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We are Counterfeit Riders

Page history last edited by Haken Browning 10 years, 3 months ago

<Haruka_Emmerich>    [http://www.rainymood.com/ + http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMnrl0tmd3k]


<Alexis_Weaver>    It's always raining. This isn't new. Some say you can find redemption in the rain, that it cleanses mind, body, and soul.
<Alexis_Weaver>    As near as I care it's only good for rinsing blood into the gutters.
<Alexis_Weaver>    The city's called Neon, shiny lights counterpointed by Gothic architecture, halogen spires reaching into the night like some grasping demon with jewel-encrusted fingers.
<Alexis_Weaver>    This particular night, it was raining down like the Heavens were waging war, raindrops the size of the world's apathy falling to the perpetually-slick asphalt like so many spent bullet casings. Just like that day on the beach with Aelita.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Like all of the bad things in my life, it started with the death of a woman. Several, in fact. Neon is built on the remains of Iwatodai.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Yes, I said remains. The short version? SEES didn't get it's act together, SHOCKER won, and the result is this glitz-on-gore city of Neon you see before you.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Aelita and I got lucky. By which I mean she died, and then got fortunate enough to be resurrected. The two of us were away at the time, which is why we're the only Riders left standing today.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Then again, that would mean something if there was actually a meaning to being a Rider in this world. We came back too late to help and were forced to watch the subjugation of the world. The kicker?
<Alexis_Weaver>    Two years later, and people don't even notice; thoughts and dreams collecting dust on the same shelf sepia-tinted memories. Trade one government for another. This one is tougher, sure, but it's not breaking what was in place before.
<Alexis_Weaver>    As for us? Well, Aelita and I aren't stupid. Both of us made our lives on slipping between the cracks, and we weren't about to start putting out necks on the chopping block right now.
<Alexis_Weaver>    So we decided on what we were good at, which is finding shit out, and took the last hurrah joke of Haruka's... and now we are the Pink Lemonade Detective Agency.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Somehow with that name we get customers. Some of them even pay. Some of them, rarely, even pay *cash*.
<Alexis_Weaver>    People going missing, corporate espionage... we'll do anything if the pocketbook's tight enough. Look us up.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Just don't complain about the results.

<Alexis_Weaver>    --

<Alexis_Weaver>    The office is a relatively small, grubby thing: two patched-up armchairs by the door, a single coatrack (with hatstand), one nice old oak desk with a looted office chair (and that's not a figure of speech), a few filing cabinets, a window with blinds that stick and a fan that doesn't run. A door to one side leads to the actual apartment proper, and down below hides the tech-filled room where Aelita does her Thing (according to urban legend, you can hear modem cries at 3 AM).
<Alexis_Weaver>    The office is on the Bad Side of Town, which is roughly three steps from the Good Side of Town, and the difference is only noticeable because the streetsweepers' job ends at that imaginary line.
<Alexis_Weaver>    Wyll lounges back in that office chair, boots up on the desk as he watches the perpetually-grey skyline (it's only 10 AM) through the sticking shutters. His outfit is the same simplepants-shirt-overshir t combo as always, but he seems a little more haggard; the clothes hang on him. His white hair is cut short and his chin is scritchy with stubble, which doesn't suit him, but certainly makes him look that much more rough and tumble. He holds in his hand a mug of coffee, which tastes terrible because you can't buy the good stuff without selling an arm and a leg, but he's willing to drink it anyway.
<Alexis_Weaver>    His left hand aches. Not literally, because that arm from the elbow down is mechanical, but still, that phantom twinge is usually a sign of something. "Aelita, I think we'll have a case today." He's said this the last three days in a row, mind you, and his voice has changed; no longer the smooth bishie-boy tone, instead, it's got a rough, hoarse growl to it.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "You think a lot of things, Ascher." The slightly teenish pink-haired lady's been letting her hair out to mirror her last incarnation, probably as a subconscious response to the need to be grizzled and gritty. "Then again, I'm starting to hope more and more that you're right. Bills starting to catch up again."

<Alexis_Weaver>    "There's always something that needs doing. Question is whether they can get to the door or not." Wyll swings his legs down from the table, turning the chair to look at her over his mug. "It's not the done thing to be worried about bills."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Ain't like legs are getting broken on a regular basis, I guess..." The telltale blue lines flare up under Aelita's shirt as she quaffs her caffeine source of choice: a Code Red. "And hey, rain seems a little thinner today. Might actually get someone coming to the door after all."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Y'ever hear of tempting fate, Aelita -"
<Axel_Wildfire>    Wyll cuts off as the door swings open, framed by a crash of thunder. The woman standing there is legs from about the shoulders down, eyes hidden behind reflective aviators that haven't been popular but make her look exotic, like some kind of carnivorous deer. If a deer wore foxfur, which has somehow contrived to stay dry in spite of the perpetual downpour. Her voice, when it comes, is untraceable; something European, but mixed with a hint of silk and venom that makes it simultaneously exotically sexy and subtly dangerous. "Pink Lemonade?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "I'm the Pink, he's the Lemon. Whatchu' want?"

<Axel_Wildfire>    The door swings shut, as if to lock out the sound of the rain. "I want something found."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "What kind of something?" Aelita scratches her chin. "Granted we're GOOD at it, but there's just some things in this city you can't hope to find."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "I think you'll be able to find this." She reaches into her coat and Wyll's hand drops below the top of the table, already reaching for his own piece, but stops when she removes, of all things, a black GaiaMemory, clicks it once.
<Axel_Wildfire>    >>JOKER<<
<Axel_Wildfire>    "I need the LostDriver that goes with this."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    A whistle from the pink-haired woman. "...Rogue Rider tech. You gotta be one of three things, miss: stupid enough to drop something that could lead Tachibana's Rios right to us, a mole looking to do the same...or really, REALLY desperate."
<Haruka_Emmerich>    "...You strike me as the latter, though, and what a coinky-dink, so are we."

<Axel_Wildfire>    She smiles thinly. "That's about the extent of it," the woman says, and removes a small forest's worth of green notes from her wallet, "and this should make up for your concerns."
<Axel_Wildfire>    Wyll sends Aelita a glance.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Quite a hefty advance. I think I've got a good measure of your sincerity." She returns the glance back to the white-haired gent. "Looks like we're on the case, Wyll."

<Axel_Wildfire>    He sets his mug aside, folding his arms. "Seems like it." He looks up to the lady. "Got a way to reach you? I'm not dumb enough to ask for a name, and if you were smart you'd give me an alias anyway."
<Axel_Wildfire>    She smiles coldly. "I will reach *you*. Good luck." The potted-plant of cash remains on the counter when she leaves, disappearing in the flash of a lightning strike. Wyll stretches in his chair.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Shouldn't be too hard, right?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "It's always the simple ones, Ascher..." Aelita sighs before taking another swig, one eye on the assemblage of bills.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Yeah, well..." Wyll snatches up his mug and gulps down the rest of the too-bitter coffee, then slams it down, almost leaping out of his chair. "Start doing a lookup for 'T2 Joker' and 'LostDriver'." he says, grabbing a rather *gigantic* revolver from the space under his desk and tucking it into the back of his pants, and following up by clipping what appears to be a highly-miniaturized laptop over his left forearm. "That's my own Memory, I'd recognise it anywhere, and I distinctly gave it to Alex before I left. Start by seeing if you can track it's whereabouts." Wyll takes his coat, an old WW2-era bomber jacket that must weigh about as much as he does, and throws it on, already making for the door. "I'll do it the old-fashioned way."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Keywords: T2 Joker. Lost Driver. Wyll Ascher. Alex Lukles." Aelita's freaky blue lines are accompanied by a strange glow in her emerald eyes as the screech of a dialup modem fills the basement. Luckily she seems quite mobile while tapping into the Wired, calmly plucking her own accoutrements - a Five-seveN and a tattered black jacket with "193 282" printed under the 'wings' of the mishmash of forgotten symbols - out of the lower level's wardrobe. "Sighted 205X in possession of Wyll by Interpol agent Ichijo Karasawa. Sighted 206X in same, followed by Alex Lukles during SEES tenure. Reported MIA following the Nyx Incursion, along with all other SEES-issued Rider Gears."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "'Sighted in posession of'?" Wyll snorts. "She *gave it to me*... anyway, about that, didn't we agree that 'MIA' was a fancy phrase for 'snapped up by SHOCKER'?" the request for a reminder is said around him picking up an earpiece - classic SHOCKER Rider surplus - and throwing it's pair to Aelita.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    The catch is one-handed, Aelita slipping it into her right on the rebound. "Not when you consider how the Oreo got out of there. Blay Buckle and Kivats are True MIA thanks to Django giving them the only bailout they deserved."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "They may as well be dead. I don't see them doing anything to fix this mess and they're sure as hell not dropping in for tea and cookies." his lips curl in a thin sneer. "Regardless," Wyll snatches a rather oversized belt-buckle from it's hiding place in the counter draw and secrets it away inside his coat, "the fact that they've clearly missed at least half a piece of Gear suggests that the rest are still out there."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "If you had irrefutable proof The Powers That Be were utterly incompetent, yet immutable, would you bother living in - DYING in - a world of their making?" A quick pat-down of the coat. Yep, her equal to Wyll's goodie was in the left inner pocket. "Django did them a damned FAVOR hustling them into her sex demon corps, and you know it."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Ernest Hemmingway once wrote 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for'. I agree with the second part. Besides." Wyll stops in the doorway, retrieving one of his ever-present lemongrass smokes and taking the opportunity to light it via an engraved zippo *before* being exposed to driving rain. "If you're going to kick society in the teeth, you may as well use both feet."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Funny you mention kicking..." Aelita smirks as she joins Wyll, daring to venture into the outpour.

<Axel_Wildfire>    --
<Axel_Wildfire>    The rain grew steadily heavier as we walked towards our destination, leaving us damp and shivering. The cold was like ghosts trying to drag us down into the grave we'd avoided, each raindrop down our backs feeling like necromorphic slime falling from skeletal hands.
<Axel_Wildfire>    The memories did little to warm our heart - the sole memory, actually; two sleepless Riders sharing coffee and companionship in the night, like animals huddling together for heat. A base and animalistic instinct, but still the only memory we'd shared.
<Axel_Wildfire>    With each step the pavement seemed to give way to grave earth, high-rise buildings becoming the tombstones of comrades lost in the brutally-fast war.
<Axel_Wildfire>    The fog of memories rapidly joined the smog of the city, creating an emotional haze as deadly as a white-out in a ravine. The serpentine streets of the city that twist and dead-end are nothing compared to the labyrinth of memory that folds back on itself, spindling until it's an exhibit in a forgotten corner of the art museum reading "This Is Your Mind On Escher".
<Axel_Wildfire>    By the time we'd stumbled through it, green lightning had begun forking down from the sky - a reminder of the passage of time, that now it was more towards evening than anything else. Still, here we stood, the burned, hollowed out remains of the SEES Dormitory:
<Axel_Wildfire>    The memoir to our hopes and dreams, or rather, what remains of them; the physical reminder that nothing we do can put the world right.
<Axel_Wildfire>    I let go of Aelita's hand, wonder when I'd taken it in the first place.
<Axel_Wildfire>    "Here we go."
<Axel_Wildfire>    --

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Lukles's room..." Burnt out as ever, like so many other rooms in the structure, but Aelita doesn't give much pause as she pops the door open. "Any good clue to the Driver's whereabouts would be here."

<Axel_Wildfire>    Wyll buttons back the sleeve of his coat, taking the mini-laptop clipped to his arm and folding the lid 'up' - part camera, part makeshift Solid Eye, as Aelita had disparagingly nicknamed it. "Assuming he went back to his room after I gave it to him. Got any theories on who that lady was?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Only the one, but nothing adds up yet..." A thumb through the scorched detective novels. "If the voice didn't seem so Eastern Euro to me, I'd peg her for a full-grown, not-half-boiled Alice."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Ehh. I'd like to think that Alice would be up front with me, at least." he kneels by the remains of the bed, scouting around underneath it and coming out with a charred but still mostly-full bottle of vodka, which he gazes at fondly. "Last drink."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Not like he'd have ever been arsed to partake." Another scan around the room. "Wyll, you mind flying solo a bit? Something I may as well do while we're here."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "No, he and I were right before Django turned up and demanded that I become her bitch." Wyll mutters, then snaps out of it, glancing back at her. "Sure. We're connected anyway." he gestures to the earpieces. "While you're at it, see if you can get into what's left of the surveillance and find out if the LostDriver moved through here anytime *after* it was meant to have vanished."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Heh, gonna be on that floor anyway..." With that, Aelita adjourns downstairs, peeking through the girls' floor...

<Haruka_Emmerich>    Of course, Gally Asamiya's room is far from the first stop I had in mind. As long as I was here, I may as well pay respects to an old friend.
<Haruka_Emmerich>    The door to Room 212 creaks open, revealing much the same decrepit, blasted remains of any other dorm in this building. But something's different about Haruka Emmerich's abode. There's no bugs, no mildew. It's as sterile as its occupant had left it.
<Haruka_Emmerich>    All the better; there seems to be a last gasp of battery power in the laptop on the desk. I pop it open, letting my own Wired aura seep in...
<Haruka_Emmerich>    It's on. Naturally, solid-state memory. Nothing's changed. None of the desktop, none of the files...definitely none of the 'Home Movies.' I slip a USB drive in, quick copy-over of the unique stuff.
<Haruka_Emmerich>    Wi-Fi's naturally dead; I'm kinda feeling the shakes from even trying. Closest I can do is open up Notepad. "Hey. Not sure if you're ever gonna get this, but just so ya know...it's not your fault it all went to hell. This was hell to begin with. But at least you three managed to get something resembling heaven out of it, if only for the better part of a few months. If you and the girls are... still coherent... hold on tight. Never let go. I've let go of too much already."
<Haruka_Emmerich>    A tear as I save it to desktop and close, letting the laptop power down one final time. It's...strangely comforting. I never got to cry over the Xanadu team, I never got to cry over Ingrid...
<Haruka_Emmerich>    ...and then I can hear the door to 215 pop off its hinges, falling outward of its own accord. Arukama and Midorikawa's room. And holy shit it's as pristine as Haruka's room somehow.
<Haruka_Emmerich>    Huh...maybe those three are smiling on us a little more consciously than I expected. All the more reason to get into Asamiya's room and pull what I can from her redundant Autovajin logs.

<Axel_Wildfire>    I find myself at the remains of the bar. Sure, it was a worn-down piece of shit when I got here, but it had style and panache of it's own, as if daring you to tear it down because it wasn't being used, and nobody had. The good stuff, what wasn't broken in the raid, is already looted - the gamestation Haruka and I set up, for example.
<Axel_Wildfire>    Come to think of it, all of my good memories - Haruka, Faruko, Aelita, Miki - were around here... playing games with Haruka until we passed out, Faruko getting herself high off a sugar-free dessert, coffee with Aelita, and my clandestine arrangement with Miki to drive Asuka *out of her fucking mind*.
<Axel_Wildfire>    I take a good poke around behind the bar... especially under it, where I'd found myself sleeping while Negataros was hunting me in the present. Jack never did like me, possibly because I was better than Alex at everything except being human. ... and then I find it.
<Axel_Wildfire>    The note on the scrap of paper is an odd little scrawl, almost childish, with a cartoony eye drawn next to the words:
<Axel_Wildfire>    "Good work!"
<Axel_Wildfire>    And then a string of numbers that I recognise as being in hex. My hand flies to my earpiece. "Aelita. I need you."
<Axel_Wildfire>    --

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Balls. Nothing here but regular Alexice toting the thing." A seething grimace and a sniffle as Aelita's earpiece buzzes. "Ascher. Autovajin backup's a wash. PLEASE tell me you've done me one better."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Got a clue but it's in hex. Want me to read off the string?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Lay it on me." She's already halfway downstairs.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "57 68 61 74 20 68 61 73 20 61 20 70 75 70 69 6c 20 62 75 74 20 63 61 6e 27 74 20 73 65 65 3f." Wyll rattles it off clearly and concisely.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "What has a pupil but can't see?" Aelita thinks as she rounds the corner into the dorm commons. "First thing that comes to mind, a teacher. But wait, that doesn't fit..."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Maybe..." he muses, leaning over the bartop with a little smile. "This is nostalgic."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Huh...wouldn't trust the coffeemaker to be of use."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Sadly not, it's been looted." Wyll sighs, resting his elbows on the countertop. "... you know what. Meeting you was the one thing I really enjoyed about coming back to Iwatodai."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Shucks..." A blush and a blue flicker. "...not even the crazy nympho who wound up pulling us together in the first place?"

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Something like that. That was business; whereas pinging you was quite thoroughly leisure." Wyll says this, waits a beat, and then almost lunges forward, grasping the lapels of Aelita's coat and drawing her in as if for a kiss - but instead he mutters urgently. "Don't turn, pretend we're making out, look at the reflection of the front door in the glass behind me. I swear I saw something move."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    She keeps an eye on the mirror image as she leans in...not exactly pretending.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "M-" he stiffens slightly at the *lack* of pretending, but sure enough, *something* moves out there, just a flicker - but it definitely seems to be getting closer.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    Aelita pulls away. "...Mirror Monster?" She whispers into Wyll's ear.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "No, it's definitely outside. And I-"
<Axel_Wildfire>    The unmistakable sound of a weapon cocking rings through the night, and Wyll lets out a muted groan - "Shit. Dive for it." - about two seconds before a barrage of automatic gunfire rips through the already-shattered front wall of the dorm. Wyll drops flat, dragging Aelita with him (anticipating that she'd already be coming over anyway), and the result is that they both get covered in sawdust from bullets exploding into the wall above them. On the other hand, they aren't covered in *bullet holes*, and the thick oak of the bar is a good deterrent. "Setup or looters do you think?" The gunfire isn't stopping.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Looters. Anything setting us up would be past bullets by now."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Point taken." After nearly a full minute, the gunfire (what the fuck was that, a goddamn minigun?) ceases, replaced with glaring spotlights and cackling laughter - sounds young, younger than they are, anyway.


<Axel_Wildfire>    Wyll groans tips his head back against the floor. "Great. Ronin."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    Aelita's hand starts feeling for her sidearm. "Heavies down first. Then the rabble."

<Axel_Wildfire>    He ekes a hand under his back, grabbing his own weighty revolver. "You know what I really, really like about this gun, Aelita?" Wyll murmurs.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Aside from the obvious?" A hand finally catches onto her Five-seveN, thumbing off the safety.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Actually, pretty much the obvious." he admits, which is a lot more obvious when you know that that revolver he's packing is a Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum. "What do you reckon, vault the bar and go for the stairs?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "I got the semi-auto; I'll cover until we can funnel them in." Aelita nods.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Got it." Wyll scurries back, puts his back to the counter behind the bar, and holds up five fingers, starting to count down slowly. "On three, or three and then go?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Three-no-go. Always hated the go." Finger on the trigger now, sidled up right alongside to cover Wyll's six.

<Axel_Wildfire>    He takes a long, slow breath to steady his nerves, and then *vaults* the counter - Aelita's "Heavies and Rabble" description couldn't have been more appropriate; two guys who more closely resembled small mountains made out of meat wielding jury-rigged together miniguns with gigantic ammo belts hanging from their sides, and three more quick little guys with knives and slasher smiles. That's all that Wyll has time to see before he completes that part of the spin, his twirling navy coat making it hard to track down his precise location... at least until he comes up low on one knee, longbarrelled revolver held over his left forearm sharpshooter-style.
<Axel_Wildfire>    The sound it makes when it fires is *deafening*, drowning out everything else in the downstairs of the room momentarily and painting the far wall and caving-in-roof with the grey matter of the Heavy the magnum round strikes. Wyll doesn't stick, already diving behind the partition wall by the stairs as Heavy Number 2 sets his fuckyou cannon howling, tracking fire across in Wyll's direction... and thereby leaving Aelita completely free to act.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    And act she does, serpentining out from the side and peppering the second Heavy with a three-round burst in a feint for the stairwell, only to roundabout and start tagging the slashers in a cut towards what used to be the front door.

<Axel_Wildfire>    The Slashers are *fast*, too fast for standard humans; they move like blurs, dodging bullets and making it look easy... especially now that there's no miniguns in sight, with Aelita dropping Heavy Number Two. "Shit. With me." Wyll says flatly into his earpiece, already prepping to move from his cover. "Back to back and that way they don't get a clear shot, meet you in the middle."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    A brief tap for acknowledgment, and the pink-haired woman is already backing towards Wyll's position. "What are we looking at here? Worms don't get this fast till they drop the facade."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Dunno. Humans jacked up on third-party adrenal glands, maybe." Wyll doesn't bother trying to track the whizzing blurs, instead focusing on their movement as a whole - at least until one comes in for a slash at his face. "Shit -!" his right arm raises almost reflexively as he hunches, and the blade flicks across his forearm and then his cheek - barely stopping it from doing anything worse; hot blood runs down his sleeve and drips to the floor from the cut on his cheek - but at the same time, the creep with the slasher-smile actually flickered into the visible spectrum for the duration of his attack. "Aelita, you see that?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Calling that kaizo-ningen. No point not chancing it now." The pistol steadies in her left hand as Aelita's right digs into her jacket.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "True enough. Catch and duck." Wyll's already passing his gun back to her, freeing both of his hands for a defensive trick - against two this time, he whips off his coat and entangles the their blades and forearms in it as they experience that weird 'slowdown' again, and then with a twist, hurls them across the room. They and the coat go flying, but his Proto Driver remains in his hand. "Breathing room. Ready?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "As ever." Somewhere in the juggle of firearms, the ZX Belt had been clasped around Aelita's waist as the Five-seveN and meaty revolver were hastily shoved in the coat pockets.


<Axel_Wildfire>    "Just like old times." Truth is that Wyll and Aelita haven't needed to henshin for any of the cases they'd taken up to now. But still... Wyll's body remembers the motions; he flicks the long-length of the belt around his waist, then jerks the buckle back across, connecting the two halves by force, and drawing a card from the jack at his hip. "Ride On, Decade!"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Henshin!" The red glow was almost comforting. "ZE-CU-ROOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSS!"

<Axel_Wildfire>    For just a moment, it seems like the glow is sufficient to splash some colour back into their ruined surroundings... at least for that heartbeat. Well, Aelita's ZX henshin does anyone - Wyll's own Proto-DCD transformation is as monochrome as the faded surroundings. The Slashers are just beginning to untangle themselves, snarling viciously; they look more like wolves than humans. "How do you wanna do this?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "May as well beat 'em at their own game." The Susanoo Brace snaps onto ZX's wrist, a gold inlay overtaking the ninja Rider's silver trim as it morphs into the Axel Watch.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Must be nice." There's dry humour in his tone as his hand drops to the belt-buckle, depressing two buttons on it and then spinning the buckle itself. >>ILLUSION<< >>INVISIBLE<<
<Axel_Wildfire>    "Tag." Wyll reaches back and taps Aelita's shoulder... and then there are three of her, plus the fourth unseen real one. "Go nuts."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    In unison, the three Zecrosses - rather, three Faiz Accels - START UP. The next ten seconds are a blur as phantoms clash with ruffians at supersonic speeds, wrecking most of the rec room before the telltale energy funnels of EXCEED CHARGE ignition sprout from the slashers' chests at around the eighth second.
<Haruka_Emmerich>    A fade to coherence, and the doppelgangers slam into the would-be looters, igniting them in bursts of energy throughout the room...as the final, actual Aelita decloaks and doffs the bracelet from behind the bar.

<Axel_Wildfire>    Wyll lets out a low whistle as the remains of the Ronin hit the ground. He doesn't sound particularly concerned. "Well, it's not like they were that terrible, but..."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "...I'm not saying it. Glasses don't work with the helmet."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Fine then."

<Axel_Wildfire>    And then someone elects to kick their way in through the remains of the door, probably eighteen or so, with blue streaks in his wild black hair, wearing a ragtag assortment of clothes that identifies him straight-up as a Ronin. He's loud and obnoxious, too. "Hora hora horaaaa! What the hell do you two think you're doing to my Ling Brothers!?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "You tell me what you're doing on sacred ground." ZX's lime-green eyes stare down the intruder. "Insofar as we can be arsed to call it that."

<Axel_Wildfire>    "What, this place? It's been abandoned for years! Anyone who hasn't grabbed the stuff in here so far is missing out, and it's not like it's a church, am I right?" he laughs, reaches into his pocket. "Still, I guess you need some convincing, eh?"

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Here we go." Wyll mutters drily.

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Hmph." Aelita merely snaps the Brace back on.

<Axel_Wildfire>    The kid pulls out a GaiaMemory, of all things... and it's a red one, T2 style. "Let's get this wild party started, shall we!?"
<Axel_Wildfire>    >>SLASH<<
<Axel_Wildfire>    The result stops Wyll cold - it's a bronzy, no, rusty red colour, with blue eyes, but it's unmistakeably in the same vein as Fang. Everything about it seems just slightly 'less', though. "What the hell."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Tch, cheap knockoff..." A flick of the wrist, and X Rider's Ridol Whip is in ZX's hands. "But hey, who are we to talk? We're the frickin' Counterfeit Riders."
<Haruka_Emmerich>    "But just because this city doesn't deserve real ones doesn't mean we won't give it all we got!"

<Axel_Wildfire>    "... heh." Wyll laughs softly, drawing a card from his hip holster. "Ain't that the truth. Ride On, Fang!" In a heartbeat the Rider armor is overtaken by a white rush as half (more like a third) of the *real* Fang comes to light, one long blade curving back from it's arm.

<Axel_Wildfire>    Across from them, Slash just laughs, reaching to it's shoulder and withdrawing something that resembles an exceptionally wicked Kabar. "Come on then, if ya think you're hard enough!"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Forget being hard enough..." The Ridol disappears as Aelita's armor takes on the form of RX BioRider, before melting into a surge of blue gel that lashes out at Slash.

<Axel_Wildfire>    Impressively, he actually twirls *around* her, something in the manner of a flamenco dancer in his motions - he ducks under Wyll's followup slash, too, taking the opportunity for a shot at Wyll's unprotected ribs and leaving a flash of sparks and a long groove there. They stop, backs to each other, and Wyll whistles lowly. "He's a slippery prick."

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Yeah, totally stealing my schtick!" Aelita gurgles before solidifying and shifting to RoboRider. "Luckily there's an app for that. VOLTIC SHOOTER!"

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Slash Biter!" Slash's response is just as fast, an ankle-blade similar to Fang's own Fang Streizer setup - he backs away from the attacks, parrying each shot with either the blade in his hand or via retreating spinning kick using the leg blade. Wyll doesn't seem impressed. "Bored now." he says, drawing another card. "How do you feel about using that energy-ball thing of yours? Still remember how to do it?"

<Haruka_Emmerich>    "Heh, it's more from me than the belt anyway." ZX's form comes into focus once more, but this time the gold trim is replaced by a glowing pink as crackles of digital energy coalesce around Aelita's right hand. "Chouden..."
<Haruka_Emmerich>    She focuses as much ambient flow as she can draw from the Wired into the ball, refocusing its parameters until deflection and evasion are a mathematical impossibility. "...RASENGAN!"
<Haruka_Emmerich>    The pink orb looses from ZX's hand on a collision course with Slash.

<Axel_Wildfire>    "Moron, it'll just end up the same -!" Slash spins into a kick, aiming to deflect the orb - and is instead nigh-exploded and hurled back into the bar, neatly exploding through the center in a pile of debris; the T2 Slash Memory skitters to a halt by Aelita's feet, while Wyll - dehenshined - stalks over and plants the heel of his boot square into the kid's chest, holding him still... not that he's going far with all the signs of Memory overdose. "Do you ever have those days, Aelita," he asks, looking back, "where you wish you'd kept your goddamn conspiracy theories to yourself?"
<Axel_Wildfire>    ... which is around about when the police sirens start wailing outside.

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