A Killing Mentality

As the receptionist Program looked up, the telepad for the 52nd level of the local Belfast Storage Inc. network tower glowed to life, heralding the arrival of a program from one of the other levels of the cyberspace skyscraper. A moment later the expected program, a regular female Normal Navi, appeared upon the telepad. The reddish pink Navi was carrying a pair of a large suitcase-like data cases by their handles (one in each hand), and wore a hard case data carrier on her back. The receptionist Program smiled as the newcomer stepped off of the telepad and walked quietly over to stand before the desk.

"Welcome to BS Incorporated." The receptionist Program began. "How may I help you?"

The reddish pink Navi froze, then blinked, amazed that the receptionist program managed to say that with a straight face. She recovered quickly, and spoke to the receptionist in a quiet, business like tone: "Yes, I'd like to access my operator's archives, here."

"May I please have your access ID?"

The reddish pink Navi nodded and set down her cases. "Sure thing." She then held out one hand, currently empty, towards the receptionist. The data card materialized in her hand a second later, and the receptionist accepted it.

"One moment please." The program said as it began processing the data card. A moment later, the Program handed the card back, and pointed down the hallway to the left. "Thank you. If you will proceed down this hall to the end, I have unlocked databank 119CE for you. It's on the right."

"Thanks." The Navi replied in an upbeat tone as she dematerialized the card, picked up her cases, and went on her way quietly.


A minute or so later, the reddish pink Normal Navi reached the end of the hallway, and turned to face the doorway that led into databank 119CE. She set her data cases down, and touched the virtual switch to open the door. She then slid one case into the frame of the door with the side of her foot, preventing it from closing again for the moment as she picked up the other case and stepped into the data vault. Once inside, she set the one data case down, and then shrugged off the case on her back, and set it down as well.

The Navi began humming to herself as she glanced around the nearly empty space for a moment or two as if considering what she wanted to do next. She kept up the act for a few seconds before everything in the room became suddenly quiet. When she realized she could no longer hear the notes she was humming to herself, the reddish pink Navi turned back towards the door as if just remembering she'd left the data case sitting in it. She moved over to it, retrieved the case from the entryway, and retreated back into the room with the door closing behind her. The moment the normal Navi set the last data case down next to the other two, her hearing returned, and just in time for her to finish humming the ending bars of her chosen tune.

"I must say..." The reddish pink Navi spoke aloud to the seemingly empty room, while sounding somewhat distressed. "...that this is a new experience for me."

Seeing you like this is disturbing. And besides...[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b] A string of text appeared in the air before the Navi's face... That color definitely doesn't suit you.[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b]

"You're just saying that because it's true." The reddish-pink Navi replied jokingly as she raised one hand, and snapped her fingers to initiate a GMO change. The Navi's features dissolved until it was little more than glowing silhouette of light roughly the shape of the Navi. The silhouette's form then grew a little taller and the outline shifted a bit before the image began to resolve itself again. When the GMO change was completed, the short reddish-pink female normal Navi was replaced with a tall, thin male custom Navi, garbed in a Navi's bodysuit of a near-black shade of purple and a set of futuristic plate armor, including gloves, boots, and helmet with traditional Navi ear covers, all a similarly dark shade of blue. Over this he wore a strange over garment that resembled a long-coat, of the same color as his bodysuit. His distinctive Navi emblem, depicting the featureless black shadow-side of a planet set in space with a crescent of white rising over the top, identified him as Horizon.EXE.

"Muuuch better." Horizon added as he grabbed the folds of his jacket and straightened it with a quick jerk.

The other Navi, just now fading into view as the invisibility effect wore off, was a slim female custom Navi clad in a simple silvery-white bodysuit with a silver stripe running down the sides. She wore matching silver gloves, silver boots, and a silver helmet. Her green eyes were easily visible behind the helmet's clear glassine visor, and her bleach-white hair could be seen flowing out from under the helmet to about shoulder length. Her emblem, depicting the 5 black bars of a musical score with the symbol of 'quarter rest' printed upon it, identified her as Silencia.APP.

The word Indeed.[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b] wrote itself in the air between Silencia and Horizon. She then cocked her head sideways, and looked at him as if judging her partner's appearance. She raised her hand, leveled it outward, and rocked it back and forth in a 'so-so' gesture, then grinned as more text wrote itself into being in midair: Three out of ten.[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b]

Horizon chuckled as he dropped his earlier pose. "You know the drill." he added casually as he turned walked over to the back wall of the vault and began running his hands along the surface. "Lemme know when you're ready."

Silencia nodded and complied with the order. She moved to the data cases Horizon had brought with him, and cracked open the hard-shell back pack. She then withdrew a silvery-white custom fitted back unit from the container and laid it on the vault's floor before her. The back unit itself was designed specifically for Silencia, and was used to augment her powered sniper rifle in various ways... when it was assembled that is. The modules Silencia needed to get the most out of the pack were in the other two data cases. She opened them, each in turn, and set about attaching the power cells, heat sinks, and other gear to the back unit. The process was quick and easy, and over with in under a minute.

With the back unit assembled, Silencia summoned her sniper rifle to her hands, and set it on the ground. Her sniper rifle was silvery-white in color, about four feet in length, and had a really futuristic build to it that held almost nothing in common with the old black-powder firearms it was supposedly descended from. She connected a thick cable from the back unit she'd just assembled to the underside of the rifle, shrugged the pack onto her back, then picked the rifle up and walked over to where Horizon was standing.

Horizon turned his head, and arched an eyebrow questioningly. He got the answer he was looking for when the word Ready[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b] appeared in the air before him.

"You know, I get the feeling we're about to do both the Police and the Mafia a huge favor." Horizon began as he activated SilenciaCross and Silencia, likewise, assumed HorizonCross. "If this mission wasn't so important for us as well, I'd be perfectly happy to let this bastard run amok."

Horizon gestured casually at the wall he'd been examining. Light became distorted over a square section of the wall for a brief moment before the area covered in the distortion separated from the rest of the wall. At a small gesture from Horizon, the section of wall floated silently through the air to an unoccupied area of the vault, and settled gently, and thanks to the abilities he enjoyed from SilenciaCross, soundlessly onto the floor. Meanwhile, Silencia concentrated on projecting the illusion of the wall remaining intact to hide the fact that the pair now stood looking out over the cyberspace city-scape through the enormous opening her Crossed partner just made in the side of the building.

Horizon then gestured at one of the larger data cubes in the room, and moved it across the room in the same manner he had the section of wall. He positioned the rockcube sized container a handful of feet from the opening, and set it down gently and silently. Once the data cube had been set down, Horizon took over maintaining the illusion from his partner.

Silencia quickly scaled the cube, and settled into a kneeling firing position that allowed her to shift her aim easily, should she need to. She then reached up to the back of her helmet, hit a switch under the inside edge, and proceeded to fold her helmet forward over her head. The helmet, hinged upon her Navi ear covers, folded up and collapsed into a metallic visor that curved across her face at eye level. Reaching up and tapping her left ear cover switched the HUD on, and allowed her to view the world through the sights of her rifle. She then relaxed and waited for Horizon to spot the target for her....

About three minutes later, Horizon broke the silence... "Minus seven by plus twenty-four at one point four kay."

Silencia resumed her two-handed grip on her rifle as she took aim in the general direction Horizon had just relayed to her. She began to increase the sight magnification as she zeroed in on the angle she was given. As the mile-distant cyberworld was brought into focus, she took note of the group of Mafia Navis clustered about her target. Silencia frowned as she projected the word Bodyguards[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b] to her partner.

"Yeah, I see them too." Horizon responded, unconcerned. "It's a real shame but... Considering what the target's capable of, we have no choice but to take them out as well. You know that."

Silencia's lips thinned slightly as she projected her response... Indeed.[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b] She then lined up on her target once again... Mark.[font=French Script MT][b][/font][/b]

Horizon triggered the Jack-Out barrier generators the two had setup earlier to ensure they got the target, then muttered "Sucks to be you." in a low voice as he and Silencia prepared to execute their Joint Cross Attack....
They did good. Real good. By all public appearances, this was just a virus outbreak, and the NetPolice had evacuated the area to more effectively eliminate the threat. Heck, that wasn't even a lie. He had run past a few viruses, and even a few recognizable low-level Public Safety officers, en route to his current location. A little prying, though, would reveal that the NetMafia was supplying the viruses and even called the NetPolice in themselves. Why'd they do that? Cover. A few records provided to him from a hacked NetMafia server detailed a routine smuggling operation. Counterfeit Battlechips, fraudulent mods, memory-wiped SPs, and the like were all common fare in these runs, but something still didn't make sense. There were just way too many escorts for this cargo, and some of them were even listed in the black book as upper-level members. The NetMafia didn't put this kind of muscle on their regular shipments, and he wouldn't be sent out here just to spy on some cheap weapons. The web laid was detailed, layered, and intricate, but...

"Unfortunately, they've underestimated the NetPolice and its Department of Investigations." he laughed as he spoke into a microphone connected to a visor. "Agent #6, recording and documenting the transport of Criminal M-67, S-rank threat, Mental.exe." he stated, giving his codename and the overview to the top brass who would be watching this later. #6's hand reached into the shadow-filled hood of his cloak and tapped a button on the visor, readjusting the zoom on his vision to get a better view of one of the escort groups. Normally, a mysteriously cloaked figure speaking into a microphone would be cause for alarm amongst the ranks of the NetMafia, but a thick veil of invisibility allowed him the freedom to move and speak as needed without so much as a glance in his direction. Still, this was a very, very tense situation, and #6 couldn't help but want to keep moving around a bit to unwind his nerves. So, with a slight push to lift himself up, he began slowing pacing around the rooftop of the skyscraper he was on, getting views from all angles and zooming his visor in and out as necessary to capture the images.

"4 armed guards in the immediate range of the target, with multiple secondary defenses and scouting squads to surpress incidents." #6 noted as he finished his tally of all the NetMafia bodies he could find. "It doesn't look like a good opportunity to strike will be coming, so I will stick to my primary objective of observing Mental's transport. Still, I can't help but laugh that the NetMafia finally couldn't handle that nutjob anymore. Depending on what their leaders decide, we might not even need to deal with Mental ourselves." As he spoke into the microphone, #6 opted to take a new scan of the buildings in the area, looking for any installations the NetMafia might've put up. It didn't really look like there was anything of the sort, though, and his view ended up falling on a certain building that was even bigger than the one he was standing on.

"Belfast Storage, huh... It's one thing to be successful, but do they even need a building that big? I couldn't get a close enough view from all the way up there..." sighed #6, who had actually climbed the entire skyscraper before discovering that unfortunate fact. "The dossier doesn't have an illicit activity from the company on record, so it's unlikely they have any involvement in th- Huh?" he stuttered, having caught the skyscraper... blinking out? Around the 50th floor or so. It looked like a chuck of the wall disappeared for a moment, but it was so fast that it might've just been his imagination. Since the company's records were clean, #6 could only wave it off, saying, "I guess they might be running some automated maintenance while the area's under evacuation orders." before returning his full attention to the NetMafia escort.

It only took a couple of minutes, though, for his attention to refocus completely on that building, and for reasons he never would have expected. "What the... Where's that huge data spike coming from?!" #6 shouted into his invisible veil, turning in the direction his visor indicated... which landed his vision right around the 52nd floor of the Belfast Storage building. "This amount of energy is way too much... There's no way the NetMafia would be doing this when they want to keep such a low profile. Is there someone else out there that wants Mental dead...?" he asked to his unresponsive microphone, but an answer would have to wait. The huge amount of data building up in that room culminated in an incredible attack, and #6 could only watch as it erupted from the side of the skyscraper...
Suddenly, nothing about the mission mattered anymore, as a purple so dark it was almost black went searing through the head of the coffin. Ontos only caught it because he was running a routine check on his comrades to check for any form of fatigue. The beam of intense energy had punched straight through, and from the look of it, it had gone straight into the ground. The trajectory looked like it had come from midair. For a complete second, the caravan of the transport ground to a halt. None of the noncombatant navis seemed to know what to do as they stared at the coffin.

"SNIPER![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" Ontos roared, "TAKE COVER![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" The mission didn't matter anymore. The mission was a failure. All Ontos could think of was that this was Altair's fault. Stupid, stuck up bitch. "Jack non-combatants out, we're taking this guy down. Locate shot origin![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" Ontos's armor hummed as he ran and dived for one of the suppressors, using the escape subchip on him as he did so. The scientist's data fluctuated for a moment, then realigned itself. "Jack-out barrier. Shit. Get out of here! Run for it! Take Netpolice protection if you have to![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]"

The mercenaries scattered, three of them immediately running for the noncombatants and making haste to get them out of the line of fire. A suppressor and mercenary fell over together as they were simultaneously pierced by the same purple beam. If that wasn't enough, another blast of the same caliber pierced through their prone and decaying bodies, causing data to implode, collapsing upon itself. They weren't navis. Not anymore.

Defining Jack-out barrier now. Expected time: 15 Seconds. The voice was calm and measured, that of Ontos's armor as he proceeded to activate several of his signatures at once. The guns that formed his mantle immediately swerved and pointed straight up, firing shells that exploded in an airburst, forming a dust cloud as several parts of nearby buildings exploded under the impact. "MOVE IT![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" He roared, as his visor switched vision as he looked around for more signs of charging data. Ontos hustled over to behind a stopped tramcar, crouching behind it. "Team, how we-[size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" He began as he saw a shadow running toward him out of the dust. Leveling two of his weapons, he quickly found the silhouette to be that of one of his own team. As he went back to roaring at his team, another purple-black beam pierced straight through the concealing dust, punching a hole straight through it as it hit the shadow straight through its head. The data of the navi began to trail up and change into that of an emergency Jack-Out, but instead started dissolving as the remainder keeled over. Ontos's face behind the visor was a mixture of disgust and open hatred.

The limits are too wide to move out of immediately. Beginning analysis.

"I want my info now![size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" Ontos roared at his armor through the din of the blasts hitting data of bodies, buildings and panels. Several of the shadows in the the dust and choking smoke were filled with holes so large it seemed improbable as they staggered and dissolved. Their data wouldn't be recovered by method of jacking out. Most of Ontos's gang were rogues. They didn't have backups. Mental. Mental wasn't even an issue. No reinforcements would be able to get here in time.

Relaying layout and jack-out barrier generator locations.

Ontos quickly sent the information to the remaining four members left of the group as well, designating which one he was going to go after, or more accurately, destroy the building it resided in. There were only three suppressors left. Eight people out of a twenty five person group. "Damn it." He unleashed all six guns on the first jack out barrier generator as his soldiers, his subordinates, his friends, even, ran out to die. Optic had been taken down already. Mortar had eaten it trying to protect the suppressors with covering fire, and it was all to no avail. The building collapsed, and the signal generated by the jack-out barrier suddenly weakened. "Good. We can punch through with just a couple-[size=75][font=optima][/size][/font]" The victory was revealed to be hollow as his heads up display shut down another ally's life signs. The roar of the blasts was still prevalent around him, but Ontos's head hung as he selected the next jack-out barrier generator. He had failed his team.