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  #1  
Unread 3rd of January, 2007, 21:51
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Exclamation Chapter 02: Cloister Bells

The group had been given two weeks paid leave, ostensibly to allow their appearances to drift from the minds of those at the dinner party before they were called upon to act once more. Given a measure of luck and some care, the previous mission would not only prove profitable but also have no lasting negative effects for the Andrine Agency employees involved. Nevermind the considerable luck which allowed for the actions undertaken that night to go undetected - the body of the elven woman hadn't been reported publicly through any medium. Whether it had yet even been discovered was a question best unexplored.

Each individual present today had been contacted by messenger, a small letter handed off to them by either a small red-headed human woman with a slight limp and an Eastern accent or a slightly overweight gnome male whose face seemed too delicately carved to be natural, especially for one with such an inhuman smile.

Aside from the party, the conference room seemed lifeless. Andrine was not present and his normal seat lay in shadow for the first time, a symbol of comfort and status undercut by the careful lack of lighting. Fluorescent bulbs lit the remainder of the table with their usual disconcerting sterility. Apart from the plain manila folders which rested at each place, the recently cleaned surface was untarnished and similarly uninteresting.
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Unread 4th of January, 2007, 07:37
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The stillness of the room suited Erica just fine. As per usual, she was seated at the far corner, practically hidden behind her notebooks, but almost oblivious to the outside world. She was in a quiet flurry of activity, drawing out plans for a set of miniaturized electric motors that, she hoped, could be used to improve TK's running speeds. It had been a little too long since she last upgraded her pet robot, and she was starting to feel like she was losing her edge or something.
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Unread 6th of January, 2007, 12:35
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Jack sits quietly in a chair, a PSP in his dexterous hands, playing a game. The audio is being fed over bluetooth headphones, and he seems rather pre-ocupied with it. However, if you look closely, his face muscles move every once in a while, hinting that his eyes look about, covered by his shades. His attire is not much different than when you saw him here in this room last, a grey shirt with black pants, and a belt with a myrid amount of pouches containing things only the gadget head could think of.
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Unread 17th of January, 2007, 16:17
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The silence stretched like a many tentacled creature to fill the area, intruding into the consciousness of each person present almost simultaneously with a violence to over match any possible audible disturbance. Each person, of course, except for Jack who was protected by his engagement in the pursuit of digital pleasure.

The sudden crinkle of paper beneath Erica as she settled released life into the scene once more. With the slightest application of deductive reasoning, it was apparent that some document of unknown origin and content was concealed beneath the withdrawn woman's thigh.
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Last edited by nightinverse; 17th of January, 2007 at 16:19.
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Unread 17th of January, 2007, 17:51
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Ugh. How'd this get here... Erica shifted her seat uncomfortably to avoid as much noise as she could. The silence was as close to comforting as she could get in this place- she had left her CD player at home out of professional courtesy. Not that the hired gun has the same respect. she noted, before flattening the note against the table to get a clean read of it.
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Unread 17th of January, 2007, 18:08
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The text upon the teal scrap of stationary was rather brief and to the point, detailing the retirement of one Desert Eagle from the Andrine Agency due to personal reasons, and his departure with partial benefits and a severance package with the blessings of Andrine. Indeed, if this was Andrine's handwriting, it betrayed nothing of his own thoughts on the matter.
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Unread 17th of January, 2007, 21:25
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Erica's spirits suddenly sank. Eagle was the one member of this team that she saw possiblities of getting along with, but now he was gone. She forgot about her old train of thought and dropped her forehead to the table with a mourful cross between a moan and a sigh.
This news had hit her in the gut like a hurled brick, and it was obvious to anyone- even behind the work folders the techie had errected.
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Unread 18th of January, 2007, 06:46
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Jack notices the techie sigh and place her head on the table. He saves, shuts off the PSP, and unplugs himself from his virtual world. Placing it in a pocket for safe keeping, and removing his glasses, he leans forward and rests his arms on the table. "Something the matter?" He looks genuinly concerned.
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Unread 18th of January, 2007, 09:40
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Erica's face, though hidden behind folders, momentarily adopted a suprised expression. Suprised enough to temporarily forget how much she hated Jack.
"I- it's..." she couldn't bring herself to say it, so simply slid the notice across the table around the folders, before putting her forehead back against the wood.
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Unread 18th of January, 2007, 16:48
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Jack peruses the paper, and slides it back, text side down. "A shame. He was a good wheelman. However, you mustn't be suprised. This job... It's not for everyone. It's interesting how something like this affects people differently. Some burn out and quit, leaving behind like that," Jack points to the paper, "others just go blank, and those people usually die on an op." Jack sighs, as if remembering someone. He comes back to reality, "And then there are others, who thrive on it, and can't let go. I'm one of those people. My dad was, and he trained me, although I didn't know it at the time. This is the only world I know. Killing, as I said, is just in the job description. Some might call me a patriot, others a monster. I would not disagree with either. I do what needs to be done, to insure a better future for us. For America. Heh. For the world."

"It's what I do."
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Unread 18th of January, 2007, 17:01
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Erica decided that Jack was probably just trying to cheer her up. He had ultimately failed, getting the techie upset about something else entirely, but the thought did count.
He can't be all bad. Erica reminded herself, and tried to cut off that train of thought before it could lead anywhere else. Even so, Erica's mind was haunted by Jack's belief that killing was "in the job description." Almost as if he expected her to be capable of it- a notion Erica could not accept. She was beyond taking another life-
I'd die first. she found herself thinking, Or was that Jack's point all along?...

To those without telepathy, though, the techie remained silent, except for a small sniff as she wiped something away from her face just under her uncovered eye.
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Unread 19th of January, 2007, 17:39
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The lights above flickered slightly and then died, allowing the shadows to draw around the conference table in moments, throwing the assembled group into darkness. A smooth mechanical whir signaled the activation of the auxiliary generators as the bulbs popped back to generating the pale imitation of life that they were designed to create. Man made shade, stripped back by man made replacements for our sun.
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Unread 20th of January, 2007, 08:16
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Jack, in a flash, had his side-arm drawn, and was one with the shadows. He drew his cell, and dialed up the front desk. While he was waiting for a responce, he carefully went to the door, and drew back the shades on the windows around the door a little, to get a veiw of the corridor.
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Unread 20th of January, 2007, 17:18
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Takk

The frosted glass prevented Jack from viewing anything in the inner corridor as his phone studiously failed to recieve a signal. The problem did not stem from the device in his hand, it even had a trio of reception bars blinking every few moments on the colour lcd. Perhaps there was an issue with the near signal relay stations.
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Unread 20th of January, 2007, 17:21
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Jack looks back at the tech. "You got that robot with you?" He takes a step the back, and crouches down.
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Unread 20th of January, 2007, 20:05
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Erica had been bothered by the lights' failure, but flung into allertness by the drawing of Jack's weapon. She immediately left her chair to take cover behind the table.

"N-no," Erica stammered, "he's back home- recharging. Now please," Erica appealed, "put that gun away... b-before someone get hurt..."
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Unread 21st of January, 2007, 09:10
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Jack can not get over Erica's pacifism. "You're a smart person, so you know what kind of stuff goes on in a corporation like this one. If the power went out, two things could have happened. Either the city power grid went down, and there's nothing to worry about, or, someone cut the power in an attempt to breach security. Now, I know Andrine has security guards, but they might not be enough. What I need you to do, is come with me. I probably won't be able to get around the lockdowns, and I need you for that. I'll protect you the best I can. If you can supply me with a long-range LTL weapon, I'll us that."
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Unread 21st of January, 2007, 22:36
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Erica wasn't that good at reading people, but she got the distinct feeling that Jack was making a concession here. Unfortunatly, she had the sneaking feeling that Jack wouldn't be thrilled with the arsenel she had on hand. Her gaze dropped to somewhere near her toes as she tried to force her admission of inadiquacy out, while reaching into her deep pockets for a pair of colapsable tazers, their handles folded against their barrels.

"... All, well.. all I've got are a few tazers in terms of projectile weapons," Erica flicked both weapons from their compact, stowed configuration to their armed, combat-ready form with a motion so practiced that it was almost eery to see Erica, of all people, perform it with a weapon.
"They- they put out enough power that I.. really can't immagine anyone standing up to this thing." she raised her gaze enough to present the weapons to Jack.
"T-they hurt like hell, too, so... just.. be careful where you point them." she added with a shy smile that hinted that this insight was, in fact, gleamed from first-hand knowledge.
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Unread 22nd of January, 2007, 10:44
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Jack holstered his weapon, and took one of the tazers that Erica offered. He looked it over, and approved. He put it in ready position and let Erica know of the plan. Primary objectives were making contact with the head of security, and securing the server room. Although he knew that the server room was probably the most secure place in the building, what was stored in those servers could be disasterous if they fell into wrong hands. Secondary objectives were to subdue any hostiles for interrogation. Jack went over briefly with Erica various hand signals, such as hostile spotted, take cover, all clear, and how to indicate which target you were taking. He knows Erica could be a liability, but he needs her for her computer skills. He lets her know of his need for her abilities, but not about her being a liability. She needs all the confidence she can get.
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Unread 22nd of January, 2007, 15:07
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Erica wasn't thrilled with how mitary this situation had become, but if she and Jack had to hurl themselves into a potentially lethal situation again, she wasn't going in without a more solid plan.

"I, ehm, just..." Erica gave up trying to make her self explain the situation and instead settled for, "hold on a moment." before moving back to her workpads. She began plotting out whatever she could recall about the Andrine building's floorplan, its security measures, anything, and start jotting them down on a blank sheet of lined paper, doing her best to sculpt the information into something approaching an actionable plan.

<Erica uses her Plan ability with a +7 modifier.>
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Unread 28th of January, 2007, 07:21
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Kiera snorted awake a few minutes after the lights went out, starting at the sound of guns being pulled. The sound would pierce a coma. Her mind went instantly into full alert mode at the sight of an armed Jack. She took in Erica planning SOMETHING and the whir of the back-up generators before swearing under her breath and speaking up.

"Guys, I've got a good amount of trivia about this complex in my head, I might be able to trace the problem if I could hack into the security system. Which would be where Erica would come in."
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Unread 28th of January, 2007, 18:54
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Erica held up a hand in a halting motion, having been paying very little attention to outside conversation, "I- eh, just..." she tried to formulate a cohesive sentance while using her elbow to steady the paper she was frantically playing a high-stakes game of "connect the dots" on, "One thing at a time please."
Erica turned her attention back to attempted planning "If I could just get my hands on a computer terminal..." she grumbled in frustration under her breath.

<Attempting to use plan at +7>
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Unread 29th of January, 2007, 07:53
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Kiera shrugged and shut up, not wanting to overwhelm the shy techie. She'd made herself known, now was time to wait.
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Unread 8th of February, 2007, 10:30
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The pieces came together to form a coherent whole with the sudden and audible break in the lead of Erica's pencil. The small chip of graphite fell out of sight as Jack remained poised, the technician's tazer held firmly and somewhat competently in his grasp.
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Unread 9th of February, 2007, 10:29
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Erica slid the notebook containing the results of her furious minute of planning around her screen of referance books and, with a small push, to the middle of the table for the other two to read. The "plan" was really more a collection of notes on defensible positions, air currents and their effect on trajectories, likely positions that intruders might head, possible tactics to root them out, and a few suggested protocols for engagement.
The big thing was a map of the immediate surroundings of a pair of paths to the records room- one with as many long straight-aways as she could remember, the other with as many corners and turns as she could manage.

The notebook in the center of the table, the techie waited silently and nervously for feedback.
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