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You find yourself on the ship known as The SPS Colossus. Around the time Earth's population reached 11 Billion, countries started to funnel money into projects known as "Space Planetary Systems". Earth's resources strained to support even 9 Billion. These SPS's served a controversial solution. The first to board were felony convicted citizens and prisoners. Then they started from the most impoverished and went up. You didn't have a choice to go or not in most cases.

Within the SPS Colossus resides a megalopolis called Titan 848-26 that 700,000,000 call home. Here you are on this impossibly massive ship, maybe born in it. Maybe you just got shipped from Earth. One way or another you end up in cahoots with a rag tag group of mercenaries. Good luck.

*Literate RP. Paragraphs required.
*Fairly intense RP schedule, at least once in a couple days.
*Stat System in place, nothing too in depth, but still.

If you're okay with all that, pm me to join.

Whoever named this place The Hole in the Wall was definitely a perceptive one. This rundown basement doubling as a bar and strip joint was haphazardly shoved into one side of an alleyway, away from the prying eyes of any C-Sec Officer who happened to be prowling the streets. They wouldn’t dare set foot in here, unless for whatever reason they enjoyed getting shot. Maybe that sounds comforting, like a haven for those who aren’t so fond of the law. That is, if you don’t mind stepping into a steaming cesspool of mercs, small-timers, and general shitbirds. That’s the sort of people who hung out in The Hole in the Wall, including Deckard. His blue eyes wandered off his drink every now and then, upwards towards the pink skinned dancer above him. He watched her fluid movements, slow and deliberate, perfectly complimenting the music booming through into the crowd. A harsh neon blue light basked the entire room and the people in it. Clutched in the dancer’s hand: a long piece of red fabric. It floats weightlessly around her as her arms move across the stage. She slumps down on her knees and slides her hands down the length of her exposed stomach. Her eyes meet Deckard’s own, a sly smile thinning across her face. The gruff man next to him throws a crumpled-up Yin in her direction. It flies through her shoulder, the point of impact fizzling out for a moment before regaining its form. Her head immediately turns towards the man, sending locks of pink hair flying over her face, the same sly smile peeking through the loose strands. Not even real strippers in this place. He glances over his shoulder at the crowded mass of people dancing to the music. Limbs flail recklessly through the air back and forth, bodies lurching forward and colliding, no room to breathe, but no one seemed to mind one bit. They were too busy being intoxicated by the allure of deviance.

Deckard raises his hand and a few seconds later a masked woman stands patiently behind him holding two bottles of something. He exits his spot at the stage and inspects both bottles for a moment each. Both the same from what he could tell, but he didn’t know jack shit about alcohol. The shot glass he left at the bar was full of water. Deckard wordlessly slides a few bills into the waitress’s hand, and then an extra one before grabbing the neck of the large bottle. The woman bows and falls back into the crowd in the direction of the nearest raised hand. For just a second Deckard wondered what it was like to have rudimentary goals like that. Serve people liquor, get paid, go home. He’d only been running with this crew for a couple of months and things always seem to get complicated. Not a surprise he was a replacement.

The floors were so sticky that they clung onto the soles of your boots like your shoes owed them money. Probably one of the few prerequisites of owning a shitty bar and club: have indiscernible fluids line your floors to make people wonder if they should burn their shoes when they get home. It took a lot of wading through packs of drugged up patrons but eventually Deckard made it through the front door. Cold air lunged at him from one side of the alley, whipping up some discarded trash in the process and skidding a crushed can across the concrete. Deckard lifted his collar and tugged his jacket over his torso. Snow had just begun to fall a few hours ago, probably while he was in there. He let out a long stream of air from his mouth, watching the snow cut through the fog he expelled. Deckard always wondered why they insisted on having weather cycles at all, until he read somewhere that a human would go insane without things like weather, day, and night. Something about these earth-like qualities, even if you’ve never seen the real deal, was comforting.

The bottle felt cold against his fingers, but it’s not like it would freeze. His free hand dug through his coat pocket, producing an old-school pack of Marlboros. He plucked one out with his teeth, then let it rest. The ignitor triggered automatically at the end of the cig, sparking a flame at the tip. He took a deep drag, sending out smoke through his nostrils.

Deckard started off in the direction of the ship, the snow crunching beneath him with every step. “Oy, shén! Lend an unfortunate individual one a’ them ciggies, yeah?” Sat down like a heap in the snow, a very pale man perks up as Deckard approaches. “Lend you one? Am I gonna get it back?” Deckard gives the man a smirk, a little too proud at the stupidity of his joke. The man looks unimpressed. “Alright don’t make your brain work too quick, you might get a headache…. Here.” Deckard reaches into his pocket once more and retrieves his pack of cigarettes, extending them down at the pale man.

Something sharp pokes into his back. The pressure lets up as it tears through his coat and into his undershirt. Deckard’s smile quickly fades, he already knew what this was. “We all know the drill. Turn around, slow-like. Not too fast… might catch you a headache. Ain’t that whatcha said.” Deckard turned towards the man, cursing himself for not being able to see the stick-up coming. It wasn’t like he towered over Deckard, but the height difference was quite noticeable. He had to tilt his head up a bit to see his whole body. The man was standing pretty close him, knife pointed at his chest. Well over six feet tall, dressed in shopworn camo-pants, and a thick jacket with black animal fur lining the collar, the knife wielding man was completely bald, with a scarred, missile shaped head and eyes like craters cut by tiny meteors. On closer scrutiny, he looked ill, like he had been exposed to radiation, his jaundiced skin speckled by sores. “All your money. Now.” Deckard knew the drill. It happened a lot when he was on the streets. He kept throw away cash in his outside pocket, and the rest in his jacket. His hand reached in his pocket. “Ay! Slow-like, remember?” His pace slowed, the money snatched out of his hand as soon as it left his pocket. The man ahead withdraws the knife to count the cash, mouthing wordlessly as he sifts through the bills of Yin. “That’s it? Well you’re downright disappointin’. Stewart, take the ciggies.” The man behind Deckard hesitantly moves forward, trudging through the snow for a bit before swiping the pack out of Deckard’s hand. His beady eyes drift down to Deckard’s other hand, a golden capped smile emerging. “And the bottle.” Well, the question at this point was: would he rather get stabbed here over a bottle of rum, or face Momo back on the ship with nothing to show for the trouble. It was a tossup really.

Deckard loosens his grip, letting the bottle slip through his fingers and into the snow, before breaking out full speed forward. His shoulder collides against the chest of the man with the knife, knocking him onto his back. He hits the ground hard enough to steal the air from his lungs, groaning as he holds the back of his head. A pair of arms immediately wrap under Deckard’s armpits and weave upwards to lock behind his neck. He struggles to get out of the hold, his arms waving pathetically in the air. The larger man struggles to stand up, snow cascading down from the fur in his jacket and tumbling back down, his breath is heavy as he retrieves the discarded knife from deep in the snow below. Deckard’s movements grow volatile as he approaches with the knife. The grasp around his arms is too tight to break, only a few seconds till there’s a five-inch hole in his stomach. The man holding him seems strong, his stance unwavering even with inches of snowfall under him. Deckard kicks off the ground, launching him and the man holding him backwards. As soon as they impact the ground, Deckard rolls off and stands, backing up from the man with the knife. His eyes dart from the man lurching towards him to the one on the ground to the bottle.

Deckard’s back meets the wall of the alleyway, a reptilian smile tugs at the edges of the pock marked man. He brings the knife down onto Deckard, and his hand instinctively goes up to shield his face. The sound of metal grinding against metal fills his ear, and he spots the blade of a knife sticking through his hand. Black oil slicks the steel of the blade as it pokes through. Deckard pulls his hand back, taking the knife with him, then swings with his real hand. Flesh meets flesh, the uncanny but strangely familiar sound of a set of knuckles impacting a lower jaw fills the alleyway. He throws all his weight into the punch, falling as his fist slides against the other man’s face. The knife lets out a quick shrill groan as Deckard’s hands stop him from falling all the way. He breathes heavily, staring at the snow while on his hands and knees. He peers down underneath and through his legs. The man he punched was snoring, his face buried in the snow that blanketed the floor, the other moving towards him. When this guy was created, they forgot to put the quit in him. Deckard tried to get to his feet, stumbling part way as his feet slide against the sleekness of the floor, and he lands on his back again. The pale skinned man gets over him quickly, digging a knee into Deckard’s stomach. The pressure alone almost made him puke. Even if he wanted to, there wasn’t any free time to let some chunks loose, as it appeared that the next few minutes were reserved for being punched in the face. The first one hurt the most. It had been a real long time since Deckard had been hit so hard. Hard enough to think your eye popped out. The next three were a very close second. The fourth punch broke skin, sending blood flying off into the snow, tainting it a deep red. Deckard's hands reached out into the snow, grasping for something, anything. His fingertips touched the frame of something cold, something heavy. Fingers curled around the base and brought it up to the face of the pale man, sending glass and liquids flying in all directions, dousing both their clothes. Something reeks a potent smell. The punches stop all together, a ragdoll body lying next to Deckard as he huffs out heavy breaths.

Eventually, through great effort, Deckard manages to stand and loom over both bodies. He spits out a reddish slime onto the snow below. Typical bar run. All for that goddamn bottle. He looks to where he left it initially, in its place a pale man with a bloodied face and glass pieces surrounding him. Deckard’s breath stops for a moment and he brings his shirt up to his nose. All he could smell was alcohol. He kicks one of the men in the ribs hard, initiating a coughing fit as he writhed on the ground. “Did you really need the bottle, you’re a greedy fuck you know that?!” The man groans in response. Deckard reaches behind him and into his waistband. He points a weathered pistol at the man groaning in the snow. Deckard lets out a long sigh and closes his eyes, the pistol falling to his side with his arm. He stands there for a while, listen to the faint music emitting from the club and letting the snow land on his fresh wounds. A door creaks open, the door leading into The Hole in the Wall, to be exact, letting out the bouncy music that fueled its patrons. Two men walk out laughing and jeering, before they notice the bodies crumpled on the floor and silence. Deckard looks lazily their way, and through the only eye that could open fully, spies one of them holding a familiar looking bottle. He points the gun in their direction. “We all know the drill.”

Deckard’s footfalls clang against the ship’s interior, his hand firmly grasping the neck of the bottle. He didn’t have a mirror handy but surely, he looked like shit. “Can someone stitch up my face and get this knife out of my hand!” He stares down at the blade jutting through the palm of his mechanical arm. “Don’t all rush out at once I’m just stabbed.” He couldn’t help but smile as he sat down in his bunk. His Marlboros pack only has a couple more left, after giving one away and getting robbed and fighting, but he felt he earned one. It sparks itself in his mouth and he takes another puff. “I got booze!” He yells out into the hallway opposing his room, as to entice the rest of his crew. The machinations of his mechanical arm were a total mystery to him, so Deckard concluded leaving the knife in his palm was probably the best course of action. The bottle slides out of his arm and onto the mattress below him, as he struggled to take off his shirt with one head. Halfway over his head, the shirt gets feisty, refusing to actually remove itself. Somehow in the struggle, the knife wedged in his hand rips through the shirt over his head, leaving him with several scraps of shirt hanging off his head.

The woman stood before her client, a nervous looking redhead with scars that showed not only in her body, but in those hazel eyes of hers as well. This wasn't her first time here yet each time started the same. The money was handed over and by now the woman didn't bother to count it. Her client was always good for it, even tipped like the job had been done perfectly.

That wasn't true but the woman wasn't so prideful to decline an extra hundred on top of what the bill initially came to. It could never be perfect for this particular client, that much was clear from the very first session. Like always the rules were gone over. No talking, no questions, just be organic. It was easy enough to follow those rules except every time after the woman left feeling heavy. A hooker with a conscience. That was bad for business.

They started, always slowly. It took time for her client to sink in to the mindset, to let their surroundings wash away and be replaced with whatever it was she thought about. The woman was sure to be careful with her patron. She wasn't like the other kinds of people that the woman serviced. She was a woman with some mysterious past and no interest in divulging her secrets. Which was entirely fine because secrets could get someone killed.

The client was pretty when you looked at her, these red curls kept back in a band yet somehow finding ways to escape and frame an angular face. Her client had strong features, sharp eyebrows hung over these piercing eyes. Her lips were full and almost in a constant state of frowning. These almost imperceptible scars marred her skin, visible in the low-light setting of her client's cabin.

They were silvery, old wounds that mostly healed over. The woman let her fingers trace them across the redhead's body, slowly peeling away the clothing and pushing it further and further down. There was another rule to always follow, and ti was that the woman was not to touch her client below the waist.

It wouldn’t have bothered her. Plenty of the people who the woman serviced had cybernetic limbs or attachments. Hell, some people even liked it more when you played with them like that. But not this one, she preferred keeping her pants on and those metal legs hidden from view. So instead the woman straddled her, hands gripping the frame of the chair they were using and carefully lowering herself down. She reached to the hem of her shirt and lifted upward, pulling it overhead and discarding it with the rest of the clothes pooling on the floor.

The woman knew to wait now, to let the client’s slender fingers trace across the multitude of tattoos covering her body. She had always gotten the notion that her being selected was less about her skills and more about a resemblance to someone the client knew once. That was fine. Sweet, even. At least in a pretty depressing way. The woman looked down at the client knowing her eyes would be closed. Whenever they reached this point they always were until it was over.

Today the client seemed to want more than just feeling the woman against her, a neediness in the way she touched and pulled the two of them together. The woman liked to watch the client like this, a furrow to her brow and these pouting lips fiercely focused on conjuring the image and feel of whoever it was she'd rather be with. The woman relaxed and sank into her role, intending to be as close as possible to perfect for her client.


“Alright Jane, see you next week?” The woman spoke as she slipped her dress back on, turning to have her client zip it back up.

She put a jacket over that and folded the payment carefully, stashing it in her purse just next to a small compression pistol. In this line of work a lady had to keep themselves safe. Jane looked up at the woman and a faint smile spread across her face.

“We'll see. Th-thank you for this. I’ll walk you out.” Jane didn't like to make promises she couldn't keep.

The soft hiss of the cabin door sounded as it slid upward. The comfortable surroundings gave way to the metal hallway. This path slid through the heart of the Invictus, Jane’s battleship camouflaged as a cargo ship. Her walking the woman out of the ship was much less a courteous move and more to ensure that nothing on the Invictus was looked at too closely. There were many false-walls and hidden hatches that stored plenty of contraband, sometimes even people.

They passed slowly down the cabin hallway, every other door closed including Jane’s as the door slid back down and locked. Biometric scanning was necessary to get in to the individual cabins, though Jane had the override for each of them. Kian had helped her program the locks and scanners to make them damn near impossible to crack. Those codes were kept nowhere physical, only in the mind of this prime.

Heavy footfalls sounded as Jane’s boots thudded against the grated metal stairway. Each step she took made it evident that underneath the thick cargo pants there was something that weighed a lot more than Jane did. The woman was patient with her as she moved as fast as possible while being careful.

The stairs descended from the cabin bay and to the hold of the ship, which currently was acting as the place of gathering for the crew. A few chairs and couches had been pulled in here to create a sort of makeshift living room.

The loading dock was currently in its deployed state with a disheveled looking Deckard marching up it, holding his hand and a knife awkwardly out in front of him.

“I got booze!” Deckard’s voice clanged against the hull and seemed to magnify through the hall.

Jane landed with a hard thud against the floor and started towards her pilot, finally able to get a better look at the situation. The woman streaked past with a discernible ‘not getting involved in this’ look on her face. She exited just as the loading bay door began to lift and seal behind her.

“Deckard, w-what the fuck? You know repairs are expensive right?” Jane was speaking in her normal easy tone, her brain already swapping over to mechanic mode.

The blueprint of Deckard’s metal arm came to mind and she mentally note which wires and pieces were most likely damaged from having a fucking knife stabbed through it. Nothing was leaking out of it so that meant the liquid line was in tact. That could take a back seat. She shuffled over to a cabinet and pulled out a small emergency kit. This had been used practically daily since their last mission. The crew of the Invictus seemed much better at finding trouble than just laying low like they all agreed to do.

“You’re lucky, you know? Everytime you go out there and someone misses that battery you’re lucky.” Jane was speaking as she tugged the remainders of his shirt over head and ripped what little fabric clung together.

Jane addressed the wound on his face first. That part of his body was organic and because of that would always come before a break in the robo-pieces. With calculated motions the engineer cleansed and stitched the cut together with a glorified sewing kit.

It was over with quickly and Jane set to the hand. She pulled him over to a ‘work station’. To anyone else it more than likely came off as mess of metal and tools violently thrown at a set of tables. Nudging a stool at her pilot she grabbed for a head strap that featured a magnifying lens and a few sets of lights. Fitting it over head she first yanked the blade out and began inspecting the innards. Tiny tools probed the cybernetic, prodding and pulling frayed wires and damaged bits.

“Did anyone see you come this way? I don’t want a repeat of Helix-3.” Jane was referring to the last time they weren’t careful and ended up having to fly the Invictus out of a hail of gunfire after somebody let it slip they were carrying ten kilos of Overclock on them.

Her paranoia clearly had not faded from that encounter.

"DOMINIC, you better not be--"

"I'm not."



"Then you're doing it. Again. How many times have I told you not to--"

Systems off, the words sounded through the speakers, as the blue pixels receded to the edges of the screen; a symbol that - once again - the AI was going into hibernation. This time, a scolding, yet again. His brother was still an indignant child, artificial or not.

"Why are you scolding him?" a voice whispered in his ear. CLYDE, or so he would think if he played along with DOMINIC's clever facade. That VI had been disabled a while ago, ever since the integration of his brother's mainframe into the Invictus' systems. But still, whenever the clever machine wanted to play the game of whispers, he would wear that voice and pretend like he didn't know that Kian knew that CLYDE was no longer in this world.

And if he was a proper big brother, and creator, and parental figure... he would have scolded him again, and warned him not to lie, and taught him the proper ways of communicating with others whom you disagree - and especially if they were right to disagree with you. But instead, he felt at ease hearing that old machine's voice, and through proxy could more easily speak the truth.

"Because he's putting himself in danger. And all of us. The Menanca killed our parents - and now they're here. On the Colossus, avoiding the trainwreck they helped create. I know that because they killed mom and dad, Dominic wants to fight back, but they're ruthless. They'll come again, like they did for me," he stated solemnly. That was most of the truth, but there was another element to it, hidden far beneath the weight of the whisper. He didn't want DOMINIC to know. What he was, and the life he led. He viewed himself not as a copy, a fake, but his real brother. Just... living in a new body, as his old one failed him. The promise that he would one day be recreated was one so compelling, that all followed from it.

To imagine himself in love, to imagine truly holding an object, or another human being... it was a fantasy of such phenomenal value, greater than any childlike dream.

And the Menanca had a log, and DOMINIC was a hyper-intelligent AI. He'd find the books, he'd see his own name and face. And then... what then?

"I see," 'CLYDE' responded, in his broken and lumbering voice; the half-shattered whisper of a life-long addict. "He loves you, you know," he said. That tugged on the Wayford's heart; to hear those words from him. So profoundly, so maturely. And coming from another voice... the father he'd always wished they'd had.

"I know," he replied. "I love him too. And that's why... that's why I worry."

"You're right to worry," replied the machine. "This galaxy is rotten to its core."

- - -

He sat in the lobby of the ship in silence, his back pressed into the fabric of the sofa, with a sleek black remote lingering between his gloved fingertips. Kian sat quietly surfing the channels of the net, projected softly onto the screen. Events downtown... well, downtown District 6... urgent news... stories from other vessels... copious'deals', a product of the one thing that had survived the fall of the Old World: capitalism. Though he didn't mind the deals, it was mind boggling to say the least that all were still forced to suffer targeted ads and cheesy catch phrases. It was like a condition of the human soul at this point, though it hadn't always been.

His mind lingered. On DOMINIC, and what he said through CLYDE'S voice. It was easy enough to dismiss it as the bile of a rebellious teen... and DOMINIC had been reborn digitally a year ago now. In only a few weeks, it would be his fourteenth birthday. Kian was like that, back then. He'd always been taught to be so afraid of everything, and as a result, he was simply and blanketly afraid of life. And what he feared, he hated... for the longest time.

The man sighed, as he pulled his wrist in front of his chest, and looked at the time projecting from the screen. Time to be a human. He forgot sometimes, consumed by all of the information. Watching programs from the net was like viewing re-runs; most of the pertinent information had already been leaked straight to his visor. DOMINIC had gotten too good.

"Hey guys," he called out lowly, as he rose from his seat and stretched his body, his fingertips poking through the overly long sleeves of his shirt as he sounded a pleasant groan. Then...

A commotion. Deckard got himself into some shit again, but by the oscillation of his voice, DOMINIC suggested that he was likely not too haggard. Nothing fatal, this time, once again. Kian stepped from the lounge and towards the source of the sound, as Jane chastised him and he almost innocently stared back, a ripped shirt illustrating his condition just as well as the hole in his synthetic arm.

Kian rolled his eyes.

"Again?!" he asked, and exclaimed.

"Hello!" DOMINIC spoke, introducing himself. He'd always been a fan of Deckard, and had seemingly never minded his antics. Apparently, he was one and the same with all of the ship's premier trash heaps. "Deckard, that looks like some gnarly shit," the AI inferred, speaking through one of the audio devices in the room. "Are you al-"

"Dominic?" Kian asked, a passive request to mind his tongue. It would at least set him right for a moment, though they were far from their conservative Arizona upbringing. This whole shitfest was the Garden of Eden for interstellar deviance. He'd not be able to hold his brother-robot to high standards for long. "Deckard," he called out, "Why are you acting so nonchalant? You know that there are people here who give a..."

"Kian?" DOMINIC questioned; Kian could almost feel the smirk through his cold fiber-optics.

"--who care. Why do you keep trying to get yourself killed?"

It wasn’t uncommon to hear a rhythmic concert of clangs resounding through the halls of the Invictus. No, that wasn’t the sound of someone rolling a pair of heavy metal dice up and down the corridors, it was the sound of their Commander Jane Devereaux waddling around. Deckard had grown to love the loud percussion as it came and went past his bunker. For whatever reason he found it comforting, even if it meant he was in trouble. Sometimes he could gauge how hard he was about to get chewed out by how fast these clangs came. A few times it sounded like someone was getting reckless with a machine gun out in the hallway, but low and behold instead of a belly full of lead, Deckard earned an earful. Other times the resonant sounds of Jane’s mechanical legs came softly and slowly, just to stop and check in. This time was somewhere in between.

Deckard sheepishly smiled through the remaining fragments of the shirt hanging over his head, a lit cigarette still hanging off his lip. It wasn’t the worst situation he’s been in when someone walked in, but it wasn’t a good look either way. Jane was always thinking about the costs of things, something Deckard conveniently forgot to consider most of the time. He didn't like to be the reason their funds took a hit, but hey, shit happens. “I know, I know but I wasn’t looking for trouble, Boss! It just sort of… poked me in the back.” Deckard spouted in his defense, as Jane removed the fabric that clung to his neck and hair. Most of the time, Deckard wasn’t looking for a fight, it just seemed to find him. Most of the time. He shot a dirty look at the bottle of rum laying in his bed beside him, the frozen snow that used to canvas the glass now melted, leaving a faint wet spot in his sheets. A deep red liquid came to a standstill within, moving a bit as another set of footsteps approached. Disappointing the captain wasn’t ever on his agenda whenever this type of shit happened, it just always ended up that way.

“Yeah, I’m the luckiest guy I know. I’m the friggin’ poster boy for luck. If he got jumped by a couple of vagrants.” Deckard winced as Jane pressed down on the fresh cut above his eyebrow with a disinfectant wipe, draining a viscous red liquid into his eye. She pulls it back completely red before tossing it and going to town with the needle and wire from the emergency kit. Yeah, he got his very own. It even had his name on it.

“Woah! That’s a low-blow. Helix-3 was not my fault. And I got us out of there didn’t I? They could barely keep up.” Deckard shot her a smile, hoping to ease Jane’s tension. wasn’t usually one to brag outright, preferring to be subtle about it most of the time. He thought of it this way: at least it looked impressive. He would take a safe payday any day of the week, but they all made it didn’t they? “But no, nobody followed me.” Blowing steam was one thing. Leading danger to the crew was another. He wasn’t one to jeopardize a good thing, and this certainly was a good thing.

“Why would the poster-boy for luck get jumped? What’s lucky about that?” A childlike voice echoed through the speakers built into the top of the room, just as Kian entered the room. It was strange to see him without some kind of mask on, Deckard figured the guy showered with it on, that’s what Momo said at least. “Maybe he found twenty Yin on the ground after they were done, Dom.” He gave Kian a nod, before getting told to stop moving. Apparently, Deckard had built himself a reputation of coming home battered and bloodied. Besides the faded red stains caking his knuckles and the bruises accompanying them, nothing suggested Deckard ever won the fights. He never usually gave out any details unless Jane specifically asked. “It doesn’t look too gnarly though, right Dom? My face is my most precious asset.” He gave a weak smile at nothing in particular, purple blemishes already starting to form around his eyes and across a cheek.

The young pilot watched in awe as Jane expertly went away at his arm. She picked it up like she’s done it a hundred times before, which she basically had. The arm itself wasn’t anything special, especially when they first met. When she first saw his arm’s condition, her face looked like she saw the engineering equivalent of maggots. Rust had taken over most of his arm, his artificial joints locking in place sometimes, struggling to move against the thick coat of steel oxidation. Less than an hour in her workshop and it looked brand new. Deckard proved himself a hassle on many occasions though, usually keeping Jane on her artificial toes. “I appreciate the concern Kain. It’s not anything serious though. They just got a few good hits in.” His face hurt like hell, but he would take a few more shots before letting anyone know that. “I’m not trying to do anything. I think if I was trying I would have probably bit it by now.” Deckard let another puff of gray smoke blow through his nose, wisps of nicotine floating ethereal outwards and eventually into nothing. He thought for a moment, before producing the same weathered pistol from earlier. It was an old-school lead slinger, something back from earth. His thumb slid over the length of the gun, feeling against the many scratches that lined it's exterior, stopping at the clip release. The magazine slides out and falls onto his lap. "It's full, not one used. Things didn't escalate." Deckard never really liked to kill, but he never felt above it. There was just something about taking a life that he felt should be taken seriously. Most of the wannabees out there slung bullets like they were going out of style.

They had all seen it before, but it was uncomfortable to have them all looking at his exposed chest like this. Deckard shifted a bit, using his free arm to reach for a nearby ashtray, or rather a discarded mug of cold coffee. He let the ashen cigarette fall from his mouth and into the brown liquid swirling in the cup. The battery in his chest encompassed most of his upper torso. About five inches every which way, the triangle shaped core faintly pulsed orange from the edges “I should plug in soon. I’m feeling a little sluggish” He lifted his head slightly at Kian. “Any new leads? I’m itching to fly again.” Usually Jane or Kian would come up with a new lead, and sometimes a job would just fall into Deckard’s lap.

Jane hadn’t initially noticed Kian sitting there on one of the couches in unusual form. The suit of high-tech armor he normally wore was not covering him from head to toe. Hearing his AI’s voice chime in from the speaker system had become a sort of norm. The hacker had offered to ‘upgrade’ the Invictus by integrating his creation in to it. That would serve the purpose of speeding up any kind of information gathering on the ship and ensure they were running at full capacity. If anything went wrong, if a foreign object or program had made its way in they would know. It took a bit of convincing but when Kian showed how useful he was and how loyal he could be Jane caved. Besides, DOMINIC was actually endearing. She wouldn’t mention this to anyone here but it reminded her of a particular prime that hadn’t made it out alive.

“Helix-3 was everyone’s fault.” Jane said with a certain emphasis as she tore out a now defunct component from Deckard’s hand. The engineer continued her work deftly and without pause as she spoke. “If one of us f-fails then we all do. That’s what being a part of a crew is about. Our survival hinges on everyone doing th-their part.”

Despite the blunder Jane was glad to see the full clip of Deckard’s strange gun. It brought on a flashback that had her stop what she was doing. There she was, back in the shooting gallery on the Promise. Cee was there with her, standing with their bodies pressed together. Those strong arms were wrapped around Jane’s thin frame, steadying her as she held up a .40 caliber pistol. A nervousness kept her from being able to aim clearly. Cerys put her lips close to Jane’s ear and told her to breathe, relax, and pull the trigger when she was ready. A couple of moments passed and Jane squeezed the mechanism. The clap of gunfire rang clear only in her head and brought her back to the present.

Jane cleared her throat and put down her tools, reaching for a container of parts and popping the top on it. These were spare parts she had managed to collect over time, the last of them. She reached for a set of hinges and screws on Deckard’s wrist and began to disassemble the chassis that held the two pieces together. With a metallic click his hand detached. Jane cradled the part and put it on the workstation, hanging a light over it. The process of replacing the dead parts began and for a moment there was silence on her end.

“I’ve actually been following something. Dominic, would you mind bringing up any news articles on the Ascension Corporation? Localize the sources around Titan-3 and spread them out so we can see.”

The holo displays kicked on with a whir and display after display began to pop in to existence all around the couches. Headlines about a mega corporation exposing slicing operations, buying up any and all cybernetic outlets and jacking up prices. Subsequently there were smaller news distributors that had pieces on all of the people who had suffered from the rising cost in upkeep of their implants. There was a fire in Jane’s eyes as she scanned through a few of them, dragging her hands through the air and moving some of the articles to the forefront. Anytime Jane selected a mission it was usually centered around some sort of anti-establishment movement.

“I know it runs the risk of high profile b-but check this out. Dominic, can you display the Core-13 bank? Blueprints, street cam, footage, anything would work.”

New images would flood the view, overlapping the old ones. It was a bank, its facade under construction. The old sign was taken down, Core-13 removed and a new, shiny Ascension one being outfitted.

“They’re buying all the Core banks and remodeling them. This particular bank just so happens to be nearby. Th-they’ve already finished the inside and loaded up the vault, but haven’t gotten to beefing up security much at all. We can h-hit them, easy. Quick in and out, maybe some sort of distraction or IRS deal like we did that one time. I don’t know, but I bet we can come up with s-something.”

Jane was clearly excited now. The money was promising for sure, but being able to rob Ascension blind right as they are trying to make a huge public appearance would be even better. She would give the crew time to assess the situation. It wouldn’t take Kian long to get some better information, or for Deckard to plot their ins and outs, or for the twins to-

“Wait, where are the twins?”

If one thing was constant in every one of the hazy days that rolled on by the Twins, it was that before Momo or Mina got up in the morning they had to count five reasons to themselves. Five reasons to get up out of bed. Five reasons to open their eyes upon becoming conscious. Five reasons to keep on going at all. This particular day, at least for Mina, the reasons were decidedly arbitrary: Momo would be in a better mood than she had been, cooped up in the cargo bay, spacious as it tended to be, with nothing to drink. Whatever petty arguments they would have gotten into because she was experiencing abject depression and lashing out would be stuffed. Mina, luckily, had less to worry about, since all that Overclock had ended up becoming their own product, which brought up reason number two. Even the smallest hit of Overclock set Mina for an entire day, just about. Sharpened her perceptions to a degree that turned the lazy, boring Mina into something of a black widow: beautiful, dangerous and mysterious. Or whatever the fuck. She rolled her neck out, curled up in her little ball on the most comfortable chair on the entire battleship. It just so happened that she liked the chair that also happened to be in the security bay, in the room that should have been reserved for a C-Sec Captain or something else like that. Reason number three: false authority. Jane had brought them on as bodyguards, hit men, or maybe just muscle. Part of that did mean she got to call herself the Head of Security aboard the ship, even if no one, especially her sister, really bowed to her lofty, goofy claims to an empty throne. But it was fun. She sighed, flipping through camera feeds with one finger, avoiding Jane and Kian because spying on people is uncomfortable, instead looking outside the ship, checking the perimeter, searching for danger. Searching for reason number four: simulated overcast skies were pretty in a sort of droning, morbid way for someone who saw the world in gray scale. Something to relate to. A nice distraction from both that and reason number five.

Maybe today someone would get lucky, and she could escape her past with some finality.

Either way, as she clenched her teeth, eyes glued unblinking to a screen showing falling snow and occasionally blinking as simulated winds made the feed less stable. She licked at her lips, actively shutting out the intrusive thoughts trying their best to shove their way into her head. A flash of light outside, far off from the ship itself, triggered a memory, then hyperthymesia made her feel the bright flash of light and deafening burst of raw, pure sound that she had been experienced to already four times within that hour. Water, frigid and somehow worst than a bullet, slashes into every pore of skin on her face immediately after, increasing the disorientation factor, odd as the sensation has no accompanying onomatopoeia, no splash or sploosh that she is aware of. Just incessant ringing and slowly dimming light burning through closed eyelids like a star burning it's way into-

She shakes her head, getting up from the chair with a start, trying to shake nausea and confusion from her mind. She was shivering, literally, Momo will be bearable. Overclock waiting for her. Fake authority. Gray sky. Conclusion.

She turned to head downstairs, drafty wind wrapped around her exposed stomach below her crop-top hoodie, all but bouncing down halls to go and bother Momo, hoping she was awake already, also hoping she had gone through their mutual ritual. By now, they knew how to get around while avoiding everyone else, out of at least respect for the desire not to drag anyone else down before they had activated the part of themselves that was personable. The one that had been "trained" out of them in the service of the military. By the time she was taking the elevator down into the cargo bay, which was also where she slept, she was less than pleased to see Momo was already working out.

Great. She was definitely going to be excited. Excited meant she was going to be all loud and abrasive, as usual.

Momo was absolutely not manic, or excited, or at all in a good mood. Her hands gripped the bar, and every relevant muscle in her toned, deceptively strong upper body flexed at once as she pulled herself up excruciatingly slowly, holding her position there with her back turned to whoever was visiting her. Her tongue was held between her lips as she moved left at the same elevation, then to the right. She came down slowly, remembering rain pelting her exposed skin, the smell of the drill sergeants breath as he barked endlessly into her face. She shook her head, lifting up again, this time crying out a number, reflexively. Then exhaled, mouth in the shape of an "O" while she came down, suddenly hotter than the cargo bay should have been. Still such pointedly AWFUL breath. Reason number one: reach 124. Reason number two: prove to Sergeant Lousie that she deserved to be there. Strapped between her legs, a 100 lb weight, allowing for an actual workout for the girl who'd been experimented on and surgically... improved. Denser muscle weaves, some pieces of meat and giblets removed or repurposed. As she appraoched pull up 124, she was exhaling through her nose. She was closer than she'd been in a while and the anger, the utter fucking inconvenience of having to relive invasive, unpleasant memories perfectly, was fueling her. The last pull up finished, and she dropped down, a safe dismount as her body screamed at her. Not a drop of sweat. Not even out of breath. She brushed off her hands, turning her head, raven locks of hair flinging over her shoulder as the face that looked so close to her own made it's way over to her. "You look adorbz, Mina," Momo gave her sister, stretching out her arms with varying levels of intensity. She watched her sister smile at the compliment, and that warmed the older of the twinsies.

"Hard not to, considering I have your face," she retorted, almost like it was rehearsed, even though the sincerity was there. But the way she was walking, the direction, Momo knew exactly what she was going for. Something to quiet all of the noise, something to focus her mind. Mina never looked down on Momo when she realized she was calming their obnoxious memories and escaping reality with alcohol, and Momo damn near enabled Mina's opposite approach. Still, she was jealous as Mina pried open the crate where she kept her stash, finger stirring the free-floating contents haphazardly, as if there weren't a million pills in it. Momo watched her pop two of them, dry swallowing the pills and closing the box. Her eyes slammed shut, everything suddenly coming into proper focus for the girl, mind quieting in some ways and cranking up to 12 in others. "F.... fuck!" she exhaled slapping her cheeks with a smile on her face as her pupils focused on her sister. "Wait, you need a hit?" she asked her other half, watching as Momo's face turned up into a scowl.

"I need Deckard's ass," she snapped. Mina giggled a bit, climbing up to sit on the edge of something stacked higher than she was tall before retorting.

"I'm okay on hearing about your sexcapades big sis," she teased, but before she was even done speaking her hand snapped up on reflex, catching a... wrench? "Don't throw things. It's impolite."

"Shut up bitch, I meant I need him to be here, with my alcohol. I haven't had a drink in days," she barked up, unstrapping herself from the weight, and then walking over towards where their power-armor was hanging side by side, all manner of artwork adorning the formerly all black plates, steel gray hydraulics and otherwise ugly pieces of and pouches. Eyes rolled over it, making sure nothing was loose, or had came off, which was honestly just routine. Something to keep her out of Jane and Kian's hair for a little while. Mina, legs crossed, watched her go over it all, knowing that it was murder on her sister's mind to even touch it, to remember how hot it could get or how the feeling of blood splashing against it seemed to go through all the layers in ways metal slugs couldn't.

But she always had been such a good soldier. Better than Mina in a lot of ways. Maintaining gear was her only healthy escape, and it was still obssessive. No worse than Mina's habit of losing herself in her own mind, though. Not as bad as either of their violent tendencies either. Her knuckles were still raw from the night before, making Momo hold the bag while she hammered away into it with her fists. That was after she took an actual sledge hammer to another one. Wasted money, now, because they were both beaten to the point of ruination. All over a nightmare she couldn't shake off.

Momo had been happy to get up and help. Not like they had shit to do the next day. Nothing besides tightening bolts, and cleaning guns, taking every piece apart and putting them together again.

Fifteen minutes of it, and then they heard it same as everyone else. Deck had gotten in some trouble.

When Jane mentioned Helix-3, both of them were in earshot of the conversation, with Momo walking faster than her sister to make it just in time to be hailed.

"I'm right here, fearless peerless leader," she spoke, approaching with a frustrated look. "Do I need to fuck up someone's whole day?" she asked, unawares as to anything that had occurred up to then. "What did they do to my baby?" she almost chastised, positioning behind him to stay out of the way, but running fingers through his head all the same. Her eye spotted the bottle he'd picked up, the gun, and Kian too. She snatched it up quick, letting his hair be for the moment as she twisted the cap, and in the meantime Mina caught up, offering a wave, quick and deft, before she walked over to sit close to Kian.

"I'm going on record blaming Momo. I told her not to shoot first." Momo, mouth full of liquor already at this point, swallowed and spoke as if the recoil of liquor was nothing. "Stooooooooop!" she whined, fingers flicking over Deckard's ear with the hand not holding the bottle. "I absolutely DIDN'T shoot first!"

Mina snickered like a child, but let her eyes scroll over all of the articles on display, which didn't seem to even slightly interest Momo, afourth of the way through a bottle of... what it was Mina couldn't see.

"What did we miss?" Momo did ask, however, as if the answer wasn't basically right in front of her.


"Twenty Yin?" Dominic asked. Through the speakers, a 'pfft' sounded, like he'd pressed his lips sealed. "That's nothing, Dickard. Get a real job," the AI teased, and Kian stumbled a laugh beneath his breath. Immediately, his worries were - for the most part - cleansed, and he smiled faintly at the crowd that had gathered, relaxing his fingertips along the edges of his visor as it laid within his palms.

"Looks 'gnarly' enough, but you'll be fine," the hacker added. "Besides. If you get ugly enough, you can borrow my mask. I'm sure Dominic would appreciate the close proximity."

"That's homo, Ky."

"...Aaanyway," the hacker cleared his throat. New leads were mentioned. He sat there, pondering, quite literally bringing his fingertips back up to his chin and leaving one hand on the visor. Before he could answer, though, Jane chimed in with something he'd also heard about recently but had not delved into in detail. Ascension Corporation. Interesting group -- and lots of money to be had. They were quite possibly that archetype of the feared mega-corporation, once the world was no longer entirely bound by governments. And their goals were lofty, always had been. After everything that had happened to Earth, the people needed a vision. And that vision didn't always need to be ethical, or virtuously required.

"Titan-3," DOMINIC replied. "Oh, dude. They're ruthless. Almost... acting unregulated, monopolizing and manipulating their items' supposed commodity. What dicks," the AI lamented, in his usual unrefined tone. Regardless of his verbiage, he always sounded a lot more intelligent when he was following leads, articulating himself very well. Wayford supposed it was easy enough for an artificial intelligence to pull up a thesaurus.

"Core-13 Bank," he stated, as if followed by a nod. Then, the institution appeared before them, expanding out across the screen. The whole blueprint, each and every room, and the location of every security camera. Even the intended seat of each member of their security personnel. They had high density fiber-glass windows separating the employees (many of them seemingly automatons by the charging stations littering the location) and their corporate and individual clientele. There were security cameras everywhere, and some were weaponized, mostly with tasers. They would send out high-velocity static shocks to any who attempted to hold the place up, incapacitating them almost immediately.

The vault room was not particularly special, as infiltrating the back area - behind the fiber-glass - was already the most difficult feat. The vault itself was a beryllium-alloy material, more dense than corundum and almost impossible to penetrate. The only way to break through would be to hack it, at first glance, which exposed the hacker to being traced. It was essentially a bait function, and given the alacrity with which a trillion-yin corporation could move, Kian and Dominic were both certain that they would be hunted and apprehended very quickly. They would need to heavily encrypt any device that was to break through. Even then, it was far from secure. They had no idea of the innovations that such a company could fulfill.

"Jane," Kian spoke up, "It's a good idea, and these guys don't seem the nicest. I wouldn't be against it." He said this almost as a precursor, as he began to pin-point sections of the blueprint that were of relevant interest. "The security is definitely not finalized, and there don't seem to be any people or bots stationed at the bank. We'll just need to be careful around the security cams - I'm hoping you might be able to engineer something that can shoot them down. Maybe something resistant to electric shock?" He didn't know. Normally he would have felt confident hacking the cams, but there were a lot, and he didn't want to risk being tazed by whatever high voltage stun guns those things had.

"The vault, I can crack it. I'll bring DOMINIC; there's no way Ascension has anything more sophisticated than him just sitting around in a new building. But we'll need to be careful - this could be extremely dangerous. And they seem like they really don't care about ethics." Which meant, of course, they could be killed. It was always on the table. "Another risk," he began, "They don't have much in the vault. There probably won't be any customers yet, right? So why would they carry anything? We'll need to go for it right before they first open - they'll have the most Yin there so that there isn't some shitshow with being unable to hand out cash during the grand opening, probably an excessive amount." He nodded his head once. Despite what people often assumed, banks typically did not carry bajillions in the Vault. They carried slightly above the bare minimum for customer needs.

"Only problem is, the night before the opening sounds like a time for heavy patrol. I'll keep infiltrating their HR portal to see the start date for any guards, but I'm leaning on the assumption that they're risk-averse. So--"

The twins, as always, arrived loudly. They began their overly familiar touching, and Kian cocked his brow awkwardly as they drew uncomfortably close. Luckily, though Momo appeared tempted to touch him, she narrowly drew away and Kian's heart was allowed some lower level of tensity.

"I always shoot first," Kian stated with a low voice, self-deprecating, though with a hum of laughter beneath his breath. "And you didn't miss much - just Jane acting like an anarchist. She's getting cooler by the day," he said, and DOMINIC laughed. Then, the blueprints disappeared, and an assortment of memes and animated images of dogs appeared in a series of thumbnails on the screen. It was clear that the machine wasn't laughing at his brother's joke.

"Guys, more importantly, check out this dog. They designed a jetpack for it."

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