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Jasper
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PostSubject: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   29th August 2015, 1:22 pm

Storyline Name:  Fractured Zenith
Creator:  Jasper
Relaxed or Advanced: Advanced
 
Plot Summary:  The conflict between Princess Serenity and Queen Metalia has ended. Earth has escaped the Dark Kingdom's oppression, but it has been forever changed..

Metalia's strength was great enough to push the gem's power to its limits, fracturing and shattering the precious jewel into seven shards. Infused with both light and dark energies alike, these crystalline slivers have instigated a phenomenon that was named "Fracturing" by the scientists who first observed its effects. Physical contact with these crystals has, thus far, resulted in an irreversable crystallization of the human body. Other solid matter has also been affected, though at a much slower rate. In spite of The greatest fear which persists in the world is that its water supplies might be threatened by the Fracturing.

Aside of the Fracturing itself, Metalia left another foul gift behind for the inhabitants of Earth. Her baleful influence oozed its way into the minds and hearts of the world's rulers before she was forever banished by the Silver Crystal's light. Rather than pool their resources and aid those who were most deeply affected by the spread of petrifying crystals, they began to squabble and argue over natural resources. These conflicts of words accelerated at a horrifying pace. The best diplomatic efforts were soon overtaken by conflicts of iron and blood. Sun-forged spears heralded the end of the old status quo, giving way to darker times.

Today, the world is in dire need of the sailor senshi. They were granted refuge in Capsule 49, one of many government-sponsored shelters designed to shield its inhabitants from the horrors of nuclear devastation. But over time, their monitoring equipment registered a different danger - an advancing Fracture that threatened to freeze the entire installation in motionless crystal. When the inhabitants became aware of this danger, two brave young girls volunteered to venture out into the post-war landscape to seek out assistance with Capsule 49's evacuation. After some heated discussion, they drew straws to determine who would stay.

Months later, as the Fracture begins to contaminate Capsule 49, Aino Minako has returned with a drifter named Jasper. Together, they have restored a bus with which to ferry the surviors to safety. Escaping the deadly crystal growth will be but one of the many trials they face.

Unlikely allies are found in the form of Professor Tomoe and his intelligent, yet clumsy assistant Anya Katayeva. Both are opposed to the expansionist policies of an invading military force, while holding their own ulterior motives for assisting the senshi with their hunt for the Silver Crystal fragments..


Details on any necessary information:  The setting will take place within Australia, and later shift to Japan. The fragments of the Silver Crystal fell into both nations, with Japan having suffered the worst ravages of Fracturing. Having stayed out of the world war, Australia instead chose to carry the surviving Japanese refguees to safety and offer them shelter until a more permanent solution could be found. They have settled on the northern coastline of Australia near the city of Darwin.

- The timeline of the RP is approximately 5-15 years into the future after Tsukino Usagi first transformed into Sailor Moon.

- The inner senshi have reincarnated, though without the memories of the recent tragedies that gave birth to this shattered timeline. The inner senshi begin play knowing each other through their association in Capsule 49, though Minako may initially seem different to them by virtue of her experiences.

- All of the playable characters will not be subject to the petrifying effects of the Fracturing. It is this strange immunity which permits them the chance to cure an ailing world, for better or for worse.

- Eagleland is the overt villain faction, with President Buren in command of the nation's military forces. Meanwhile, Tomoe and Anya plot to summon their Daimon master, Pharaoh 90, to Earth in order to usurp it from the meddling human empire. Both parties compete against one another to secure the legacy of the Silver Crystal.


Restrictions:
 (Canon) Inner senshi, Luna, Artemis, Sailor Pluto, Tuxedo Mask, Professor Tomoeand Hotaru TomoeUranus and Neptune are NPCs for this story, working to shield Earth from extraterrestial incursions.

 (Otaku) Senshi and villains permitted.

Sources: The Capsule shelters (Vault) and post-war Eagleland (Enclave) are both inspired by the Fallout series, while the behavior of the Fracture closely resembles that of Tiberium.


Member to Character List:

(CANON)
 Usagi / Sailor Moon -> sororitymoonprincess

(OTAKU)
 Jasper Franklin -> Jasper
 Anya Katayeva / Kyan -> Andalusite
 President Wilson Buren -> Jasper
 Selena DeLune -> Sailor Pluto

Thread Roleplaying Resources
OOC Thread: Here
Character Request Thread: Here


Last edited by Jasper on 25th November 2016, 9:41 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Updated 11/25)
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   29th August 2015, 1:32 pm

20XX A.D.
DARWIN, AUSTRALIA


On the edge of the city coastline, a single building of massive size loomed over the surrounding fields of dried, half-mowed grass. The stature of the building was immense, and if not for several panels of sheet metal that were haphazardly welded or nailed over windows and wall breaches, it would have been a thing of beauty. In fact, several years ago, this structure would have been considered a luxury mansion.

Further away from the laboratory, a row of wooden boards and timber pilings stretched northward for several meters. At the end of this private structure was a deck chair, occupied by a single young man dressed in a pair of gray woolen slacks, a brown t-shirt, and a military-style coat that sported an olive green camouflage pattern. It was no ordinary coat of its kind, either; this particular vestment was embroidered with a black raven pattern on its back.

Above the weary traveller stood a tattered umbrella, offering a moderate amount of protection from the rays of the setting sun. Beneath him, the waves lapped at the expanse of wet sand lying just before the wharf and its exposed supports.

Several years ago, he would have been able to dip his feet into the seawater without leaving the chair.

Jasper Franklin had come here to seek material support from Professor Tomoe, who tended to be a rather helpful individual when he wasn't seized by the passion of his labors within the depths of the mansion's basement. He had a penchant for finding useful supplies in Darwin and its neighboring localities, or helping Jasper pinpoint other areas from which he could scavenge items of value. Pre-war vehicles, vehicle engines, other vehicle components, rare fuels or minerals; all of these were the same to Jasper. They could easily be traded for things like food, water, clothing, and medicine.

Unfortunately, Jasper had been turned away earlier that morning by the professor's blue-haired assistant, who claimed that Tomoe would be occupied by his experiments for several hours. He spent some of that time walking through the recovering city, hashing out deals with those few residents who showed neither fear nor contempt for his person. Once those exchanges were concluded, Jasper wandered back towards Tomoe's residence and occupied the pier chair for a lengthy afternoon nap.

Now that he had finished resting, the young man leaned forward in his seat to reach for an object lying near his scuffed black work boots. It was a firearm native to Eagleland, one that he had managed to maintain in spite of a world-spanning conflict and the long, grueling years that followed. Tiny traces of dust pitting lined the barrel, while a few loops of tightly wound duct tape served to reinforce and supplement the cracked handguard.

Standing up from the deck chair, Jasper slung the shotgun over his shoulder and approached the laboratory. The professor had something he was looking for, and the drifter wasn't planning to leave empty-handed.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   5th September 2015, 9:41 pm

She floated in the silent darkness, separated from even the sensation of her own body. Slowly, sound began to enter her sphere. A steady beeping echoes in her ears, creating a pace for her thoughts as they began to coalesce. This emerging from the silence was much like it had been last time, several months ago when she slowly crawled out from unconsciousness to awake in a darkened world full of mysterious sounds, the only visions being those in her own mind. In her dreams at least, she could see color.

From what they told her back then, she had been found on the outside, somewhere in the Australian bush-lands near death with a fractured skull and concussive force injuries. She survived the incident, but with no memories, no history, and completely blind. She had come back an un-named ghost in a way. Even her name, “Luna”, had been given to her by the kind Italian doctor who had stayed by her side as she stabilized. “svegliarsi la bella occi luna!” (wake up, beautiful moon eyes), he would say to her, trying to coax her to respond.

"Moon Eyes" was oddly appropriate because of a birth defect she was born with. The coloration of one half of her iris on one eye was a golden color looking somewhat, so she was told, like a half moon in her eye. Of course she could not see it herself, but it certainly aroused the curiosity of the medical team at the capsule where she was taken in. Because of that, and for lack of a better name, she had taken the name “Luna”. Of the scant clues to her identity, she spoke with a British accent, and carried an odd bag of strangely shaped objects.

While she recovered, Luna would often try to make up stories about herself, to see what clicked. Her favorite one was that she was some sort of female Indiana Jones adventuress, exploring lost temples and collecting priceless artifacts. It was a fun story, but the objects in her satchel did not feel like ancient things. They were smooth, and almost glass-like. probably toys she joked often to herself. And she certainly did not feel brave enough to go crawling into booby-trapped temples. Besides, since when did Indiana Jones wear a yellow dress with ribbons? That had been what she was found wearing. One undamaged ribbon still sat inside her satchel, another mysterious remnant of her past.

Another side effect, and one which scared her to death were the fainting spells and strange flashes of images, most of which were nonsensical. But from time to time they would just completely overwhelm her, and they were getting worse. She began lying to the doctors about how often they were happening, and withdrawing more and more into herself. That was until they told her that they might be able to recover her vision. Luna had learned in the past few months to navigate fairly well without her sight, especially since she was rather obstinate about accepting help from anyone. But she leapt at the chance to be able to see again, even though the operation was risky and not guaranteed. And so the mystery girl found herself going under once more in hopes to recover what she had lost.

As consciousness came back amidst the steady beeping, pain came with it too. Her heart raced with fear and anxiety, dazed and somewhat confused. With shaking hands she groggily grabbed for her head, feeling with trembling fingers the gauze bandages wrapped around her head covering her eyes. Suddenly she felt a hand gently close over hers and pull it away from her face.

“You really shouldn’t touch that yet. How do you feel?” The voice of the unnamed doctor was not loud, but just the sound of a voice made her head pound in rhythm with the words.

“Like my head is being used to ring a church bell.” She managed to mumble out as the edge of the pain began to ease, likely due to administering pain medication. The next question was on her lips, but the small raven haired girl could not bring herself to ask it yet. A negative answer would just be too devastating. Swallowing, she finally managed to force the question out in halting sentences. “Was it….was the surgery…?”

Thankfully the doctor understood the question. “Luna, as far as we can tell right now, the surgery was a success. However your eyes will need some time to heal. We will not know possibly for weeks yet if you are going to be able to see. But the surgeon seemed confident in his work, so I wouldn’t worry too much OK?” He patted her reassuringly on the shoulder. “Get some sleep now. You’ll feel much better in the morning and maybe we can talk to a nurse about some breakfast.”

Sleep, it was the last thing on her mind. Sometimes Luna was afraid to sleep, fearful of losing herself to the images and the imaginary people that danced in her mind when she let go. Often she would force herself to remain awake as long as possible. She let out a sigh of frustration as she heard the door close, signaling that she was alone. Luna did not know how much longer she could take the darkness and being alone with her overactive mind. Was she going to go crazy?

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   18th September 2015, 8:44 pm

Professor Tomoe's laboratory appeared much cozier on the inside than the massive building's metal facade would have otherwise implied. After a few minor upgrades to the lab's infrastructure over the past few months, the room quickly became the preferred location for the mansions' inhabitants to spend the majority of their waking hours. The laboratory itself would have been quite spacious had the Professor put more consideration into the placement of the scientific equipment. Tables, shelves, drawers, tops of machinery, the floor—it didn't matter which surface was involved—wherever space once existed an apparatus now occupied it. The only exception was a cleared pathway from the doorway down the middle of the room allowing access to the many cabinet drawers in the work tables, which were surprisingly arranged in straight lines. But like any other available surface, they too fell victim to the clutter of books and documents.  

In comparison, the outer perimeter of the room was much more organized. There were several thin metal racks possessing neat rows of flasks, jars, graduated cylinders, and test tubes. This systematic arrangement even extended to the back wall where a large fume hood held several more jars, some of which contained vibrant fluids and powders while others appeared entirely empty. But wherever the shelves and fume hood did not provide enough storage space, there were several long glass burets clamped tightly to the metal piping trailing alongside the walls, piping which all seemed to point toward the silhouette of a woman—namely a young blue-haired woman who had been standing in the dim lit entryway for quite some time now with a metal platter (and a porcelain cup) in her hands. The shadow of her long white lab coat danced across the concrete floor in the ambient light flickering from the single blue flame of a lit Bunsen burner. From a quick inspection, the laboratory seemed vacant, but she knew otherwise. The woman's soft feminine voice soon disturbed the silence of the room.

“Professor, I brought you some tea.”

Directly across from her on the other side of the cramped room stood a man hunched over a counter top—the only work space in the lab to remain untouched by a faint layer of dust—with his elbows resting comfortably against its white surface. In his left hand, an Erlenmeyer flask filled with a pink liquid which he occasionally swished around. If it hadn't been for the faint neon glow emitted by the chemical reaction occurring in the flask, nobody would have noticed the Professor's presence in the darkness, for the entirety of the man's focus remained on the experiment in his hand. Not even his assistant's statement prompted any more from him than a small fit of maniacal laughter.

Although Anya Katayeva had been an assistant of Professor Tomoe for quite some time now, she never quite understood why he couldn't take a moment from his studies to answer her like a normal being. And though this particular quirk annoyed her, Anya knew better than to tell him otherwise. Great power radiated from the Professor and it was in her best interest to respect him. And this respect she demonstrated rather appropriately by bringing him black tea every afternoon whether he requested it or not. As she slowly approached the man masked within the shadows, Anya slid her feet carefully across the concrete floor, lifting them every so often over the many cables snaking to and from the assortment of machinery cluttered along the tables: autoclaves, ovens, burners, the fume hood, and a mass spectrometer to name a few of the more prominent pieces of equipment.

You can do it, Anya. Slow and steady...Slow and steady... Just a little further and the tray will be on the table in no time, she thought to herself using the Professor's comforting voice to mask out the violent rattle of the cup against the platter in her shaking hands. Her focus increased exponentially with proximity to the Professor, until...

*BAM! BAM! BAM!*

The woman came to an abrupt stop.

...What the hell was that!?

A swift upper body movement turned her in the direction of the disturbance, along with the cup which unfortunately slid well beyond the tray.

…The tea!!!

Gasping Anya flung her entire body forward to catch the cup with her right hand, only to trip over herself and volley it straight into the Professor's desk where it then shattered upon impact. Not long after she had crashed onto the floor, the metal tray fell beside her producing a single, strident clang that rattled throughout the stillness of room. Anya gnashed her teeth together. What a bad start to the afternoon! If it hadn't been for that blasted racket, the tea would have reached the table!

...Stupid noise making a fool of me in front of the Professor!

The blue-haired woman collapsed further onto the ground, cringing in discomfort as the warmth of the scalding puddle crept over her fingertips and seeped into the front of her coat staining parts of it a pale brown. And her lab coat surely would have remained white!

“Dammit! I can't stand this anymore!” Anya roared in frustration as she pushed herself upright and onto her knees. Then using both hands she quickly slid the pair of white headphones around her neck over her sensitive ears to protect them from any other unwanted annoyances. She could still hear that terrible pounding, only this time it sounded a bit fainter with the headphones. Groaning, Anya quickly sprung to her feet. She knew all too well that a visitor stood waiting on the porch and was not about to stop knocking on the door until either she or the Professor answered. And the Professor... Well, the Professor hadn't responded to her since she entered the room, so Anya figured he had no interest in answering the door: a task that mundane was reserved for a lab assistant. After groaning a second time, Anya then stormed out of the laboratory and up the stairs in a brisk yet evenly-paced walk. She would deal with the spill later. As she opened the front door, she slowly peered outward from behind its crack, the stains on her lab coat well hidden behind the door frame.

...Jasper?

Her eyes narrowed after briefly scanning over the man's features.  

...What does he want now? I don't remember him making an appointment to meet with the Professor today!

Jasper always bothered the blue-haired woman and the Professor for information or material exchanges, and today was no different. But had he seriously showed up to the laboratory uninvited? Or had Professor Tomoe forgotten to inform her of today's meeting? Either way Anya had no interest in letting the other man inside at the time.

“Oh...It's just you, again!?” Anya finally remarked bitterly after staring Jasper down in silence for at least five minutes, her mood soured by the earlier misfortune. “Sorry, hun, 'Professor's in the middle of an important study...won't be available until mid-afternoon!” And with that, she slammed the heavy iron door in his face.

“An unexpected guest, I see,” The Professor mused to himself upon Anya's prompt return to the laboratory. He must have heard her slam the door otherwise he wouldn't have said anything.

“It was...just the wind, Professor Tomoe,” the woman announced to her revered colleague. Anya didn't expect the man to believe her, though she did hope that her headphones were enough to deter him from muttering any more of his thoughts out loud to her, at least for the time-being. For the next couple of hours, the blue-haired woman grumbled quietly to herself as she swept up glass and scrubbed brown splotches out of the concrete floor. If the Professor expected a guest, by no means would he enter the laboratory and see the mess she had made of the floor.

Now to safely dispose of the glass and—

*BAM! BAM! BAM!*

There was that irritating pounding noise again, and it matched Jasper's knock perfectly. Anya sighed. Not again. “I'll go upstairs to answer the door, Professor,” she announced after dumping the contents of her dustpan into a special receptacle for hazardous materials.

...

“WHAT NOW?” she shouted, nearly whipping the door off of its hinges with her sudden burst of aggressiveness. When she saw Jasper standing in front of the door for the second time today, she sighed and gave into his presence. No matter what she said or what she did, this man would likely just keep coming back again and again. “...Very well then, dear.” She would let Jasper in, but not without first making her irritation known to him through a single drawn out sigh of exasperation. “But I must warn you, the professor is still a bit busy.” Satisfied with her dissatisfaction, Anya eagerly stepped off to the side of the doorway to show him on in.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   19th September 2015, 10:49 am

On both attempts to gain entry to the manor, Jasper was accosted by an inexpicably upset Anya. He did not flinch or waver from her glowering. Something that he did, or failed to do, set off the young lady. What was it, again? It wasn't like he was-

Oh, right.. I am late. I can thank the Keepers later for my delay.

He was summarily dismissed on the first visit, and privately worried that Anya would give an encore performance on the second call. Thankfully, she decided to relent without any overt hostility; if pressed, Jasper would have reminded her that he was coming no closer to fulfilling his needs by waiting.

Ultimately, there was no point in adding fuel to this fire; the wanderer would simply have to tolerate her tarnished temperment. Rather than mimic Anya's animated animosity, Jasper responded to her warning with a collection of calming and carefully considered chin flaps.

"Thank you, Anya; my business here will be brief."

The belated guest stepped into the mansion foyer, bowing briefly to the lab assistant as he was granted permission to enter. He would need to make sure the cheeky lass was well informed of his next planned visitation, and ensure that he actually arrived on the proper date.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   24th September 2015, 9:12 pm

“Miss Katayeva,” the woman immediately corrected him, “—Though Anya does have a nice ring to it when it rolls off your tongue, so please call me Anya.” She looked over her shoulder at Jasper with her softening blue eyes, a sly smirk on her painted lips.

Addressing me so informally and then announcing your impending departure as you arrive?...

Much to her surprise Jasper only planned to stay for a brief amount of time, though the majority of her attention was currently captivated by the voice behind the man's calm and collected expression. His accent sounded much different than her's or the Professor's with its exotic charm, but she liked it more than enough to tempt another word from him.

“...Just what kind of guest are you?” the Professor's blue-haired assistant commented out loud to her unwanted visitor in their lingua franca. Jasper returned to the mansion twice with the intention to stay for what Anya believed to be a few minutes? After all of that time she spent cleaning the laboratory? Now that was not about to happen. Without another word, the young lady took her first few steps through the threshold into the decorated hallway and then motioned for Jasper to follow.

As the two traveled down the tidy corridor, the light grew dimmer and dimmer until they were practically wading through the darkness, but Anya did not seem to care enough to stop for a moment to flip on one of the many light switches lining the hallway. In fact, Anya did not seem to care at all about stopping. She guided Jasper right on past the dark stairway leading into the basement laboratory and continued to show him down to the very end of the corridor where she then made a left toward a room on the main floor. The silence remained between Anya and her guest as she entered the dark room and flipped on the light hanging above a round dining table to reveal a fairly large kitchen. Like the majority of the hallway, the kitchen appeared well-kept and completely free of excess clutter.

The entire time Anya busied herself about the room she kept her back turned to the man, opening cupboards and pulling out plates and a large platter which she filled with an assortment of sweets, including chocolate-filled wafers and the Professor's preferred brand of sugar cookies. When Anya finally turned around to address Jasper, she slammed down a platter full of colorful cookies onto the center table. A faint smirk crept up the corners of her mouth.

“Hopefully you weren't planning on leaving too soon, hun.”

Invited or not, Jasper was still a guest to the house and clearly required some proper 'hospitality' from the blue-haired woman who currently detained him in the kitchen out of spite more than anything. He was not getting away so soon from her; Anya did not plan for him to visit with the Professor without first showing him what it was like to be inconvenienced.

“The Professor still needs another hour...” she lied, eagerly anticipating Jasper's reaction to the unfortunate news, and of course his voice. “In the mean time, please be a dear and take a seat.” After motioning toward one of the three wooden chairs placed around the table, Anya brought her hands delightfully together and giggled. Any objections to the current arrangements were not about to go well with her.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   26th September 2015, 2:31 pm

Jasper's brow raised briefly as Anya corrected him, only to then grant permission to speak her name. It was a strange gesture for her to take such interest in his vocal inflection. Was she trying to flirt with him?

I don't think she'd want to get that attached to me..

Jasper followed Anya through a well-kept hallway of the shelter, matching her pace along the clean floor. The vagrant's eyes adjusted to the darkness, enabling him to observe the stairwell that presumably led to Tomoe's laboratory. Until now, he had never seen the interior of the shelter aside of its foyer. He kept after the assistant's white labcoat, taking caution not to stray more than a meter from her presence. For the large part, Jasper was a good guest as he followed Anya's lead into the kitchen. His footsteps were deliberate and precise, and most important of all, quiet.

When Anya announced another delay, Jasper took a short breath and then exhaled through his nostrils. It was a common expression of mild irritation among humans. Though his heartbeat maintained a steady pulse in spite of the disappointment, Anya's goals of an aural response were fulfilled.

"I'm a Finder," Jasper stated as if to offer a belated answer to Anya's question. He hoped that would spare the need for aimless conversation, such as how he managed to popularize the term by scavenging through the ruined icons of the Old World. Unlike his thuggish rivals who were affectionaly referred to as the "Keepers," Jasper actually shared his discoveries by means of trading and bartering.

"If he is still busy, I'll make myself comfortable." With those words, Jasper took a seat while his gaze lingered upon the blue-haired woman. Strangely enough, she was rather attractive in her labcoat - stained or otherwise. To Anya's male guest, it gave him the impression of a diligent, intelligent and attentive woman, pedantics notwithstanding.

"By the way, how much do you value this table?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   27th September 2015, 5:24 pm

Anya took immediate notice of Jasper's far-from-furtive gaze fixated on her figure. Surprisingly enough, the man's stare did not appear to offend her, though it did encourage more of her seemingly erratic behavior. After all, she couldn't let him get too comfortable waiting for the Professor. Her eyes locked briefly with the man's lingering gaze.

“...How much I value this table?...” Anya repeated thoughtfully to herself, taking Jasper's piqued interest in her appearance as an invitation to step closer to his side. “...Well, aren't you just precious...” She laughed as her elbow met the varnished wooden surface with a light thud. The young woman crouched forward, leaning closer to Jasper until her face was inches away from his. Then while squinting at him, she pointed her index finger downward at the tabletop.

“This isn't my table, hun.” The words left her lavender lips in an enunciated whisper, the scent of her perfume teasing his nostrils. For several minutes it seemed like Anya stood there uncomfortably close to Jasper's face in silence, all while listening closely to his breathing and his heartbeat.

“...You are a very interesting one indeed,” she  finally remarked after a long pause, again with an amused smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. “Is this normally how you start a conversation—by bringing up the table?...And why is that? Do you want to put your feet up on it?” Anya joked with a small chuckle, though by the look of her frown, it seemed she seriously thought he might have considered such an action. “Or do you wish to trade something to the Professor for it? If that is the case, I'll let you in on a little secret, dear: I have better tables upstairs in my bedroom.”

If Jasper thought she was flirting before, who knew what he thought now. Oblivious to the first impression she was likely making on the man, the Russian woman ended her statement with a shrug and gave him back his personal space. Her remark however had been quite truthful. Some of the mansion's nicest tables were kept upstairs in the room Professor Tomoe had provided the woman after taking her in as his lab assistant.

...But why the table of all topics?

As she patiently awaited Jasper's reason for bringing up the table's value, Anya occasionally brought her attention to the untouched cookies. They sure weren't about to eat themselves.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   2nd October 2015, 12:51 pm

Anya's unexpected guest held his silence as she crept forward into his personal space, presumably to further tease him while he waited to see Professor Tomoe. Whatever kind of man Jasper was, he had a lot of patience to spend on things that were outwardly silly and unproductive; his heartbeat and breathing remained steady through a concerted, willful effort to maintain composure.

Was this some strange cultural behavior that he didn't quite understand? Miss Katayeva carried with her a peculiar accent, fragrance, and set of mannerisms, the former of which Jasper was barely able to identify as Russian.

Pity that he wouldn't get to see Russia in the foreseeable future. To answer Anya's inquiry, he began to empty the contents of his pockets onto the table. Anya would soon find four new 'guests' at the dining table - a flathead screwdriver, a small can of oil, a handkerchief-sized piece of yellow cloth, and an angled metal enclosure that was designed to feed bullets into a handgun.

"I don't want to tarnish the table," Jasper answered as he casually slid the bullets out of the magazine, setting them down like a handful of marbles. He then reached forward to take some of the sugar cookies that Anya had prepared for him. Four was enough for now; they'd soothe his stomach without causing the young man to feel bloated. His eyes crossed back over to Anya as he consumed the first of the offered confections. 

"Would you also happen to have any potable water?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   27th October 2015, 7:45 am

Meanwhile, 16000 km away from Darwin, Australia..

A single man in a gray business suit sat at his desk, eyes half-closed as he languidly observed the flurry of activity within his office. Television technicians were installing cameras and configuring microphones, while a pair of young women flanked him and carefully applied makeup to his facial features. Standing off to the sides of the office were the executive's agents, each of whom wore custom-tailored black suits and an ear-mounted radio transciever.

Keeping the country from unravelling at the seams was a very difficult task for Wilson Buren. Though Eagleland's people - his people - were resilient, the system of centralized authority meant that he would shoulder the majority of the decision making. As a result, the president's stress was beginning to manifest in his physical features, starting with the streaks of gray in his hair.

Suspecting that the makeup was somehow construed as an insult, the commander-in-chief's aides assured him that it was necessary; it was in his best interests to project a wholesome, powerful image to reassure his audience of Eagleland's recovery. He leaned back into his seat, allowing his attendants to further groom him for his first postwar address.

When the makeup crew was finished with their preparations, Mr. Buren turned to face them with a confident smile and a carefully prepared question. He took a special kind of delight in the way his constituents provided their leader with their answers; after all, he drew his strength and inspiration from their love and adoration.

"How do I look?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   7th November 2015, 3:31 pm

How adorable. He sure knows how to take his time...

The blue-haired woman leaned forward out of habit in anticipation of Jasper's answer, though if asked she would be lying if she said her proximity wasn't to some extent intentional. She knew very well that her appearance could be used to get her what she wanted, and she knew that her proximity made foreigners uncomfortable–or at least those Japanese scientists she spent time collaborating with in Tokyo before the Fracturing forced her unplanned evacuation to the Australian coastal city of Darwin. As a foreigner, Jasper was unique in that he did not express any noticeable signs of uneasiness while meeting with the Russian woman, and she could respect him for that...at least until the end of their encounter. In fact, she found his calm and collected demeanor toward her rather polite in comparison to the brash chivalry of her colleagues back in Moscow; colleagues who at times almost seemed to pity her for her independence and status as an unmarried woman of 27 years. Anya however seemed quite content with her current situation and job; not once did her thoughts stray back to Moscow or the research institution as she looked upon her American guest in silent amusement.

...His heart has yet to skip a beat. How is he able to remain so calm?

When the man shifted his attention toward the pockets on his coat, Anya quietly took a seat in one of the remaining chairs across from him and watched him with a raised brow. The coy smile upon her face soon weakened into a frown as he proceeded to empty his life onto the table without any prior explanation. Each time Jasper carefully set one of his possessions against the wooden surface, the blue-haired woman grimaced in discomfort. Her hands eagerly crept up her chest toward the large pair of white headphones around her neck, but soon found themselves clasped tightly against her ears at the pitter patter of bullets dropping unexpectedly against the table. How could such small objects make this much of an awful racket!? Anya cringed in absolute disgust. Each metallic din pierced her eardrums with what she would have readily described as the intensity of one-thousand shattering glasses resonating violently around her head.

“That's quite enough!” Anya barked in a raised voice, throwing one hand down onto the stray bullets to prevent them from rolling around any further, and of course, keeping the other hand against the side of her head to dampen the ringing in her ear. After taking in a few deep breaths to calm her nerves, Anya decided to address Jasper's inquiry regarding the drinking water in a much sweeter voice, though her response sounded almost insulting when paired with that overly saccharine tone of hers. “I wouldn't recommend the tap water, hun. It's quite...how do you say it?...dirty.” Anya's right eye twitched a little, irritation still evident as she forced herself to maintain a pleasant facade. “Perhaps you would like some...tea instead, love? It would go quite well with those cookies, now wouldn't it?”

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   7th November 2015, 8:03 pm

OOC:
 



AMI


Ami Mizuno ate her lunch in complete silence, staring at the wall in the small living quarters allotted to her and her mother, though her mother had not graced the doorstep in almost six months. Only her picture remained on the mantle, a smiling woman in a white doctor's coat holding an award. The blue haired teen glanced briefly at the photo feeling at once a sense of awe and a gnawing worry in the pit of her stomach. Her mother was such an incredible person, someone who worked so tirelessly to help others through her own knowledge. Ami had once thought she would try to follow in her mother's footsteps, but that was impossible now. She wasn't even good enough to carry her mother's shoes much less fill them.

Ami took another slow bite of her sandwich, the sound of her chewing the only thing interrupting the total quiet. Before, when things were different, she had studied so hard, rejoicing to bring her mother home good test result after good test result, hoping to one day prove that she could be a doctor right alongside her mom. But then the crystal shards began growing and war broke out. She saw less and less of her mother. She wasn't even allowed out to run an errand for her. After evacuating, leaving everything behind, and sealing them up inside the sanitary safe-haven of capsule 49, she had taken off to the front lines without even so much as a backward glance. Ami had pleaded to accompany her. Already she knew some first aid. Surely since there was no school to miss, there would be things she could do to help. But instead of outright saying no, she left in the middle of the night, leaving only one written note on the fridge:

"Gone to front lines to help at new field hospital. Stay here and be safe. There's lunch in the fridge. Love Mom."

As if she could possibly get into trouble in capsule 49, the safest place on Earth. At first it had hurt, more than she wanted to admit. The cold fact that neither of her parents seemed to want to be around her was a slap in the face and she wanted to give up trying to chase her unreachable dreams. The small suite seemed so empty. After a week she didn't know what to do with herself.

Perhaps it was the stubborn competitive streak she'd inherited from her father, or perhaps it was simply her mind screaming for the next fix, but she began following the doctors and scientists, volunteering to do any odd jobs they might need and listening intently to their conversations when she could. No task was too small, and Ami delighted in being even remotely useful. Suddenly the blue haired bespectacled girl realized that though school no longer existed for her, that she was among some of the greatest minds left in this crazy world. It was an opportunity Ami simply could not pass up.

She finished her lunch, methodically washing the single dish until it shined and placing it back in the cabinet. Turning down the lights she left the suite and stepped out into hall, borrowed book in hand. One of the doctors had let her borrow an anatomical reference guide, for which she had been incredibly grateful. But her mind was so full of questions now that she paid little attention to her surroundings, even as she entered the clinic room.

In a quiet voice she called out as she knocked on the open doorframe, "Excuse me doctor, I've come to return the book you lent me. I wanted to thank you, it was very..." Blue eyes suddenly realized the doctor was not in the room and she was not alone. "Oh, I'm sorry!" She blushed, her cheeks filling with heat. Ami had barged in in the middle of an examination. She clutched the book tightly to her chest, wishing she could hide behind it, and started backing out of the room, head down.






LUNA

After a few hours of rest, an unfamiliar doctor came to tell her she could go back to her own rooms to rest if she wanted after one last check up, providing that she did not strain herself and did not mess with the bandages. The bed she was in smelled of antiseptic and chemicals, and the beeping noises made it hard to truly rest. The uncomfortable fact that she had no idea where in the capsule she was proved a bit unsettling as well. Luna had learned the hard way, for a blind person, knowing where you were in the world was one of the most important things. Frankly, she had to admit, she was not even sure how to get back to her room from here, which would mean she would require the help of strangers. Wonderful.

Luna jumped at the chance, even though she was a little bit light headed. The comfort of familiar surroundings was a siren's song she could not resist. And so she was helped to dress and shuffled down to an examination room, awaiting the final OK to return to her small quarters. She sat there for what seemed forever in the cold and impersonal office, resting on the tissue paper cover the nurse placed over the examination bed. She experimentally kicked her heel against the foot rest, hearing the tinny sound travel across the room. Already she was restless, and the fact that she was told not to touch the bandages made her fingers itch all the more to feel them.

As the silence on the examination room settled in on her Luna began to worry. It had been a long time since she had had one of those strange flash attacks. It certainly was due to happen at any minute. What if it happened while the doctor was here? They'd never let her go back to her room if she passed out on them, and she had promised her doctor they weren't happening as frequently. Her lie would be apparent. Forcing herself to take measured breaths and relax the building tension in her small shoulders, she began thinking of things to occupy her mind. Sometimes that helped to hold back the visions a bit.

She counted from 99 to 1 and almost back again in her head, picturing the numbers as vividly as she could. Luna had just reached 88, picturing it as two ice skaters doing figure eights on a rink, when she heard a knock. Her head turned instinctively but she was not truly interested until she realized the small shy voice speaking was not that of any doctor she had encountered so far.

She hadn't really processed the strange voice's chatter about a book when she felt that tell tale odd tingling in her eye. Something was happening, just as she knew it would. Any second now the flashes would start. Desperate to stop it by any distraction, she heard tentative footsteps retreating from the doorway and flung her arm out towards the sound, palm up. "No, wait! Stay, please don't leave?" She left the last bit a question. Surely no one would want to hang around a crazy blind person on the edge of a breakdown would they?

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   10th November 2015, 4:53 pm

Jasper's calloused left hand immediately shot over Anya's, holding it down to ensure that none of the cartridges would leave the table. It was only after the fact that he began to think of how strange this situation must have appeared to both parties. The travelling scavenger was more interested in his precious ammunition than the pretenses of romance, but the chances of successfully communicating that fact were growing slim.

In spite of the purpose for his visit, Jasper found himself growing curious. Did Anya have sensitive hearing? Before her outburst and the half-measure of covering her ears, the young woman did attempt to reach for the headphones currently resting around her neck.

"The water is 'dirty?' It won't kill me unless it glows in the dark, but I'll take you up on your generous offer of tea." Gesturing with his right hand to Anya's white headset, Jasper made eye contact with their cranky owner and then released his grip. After all, she couldn't make any tea with her hand being pinned down to the table.

"Was that sound bothering you? I was hoping that I could clean this magazine while I waited for the Professor."



As Ami started to exit the clinic, a familiar voiced called out to her from down the hallway. It belonged to a middle-aged man who wore a white lab coat over what would be best construed as vacationer's clothing.

"Ms. Mizuno!"

Compared to his colleagues in Capsule 49, Dr. Ceallach Clarke was a bit more assertive with his voice and bearing. It was not his red hair, pronounced sideburns, or demeanor that contributed to his selection. Rather, it was the physician's drive and dedication to pathology that made him a valued asset to the politicians, journalists, and other medical personnel that had been granted sanctuary in the Australian Outback.

The medical staff had been quite busy in the recent days with their strange guest. While his associates undertook a delicate surgical procedure to restore the young lady's eyesight, Dr. Clarke spent hours at a microscope analyzing blood and tissue samples. Diligent study on their mysterious patient was necessary to ensure that she had not contracted any unwelcome microbes, bacteria, or viral entities.

"Were you looking for me, by chance?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   16th November 2015, 7:02 pm



Selena's heels clicked satisfyingly along the hard floors of President Buren's halls, her long hair swishing across her shoulders as she walked with purpose to the president's office. She had spent the last hour trying different types of cloaking magic, not stopping until she found the perfect disguise for her TV debut. Her silver hair was left down, half of it held back by a black hair tie, and her outfit consisted of a black blazer, silver blouse, a black pencil skirt, and black heels. It was hardly a comfortable ensemble, but it was a sophisticated one. She needed to show her audience that she was stern, and would rule over this country with a tight fist.

Truth be told, she couldn't care less about what her people thought of her. She was one of their leaders and they would respect her, regardless. But she would have to at least make it look like she did care, at least for a little while.

The door to the president's office was open, and Selena leaned against its frame as she watched a group of women apply make-up to Mr. Buren's face. His question rang across the room, signaling to Selena that she let her presence be known.

"Quite dashing, Wilson," she commented, eyes glinting with mischief. She didn't bother to use titles when addressing others. It was a waste of time. "But of course, when has the answer ever been different?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   23rd November 2015, 8:40 pm

Luna

In those seconds where the new visitor did not answer the visions began to hit her, vibrant in color but fuzzy and confusing. She felt the room waver and gripped the edge of the examining table tightly with both hands. It was accompanied by a sort of tingly feeling in her eye. Luna struggled to maintain her hold on reality, the images threatening to pull her in. She kept reminding herself I am in a doctor's office siting on a table. This is not real. This time she almost thought she caught a face. But she was seeing it from way don near the person's feet. Why would she be so low to the ground and who was the blurry lady in the white dress?



Ami

Ami was spellbound, gazing at the blindfolded woman with hand extended towards her. She did not hear the doctor approach at all until he called her name, the sound echoing so loudly in her ears that she almost dropped the book and fumbled a bit to catch it. Her face grew even more flushed thinking that the kind doctor would think she had been prying or interfering with the patient.



"I-I'm sorry, I must go." she whispered fervently to the mystery woman and spun on her heels to meet the booming voice of the pathologist.



"Y-yes sir" the blue haired teen said briskly offering a polite bow. "I came to return the book you were so kind to lend me. Thank you. It was very interesting, especially where it talks about pathogens across the blood-brain barrier." She was about to go into a flurry of questions when she remembered the patient.



"Oh! I'm so sorry to take up your time. I think there is a patient inside to see you."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   27th November 2015, 12:25 pm

"When you ask our enemies," Wilson replied with a smile. He was an inexplicably popular president throughout his tenure, holding an approval rating that maintained a steady average of 70%. While it certainly was possible for him to further endear himself to the public, maintaining the appearance of some opposition would only strengthen his claim to legitimate rule over Eagleland. Now that Selena was backing him, even the dwindling number of opponents would be hard pressed to refute their accomplishments and shared goal of expunging the Fracturing from the world.

Although Selena had a tendency to ignore titles when addressing others, Wilson chose to interpret that as the sign of a strong will. For unknown reasons, the President could not detect or contact the woman's mental essence. His constituents typically had a strong concentration of mental energies that were located, unsurprisingly, behind their eyes and within their cerebrum. When he gazed into the eyes of his guest, Wilson instead found a space that was seemingly empty as a barren room with no lighting. Only when the mysterious woman spoke would he be able to pick up on traces of her thoughts and intents.

By any other name, that phenomenon was known as basic human conversation.

One of the television crew members called out suddenly, gesturing to his watch to alert President Buren and the remaining staff. "Three minutes to air time!"

Wilson adjusted his tie, looking back to his young aides who had finished their application of his makeup. He raised his arms in a wide spread, motioning with one hand to his guest of honor. "Look after Miss DeLune and see that she is comfortable. Get her a drink, a chair, anything she would require. If she asks you to jump-"

Both of the young women attending the President stood up and saluted him with little hestiation. They replied in unflinching unison, eagerly awaiting further instructions. "How high, sir?"

Wilson laughed warmly, raising his right hand to his brow to return the gesture. "That's the spirit!"



Three minutes later..

President Buren sat upright as the cameras came into focus, centering upon himself and the antique partner's desk that was a staple fixture of the Oval Office. An empty black leather chair was placed to Wilson's left, no less lavish than the handcrafted recliner that was currently occupied by the statesman.

The chief executive of Eagleland wore a somber expression on his face, serious to a fault. In his hands was a stapled set of papers, organized into a summarized report from which he would base his speech.

"Good evening, citizens of Eagleland. My name is Wilson Buren, and I come to you with a very special announcement." He paused for a few seconds, anticipating and imagining the kind of shocked response that he would have received if his address was done before a live audience. "Our nation teeters on the brink of despair, struggling to lift itself up out of radioactive ash and infectious poisoned crystals. For many of us, the last Great War was like the collective shadows of innocent citizens within our former great cities, forever seared into the landscape of our memories."

Wilson fought back tears as his thoughts lingered back towards Eagleland before the superpower was assailed with atomic cruise missiles. Besides the humbling experience of learning the limits of his personal power, the president would never again get to partake of a certain sandwich shop just south of Miami.

"Today, I am here to inform you that we shall suffer no longer. With me tonight is the architect of our nation's revival, and quite possibly, our world's salvation from the crystalline scourge that we know as the Fracturing."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   10th December 2015, 11:34 am

“--!?”

When Jasper's hand suddenly pinned hers against the table to prevent the cartridges from rolling away, Anya's shoulders tensed. She could feel the pulse in his wrist pounding against the top of her hand and that unexpected contact was enough to send a slight shudder down her spine.

His pulse. A bold rhythm so tranquil speaking from the soul...It has been a long time since I've encountered such good vibes—radiating from another human that is.

The young woman would have yelled at her guest again for his actions, but thought better of it as he looked upon her in silence. Instead she feigned innocence, her mouth only slightly agape as her gaze slowly drifted from Jasper's face to their hands at the center of the table. In comparison to the man's calloused hand, Anya's was very smooth and fragile. Her slender fingers bore no rings and her nails were long, but well-kept with a very faint coat of lavender polish to match the color of her painted lips.

If Anya were more interested in Jasper's personal life she would have asked him about his work—what caused his hands to became so rough and why he needed to carry around so much ammunition—but...  

There's something unique about this man and the way his soul speaks to me through his pulse.

Her lips curved upward into a coy smirk when her blue eyes finally met again with his gaze, nonetheless a slight hint of confusion across her largely-annoyed-yet-somehow-amused expression. “Ty zamečátelʹnyj čelovék,” she spoke softly.

Poor fool can't take his eyes off of me. It makes me wonder who he [really] came here to see...

When Jasper finally let go, a gasp escaped the silence of Anya's breath. She quickly reached out and caught onto his hand, bringing it back toward her a bit rougher than intended. For a woman with such delicate hands, her grip was actually quite strong.

Bothering me?...” the blue-haired assistant asked innocently with the curious inflection of her voice as she forced her fingers between his. “...Now why would you think that?” The answer was painfully obvious, the headphones she knew, but teasing another word from him seemed to be her only objective. It didn't matter to her if he decided to clean his magazine or not: she would continue to play her little mind games with him. The strange Russian woman leaned a bit closer to Jasper and spoke to him in an irritated whisper.

“Don't keep me waiting too long now, hun. I don't have all day.” After a long pause, she gave his hand a light squeeze and then released it as she stood up from the table to make her way over to the stove. Anya stumbled a little with her first step, catching herself on the edge of the table and grumbling something in a mixture of her native tongue and the lingua franca about shoes and seismic waves, before proceeding more cautiously over to the sink area where she then reached for a container of black tea in addition to a water jug neatly labeled with the handwritten message Питьевая вода from the cupboard above.

Hope you're okay with black tea, dear, because that's all we have, she thought delightfully to herself, glancing briefly over her shoulder in Jasper's direction as she poured the water from the jug into a steel kettle that was already sitting out on the stove top. Instead of returning to the table, she stood at the stove with her back turned to Jasper, giggling to herself as she plucked through the tea filters in the container.

Just how long are you going to put up with this?

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   6th January 2016, 4:22 am

The fiery-haired Dr. Clarke placed a hand over his midsection, holding in enough of his laughter to keep it at a spirited chuckle. "You're welcome to read over my collection at any time, Ms. Mizuno. However, there is someone I would like you to meet."


He walked into the examination room, beckoning the shy teenager to follow in his footsteps. In a moment, he was at Luna's side, placing one of his hands over her own. He spoke at a lower voice to get the lady's attention, squeezing her own hand softly to reassure that she was in a safe place.

"Luna. I have good news to share, but before that, do you object to the presence of a visitor?"



Elsewhere, in Tomoe's mansion..

For the limited amount of interactions Jasper had with Anya, he was unprepared for what had followed. Just when he thought his ammunition was secured, the lithe Russian beauty immediately caught his hand after he released his grip. Her strength was greater than that suggested by her delicate, manicured fingers.

Okay, she's flirting. This isn't what I wanted at all.

Jasper forced himself to smile at the unexpected variations in the research assistant's mood. She could have invested so much of herself into her work, leaving precious little time for social contact with those outside of Professor Tomoe's mansion. Once Anya let go of him after planting a teasing question into his ears, he began fiddling with the magazine after turning his chair towards the stove.

"Do you really want to know, Anya? You might not like the answer."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   9th January 2016, 7:22 pm

The blue-haired assistant's shoulders tensed at the unanticipated sound of four wooden legs skidding across the vinyl flooring. Surprisingly however, that sound was not as irksome to her as were the words leaving Jasper's mouth.

“Do you really want to know, Anya? You might not like the answer...”

Anya's eyes narrowed.

Oh really now? We'll see about that, she thought to herself in amusement as she proceeded to unscrew the lid from the water jug. After pouring about a quarter of the jug into the steel kettle and rotating the stove knob to its ON position, Anya eventually turned back around to address Jasper, who had surprisingly shifted his chair toward her and the stove. This brought another smirk to the assistant's lips.

“Hun. I'm a physicist. If I don't like an answer, I retest the question using different parameters,” she stated with a shrug and a wink. “...As for explaining any personal thoughts to me...Now that is entirely up to you, love. You are my guest, after all.”

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   1st February 2016, 5:54 am

"Interesting that you should say that," Jasper remaked as he watched Anya set the kettle onto the stove. His hands busied themselves by disassembling the magazine, which was no more complex than merely removing its floor plate. Once that was done, he withdrew a spring with a small piece of black plastic attached to one end.

One brief glance at the spring was enough to identify the problem. After completing his assessment, Anya's guest then looked up to her and spoke the words that came to mind. Though his speech was spontaneous, Jasper's voice suggested that he had been thinking over the young lady's disposition with more than a fleeting interest. "You're a brilliant young woman with amazing attention to detail. You are very passionate about your work, like the way I participated in the commodities market before it was burned to the ground."

Placing his hands on either end of the spring, Jasper compressed the coil of metal wire a few times. "I also think you get frustrated easily when things don't go your way. Perhaps you have sensitive hearing, or you simply work better in a quiet and controlled environment." Satisfied that he had solved the problem, Jasper reassembled the metal magazine before Anya's eyes and casually began to refill it with his precious ammunition.

"I worry that you would be lost in the reality of this world. Outside of a few safe havens, like your clean and stable laboratory, most of the world is chaotic, dirty, violent, and noisy."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   20th February 2016, 11:55 pm

LUNA


The distraction of a doctor's voice, and the withdrawal of the stranger actually seemed to calm down the beginnings of what she thought was an impending spell. Strange, she had been more afraid it would be worse alone and had felt a pang of sadness at the loss of her visitor, but it seemed to have helped. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm herself. I just want to get out of here and back to my own room. Surely I can hold it together that long.

Some sort of announcement could be overheard, and Luna scowled when she recognized the voice. What was that warmonger Buren up to this time? Hadn't he caused enough trouble? His name always kept coming up ,followed by reports of trouble. She didn't remember what happened, but her gut told her Buren was bad news.

Her thoughts were turned away from the broadcast at the touch of a warm hand, and Luna realized she had not even heard anyone come in. Relief flooded through her as she realized she was that much closer to freedom and her own bed.

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"Luna. I have good news to share, but before that, do you object to the presence of a visitor?"

She could not hide a small hint of a smile. Good news was what she had been waiting for. A visitor? Luna could think of no one who would come to visit her. Puzzled and curious she responded. "Thank you Doctor. Sure, I don't mind. Who is it?"

AMI


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"You're welcome to read over my collection at any time, Ms. Mizuno. However, there is someone I would like you to meet."

Ami broke into a warm smile. Gratitute made her eyes sparkle as she held the book close to her chest. This was the best news she had received all day. "Thank you Doctor Clarke. Thank you so much. I'll try not to be a bother or a distraction I promise. I really do appreciate it."

She had already taken inventory of the books she had seen in his office weeks before, and now her mind played over them, imagining what she would learn as she read each and every one. So rapt in her daydream it took a second to process what the doctor said. "Oh?"

Who could it be? The blue haired teen obediently followed behind the doctor, only to arrive back at the same room. Should I tell him we met already? Well, sort of anyway. She stopped at the threshold, a bit anxious at encountering the strange woman with bandaged eyes again.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   24th March 2016, 12:07 pm

Without removing her gaze from Jasper, the strange Russian woman reached for the cupboard and retrieved two little porcelain cups which she then placed onto matching white tea plates and slid across the counter to the metal tray by the sink. She listened closely to the words being spoken about her. A brilliant young woman with amazing attention to detail? Passionate about work? Anya couldn't help but offer Jasper a gratifying smirk when he flooded her with the sudden compliments.

Why are you even bringing this up? Are you trying to impress me? The Professor's blue-haired assistant wondered as she carefully nudged the cups onto the center of the tray. She did not mind the man's unusual interest in her. In fact, his attentiveness only made him an easier target for the woman and her shenanigans. But as he continued to unveil his innermost thoughts, Anya's smirk slowly receded. She stared at him with an unnatural stillness in her deep blue eyes.

...I worry that you would be lost in the reality of this world. Outside of a few safe havens...most of the world is chaotic, dirty, violent, and [noisy.]

You don't even know who I am, she thought behind her offended look.

“Hun, I don't think you reali—” Suddenly, Anya jolted into a more upright position. Her shoulders tensed and her knees locked together. As she whipped her head over her left shoulder, her gaze shot from her guest to the dark hallway. She had heard a very slight shuffling from the basement, and it seemed to be approaching the kitchen. “Sorry, hun. Looks like our time is up,” she announced abruptly. To Jasper, it was probably quite strange to see the woman so alarmed by seemingly nothing. However, a few moments later, a tall shadowy figure with a pair of glowing lenses and a wide pink grin peered out from behind the dark entryway.

“A tea party...and I wasn't invited?” the Professor mused, his right hand placed thoughtfully against his chin. Somewhere in the richness of the man's voice, Anya heard what she thought was a spike of slight disappointment, a subtle shrillness in his otherwise monotonous tone that let her know he had been alerted to Jasper's presence much earlier. But why he hadn't bothered intervening sooner was a complete mystery to her. When the blue-haired woman finally decided to speak with her superior she resumed a more relaxed stance, nevertheless addressing him much more formally than she had Jasper, their relationship strictly professional.

“We were just about to have some tea. Would you like some too, Professor Tomoe?” she asked, motioning a hand to the steaming kettle on the stove.

Without speaking the Professor stepped out from the shadows, cracked his neck, and walked over to the dining room table chuckling quietly to himself. He did not answer his subordinate's question directly, but made it clear that he was not about to return downstairs any time soon when he sat across from Jasper in her chair and began to shamelessly chow down on the cookies at the center of the table. “Hmm... Much drier than I recall. Interesting.” The white-haired man held a cookie up to the light and inspected it as if it were one of his laboratory specimens. “What do you think, Anya?” He extended his arm outward offering the confectionery treat to her, completely oblivious to her worsening mood.

Anya briefly frowned at the change of plans—she wasn't through with Jasper; she hadn't even made her retort yet!—but she was not audacious enough to order her superior out of her chair, nor was she about to take the cookie from him or bring up her purpose for hogging his guest. Instead she played along with the Professor's examination, hoping that he would forget about the whole meeting. “They seem normal to me. They are tea biscuits; you dunk them in your tea, remember?” she lied, feigning a sweet smile.

“Ah, yes. I remember now. Excellent choice, Anya.”

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   1st April 2016, 8:11 pm

When it became apparent that Anya and Jasper were no longer alone, the lab assistant's guest quickly pocketed the remaining ammunition and equipment spread upon the table. While he could only guess at Tomoe's feelings towards anything involving the military, a conservative approach wasn't going to harm their relationship.

"Ah! Just the man I was hoping to see." Jasper bowed briefly from his chair, acknowledging Anya's senior with a presentable smile and his undivided attention. While Tomoe was not without his own quirks, it was important to remember that many of Jasper's own treasure-finding ventures were made possible as a result through their collaboration.

"How are things with yourself and your daughter?"


Dr. Clarke squeezed Luna's hand when she reacted to the incoming broadcast from Eagleland's president. Turning slightly at the waist, he gestured between the two women. "Luna, your visitor is Ms. Mizuno. She is one of our residents.. not yet a full fledged doctor, but a remarkable young lady with a passion for knowledge.

Not wanting to leave Ami's curiosity untilled, the expert pathologist pointed his free hand towards a microscope along with a knowing smile - one that suggested Ami was free to examine the slides at her leisure. 

"The good news is that I've reviewed your blood samples, and they have no signs of infection. Over time, you should recover your eyesight with no other complications."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   3rd May 2016, 10:12 am

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   5th May 2016, 11:06 am

"How are things with yourself and your daughter?"

Professor Tomoe took one last look at the cookie in his hand and shoved it into his mouth before giving Jasper his undivided attention. “Why thank you for asking!” he responded to the question in an over-exaggerated yell. “Things are going well with us for the most part!” When he suddenly began cackling, bits of cookie sputtered from his mouth.

Anya's right eye twitched a little as crumbs rained all over the man's lap and the floor—the clean floor that she had painstakingly swept the other day after the Professor had accidentally knocked over a jar of sugar in one of his spur-of-the-moment fits of scientific ingenuity. “Professor,” the blue-haired assistant began, taking a single step forward and extending an arm outward in her superior's direction, “Do you need me to bring you a napki—”

“—But we'd be even better with a cup of coffee in our hands, now wouldn't we?” Professor Tomoe bellowed over his assistant's offer. “We've been drinking black tea ever since the specialty store in Alice Springs shut down... Ahh, what an unfortunate day it was when Anya returned empty-handed from her trip to the store...” The Professor paused for a moment and shifted his lanky lab-coated figure into a more thoughtful position. “The coffee there was excellent; the best I have ever tasted. It possessed an underlying savory, yet delicate quality and a malt-like consistency, both complimented ever so slightly by a rich sepia tone...” The man did not appear to have noticed that he was getting side-tracked from their meeting, for he continued to spend a good five minutes reminiscing and describing the texture of the coffee grounds to Jasper like he was some sort of coffee connoisseur.

Anya felt herself figuratively fading from the room. Sure Professor Tomoe had somewhat forgotten about the meeting as she had hoped, but in the process, he had also forgotten about her and the importance of afternoon tea. The Russian woman made no effort to hide her scowl as she glanced over to her kettle on the stove. Tea not coffee, was held in high regard by her native culture.

If Jasper knows how to be a proper guest, he will drink what is offered to him, Anya reassured herself, Let that be a test of his worth.

She silently returned her focus to the discussion happening at the kitchen table and stared at the two men as they interacted, a curious sight indeed with the Professor flailing his arms around very animated and passionate in his response about that coffee he spent so much time describing, in contrast to Jasper who sat there patiently, seemingly unfazed by the madman's digression. But the Professor's laughter soon died down, and for a moment he actually started to sound serious.

“...I can't send Anya there anymore to pick up the groceries—to Alice Springs, that is,” he stated grimly, “An unusual crystal growth has nucleated in the region and has coated I'd say, well over half of the buildings in the city. I would have asked Anya to collect a sample for laboratory analysis, but it appears that the crystal will readily replace anything it comes in contact with, altering the make up of the host structure with elements of its own, leaving behind what we might call a pseudomorph.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   14th May 2016, 11:27 pm



The nerves that she should have felt never came, and Selena simply sat and listened, waiting for her time to shine. The cameras were focusing on her, getting the perfect frame she desired before the time for her to go one arose. Finally, her cue came, and Selena straightened her shoulders just a tad more. Her eyes were calm, but cold - sharp, but wise. The aura she gave demanded attention and respect.

How much of that aura was real and how much was illusion by magic was something that she had honestly lost track of.

"Citizens of Eagleland," Selena started, her voice like syrup that was a tad too sweet. "My name is Selena DeLune, and it is my greatest honor to be the hand that will guide you out of this crippling society. Destruction, debt, and death plagues us all, and it is my sole ambition to rescue you from yourselves." She paused, her eyes darkening. "There will be no more nonsense. Laws will be made and enforced, and they will be followed. If this country is to return to its former glory, you must follow my every order. Your cities will follow laws, your mountains will bend to wills, or they will burn and fall. This is my Eagleland, and I will see it destroyed before I surrender it."

She leaned back in her chair, having said her piece. Her gaze would not meet Wilson's.

Cite:
 

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   5th June 2016, 8:46 am

That might have set us back a year or more..

Wilson forced himself to keep smiling as Miss Delune delivered her proclamation. He had to doubt that the woman had any previous experience with Eagleland's citizens; their traditions were founded in an overwhelmingly negative response to encroaching government power. He had little use for fear that was turned inward at his own empire; it would quickly sour before being put to constructive uses, like securing overseas territory.

Rising from his seat, Wilbur gestured to his presumptive First Lady. "Within her hands, Selena holds the promise of a glorious future. We are so very close to reclaiming our world, and we need your help to ensure that it survives this unwholesome crystal blight."



Jasper sat quietly in his seat, listening to the professor's energized tangent about the absence of coffee. That was a beverage Jasper knew well, yet he was more than content to let Tomoe reminisce about the texture of his beloved brew. To keep up the image of attention, Jasper added a timely comment. "If I can find a brick of Bustelo, I'll have to brew you a cup of espresso." He wondered how far the professor's gears would be wound after a single cafecito.

As their conversation drifted to a more somber topic, Jasper's otherwise stoic demeanor then began to soften. "Then it's like the phenomenon I witnessed in Japan. It spread like wildfire there, behaving in the same.. manner that you described." If either the professor or Anya were observing the young man's facial expressions, Jasper was having a difficult time retaining his composure. There was plenty of reasons to be angry at that fiasco, and he didn't want to poison his hosts with the contempt he felt for the failure of the world's governments to aid Japan.

"I've been commissioned to explore near Alice Springs," Jasper finally announced after making a conscious effort to calm down. "I'm not worried about the crystal pseudomorphs, but opportunists like me who are far less scrupulous. Did you find the primers that I requested?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   10th July 2016, 11:57 pm

Anya furrowed her brow in confusion. ...Alice Springs? Are you sure? She thought to herself as the two men changed the tone of their discussion. ...I recall a strange crystal growth, but I do not remember traveling [that] far before encountering instances of it. You must be thinking of something else, Professor hun.

Ssssss.....

The gentle sound of churning bubbles tickled the Russian woman's sensitive ears. Still as focused as ever on the verbal exchange between Professor Tomoe and Jasper, Anya reached over the counter and snatched the steel kettle away from the stove top before it could emit one of its high-pitched whistles. After a good minute or two of feeling around for the correct dial on the stove panel, and then actually rotating the dial to its OFF position, Anya lowered the kettle of boiling water onto the metal tray by the sink. Next she took the two white porcelain cups and their matching dishes, added the tea filters, and then neatly placed them beside the kettle. Her final addition to the tray was a small dish of sugar and jam, which she retrieved from the cupboard after pulling out two teaspoons from a drawer.

Now, actually walking over to the table and presenting the tea to her “colleagues” was quite a complex process. As Anya lifted the tray away from the counter, she hesitated to take her first step. A single imperfection in the flooring or a loud noise, such as the Professor's inevitable cackling, could send her tripping over herself if she was not careful. (And she was not about to have a repeat of this morning's mess!) Luckily, the two men retained their inside voices—or at least what Anya considered to be an inside voice—long enough for her to reach the table without losing a single part of the tea set.

The blue-haired assistant carefully set the tray next to the cookies on the table and then placed a teacup in front of each man. Out of courtesy, Anya poured for Jasper first. She feigned a smile at him and silently motioned her hand to the cookies, sugar, and jam, while mouthing the phrase
Please help yourself. Interrupting the conversation would be quite rude after all, and a good host was not rude—or was she? As Anya went to pour the Professor's tea, her curiosity remained on Jasper's current demeanor.

Something about the Professor's sudden mention of the crystal growth seemed to set the man on the edge of his seat. Sure his heart maintained a steady rhythm, but Anya heard what she thought was a slight change in his vibrations: a peculiar softening of the soul frequency. A light hum caged by a darker overtone, both of which she generally associated with anger or agitation. Further evidence for this interpretation was provided by Jasper's notable effort to maintain a noncommittal expression.

The false smile in the corners of Anya's lips wore off when her guest spoke up about a similar phenomenon in Japan. It was then Anya understood, to some degree, the root of his sudden frustration. He must have been referring to the same towering pseudomorphs in Tokyo that separated her from her original research group and prompted her emigration to Darwin. There was no doubt about it! But had the abnormal crystal growth finally crystallized all of Japan?

The Russian woman wanted to ask Jasper more about the fracturing and the present state of the Japanese government, but he did not seem too interested in an in-depth discussion on the topic, for he immediately shifted the focus of the conversation back to Alice Springs.

Did he just say that he was commissioned to explore Alice Springs?...By whom? The young assistant's eyes narrowed with suspicion. What could he be hiding from us?

She let her gaze wander across Jasper's side of the table as she thought to herself about the magazines and his rough hands, his accent and his calmness—ultimately zoning out, the black tea an endless stream of rich brown flowing from the silver spout.

“Like the view, Anya?” Tomoe commented in response to her prolonged staring, perhaps in an effort to bring her attention back to the neglected tea kettle tilted in her hand.

“Hmm?” A single blink was all it took for Anya to bring herself back to reality—reality being somewhere other than Jasper's face. A slight blush filled her pale cheeks as she lowered her gaze. “No, I was jus—Oh my!” Anya jerked the spout upright. Dark tea trickled over the rim of the cup and down her fingers, where it eventually pooled into the dish underneath. She made eye contact with the Professor, flustered nevertheless, quickly jolting her shoulders back and bringing herself to attention to make herself appear a bit more formal in his presence. Unfortunately, all of this sudden movement caused some more tea to splash off to the side. “Dammit!” she cursed under her breath. Another lovely addition to the previous collection of stains on her lab coat.

“Forgive me, Professor Tomoe. I will get you another cup,” she apologized with a slight bow. But before she could wipe away any excess liquid from the platter, the Professor silently reached forward and accepted the beverage as if nothing had ever happened. He brought the cup to his nose, inhaled a breath full of steam, and then suddenly dumped the boiling liquid into his mouth.

“Ahhhh...How refreshing!” he exclaimed loudly as if the situation couldn't get any more awkward. Anya's right eye twitched.

“...Professor!” she uttered in shock and disgust as her superior coughed out the tea filter and placed it back into his now-empty porcelain cup. Sometimes she just couldn't stand the Professor's bizarre table manners. Did he not understand the importance of being a proper host or what? Luckily their guest seemed unfazed by the strange man's antics for the most part. Anya was certain that any other ordinary visitor would have left by now, but Jasper wasn't necessarily what one would call 'ordinary.' Anya gave the young man one last curious glance before excusing herself from the table with Tomoe's empty cup before matters could be made any worse.

I'm not through with you and your pleasant-sounding heartbeat just yet, Jasper hun. As soon as this meeting is over, [you] will be talking to me again. I will make sure of it! A confident grin replaced her scowl as she made her way over to the sink. Of course as soon as the young lab assistant was out of the Professor's line of vision, he returned to the original topic at hand: the primers.

“The primers yes,” Professor Tomoe began in a more composed manner, “I believe I've found what you've requested—with the lacquer sealant, correct?” he asked Jasper.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   10th August 2016, 8:08 pm

A mild expression of surprise crossed Jasper's countenance when Tomoe suddenly posed a question to his assistant. Though the young man tended towards a state of heightened awareness, he had chosen to relax while Anya had gone through the steps to prepare tea for the pair. Watching her go about her work too closely was, among other things, kind of rude and discomforting. At least, that was what he would have thought of anyone watching him closely.

The professor's guest had to bite his lip and avoid jumping to conclusions. Before Anya's reality check, she seemed to have been gazing entirely in Jasper's direction. Better that he not call any attention to it; the blue-haired lady seemed to be embarrassed enough at Tomoe's.. peculiar drinking habits.

When the question of the primers came up, Jasper was quick to confirm his previous request while partaking of Anya's offered tea and cookies. He paused to reflect on the heated liquid, managing a smile at the taste and texture of the refreshments; together they offered him a rare and soothing feeling of internal warmth. Perhaps he'd have to thank Anya for it later.

"That's right; I need to keep my shells resistant to weather. We're getting awfully close to the wet season."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Fractured Zenith   19th September 2016, 10:35 am

“Excellent,” the Professor replied with a single nod of acknowledgement. He reached forward and popped another cookie into his mouth before continuing, “Now, if there isn't anything else we need to discuss, I think it would be a good time for Anya to retrieve your packages so that you may continue on your way...” The strange man craned his neck over his shoulder and called out to his subordinate in his booming voice: “...Anya?

Anya was in the middle of setting down the Professor's dishes into the sink when she caught ear of his request. Her immediate response was to drop the platter and reach for the pair of headphones resting against her neck. Cringing, the woman clutched onto her headphones as she resisted the urge to place them over her ears. Through her cringe she managed to smile, but it was horribly obvious how uncomfortable she was.

“Anya.” The Professor repeated when she did not answer him.

Still somewhat flustered by the whole ordeal with the Professor and his unusual knack for making meetings more awkward than necessary, the Russian woman looked back at the table, but this time she made a conscious effort to keep her gaze fixated on the person she was talking to.

“Yes, yes. I heard you the first time,” she replied to the Professor in a rushed and rather irritated tone, stumbling a little as she let go of her headphones and pushed herself away from the sink into a brisk walk. “I'll go fetch Jasper hun's supplies right away!~” The blue-haired assistant made brief eye contact with Jasper and waved at the pair before quickly disappearing into the dark hallway.

“Working hard as always, that Anya...” the Professor stated to Jasper in slight amusement. He stood up from the table and pushed in his chair, and then gestured toward the hallway. “Well, then. Shall we?”

~~~~~

Once Anya was a safe distance from the kitchen, her smile faded and she began to grumble. “Fetch the packages...What all does that man need from us this time?” She roared as she burst into the dark laboratory. For a change, the woman actually flipped on one of the overhead lights instead of trying to shuffle her way through the maze of equipment and tables in the darkness. She then crept over to the center of the room and started pulling open all of the larger cabinet drawers until she was finally able to locate Jasper's supplies. The two boxes were much more compact than the blue-haired assistant had anticipated, but that did not stop her from clearing a space on the table for them. “I wonder what is inside...”

As she set the packages onto the table, she briefly glanced over her shoulder toward the entryway. Anya was not about to pass down the opportunity to take a little peek. She was alone after all, so a little snooping around wouldn't hurt as long as she carefully taped the boxes back up the way she found them, right? Without further hesitation, Anya extended her index finger and sliced through the tape with her claw-like finger nail. “So these are the primers he was discussing with the Professor,” she uttered to herself below her breath, pulling out one of several cartons from the box and inspecting its label: Shotshell Primers. To her surprise, the second package was full of the same thing. “Just what exactly does he need all of these for?” And then it struck her: Could he be an assassin? Anya's deep blue eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“Jasper Franklin hun, we have a lot more talking to do than I originally thought...But first,” the woman removed one of the primers from its carton and reached into her deep coat pocket, “a little bonus gift—just in case we don't have enough time to talk today; I'll at least know where to find you later, dear.” Smirking she substituted a metal disk of a similar size into the row and then returned the carton to the bottom of the box.

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[Advanced] Fractured Zenith

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