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a goose

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  1. IC: Caana (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress) Caana chuckled wryly, shaking her head. “I fear you do not understand me quite as well as you may think, Falki. The test is a simple one, one that my own teacher gave me often; the goal is not to say what you believe I want you to say, but to introspect. In offering your own perspective on the fight, you reveal something of yourself, and open up further discussion.” The Ronin paused for a moment, and then sighed. “It is unwise to so readily dismiss what you were before. You have an opportunity to become greater than her, and greater than you are now, but only if you embrace both aspects of yourself: original, and opposite. Let them do battle in your mind. If one is weaker, consider how she must change in order to succeed; if they fight to a standstill, find what both have missed that could have led them to victory. You have a rare opportunity, Falki – my advice is to use it. Take both these versions of yourself, and use them to become something stronger than either could be alone.” The moonlight above was visible, now; Caana had hardly noticed the bodies underfoot as she had walked with Falki. “That is all I had to say. Take it or leave it, as you will, and I will respect your decision. I cannot force you to heed my words, nor would I want to; your path is your own to chart.” OOC: @Mel
  2. IC: Caana (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress) "Combat, naturally." It was a topic Caana had given a significant amount of thought, since realising the Dashi would now be fighting alongside her. "You're skilled, clearly well-trained, and yet I believe you are capable of more. I suspect you do, too. By rights, I lost to you in our encounter; I made a critical miscalculation, and left myself at a disadvantage that you should have been able to press. Tell me: what was your mistake?" OOC: @Mel
  3. IC: Muir (Drifter's Inn) Big Al was less than pleased to be letting a room on credit, and Muir found himself hoping dearly that Renaka would cover his expenses. Alrin seemed to hope that too, given the way his eyes lit up when he realised Muir was getting someone else – someone unfamiliar with the typical cost of a night in his establishment – to foot the bill. The room looked, and was, cheap. The musty smell that came part and parcel with unopened windows in a damp Koro was pervasive, and the mattress may as well have been made of stone, but it offered at a competitive price those usually expensive qualities of privacy and discretion. Muir let his chest plate fall to the floor with a thud, taking a deep breath at long last. He had been wearing it far too much these past few days; an unfortunate necessity of public appearances, and one that would leave him sore for quite some time. The whiskeys had done their job, though, dulling the ache significantly, and his smoking doubtless posed a far greater risk of long-term damage to his lungs than binding a few hours too long. The lawyer knew his metabolism well, and knew that he had just enough time to transcribe his conversation with Casanuva before the drink would cloud his mind. The trade-off for an easier night's sleep was that he would be unable to allot time to processing the events and discoveries of the day until morning, but it was an easy trade to make – all that information would continue percolating in his mind while he dreamt, and his anger toward Vrill would have somewhat abated, allowing him to make a proper, objective assessment. His work done, he closed his notebook, and soon after, his eyes. This day had lasted long enough.
  4. IC: Caana (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress) She stepped aside, so that Falki might lead the way. So shortly after their last confrontation, and without a firm grasp on how the tarnish upon the masks of her allies worked, she had no intention of leaving her back open to the Dashi. "Yes, we do. I wish to discuss your… potential." OOC: @Mel
  5. IC: Muir (The Capella) The lawyer laughed again and pulled his coat tight, bracing himself against the coming cold. "I didn't say 'people you don't trust,' did I?" There was an odd twinge of sadness behind Muir's eyes to accompany this smirk. "See you around, Cas. And good luck." And with that, he made his way back out into the storm. OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  6. IC: Caana (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress) The Ronin took a breath and steeled herself against the heat before she entered the main chamber. Oppressive though the temperature was, showing weakness would be unwise. "Falki. You left before we had a chance to speak." OOC: @Mel
  7. IC: Muir (The Capella) Muir chuckled wryly, and downed the rest of his glass with a grimace. Maybe the local flavour wasn't for him after all. "Team player, huh? I get that." Unlike the Toa Kalta, he didn't even feign a smile. "Knew a lot of them, back in the day. Not a trait I admire." "I stand alone because I have a code, and I won't compromise it. Not for anyone. You play the team with people you can't trust, you get the stain on you. I watched good men become bad cops, time and time again, because they played the team. You want to know why I didn't ask you my questions direct? It's because I'd be a ****** idiot if I let you and yours set the narrative before I even got my facts straight." He stood up from his stool, and laid enough cash on the bar to cover his drinks and a decent tip. It was more than he could really afford to spend, but he at least had a paycheck coming from Renaka. "Frankly, the fact that you were so willing to engage in intimidation after I had what I thought was a pretty open and productive conversation with Cyrix, tells me that my first impressions might've been pretty close to the mark. You can follow me if you want. You can hate me if you want. If I cared about your opinion I'd still be a cop, and if I was that easy to scare off, I wouldn't be a lawyer. Luckily for you, I'm here for the facts, which means that your posturing isn't going to bias my investigation against you. "I'm going to do what I need to do. You and your comrades can either help me, or stay the ****** out of my way. Are we done here?" OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  8. IC: Caana (Mashtet Fortress) Caana was no stranger to death; she had watched the light fade from her own mother's eyes when she was only a girl, and she had still to reach adulthood when she slew her aunt. Those deaths, those killings, were as bloody as they were personal. They inured her to what would follow; war was a relief, compared to what she had already experienced. A battlefield littered with corpses was a kind of death that was indifferent and anonymising, and as such could never compare to the horrors of the Ronin's childhood. Yet still, she found herself as unnerved as she was moved by the sight that awaited her beneath the well. To the world above, the Mashtet had simply vanished; how many times had their surviving kin walked upon the soil above, oblivious to the mass grave that lay beneath their feet? It dawned upon her only then that she had been mistaken; Hanaloi was haunted, and it was its loneliness that made it so. These catacombs were an underworld, forever hidden from the land of the living by only a thin barrier of dirt and stone. On Hanaloi, the living and the dead lay inches apart, close enough to touch, and still alone. She suppressed a shiver and moved on, walking with purpose into the bowels of Jigoku. OOC: @Mel @Keeper of Kraata
  9. IC: Muir (The Capella) A satisfied smirk crept onto Muir's face as he saw that he'd gotten under the Kalta's skin; a nice confirmation that he wasn't speaking to a PR robot. "Oh, I have my issues with the Maru, and I have every intention of speaking to Reordin. But I think you're missing my point – the allies you choose shape your actions, in both the choices you have and the way in which those actions are perceived and understood. Imagine you're a lawyer, working within entirely legal means, asking entirely reasonable questions. You're in a Koro where the authoritarian Akiri has his own special task force, a group of Toa with no known history or associates. And, as you're walking alone in the evening, you realise one of those Toa is tracking your every move. "Now, when you confront him, this Toa puts on his best public relations smile and tells you he was just making sure you didn't get into any trouble. Tell me: would you believe him? What conclusions would you be inclined to draw?" OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  10. IC: Muir (The Capella) "I think the people we work with – and work for – reflect upon us. But more than that, they shape the actions we take; even when they don't dictate our roles outright, they set the limits within which we can function." Like Casanuva, Muir finished his drink; unlike him, he motioned for another. As the bartender went for the bottle, the lawyer's optics whirred; it was a Ko-Koronan. He filed the name away for future reference. "Take Hewkii, for instance; he was a fascist demagogue, and everyone in Po-Koro knew it – especially his supporters. I was a Sentinel back then; keeping the citizens safe and happy was my job description. And yet, if I wanted to keep that job, I had to make compromises, because he didn't actually care about the safety or happiness of his people. So, had he perhaps begun to conscript civilians into mandatory service, and send them on dangerous missions with less than the bare minimum of training, there would only be so much I could do. Maybe I could accompany them on those missions, in order to protect them – but then, that still leaves them in a lot more danger than if they hadn't been conscripted to begin with." He stared hard at the Kalta, and let the implication linger. "But that was Po-Koro. If another such fascist demagogue tried his luck here, maybe he'd have the benefit of Ko-Koro's greater tolerance for ******ters. Maybe, when he started talking about making the city safe, and the dangers posed by outsiders, people would take his words at face value. Maybe some apolitical types would even work with him, for the sake of togetherness, without really considering the implications of his beliefs and policies. After all, your duty is to the people, even if you ultimately report to him. You don't need to worry about the politics. You're only an unelected public representative of the Koro with the authority of law and an unclear remit, after all. Nothing political about that." OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  11. IC: Muir (The Capella) "They don't." Privacy. It was an interesting choice of words, for a public figure. As far as he was concerned, the Toa Kalta had chosen the spotlight, and the scrutiny that came with it. "The desert sun is unforgiving, and shade is hard to come by. Even the moonlight is brighter in Po; no clouds to get in the way. And anytime you try to bury something, a sandstorm could sweep it back into view in a fraction of the time you spent covering it up. "No, ******ters in Po, they get caught. Doesn't stop them from gaining power, just means they're an awful lot more brazen, and that fewer people are gullible enough to believe them." He sipped at his whiskey again. It wasn't half-bad; he wondered if it was distilled somewhere local. He'd have to take a closer look at the bottle next time. It wasn't the wisest decision to order without naming a brand, but he found it often told you something about the bar, or at least its tender. "Tell me, Cas – you into politics?" OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  12. IC: Muir (The Capella) "Cold. But no surprises there." The bartender slid his glass across the bartop, and Muir thanked him, before turning his attention back to the matter at hand. He didn't need his Rode to know Casanuva was lying, at least about his intentions; he didn't doubt Cyrix had given him the order to tail him. "But I'll admit, it does make me feel a little philosophical. You can tell why this is where they built the Sanctum. Been working on a theory of how ******ters change by Koro – in Onu, for instance, they work in the abundant shadows. But here, where there's clean white snow as far as the eye can see, and everyone's bundled up nice and tight in their winter coats, it's all about covering up. Presenting that warm, lily-white façade." He sipped his whiskey, and smiled accusingly at the Kalta. OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  13. IC: Mangaia The sound the Lesterin made as the Makuta forced him onto his knees was, to say the least, indecent. When his master released him at last, he still could neither move nor speak, producing instead what might best be described as a kind of vulgar panting. When he had regained himself sweat was still beaded upon his brow, and his mouth was so dry that he had to wet his lips before he could speak. "Tell me… about… the Matoran." He raised his head, presenting half-lidded eyes the colour and consistency of rancid milk, and grinned once more.
  14. IC: Mangaia The sensation of his master’s voice, at once both all around him and whispering intimately into his ear, made the withered Lesterin shudder, and his grin grew wider yet. “Why, one might almost mistake that for a compliment. Naturally, I know better.” The Crooked Man took a step further into the darkness, savouring the experience of being quite literally inside the shadows of the Makuta. He pictured himself as a parasite, a long white worm which writhed inside the bowels of its host; nourished by Its gifts, growing as he feasted upon Its successes. “I can do more. I need only know where my talents should be turned next.” OOC: @Krayzikk
  15. IC: Kini-Nui A shiver ran up the Crooked Man’s spine, a thrill even that twisted Lesterin could recognise as deviant. The darkness was like a lover’s caress, light upon the skin, a knife that trailed tantalisingly along his nape. His rotten smile, smothered by the shadows, was one of perverse bliss. “I come bearing some truly tragic news regarding Leah, of the Toa Maru.” Even the Lesterin’s master, uncompromising as he was, could not misinterpret the sarcasm that seeped from his words. “It seems she’s taken ill; they had to drag her unconscious body from the bay. Why, she nearly drowned. It may be some time before she’s at herself again, and I suspect she may find herself… scarred by the experience. The good people of Ga-Koro seemed in something of a tizzy as I left - awful business, really, just awful.” OOC: @Krayzikk
  16. IC: Muir (The Capella) Surprise was a rare expression to see on Muir's face, but here it was hard to disguise that he had been caught off-guard. "In that case, just Muir will do fine." He gently pulled out the stool next to the Toa Kalta, and signalled the bartender as he took a seat. "Whiskey please, neat." "So, Cas… may I ask why it was you were following me?" His Rode wasn't active – not yet, at least. If this was to be an interview, it could afford to remain informal for now. OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  17. IC: Muir (The Drifter's Inn) It would be an understatement to say that Muir was relieved to see Ko-Koro's unofficial back-up cop bar still standing after the occupation. Drifter's was, for most people, a compromise; nobody's favourite, but everyone's 'eh, alright.' Tonight, though, it was dead. Alrin, behind the bar as always, blamed franchising: the 'Pools had tried to buy him out, and when he refused, they found another location. It was a no-win scenario, and Al knew it from the start – 'Pools had name recognition, and enough money that they could afford to keep prices low, at least until the competition went under. He chose to die, if not with dignity then with honour, rather than sell another piece of Mata Nui's soul. It was that suicidally screwed-in compass that made Muir trust Al with his notebook, and his weapon. "I'll be back for them shortly." The gnarled, hard-edged Turaga grumbled something that sounded vaguely like "Uh'ight," and Muir left through the back door. * * * * * The storm would soon set in hard. It was blowing in from the South, where it had no doubt let off some steam in the Drifts, but it remained unsatisfied. Muir hoped that any poor souls out there had found shelter in time; that icy desert was deadly enough without a blizzard to contend with. Muir brought his coat in tighter to his chest. The darker it grew outside, the shared work of the stormclouds and the setting sun, the worse the cold became. But this needed doing. Elemental tracking required a certain level of physical proximity, and magnetism was no different. But whatever the Toa following him was doing was both more reliable, and more transparent, at least to someone as tuned into the metal on him as Muir. The walk to Drifter's had bought him time to try and source the intrusion on his person, and its unique signature. It was possible, perhaps even probable, that his tail had felt his trace. But the benefit of taking his time was subtlety, and if the Toa had eyes on him, Muir would have looked almost entirely oblivious – barring, of course, the over-the-shoulder checks anyone in their line of work was prone to make. After all, the only time one needn't look for a tail was when they already knew they had one. Meanwhile, leaving the magnetic items on his person with the taciturn proprietor of Drifter's had bought him the time he needed to find his way to the tracker, relying on more traditional (and less exposed) use of his element, while the darkness had covered his approach. "Toa Casanuva, I presume?" OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
  18. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) "We can be pretty confident that Renaka doesn't." Muir's brow was furrowed, considering the possibilities. "Odds are good the others don't either. Only one who might have is your last Akiri, given his friends in low places." "Speaking of Renaka… for once, I'm inclined to believe we need to play my Antidermis theory close to the chest. Technically speaking, any criminal investigation into Skorm is now effectively over, given that everything we've worked out so far makes it unprosecutable. Even just in terms of partial defences, we're talking diminished capacity, involuntary inebriation – Karz, temporary insanity could even be pretty successfully argued, which means first degree murder is out of the question, and that's without even getting into the fact that he was under the influence of a psychoactive substance with an agenda to inflict as much damage and destruction as possible. Best case scenario, you manage to dismiss the claim that Zaktan exposed him to Antidermis without his consent, given that the only firsthand witness is Skorm himself, but then you'd still have to convince a jury that the Antidermis was part of a premeditated plan to lower his inhibitions in service of crimes he already intended to commit, and I just can't see that happening." He choked a little on smoke as he took his next drag, the run-on sentence having taken its toll. "Basically, what I'm saying is that this case is absolutely overflowing with reasonable doubt, which means that we're now working between the lines of Renaka's brief. I think it's safe to say that, despite what it says on the back of my badge, she doesn't want to know whether a prosecutor can make charges stick; she wants to know what we want to know. That is, whether Skorm is an Echelon, or an Entropy Beetle."
  19. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) "Not just the theory; its implications.” Despite himself, a familiar excitement had crept into Muir’s voice: that of a new pin being stuck into his corkboard. “Stannis described to us a Skorm who was weak, hospitalised, and he wasn’t lying – but when he met Skorm, he already had a gaping wound in his side. We haven’t spoken to anyone who actually saw what happened in Ga-Koro, but it was bad enough that everyone has heard about it, which tells me that maybe the injury had more to do with waylaying Skorm than the Antidermis. Touching as Cyrix’s testimonial was, the Antidermis found something in Skorm, and gave him the power to wreak an unspecified amount of havoc. “I suspect Stannis withheld his knowledge of Antidermis’ effects to stop us from drawing this exact conclusion; his uncomplicated version of events made it sound more like Infection, where the victim’s will is wholly superseded. But if Antidermis only amplifies whatever’s already there – even if it does so selectively – then that raises its own set of legal and moral ramifications. But more importantly, it gives us reason to ask just who Skorm is and what he wants; if the evidence in Ga-Koro is of a super-powered rampage, and not just a regular Toa lashing out, then the only similar reactions we have are people who actively sought to do evil, and Entropy Beetles.”
  20. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) "Entropy Beetles." Vrill would survive the pause for dramatic effect. "Zaktan. Echelon. Entropy Beetles. You seemed pretty excited about the potential of Antidermis, so I'm surprised you didn't pick up on this: it's a force for destruction, but it has more than one way to accomplish it. I'm not sure how it picks and chooses, but there's one thing I am pretty confident of: when it meets evil, it amplifies it, but good, it weakens. Zaktan turns into an indestructible swarm of bugs, but the people of Po-Koro are left bed-ridden. You seeing where I'm going with this?"
  21. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) Muir rolled his eyes and took another drag from his cigarette as Vrill described receiving an official remit as 'prep'. "It's not just prep, Vrill; it's the job. I get that you have your own target, but Renaka will still want answers about Skorm, answers that I'm accountable for. That's why I mention Cyrix's poor judgment – well, that and the fact that I still disagree with your conclusion, given that there's another explanation for the clues you described. To be specific, that you're overestimating his intelligence." Muir let the implication, and the smoke, linger on the air, before he gently waved some from his face. Nicotine addict though he might have been, his favoured pastime would always be breathing. "He's smart, but not as smart as he thinks he is. Smart enough to get back-up, but not smart enough to get his facts straight before calling in – ostensibly – outside assistance. Smart enough to know he should bluff, but not enough to do it well. It fits his misapprehension of Niici, of you, and quite possibly, of Skorm." And there it was; full circle. "Cyrix believed every word he said, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was right – only that he was honest. I have a hunch about our Dark Walking friend, but I can't know for sure until I get a look at the Guard records in Ga-Koro."
  22. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) “Your deductive reasoning could use a little work, Vrill.” Muir smiled wryly as he spoke, but his eyes were still distant. “Desperate is a leap. What we really learned is that he’s a terrible judge of character.”
  23. IC: Muir (Ko-Koro Alleyway) "Every word out of Niici's mouth, and a fair few out of yours." Here, tucked out of sight and sheltered from wind in the shadows of the alleyway, Muir's lighter worked just fine. He took a long drag from his freshly-lit cigarette, and felt his shoulders finally begin to relax as he exhaled. As little a relief as it was, it was still welcome. "Cyrix, on the other hand, was just about the most honest Toa in the room – initial bluff aside." His blue eyes remained cold as he studied Vrill's reaction, and waited for his response.
  24. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive, Storeroom) "I look forward to your next visit." With his Rode now inactive, Muir couldn't know for sure that the Matoran was genuine; and yet, despite all the trouble that he and Vrill had brought to Priicu's door, his instincts told him that the librarian was sincere. "As do I, my friend." With that, Muir returned to the other back room, there to find his partner left alone. "Syzygos. How about we step outside and compare notes?" OOC: genuinely thought I made this post weeks ago – my sincerest apologies to @ARROW404 and @BULiK
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