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    Troubleshooting

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    Bad John
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    Troubleshooting

    Post  Bad John on March 31st 2017, 4:54 pm

    Taking a deep, calming breath, Sophron sat in meditation. Having taken up residence in the mostly abandoned Sector Four base, his calm was rarely interrupted. After three years of sharing space with him, even the youngsters knew to leave him alone while he was working or resting; as a consequence, they left him alone for the majority of his waking hours.

    Even in his silent reflection, Sophron was working towards something; he waited in the dark for an epiphany. He knew that there was and idea that could take root in the soil of relaxed contemplation. Letting his mind wander, he'd shed his armor and was sitting in his uniform.

    His reverie was broken when the door softly slid open. Candles flickered as the lengths of their orange flames were pulled towards the door as air escaped. Turning, Sophron saw Etechnia.

    Though equals in rank, he had a fair few years over her. Sophron turned, waiting for his junior to greet him. "Sir, I apologize for interrupting, and I know it is very rude to ask favors from a senior offi-"

    "No need to apologize. Just tell me what you need, and let's be done with it." Sophron's words were blunt, but he couldn't help a warm smile from spreading across his face. He always liked Etechnia; between her and Apatet, he had no shortage of steady, helpful assistants. "Whatever it is I can help you with, I'd be glad."

    Shifting her weight, Etechnia glanced around the room, failing to make eye contact with the mage. "Well, I'm going to Sector Seven to pick up spices." Sophron knew damn well it was a lie, but he let her continue regardless. "Alalonn is in the vision room, so I need you to oversee the end of week mediation session."

    "Sector Seven. For spices." The mage chortled, rubbing his jaw. "This base is fit for two-hundred people, and there's barely over a dozen here. I wonder how we managed to run out of those confounded spices." Etechnia's expression shifted from guilty to annoyed as Sophron employed sarcasm viciously. "Quite a trip, for spices. I bet they're rare. Maybe Sector Seven has devised a way to turn scrap metal into truffle flakes."

    "Sir...stop rubbing it in." Etechnia knew that she couldn't exactly take the moral high ground after being caught speaking blatant falsehood, but she wanted him to accept or deny her request so she could leave.

    Sighing, Sophron cut to the heart of the matter. "You're going to harass that flower girl who hates us." Etechnia's pleading stare bore a hole into the mage. "...I'd be doing you a favor by saying no. You've made no significant headway into befriending that woman. Gaia only knows why you'd want to."

    Folding his arms, the elder SOLDIER awaited an explanation. Etechnia simply folded her arms, staring at the floor as he rightfully scolded her.

    "...Fine. On one condition. You wake Alalonn up from his training and take him with you."

    "What?" Etechnia lunged forward. Sophron wasn't the least bit intimidated at first, until she grasped him by the shoulders and lifted him into the air. "Sir, reconsider! This is unfair!"

    The truth was simple; Etechnia was smitten, and Alalonn didn't know about this mysterious, volatile flower salesman. Sophron hoped that the idea would make her back down and get back to her job.

    "...Goodness you're strong." Sophron swung his feet, craning his toes to touch the floor. She was inches shorter than him, but wielding the buster-sword for years had given her physical strength that a career mage could hardly even quantify. "But, my verdict stands. I have to deal with our former cadets, so you have to deal with Alalonn cramping your style for the day."

    There was a moment of silence before Etechnia lowered Sophron back to the floor. "Fine."

    The mage clicked his teeth. Dammit. He'd hoped to wiggle out of this; as much as he liked the brunette, he was being saddled with a particularly annoying responsibility. "What do I need to do?"

    "Just address them on the incident report I wrote down." Etechnia stuffed a hand into her pocket and unfolded a piece of computer paper, handing it to Sophron. He read it for a moment, his red eyes flying over the paper.

    "They burned Alken with hot wax? Why?" Sophron focused on the incident report, beguiled by what it said.

    Incident List

    1. Apatet locked in an empty Materia trunk. Hybria is the most likely suspect.

    2. Alken burned with Hot Wax. Suspect unknown; Alken refuses to cooperate.

    3. Severe Dress Code violation by all members. Possibly a coordinated incident.

    4. Gaeira and Alken duct-taped together by unknown party.

    5. General fighting in the rec room has increased 300% in frequency.

    6. "Kick Me" signs must be disallowed.

    7. Gaeira has a personal complaint that he's reserved for the meeting.


    "...Have they been stealing my candles?!"

    "It's your job to find out. Apparently they were interrogating him for some reason. Incidents of imprisonment, assault, and cartoonish torture are more common among the group than they let on. It will be your job to curb their behavior. I hope you're up to it." Etechnia grinned sadistically at Sophron, who gave her a scathing glare.

    "You know what else is torturous? Riding two hours in a train to meet an unfriendly flower-girl with your dad."

    For a moment, the two scowled at each-other with clenched fists, before relaxing.

    "...We're going to have a very difficult day," Sophron grumbled.

    "Indeed." Etechnia rubbed the back of her neck, stiffly turning to leave. "Best of luck to you, and thanks for the favor."

    "...I'd say anytime, but let's try to limit this to once. In this particular life, at least." Sophron began fastening his armor as Etechnia walked out the door. "Best of luck to you as well."




    This'll be a two parter, with this as the introduction. First comes Sophron's attempts at mediation, then you'll be introduced to a character I've been concepting; she's a big deal, and I wanted a chance to practice writing for her before she becomes an important fixture in the main story.

    FF.net chapter coming tomorrow.
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    Bad John
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    Re: Troubleshooting

    Post  Bad John on March 31st 2017, 7:42 pm

    If you're wondering why Etechnia didn't just wake Alalonn up and have him handle the incident report, the answer is simple; spite. If she did that, Sophron would be off the hook, and she'd have endured his teasing for nothing.

    Mutually assured destruction is a SOLDIER pastime.
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    Manny
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    Re: Troubleshooting

    Post  Manny on April 3rd 2017, 3:36 pm

    I don't know what kind of story this is but if there's even the possibility of two ladies making out.... I'll be reading.

    Also, is this the same story that you're posting on Fanfiction.net? Or is it different?
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    Bad John
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    Re: Troubleshooting

    Post  Bad John on April 3rd 2017, 5:42 pm

    To answer your first statement, Hybria is an expy of Maura, with a slight difference; she's the uncontested strongest of her peers, and she's Bisexual-Homoromantic; swings both ways but only dates women.

    Etechnia, the star of the show, is explicitly lesbian. So yeah, there'll be some lady shipping.

    As for what kind of story this is, this has been my main project on the Database; a Final Fantasy VII story centered around a group of SOLDIERs. 

    If you need a more relevant description, imagine my Freelancers as branch of a brutal military force, augmented by magic and alien cells, that uses melee weapons and industrialized magic in lieu of firearms (because they're THAT GOOD), led by Blaine (Alalonn, the hard hitting, pun loving Dad), Manny (Sophron, the aloof mage who spends his time experimenting and carrying out orders), and Nicole/Bailey (Etechnia, the reasonable and heroic older sister), and backed by a shady government.

    Also, there's an extraplanitary parasite that's the root of all evil, wiped out an ancient and magically advanced race, and is itching to finish the job, drink the planet's top resource, and use the hollowed out shell as a vessel to sail the cosmos and consume all life in the galaxy.

    Steampunk Halo. Or rather, Steampunk Metal and Mettle.

    And no, this one's exclusive to the Database until I decide otherwise. Lol. The FF.net story is going to be purely linear once I can get a grip on it. For some reason, looking at that website sucks the life out of me.

    I just realized I missed my deadline. Fuck.


    Last edited by Bad John on April 4th 2017, 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Bad John
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    Re: Troubleshooting

    Post  Bad John on April 3rd 2017, 6:38 pm

    The room was bustling with activity as the Second-Class SOLDIERs waited for their weekly scolding from Etechnia. According to her, no other unit needed to be routinely informed of all the things they'd done horrifically wrong (to each-other, no less), but here they were.

    "It's really unfortunate that we need to do this every week." Sitting among his teammates, Alken bemoaned the situation. The seven youths were gathered around a conference table, seated in uncomfortable chairs. "Perhaps this will be the week when we finally-"

    "No it won't." Gaeira, laying on the floor underneath the table, sharply interrupted his teammate.

    Apatet hated to agree with someone laying on the ground, but she nodded in ascent. "I hate to tell you this, but you say that last week." Considering her statement, the redhead adjusted her hair and leaned forward, resting her chin her arms. "And the week before that, and so forth. I think it might be healthy for you to admit that we suck."

    "We don't suck," Alken shot back. "We're one of the top Second-Class fighting forces. We've been commended for our actions."

    "Yeah, we do fight good." Hybria grinned. Seated comfortably at the head of the table, she kicked up her feet and leaned back in her chair. "I don't see anything wrong with this, honestly. Everyone makes mistakes."

    "You locked Apatet in a trunk." Kydomis rolled his eyes. "And I'm just going to throw this out there, but I think it was you who burned Al." Alken shifted uncomfortably, looking away. "C'mon, man. It's a small prank, but you've gotta start standing up for yourself. Was it her?"

    Two days prior, the group had taken a lighthearted day off at the base's swimming areas. When Alken took his shirt off, Kydomis saw something that disturbed him; small, circular burns on his teammate's skin. Avoiding the subject, Alken only divulged that it had been from melted wax; that was all he would report on the subject.

    "It wasn't me. Get off my case. Maybe Alken burned himself. Or he has a sugar-daddy who likes to put cigars out on his back."

    Cracking under the undue attention, Alken snapped at Hybria. "Why am I being insulted?! I didn't say shit! I told you guys it was fine, so just drop it!"

    Lioke said nothing during the exchange, laying across two chairs, chewing gum and reading a light novel. Similarly, Anai had taken to sharpening her knives. Neither of them had much vested interest in the meeting, so they entertained themselves.

    I want to go back to bed, Lioke thought bitterly.

    Anai held her knife to the light above her, checking for nicks or chips. This is bullshit. I have training to do. Never one to take her eye off the leaderboards, the red eyed girl ran one of her knives across the surface of the table. The mithril blade left a long scratch in the metal surface. Anai was snapped out of her testing when Alken stood up, staring at her.

    "STOP THAT! You're vandalizing SOLDIER property!"

    "...Who gives a shit?" Anai slipped her knives back into their shoulder mounted holsters. "I get your concern, but it's just a cheap metal cafeteria table. They're all covered in scratches."

    Alken considered the statement, sitting back down. "You're right. You could probably scratch a poem into one of these and nobody would care. My apologies." Anai gave her colleague a nod, putting her hands on her lap and rubbing her chin.

    "I would like to know who exactly burned you." Anai raised an eyebrow at him. "It does seem like a safety concern. It was either a prank done by surprise, or someone physically held you down and did it." Anyone strong enough to overpower Alken was worthy of her interest. "Unless you just left a candle burning above your bed. From what I can recall, you consistently sleep face-down."

    Alken scratched his head. "Why do you know that?" Alken sharply looked around the room, confused and somewhat disturbed. "Guys, why does she know that?"

    "Ah HAH!" Kydomis snapped his fingers. "Alken, was that it? Did you sleep face-down with a candle over you?"

    "Nah." Gaeira yawned. Before the conversation drew him in, he'd nearly fallen asleep. "We have seperate rooms, but they're all the same. None of us have shelves that high." Despite his laziness, he was a solid detective. "I already know who did it."

    Hybria pulled her seat back, crouching down to crawl towards Gaeira. "What are you doing?" The sleepy look immediately left the young man's face. He went pale as Hybria grinned, grasping his ankle. "HEY!" Gaeira was hauled out from under the conference room table and held him upside down by his feet. "FUCK! HELP ME!"

    "Tell us who did it," Hybria asked rakishly, shaking Gaeira up and down. Money rained from his pockets, his coin-pouch thudding heavily to the floor. "And stop being so goddamn rich all the time."

    "I can't help that I've got connections. Don't class shame me, you strong-arming fucker." As Gaeira was menaced by his team's resident bully, Lioke stood up and started picking up his loose coins, pocketing a few hun"NO! NOT MY MONEY! I'M NOTHING WITHOUT MY MONEY!" Though it was partially a joke, the group could hear fear in Gaeira's voice. "Put me down, Hybria, she's going for my coin pouch!" Lioke rifled through the frantic young man's purse, stuffing some into her pocket. Alken shook his head, completely defeated. The situation was beyond his control, and jumping in would only result in an ass kicking from both Hybria and Lioke.

    "I'll put you down and give you your money back if you tell me who burned Al. I'm sick of being blamed for shit I didn't do."

    When Hybria gave the ultimatum, Alken quickly countered. "GAEIRA, if you have actual information and tell it to her or anyone else, I'll beat the shit out of you. I am not joking."

    "...I can heal from a beating. I can't heal from bankruptcy."

    "Aren't your principles more important than money?"

    "Absolutely not. I can buy new principles. I'll talk, but you've gotta make Lioke give back at least ninety-percent of the money she took. Just put me down. I've got so much blood in my head right now." Indeed, Gaeira's reddened face contrasted with his curly, dark blue hair. Hybria looked over to Lioke, waiting for her to consent to the deal.

    Lioke simply released a dark, low chuckle, returning to her seat quickly as Sophron entered the room. Keeping every single coin she'd stolen, she left Hybria holding her victim.

    "Hi Sophron." Kydomis gave the mage a friendly wave. Sophron simply nodded in response to the greeting. Alken breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Lioke hummed her a happy tune, counting coins in the palm of her hand.

    "Oh thank God." Gaeira breathed a sigh of relief. Hybria, her interrogation halted by Sophron's presence, dropped Gaeira to the floor. "Ow. Fuckin' hell."

    "This isn't over," she hissed.

    "Yes, it is. At least while I'm here. When I leave, go nuts." Sophron the Red cared little about the Second-Classers roughhousing. In a way he viewed it as an extended training plan that they ran through automatically. The way they constantly cut their teeth on each-other, testing their ability to plan ahead for pranks and confrontations seemed like it was more beneficial than anything else. "Take your seats."

    Sophron's appearance in the room inspired a small semblance of order; Hybria put him down. "Just for the sake of keeping this brief, I'm not going to address this incident at all. No offense, Gaeira, but I'm sure you'd all like to get out of here as soon as possible."

    "Take me with you, sir." Gaeira trembled at the thought of what would happen if he was left alone with Hybria. "I have information she wants, and she's going to beat it out of me."

    "I wish you the best of luck, but no. You're generally unhelpful in my lab, and you snore very loudly." 

    "...I understand, sir. I promise I'll put in a good word for you in the afterlife." 

    As Gaeira lamented his situation, Lioke gave a sharp "heh" in response.

    After denying the request, Sophron clapped his hands together. "So, this is your Incident Mediation session. Let's just jump in and get it over with. Alright?" The First-Class mage took a seat and unfolded the paper that Etechnia had given him. "First item on the list..."




    Who is the mysterious malefactor who burned Alken with hot wax? Will Gaeira's wallet and face survive to see another day?

    You might find out next time. I'm sorta debating zig-zagging between the two plotlines. Next time will most likely involve Etechnia and Alalonn.
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    Bad John
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    Part 2

    Post  Bad John on April 10th 2017, 11:27 pm

    Footsteps echoed through one of Sector Seven's infamous "junk hallways." A massive, rusty corridor that stretched up and out for miles, it was populated by piles of broken vehicles and useless, broken panels. Normally, scavengers raided these grim places for parts; building new homes with no money often took quite a bit of creativity.

    However, today there were only five people, and they were running for their lives. Keeping her profile tight and low, the oldest of the scavengers was a young woman. She hurried along her present company, desperately fleeing. "Stay together, and watch your footing!"

    Nemsis cursed, her teeth clenching. If she were alone, she could move far faster; not even Shinra's civil protection officers could catch her on foot. However, she was weighed down by four young children. Gripping her metal staff, she stopped in her tracks. "Get behind me! NOW!"

    Despite the hectic situation, her young charges followed her direction. She'd drilled them for hours on safety in public; don't go with strangers, stop playing at her command, and do everything she said without focusing on anything. One look at a monster would freeze them in their tracks, so they locked their eyes on their feet, waiting for Nemsis to protect them.

    The caretaker gripped an iron staff. Wrapped in leather for a proper grip, it was her most trusted associate. Holding the weapon was comforting. She'd come through bad situations on the merit of her staff skill. Today wouldn't be any different.

    There was an eerie quiet. For a moment, Nemsis wondered if she'd given her pursuers the slip. However, a pile of metal burst beside her.  She shielded her face from a spray of rust and crumpled paper as the beast chasing her tromped forward.

    It was worse than she'd initially thought; Aps. A creature said to lurk in the sewers, hybernating and feeding on filth, the creature snorted as it stomped towards its intended prey. With turquoise skin, a pair of stubby horns coated in what looked like scabs, and a piggish nose, the beast looked like a boss from an arcade game. Beady eyes fixed on the woman, Aps towered over her, its wide mouth hanging open, reaching out its thick, four fingered hands.

    Nemsis steeled herself to strike, but even as she faced danger with a level head, she knew she was overmatched. With nothing but a metal rod, she probably couldn't even hurt the beast. Realizing she was about to be dealt out of the game, Nemsis decided to spend her final moments selfishly; she just wanted to see her boys and girls get to safety. Turning back, she shouted to them one last time. "CHILDREN, RUN! I'll distract it!"

    The moment she turned, she felt something hot and wet cover her left side. As she looked up and down her arm, Nemsis absently realized she'd been covered in someone else's blood.

    The blood belonged to Aps. The caretaker lifted her head, and realized she was standing in the shadow of a colossal, one sided blade. The beast recoiled in pain, a deep wound in its snout. Blood dripped from Etechnia's buster-sword.

    "You'll be rid of this beast in a moment." Etechnia turned her weapon forward, taking a low, stable stance. Rather than swinging it, she turned her body towards the weapon, letting her momentum guide the blade; a buster-sword wasn't a simple weapon to be flung to and fro. It was more of a dance-partner. The weapon had enough raw iron to match a grown man in weight.

    Bringing her blade around, Etechnia ducked under a swipe of Aps' thick hand. She brushed her knee against the dirt, letting the blade of her foot slash across the ground as she circled her blade. In a powerful swing, she cut off the towering brute's leg. Planting her sword into the ground, she brought herself to a careful halt, before reaching up and gripping the handle behind her head.

    Nemsis watched, mostly impressed but partially disgusted by the display of power and showmanship. 

    Is she posing? The fuck is wrong with her? Just kill it already and be done with it. 

    She could tell that the SOLDIER was showing off; the creature that had Nemsis quaking in fear was now toppled, on its hands and remaining knee. The caretaker hated how impressed she was; with a violent shudder, she physically forced herself to stop admiring the SOLDIER.

    "Now, for my finishing blow." Etechnia beamed, tearing her sword up from the dirt and preparing to finish Aps off.

    Unfortunately, her mentor wasn't quite so patient. Strolling up behind the beast came Alalonn with a clenched fist. Without bothering to draw his sword, the bearded SOLDIER approached Aps, who was crawling on its remaining leg and hands.

    "The hell is this doing here?" Alalonn brought his elbow down on the huge creature's skull. Despite having a head the size of an engine block, the single blow was instant death. "Alright, problem solved." Alalonn wiped grey matter and blood off of his arm. The huge First-Classer was bored. Dragged away from his simulation training, killing the monstrous beast was the closest he'd gotten to having fun today. "What were you playing around for? You could have killed that thing in two seconds."

    Alalonn looked up at Etechnia, startled by the look of pure fury and embarrassment on her face. Noticing Nemsis, he raised an inquisitive eyebrow, taking his chin in his hand. Alalonn leaned towards Etechnia, loudly whispering. "You were trying to impress her, weren't you?"

    It certainly made sense to him; Alalonn had watched Etechnia grow from the age of thirteen. Every romantic stumbling involved the same basic "type."

    Blonde hair, wears a dress, blue eyes...yep. That's the one. Alalonn grinned as his protege gave him a quick jab to the ribcage.

    "YES, you dolt. That moment would have been perfect." Etechnia seethed, rolling her eyes.


    "Excuse me." Nemsis, agitated, took a calming breath. "...Thank you for protecting us. Both of you. You certainly made short work of that creature. But if you don't mind, I'll be leaving."

    "Don't sweat it. Any friend of hers is a friend of mine." Alalonn looked around the colossal, indoor garbage dump. "However a monster managed to get in here, I'll be sending some of my subordinates on a hunt to clean this place up." As he spoke, he shot Etechnia a quick wink.

    It was an excuse to return. Etechnia reminded herself to thank him later.

    "Actually, if you'd really like to help, we were gathering metal to repair the community center. It's the only place that abandoned children can live without worrying about abduction, or worse. If you're strong enough to slay monsters, then maybe you can lend a hand with some basic construction." Nemsis tilted her head, wondering if the SOLDIERs were kind enough to lend even a minute of their time.

    "Of course. We'd be happy to help for as long as needed." Lifting her sword, Etechnia attached it to a magnetic holster on her back with an audible clank. Scabbards for the huge weapon were a waste of money, and drawing the weapon always took too much effort.

    "...Alright, fine." Alalonn certainly wasn't excited, but it was hard to say no to charitable service. "I'll do it for the kids." It was half true; he was doing it for Etechnia's sake. She'd been a kid once.

    "Good. Start collecting the cleanest sheets of scrap metal you can find." Happy to have a pair of herculean warriors helping her out for the day, Nemsis quickly rushed off to find the children under her care. The clever kids had rushed off to hide the moment they got the chance.

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    Re: Troubleshooting

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      Current date/time is September 20th 2017, 5:15 am