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Cleo blushed a little when he asked if she’d woken up naked as well. So that was a common thing? And why was he wondering?
They had to get past the secretary though, and while Cleo was a little at a loss about how to deal with the need for an appointment at first Issac had it handled. Showing their power was the perfect way! That was right, this lady probably couldn’t tell them apart from anyone else. Cleo followed Issac’s lead, and smiled at their ‘luck’. She was enjoying this, and tried not to laugh.
At least until they got into the elevator, finally. It was like the lady thought they’d never used an elevator or keycard before. There Cleo laughed and leaned back against the grey metal wall,[+hotpink “Oh wow, that was good. You got her to move fast. She sort of panicked, didn’t she?”]
Cleo wandered into the waiting room and to the empty desk,[+hotpink “I guess so. Not a very interesting one. So um… Is the whole arriving here naked thing a… thing? Sorry, you don’t need to—I mean, you probably don’t even know either. Nevermind.”] That didn’t end up coming out as well as she hoped it would. It sounded a little less awkward in her head. She ran her hand over the smooth black surface of the desk. It was really clean though, and her hand left marks where she touched it.
She turned around and leaned back against the desk when the man that had to be Mr. Telmund entered. Did he try to match the decor, or was the decor picked to match him? Cleo wondered, but didn’t ask. She let Issac take the lead on negotiations.
He was good at this. He had Telmund interested. Telmund was ambitious enough to go for the plan, as unusual as it sounded. It did sound unusual, even when they left out that their other teammates were [i Chaos], which Cleo still didn’t quite get. Well, she wasn’t going to ruin this deal by saying anything. She just smiled while they shook on the deal.
[+hotpink “Fantastic. So let’s make sure you can reach us when you want us. Then we have some work to do.”]
What did he mean about adding to their ranks? She wondered, but obviously it wouldn’t be good to let this Telmund in on too much information. He only needed to know what they wanted him to. After a little more negotiation about phones and some starter cash for tonight they agreed to return tomorrow evening to iron out more details.
It was on their way out that Cleo smiled at Issac and started to talk more freely,[+hotpink “You’re pretty good at talking with people. That went really well. What did you mean about adding to our ranks though? I mean we’re not going to find many Order people up for our um, unusual arrangement.”]
If anyone could figure it out though she was pretty sure it would be Issac. He was so clever. And good looking. That was beside the point. He was smart and obviously the brains of this operation. He also had a serious gift for sweet talking people into his insane plan, including her.
When Issac and Cleo disappeared into a building and didn’t come right out Irina and Belladonna figured they would find ways to stay nearby as long as it was clear. At first Belladonna just dragged Irina along like she was looking for something, then after finding a bench to sit on that let them just barely see the front door of the building Issac and Cleo had gone in she sat down with her.
It was inconspicuous enough as long as no one that spotted them was Order. If anyone from Order got close enough they’d be screwed no matter how well they blended in. Belladonna looked pretty relaxed for being in Order territory and leaned her head against Irina’s shoulder,[+purple “Don’t look so worried. [i They] have nothing to worry about here. We’re the ones who have to watch out.”]
Irina did look a little worried. While Belladonna was looking around more generally at people passing by Irina watched the door pretty closely,[#a31200 “I suppose. I’ll still feel better once we’re done with this. Do you think this will work?”]
Belladonna shifted a little,[+purple “I guess? I mean someone is bound to go along with this and fork over some money for a chance at their own Order members. I’m just hoping it’s enough money to be worth the risk. Maybe next time we should send them in alone. The less time we spend over here the better.”]
[#a31200 “Right…”] Irina could see the logic. Issac and Cleo weren’t at much risk of being attacked here while her and Belladonna were. She still didn’t really like it. She wished she could have gone in with Issac. Not knowing what was going on in the building was driving her nuts. Were things going well? They hadn’t come out yet, and everything was pretty normal. A few people walking down the street in business clothes. Some of them shot dirty looks at Irina and Belladonna when they saw them. They obviously didn’t look like they belonged here, they weren’t dressed nice enough and the fighting wasn’t doing their appearance any favor either.
Irina figured if there was a problem inside they would know. Issac would find some way to signal them. [#a31200 “We’ll know if they’re in trouble, right?”]
Belladonna rolled her eyes,[+purple “Yeah, probably. Stop staring. I’m sure things are fine.”]
Irina being antsy was bothering Belladonna, but there wasn’t much to do until the two finally emerged from the building. Irina stood up, and Belladonna was forced to get up, grumbling a bit,[+purple “See? Everything is fine. Ignore them, or pretend to. We’ll follow their lead from a distance.”]
Either the meeting went well and they’d meet back at the Scarlet Royals to talk, or they needed to try another place and it would mean more waiting. At least so far no one who knew what they really were had spotted them, just a bunch of people thinking they were homeless.
Issac was really surprised when Cleo mentioned how long she's been here. More surprised to hear that she hadn't run in to anyone involved in the War until tonight. [b “Wow.”] Issac responds. [b “I've only been here two nights as well, and the first night I ran in to Irina and then a few members from both sides. It was a complete shit-show... Did you wake up naked too by any chance?”] And then his brain caught up with his mouth. [b “Uhhh... Don't answer that! Inappropriate.”]
They enter the main lobby, and it was a large empty space with mute colours of greys and whites. The only source of colour in this 1984-esque area was the receptionist, who when she looked up from her computer, gave them a practised smile and Issac had the distinct feeling that this was probably going to be the hardest part of their encounter. The receptionist. It wasn't like they were wearing 'I'm Order and I'm Chaos' shirts, after all, and regular citizens probably couldn't discern the difference between them and regular seedy looking citizens... Thinking that, Issac was suddenly extremely self-conscious under the judgmental eye of the receptionist despite his powers of rationale and was glad that Cleo took the lead.
He would've assumed that was enough, but again forgot that their new adversary couldn't pick them out as Order or Chaos to save their lives, and slapped them with the 'appointment' card. This was wasting time! Issac approached the desk, swiped a business card and then frowned at the receptionist. [b “Yeah, you can put the two of us down as 'Order'.”] And with that, the card he was holding began to glow a blue-ish silver before it burned out in to ash. [b “And we'd like to see...”] He looks down at the stack of business cards again, swipes it, and glances at the name. [b “Mr. Telmund at his earliest convenience. While you do that, I think we'll go do a little more shopping and see who else is in need of some Warriors.”] He places the card in his pocket and begins to turn away to leave.
“Just a moment!” The receptionist says energetically, and begins tapping on her keyboard with fervour. After a moment, she looks up again at them as if she had just finished a marathon. “What luck... It looks like a spot just opened up for the two of you to see Mr. Telmund.”
[b “What luck.”] Issac repeats with a small grin, nodding his head to Cleo. The receptionist then gives them a keycard and verbal instructions, which Issac felt was kind of patronizing. Essentially she just told them to use the keycard to get on the elevator, go to the top floor, and then use the keycard to go in to Telmund's 'Guest Office'. Pretty simple if you think about it, so you really couldn't blame Issac for feeling slightly irritated when she explained it to them slowly and loudly like they were dumb [i and] hard of hearing.
Following the instructions, the two go up the elevator and use the keycard and go for the 'Guest Office'... Whatever that was. But when they entered it, it really just looked like a fancy waiting area. Lots of grey and white decor, black leather seats, and a dark desk that was devoid of any knickknacks or keepsakes. [b “I guess 'Guest Office' is just fancy talk for waiting room.”] Issac comments, looking around. However, he didn't have a lot of time to inspect when the door slid open. In the doorway appeared a man in his 40's, dressed in a suit that matched the surroundings, salt and pepper hair, and a pair of smart looking glasses. [b “Mr. Telmund I presume?”]
“Correct.” The man says coolly, stepping in to the room. His nose wrinkles up a little bit and Issac frowns again. “What do two Order members want with the likes of me? I figured the cutthroats at AgriCo and Heartland already scooped up the lot of you.”
Issac slowly turns his head to look at Cleo and then back Telmund. [b “We're here with a proposition, and we were looking for someone who was hungry. AgriCo and Heartland are no doubt full of Order, and we're not interested in the scraps they'd give us for simply existing in their little private military.”]
Telmund seems to think on that a little bit, sizing up the two of them again. Issac couldn't really tell what he was thinking, the execs face not changing at all. “So you want me to sponsor the two of you to what exactly? Order is only as good as the number of bodies in it, and the two of you are just that: two.”
Issac doesn't miss a beat. [b “I thought you might say that; we're actually four. And recently acquired the Scarlet Royals gang and their territory. So we're not coming here just the two of us or empty handed.”]
And that's when Telmund seemed to get a little more interested. “That's something I haven't heard of before; Order as gang leaders.”
[b “We like to be a little bit more opportunistic, and if we can grab up gangs or take them from Chaos, it means an easier time winning the War and less blood running through the streets.”]
“An interesting opinion, for sure. How much is this going to cost me if I agree to this?”
[b “It depends on what you'd want us to do. But our standard going rate for the time being is room, board, and some fun money to keep the Scarlet Royals loyal. I assume you're paying protection to the others for their Order members?”]
“That is a correct assumption. Its all about money on this world.”
And Issac smiles a little at that. [b “As it is mine. Stop paying them and we'll be your on scene assurance, and we'll be sure to keep our own funny business away from the area. I plan on making a point of adding to our ranks.”]
“A most interesting offer, how about we do a trial run as I have never had my own Order members before? It would also be interesting to note that the others are raising their price for protection later this week.”
Issac smiles and goes in for a handshake to seal the deal. [b “What luck.”]
Irina nodded to Issac when he stopped her,[#a31200 “You too.”] She wasn’t sure what else to say or do. She didn’t really want to split up the group like this, but it really was the smartest option.
Then it was just her and Belladonna taking the more direct approach on foot. She figured she might get tired, but this body just kept going. Apparently a walk, even if it was a long one, wasn’t enough to get her tired. Slowly the buildings started looking nicer. They were cleaner, and obviously newer. There were fewer unpleasant smells wafting over from dark corners too. The people looked cleaner, but also gave Irina and Belladonna a little more space. The two of them weren’t dressed especially well, though Irina was just glad she was wearing something.
Even at night the area was busting. Irina would have gotten distracted and lost probably, but Belladonna kept them on track to get to the corner she told Issac they would be at. Even though they left before Issac and Cleo, they didn’t have long to wait before spotting the two Order members of their team.
[+purple “Now we just keep our distance while keeping an eye on them. And try to avoid trouble. Easy, right?”] Belladonna looped her arm in with Irina and walked along like she didn’t have a care in the world. Irina looked a little more uncomfortable, but tried to play along.
Cleo was having a better time. She didn’t chat much at first, not wanting to distract Issac and get them lost. Just commented a bit on the trains or their route, or how tall the buildings were. She still seemed pretty impressed by the flying cars. She told Issac how she’d love to be able to ride in one at some point.
[+hotpink “Sure, it’s worth a try.”] It wasn’t the biggest building. She supposed that made sense, they didn’t want to attract too much attention and have anyone find out they were acting all friendly with a couple of Chaos people. Why was he teaming up with them anyway? What was his end goal? He seemed like a really smart guy, he obviously had a plan.
Cleo started to walk up to the building, not looking back to see if the Chaos girls were following. She guessed they probably were. [+hotpink “So Issac, how long have you been here? This is only my second night here. First time running into anyone else actually, you know, involved in the whole thing.”]
Her second night too, so it was possible Order and Chaos summoned people in small batches. Not all at once, and not too spread out either. Inside the building was the main lobby. Like so many business buildings the lobby was way bigger than required. It was made to look impressive. At the main desk, which was a semi-circle, was the receptionist. She looked up from her screen at the newcomers off the street and prepared her best ‘Oh sweetie, I think you’re lost’ smile for them. They looked too scruffy to be the usual sort of client, but she still needed to be polite because [i occasionally] rich people were just eccentric like that. “Good evening, how can I help you?”
Cleo looked at Issac briefly before smiling at the receptionist, either completely missing the tone that said ‘You don’t belong here’ or deliberately ignoring it,[+hotpink “Hi, we’d like to talk to whoever is in charge here.”]
The receptionists smile widened. “I’m afraid that’s impossible without an appointment. Could I get your name, please?”
Check if they had an appointment, and if not kick them to the curb. The first obstacle to getting ahold of an exec was going to be getting past their small army of receptionists and assistants, all trained to shoo people away.
Issac was glad everyone seemed to be on board, the fight they just participated in not making them want to call it a night early. However, he [i did] notice Irina's hesitance about going in alone with Cleo, and he had a feeling it was because of that. She didn't trust her, and it was likely Cleo didn't trust them either, but he likened this to Belladonna and his relationship. It was probably because they were on different sides, and the desire to kill the other team made it hard to feel safe... Fortunately for Issac, his secondary power made him more rational so he didn't kill Belladonna when her back was turned, and his relationship with Irina kept him stable and accountable when he felt the need... Which was often.
Taking the hand offered, Issac stands up, noting the tingling feeling in his leg as described, but before he could say anything, Belladonna shows him what she found on the Goober and gives him some instructions as well as her side of the plan [b “Perfect.”] Issac says with a nod. [b “Once we figure all of this out, we can figure out what we want in the way of weapons, the Scarlet Royals cut, and communication.”] The last part was to answer her earlier question. Right now they didn't really have many options unless they wanted to communicate with smoke signals. The technology here was more advanced than on Earth, and he didn't think they had a lot of time to figure that out before the end of the night. They could dedicate time to that when they finished the more important business here. [b “If that's everything, lets get this show on the road.”]
The two Chaos girl were to leave first, and just as they were about to, Issac places a hand of Irina's shoulder to stop her. [b “Be careful out there, Irina. We're almost done this night.”] He says with a small smile. For the situation, it was all that he could offer, despite wanting to give her more... But the thought of the end of their first date, despite his more rational mind here, made him internally cringe for a moment. It was a wonder how he ever got a girlfriend.
Once the two left, Issac and Cleo waited a respectable amount of time before leaving themselves. He followed Belladonna's instructions, leading them to the train and hopping on before hopping off at the business district. It wasn't hard to find because geographically, it often coincides with the "city centre" or "downtown", but the two concepts differ: many cities have a central business district located away from its downtown. And downtown for the most part was where their base of operations were. It was a little crummy looking, and now that they were here, Issac noticed the stark contrast of the areas. The business district was more brightly lit and more lively despite it being night. The people were dressed better, and there wasn't the same signs of wear and tear on the streets or buildings, and they were built sleeker looking than the buildings downtown. There was heavier traffic from the flying cars above them as well.
Looking over his shoulder, Issac spots Irina and Belladonna, giving them a brief nod before turning back to look at the buildings in front of them. So far it didn't look like there was anyone from Order and Chaos around here, but that could quickly change. Not to mention, Issac had no idea who already had their own Order lackeys or not... He'd assume the futuristic looking Empire State Building would already be taken and he flocked towards one of the closer buildings. Considering he was [i almost] a lawyer, in a business standpoint, it would make sense as to businesses grabbing up as many Order members as possible to make some kind of makeshift PMC group. People enlisted in to this war by Order probably weren't picky, joining up with who had more Order members, and then that exec would lord it over the others, offering them protection as long as they paid up... At least that was the theory Issac was going with for now. Only time would tell.
[b “This one.”] Issac points out to Cleo. It was an office building, being dwarfed by a few other of the bigger buildings in the area. [b “Why don't e go ask them if they're open for business.”]
Irina and Cleo both moved toward Issac when he tried to stand. Then they looked at each other as if wondering what the other thought she was doing. Getting along was easier said than done, but at least they weren’t quite at each others throats. Yet. Tiara seemed displeased by his attempt to stand too soon and nudged his leg with her head with a little sound like a meow that sounded like she was trying to scold him.
Cleo’s mouth twitched like she was trying not to smile. Whatever Tiara intended, Cleo clearly understood. Her expression went more serious and thoughtful while Issac explained his plan, and her part in it.
Belladonna took the device from him and shrugged,[+purple “I can do lookout and directions. How do we stay in touch, or is that something we figure out once we have some money?”] She was already looking over the map. She wasn’t [i super] familiar with the area, but she’d been here asking around just long enough that she was the default directions person for now. Great.
Irina had her arms crossed and was thinking things over. She looked calm, but the slightly faster movement of the blood around her gave away her anxiety. He’d be going in without her, which she didn’t exactly like, but he had a point. If they were [i both] Order then this sort of thing probably wouldn’t happen if they ran into anyone who was also Order. Him going with Cleo was the option least likely to get him sucked into a fight to begin with. She nodded before answering,[#a31200 “It makes sense. Just… be careful. We’ll meet back here. If we’re going to split up for safety, then let’s not get seen as a big group outside here unless we have to.”]
The last thing she wanted was someone seeing him with her and Belladonna then attacking him as soon as he was away from them. It was a really good thing that Cleo had a creature that could heal, otherwise she wasn’t sure what they would do with Issac hurt like that. She knew she should be more grateful, but when she looked at Cleo out of the corner of her eye she just felt an almost overwhelming urge to slit her throat like she’d done to the Chaos speedster. She had a feeling that would feel more satisfying, but they were trying to be a team. She was going to have to reign that impulse in. How were Issac and Belladonna doing so well? They made it look so easy.
While Issac had talked Tiara finished healing his leg. Once she was done she nudged his leg again with a more pleased sound before going to rub against Cleo’s leg. Cleo smiled down at Tiara before answering Issac,[+hotpink “So, that’s the plan? It… isn’t bad really. Of course I’ll come. I’ve got your back, Issac.”]
Cleo flashed a cheerful smile. It was a lot more natural to agree to work with him. She was glad he seemed to trust her enough to bring her along like that. His team was really odd, but the two of them could look out for each other. She was still sort of expecting Irina or Belladonna to stab her in the back. She offered her hand to help him up,[+hotpink “If that’s it then I think we should go before it gets any later. Tiara says your leg should be fine now. How does it feel? Sort of tingles for a few minutes, right?”]
Belladonna sighed and held the little map out,[+purple “Anyway, you’re probably going to want to look somewhere around this street.”] She pointed out where she meant,[+purple “Just whenever the area starts looking [i really] nice. Big gates and walls and stuff, you’re looking for one of those sorts of places. You know that train we took? Take it farther to get past Alder’s turf without drawing too much attention. You have to go past there to get to the rich neighborhood, or take a really long detour. Get off at the business district. That’ll only get you so close to the really wealthy people you want and isn’t the most direct way, but better than getting caught just you two in Chaos turf.”]
Belladonna looked at Irina with a smile,[+purple “Iri and I can take the more direct route on foot. We’ll leave first, head to that corner,”] She indicated where she meant on the map. An intersection on the street she’d shown earlier near where the businesses, which were probably all offices and upscale places, gave way to the rich residences,[+purple ”and keep an eye and ear out for trouble and you guys. When we see you we’ll follow at a distance.”]
Honestly, Issac couldn't believe that it all worked out in the end. There was a lot more ass-kicking and death than he intended, but you can't argue with results. So, he was feeling pretty good about himself other than the wounds, cuts, and bruises he received from getting thrashed by Zoom. At least he was dead, and Issac made a mental note that him and speedsters didn't mix. It was too bad they couldn't convince him to be on their team too... But maybe there would've been a little too much Chaos then. With the addition to Cleo, everything became a little more balanced; the only tricky part was everyone getting along.
However, for the most part it looked like Irina would attempt to get along with Cleo, Belladonna brooding slightly in the background. He smiles back at the girl and nods, thankful that she was playing nice for the moment as one of Cleo's creature's healed him. It was a strange sort of sensation, but he was honestly mostly over how strange everything was now. Currently he was fighting a war between two gods with a coworker he had a huge crush on... Sounded like some weird idea someone would come up with online...
[b “The night [i is] still young.”] He agrees with Irina, nodding and clearly pondering. He definitely didn't think they would be getting this much done this fast. But, you know, he didn't exactly expect to get in to a serious fight either, but it did have a few silver-linings at the end. One of them being they saved a lot of time, and the other being the addition of Cleo, someone from Order, to their ranks. And that was something that could be used to their advantage and something that could be used [i right now]. [b “I have an idea.”] Issac says, standing up, his legs wobbling, and then promptly sits back down.
He frowns at his leg as it continues to be healed, and considers himself lucky Cleo got here to save his sorry hide. This could have easily been a fatal injury. [b “Well, its more of an old idea, the whole 'tricking execs in to funding us' as we discussed.”] He then turns to Cleo and motions or Andros to join the conversation. [b “Since we have two whole Order people now, we don't have to pretend. Apparently a lot of rich folk here endorse people from Order during the war for their own benefit and protection, so our plan is to exploit that fact. We get endorsed or funded or whatever, the war becomes a little easier on us, and the Scarlet Royals get a little bit more fun money and the authorities off their backs. Its offers us both distinct advantages because as both Order and Chaos, we can sort of enjoy the amenities of both worlds; the weapons and muscles from Chaos and the money and political sway from Order.”] [i 'Oh yeah, its all coming together.']
“I didn't understand half of that, but I loved every word of it.” Andros remarks and Issac grins. Glad he was onboard.
[b “So, Cleo, I know you're probably still vetting us, but I could use you assistance in talking with some of these execs. It looks better if there's more than just me, and if things get bad, I can have you backing me up.”] He then turns to look at Irina and Belladonna. [b “I'm gonna need the two of you to act sort of as lookouts instead of joining me. If what just happened here with Zoom happens with the execs, we could be in a lot more trouble than before.”] He pulls out the Goober from his pocket and reaches for Belladonna to take it from him. [b “I'm gonna need some directional help from you... Does anyone have any comments or concerns about our expedition? I personally would like to get it done before this nights end, and then we can figure out some more planning to win this war.”]
[+hotpink “Friends?”] Cleo was pretty confused that Issac was calling the two Chaos girls his friends. Had he hit his head?
At his offer to let Cleo join Belladonna shot Issac a look. Was he serious? She grit her teeth at his hand on her shoulder but forced a smile. She wanted to rip his arm off, but he was right. They were trying to survive this thing together, for some reason. He’d actually not been a terrible ally.
Irina looked a little uncomfortable, but nodded. It made sense to have more people join when possible. And another Order person could be really useful on their side. She still couldn’t shake that nagging urge to attack Cleo when she looked at her.
Then all three girls got to look on in mixed confusion and disbelief as Issac gave his speech to the cyborg muscle heads. It actually seemed to be working. The other guys were nodding and mumbling to each other about Issac having a point. Belladonna muttered under her breath,[+purple “You have got to be kidding me.”]
It wasn’t quite his speech that had Cleo considering joining, at least that wasn’t most of it. He seemed like a pretty nice, decent guy. He was Order as well, and she just couldn’t leave him [i alone] with only two Chaos girls for allies. He’d get slaughtered sooner or later, she was sure of it. She wasn’t going to let that happen, she’d have his back when the Chaos girls turned on him eventually. Cleo nodded, and with a wave sent both her summoned creatures jumping back into little portals that matched their colors. [+hotpink “Yeah, I’m with you.”]
She went over to him, ignoring both Chaos girls who were staring at her, and took his hand with a smile,[+hotpink “We have to look out for each other. Speaking of, your leg needs to get looked at. I think I can help with that.”]
Cleo was mainly thinking the two of them could look out for each other, but she supposed she could try and work with the Chaos girls as well for now and figure out what they were up to. Were they manipulating him, or was Issac really the one pulling the strings here? She couldn’t tell yet, but she was sure it was one or the other. She held her hand out, and out from a pink circle hopped a tiny creature, no bigger than a bunny. It had large triangular ears like a cat, but its nose twitched like a bunny. It had three very fluffy, long tails, and bright pink fur. It went up to Issac and stood up on its back legs trying to sniff at his leg. While it did, Cleo explained,[+hotpink “This is Tiara, she can heal. All of the creatures I summon have different abilities. Just sit down and let Tiara take care of you.”]
Irina came over, still surrounded by blood but the way it floated around her seemed more lazy or relaxed somehow. It was slower. She wasn’t entirely putting her guard down, but she wasn’t preparing for a fight. Even if she was still a little on edge with Cleo so close. Tiara didn’t seem to like Irina either, and turned her head with her ears lowered. Irina ignored it and gave Cleo the best smile she could manage,[#a31200 “That sounds really useful. Glad to have you with us. Looks like we aren’t doing too bad tonight and the night is still young, right Issac?”]
It was so much easier to smile naturally at Issac. It was sort of weird, with him the murderous urge was quieted down to nearly nothing. Replaced with some of those butterflies in her stomach. Much easier to deal with, at least here.
Day two and Issac got his ass kicked by some scumbag with super speed... At least he wasn't an invalid, but he didn't know how he felt about someone coming to his rescue out of nowhere. Don't get him wrong, he was glad he was still alive, but it was pure [i luck] and that was something that eventually ran out. Maybe he was thinking too rationally about this, he had his powers to thank for that... luck had its place in situations like this and he'd take any he could get his hands on.
Issac was trying to get a better view of the fight between Irina and Zoom, but between all the muscle-heads people thrown around and general chaos, he couldn't get a good view. He tries getting to his feet, but it was a slow process, his muscles still shocked from the blow from Zoom, so he simply palmed the wall until someone stood in front of him. He looks up and a that same passive sensation passes over him. This woman with the animals, [i Cleo], was Order.
[b “Issac.”] He responds trying to remain emotionally distant from the blonde woman. [b “And it's a little bit complicated.”] And just as he said this, it was apparent that Irina had killed Zoom, Issac breathing a sigh of relief as he fully rises to his feet. Belladonna soon joined her, and Cleo was intent on having a stand-off between the three of them... Jesus Christ.
This presented a unique opportunity though as she stood in front of him to 'shield' him from Chaos. Did he grab hold of her and kill her? Pick up a piece of debris and use his powers? Knock her out? He stares a hole in the back of her head trying to find out a way to get them out of this situation. She had a very unique power that allowed her to take cover while her opponents contended with her elemental pets, and who knew how many she could summon. However, Irina had a range advantage and could make shields, Belladonna might be at a disadvantage, but if her poison could effect the beasts, then she had an edge... This was all speculation of course, and really just some dumb time buying on his behalf. He could see Belladonna waiting for him to take this chick down as he seemingly stared off in to space... At any rate, [i something] had to be done.
He moves away from the wall he braced himself against towards Cleo, raising his hand, he brings it down...
And it lands softly on the girl's shoulder. [b “I appreciate the save, Cleo, but these are my friends.”] He tells her. [b “Belladonna and Irina. I know it doesn't make any sense, but we're working together, trying to survive this war, not [i fight] in it... Not [i yet], at least.”] He limps passed her taking up a space beside the two Chaos girls, his leg feeling slightly better, but he knew he would have to tend to the wound soon. [b “I don't want to have to fight you, especially after you saved my life, so I'll offer you this chance to walk away, or...”] And he didn't know how well this was going to sit with the others... [b “Stand with us. Walk away from the manipulation of Order and Chaos pitting innocent lives against each other. You can be something more than just a blue or red shirt fighting for a prize; you can be part of a team who looks out for each other, who cares for each other, and who puts each other's safety above all else.”] He places a hand on Belladonna's shoulder, internally cringing and he was sure the feeling was mutual. [b “Belladonna and I might not get along. Or be friends. Or even like each other... But I would fight to my very last breath if it meant that she lived through this.”] And he looks at the Chaos woman and nods. He meant it. He might want to kill her, but he didn't want her to die... As counter-intuitive as that might be.
“That's a beautiful speech, man.” The muscle-head that decked him earlier said as he came around a corner. With one of his metallic fingers he wipes a tear from his eye... This posed another good opportunity. The guy was a softy!
Issac moved away from his crew towards the hulking cyborg. [b “We'd like you to be a part of our team, too. All of the Scarlet Royals. With Order and Chaos flying your banner, we have a distinct advantage over both parties, and not to mention we're added insurance that, that Chaos guy from around the street doesn't come and spoil your fun. I don't want you guys to just survive this war, I want you to [i win] it.”]
It seemed to be working, but the hulking man turns his head away almost like he was embarrassed. “I don't know, man, you came in pretty heavy.”
[b “That's okay... Andros, was it?”] He had heard someone call his name earlier on in the fight. When he said his name, it seemed he perked up a little bit.
“Y-yeah. How'd you know?”
[b “I like to know all of my friends, Andros. But there's something you need to know.”] He places one of his hands on the Andros' shoulder. [b “This is [i it]. For all of you, including you Cleo,”] He begins walking around, making grand gestures, clearly getting in to the moment of the speech. [b “This is the beginning of the war, and its only going to get more savage and more blood is going to be spilled. Its hard to see now, but maybe next month, next week, or maybe even tomorrow, you're going to think back to this very moment and scream to both gods for mercy of death just so you'll not have to live in wondering of what this could have been.”] Andros sits down on to one of the gym benches, putting his face in his hands as Issac circles around him. [b “What if you had taken this moment? What if you had taken the chance to fight for something bigger than yourself?”] He places his hands on Andros' shoulders. [b “What if you could win?”]
At this point, Andros was lightly sobbing in to his mechanical hands at this point. “I can do it! I'll do it!” He belted, looking up at him with big watery eyes. “I'm a winner, Issac! I want to win!” And Issac smiles at that, turning back towards Cleo, holding out his hand towards her.
[b “How about you, Cleo? You want to be a winner, too?”]
The guy was a lot bigger than Irina. In her other body he’d have beaten her easily, but this body was made to fight, and made to fight people as tough as she was. He actually had a hard time trying to keep her pinned down, and when Irina got enough blood from small wounds she sent a spike of it back right into his eye.
Blood poured onto her, but she quickly started gathering most of it while she scrambled out from under the thrashing, robo-armed muscle head. More blood meant more options for her, and now Irina was starting to get the upper hand.
Bali was doing its best to defend Issac. It hadn’t managed to stop the guy with super speed, but when a couple of tough guys thought they could get through the little fire-breather, it showed it didn’t just breathe fire. The teeth weren’t just for show, and the claws were razor sharp.
The girl came closer to the creature she had summoned. She held her hand out again, this time the circle that glowed was blue. Out jumped a creature with blue fur, this was smaller, sleeker, and more feline. It had a build more like a siamese cat, and as soon as it was summoned it darted toward a man that seemed to be headed toward the summoner girl. In addition to scratches, it seemed this creature had some ability to manifest ice, because the guys mechanical arm frosted over in a thin layer of ice. Then the guy was rubbing the skin near where it joined to try and warm it up desperately.
Before she could jump in and help her teammate, who was obviously in trouble, he asked someone else for help. Who was Irina? The girl hesitated and looked for another Order member Avion had somehow missed. She was surprised when a [i Chaos] girl responded.
Irina had taken down the men around her with brutal efficiency now that she had enough blood to do some damage. She was still sticking to spikes because they were easy and she actually knew how to do them. The guys were on the ground bleeding, some doing better than others. The guy who had lost an eye wasn’t moving anymore. Another had his leg torn wide open at the knee and was crawling away. One had a hole in his side and was curled up on the ground with his hands over the wound trying to stop the bleeding. All their blood was fueling Irina’s power, and it swirled around her, some of it still liquid and some solidified into spikes. She figured she must look terrifying now, because the rest of the guys were backing away from her, too afraid to try and fight her now. She had a fierce look on her face. She was ready to kill them.
She turned when Issac called. She looked furious for a moment, seeing that he was bleeding pretty bad. [#a31200 “Issac?”]
She wasn’t sure how to use that information yet, but it was good to know that he could only run in a straight line. She looked to the Chaos member who so casually wanted to kill them and hesitated. She wanted to kill him, she told herself she really did, but there just wasn’t the same drive to fight him. There wasn’t that instinct to kill him. Instead it was something more like what she felt with Belladonna, like they should be on the same side of this. From the look on his face she guessed he was feeling the same reluctance.
It wasn’t going to stop either of them. Irina wasn’t going to let him kill Issac. This guy wasn’t ready to trust them after seeing them work with Issac. She was too busy psyching herself up to kill this guy to take much notice of anything else, not even the weird creatures since neither was in her face yet. Irina went ahead and gathered Issac’s blood, adding it to what she already had swirling around her. There was also blood on the floor, and she made note of some of it without gathering it. That might be useful later. She sent a couple of small spikes which the guy easily dodged. They weren’t meant to really hit, more to provoke. [#a31200 “Come on. Are you going to fight or stare at me all night?”]
Then the girl stepped forward, both of the creatures coming to stand in front of her. She was getting between Issac and the others to defend him. She looked back at him,[+hotpink “I don’t know what’s going on, but are you alright? Did you get caught up in a fight between them or what? Oh, I’m Cleo, by the way.”]
Cleo still didn’t seem quite able to wrap her head around the idea of Issac and any of the Chaos people actually working together. If they were, it had to be [i just] for the moment in an ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ sort of way because this fast guy pissed everyone off that much.
He did have a really annoying looking sneer. “I could ask you the same. Are you even serious?”
Irina frowned and sent another spike flying at him, this one about the size of a small knife. He managed to catch it and throw it back at her, but it didn’t make it anywhere near her before stopping in mid air. He got a lot closer before she suddenly pulled some of the blood up like a shield. It wasn’t enough to block him at the speed he was going, but it did throw him off. He managed a shallow cut on her arm but went tumbling on the ground after the attack.
He got to his feet pretty quickly and came after her again before she could turn. He could only move in a straight line at that speed. He couldn’t change direction quickly, that’s what that meant. Irina didn’t need to turn to look at him, the blood circling her just all turned to spikes facing out at the same time. Unable to swerve away in time he ran straight into one of them.
Irina turned to look at where she’d caught him, nearly behind her. He looked surprised. She only hesitated for a moment before gathering his own blood from the wound. The spike had caught him below the ribcage, and was obviously painful. With the gathered blood she ended it by flattening it into a blade and with a quick motion slashed his throat. She was aware she should feel… something. Remorse? Guilt? She had just killed someone, but whatever horror that should have made her feel seemed to be stifled.
Belladonna clapped, walking over with her crowd dealt with. She seemed happy enough with the outcome of the evening,[+purple “Nice, Iri.”] She was eyeing the Order girl watching them. That was the main snag left, but she was pretty sure between her and Irina could take one girl like that. Assuming the girl was actually alone, which was never a sure thing with Order. Irina looked at Belladonna, then toward Issac, finally really noticing the Order girl. Belladonna stopped walking when the girls creatures started toward her and Irina with their teeth bared.
The girl looked ready to fight,[+hotpink “Not one step closer. If you want him you’ll have to go through me.”]
Up until the night before, Issac had never been in an actual fight before. There was a close call in college once, but he was able to calm the situation with reason; they were just a bunch of drunk morons... He didn't think he could exactly calm the situation down here, and the loudest part of his mind didn't exactly want to. His instinct to fight was on overdrive and Chaos was literally all around him in every aspect of the word.
The hulking man from earlier was joined by another man who was just as big, and Issac wasted no time getting in to fisticuffs with them. It was easy. These bodies made to fight more powerful opponents, and coupled with his powers? Easy money. He was in close quarters and threw out a kick in front of him, feeling the ribs of the man give as he sends him flying across the gym. Quickly he ducks a punch and turns, touching the powered barbell to his opponents robotic arm, the blast of energy shattering upon release. Now with the barbell uncharged, he swings it like a bat and smokes the man in the face, putting him out of the fight.
And just when Issac was about to join Irina and Belladonna, he jerks backwards and suddenly there was a long and sharp cut on his shoulder. Instinctively he moves again and this time, another one of those long and sharp cuts on his back. They didn't hurt too much, but they were bleeding.
“Either your reflexes are good, or mine are shot.” And Issac turns to see the blonde guy suddenly standing a few feet away from him. In one hand he was holding what appeared to be a small knife, and Issac smirked at that.
[b “Do you plan on killing me with [i that]?”] He asks and the blonde smiles at him menacingly. Suddenly, Issac's vision slowed down again, but the blonde guy seemed to vanish, and appeared again on the other side of Issac, this time his leg gave out and he went down to one knee, blood dribbling out of the wound. [i 'Shit!']
“Death by a thousand cuts. But I'll have you down by number ten.” He says and Issac scowls at that. It appeared the guy had super speed... but there was something else to it. A drawback he wasn't seeing yet, but he knew it was there. It didn't matter though, at the present moment he was a sitting duck, and it looked like Zoom here was going to finish the job...
That was until a fire breathing dog-lion came out of nowhere, its fire breath spreading the crowd in the gym thinner and making Zoom stumble backwards. The creature stands in front of Issac, baring its teeth as flames licked out of its breath and Zoom looks between the two. [b “You're... Order.”] Issac says, reaching out and touching the beast's fur. He felt lucky to have backup now, but this posed a problem for the Irina and Belladonna. Whoever this creature's owner was, was sure to mistake them for the enemy and attack, and well... More people might have to die tonight.
The entrance of the lion-dog-dragon thing had initially surprised Zoom, but soon he laughed, and beckon them to come. “Do it, save me the trouble.” He says and Issac throws the barbell like a javelin, which Zoom catches, spins, and hurls it back at Issac at greater speeds. It pegs him right in the chest and he felt ribs shift as he was taken off of his feet, and then was carried further by Zoom literally following him through the air and punching him in the chest. When Issac finally hit the wall, it cracked on impact and he slid down it, and it was fortunate the dralionog was here, because it jumped Zoom and took him to the ground, but he was quick to recover and create some distance... And [i that's] when he saw it.
[b “Irina!”] Issac shouts. Hopefully she was okay; he lost track of her and Belladonna in the confusion. [b “Use my leg!”] At this point it was bleeding pretty profusely. [b “He can only move in a straight line!”]
Belladonna was keeping an eye out for any sign of the powerful Chaos guy in the area. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to avoid him or try to join him, but she definitely didn’t want him to sneak up on her, especially when she was walking around all chummy with Issac. They managed to avoid that guy though, and got info on another nearby gang.
The muscle-heads at least would understand a good thrashing. Belladonna was eager to go in and give the tough guys a beating. Sure, they’d be tough, but Chaos had done more than just give her poison nails, she was a lot stronger here.
Irina gave Issac a little smile when he squeezed her shoulder. [#a31200 “It’ll work out.”] Or she hoped it would anyway.
Irina would have been a lot more nervous walking into a place like this in her other body. Especially when everyone was staring at them like this. Here though, she just looked around with mild curiosity. The place looked pretty normal. It [i smelled] pretty normal for a gym too, at least a gym full of guys.
The guy that approached them was huge. She didn’t feel too afraid though. While he talked with Issac, Irina was thinking she could probably take him down without too much trouble. In fact, she realized it would be easier to kill or fatally wound him than it would be to just incapacitate him. She could think of a bunch of ways to kill or cripple him permanently, but a lot fewer ways to deal with him gently. At least with her power.
And then the fighting started a lot more suddenly than she would have liked. Issac had been pretty witty, she thought, though it had just gotten him a punch in the face. Several of the guys approached and Irina pulled out her knife. At least these bastards would bleed. Maybe she could even avoid hurting herself this time.
Irina looked up at the man up on the second floor. He was Chaos, like her and Belladonna. She could feel it just looking at him, but he was willing to kill them too. Damn.
[+purple “Fucking bullshit.”] Belladonna was pissed. She didn’t like this guy who was [i supposed] to be on her side casually willing to kill them. Then again, Chaos weren’t known for great teamwork, and Issac was actually Order so her being with him didn’t look great. Belladonna took out her frustration on the nearest leering muscle-head. He had big arms bulging with muscle, which her nails tore right through. He didn’t know enough to try and dodge her nails, and neither did the second guy when she scratched his shoulder in almost the same motion. Or the third, when she clawed his arm after dodging his punch. She [i loved] the way she just outclassed these guys in this body!
The fourth managed a punch to her side that sent her back a bit, but it was a minor setback. The guys she had scratched were starting to drop from the poison. She doubted they were going to survive.
Irina was having a little tougher of a time. She dodged both of the guys throwing punches at her. No sucker punch like they’d done to Issac, she knew they were coming after her. She went around one of them to cut his back since his arms were robotic, better him than her bleeding, and while she was successful she also got a fist in her back from a third guy she hadn’t seen get closer. It made her fall onto the guy she’d just cut. Damn, those robotic arms sure packed a punch, but it wasn’t as bad as it would have been in her regular body. She turned and sent a bunch of tiny, needle like spikes made of blood at the guy who had punched her. Some shattered on his metal arms uselessly, but quite a few found flesh and drew more blood.
The guy she had cut had turned and got in another good punch on her back. Damn, her back was going to be black and blue. She grit her teeth and sent more blood needles flying as she turned to take care of him. She didn’t have enough blood available to do more yet, but as long as she made them bleed some that would change.
She moved to the side, trying to get both of the men in front of her. Both? Weren’t there three? Sure enough the third guy slammed into her almost on cue, tackling her to the ground. She was so ready to just kill these guys already, forget trying to go non-lethal.
While the fight was starting a little creature much like a cat slipped in. It was built like a cat, but had unusually large ears and its fur was a light green. It gave the fight a long look with its huge eyes and flicked its long tail before turning and running out of the building again. No one seemed to take any real notice of the strange creature.
It bounded up to a young woman out on the street around the corner. It wound around her legs like a cat wanting attention. It didn’t make a sound, but the girl looked down at it, first curious and then alarmed,[+hotpink “What? I need to hurry. Go on, Avion.”]
With another look up at her, its green eyes met her blue ones then it gave a meow and jumped up. The spot on the ground where it landed had a glowing circle, and the cat-like creature vanished, quickly followed by the green glowing circle. The girl held her hand out and another circle appeared, this time red. From that circle leapt out a creature more like a lion, though it was smaller being closer to the size of a medium to large dog. The fur was a bright orange, with black marks that weren’t quite striped, they wound around more like vines, and the maine was red. She started running and called out,[+hotpink “Come on, Bali. We have to help him.”]
The lion-like creature that responded to the name Bali ran after her, and then ahead of her. It rushed into the gym quickly followed by the blonde girl, and while she stayed near the entrance it joined the fight with a breath of fire that sent several of the muscled men fleeing, at least momentarily. Bali went right near Issac, intent on protecting him according to its masters wishes.
Despite just having the conversation, Issac's lack of appetite surprised him a little. He finished maybe like, a quarter to half of the noodles before feeling like that was sufficient enough for him. It seemed like everyone was eager to get a move on, and so was Issac, but there was still something he needed to micromanage.
[b “We might need to display some power, but we can't go in and rip apart the gang, as much as we might want to and as much as they might deserve it.”] Issac warns. [b “If we jump the gun on that, its likely they'll jump ship for more agreeable people than us which is what we're trying to avoid.”] But like Belladonna had said, they couldn't exactly be pushovers either. They needed a healthy medium for this... Despite already feeling like Belladonna wanted to kill him, he could sense she was getting irritated with him about this. And the feeling was mutual. She was ready to go in guns ablazing when this required a little bit more finesse than that... But perhaps he found it hard to work with her because he instinctively wanted to kill her as well. [i 'Swings and roundabouts, Issac. Swings and roundabouts.']
And with that, the group sets out. There was no point in circle-jerking the issue; it'd just waste more of their time and time was critical for them at the moment. This was Issac and Irina's second day on Battleworld, but Belladonna been here at least a week, so there was no telling what scraps they might have to pick from at this point. Either or, they cautiously move through the streets, Issac keeping his eyes peeled to make sure they don't have any unexpected surprises, especially when they near the Chaos-man's street. Issac couldn't say for everyone, but for him, his pace quickened as they moved passed his street. It was likely they would tangle in the future, but Issac wanted to get some more information on the guy so they wouldn't fight blind. Despite his super powers, information and prepping is what would win them battles.
Once to one of the indicated streets, it wasn't hard to find out information about the local gangs from people. They were a little shy with their information at first, but with some gentle prodding, they were pointed in the right direction. And to what appeared to be some kind of [i gym].
[b “Of course we get the freaking muscle-heads.”] Issac says and then looks at the two with him. He gives Irina's shoulder a brief squeeze before he leads them inside, and honestly... It looked like a [i gym]. Well, more like a sci-fi kind of gym, but the usual things you would see on Earth were here. There was equipment, weights, and realistic crash-dummy looking punching bags. A little to the back was what looked like a boxing arena where a few gigantic men with robotic arms were sparring, however, just like everyone else, when the three of them walked in, everyone stopped and looked at them... This was a great start.
It didn't take long, but a man a foot taller than Issac, a hundred pounds heavier, and two robotic arms swaggered over, leering over the group. Fortunately for this body, Issac felt not fear, because in his real body he probably would've voided himself by now. “You lost, little man?”
And Issac's eyes just narrow a little bit. Things might get a little ugly now, but fortunately he had back up with him. [b “Are you part of the Scarlet Royals?”] Issac asks and the man raises an eyebrow.
“Who wantsta know?” The hulk challenges, and Issac's patience wavered which was surprising. He forgot he would usually be scared.
[b “I do. Is there someone with an IQ in the triple digits I can talk to?”] And the gym erupts in half laughter and the other half dramatic 'ohs'. Issac felt a sort of pride for his sharp tongue there; it was hard not to think about how this would've actually gone if he wasn't in a stronger and braver body than now.
“You think you're cute?”
[b “I'm fuckin' adorable.”] Issac responds. [b “Can I talk to your handler please? I'm on a deadline.”] And the man huffs, nodding his head and turning around... And then something strange happened. Just like the night before, the world slowed down and Issac had enough time to wonder exactly why that happened. He surveyed the room, watching the contorted and smiling faces of the gang members in the gym watching the exchange of the two, he could see the beads of sweat on some of their faces, the blips of electronic equipment on the second floor, and... [i 'Oh.']
A metallic fist crashes in to Issac's face and sends him flying in to some gym equipment knocking it over and slightly burying him under it. If it wasn't for this warrior body, that punch would've taken his freaking head off... but there was plenty of time for that now, because after that punch, all of the other gang members whooped and yelped and joined the fray, heading over towards Irina and Belladonna, probably to do that same to them for being affiliated with the loudmouth Issac.
“You're tough, funny-man, I'll give you that.” The man says and Issac picks himself up out of the pile he was in. The man goes in for another swing, but this time Issac ducks under it with ease, and then parries an incoming cross-punch. His mind was jumbled for a moment, but it quickly cleared, and Issac sweeps the hulking man's legs from under him and gets some distance, picking up a barbell and channelling potential energy in it. The bar glows a faint blue and the hulk and some others coming to assist him back away.
[b “We're Chaos and we've come to make a deal!”] Issac shouts at them, and it seems some of them mull that over for a moment, until.
“The girls might be,” A voice pierces through the sudden quiet. Issac quickly looks to the source at the second floor balcony. He was a blonde man with sharp eyes, and a wicked grin. And looking at him now, Issac could feel it. The instinct to kill this man. “but you're not. That's fine though, I'll kill the three of you all the same.” And with that, the gang members go back on to the offensive
[i 'Me and my big mouth.']
Belladonna shrugged, taking one of the noodle containers from the floor and sitting down a little away from Issac,[+purple “Whatever. It’s not like we need to eat much. Probably part of the whole thing, these bodies seem to be as real as bodies come, though they’re really nice. I’ve been fine so far eating whatever. Probably don’t need to overthink it.”]
She didn’t think it was a big deal or needed so much planning. Was that all he did, make plans about everything, even their eating? This was going to get annoying. Belladonna rolled her eyes, shoving some of the noodles in her mouth. Even if he was useful, she really wished she could just kill him and be done with him and his obsessive plans.
Irina sat down next to Issac and picked up a container of noodles to eat herself. She wasn’t sure what to make of the whole eating situation, but she’d just go with it. If they needed to eat a little something here to stay in good condition that was fine. Making up for it with the other world and her real body though, she wondered how that was going to work. How long until her appetite would increase? Problem for another day. For now they had to deal with tonight’s problem.
[#a31200 “Sounds good, but how do we find out which gangs are opposed to him? I suppose we get information from someone.”] Irina looked at the map. They were awful close to that Chaos guys territory, but they didn’t want to end up backtracking too much and running into the Order group from last night. Not until they had enough backup that they could take them down, at least. If they were lucky that group would get smaller clashing with someone else.
It was a lot to take in, but it was easier to stay calm here. She’d have been freaking out if it wasn’t for… whatever it was Chaos did to her here. Gave her a head start on the battle hardened thing or something. Irina ate some of the noodles before asking another question,[#a31200 “Once we do find this gang we’re looking for, do we just… beat up whoever’s in charge to take over or what?”]
She looked to Issac for the answer but Belladonna cut in,[+purple “Yeah, or kill him. Depends on if he puts up a fight. Or if his guys put up a fight. We don’t need these people itching to stab us in the back too, so we just kill them if we think they might. Should keep the rest of them in line.”]
Belladonna had finished her meal quickly and stood up. She was antsy and ready to get moving. She examined her nails,[+purple “Ready to go? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like this place very much.”]
Irina looked up and hurried a little more eating her noodles before setting the little bit leftover down. Not like there was a trash can or anything. [#a31200 “Right. Probably best if we get this settled soon. It’ll be a little safer than camping out places like this.”] She hoped it would be anyway. She couldn’t say she was certain about a lot here, but they were going to need allies to stay alive to the end. The normal people could help protect them while they slept here, and be a steady supply of any food or clothes they would need, as well as vital information.
Irina was right about needing to figure out the layout of the area first. Tactically speaking, it made a lot of sense to know your surroundings and in a pinch it could be life-saving to know the ins and outs of the area at large. For the moment while no one was trying to kill them, they could afford the time to look at the high-tech map whatchamajiggit... [i grumble...] And to eat.
[b “I find it kind of weird that we need to eat in these bodies."] Issac points out. [b “Its kind of an inconvenient time consumer we have to do, but if we need to eat more in our [i real] or... whatever bodies, then maybe loading up on protein and carbs will make sure we don't have to waste too much time eating here.”] And at this point he was sitting down in front of the takeout bags with the noodles in them, opening them up and placing each container on the floor. [b “You know, if possible, of course.”] Maybe all-you-can eat buffets would be a good idea then. They were cheap and you could eat as much as you wanted... But his Earth body would get really out of shape in that case, which seemed like kind of a vain concern since they were literally playing with their lives in these bodies... He already had some strange reservations about this body's rippling muscles and abs over his softer and less toned one back home. How could he beat this? [i And] Irina saw him naked first [i here] too! Oh boy, that was-
He stuffs some noodles in his mouth as he places the device in front of him. A good distraction at the very least. It blinked on and showed their location in 2D format. Like they knew already, it appeared to be a sort of industrialized area of the city, and had more space between its buildings than in the city proper. Issac scrolls along the side with his finger, and finally. [b “Here.”] He stops and makes a show of the device. [b “According to the Goober, this is the street Belladonna was talking about last night. The one with the powerful Chaos guy. I'm thinking we find a gang either opposed to him or afraid of him and offer them 'protection'. We get what we want from them and then move on to our executives, maybe tell them we wrangled the gang under control because we're Order.”] This stuff came easier to him in this body, but it made sense with his whole sensory power... But there were plenty of ways that this could go wrong, he just couldn't anticipate every single one of them.
[b “Everyone eat up and then lets get a move on to one of the gangs. We get in, maybe bust some heads to make a point, and then get out. No fireworks, no drama.”]
This was so awkward. [#a31200 “It should be fine.”] She really didn’t want him to have to go to the couch, even if it was going to be weird just laying down and trying to sleep. She settled in next to him, not sure how close to lay or anything. First date and they were in bed together in a decidedly [i un]romantic way. Did that make it better or worse? She couldn’t decide, and mumbled a good night to him before closing her eyes to try and sleep.
There was no waiting or tossing and turning, right away she felt herself on the makeshift bed of cardboard. Irina sat up quickly. She probably should have felt more sore than she did after a night on the floor like that, but she was pretty much ready to go, if just a bit hungry.
Belladonna frowned at Issac, which was about a friendly as she felt like she could manage at the moment. It had to count for something since he was still breathing,[+purple “Yeah yeah. Lay low and find ourselves some normal people to use, right? We better get moving soon.”]
Irina got up and went to join them,[#a31200 “Soon but not too hasty.”] She looked at Issac a bit longer than necessary. There was the urge to attack him, but it was easy to suppress. She was thinking about their date, and the awkward talk after. It had her quiet long enough she realized it and hurried to add,[#a31200 “We should try to figure out the layout of the area first. Where’s that map thing? And maybe breakfast… or is it dinner?”]
Belladonna raised an eyebrow at the long look Irina had given Issac, but let it slide without comment. Something was going on between those two, and Belladonna couldn’t really put her finger on it. They [i should] want to kill each other, but instead were forcing this weird alliance. She tapped her fingers on her arm,[+purple “Whatever you call it, we ought to find a little something to eat soon. The noodles might still be fine. We don’t need much, our other bodies tend to make up for most of what we don’t eat here, my appetite there has gone through the roof. It can’t take care of it all though, we need [i something] on our stomachs, for some reason.”]
The idea that they had to eat in both bodies obviously seemed a bit silly to Belladonna. If she were making the rules she would have made eating optional given the whole fighting for their lives thing. Still, she supposed it was fair enough, barely, given the cool powers they got here. It’d have been cooler if the powers carried over.
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