3475/After Count

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After Count
Date of Scene: 02 December 2015
Location: Land of Steel
Synopsis: An A-RAY named Akkinas offers pay for locating and securing ancient texts in a ruin plagued by a particular kind of monster: a Servant, unconnected to the war of Babel's Tale!
Thanks to: Thanks to Fake Avenger for co-GMing this with me!
Cast of Characters: Kotone Yamakawa, Staren, 518, Zero Kiryu, Sir Gawain, 560, 571, Lezard Valeth, 662, 687, 756, 821, 880, 908, 915
Tinyplot: Welcome to the Land of Steel

Ark Line (687) has posed:
A job went out through Syndicate channels (and was thusly propagated to the superfactions) a few days ago: a rather straightforward exploration and retrieval mission, if a dangerous one. A man known as 'Akkinas,' a native of the world the job is taking place on, has said he's willing to pay for strong scavengers to go into potentially-dangerous territory and retrieve for him any surviving texts that might be left therein. Payment is in cash, with the additional payment of a single answer to a question posed to him for each participant (which seems to be worth a fair amount, by his reckoning) and the equipment they need to survive in this place at all.

The fact that special equipment is necessary to /come/ here is perhaps telling.

The warp-gate address to the Land of Steel opens to a subway platform. It's old and unused, with cracked pillars supporting the chamber ceiling. The track is some kind of monorail design, but the tunnel is sealed on either side with what looks like blast doors that have been sealed by either age or intent. The gate itself is a ring of hand-cut stone set into a dug-out hole in the chamber wall. The only other way out of here is through a wide staircase leading up to the surface.

Several things stand out the moment anyone comes through the gate.

The first and most obvious is the circle. A thin blue glowing line is visible on the floor of the platform. It's big, encompassing most of it, and forms a perfect circle that intersects with the wall the warp-gate is set into. The line goes up the wall, over the top of the gate, and down again. Flickers of some kind of yellowish, orangeish light flashes like fireflies intermittently in the air around what is clearly some kind of bubble. The magically-inclined can tell it's some form of magic circle, and that it's preventing any form of magical energy from actually crossing it.

In the middle of the circle is a metal table made of what looks like joined pieces of scrap. On top of it is a number of rebreathers and unmarked pill-bottles containing vivid red tablets. They're laid out neatly, and there's enough for everyone. In the midst of it all is a delicate-looking porcelain doll dressed in a ragged, filthy dress. Its hair is stringy and blonde, and its eyes glow with the same color as the circle. It gives off a faintly unsettling aura if you look at it too closely. Is it looking back? It's hard to say...

The last but certainly not the least of the things immediately visible is the figure on the platform. It's tall but hunched, thin and mostly humanoid, with some kind of cloak (or wings?) wrapped around its body. The figure is clad in dirty cloth wrappings, and its hands and feet aren't quite the right shape: they're too long, like talons or claws. It wears a birdlike mask, easily identifiable as being in the old style of a plague doctor's, and it waits patiently. The Union members who pay attention to older reports might recognize him from the description in the last report to come to this place.

"The scavengers I seek, you must be," he says. He cants his head in a birdlike fashion, and then inclines his narrow body in a jerky bow. "I am Akkinas. I know much, and seek more." Akkinas straightens suddenly. "On the table in front of you, you will find equipment and medicine for human survival here in this Land of Steel. The object in the middle of the table," the doll twitches minutely, maybe; it's really hard to tell, "is preventing the Grain from saturating the space you stand. It will not last for very long."

"The place you will be going is nearby," he continues, "but, ah, it is dangerous, too dangerous for Akkinas, who speaks instead of fights. There are machines, and worse, waiting in the ruins..."

Staren has posed:
    Staren steps out of the warpgate. He's already wearing environmentally-sealed, strength-enhancing armor. He stops to look at the line, the wall of magic, curiously. While he has equipment that can detect the presense and rough power of magic, he knows little about the inner workings -- it doesn't help that the Multiverse is full of endless kinds of magic. Then he turn and scrutinizes the equipment on the table. And then he looks up at the cloaked figure.

    "'Scavengers', huh. I wonder what that means, to you." Then he waves a hand as if to dismiss that issue. "Anyway. Sounds like just the sort of thing you want people for us for, but first, quickly before this magic fades: What do the pills do?"

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:
    The wastelands here bring a grim reminder to Alexis of how it must've been, just thirty years prior in her world...a world were nuclear strikes had ravaged parts of the world to degrees that made Chernobyl look like a small bonfire gone wrong. She's arrived sealed up in her STALKER suit, naturally, with the EM-GASH coilgun slung at her side, and a ten gauge shotgun acquired from an Imperium armory a while back is slung on her back, along with her more advanced armaments. Around her neck is a shmegh, and exposed bits of machinery have cloth wrappings to prevent dust and debris from gumming up the motors in her suit.

    Her helmet unfolds briefly, only for face-to-mask contact, and she takes a bottle. Opening it up, she pops a pill before she stores the container, and her helmet re-seals itself with a blurr of mechanical parts. "Appreciate the added protection. Mind if I hold onto these meds just in case?" She also nabs a rebrether, and if allowed will store it in her matter-manipulator for later. Kaz might appreciate a free gas mask for this, just to be safe.

    "Rogue AI or just robots that someone programmed as watchdogs?" Alexis asks curiously, her voice filtered through the helmet once more as she folds her arms and listens. "How'd this Grain stuff get spread, anyways?" Someone has to ask it.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    It's THIS WORLD again. The one that freaky Servant comes from. The dead land.

    And yet Emiya Shirou has come. Not because he is really interested in the place. There's nobody that needs saving, no reason to risk his life over some money and a question. Well, maybe the question is worth something, and the money can always be used to shore up Dun Realtai.

    The REAL reason he's come is that his allies are interested. Allies he doesn't want to see hurt. And in one case, an ally who needs him around to be operating at his peak.

    Shirou comes dressed in a white and blue skintight outfit that hasn't been seen before. Some kind of flexible, strangely ribbed, almost rubbery material. Might be something like a kevlar weave. It's protective in any case, and slightly resembles his normal clothing. Definitely better than that clunky suit of armor he's been hauling around.

    "That's us. I'm Emiya Shirou. Nice to... meet you?" The boy blinks a few times at Akkinas' incredibly odd appearance. One can ALMOST see the question marks above his head.

    The same can really be said of the way he looks over the magic at work. He knows a protective boundary field when he sees one, at least. "Breathing masks and pills? How are the pills supposed to be used? And... worse than machines?" He's hoping other people will ask more intelligent questions. They usually do. For the moment he goes to get a rebreather and adjust it. The doll gets examined in detail.

    Hopefully this goes well. Hopefully it's worth it. When someone like THIS is their contact... who knows what's going to happen. He's got second thoughts about it all now.

    "Most importantly, what are we looking for in these ruins?"

Shin Tokuyama (756) has posed:
    Shin is here, mostly because Christmas is coming up and he might need more money to get gifts. Also he wants to avoid eating more trashcan noodles for as long as he can. So getting some money would be nice. The question less so, but he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it, "Yep. That's me. Here to help!"

    He picks up a breathing device off the table and affixes it to his face, also grabbing a bottle of pills and cramming them into his backpack, "Cool. So what do you need out of the ruins? I remember the job post said it was some nerd shit, so like... old records?" He asks over the hiss of the breathing apparatus. He will totally need this thing, mostly because he's an ostensibly fully human person.

    He doesn't really wait too long to step out of the circle and secure his backpack across his back, "You can actually pay, right? No offense, but you look sorta..." He makes a hand-wobbling motion, "Craaaaiglist-y. I just wanna make sure you've got the cash to back the job and won't pull some 11th hour betrayal scheme to welch out on me."

    Shin leans in, inspecting him with a narrowed gaze with that mis-matched set of eye-colors, "Definitely sketchy."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
While Lezard normally has minions for this kind of thing, this specific place is something of note to him. His interactions with another being who hails from this land, the tales of what has occurred there, and the state of the location seem to all build together into enough of import that even this job, as dangerous or unusual as it is, draws the Sorceror of Midgard.

There is, however, a pointed difference. Those who are paying attention to Lezard might notice he is not present in his usual manner. Despite having the same appearance as normal, he is not actually flesh and blood, but a coalesced form of spirit and will, the form he usually takes when something has destroyed his homunculus vessels.

He's actually between decating replacements right now. They're not cheap or quick to produce at a quality he would accept for /himself/ after all.

Regardless, the Necromancer approaches, his gaze settling on the doll and Akkinas, before sweeping through the room to take in the surroundings. He smiles, and gives Akkinas a bow. "Greetings, Akkinas. I am Lezard Valeth. A pleasure to work with you." He simply pauses after his greeting, waiting for Akkinas to respond as the others ask the most pertinent questions at this time. Handy!

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa had been to this world once before she knew the enviromental hazards such is that of the Grain. she'd already suited up in her stealth gear and had the needed gear picked up. She was concerned yes but she'd gone this before so here she was. It didn't take long to get to the site she looks to Akkinas and bows a little bit.

"Guilty as charged I admit. Machines and monsters?"

She looks over to Staren for a moment as she just seems amused and then with Alexis comment she has to agree.

"Thank you for the extra protection I'm Kotone Yamakawa."

Nero (880) has posed:
     Nero arrives not too late, but not too early. She is only exactly on time. Stepping through the warpgate, the Servant is dressed typically in her mildly off putting red garb. What? Dress appropriately to suit the wasteland you're coming to? Nonsense! This wasteland should change itself to suit /her/! But of course, that would not be happening.

     Why is she even here anyway? And alone no less? Well, considering what happened yesterday, perhaps it /was/ more prudent to come alone. Of course, that thought has less weight when Emiya Shirou, master of reckless behavior is right nearby. ...Never mind that. More importantly, she was curious enough to come and see wht this land was about. Information was key, after all.

     Putting that aside, she looked over the steel table, laden with supplies. Supplies she doesn't need. Being dead has it's perks. Sometimes. The magic circle and the doll are given a lingering glance before she shook her head, focusing instead on the figure of Akkinas. "Hmhm! You may call me Saber. And I am indeed here to grace you with my glorious assistance!"

     The others have asked the most pertinent questions though, so Nero elected to remain silent, awaiting whatever information the odd figure would have to give before they set out proper.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Luckily, Shirou has a shield for his reckless behavior! Following closely behind him is his Servant, the Saber Sir Gawain. He's dressed in full armor, and his blade, Excalibur Galatine, rests at his side in a sheath. There's an ever-present grin on his face, as he looks around the room, before walking up to the doll. "This is a very pretty doll! What is Grain? Like wheat?!" While he won't say it aloud, Sir Gawain is getting fairly hungry now.

And then he walks back to Shirou, before looking at the rebreather. "I don't feel anything! What do these do?" As he asks, Sir Gawain picks up a rebreather anyways, beginning to put in on. Better safe than sorry! He doesn't know what kind of magic is going on here.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    One of Kuran Yuuki's favorite pasttimes was looking through the 'classified ads' and other such postings on the Syndicate and Union wanted boards, poring over them to find a place to help, or insert herself, or...

    Let's just say that it was a constant job of her maids and Zero to keep her away from every lost kitten and sad story she could find. Today, however, was not that sort of day. People needed help, and even scavengers (such as what were asked for) could serve a role of help and aid. Better still, it was a world that had attracted a lot of her interest lately - one of the many that many would kindly call 'quaint' and generally consider 'a shithole'. But it's a place that screams I AM A BAD PLACE AND I NEED HELP.

    It's like the butterfly-shaped batsignal to bleeding heart Normal Girls.

    Dragging her white-haired companion and bodyguard along, Yuuki Kuran makes her wany through, listening to the briefing. "So... You need help keeping things from not going very bad! I understand completely!" She offers with undue amounts of good cheer, looking at the table. Oh! Uh...

    She watches Shin, NORMAL MAN, put them on, and follows his example. She does need to be reminded that she is a Normal Girl sometimes, setting up her rebreather with much shojo consternation. You can almost see the tension lines around her as she tinkers with the gear.

    "Am I doing it right?"
    She is not doing it right.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Prior to actually arriving, people may have been able to meet up with Gudako and her blue-robed, pink-haired foxy Caster. She will have offered protective charms, essentially paper talismans inscribed with a number of words like PURITY, PROTECTION, INTEGRITY and a few other synonyms. Basically they will conserve the wearer's body at its default health and state, and shield from the toxic atmosphere of the world. And possibly stuff like 'lack of oxygen' or 'very hot/very cold'.

    It isn't foolproof and you're suggested to wear the talisman (a slip of paper) under your armor/clothes/whatever if you're worried it'll get damaged. It will however remove the need for a respirator, protective clothing, and other such fashion-ruining accessories.

    Thus are the magus and her Caster here, curious to see Ark Line's world, maybe a bit bored, and not paying the slightest bit of attention to anything that was just said. Caster is, luckily. Gudako, well, she's too busy sliiiiding over towards Shirou.

    "Hi." 8D

    At least she's being social?

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    The fact that Zero Kiryu is present is largely a matter of playing bodyguard again. He arrives alongside Yuuki, though he looks irritable and surly about being here at all. That's not actually a statement about his mood about this in particular, he's always like that. A low, yet consistent measure of angry, like somebody who is perpetually feeling ill and simply can't cope with putting up a nice exterior anymore. Since his presence here isn't a matter of personal interest at all, he hasn't joined the others in asking questions or prodding at the person who did the hiring.

    But he is focusing very intently on the rebreathers and medication that's been offered up. On one hand, he probably doesn't actually need this. On the other, while hunters are superhuman, they're not /wildly/ superhuman. The environment here is pretty extreme, and he doesn't really want to give people a reason to pick him out as a vampire if he can help it. Yuuki is even more sensitive about this out in the Multiverse, for some reason.


    Fortunately, Yuuki doesn't need prodding to /try/ to get herself set up right. Zero turns his head to look at her when she's asking if she's doing it right, and she /isn't/. His flat, irritated expression grows even more flat and irritated. While he crunches down some of the pills like only somebody who takes way too much medication can, he fixes Yuuki's rebreather.

    "... But you should really take the pills, too." He grumbles at her, while fixing one of the rebreathers to his own face.

Archer (821) has posed:
     'Nightmarish'... was a gross understatement for this world. The barren deserts, the tainted oceans, the air that poisoned any who breathed it in.

     Hell was the only word for it, really... both in what had happened to it... and in the underlying truth it carried.

     The bitter, irrevocable truth that no matter where they went, no matter what they did, no matter how many times they were saved... this was the inevitable outcome of humanity's future.

     Yet in spite of that... Archer could not feel any satisfaction for this. Just empty pity for the souls that had brought this on themselves - a bitter, hollowed sadness at their stupidity... and the inevitability of their fates.

     As a Counter-Guardian, he was more attuned to the state of the world then most... and it was taking all he had either not to turn on his heal and leave this world before whatever form of Alaya was here decided to try use his presence to it's advantage, if it decided it needed him enough.

     He'd rather leave this world to rot in it's own self-made misery - he'd wasted countless decades trying to do that for a humanity on a living world - what point was there in trying the same for a dead one?


    And yet, the red-clad woman at his side - his Master - served as the authority that kept Archer bound here, even though this world was dangerous enough just for Servants. For a human like Tohsaka Rin... this place was deadly and damaging - mentally as well as physically.

     After all... a world drowned in death and curses was not far removed from the world her sister would have created, had the Black Grail not been stopped.

     As the bowman remained in spirit form to minimize exposure to the tainted world, Rin stepped tentatively over to the table, looking dubiously at the assorted equipment before taking it. Her typical attire is hardly going to be effective shielding from the environment, so she quickly opens the pills, promptly responding to Staren's question - "It's kind of like an inoculation for radiation... only in this case, it's an over-abundance of lethal prana. Grain, they call it."

    She then turns to glance at Alexis, promptly answering her question - or half of it at least; "The spirit of the world, Gaia... died a long time ago, here. The Grain is what's left - released into the air as Gaia's body, the world itself, decays." She looks decidedly grim as she quickly downs some of the pills to help protect herself from contamination. "Basically... it's like the airborne rot spread by a dead corpse... which in this case is the entire planet."

     She sounds decidedly morose... and understandably so, considering this world is close to her own in a way.

     Archer takes note of Lezard's spirit arriving, as well as the red-haired Master of Caster, keeping an eye on them even as Rin shoots both Mages a withering glare and steps between them and Shirou. "Either of you try anything here... and I promise you won't /ever/ leave."

     The... client, however, sets Archer's senses off with the prickling of a headache at his temples, concern mixing with weariness as he grapples with the nature of just what it is he's facing. A tentativeness reflected in Rin's brief treating - "Hello. I'm Tohsaka Rin. Pleased to meet you."

     ... the fact that she said this even as a vein throbbed on her temple as Nero, Gawain, Yuki and Shin's 'introductions' occoured one-by-one honestly impressed Archer, considering she looked closer to exploding with each scene.

     Not that he expected that to last long at this rate, but it was a valiant effort to say the least.

Ira MacNally (915) has posed:
    Environmental hazards are a problem...for normal people without resources. Quite recently, Ira MacNally has been fortunate enough to come into some resources-in particular, thanks to her new contract with the Murasame Zaibatsu. It's hard to tell that it's her at first glance because of the full face-covering helmet that comes with the GOLEM armor made available to the KIRIN security forces. It's environmentally sealed and, for this particular model, it comes with its own self-contained air supply. Upon closer inspection, however, she seems to be able to activate something that makes the mirrored surface covering the eyes become transparent.

    This is how she indicates who she is to Gudako. That is only /after/ she slinks up next to her and puts an arm around her shoulder.

    "Heeeeeey." She drawls in a voice that sounds like she's grinning even though the rest of her face can't be seen. "Ready to make some /money/?"

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Odd as it might seem, Shirou actually accepted some of Caster's talismans. She even received quite a show of sincere respect and gratitude from the young man, who wished her well in return.

    Which puts him in a curious position when Gudako just starts sliding up. For every sliide she takes, he half-slides away. And looks over a shoulder at her.

    With Lezard here, he's just plain on edge. But... Gudako's hard to just ignore. She's about his age, after all. So she gets him to turn his head her way and tense up a bit nervously. "Wh-what? H-hello. What brings you here? The world outside here's insanely dangerous from what I hear."

    Come to think of it there are a distressing amount of people who seem ill-suited to this. There's Yuuki again. The COMPLETELY NORMAL GIRL. Shirou balks, eyes going wide with worry. "Are you really up to this?!"

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Staren dismisses his question, so Akkinas lets it stay that way. He answers the other important one instead: "Render a human's body resistant to exposure to Grain. Ah, but I am afraid they are, erm... low quality, as far as such medicines go," Akkinas says apologetically. "As I am not a Last Seed, I have no need for anything of the like. But! Two tablets ingested will render you safe for an hour's time, with little ill effects after the fact."

Akkinas makes a little head-motion towards Alexis, apparently okay with her scooping up her share of the stuff even if she doesn't need it. "I am not certain. They became more active recently, interrupting my expeditions into the ruins. Some seemed much more recently-manufactured than others. I wonder if the Liners have an interest in this area, as well?" His musings are interrupted by short, brief return bows to all the polite people. He seems pretty happy about it, though.

Then, he's solemn instead. "The world died," Akkinas says sadly. "This is a thing I say again, and know I speak with only sorrow in my heart: the world /died/. A demon of a man slew it, driving his cursed blade through its heart and soul. We call him the Ultimate Disaster. He is All The World's Evil, given form. They call him Avenger, but of what, I could not say. Grain..." He lifts a hand, wrapped in rags, with taloned fingers cupped palm-up in the air. "...it is the corpse of the world rotting away, and poisoning what lived on its back."

He lets his hand drop. The doll, as if taking a cue, rattles on the surface of the table. Akkinas stiffens. "Not long, now..." He shakes his head a little, and then turns back to the group as a whole. "There is a clock tower in the midst of the ruins. How it has stood for so long in what was such a developed place, I do not know. But, ah, Akkinas knows many things," he says, "and of these things is this: there is a wealth within, of ancient texts and written knowledge. It does not matter what it contains," he says a little dismissively, "only that it /exists/. There is so much that that was /lost/...!"

"...but time is short. Monsters -- ah, a word, but such a weighty one. There is a war that rages across the surface of this rotting world," Akkinas says. "In war, monsters are made, and in war, monsters thrive -- but who can say what is /really/ a monster? And where there are monsters..." He lifts his head slightly. There's a glimmer of yellow behind the lenses of his plague doctor's mask, like light glinting off the inhuman eyes it conceals. "...there must be Heroes." He tilts his head to the side. "Wouldn't you say?"

The circle flickers. There is a sharp cracking noise, and a fracture appears up the middle of the doll's face. The head split open, and it falls apart down the middle, crumbling into pieces as the glow fades. Inside, it's stuffed with sand and wadded rags, or what looks to be much like it. A faint wisp of blue light burns for a few seconds, and then vanishes.

That's when the circle does, too, and the Grain comes flooding in. The huge and sudden exposure to the magically-charged particles may be shocking, especially to the magically-inclined among the group. It comes in a rush, filling the space like air rushing to fill a vacuum, and then... evens out. It's a feeling like an electric heat on the skin, if one were to pay attention to it. The innoculated and the breather-equipped have nothing to fear.

Akkinas raises his arm, and points up the stairs. "The tower is that way. Please be careful. I will await your return."

The stairs rise to a broken street and a cold, grey sky, in the midst of slumbering giants of glass and steel that have been long forgotten. They're in a city, somewhere, and surrounded by a grey, lifeless sand... and the silence of a world devoid of the plants and animals that would reclaim it. Straight ahead, damage begins to mount, until collapsed buildings fallen into the streets bar the way. It certainly /looks/ like ruins...

Shin Tokuyama (756) has posed:
    "Brooooo, totally not listening," Shin says in response to the immense about of narrative reveal that is ocurring. Whether he is actually not listening or not is up to debate, but he certainly looks bored by it all. So much so that he takes out his phone. That has a message on it to at least verify he'll get paid, but he swipes that to the side. Instead, he pulls up a different app and puts his earbuds in, blaring some J-Rock.

    "Blah blah nerd shit blah blah world end, blah blah demon man," Shin makes a talking motion with his hand, "Rest assured in your heart, I'm holding B to skip this cutscene like you don't even KNOW." Shin assures him of this fact, despite him never asking, "Intro quest, we're doin it, alright."

    He strikes a strange image, earbuds in his ears and a breathing mask on as he stops to at least give Yuuki a thumbs up and then ask Gudako, "Where'd your cat?!" In a forceful tone that indicates he has already forgotten its name, "I think her name was Barbara?" He waves his hand.

    And then the song switches over to some catchy J-Pop which Shin sings along with as the mission starts, "Blood-soaked love~. Affection drips from the hole in your chest. I captured your heart!" He starts to walk towards the indicated direction of the tower.

Staren has posed:
    Staren gives Lezard a baleful look. "...Obviously, the usual truce with Confederates in situations like this applies." Archer gets a more curious look, but Staren does open his visor enough to take two pills, swallowing it with a sip from a bottle of water pulled from his bag. "Can armor like this protect from grain, or is magic defense required?" And then, the field collapses and he feels nothing. Huh.

    Staren heads up the stairs. Man... he thought he'd seen post-apocalyptic wastelands, but /this/...

    This place looks like the /moon/, but with an atmosphere.

    "Man. So we're being sent to retrieve a whole /library/? Does anyone have an idea about how to do that?" Once they come to the collapsed buildings, Staren stops and considers. "Well... does anyone /not/ have a way to get over this? Because it's not a problem for me."

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Yuuki looks at the pills. Oh right! There are pills! After she's helped with her rebreather, she takes pills, biting down like a COOL GAR ANGST MAN like Zero is, almost getting past everything before flinching at the taste. Ugh. She is not a pill-popper like Zero and grimaces as she chews and swallows. Eyugh, what a taste!

    But the words said confuse and worry the high-school girl. "The world died?" She repeats, but it's quiet, in the same tone as one would go 'can it be so?'. And then...

    Shirou's question makes Yuuki look awkwardly around. "Well, if people didn't help becuase it wasn't safe or easy, the world would be a horrible place. Will /you/ be okay?" She asks the magus, tilting her head as her long brown bangs fall over her shoulder and face. Shin, however, gets an incredulous look. "H-hey, this isn't a video game!" She calls. SHE KNOWS WHAT HOLD THE B-BUTTON DOES, SHE'S BEEN TO HIGH SCHOOL! RECENTLY!

Ira MacNally (915) has posed:
    "Huh, so this is what a /dead/ world is like, then? Hm. Not sure I like it very much. Not very /fun/." Ira seems oddly analytical about this for some reason. "So I'm curious though, Akkinas. This world's dying and you don't seem to be able to stop it. How come you guys don't close up shop and move to somewhere else in the multiverse? I mean, I'm guessing that a lot of people that were here already did so. But at this point why not just kick everyone out and....I dunno, can a world be decompiled or imploded or anything like that? Turned into world compost maybe?"

    She goes silent at the mention of 'monsters'. Very silent, though it doesn't laugh, a low chuckle rumbling through the suit. She follows after, gauntleted boots crunching over the broken pieces of civilization. "What if they're aren't heroes though? What if you just brought in more monsters?"

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Corrupt? Wrong? For some reason those words just cause Gudako to smile a bit wider. Whether that's good or bad is up to interpretation, though there's no mistaking she took her glance off Shirou for a moment to look at Gawain.

    And, probably, peep at his stats.
    It's not her fault, that's a reflex.

    "What brings me here? What brings yoooou here?" Gudako answers Shirou, expecting the question to answer his own. "Oh, take out all the heroic stuff though, I gotta pre-empt that."

    As the Grain floods in, Caster's ears perk and twitch, the Servant's senses opening to the world. Though she is not equipped to use the sheer quantity of ambient magic present in the Land of Steel (blame how Witchcraft works compared to normal magecraft or even True Magic), that doesn't mean she's not a Caster, and fully aware of her surroundings too.

    As they head to the broken city, Gudako answers Shin with: "Berserker! She's here, just not physical. Servants are ghosts, not people!" Wow, that sting. Caster frowns. Hopefully Nero, Gawain and Archer aren't too offended.

    With debris blocking the way, Gudako turns back to Shirou. "I can't jump that high! Maybe a knight should princess carry me across. Hint hint!" Could Caster do it? Sure. It's more fun to harass the person she obviously makes uncomfortable.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
    The atmosphere is uncomfortably heavy with the supernatural. Zero can feel it around him, a phantom haze on his mental radar. Not really false positives so much as a thick layer of something "extra". The "people" around certainly stand out, but it couldn't be more clear that it's a very "rich" environment. It doesn't bother him directly though, if only for the medicine and rebreather. Internally, he decides he'll need to figure out if he can take it without such assistance later. He trails along at the fringes of the group, remaining near to Yuuki.

    "This world /is/ a horrible place." He points out, not at all jokingly.

    He leaves Yuuki's side on a temporary basis, moving up towards Staren at the front of the group to assess the rubble in their way. Zero glances around at the rest of the group, trying to assess them. A lot of them ping on his radar, a little for some, and a lot more for others. Those that /don't/ also tend to have something overtly non-magical about them to compensate for their lack of supernatural prowess.

    "I'd guess we two or three who don't have a comfortable way up under their own power. If you have a means to clear it, go on ahead. I can, if needed." He says, to Staren.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa see quite a few people she knows she also notes Shirou is here as well along side Staren and Alexis. She listens to Akkinas and th tale he's got to say. She'll take the drugs but she's not sure if it will help but she has some flesh left and would rather not take chances on that. She gets the idea about the man's job and the mention of the world dying.

"I think I had the missfortune to run into that demon of a man before. He's no laughing matter to deal with."

She looks a bit haunted as she recalls in perfect detail as Avenger went through her and Riva like they were nothing.

"I say I'll be seeing what I can find and don't worry we'll will be."

Well she will be she's got some mroe detail. She looks over to Shin for a long moment.

"It could be digital we don't know we have found intact computer hardware out here before."

The talk about the world dead, she's from a world where Earth's just a ball of rock and nothing more yet this world was once alive? Now it was dead and if the story about Avenger is right? He killed it, the question is how do you kill a world like that.

She falls in to keep with Staren as they head out and she calls out to Alexis.

"Maaka come on keep up with us on this!"

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:
    When she has some manner of answer, Alexis frowns behind her visor. The Servants in general seem like they have a raw deal in their existence, being summoned by some jackass mage to fight for them in a war that probably won't even benefit them if won anyways. It pisses her off, reminding her of the days when she fought not for herself but for the rich and powerful, who cast away countless lives just for their own sakes.

    She can relate, she really can, to how one would feel as a Servant. Maybe not entirely, but she has some idea.

    It's a miracle some of them end up as noble as they are, in spite of their quirks depending.

    Alexis seems to snub Lezard for the moment, and others she is indifferent to beyond Kotone and maybe Staren. She does get her hackles raised when Berserker is mentioned. Glancing to others that arrive, she seems to hover most over Kotone in a protective, mother lion sort of way. "Stay on my back, just like always." She tells the younger cyborg, before she nabs her rifle and begins to head towards the clock tower at a pace others can catch up to if they jog. RIfle raised, she approaches the structure warily before she glances to Staren. "I'll manage." She says, before slinging her rifle again and activating something.

    Getting a running start, she sprints towards the obstacle before taking a jump. Booster jets emerge from her suit, propelling her a good few feet before she fires off a grapple gun and begins her ascent over the debris, using her suit's adherent function to help her climb up.

Nero (880) has posed:
     "I believe we have collected all information necessary to the advancement of our task. Let us be off!" And with a flourish of the arm, Nero strode right out, past Akkina, up the stairs, annnnd up to the surface. They are headed for the surface, right? Right.

     The feeling of Grain rushing in is immediate. She could feel her skin crawl uncomfortably, and in the process, shuddered. "Ergh! Such an unpleasant sensation. Truly this world is a pitiable one." An arm comes up, resting upon her chest. "And yet, I am here! For let it not be said that I, Saber, am unkind!"

     Lost in her own world, the Servant makes dramatic motions as she openly monologues to herself. "As expected of me, mhmhmhm-"


     Nero stopped. She could have SWORN she just heard an impertinent little girl call her a GHOST. "You!" And of course, she whirled around, pointing directly at Gudako. "I will have you know that I am no ghost! I am the embodiment of everything great in this world! The true essence of beauty! Divinity given flesh once more! I am a five star entity! Not one star, not two stars, not three, nor four! But five!"

     And with a huff, Nero rests her hands upon her hips. "You would do well to remember that, child!"

     And then she turned and strode right back on, smiling proudly to herself.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain seems oddly cheerful as he learns that the world has died. There's the slightest hint of sadness to his words, but it doesn't stop his smiling. "Then you should bring it back! It can't be impossible! Nothing's impossible!"

Anything else he might have been said is distracted from him, as he hears a cry for a knight. Gawain shambles over to Gudako, smiling at her despite how unsettling she is. "My lady, allow me! I, Sir Gawain of the Round Table, am an actual knight, and am therefore authorized to carry princesses!~" He moves in position to pick up Gudako, shall she accept, looking over at the ruins. It's his duty, after all!

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard Valeth does not even bother looming or scowling at Shirou or the others. The effect of his presence is enough to tell him that he needs no such actions.

Of course, that's when Rin gets involved. As the girl interposes herself, Lezard's eyes flick to one side, and he pushes up his glasses, his gaze measuring, probing, considering.

Finally, he speaks, a small smile curling on his face. "It is ill-advised to make promises you cannot keep." That smile does not fade at Staren's look, and Alexis doesn't even seem to register. It's like he /enjoys/ this or something.

There is a low chuckle, and the Necromancer sweeps forward, his expression becoming intent at the mention of the Clock Tower. "That association of magi... Perhaps this might be interesting after all." The Grain comes flooding in, and the wave of saturating energy crackles over his spiritual form, blue and orange lights arcing over him as he adjusts for the influence rapidly... And then a fade as he achieves a form of equilibrium. Were he here in his physical body, it might have been different, but here...

Well, only /humans/ need worry, yes?

He steps up out of the station to look over the desolation, and shrugs for a moment, gesturing. "I can teleport us beyond the intervening terrain to reach the ruins quickly. Anyone who wishes to trust me and save some time can gather within the circle." He holds out his hands, and a gleamng magical circle begins to form, inscribing itself into the gray land around him with white light.

A short time later, he and anyone who stands in the circle will be teleported to the ruins ahead, skipping the tedious intervening terrain.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    In rushes the Grain and Shirou's quite happy that he equipped that re-breather and the talismans from Caster. His whole body SHUDDERS and Magic Circuits tingle weirdly, like inhaling smog. It burns the lungs, but it's still breathable... but not something you should be exposed to for very long. Seriously.

    Thank heavens for that Re-breather. Shirou quickly closes off his Magic Circuits however, unwilling to risk them respiring the 'mana' of this dead world, such as it now is.

    He answers Yuuki with a hearty, "This world is already a pretty horrible place! Somehow doubt anything we'll find in there will change much. But I'll be okay. My Servant's here. Just call if you need our help, Yuuki."

    Shirou's Stats:
Alignment: Neutral Good
Strength: -- Mana: F--
Endurance: D-- Luck: F-
Agility: -- N. Phantasm: E~A++?

    Just kidding.

    "This hasn't got anything to do with heroics. I'm here to keep my friends safe!" He argues with Gudako... only to wince at her comment. 'Ghosts, not people.' He gives Caster a look of sympathy.

    He further balks at Gudako's request. "Seriously?!" The boy blurts. The look on his face is quite clear. It says, 'You don't even remotely ACT like a Princess, what are you smoking?'

    But he's looking back at her from his own efforts to climb.

    Shirou pauses right then and there. Hrms.

    "Trace, on."

    One hand extends and he focuses for just a moment. What forms isn't anything terribly fancy. Looks like a spear. Smells like rocketry and time travel. He tosses it gently towards Gudako.


    Witches should ride broomsticks, maybe.

    It's a weird lapse in Shirou's usual good manners.

Staren has posed:
    Staren gives Gawain a disgusted look at the way he's treating Gudako. "She's /not/ a princess." He'll step into the circle to avoid splitting the party. Lezard won't try anything here. Probably.

Archer (821) has posed:
     Rin's glare deepens at Lezard's words, scowling lightly. "Go ahead and /try/ to prove me wrong, then. I'll be waiting."

    Archer listens to the story of the world's death... and were he visible, he had no doubt some of the others would be taking note of his harsh expression hearing of what slew this realm's Gaia; a dark, grim look even for him, contrasted only by the look of barely-controlled shock on Rin's face.

     Avenger. Angra Mainyu. The Avatar of all the World's Evils. The existence that had tainted the Fuyuki Holy Grail - and Matou Sakura - for years.

     It had caused this death and destruction... and as such, Archer can feel the waves of stunned horror ebbing from Rin through their link. It only worsens when mention is made of a 'clock tower' filled with knowledge in the ruins of a city, the parallel all-too-close for Rin to dismiss.

     The Grail War. If this world was really like their own, one of the Grail Wars may very well have been the cause - where else could an 'Avenger' have spawned from? Granted, this took from the assumption that the timeline of this place was the same as their own... but it was still the best thing to work off of at the moment.

     Archer himself bristles a bit at the way the being - Akkinas - regards the existence of heroes. The logic his very existence as a Counter-Guardian was based upon - that there always had to be an equal and opposite force in place against the threats to the world; things that were arbitrarily branded 'monsters' simply for being a threat... regardless of the reasonings or circumstances behind it.

     Yes... there would always be heroes. Always be people rushing into the fire to be killed or sacrificed for the sake of the world. And always... it would never be enough to make one difference.

     However, Archer's further musings and misgivings are cut short as the magic circle effectively /fractures/, the Servant's outline briefly visible to those present before vanishing again. Rin lets out a small gasp as she feels the Grain wash over her, wincing a bit at the feeling. Thankfully, the gas-mask and the pills ensure she isn't negatively affected... but she keeps in mind that she only has two hours before that changes.

     Archer thus falls in step with Rin as, taking a breath to prepare herself for what she may see, the pair exit to the surface... and find the wasteland that Rin had feared she'd see.

Archer (821) has posed:
     "This... this is London" Rin breaths out, hints of remorse leaking through the calm she was working to maintain. "It has to be... or what's left of it."

     Archer may not have had much sympathy for mankind anymore... but he did still have sympathy for Rin, and as a result, seeing her silently mourn what became of London had him, if nothing else, give her some hint of reassurance through their link that this wasn't her world - if it was caused by the Grail War... then this future was likely already averted in her timeline. Or at least it wouldn't be caused the same way, though he left that part out.

     However, a needed distraction for Rin quickly rises... in the form of a certain red-haired Master asking for another certain red-haired Master to carry her over a wall like something out of a bloody soap-opera. The comment about the Servants - namely that they're people regardless of if they're ghosts or not - already has Rin silently weary, but the girl's request is enough to get her staring blankly in disbelief. She wasn't even /trying/ to hide her intent.

     At this point, Rin rather quickly steps between Shirou and Gudako-

     "Archer, help her over the wall, will you?"

     -and makes a ridiculous request that he can't help but give a deadpan "What?" to as a response. "She has her own Servant - and that." He gestures to the rocket-spear Shirou created.

     Rin crosses her arms rather petulantly in response. "And she's obviously not going to excretes that right. Plus, she likely doesn't know how to ride that... that satanic death-machine." Rin herself looks at the spear with what seems to be pure venom - she remembers the last time she was forced to ride the hellish contraption. "You're stronger and faster then Emiya-Kun, so it makes the most sense, right? Plus, I don't trust her not to accidentally kill someone with that thing, so just get it over with - the sooner you do this, the sooner she can shut up and move on."

     Archer opens his mouth to protest... but sighs in resignation when he sees her cross her arms and glare expectantly. Finally, he sighs and shrugs in a gesture of surrender. "As you wish. Damn you to hell, Master." He says this in such a deadpan tone that one might think he was talking about the weather, even as he tentatively takes the Rocket-Spear and gestures for Gudako to hurry up, grab on and get on with it.

     Rin in turn starts keeping a very close eye on Shirou from this point on as she opts to start climbing up after him... though whether that is a good thing of a bad thing, Archer can't tell. As if he would comment if even if he did - such as how he didn't question how she was staying to climb the hard way just to keep an eye on Shirou.

     He still had /some/ self preservation instinct, after all.

Staren has posed:
    As Staren stands impatiently inside the circle, a look of remembering something suddenly flashes across his face. "Oh hey, Alexis! Here you go, you might need these, you can pay me back later." He reaches into his bag, and pulls out what looks like a heavy assault rifle with an unusually-wide barrel and a couple of spare magazines. By the sound of the *thunk* as he sets them down just outside the circle, they must be pretty heavy.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Gudako muses out loud, looking at Nero. It seems the arguments don't much faze her. "HMMMM. Well, you ARE a Saber. It's true you're the embodiment of everything great by default! Ah, but does that change the fact you're just a ghost in a magical body? You're not really human! You should try winning a Grail War and wishing to be people, maybe that'd help!"

    That's kind of meeting her halfway.
    Better than nothing?

    She also sticks her tongue out at Staren. A very very brief interruption of her 8D face, which immediatly resumes after the fact.

    The magus catches the spear from Shirou, examining the weapon. What, does he expect her to actually do something on her own? This is a weapon, a terrible tool she has non-people to use for her. It seems before she can correct him, argue, or otherwise rebute Gawain away (it's less fun to bother him! he's a dork, and also a loyal knight who wouldn't actually hesitate to help someone awful), Archer is being told to carry her instead!

    Gudako smiles to Archer. "You should listen to your master! She sounds smart, and like she has a good grasp on things." The spear is handed to Archer, and Gudako rides with the Knight of the Bow.

    Likely, this involves going 'WHEEEEEEE'.

    Caster sighs, and just jumps after them.

Staren has posed:
    Staren looks back at Gudako. "Wow, every time I think you /couldn't/ possibly be more of an asshole, you prove me wrong."

Fake Avenger (662) has posed:
     Lezard Valeth's Circle Of Cheating works just as advertised. There's a slight...discomfort...as the Grain rushes to fill the space they're leaving, but unless someone actively tries to mess with the teleport, it doesn't do anything untoward. They are flung through the Land of Steel, bypassing the tedious space between their destination and their teleportation point.


     The teleport drops them off in the midst of ruins. The ruins are surprisingly high-tech; lots of metal buildings, fallen or corroded, sit perilously around the square, glinting in the dying light of the evening. The warm orange sunset is at least unchanged, even if the sky is strangely cloudless, a dull and unpleasant grey that seems almost apathetic and uncaring.

     In the center of the ruined square sits the clock tower. There can be no doubt that it is the clock tower Akkinas spoke of - it is huge, and out-of-place under the grey sky and amidst the corroded ruins. It is old enough to be distinctly Victorian, though far larger than a clock tower normally should be. The clock still ticks ominously, its massive hands moving with a dull THUD. THUD. THUD.



     There is a door here, an ornate double-door with an old-style knocker in the shape of a lion's head. A building leans on it, unpleasantly blocking a great deal of the entrance.

     Standing out front of it is a man surrounded by various rusty construction robots. He's lanky, tall and thin. In fact, he's much TOO tall and much TOO thin - anyone that tall and that thin should be dead. The robots alternately hammer on the door and dig at the ruined building, attempting to make a space.

     The man turns to look upwards as the party arrives.

     He has no face. His face is a bug mask, a six-legged bug mask and a big, big grin. Like a really huge grin. He does not appear to have.../eyes/.

     The man takes a flying leap and lands in front of them. At that moment, Shin's headphones start to skip loudly. Gudako's cell phone rings an off-beat ringtone (it's Elizabeth's song from the music player). Other mechanical devices misbehave in bizarre ways, sputtering out weird messages or making loud and unhappy whirrs unless they're Elite-tier (or you don't want them to, in which case they don't).

"TO: youguys@infrontof.me
SUBJECT: Hello! Who Are You?

Hi, You Guys!
Who are you? What are you doing out here? Did you get my message about FABULOUS PRIZES and LIFE-CHANGING DECISIONS? Did you in fact decide to ACT NOW? :)
Attachment: :).bmp"

     The tall, lanky man straightens to his full height as robots start curving curiously around the group. This close, you can see that he's wearing a suit - a suit made out of /newspaper clippings/. Right down to the tie.

     The man's thin fingers go to his chin again. His grin becomes a frown.

"TO: youguys@infrontof.me
SUBJECT: Follow-Up!

Hi, You Guys!
I was kind of rude there, wasn't I? You don't even know me. But don't worry. I'm not here to hurt you. I'm Rider, and I'm here for FABULOUS PRIZES :D Do you guys like Fabulous Prizes? Maybe we can be Friends! :D Can you open the door for me? If you can, we can definitely be friends! Friends are great, right? :D
Attachment: Friendship.bmp"

Shin Tokuyama (756) has posed:

    VWOOP. Shin is teleported, mostly owing to not paying attention where he's walking and getting sucked along with the rest. He reappears, not really hearing Yuuki when she scolds him about life not being a video game. Of course it's not a video game, that would be way more convenient.

    He looks up and around in surprise. Mission accomplished, though, since he made it through what he can only assume was a narratively-imposed travelling time skip, "Convenient!" He declares as he dusts his hands off. Only to be greeted by his Elizabeth Bathory Hit Single 'There's A Hole In Your Chest (Where My Love Should Go)' abruptly fritzing out and his phone acting weird.

    "Oh dude, no, sorry. I didn't know you people existed here too. I guess if anyone was going to survive the end of the world," Shin says, holding up his hands immediately as if refusing to allow himself to hold something, "No tissue packs. Keep the tissue packs. I don't want tissue packs. NO TISSUE PACKS." He repeats it firmly, clearly used to people randomly soliciting him with business-like requests as a resident of Tokyo.

    "I don't wanna buy it." Shin declares firmly.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Akkinas watches the group leave. If he's giving any of them dirty looks (like, say, Shin), it's hard to tell. The full face mask tends to make it difficult to judge facial expressions. He /does/ touch something near the side of his head, though. Maybe he's getting on the radio with them?


The rubble ahead proves a problem that is circumvented by HARD WORK AND GUTS (and, in one big case, wizard magic). It looks like someone made a wall of fallen buildings here, a few hundred feet tall and probably wider. Getting up it is a matter of using technology and care; the interior might have passes through, but using a grappling gun and getting to the top and just going over is probably easier.

The most stable way over it turns out to be climbing up to a thirty-foot-wide gap where one building, which looks like it was /tossed/ on top of the other, has split in half. There's a slight slope of piled-up debris on the interior, sloping upwards towards the far end which overlooks the clock tower and the rest of the topped structures. Twisted, jagged metal and broken stonework make up these things that used to be buildings. It's hard to tell how long they've been here...

Alexis's suit and grapple gun gets her a head start scaling it. She can see office equipment scattered everywhere on the interior of the building she's up against. Occasionally, she sees the shapes of what might be bodies left on the inside... but nothing is moving, and there's little enough light coming from either side as it is. She could stop... but that might be perilous, given the height. The top isn't much further, now!

And then, suddenly, something's in the way.

Those ascending have their line of sight dominated by looking down (well, up) the barrel of a cannon. It's huge, bigger than anything a person ought to wield, and there /definitely/ wasn't anything up there big enough to warrant a /tank gun/ getting levelled at them... except that's precisely what it is, the fifty millimeter cannon angled downwards to directly block the grappling gun's ascent.

Wielding(!) it is a man, apparently human, with black boots, a dark grey officer's uniform, and a peaked cap, all pristine and in the style of a German officer from the second World War. His eyes are piercing, and his expression is grim and serious. He's holding the top of the tank turret with one hand, gripping a bar on the hatch without any apparent effort. When he speaks, it's with an accent that matches the uniform's origins.

"You are working for the A-RAY in that tunnel, yes?" His tone is businesslike. "That is... unfortunate. But you would not be here, in this place, if you intended to interfere with the war directly." The man pauses for a second -- and then swings the tank cannon out of a ready position, stepping aside and allowing the others to ascend. He puts his other hand to his chest.

"I am Assassin, of the Steel Faction," he says. "If you intend to go further, I must warn you there is a dangerous Servant in the vicinity whose intentions are far from harmless. I have been tracking it for some time. I tell you this as a courtesy," he adds, his tone softening. "I would not see good men and women throw their lives away unnecessarily."

Zero Kiryu has posed:

    Zero makes a distinctly unpleasant face as his radio starts going nuts due to proximity to this inhuman weirdo. Its appearance, and manner of dress, and communication quirks simply get the most aggravated look out of him. This is, in actuality, measurably more irritable than he was /before/ they started teleporting. He reaches up and tugs his earbud radio out of his ear, leaving it to dangle next to his collar. Nevertheless, he still indulges this "Rider's" request, if only because it happens to coincide with their own anyway.

    Looks like this guy has spent some time trying to break the door down.

    The vampire hunter's solution is to just try the door knocker first. It might just be some sort of sorcerous trap or locking mechanism. Either way, he reasons, they're probably going to trip whatever nonsense is going on in this place just by entering it. Can't hurt to try knocking before you try knocking the doors and walls down.

Nero (880) has posed:

     Womp. Teleportation, ho. Once the group is safely transported, the first think Nero does is... look straight at Gudako. "While I do commend your understanding of my greatness, I continue to condemn your classification of my radiant self as a ghost!" Half way for half way? "Besides, why would I wish to be human? I have already done that! It is time to do something greater!" Really, Nero?

     Whatever else she would have gone on with was interrupted by the appearance of a lanky, masked individual, and his cadre of circling robots. The fact that her radio was going rather haywire the moment he appeared was unsettling enough. But more than that...

     "Rider..." The blonde Servant mused aloud, looking the newspaper suited figure up and down. "...Are you perhaps a Servant?" With a name like that, he had to be. But also. "...And what exactly are these 'prizes' you speak of?" Not that she was immediately interested, but it never hurt to know. Until such a time that it did.

Ira MacNally (915) has posed:
CLOCK TOWER    An easy teleport offered by a wizard? Ira will take it. She's not afraid of Lezard, after all, and has absolutely zero reason to be. Confidentally, she strolls into the teleport circle and waits to be transported away by the magic.

    Following that, she'll stroll out to the front because she's tanky and it also makes her feel like she's leading the exploration. She's really not and might unknowingly be the weakest person here but until something goes wrong, she'll indulge this little fantasy in her head.

    Somewhere within the GOLEM suit, the sounds of Floggy Molly crackle out, warped to the point where it sounds like squeaks. Instinctively, Ira reaches for her cell phone, which would normally be in a pocket at her hip. This results in an awkward CLANK as the suit fingers grasp against the sealed suit at her waist. "...ugh. Well that's unfortunate..."

    Then the weird bug-mask faced man starts to talk. "...did this world die before you got to invent Twitter? But yeah, we're here for fabulous prizes. Maybe we can work something out."

    Ira's attention strays to the rusty construction robots. She breaks away from the group and immediately procures one of the construction robot hammers for her own, regardless of size or apparent attachment to the robot. She'll brace herself and rip it off if she has to.

Lezard Valeth has posed:

Lezard arrives, skipping tedious travel time and an ALTERNATE ENCOUNTER in favor of a strange man with a bug mask. The dead and enervated landscape seems to being out a mild scowl in Lezard's expression. "Even Niflheim has more life than this blasted place..." The Sorceror comments, but his attention is forced to be drawn to the strange Servant. While not having Gudako's facility with examining statistics, he does watch the being intently, rubbing his chin as he contemplates the odd speech. As everything he uses (including his radio) is magical, he doesn't seem to be getting as afflicted as the others.

After a few moments, his eyes flick to the others to observe their response to the being. Shin's response gains a mild smirk of amusement from the Sorceror.

Finally, he makes his decision. "Feel free to come with us. We can share in the findings." Lezard states, gesturing to the door. As Zero moves to try the knocker, Lezard steps forward, adjusting his glasses by habit as he studies the portal. Clock Tower was an organization of mages, therefore there should be a magical solution to opening the door. It would be logical. He just needs to find it.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:

    Yuuki is VOOPED across a huge stretch of INTENSELY BORING TERRAIN when it finally dawns on her what is happening. She is taking magical aid to go to a place by THAT ONE WIZARD WHO TRIED TO KILL HER AND THEN PUT A SPIRIT INSIDE OF HER TO ANIMATE HER STILL-ANIMATE CORPSE.

    She still remembers the very sick feeling she got in her 'spirit', like she had 'eaten' someone. Well, she reckons that she did, actually, and that doesn't sit very well with her. Her totally-creeped-outness only redoubles as RIDER OF BLEH shows up (or is it BLEH Rider?), making her smartphone emit a very girly bit of some euro/j-pop fusion and embarrass her terribly. And he speaks so...

    Ugh, it was like an email from Chairman Cross! Euuuuugh! Worse than pills!

    Yuuki just sort of stares, like an 'are you my father ugh please no' look, as Zero just goes and tries the knocker.

    "Ah, er, come again? Mister Rider?" She gives a Look at Shin. He's being so cavalier and rude! On this world that needs smiles! And kindness! And... And to collect on its life insurance, apparently...

    Yuuki is tacitly alright with Zero trying the door, because that's polite! Yaaaay politeness!

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:

    Alexis takes a moment to store her shotgun, placing the rocket launcher Staren just provided her on her back before doing her little climb.

    ANYWAY, back to right now. Alexis uses her own strength to help carry Kotone up as she reels herself upwards, reaching the top with hard work and GUTS as one puts it. Having paramagnetic gear and a grapple gun helps, so does cyborg strength in this case. The debris and twisted metal are treacherous, and Alexis notes bodies inside amid the office items.

    She stops only to look up and see a /tank's/ gun pointed at her face, or at least down from where she came from. "...uhh."

    Trying her best to look past the cannon, ALexis sees a gentleman just out of the African front of World War II, and her confusion rises when she gets a good look at the man. "Uhhh, hi there." She climbs more once the Assassin of Steel allows further ascent, and she helps swing Kotone upwards before she herself climbs to join the tank driver.

    Only there is no tank. There was no tank. This Assassin of Steel was carrying it like an action movie hero using a minigun.

    This guy is some serious business, alright. "We're here to investigate the clock tower. Sorry about the scare, sir. We're kind of not from around here." She says, before nodding. "Appreciate the warning, we were told there were machines running about, not to mention something else out here. This must be it. Any intel you can spare us on this Servant in case we find it first?" So far this Servant seems up front, it might be best to trust him a little bit.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Rubble Wall

Kotone says back to Alexis.

"No problem there, opening up tac net now."

Alexis has been a big sister to her, helping her cope with her new state of life far more than Alexis might even have understand. she's happy to fall in and today her SMGs is on her back and in her hand are a pair of blasters in hand, she keeps in good formation as he moves forward. She's glad she brought a few things, Kotone is just parkrouing it a bit using her body's inate mobility and strengh to climb, after she holsters her pistols. heck at this poitn Shirou might notice her fingers are digging into the side of the building as she goes to make he way up. She wasn't expecting to see someone witing for them, let alone someone seeming to be from germany's world war two. It's sitll recent enough that she's aware of it.

She pauses at the man as he gives a warning and she's also looking at at 50mm tank cannon which does give her pause.

"Thank you for the warning, I didn't expect much more here than old glitched guard robots to be honest. Sir and thank you for the warning, It is welcome."

She is also clearly looking at the man, she seems to know the uniform from the expression on her face.

"Didn't expect any people of any stripe here like my partner said."

She seems to be willing to give the man a chance as well from the sound of her voice.

Staren has posed:
    /Most/ of Staren's gear isn't affected, but some small messages do appear in the corner of his vision as he just... stares at the way the strange bug-man is talking. PAN DEVICE ERROR spare_ecto_1
PAN DEVICE ERROR spare_ecto_2
PAN DEVICE ERROR spare_ecto_3

    "I, uh... what are you doing?"

    Dawn's avatar appears, in animated GIF form, on his HUD.

    Staren, the ectos are no longer able to maintain a secure wireless link due to a certificate error. I cannot diagnose this at this time. My files appear to be corrupted -- most notably, their modification dates have been set to 12/2/2403.

    <<What? That's correct.>>

    Today's date is 1/1/1900

    Whatever it is seems to have also affected your implant. If even you yourself believe it is 12/2/2403... There are many strange things in the Multiverse. Could this be the result of time travel?

    "..." Staren stares at something noone else can see. Then he glares at the man(?) warily. "What did you do?! How can you ask us to help you while messing with our stuff?!"

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Hup! Hup! Hup!

    Shirou kicks his ascent up a notch, legs pumping with a new vigor since more speed was called for. Hints and wisps of prana flow through his muscles, detectable only just barely with the right senses. Oddly, he seems to have a sense for exactly what parts of the rubble pile are unstable and which can be safely stepped on, although he does pause several times. Up and up he goes. From concrete chunk to steel beam to the largest safe passageway up in Maaka's wake. All until...


    Acting on pure self-preservation instinct, he flinches and halts. There's a PRESENCE above that wasn't there before.

    But halting on this unstable footing isn't the best of ideas. As Shirou comes to a halt, he just KNOWS that defending himself will be needed. Kanshou and Bakuya materialize in his grasp as the boy turns a furrowed brow up at the weapon that's just suddenly THERE... and...


    The boy just tumbles backwards... and promptly SLAMS his weapons into the toppled skyscraper's side. They make excellent climbing implements for this occasion. It leaves him scrambling to get upright again.

    "Servant!" He's on edge, but since the strange SErvant's not attacking... Assassin just gets the boy peering at him quizzically.

    "I'm Emiya Shirou. Thanks for the warning, Assassin. We were headed to the clock tower to do some treasure hunting. A-RAY? The masked magus? ..." What's an A-RAY, he ends up wondering. And it's written all over his face, too.

    The boy grimaces rather unhappily. "Are we being used?"

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    It's prior to teleportation that Gudako and Nero talk again (since Gudako did not follow in!). Mostly, the magus continues smiling, looking the Servant back in the eyes. "Huh? I don't get it. You're dead. It doesn't matter what you call yourself, right? You're a ghost. You're someone who used to be alive but aren't anymore! Sad trombone, etc. etc.!"

    And then she rides with Ar<span class=" bold_fg_y bg_n ++ her.

    chy">RUBBLE WALL</span>

    "--EEEEEEEEE!" continues Gudako, riding a rocket spear with a particularily sour and uneager Archer. Sometimes, it's the small things in life, you know? Eventually the ride must end, though, and Archer sets Gudako down on the other side of the wall (whether he's gentle or not won't much change her response, short of him stabbing her). Caster lands by her master, dusting herself, and now they're with the group!

    Well, the group that made it over. It seems a fair few people are still climbing, and now being faced by an Assassin! Gudako, being rude as fuck, immediatly peeps at his stats, and then yells:


    Caster frowns again! "M-Master, please be more respectful when meeting a new Servant. They might be hostile," she tells her master.

    "CASTER SAYS I HAVE TO BE MORE POLITE TO YOU, ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NEW MASTER, ASSASSIN?" Gudako appends her statement with, still shouting.

    Because she's at the bottom of the rubble wall, and all.
    Still 8D though.

Sir Gawain has posed:
There's a Rider! An odd one, who sounds like the hundreds of spam emails Gawain gets daily. But, he seems friendly, and he's not attacking them despite several Servants! "Of course! Friends are great!" With a grin and a nod, Sir Gawain heads to the door, silently offering to try and force a hole in the wall if they can't get it open otherwise.

Archer (821) has posed:

    Archer wasn't quite sure is he was or wasn't reminded of Illya with how the girl was acting - or rather, squealing as though she were on an amusement-park ride - as they rode up the wall on the spear. Though much of Archer's concentration was focused on maintaining and controlling the object - it was hardly any wonder the boy had such trouble using it - part of him couldn't help but feel a combination of bemusement and horror at how Gudako seemed to be as whimsical and carefree as the Einzbern homunculus, just as eager to try and get her way all the time... and also interested in Emiya Shirou.

     Honestly, what was it that caused so many females to take note of the idiotic child?

     If nothing else, the trek up the wall is swift, and with the spear he can likely reach the top rather swiftly - and from there, much to his great relief, drop the overly-excitable Master off-

     Which is what helps him see the cannon being aimed down at everyone by the massive man, cursing inwardly at what seemed to be unexpected hostilities...

     ... which in turn forces him to make a rather unfortunate concession. He can't afford to not be combat ready with this newcomer... so as a result, even with Gudako right next to him - and possibly able to recognize the significance of what he says - he readies himself.

     "Trace; On."

     Prana condenses into his hands, the blueprints etched into the hill of swords conceptualizing into Kanshou and Bakuya - which Emiya Shirou also coincidentally picks to use that moment. r
     'Great' Archer thought sarcastically. As if Gudako needed /any more hints/ as to who he was.

     He doesn't linger on it though, immediately bounding back up to the top of the building as fast as he can. Meanwhile, Rin is able to have an easier time of climbing.

     "Es ist gro�... Es ist klein... Vox got Es Atlas."

     Reinforcement magic helps her make the trip up far easier as her body is strengthened, using whatever footholds she can find to start making bounds scaling up in increments before steadily making her way up to the gap over the immense... barricade, for lack of a better word.

     All throughout, she does her best to not pay close attention to the many corpses that are likely strewn throughout this misshapen heap of buildings clamored together to form a wall... trying not to think of how many must have died in terror.

     Pushing the feelings aside for now with a breath - and swallowing down some indignant irritation at how her offer to help carry Shirou up the building resulted in, as she didn't think he needed to be /that/ awkward about something so-

     At this point, something pierces Rin's senses, a gasp escaping her lips as something /appears/ somewhere up above. becomes belatedly aware of the massive cannon-barrel aimed right at them all.

     A stunned curse escapes her lips, eyes widening in shock before quickly realizing the shooter - if you could call such a weapon a mere firearm - could have fired on them any time by now... though she is dubious of the military uniform. She hardly has any reason to have faith in any military for this world, even when he lets them up.

     "Yes... I suppose we are" Rin answers carefully in regard to the question of who they're working for, looking cautious at the mention of a 'War'.

     She is then forced to try and reign in her surprise at the man's introduction as 'Assassin' - what kind of assassin wielded a freaking tank gun?!

     But... what catches her attention more is the warning of another Servant in the area... and then, the truth dawned on her.

     The realization... that they had stumbled into another Grail War.

Fake Avenger (662) has posed:

     Rider stares at Shin for a long moment. Then he shakes his head. He makes gestures, which he apparently expects Shin will understand, to the idea of 'I'm not a salesman'.

     This involves taking out a very old marker, drawing money eyes on his mask - literal dollar and yen symbols, where eyes should be - and then scribbling them out. He gives Shin a huge thumbs-up with a long, oddly-shaped thumb.

     Then pulls out an oily, black, ragged washcloth, spits on it, and wipes the mask off. He does not remove it in the process. He fiddles with the mask for a moment, straightening it like a faulty painting, then beams at Nero and nods at the 'are you a Servant'.

     Rider makes a distressed noise as Ira rips the hammer off the robot. His grin flips upside-down immediaely, and he slumps a little. It probably didn't hurt him. It looks like he's just sad. The robot beeps and shuts down. Rider straightens and shrugs, looking at her before his grin returns. He gives a big, happy thumbs-up to Yuuki. The world is in need of smiles! Apparently he agrees!

     "TO: youguys@infrontof.me
SUBJECT: RE: Fabulous Prizes And Questions Answered

Hi, You Guys!
I don't know what this Twitter is, but it sounds great. I'm glad that you're here for fabulous prizes, too! That means we can share and be awesome friends! :)

Oh, by the way, there's a really bad Servant who's been tracking me. Keep an eye out for him! I think he works for one of the big war factions!

Your Friend! :D,

P.S.: You should worship me! Then we'll be Extra Friends!
(But you don't have to. It's okay. I understand. Nobody wants to worship me. :( I'm not a very good god, huh? :( )
Attachments: sadgodinsno.bmp"

     Zero walks up and knocks. There is a thunderous noise, like something cracking. The door swings open, underneath the rubble.

     Rider rubs his chin. Evidently he literally just never thought of knocking. He claps his hands together and strolls inside.

     The group is greeted with a beautiful velvet carpet, greatly out-of-place n this hellish environment. Pleasant jazz music plays as they enter, ancient 1920s jazz that Rider immediately starts skipping to delightedly. Pictures hang on the walls of various men and women, covered in dust. Small mice - clearly not *real* mice to even a cursory examination, as they're walking on two legs and sweeping up with brooms - pass by the group's footsteps. Twin staircases wind upwards under a glorious (but darkened) chandelier.

     Rider turns around and puts two thumbs up.

     "TO: mynewfriends@with.me
SUBJECT: Fabulous Prizes

Hi, My New Friends!
So I know you wanted to know what the Fabulous Prizes are! Well, it turns out they're all over this place! There's really old magic lurking here, and I really want some of it! Also, history books! I really want one of those! History sounds really cool, right? :)
But I don't mind sharing! That's what friends do!


Attachment: Besties.bmp"

     It is at the very end of Rider's sentence that a massive, meaty paw slaps him out of the way. Rider goes flying into a wooden staircase as a huge, black, six-headed dog emerges from underneath the chandelier and bellows at the group.

Shin Tokuyama (756) has posed:

    Oh Shin gets how this guy goes now. This thing is basically some weird sort of amalgam of the internet. The Y2K bug wasn't quite as huge a deal in Japan as it was in America, but this thing is internet related and Shin at least knows how to speak its language that way.

    So when it tells Shin that it's his friend and not a salesman, Shin nods his head and takes out his phone. He taps on the keys a few times and then turns it sideways, holding it up to Rider. It has an emoticon on the screen.

    It's this one: 33e5883a75.png

    Then when they're talking about going inside, but how he is hunted by another Servant that is a bad guy, Shin erases the old emoticon and gets to typing some more. This one takes him a while, because it's too emoticons in sequence.

    You should sneak attack it: 1d4d0f2db3.png 54a072ff06.png

    And finally, as the door is open and he's talking about how they should look around, but share treasure, Shin taps a few more times and holds out the phone for the third and final time.

He's pumped up: 223fc42ded.png

Ark Line (687) has posed:

Assassin of Steel nods minutely at Maaka and Kotone. "It is fine. You were early enough not to be caught in the crossfire. It would be dangerous if you were to come between us." He says it like it's a fact, and a warning. Not to scare her off, per se, but to warn her to go around another way. He's clearly got a job to do.

"He has power over machines; they answer his call, and he disables them with trivial ease. He also wields a pair of... swords, I think. There is something strange about them; they are not like any blades I have ever seen." Apparently, he's totally willing to share his intel. "He wanders with no objective other than spreading chaos and seeking 'worshippers.' Be very careful around him."

Something about what Shirou says gets him to quirk an eyebrow thoughtfully, but he reads Shirou's expression easily, smiling a little instead of commenting on it. "Certainly foreign, if you don't know about the native life. A-RAYS: the animalistic peoples who share Earth with the remnants of humanity. The Steel Faction fights them for the survival of the human race. The individual you must have spoken with, wearing the rags, he is one of them. I am uncertain if he is involved in the greater war, however," he adds.

Gudako, who is shouting, gets him to lean over the edge and look puzzledly down at her. He has no idea what she's talking about. He puts his free hand to his mouth, calling back, "No, thank you! I have a war to win!" He starts to step back -- and then he hears Rin and sees Archer.

Assassin's expression immediately changes. He looks at Archer with obvious surprise and clear recognition. "What are you doing here? I was assured I was the only one in this --" He stops suddenly. A look of realization crosses his face, and he schools his features to stoicism instead. "-- ah. You must be with this young lady." He slips into German, tipping his cap to Rin. "It lightens my heart to hear another speak my mother tongue. Thank you, young miss."

He doesn't seem to be aware that he's nearly found his quarry. At least he's talkative and kind of friendly, unlike most Assassins?

Ira MacNally (915) has posed:

    Ira doesn't seem to care about the SADs that she brings Rider from mutilating one of the robots. She doesn't even seem to care that doing so makes it shut down. "Twitter is like email, but faster, smaller, and everyone can read it." Ira's all too happy to explain. "I'd show it to you but I don't think my phone is working right now."

    She observes the knocking with the knocker, which amazingly works and she immediately wonders why Rider didn't try it. The question goes unasked, however, in favor of another one: "Now I know how this Servant stuff works but...Rider, where's your Master? You /do/ have one, right? Or do you /need/ one?"

    Hey, it was worth asking, right?

    "...you can have all the history books you want." Ira deadpans, "I'll be happy with the...old magic I guess?" she shrugs to the others, wondering if she'll have to fistfight Lezard over loot. She'd do it. Guy doesn't look like he has much physical prowess anyway.

    Suddenly a SIX HEADED DOG MONSTER APPEARS. Ira does the logical thing and rushes it head on so she can hit the nearest dog head with a hammer.

Staren has posed:

    As soon as Staren tells the radio about the date, his expression shows that he's figured out what Rider is supposed to be.

    He doesn't know HOW, or WHY, but the reference is clear.

    "...You really can't help it, huh? So you're a servant, and a god, and you're the Y2K bug, and you just DO this. I dunno what's up with that. But I guess, if you're willing to HELP us, then you earn a share of the loot."

    Inside they go. And there are... sweeping mice. "Huh. /That's/ neat. So, what else do you know about this place? I don't suppose you might also know a way to move /all/ the books?"

    Before Y2K can answer, he's smacked aside. Staren is so... off his game due to dealing with... the Y2K bug... that he doesn't immediately just blast the dog. He does raises his arm, pointing the weapons there at it. "Alright Double Cerberus or whatever you're supposed to be, I don't suppose YOU want to talk too?"

    He'll fire the beam cannons and take evasive action himself if there are any further agressive movements from the dog, towards Staren or... well, the people who count as his 'allies' today.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Sir Gawain doesn't need to bash a door in! Hooray! As Rider talks about magic, Sir Gawain speaks up. "What do you need magic for, Rider? Is it for your Master? We'd be happy to help you!"

Before they can actually do it, though, they get attacked by a six-headed dog. And it hurts the Rider! The Knight immediately draws Excalibur Galatine, before he charges forward, going to slice at one of the necks of the dog. Here's hoping he can wound it!

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:

    Luckily for Archer, the meaning behind his words goes over Gudako's head. For all she is concerned, those are just generic words that someone who uses that particular kind of magic says. For a magus, she's critically undereducated. 'Projection' isn't something she's heard of, or even practiced. The best she can piece together is 'oh hey, Shirou can make weapons, and this Archer also knows the same sort of magic, cool!'.

    Maybe it's for the best, or she'd harass Archer as much as she does Shirou. It would also make her wonder where Shirou went to get that killer tan and if those are contact lenses and a wig.

    As the Assassin denies her, she glances towards her Caster, and then eyes all the other people striking the tank-cannon-wielder up for conversation. She mentally starts putting the pros and cons of opening hostilities with him on a scale, before shrugging and continuing to smile, back towards Archer.

    "I don't think he's here to fight us! He's an Assassin, and one with precognition as a skill too. It'd be very silly for him to do anything but ambush us! Assassins aren't made for direct fights, and mixing whatever his Noble Phantasm must be with his hiding skill and his precognition would make him a really kickass killer. The fact he wasted that huge an advantage means he's telling the truth and not here to harm us!"

    She looks back towards Assassin.

    "Am I on the nose, mister?" 8D

Lezard Valeth has posed:

Lezard also seems to have overlooked the simple solution. Or maybe Zero was just more pragmatic than he was. It's all right. The Necromancer looks up as the door opens, and he walks in with the group and The Y2K Bug. Not that Lezard knows what that is, per se. He steps inside, looking about with an arched eyebrow as he considers the decor and the upkeep. "Cute." Lezard offers, moments before the guardian beast attaclks. Lezard is momentarily taken aback.

"A... double cerebrus?" He asks, bewildered. "What is the meaning of this?"

As the beast strikes across the lobby, and assaults Y2K with intense strikes, the Sorceror's eyes narrow. "Foolish beast! You have no chance!" There is a wash of blackness in his hand as he holds out his hand, and the Manus Catalyst manifests there in a a coalescing of shadow. "DARK SAVIOR!" He calls out, black blades of amorphous shadow manifesting in the air to spear downwards towards the construct.

Alexis Maaka (571) has posed:

    Well this worked out better than expected! Alexis a bit more cheerfully this time, offers up a hand to shake. "I wish you luck with that, then. Sounds like you got your work cut out for you if he's taken this long to track. I've had long hunts myself before, I know how it is." She says, "Alexis Maaka, I'm a contractor for Syndicate operations. This is my sometimes-partner and friend Kotone." She jerks a thumb towards Kotone in question, before she listens carefully.

    "I uh." Pause. She overhears some discussion over comms before she glances back at Assassin. "Well, guess we're in luck today." says Alexis, before she motions towards the clock tower, and begins to scan at the scene occuring in view.

    ... "This target of yours isn't some sort of guy with a screen for a bug face, is he? Someone was jacking our comms earlier, now that I think about it." She muses off-handedly.

    "I think I can see some of our group, now that I think about it."

Nero (880) has posed:

     "I see. How odd." So many things about this were odd, but she would overlook the lion's share of the oddities surrounding this Rider and their immediate surroundings. For the sake of completing their overarching task, of course. They didn't have unlimited time.

     Well, some of them anyway.

     "I suppose that if you desire FABULOUS PRIZES, then the only course of action left for you is to-" Whoops. Rider just got whacked. The Saber class servant blinked once, then twice, and then turned her attention over to that six headed construct.

     "How unsightly." Nero huffed, swinging an arm outwards and manifesting Aestus Estus in a plume of flame. "It is as if Cerberus multiplied. Perhaps Heracles should have made sure he did his job correctly!" Everyone who knew the legend of Heracles knew that he definitely took care of Cerberus.

     Of course, that didn't stop Nero from using the opportunity to make ridiculous claims. "Then I shall surpass Heracles' legend with mine own two hands by felling a six headed beast!" Grinning broadly, she held her weapon with both hands, angled back as currents of flame channeled along the surface. Prana gathered, reinforcing her stance.

     And then she charged. In a burst of inhuman speed, she closed the distance, be it big or small, and smoothly let loose a single stroke. "Rosa Ichthys!" It was a single precise slash, aimed at the neck. With no time to waste, there was little need for posturing. Nero would attempt to behead one or more of those heads in this moment.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Rubble Wall

Kotone is starting to wonder what they got themselves into and she listens for a moment as he speaks of the servant's powers.

"All machines like any and all?"

She's looking honestly a bit scared and she looks to Makka for a moment then back to the Servant.

"I may be at risk from this servant's powers then."

She's already shutting off her network features at htis warning for all the good it will do. She's also seemingly taking in the information the Servant was willing to share with them and is making note of it.

"No if he was he'd have blasted us on the way up. Also I'm Kotone Yamakawa sir."

Alexis would find kotone's off the tac net now as well.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:

    Yuuki just doesn't get it. She doesn't get any of it.

    There was a huge many-headed dog, which seemed to attack the weird guy who was creeping her out about as badly as her uncle coming for a visit, and then the weird guy being all sad and trying to get chummy.

    Sorry, but Kuran Yuuki isn't buying that this guy is her friend. Sure, she wants to be loving and accepting, to help people, but this guy comes on TOO STRONG! Maybe he's secretly a creeper?!

    Her prefect senses tingle at this potential creepo, and her sympathies...

    Go to the huge six-headed hound. Which she approaches, her hand out, with a serene look on her face. "Hey, hey, it's OK! We just wanted to explore some to work on the se-" Her attempts at >Diplomacy-ing the Double Cerberus is cut short by the HORRIBLE DARK MAGIC of Lezard and the BLADE OF QUESTIONABLE FACTUALITY of Nero.

    In fact, if Dark Savior is an area attack, poor Yuuki may be getting hit with it! Yuuki's affinity for Hounds is such a burden!

    But it's OK, someone ELSE may be geanre savvy enough in this situation. Or it may all work out! Yeah, everything will happen great, won't that be nice?

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    "From another timeline in fact. This world seems to be a possible future... sorry, that's a lot to work with out of nowhere." Why is Shirou apologizing to a Servant he's just met? Well, that's jsut him being himself. But the boy appears troubled by this news.

    The magus appeared nice enough for a supposed enemy animalistic person? "Can't the A-RAYS and human survivors get along? I don't get what this conflict's about. There's few resources in a place like this to go around without having a war over them!" Or so his logic goes. The exact OPPOSITE is more likely in all actuality...

    Consternated, he just presses lips together thinly, snorts (despite the rebreather) and looks around at the others. This just got... really complicated.

Zero Kiryu has posed:

    Zero knocks and the door opens. He casts a rather flat look around at the others, before stepping inside and holding a position near the door. Truth is, he's no expert on the stuff that's going on here. He figured out how to get in with pure common sense, and now that they're in... he has no idea what they're /really/ looking for, and he has few if any personal interests to speak of here. Searching his memories, he wonders if he should just start grabbing armfulls of things to carry back to the man that brought them here in the first place.

    Privately, he decides that he'll let somebody else try to do that first. There's almost no way it'll be that easy. Unless... unless it really is that easy, just like the door knocker was. He glances back at the door, and those who will inevitably be coming through it. Rider already skipped right on by.

    "Not interested in worshipping anybody." He asides to Rider, with a faint shrug.

    Then Rider gets chucked clear by a great six-headed dog, and a couple of other people go screaming after it. Perhaps this is itself proof that Rider simply is not worth being worshipped. Isn't this kind of mythological beast supposed to be /three-headed/?

    The best way to deal with a rowdy dog is not to indulge its rowdiness. Zero ignores the six-headed cerberus entirely, instead moving out to actually do his job as a bodyguard and tug Yuuki out of the area-of-effect of the incoming bad. This is actually a lot less passive than he wanted to be while dealing with this thing, but he knows Yuuki doesn't want her NORMAL GIRL act exposed, and she already gets splattered plenty enough to blow it wide open to some people.

    "Pay attention, useless." He mumbles to her, as he tries to drag her about by the sleeve.

Archer (821) has posed:

    Rin blinks once before realizing he must have heard her speaking the words of her spell. Deciding to preserve the courtesy - as it would hopefully go a long way in forestalling a confrontation - Rin gives a polite nod of her head and begins speaking in German herself; "Thank you, though I admit I wasn't born into it. Yes, we had met an 'A-RAY', or at least I assume he was such. He asked us to recover whatever we could from the Clock-tower" she gestures to the structure in question, before giving a small sigh. "It sounds as though he wasn't quite honest with us about the reasons, though... or upfront at all, really." She also - rather worriedly, though she masks it well - the fact that the Assassin recognizes Archer in some way. "Ah - yes, he would be my Servant, Archer. Don't worry - he won't cause any trouble with out my consent."

     Granted... that wasn't /entirely/ true, given his Independent Action skill, but at the very least Archer had no plans to strike unless it became apparent they were all in danger. Thus, leeping his blades to the sides though not dismissing them, Archer eyed the Assassin wearily... all the while contemplating on how many Servants may be active in what was quickly shaping to be another Grail War. However, he does take note of Gudako's claims and admits that she's likely correct - if this really was 'Assassin', and he used the term loosely due to the man's size and relative strength - then he would have just ambushed them. If nothing else, he was sincere about trying to be peaceful it seemed... though that said nothing about the possibility that there could be another means of attack out there - some form of ambush. Whatever the reasons or chances, Archer wasn't willing to bank on apparent good intents alone.

     He also gives a rather pointed sideways glance to Emiya Shirou, denoting that the reason they would fight is obvious as he crosses his arms. "The scarcity of resources here is likely why they would fight in the first place." He lets out a cynical-sounding scoff. "After all... the other side cannot use them if they are dead. So the survivors will have more to use themselves... but by the time they realize their war is eating through the very resources they wish to claim, it will be too late to matter."

     Rin grimaces at Archer's rather barbed and, likely, accurate statement on how this war is going to go... or at least how it will go without outside intervention. Though so far... while the sides weren't quite clear, Archer knew which one he would be assisting.

     He was a Counter-Guardian after all. It wasn't like could pick any other side or walk away from it - if he could... he'd have done so a long, long time ago.

Fake Avenger (662) has posed:

     Rider makes motions with his hands emulating the emoji. He is delighted to find someone else who speaks Internet, though he only seems to recognize emoticons from the late 1990s. Excitedly, he tells Shin all about himself, though it's a little hard to keep up, because he's *making emoji with his hands*. Roughly speaking, he seems to imply that he just showed up one day, and his Master (whoever it is) was crushed by something, but he's okay, because he's VERY INDEPENDENT and the electricity is more than enough for him.

"TO: besties@youn.me
SUBJECT: RE: This Conversation

Hi, Best Friends!
Sorry I can't tell you about my Master. I don't really know anything about them! I never met my Master. :( But it's okay! I'm just lonely, is all. I'd really like people to worship me. I understand if you don't want to, though! Friends don't make friends do things. That's really bad! I don't want to be bad. A lot of people thought I was bad and prayed I'd go away, once...:( Did I do something wrong?

I guess I can't help it! I was just going to eat the books, though! Or bring the robot friends in! Do you have a way to move them? That's cool! I was hoping to get some magic to eat, anyway. It's tasty. Yum yum! :d :) But books aren't. I just need a little and I can keep going for AGES! I'm a very independent Servant!

Attachment: yum.wav"

     It is at this point that Rider gets whacked by the dog and is silenced.

     Ira does a sensible thing and brings her hammer down on one of the dog heads. It howls in five-part pain, snapping at her furiously. Its claws are massive. It swipes at her with claws nearly as big as she is!

     Yuuki steps forward. The dog, up close, does not smell like a dog. It smells like a construct, like the mice. It's probably not even a little real - designed to evoke sympathy. WIth her close enough, one of its heads jerks out to try and bite her. Fortunately, Zero saves her before she can be bitten or blasted. That's good!

     Lezard Valeth ponders the mystery of Double Cerberus for mere moments before he throws black blades of shadow down into it. The shadows stab into the beast's back, elicting a howl of pain as Nero swings her blade for its neck. The dog, distracted by Lezard's bombardment, loses *two* heads. It attempts to bound into Nero, hard, using all of its massive bulk to simply crush her.

     Staren's laser assault easily frees Nero. The light does EXTRA damage to the dog, shattering parts of it like broken glass. The black bits fall to the floor, tinkling and shattering. Gawain's Excaliber Galantine smashes through another chunk of dog, carving off the rest of its head.

     Under the concentrated assault, the dog falls backwards. It cracks, light shining from inside it, until it explodes in a shower of black glass. The mice constructs go running away.

     It was definitely not a real dog.

     Rider emerges from the stairs holding what appear to be *airplane wings* attached to *hilts*. One of them gives off a very unsettling, demonic aura...but the other one is a holy, cheerful one? The wings are larger than a normal human could hold.

"To: friends@here
SUBJECT: Don't Worry!

Hi, Friends!
Don't worry, I'm here to help!

Oh...I guess you beat it already...that's okay. There's more tower to explore! Also, look! Books!
-Your friend,
Rider :)

Attachment: Books.bmp"

     Rider's airplane wings vanish. He points down the hall the six-headed dog was guarding. Sure enough, there's books everywhere! Rows upon ROWS of books! But...there's also an upstairs, and a door at the end of the rows upon rows of books. Maybe this place is bigger than it seems...?

Shin Tokuyama (756) has posed:

    Shin holds up one final emoji to the Rider after the full scope of its emoticon tale is gathered to him, nodding his head seriously.


    Shin then gets to at least grabbing one or two books to shove into his backpack to say he succeeded in part of the mission. Plus maybe, if this place is magical, he can find a book about punch magic. With plenty of QCFs and 720s he can execute properly for big damage. But he does it, since most people seem to use that much nerdier geek magic.

    He's also really glad that crazy dog monster was taken care of while he was distracted emoticon-ing at the deity creature. Because it possibly could have kicked his ass. So that's one less thing to immediately worry about while he gathers books.

Lezard Valeth has posed:

Lezard, in fact, SPECIFICALLY CHANGES THE ATTACK PATTERN when Yuuki gets near the beast. He remembers some very specific things and has no desire to repeat them. When it detonates, however, he looks over to Y2K and frowns for a moment... then sighs, and shrugs. Perhaps it is the mention of being a god that is causing him irritation, but how could anyone take such a being seriously?

When he confirms he does not actually need significant magical power, Lezard turns towards the Library, and steps forward. "Gather the books in a stack." He directs. "Put about twenty of them into a pile. I will send them to the one who hired us. That should keep him happy. We can dole out the remainder as 'new findings' and study them in the meantime."

Lezard knows how to play this game. "After this, take what you will, and then we can explore the rest of the facility. We can seal it so no one else can enter until we return."

Ira MacNally (915) has posed:

    Alas, it doesn't seem like Rider has a Master...or really /needs/ one at this point. Ira discards the idea of having him as a Servant, figuring this one with his need for worship would be waaaaay too high maintenance.

    Swatted with the claw, Ira doesn't actually fall though she does absorb the full force of the impact aimed at her. She struggles under its weight, gradually pushing back and holding the construct at bay until Lezard, Gawain, and Staren can pulverize it into glass. "-glass?" Ira sounds surprised by this as she backs off with a limp.

    Rows and rows of books don't really interest Ira, especially if they're just a bunch of /Earth books/. Instead, she ignores them and goes exploring, heading to what appears to be an upstairs area of the tower. She doesn't exactly wait for other people to follow her either.

Nero (880) has posed:

     Nero's strike land's true, removing two heads. But before she could boast, she found retaliation in the form of said construct attempting to crush her with it's entire body. "Wh-" She brought up her blade to defend and move, but a barrage of laserfire from Staren put that idea to rest rather promptly. "...Of course, I had that entirely handled."

     Sure you did.      Once the beast was out of the picture, through their combined efforts, she couldn't resist chuckling. "Hmhm! And with this, I have surpassed Heracles!"

     No you haven't.

     Dematerializing Aestus Estus, Nero rest her hands upon her hips, smiling proudly before turning to face Y2K who...was totally okay. Of course he's okay, he's a Servant! But more importantly, what's with those swords-oh they're gone. Curious.

     Putting that aside, the books were what they were here for in the first place. And so without further ado, she strode through to the nearest collection, browsing the spines for anything particularly interesting. She wouldn't just grab /anything/ now. She had standards!

Staren has posed:
    "I'm glad to see you're alright." Staren comments to Y2K Bug.

    And then...BOOKS.

    So many books.

    If he'd known, he might have asked Twilight to come. She'd love to see this. Plus, if anyone might know the library magic they'd need to transport this... library, it'd be her.

    But he's here now. He does have an idea, but he doesn't think it'll work. Still, he tries pulling out the matter manipulator and sucking up some books... then he shakes his head and puts them back before clipping the MM back to his waist. No dice.

    He wanders the stacks, looking for any books interesting enough to open. Anything... odd... might catch his eye, but any unusual treatises on the workings of magic in this world, or post-20th-century sciences, might be worth a look.

    Yeah, their employer asked for books, so 'books' is what he'll get, as many as Staren can stuff into his bag (and several particularly large ones in the matter manipulator) on the way out. But while he's here, this is a great opportunity to find things for himself and do 'christmas shopping' for Twilight. Actual magic books, of course, are of particular interest, and if Staren sees anything obviously magical, he'll stuff it in his bag, or the MM if it's large. He can compare finds with the others later and see who wants what.

    He tries turning his magic scanner on. It might be overwhelmed if it's in a place like this, but if it can pick out which books detect as magical, great.

Ark Line (687) has posed:

Gudako continues to be remarkably observant. Assassin glances at her. He smiles. "You are quite sharp, young lady! Yes, that is a fair assessment. Ambush is certainly the most effective means of using my abilities. If I meant you harm, we would have begun fighting already. I think I would be hard-pressed to defeat all of you, though!" He chuckles, remarkably good-naturedly. "Anyway, it's good to meet you all on peaceful terms. I have not had the opportunity to speak to many other Servants or Masters outside our own little group, either. Quite diverse company, all in all --"

Assassin of Steel then starts to respond to Shirou, but Archer beats him to it. He adjusts his hat and bows his head a little. "It is not the resources they fight over; it is the right to exist. As I understand it, the A-RAYS have been systematically eliminating any humans or Liners who have the ability to stand against them. The Liners have lost a great deal of ground until very recently." He lifts his head again. "If peace were possible... ah, well, I am no diplomat; just a soldier, eh?"

He turns away... and then pauses, when Maaka points out his quarry is remarkably close. He walks up the slope in the gap between buildings, looking down and frowning. "That would be him, yes." He swings the cannon down, holding the turret in both hands and narrowing his eyes. "Please excuse me; I have my duty to think of. I'm certain I will see you all again." He looks back, and smiles.

Then, Assassin waits a moment -- and jerks it fractionally to the left a half-second before he fires.

The sound of the tank gun going off is thunderous. It's /obvious/ in a way Assassins aren't supposed to be. It's also /really/ surprising, if you weren't ready for it. The recoil doesn't seem to bother him overly much -- but is his aim off a little bit?

Fake Avenger (662) has posed:

     Rider claps his hands as people start looting. He selects a few books of his own, paging through them rapidly before flinging them over his shoulder. As people talk to him, he opens his mouth and takes a step forward-

     -into a fucking tank shell. The explosion sweeps him up in smoke and smog as a tank shell comes out of absolutely NOWHERE. It hits NOTHING except Rider - the shot came from someone wit ABSOLUTE precision.

     From inside the smog...


Hi, You Guys!


Attachment: pain.wav"

     Rider then comes spiralling out of the smoke, both airplane wings burning along behind him as he holds them like swords.


     The group gets a look at Y2K and his bizarre airplane-wing swords, jets fully activated and everything, as he crashes into Assassin of Steel.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is getting more information from the servant and she seems thankful for it;.

"Humm I understand, I do hope we can meet again sir."

The man seems interesting and she would like to wleanr more but that's when the fight starts and she moves back Not wnting to get cuaght up in it as the fight is getting going now. She sees the wings and the figth about to start but they can't get mixed up in it. She hopes it ends well for the German man, but there's not much else she can do and ther's work to do but his foe? She wonders about them as well. There's work to do and she's needs to get to it.