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Most users ever online was 29 on October 1st 2013, 12:09 am

    Heart of Steel.

    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1224
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : A box in the United States.

    Heart of Steel. Empty Heart of Steel.

    Post  Bad John on June 25th 2013, 1:45 pm


    Jorge hollered into the room, and Nine nearly urinated in his pants. The shout had waken him from deep sleep.

    His eyes opened, and he kicked into alert status. He looked at Jorge, wide eyed and a bit aggravated.

    His eyes adjusted to the light of the room. Jorge, ever considerate, had opened the windows for him. He was in a hospital bed, but he seemed none the worse for wear.

    "...Where are they?" Nine looked around, confused.

    Jorge raised one eyebrow. "The four girls who apparently saved your ass? I donno. Bailey has them in protective custody. I'd have to find out on my shift."

    Jorge ambled over to Nine's bedside, offering him a bottled water. "Much obliged. How long was I out?"

    Jorge waited a moment, as if Nine was supposed to brace himself.

    "I've been in comas before, Jorge. Just gimme the damn number."

    "About a month. We got your armor's distress signal."

    "...My armor was destroyed."

    "Yes, it was. We managed to rebuild the helmet, but the rest was tin-foil. Those girls, though, REBUILT your distress beacon. Bailey was pretty impressed."

    Nine got out of bed, and began stretching. He was in a shirt and pants. His prosthetic eye had been replaced, and he probably had a mess of new scars on his body from falling from orbit. "Am I still pretty, Jorge?"

    "...Somewhat. You still have your boyish charm, if that's what you're asking. You took a few deep cuts to the neck, shoulders, and your left cheek, but it's nothing your wife will leave you over."

    Nine smiled. "Good. These looks pay the bills."

    "Your fighting skill sure doesn't. Who beat the shit out of you?" Jorge was curious. Nine didn't outright lose fights often.

    "The Promethean. He was sitting on that ship, waiting for me to board. It was a trap. What happened to my team?"

    "Andrew, Vance, Deimos, and that other guy got off safe. What was his name?"

    Nine racked his brain. "...Samson?"

    "SANFORD." Jorge recalled. "Yeah. He took a bad hit. Almost died from infection. He's fine now, though."

    Nine smiled. "Good to know he's alright." Nine hardly knew the man, and didn't care, but it was nice to know the Freelancer number wasn't dwindling. "...Did you talk to those four girls? Find out WHY they helped me?"

    "Their leader just requested asylum, and to be smuggled off the planet. She said that someone had set up shop there and was looking for them. Probably Legion."

    "What's the Legion want with four girls?" Nine raised his eyebrow.

    Then he remembered.

    "HOLYSHIT it's because they have superpowers."

    "...John, you probably hallucinated that." Jorge flatly stated the sentence with a tinge of worry.

    "NO! I'm serious! One of them used blades of grass as little knives!" Nine pointed his fingers and needled them back and forth, imitating blades of grass being used, in fact, as knives.

    Jorge simply stared at him. "The fact that you hallucinated from blood loss is one thing. The fact that you BELIEVE your hallucination is a bit...worrying."

    "I know what I saw, you fuggin' galoot." Nine stretched his arms, and looked around. "Go get me my clothes. I'm not leaving this room in a hospital getup. People will think I escaped a mental ward."

    Jorge nodded, dropping the subject. "Fine, but ONLY if the medical team agrees to you being out and about."

    Nine villainously rubbed his hands together, staring off into the distance.  "We'll see...About THAT."

    "No, we won't. Now sit down or I'll punch you down, spaz."

    "Whatever, blockhead."

    Last edited by Bad John on July 1st 2013, 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 24
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Manny on July 1st 2013, 11:30 am

    Huh, I didn't see this.

    Despite everything, Nine still seems to be in a fairly good mood.
    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1224
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : A box in the United States.

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Bad John on July 1st 2013, 11:53 am

    "WOOOO. Back in action!" Nine stretched his arms, donning his black tee shirt, jeans, and hat. "Where's my sunglasses? It's bright outside."

    Jorge walked with him, reading a newspaper. He seemed distant, and Nine could tell his mind was elsewhere. "We're on Ganymede, not the sun. Your eyes will adjust. And to answer your question, Maura stole them while you were out."

    "...You guys just let people take my stuff while I'm comatose?" Nine felt a tad offended.

    Jorge looked at Nine with a joking expression. "No, we let MAURA take your stuff while you're comatose. Stopping her is more trouble than it's worth."

    Nine nodded in agreement.

    "What is it about her that makes you two friends?" Jorge pondered. "You're like night and day. She's mean, you're not so mean..."

    "I've known her all my life." Nine smiled, thinking back to the time they were kids. "We competed for EVERYTHING, and we helped each-other. It's the same with you and the other Model IIs, ain't it?"

    Jorge flinched.

    "...What? The hell's wrong with you?"

    Jorge rolled his eyes. "Nothing. You're right."

    "Why'd you flinch?" Nine prodded Jorge. "Was it something I said?"

    "I hate your accent. When you say 'ain't,' it's like nails on a chalkboard."

    Nine let Jorge keep walking, as he stood there, confused and insulted.

    "...Well FUCK YOU! I don't get all pissy when you speak German."

    Jorge turned and glared at Nine. "HUNGARIAN. Not GERMAN, HUNGARIAN." Jorge's foot stamped down, and his fist clenched.

    "Well fuck Hungarian! Why doesn't Reach speak English like everybody else!"

    "Don't bring up Reach, city boy." Jorge stared Nine down with intense anger, and Nine's own anger was coming to a head.


    "Your accent makes that clear, bon-bon."

    "You're a nitwitted flat footed colossal outdated square jawed-"

    "You're a short little piece of angry shouting whining-"

    Jorge and Nine moved into swinging distance of each-other, their teeth clenched, and their nostrils flaring.



    Stop fighting.

    Nine and Jorge froze in place, unmoving, their expressions softening, and their tempers emptying. Peace approached them, satisfied that their rage had been nullified.

    "Thank you."

    A lith, relaxed woman, she casually walked past them. She stopped, and placed her hand on Nine's shoulder. "Nice to see you're alright. Bounty and Peace were worried about you. Visit us sometime."

    She continued walking, as if nothing had occurred.

    Nine watched her turn the corner. Jorge's pupils nearly contracted.

    "...What just happened?" Jorge rubbed his head.

    Nine pointed to her. "...She...super powers."
    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1224
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : A box in the United States.

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Bad John on July 9th 2013, 12:09 am

    "Run it again, Calvin."

    Lucy leaned her head to the side, her tendons cracking, sweat dripping from her brow. She clenched her knuckles, wiping her forehead with the back of her hand.

    Calvin's holographic display looked to the control panel with slight uncertainty. "Spartan Lucy, you ran your last drill in four point five seconds. That is a new record, and something to be proud of. May I suggest a resting period?"

    Lucy shook her head "no," and spaced her feet apart.

    "Run it, Calvin." Linda watched cooly, giving the order. Her word was law in all Freelancer combat programs. Number One was to be obeyed.

    Ten holographic targets sprang up from the floor, simulated. Lucy spotted the first three in front of her.

    Her first three strikes hit home in an instant. Her fists struck the first two, the flat of her hand swiping the third in half. She turned on her heels. Spotting another two targets as they furiously circled her.

    Dammit. Lucy planted her feet and swung her elbow, striking another. She fired a low knee strike, hitting her fifth target.

    The circular targets circled her, shadowing her every move, attempting to stay in her blind spots. In an instant, she'd found them. Her reflexes were something to be feared. She struck and dispelled the remaining targets with a flurry of precise shots. No movement was wasted.

    Her time was still a second off of her goal.

    "Four point four seconds." Linda raised her eyebrow. "Trying to catch up with me?"

    Lucy stepped off of the metallic training platform. "No."

    In truth, Linda's speed was unattainable to her. She was trying to match her husband's hand to hand combat rating. She'd managed to surpass Maura's and Zimm's in a matter of weeks, but she had a ways to go before she was as lethal with her hands as Agent Nine.

    "Working up a sweat there?"

    Linda turned and looked over her shoulder at the man in question. Nine leaned against the wall, his arms folded. "Look who's back on payroll, boss!"

    Lucy sprang forward, wrapping arms around Nine. It was good to see him. "You were down for quite a bit." Lucy rubbed his head. "Be in our dorm at eight. We're going to catch up."

    Nine shrugged his shoulders, feeling rejected. "You don't want to hang out NOW?"

    "I'm going to the firing range." Lucy chuckled. "SOME of us value our aim."

    Nine gave Lucy a flat, negative expression as she passed him by. Linda patted Nine on the shoulder. "No offense. She's been training like a DEMON since you went down. I think she's trying to take MY job."

    Nine cocked his head to the side. "She must be good to have YOU worried. What's her aim like now-a-days?"

    "Infallible. Her margin of error is minimal, and she can draw and fire faster than she's ever been able. She can even match some Spartan IIs in marksmanship and speed."

    Nine was genuinely impressed. Lucy had taken a level in sheer killing power. All Spartans were passable marksmen, but Lucy had always been good. To improve on her natural talent was incredible. "No center mass shots?"

    "None. All head. She's only fractions of a second slower than me." Linda put her hands on her hips, brushing back her dark red hair. "I take pride in having decent students." She looked down at Nine. "I expect YOU to start improving as well. Wake up early tomorrow and hit the gym. I want you in the SIM room at noon. For now, I'm giving you a break."

    "Since when do you play Drill Sarge?"

    "There's a storm coming, Captain." Linda looked down at Nine with a serious, dry expression. "I can feel it. Now say 'yes ma'am,' and scuttle off. These are your last few hours of freedom before I start training you into the GROUND."

    "Yes ma'am."
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 24
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Manny on July 10th 2013, 8:45 pm

    Calvin! Long time no see!
    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1224
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : A box in the United States.

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Bad John on August 8th 2013, 11:37 am

    Nine stepped out of the gym feeling relatively refreshed. It was his third day of intensive training, and he was given a short resting period.

    He felt his arm. Once again, it was tight and hard as steel. Spartan musculature gave no ground when touched. His flesh was built to last. He casually swigged his bottled water, and strolled through the halls of the compound.

    He peered out the window. The countryside was nice this time of year. Ganymede's rolling, grassy hills were always home to him. He stopped, and stepped out the emergency exit, kicking his shoes off.

    The benefits of being a Freelancer were simple: relative freedom. As long as you did your job, stayed in decent shape, obeyed direct orders, and meant well, you were free during your off time. Nine sat on the grass, letting the fire of weight lifting, running, and striking the heavy bag slowly filter out of his lungs. His limbs relaxed, as his chest expanded with warm, clean air.

    "Hey there."

    Nine turned his head. Maura was over his shoulder. "Mind if I pop a squat next to you, bud?"

    Nine nodded. "Grab a seat."

    Maura planted her good arm on the grass, and with one arm, did a handstand. She slowly worked her body down and up, her full weight resting on her hand. Nine heard her slowly counting to herself.

    "That isn't...sitting."

    Nine admired her for a moment. She was in remarkable shape. Her robotic left arm had to be re-weighted and strengthened to match her natural one. For all her power, she didn't lose an ounce of beauty, her auburn hair spilling onto the grass, and sweat wetting her shirt. She popped back up after twenty presses, and sat on the grass.

    "So, how you been? You sorta jumped right back into training after getting out of your coma." Maura patted Nine on the shoulder. "You've been spending time with your family, right?"

    "Yup. Family first." Nine nodded. "I've been keeping track of Iola and Lucy. I'm sure you've been keeping track of Lucy just as well as me, though."

    Maura raised her hand for a high five. Nine glared at her, and left her hanging.

    "...Something on your mind?" Maura crossed her legs. Nine stretched his, leaning back.

    "The four women. They're all...I can't put my finger on it, but Jorge believes me."

    "Well, they saved your life." Maura shrugged. "You should go introduce yourself."

    Nine nodded. "...I'm not sure I should. Something tells me that I should leave them alone. Just a bad feeling."

    Maura glowered at Nine with a look that could turn a painting grey. "They saved your life. Go introduce yourself, or I'll beat you into ANOTHER coma." Maura motioned to the building. "You know, though, they're somehow involved with the Legion's Horseguys."

    "The Horsemen?" Nine made the connection the moment Maura mentioned it. "Four of them, unusual powers, but all women. Holy crap. Why didn't I think of that before?!"

    "Well, that, and their names are Peace, Life, Health, and Bounty. Those are the opposites of War, Death, Pestsomething, and...the ugly one, right?"

    "Yep. You're right on the money. If they're working for the Legion, I should find out, but if they're not, then they might know something that'll do something for me." Nine stood up.

    "Why would they give a shit about us?" Maura chuckled.

    "Well, the Legion gets four people with superpowers, so why shouldn't we? This might give us a leg up on our competition."

    Maura cocked her head to the side. "Have at it. You're not doing anything else important today. Go bother the...Horsegirls of the Anti-Apocalypse."
    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1224
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : A box in the United States.

    Heart of Steel. Empty Re: Heart of Steel.

    Post  Bad John on August 8th 2013, 2:52 pm

    Nine looked around the wide living quarters. It was typically reserved for any Covenant asylum seekers who needed a home, built to house either methane (for grunts), or normal breathing air. He stretched his legs, still a bit tense and sore from exercise.

    "Excuse me!" Nine walked slowly. "Anyone here?"

    Nine looked around. Cots lined the walls. There was an odd smell in the air. Soon, he came to a cot with a person on it. She was hunched over, sitting with something on her lap. She was mixing something with a mortar and pestle.

    Nine recognized the exact feeling of seeing Pestilence for the first time. That skin crawling sensation of brushing past the man.

    This woman seemed to possess the exact opposite effect on him. Being around her made him feel cleaner. Strangely invigorated. The scent radiating from her was oddly comforting.

    She glanced up at him, and drew a small spoon from the lab coat she was wearing. She scooped some, and offered it.

    "It's a cure for a strain of rhinovirus that's currently dormant inside you." She rolled her eyes. "Shameful. Almost thirty-five percent of the men and women here have it. This should upgrade your immune system."

    "I'm going to take a wild guess and say you're health." Nine looked at the sludge affixed to the spoon.

    "Take it now, or you'll start feeling the symptoms in three days. Your natural defenses are rallying, but they're low from being unconscious for so long."

    Nine took the spoon and clopped his mouth down on it. Health seemed genuinely distressed. "That USED to be sterile. I wanted you to DROP it into your mouth."

    Nine swallowed the bitter serum. "I'm not surprised you're a germ-o-phobe." Nine sat on the cot opposite her. "I wanted to thank you for-"

    "No thanks. You had a problem, and I fixed it. You protected my sister. That makes us even. And exposure to YOU re-introduced us to your people's spoken language. AND your...associates took us out of isolation on that planet."

    Nine smiled. "No problem. Still though, you saved my LIFE. You deserve a thank you, so thank you."

    He watched Health's response carefully. She looked at him, contemplating, then returned to grinding at her bowl. "...Life would agree that a LIFE is priceless. I suppose I did deserve your thanks. But, I'm fairly certain you had a minor chance of survival without my help. Give me your arm."

    Nine shrugged. "Alright."

    Health, without glancing at the man, took his arm and turned his palm up. She felt the skin of his arms, tracing his veins.

    "...Yes. As I observed earlier, in you and a minority of the humans here, your nerves are super-conducted, your muscles have been made more dense, and your bones are incredibly strong. You have very minor Lifeworker modifications, but your geas are light. Possibly just the result of diverse breeding."

    "...Wat" Nine, confused, scratched his head.

    Then, Health pricked him. With no syringe, her bare finger seemed to penetrate his skin. Nine felt blood being drawn.

    "Woah woah WOAH." Nine didn't pull away, but was a bit perturbed.

    "I'm not making modifications to your vessel. I'm merely taking a blood sample." Health pulled the droplets of red fluid through the air, attached to her fingertip, as though she were holding a vial made of clear glass. She placed it in a small test tube, bottling it with a cork lid. "Thank you for sharing."

    Health smiled at Nine, who smiled back, a bit nervous.

    "...Have you four given any thought into what you intend to do?"

    "Clearly we can't stay." Health laid back on the bed.

    "Well...yeah, you can. The Legion has four people with similar, but opposite powers."

    "...The LEGION. Led by War, I presume?" Health turned her head to face Nine. "He WOULD have an army. I suppose it's for the best. It's my understanding that Humanity is in conflict with several previous client races."

    "Yeah. The Covenant." Nine glanced away. The word had very negative connotations. "Covenant" wasn't far in his mind from the word "asshole."

    "Religious?" Health asked. "No surprise there. The Unggoy are weak, and easy to sway via violence. Elites are pious. San Shyuum are devious. Jiralhanae are savage. All of them, are candidates for religious cultism. The Lekgolo are a surprise, though."

    "Eh. Religion is a healthy moral output for some people. For others...it leads to problems." Nine rolled his eyes, remembering the "We called it the Great War. In a way, it's still going on, but we're coming out on top, for now."

    "How did you lose your eye?" Health asked. "Great War?"

    "You get really personal, really fast." Nine grumbled.

    "I'm sorry. It IS an impressive prosthetic. Natural, save for the LED lights in the pupil."

    Nine nodded. "Thanks. I like it. My natural eye got scratched by a Jiralhanae. It was almost blinded, and I had a wide blind spot. Then, years later, I couldn't see a Sangheili sneaking up on me, and he slashed my eye."

    Health nodded. "I'm sorry."

    The two sat in silence for a little while.

    Health patted the bed. "My sisters are out for a walk. If you want to wait for them, feel free to sit for a while."

    Nine nodded, and sat beside Health, the two waiting there in comfortable, calm silence.

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