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RE: Casual busting and Catching up
The fevered pitch at which Aurora delivered her declaration served to convince herself as much as it was for Lyntael, and when Lyntael came in to embrace her, she leaned into the smaller girl's frame. If Sparky hadn't been behind Lyntael, Aurora most likely would have accidentally pushed her down, as heavy as her load felt. Still, that was what friends were for, to rely on each other, was it not? The errant thoughts rattling around her head were forcefully put down, and Aurora took a deep breath before letting go.

Both of them would feel a hand on their heads as they separated. "Everyone alright now?" Eternalis asked. Aurora ducked her way out of the patting, grinning as she did so. "I don't need to be petted on the head like a kid," she laughed. However, Eternalis would feel their mental link reopen, with a message of thanks sent unbeknownst to their friend, who was now asking about her condition. She closed her eyes and drew another deep breath, and looked back at Lyntael. The eye contact assured her that it was right.

"Neither me. I can't say I've never been better, but we'll work it out," she said. "Yeah, let's head out. Let's both try not to push too hard? I don't think Eternalis wants to pull us out of something like that again."
"Given the choice, I wouldn't!"

[Battle 4 - Ready.]
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
Lyntael's explanation of how she had never been to Yumland's networks further confused Eternalis, with how she went on about her operator's physical circumstances instead. It was almost as if they shared being in the same physical space? That couldn't be right, but it certainly sounded like the case. Every time they met, something new about their friend continued to surprise him. The little detail made him nearly miss the rest of the story that Lyntael was putting out. For the moment, it seemed like the operator-Navi stakeout duo's mission went somewhat sour, but her memory of it was also quite foggy.

He stole a glance at Aurora next to him. The woman appeared to be recovering more and more, she seemed to be focusing on Lyntael. However, he could see her tightening her balled-up fists periodically, and there was little to no shared mental activity between them; she was walling herself off from him. He shook his head, one issue at a time. Was it a similar situation to her voluntary memory erasure? It was hard to tell, since their memories were stored in a much more tangible form than humans, but Lyntael's little quirks here and there made him think it could simply be another thing that made her more "human-like". The other alternative was... simply that she really had no recollection to begin with?

Once the possibility surfaced, it was hard to deny that it was the most likely one. A backup copy would retain memories, up to the point after the backup was made. The spotty memories could simply have been fabricated from listening to her operator speak, or from trying to piece together what had happened by way of circumstantial evidence, or from pieced-together data from... a previous copy. He shuddered; he had not thought of backups much in general, at least not with emergency jackout procedures long been mandated in PETs. Lyntael's distress grew more and more, until it reached a crescendo, peaking at her screaming out her woes, and Aurora was still silent beside him, unwilling to share their usual discreet mental channel. Alone, what was he to do?

...

The cacophony of thoughts inside of Aurora's mind was letting up slowly. However, it wasn't quite like she could simply banish them away, at least not by simply having her thoughts to herself. She looked back at Lyntael, telling her tale of some air-gapped facility in Yumland, and how she felt the rain and wind on her. That's right, she thought, she needed to reaffirm that Lyntael was, through it all, still their, her friend. She focused her efforts on listening to Lyntael's story, and only that; there was to be no interruptions on the side.

Here was a girl who was just as distressed as her, before she had been interrupted by her own selfish experiences. Yelling out at her friends, at the ones she could trust to listen. Aurora gripped her fists, as if to dig her fingers into her own palm. What kind of silly situations had been conjured up in her mind before? Of course they, she was Lyntael's friend, and what else? She wrested herself from Eternalis's arm, who seemed a little surprised, but allowed her free quickly, while she marched up to Lyntael.

Taking hold of Lyntael's shoulders tightly, Aurora realized how shaky her own hands were. Nevertheless, she pressed onwards. "Of course you're Lyntael! There's no one else that could be. You're my friend. Our friend!" she declared as best as she could. "If there's something broken then we'll just find out how to fix it. If you don't know how to help then we can put our heads together to see how we can! If Rogan has something about you that he thinks isn't you then we'll go up and ask him what it is, and we'll be there with you!"

Behind Aurora, Eternalis came up at a walk, giving a nod to his partner's own fevered pitch. A furred nose brushed up against Lyntael's back as well, as Sparky's large head came up from around her.
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
As Aurora had thought, Lyntael's reaction to her confession of past misdeeds was fairly expected. There was the look in her eyes, that same look that she saw in so much of her "previous life", when someone perceived her as a threat. A knot formed in her chest, expecting a hard rebuke. The proper reaction to someone of her vocation, and the correct one, she thought. Unlike how Eternalis was obviously her partner and would be on her side, Lyntael was just a friend--and one in exactly the kind of position to want to revoke trust in her, and to demand her be chained up, and locked off to the world once more.

The rebuke never came, and Aurora was instead presented with her friend sympathizing with her. Relief washed over her. At the very least, Lyntael seemed to trust her. At least externally, she was putting on a smile, and she wasn't running away. The relief drained away just as quickly, however, sifting away through her like sand between one's fingers. The myriad possibilities of how it could have gone wrong still swirled about in her head, showing no sign of calming down. What if continuing to talk was a diversionary tactic and she was merely stalling for time before she was going to leave? What if, now that she was definitely getting stronger, she was going to turn that strength back on her? Despondency began its hold once more, and she began to shiver despite her surroundings.

However, she then felt a weight around her shoulder, and looked up--it was Eternalis, who had came up to her, and held her close to him. The lack of warmth of his body as she felt a grip on her arm seemed to steady her, and she took some breaths. Eternalis took a moment to transmit a thought to her, and she returned it with a shaky affirmative, before he started talking. "Do Yumland's networks simulate real-life storms? That sounds like it'd be fun to trek through, though I can't imagine a deep jungle having servers out there," he commented, mostly unawares. "Did you really stay out for three whole days straight, or was it split up into visits or something?"
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
Despite being pushed away, Eternalis stood between Aurora and Lyntael. Of course, any attempt at pulling her down when she was determined like this was going to result in this reaction. Was there any reason why he had pointed out Lyntael's state to her? Surely, the more prudent way was to appeal Aurora's current state, which was more evidently in need of attention. It wouldn't be any good to switch directions now, and now he'd just deal with the fallout and kick himself for it later. Unexpectedly, however, Lyntael sat back down, and asked Aurora herself about what was bothering her.

At this point, Aurora had her eyes closed, trying to block out the world around her, encased in flashbacks of times long past. Her limbs began to shake, the sweltering Kotobuki network's temperatures replaced with the biting frost of the Sharo network in her mind. A female support program, pointing her buster arm at her, whose identity she had long forgotten. Only the vitriol, the rage, and the words cursing her, a chained dog of Sharo. The gunmetal-colored barrel of the anti-Navi weapon in her hand was pointed squarely at the support program's forehead. And in the midst of her memory, the long-forgotten face in her sights slowly melted into a familiar face, of that of a young blonde girl of sixteen.

Aurora pressed her fingers into the bridge of her nose forcefully. It felt slick, from beaded sweat. She sharply inhaled before opening her eyes. The same face was before her, sitting cross-legged across from her, asking if she was alright. "Sorry, I... it's nothing, I'm fine," she replied. Next to Lyntael, Eternalis knelt down; a concerned query reached her mental border. She looked back up at him for a moment, shook her head, and turned back to Lyntael. "No, alright, I probably shouldn't keep it from you."

She inhaled slowly again. The air felt humid. There was no frost against her face. "Truthfully, I... used to work for that part of the Sharo family. Assassinations, against Navis that crossed their interests," she said. She tried to make eye contact with Lyntael, but her eyes darted away just as quickly. "A few things happened, and my operator and I retired, I swear, but... you telling me that just now, and... I just thought, I could have been sent against you, and I... it hadn't occurred to me. You've told us about Rogan before, and we even met him here."

"If we're--I'm here with you, I don't know if I should be here. I'm sorry, it shouldn't be your problem. It's mine." Words were failing her now, and she half-hugged herself with one of her arms.
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
Eternalis's fears were confirmed as he saw the drawn out response to his outwardly cheerful question, and Lyntael began to expand on what had happened since they last met. From what they had already gotten out of meeting the operator in question, there was no doubt that he was investigating some people that would have no qualms taking drastic steps to keep things under wraps. Knowledge on NetNavi weaponry research was something the Ezarith facility was well-equipped in, and there had been no shortage of incidents in the past where she had been entrusted with prototypes to test out. Still, she knew Reverus, and he had kept live tests out of the equation--until they were to be "field-tested".

Eventually, as Lyntael went on, at the mention of Sharo itself, Aurora shifted in her posture slightly. From the angle she was at, Lyntael wasn't in her line of sight, but she turned her face away from the sound of her voice nonetheless. It was true that she was no longer a part of those kinds of operations, but the more frustrated and angry Lyntael's tone got, the more her inner voice reminded her of memories she had, of those that crossed Sharo's path.

Eternalis's gaze switched between the two girls. Lyntael relaying her fears and thoughts externally, and Aurora to him, unconsciously. It was a maelstrom of emotion that he was caught in the middle of. Before he knew it, Lyntael had stopped talking, and the sound of crackling sparks resulting from her agitated motions had paused. She was stopped in the middle of the area, taking stock of Aurora's condition. By all accounts, Aurora's physical condition had recovered mostly, but as she saw Lyntael bearing down on her, she felt a lump in her throat.

"I-- Well..." her voice cracked. She made eye contact, and her fists unconsciously clenched. "That is-- I'm-- I'm fine to, but..."

Her stretched out stutters were interrupted by someone walking up to Lyntael from behind, and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Lyntael, I'm sorry, but... let's sit back down for a bit. Okay?" said Eternalis, a complicated expression over his simple-looking monster-like face. "I know you think you can handle yourself, but... if you go out looking for blood like you are now, I don't want to see you hurting yourself--or us--being too reckless."

He paused for a moment, looking over at Aurora. The latter nodded, and he turned back to Lyntael, offering a hand to her, which he would take to pull her back down to sit if she accepted.
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
As Aurora made her condition known, Eternalis went from completely wound up in worry to nearly falling down in relief. While the girls were taking their places on Sparky's fur, however, he made do with simply sitting where he was while listening to Lyntael expand on what Aurora had tried to do from her end. "Guess trying to help pick up some of the charge is a bad idea, then..." he murmured, looking over to Aurora. There didn't seem to be any lasting external effects, at least, but that might be due to the different form she had taken.

"Yeah, it's a good thing I didn't conduct any more than I did. I don't think I'm physically melting, but my legs sure feel real tingly right about now," joked Aurora, running her hands down her thighs. Small sparks of static crackled between her fingers as she did so, though the little jolt now couldn't compare to what she had just gone through not a minute ago. Her eyes went over to Lyntael, who had taken to resting her head on her shoulder. Aurora then pulled her hand away, waving it about to dispel any errant charge, before giving her a rough tousle on her hair. "You've been handling all that current yourself, dummy! I can't even do nearly that much! Way too strong for your own good!"

Meanwhile, Eternalis watched the two girls rest and recuperate. He shifted his sitting about, resting his arm on his knee, just as Lyntael informed them about something else. It was good news, for once! Yet somehow, it felt like the kind that was given before the bad variety came after. Lyntael still smiled before them, but there was a hint of worry still in her expression. If the news was so good, why had it taken her this long to tell them? He read the mental currents between him and Aurora--nothing from her end. She was still recovering from her ordeal, most likely. Still, he prayed that there was nothing more to it and it was overthinking.

"Oh, that's great news! Did anything happen that made him change his mind?"
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
When Lyntael started to show signs of movement, Eternalis drew backwards slightly, stopping the flow of healing, and the glow from the emblem on his back grew dim again. He noticed Lyntael fiddling with her gauntlets idly again. The pulsing glow that normally ran down its length in lines was very dim, he saw, but they began to move once more. Sparky started to sniff at Lyntael, but was interrupted by Lyntael sitting up, and the beastly-sized pup gave her a small lick to greet her.

"Come on, boy, give her some room," said Eternalis, to which Sparky obediently stepped backwards as well, resting his head on his paws, waiting while Lyntael got her bearings.

"Well, glad you're okay, at least." Eternalis looked around, down the tunnel through which they had escaped. Nothing was following them, but he hadn't quite judged how far they had gone. He recalled the path that the strange creature had taken, at a different angle from their escape tunnel, and tried to hazard a guess at the general direction.

"The thing that made that crater should've gone about that way, I suppose." Out of the corner of his eyes, he glanced at Lyntael's hands, which had been carefully pulled out of the gauntlets. As soon as they were removed, the glowing lines going down them dimmed once more. Trying not to let the worry show on his expression, he turned back properly to face Lyntael. "Well, she says she's fine, she just needs some time to catch her breath."

Lyntael's explanation of her "burnout" seemed to sail over his head, his eyes kept wandering to the gauntlets that were now cradled in Lyntael's hands. There was an acute awareness of how much he had gotten used to sharing his mental space, and now there was a sense of something missing. Before he realized it, Lyntael was reaching towards Sparky, who was all too happy to receive snuggles from the recovered girl, tail wagging hard with licks generously offered.

At that moment, Lyntael would feel the weight in her hands vanish, and a mote of light would appear next to her, landing firmly on Sparky's fluffy underside. Aurora's form solidified shortly after, and Sparky wasted no time in giving the girl a happy lick. She tiredly laughed, wriggling away slightly from the pup's affections to little use.

"Aurora! Are you okay?" said Eternalis, getting up to his feet quickly.

"Ahaha, hey, don't look so worried, you two" said Aurora with a smile, waving her hand about. However, she didn't seem to do much more than that, choosing to continue to lie in Sparky's bed of fur. "I... think I bit off a bit more than I could handle, though. Let me just sit here for now, okay?"
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
[LynFXP > 414] (Recalculated from scratch.)
[Z: 60595 > 64345]
[BF: 895 > 952]

Even though Sparky's speed was almost second to none, time felt slowed down as Eternalis spurred him onwards to safety. The shots fired at them from the back didn't even register to him, as fast as they were going, until light came at the end of the passageway, opening up to another clearing, this time looking like it would be clear of uninvited guests. "Up ahead there, boy," said Eternalis, and his ride smoothly came to an end, circling around the plateau a couple of times to slow down before fully stopping.

"Alright... seems safe here, at least," he said, looking around. "Rest up, Sparky."

On command, their enlarged canine companion knelt down, allowing Eternalis to dismount with Lyntael and Aurora in tow, the latter still attached as the former's equipment. After allowing Lyntael to lie on the ground, Eternalis hesitated to inspect her, and eventually settled with simply sitting next to her. The girl looked quite worn out, but there was no more static running across her skin as there was before. The latter's condition was more opaque, as there was no external indicator of any damage. The undercurrent from their mental link was silent, but there was a lingering bit of activity, little murmurs of thoughts as if he was simply watching her sleep.

"I hope they're gonna be okay... I'll check on Aurora," said Harke.

"Alright, I'll try to heal them up," he said. Holding his hands over Lyntael's body, a cool blue glow wrapped around her, working his restorative functions as best as he could. But there were no clear wounds or anything that he could patch up, so it was simply to settle his running mind. The silence was palpable as he could hear Harke's keyboard typing from their communication link.

"Seems like Aurora's signals are nominal, just that her core electrical-handling routine got seriously overworked. She'll probably wake up soon."

Then, a response from the recesses of his mind. It was weak, but it was there, saying that it hurt, and that it hurt a lot more than she thought it would. His side came through with feelings of relief, and a little bit of worried anger. Some bit of quiet followed, before a sense of amusement came back to him, and a feeling of warmth. Let her rest for a bit, she replied, and tend to their friend. Eternalis's healing had not stopped, of course. Unbeknownst to him, and everyone else, the Navi emblem in his back began to glow...
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
"Aurora? Hey, Aurora!" yelled Eternalis. Whatever was coming through their mental link was devolving into a slurry of thoughts, and an intensifying haze of static. "Let's go, Sparky! Paws on the ground, size up!" he called out, tapping his heel onto the board. The pup's head barked in excitement immediately, and the board's thrusters whined in readiness. In the blink of an eye, the two vanished in a trail of light, leaving a brief afterimage of them as they moved too fast for the eye to catch. The trail zoomed down to the ground like a meteorite, but swerved right as it hit the ground, with Eternalis appearing from it in a rapid dismount.

At that moment, the viruses were landing all about, along with even more debris. Lyntael's instinctual discharge surged through her extremities. "Whoa, shit!" exclaimed Eternalis, taking all of his reflexes to try to move out of its way. An empty cry from his friend's lips, and he threw himself out to catch her before she hit the ground. Wayward static coursed through his hands as he made contact, but he held fast through the jolt. There were more pressing matters.

"Lyntael! Aurora!" he called out again.

Debris raining all about, one splashed into the lava, the splashback threatening to engulf the two. Suddenly, a sudden gust burst out in front of them, blasting the lava away in a show of force. Sparky's larger form shaded them, standing proud between the Navis and the newly-arrived viruses. "C'mon, let's get you two outta here," he said, hefting Lyntael as she struggled to remove Aurora's gauntlet form from her hands. Eternalis tried to restrain her from doing so, but it seems like there was no need; Lyntael was so weak she could barely muster any actual resistance.

This made it easier to help her onto Sparky's back. Right on cue, a boulder raining from above crashed down onto a nearby hill, revealing what seemed like an exit. "We'll go through that way, Sparky," he instructed. There was no affirmative bark from Sparky this time around, only the hound lowering his body to spring into action the moment they were ready, which wasn't too long after. Eternalis hopped on, holding tightly onto Lyntael's limply reacting figure, and gave the signal. "Go!" he called out, and Sparky's legs bounded forward as fast as he could carry them.

-- Eternalis: 1 action @ Sparky
[S1] Movement: Next to Lyntael (Overclock+High Gear: Evasion=60%)
[S*] GMO Change: Bloodhound
[E1] Help Lyntael to her feet

[S2] Equip: Lyntael
[E2] Mount onto Sparky

[E3-5] Escape!
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net
RE: Casual busting and Catching up
Despite her now non-humanoid form, Aurora felt as if her chest was tightening. The viruses around them were disappearing, sure, but Lyntael wasn't going to hold up. There was something about this time that was different from their previous excursions now, she felt it in her heart of hearts. If the buildup she was sensing from Lyntael's body was going to go any higher, she felt it would not go well. "Lyntael, we've got to leave!" she shouted out.

Lyntael was saying something now--an improvement from before, but her condition still wasn't improving. It didn't look like she would be able to do much about the retained charge by expending it for her, but perhaps it would be better to store some of the wayward electrical potential inside of her instead. But to do so would simply be a stopgap measure. Aurora felt the only recourse now would be to pull out before the load inside of her would erupt, and recuperate somewhere where her internal core would stop its activity.

As she held in some of the charge that Lyntael was suffering from, Aurora felt her thoughts fill with indistinct pins and needles, evidence of the erratic energy that was running amok inside Lyntael. Then, from her mental link, a tick of concern. Amidst the mental static, she made out that the viruses that were coming in weren't letting up. She managed to return the thought, that they could clear out the remaining viruses, and he could swoop down to make a break for it, to let Sparky take their friend to safety--but they needed to wait for her signal. A short moment, in which they could come in without risking too much friendly fire from Lyntael's discharges.

"Gonna need some crowd control, Harke," said Eternalis. "These viruses keep on coming in with those boulders. We'll try to make a break for it. Some offense to thin them out, too."

"Got it, I'll send in the Timpani, and some AoE," replied Harke.

With the communication relayed, the empty space in the four corners of the field below glowed briefly, before a blob of blue rose from the ground, swirling into the shape of a Timpani virus. Its trumpet mouth sucked in the hot air before a deep, bassy tone that echoed throughout the artificial gorge that they were in. Aurora flinched slightly, but for the moment, she had to deal with the situation at hand. Lyntael was already directing some of her offense towards the newly-arrived blue bird, and in time with Harke's battlechip assistance. There was nowhere near enough output, she sensed through the crackling voltage racking her senses. A snap decision made, she let loose the DollThunder chip unto the BluePhoenix as well, but she only felt the energy inside Lyntael grow ever wilder.

"I'm trying to hold some part of it in myself, but we've got to leave!" she called out. Somewhere nearby, she saw a jet of water burst from underneath a nearby virus... or whatever it was, across the field from them. It looked vaguely greyish, but that's all she was able to make out. From the pulsing lights that went down her gauntlet form, current began leaking out indiscriminately, though she managed to direct them towards another part of the battlefield that seemed to have something on it. Whatever it was, it couldn't be friendly, as the only allies they had now were still up in the air.

There was something she had to do--what was it? In between the lightning storm that Lyntael was producing, and the Timpani's cacophony, and the uncontrollable static she was holding in, unawares, her mental process began to slip.

-- (Eternalis: 3 actions @ Aurora)

[E1] TimpaniHP: 50
Properties: Heavy
Object Damage: 50 + Impact
Damage Method: Throw, Telekinesis
Status Effect: Hold + To-All-Clause(Enemies)
Accuracy: S
Description: Stops all enemies from moving with a powerful sonic wave.
Duration: 1 turn or until destroyed.
Element: Null
Trader Rank: C
: 50HP Heavy Object, 1-Turn: Hold + To-All-Enemy (Acc: S) @ Northern Quadrant
[A1] Take Aim
[S1] Dodge (High Gear: Evasion+10%)

[E2] Take Aim
[A2] (All for One) DollThunder1Damage: 80 + Line-Attack5
Accuracy: B
Description: Fires a powerful bolt of lightning that pierces through objects and enemies alike.
Duration: Once
Element: Elec
Trader Rank: D
: 80 + Line-Attack5 (Acc: B) @ BluePhoenix (+15 Element, +100% Metal, Take Aim: Acc+)
[S2] Dodge (High Gear: Evasion+10%)

[E3] WaterLine2Damage: 130 + Ground Attack + Wide Attack
Accuracy: B
Description: A wall of water gushes from the ground, drowning up to 3 targets.
Duration: Once
Element: Aqua
Trader Rank: C
: 130 + Ground Attack + Wide Attack (Acc: B) @ Swordy-N2 (+15 Element, Take Aim: Acc+)
[A3] Attack @ Blazer2: 50 Elec

[A4] Attack @ Blazer2: 50 Elec
[A5] Attack @ Blazer2: 50 Elec
posted in Kotobuki Rogue Net