

"New six you say." Shiori headed to a console, and looked. "Holy crap, you made one up that quickly?"

"I've had it in the works since you mentioned the extra class, as well as when I read the files on your students."

Shiori paused. "You read-"

"I do all my research, period. Especially when one of your students is a technopathic genius." Brittany paused, and a very small smile appeared on her lips. "If he can get his act together, I might petition his mother for a meeting. Could use an apprentice."

"An apprentice huh? Be careful with that idea, you'd end up with-"

"Whisp, a magical girl ripped from the videogame that nearly destroyed the digital side of the world, who has recently latched herself to him, and has become quite the cute couple." Brittany lost that smile just as quickly as it appeared. "I told you I do all my-"

"And I told you to stop interrupting me!" Shiori snapped.

"Right. Sorry. I have planned for her, and I believe I could offer her an apprenticeship as well. Could use more hands for some of the projects I have going on."

Shiori leaned towards the screen with interest! "Whatcha workin on?"

"I cannot say. Classified." Brittany remained stony faced.

"Awww, come on, you can tell me." Shiori did her best puppy dog expression.

"No, I cannot. Suffice to say that it is more benefits for the world, once I get the bugs worked out. Prototypes are fun like that."

Shiori huffed. "Aw, no fun." The snowleopardgirl pouted, but relented. "Ya know, we could-"

"I know I am interrupting again, but I know what you are going to ask me. No. I do not do the whole go-out-into-the-world-thing. That was you. And a few others, especially Tasha. Have you heard about Tasha?"

"No. What's up with Tasha?"

Brittany gave a dramatic sigh. "She's taken up the mantle of the East Coast's main superheroine. She naturally got blessed with Legs, happens to be a cheetah-girl, so what does she do? Steps up with the whole cheetah motif, repainted the flexible armor, and turned into....the Cheetah." She said this as flatly as possible.

"The Che-.....You're kidding." Shiori stood there slack-jawed.

"Do I ever kid?"

"Well, there was that one time when you and Olivia-"

"WE DO NOT BRING UP THE SODA INCIDENT! EVER!" Brittany's usual calm demeanor snapped. And so did the keyboard under her left hand for that matter. "Oh damn it all. I will have to pause on that project till we end this call."

"Or, maybe you could..."

"Shiori. Heh. Look, thank you for asking, but..." Brittany sighed a little, and her right hand paused from the extreme typing. "You were always the one to want to go out and save the world. Well, you and several others, but you of our batch. I never liked being so social, and I always preferred my work. You know this."

Shiori drooped a little in her posture. "Yeah, I know."

"But it means a lot to me that you keep trying. Really, it does. Thank you." She finally looked up to the screen so she could meet Shiori eye to eye. And what amazing eyes she had: Whatever color the irises were before have been completely replaced a bright silver, constantly glittering with the activity of the nanites in her system. "I may be a bit of an antisocial problem, but....well, with you and the others helping? It...thanks." She smiled again, her features softening.

"Aw, no problem Bri-...." Shiori cut herself off this time, and peeeeeeeeered up at her sister. "Brittany? Are you- are you wearing lipstick? And eyeshadow? And makeup overall? But you hated-" Shiori gasped, and pointed, grinning from ear to ear! "EEEEEE! You found someone! You got a somebody! Who!?"

Brittany went bright pink (not nearly as red as Shiori could), and focused back on her computers. "I don't know what you are talking about, and I have always worn makeup, you just now noticed."

"You've slipped into contractions! I know you're lying now!" Shiori grinned harder, on the verge of giggles!

"You will drop the subject, or I will let the video with you dancing as Luka reach the internet."

Shiori glared. "You wouldn't."

"Normally, no, but seeing as you keep wanting to bring up my looks."

"OK, ok, fine!" Shiori huffed again. "Lousy blackmailing...."

"I heard that." Brittany smiled despite herself. "By the way, I expect Devin to try and touch into the room. I want to see what happens. Let me know, ok?"

Shiori tilted her head in confusion. "You want him to...?"

"I have my reasons. Just tell me what happened, and we will be square. Oh, and when he does? Open up files nine through fourteen. That will be all I can allow him." Brittany typed, reading a newly pinged message. "I have to go to a meeting in five minutes. I will talk to you later, ok?"

"Fair enough. Have fun saving the world behind the curtains."

"It is behind the black, and yes. I will definitely have fun with that." Brittany cut off the connection, and the holo-screen infront of Shiori disappeared. It was now that Brent, another spider-mech, tapped the teacher's leg, and pointed out the repaired floor.

"Ah, thank you, Brent. Go get some sleep, ok? You and everyone needs to recharge."

Brent gave a small salute, and scuttled off with everyone else into their tiny hidden pods in the walls. After hooking themselves in, a light hum filled the room as they charged.

Shiori made sure the security was up and running again, and left for the night.

---

A while after Shiori had left, Devin walked through the halls of the school as though he owned the place; his left eye glowing a digital green as he looped the footage on the survelance cameras as he passed them. "A little snooping after a free database overhaul is in order I feel." He said to himself as he twirled a screwdriver around his pointer finger. "Needless to say I'm probably expected... Red tape, some dummy files, a little bite of 'willing to share info', and for the main course Mon'Ami- oh ho ho. Some nice, juicy, classified information." He said mocking a French accent before dropping it. "That I will. Of course. Exploit for all it's worth." The catboy paused as he got to the door, taking note of the lack of an ability to see what technology was on the other side. "Technopathic suppression field? Fancy. Low Vis, the door if you would?" He asked just before the door opened in front of him. "Thank you." He sighed taking a few steps in before pausing to make a decision. "Should I locate and disable the suppressor, or work around it..." A few flips of his screwdriver. "Ini, mini, miney-workaround." He held up a hand as he'd seen Shiori do, only for nothing to happen. "Keyed to her..." He walked over to a console to attept to get data that way. "Same story." He concluded at the lack of progress. "Alas, twould seem as though I would have to taketh the room apart to satiate my desire to discover it's inner workings." He said with a grin and a flick of his tail, before deploying a large box of tools that he'd kept in hammerspace. "Luckily Mein friend. I have just ze tools for ze job." He said with a bit of a cackle and a grin that was less than good.

The moment a tool hit the console, there was a small skittering behind Devin, sounding much like the common skitterings of the Spider Force.

Devin's ears flicked at the skittering, turning as he reached into his jacket to pull out a makeshift EMP, taking a moment to prime it.

The skittering stopped, just before the light being let into by the open door. Devin could barely see the outline of a spider-mech.

"And you would be?" Devin said, grinning deviously. "Frank, Joe, Not-Bob, Derold, Jamal, Francis, Walter, Marquise, Fransico Edward Von Pettimere, third in line to the Royal Spider Throne of-"

"YOU-ARE-TRESS-PASS-ING! YOU-WILL-LEAVE!" The voice that came from that mech... It was nothing like the small chatters heard from the rest of the Spider Force. It was commanding. It was threatening. It was the kind of voice that could inspire a generation to hide behind couches.

"Tresspassing? But I'm a student? Is the classroom not where I belong?" Devin asked, his grin darkening ever so slightly. "How about a bargin, upgrades, downgrades, sidegrades- Oh, but none of these temptations matter unless you're sentient. Unless, of course, you are..." He said, no longer needing to stall over the encounter as it was now.

"YOU-ARE-PAST-NOR-MAL-HO-URS! YOU-HAVE-A-TTEMP-TED-ILL-E-GAL-ACC-ESS-TO-THE-SEC-ON-DAR-Y-CON-SOLE! YOU-ARE-TRESS-PASS-ING! YOU-WILL-LEAVE! NOW!" With that, the mech stepped into the light. Unlike all the other spiders Devin had seen so far, this one was far more angular; More menacing, like a mech truly made mini. It's eyes showed none of the usual curiosity that the other spiders had developed. Instead, it was replaced with a hard look of determination.

"Oh, how I'd love to determine whether you're thinking or not at a glance, but unfortunately this room's blinded me a bit." Devin stated while questioning himself as to how many more there were. "But if I leave I won't get to know how this room works. And I CAN'T not know." He said as he snapped his finger.

Low Vis appeared above the spidermech and pinned it underfoot, taking care not to cause damage. "Boo."

"Now we see if they're EMP proof." He stated taking a sharp dash forward to avoid any traps that may or may not have been set up behind him, resting his finger on the button just in case.

The spidermech merely looked up at Devin, before stating: "THREAT-ASS-ESS-MENT-IN-CREASED! HOSTILITY-DE-TEC-TED!" There came, from all around, a great deal more skittering, circling around the two, save for the most direct way to the door. After a few seconds, the skittering stopped. And all around the two, little red eyes started to glow in the darkness, peering straight at them. And in unison "YOU-ARE-TRESS-PASS-ING! THIS-WILL-BE-YOUR-FINAL-WAR-NING! YOU-WILL-LEAVE! OR YOU WILL BE EX-TER-MI-NAT-ED!" At the end of their command, a great deal of clicking and whirring was heard. Devin would see the reason for this, for a very small but powerful looking gun had appeared from within the initial mech, pointing straight up into the chasis of Low Vis.

"Engaging mutually assured destruction protocols." Low Vis stated as various weapon ports opened, displaying two readied explosives.

Devin calmly looked around the grin replaced with dissapointment. "Low Vis, stand down."

"Understood." Low Vis stated, the weapons ports closing as he vanished and released the spidermech.

The moment Low Vis lowered his weapons and walked away, the horde simultaneously undid their own weapons, clinking in time.

"Sooo." Devin said, waving the EMP around a small bit. "Can I test this?"

As one, they spoke again: "TES-TING-IS-NOT-DONE-OUT-SIDE-OF-THE-CRE-A-TOR.! YOU-ARE-"

"Leaving..." Devin said with a sigh, his eye returning to it's usual amber colour. "...But I will know." He said as he strolled towards the exit, pocketing the EMP after safing it. "After all. As long as I'm alive, I'm free to try again."

As he left and turned the corner, he ran straight into Shiori-sensei. She caught him by the collar at the bounce, before he hit the floor, and set him upright on his feet. "Welp. Curiosity finally got the better of you?"

"Nonsense. I'm still alive, and fully able to try again whenever it suits me." Devin said confidently, raising his chin. "I'll admit I've lost this one, but there's always next time... That is. Of course, unless I were to conveniently cease to draw breath..." He checked his fingernails and grinned. "But I'll go ahead and assume you're not going to kill me over a little snooping. So, how are you this evening?"

"I am doing quite fine, thanks. And no need to go that far. Trust me, the person who set this up has no intention. Hells, she's interested in taking you on as an apprentice. Come on, follow me." She waved him inside as she lead the way.

"As much as I want to know how everything works I don't like the implications of an apprenticeship. Too... Conformitive." Devin stated as he followed after her. "I'm only here in the first place to 'socialize' for whatever that's worth."

"You might like her offer then. She tends to stay very underground, away from people that aren't supergeniuses. And I don't think she means apprentice in the historical sense. More like show you more neat stuff people can't see normally, help you make more, so forth."

"That sounds... Delightful." Devin said with a pleased sheen in his eyes.

"I see you awoke my Hard Corps."

"Hardcore, huh? Starting a band? I might know a good drummer for you." Devin snarked with his chin raised confidently.

"Yes. Hard Corps. I was in the process of naming them, when Lucius busted out with that. They accepted it, and now I can't change it back. Puns hurt, and that one especially." She waved to her little horde, which nearly covered the floor. "It's ok, he's with me. Go back to sleep, sweeties. Go on, go on." They gave a simultaneous salute, a 'THANK YOU MA-AM!", and skittered into their recharging pods. "They're my defensive line. Not just for in here, but for the whole school, just in case. Never know, and I want to help as much as I can."

Shiori-sensei made her way to the console that Devin tried to tap into earlier, and typed in a few things. "Mind going to the center of the room?"

"As long as I don't know what's waiting for me there, yes. Yes I do." Devin stated with a facial expression and tone that indicated he said this out of fact rather than smartassness.

"Fair enough, but I think it lowers the shock value." She typed a bit more, and to even her surprise, a series of blueprints popped up. They showed a good chunk of what made up the machine, but infuriatingly, not entirely HOW they worked. Just enough to give Devin ideas, plans, but nothing that proved what they did. Hells, unknown to Shiori, there was a bit of code in the plans that Devin could interpret, something along the lines of "This is all you can get. For now."

"Huh. Nice of her. Frankly, for the best she does this, and prevented you from doing anything foolish. I mean, I am sure you can take on near anything, but the last thing you want to deal with is her and patent laws. She is a goddess with those in particular."

Devin stood by her, commiting every detail to memory as his mind already began to put things together. "That's nice." He said absently as he tried filling in the blanks. "This will do for the time being. I'm not done yet, but satisfied for now." He said with a not-so-good-guy grin.

"If I had known that random blueprints would have gotten you to pay attention, I would have tried that out weeks ago." Shiori grinned, and leaned back. "But, sorry to say, I'm gonna have to talk to your mom, as well as Lucius. You're still in trouble young man."

"Oh? What for?" Devin asked, turning to face Shiori only after he had already commited the blueprints to memory. "And I don't need to pay attention in class. I know you know this already, but I have PHDs." He said, placing a hand on his chest to playfully mimic an upper-class. "hurrrumpth." Rolling his Rs flawlessly.

She gave a slow clap. "You've been practicing. And, frankly, for access to areas you don't have permission for. I'm thinking, oh, a month of helping me repair the Spider Force. Maybe two."

"A security check is nothing to be in trouble over. Why, if anything I offered you a service. Now you know the lock to the classroom needs to be improved." Devin said with a grin, attempting to weasle his way out of any obligations.

"True, but a bad lock is still not permission nor an invitation." She put her hands on her hips and leaned towards him. "Keep this up, and it'll be three months, and you have to help me with the training modules for the self defense classes and the special defense classes."

"Now now, doesn't that seem a litte extreme. Three months for two minutes hardly seems like a fair trade." Devin said, his posture shifting to that of a well established buisness man. "You gave me some information, and I got to poke around inside the class for a minute or two, mayhaps a trade is in order?"

"The pose works better if you inflect a Southern Gentleman accent. But do tell." She smirked.

Devin tapped his throat twice. "Now, mayhaps you've yet to notice my canine companion's stealth capabilities." He said in a flawlessly executed Southern dialect before snapping his finger.

Moments later Low Vis appeared behind Shiori, stalking behind her with perfect silence before stating. "Boo."

"Oh hey there, was wondering when you'd show up." She grinned, and gave him a pat to the head. "So, let me guess. I lay off on the punishment some, and you help me out with some stealth tech?"

"You're boring." Low Vis stated flatly before vanishing again.

"Ya hit the nail on the head with that'un missy. My compatriot here's got sound masking, scent masking, anti infa-red, excetera. Hell, even sonar mistakes 'im fer a mouse." Devin said with a grin. "Accept now'n I'll even offer ya a hand with yer bots fer an afternoon'n give ya a peek at my workshop... Providin' the Manor lets ya in a'course."

"Hm." Shiori tapped her chin, acting to be in thought. "One month repair work, programming optional, and I only talk to your Mom. Which may be soon, we have another date planned." She grinned. "In the mean time, I really suggest you don't mess with the stuff again. Here, anyways. Brittany tends to get a little sour, buuuuuut knowing her, it could be an invitation anyways."

"A week and a half, and I'll give ya some funding too." Devin bartered. "And one would assume Brittany is the sister you spoke of. The one that made your training room." He assumed aloud, dropping the dialect.

"Did I say that aloud? Oh dear me, I must be slipping." She put on her own fake accent this time, like a teenager caught. She even had a couple fingers to her lips. "Well, let's not get distracted, hm? Care for a ride home? I need to let the mech stretch its legs, and you could ride shotgun."

"Nope. I've got a car I've got to get back to the Manor." Devin informed. "Do we have a deal on the funding, week and a half, tech, and tour?"

"Full two weeks, then deal." She held out a hand. "That enough time for you to ruminate on what you've done?"

"Jeeze. I feel like I could'a set the place on fire and catch less flack for it." Devin complained before shaking the offered had. "You'd better appreciate the valuable time this arrangement is wasting." He said as his posture reverted to his usual slouch.

"I do. And I also appreciate you talking to me like this." She smiled warmly as she normally did. "Now come on. I gotta lock up, ok?"

"Mhmm. Don't worry about the server room. I took care of that one." Devin informed before leaving the room.

"Good to hear." She followed after him, and set up the security. There's a great deal of locks and thumps heard this time around. "Huh. She musta upgraded it while we're in there." She looked to Devin. "You saw a good chunk of the bluprints, so I can tell ya. Modular system capabilities. Update on the fly, less time wasted. Still in the prototypical stages, though, so it's not yet fit for mass production."

"Hm." Devin mused before continuing to leave.

Shiori escorted him to the car, then made her way to the mech.

"Well that was a botch." Devin said as he got into his car. "Now I gotta do work... Gross." He complained before heading home.

---

Summary:

- Shiori continues to deal with very destructive students. Least they don't mean to do it.
- She calls up her sister to get some advice.
- Brittany is introduced!
- Aaaaand she is a very sharp person. Yikes.
- Another sister mentioned. Tasha, the SuperHero! AKA The Cheetah!
- Brittany is also keeping tabs on certain students. Foreshadowing?
- Devin is wandering the halls of the academy well after he should be.
- Decides to make a little entrance into the training room. See if he can get some info on tech he does not know.
- After a couple failed attempts to do it as Shiori does, he takes matters into his own tools.
- Devin wakes up the Hard Corps in the process.
- These rather mean looking spiders are very focused on what they may do. Bartering fails.
- Devin is caught leaving the place, crash-into-hello style.
- Shiori takes him back inside, gets the Hard Corps back to sleep, and shows off some files Brittany had prepared for the technowiz.
- Devin's still in trouble though.
- Taking Shiori's suggestion to add a Southern Gentleman accent, the two of them work out a bargain.
-Devin may feel that tonight was a bust, but he actually gained quite a bit in the process. Some of it things he does not yet know...
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