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Private Stargazing

Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
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12
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male
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8[SUP]th[/SUP] May

Stars had been one of the only constants in his rather miserable life – there'd been trips to the planetary early on, stimulation for his smart mind; Hideo to tell him about the constellations whenever he lay in bed sick, using a toy that brought them into the darkened bedroom; occasional nightly visits to the roof, huddled in blankets to watch the real ones. And then Jax, who'd found ways to sneak him into the air vents, found routes he could manage with his failing body, just to show him a tiny streak of sky, let him have that normalcy. Something to hold on whenever they plunged him into the darkness of virtual space.

That he lived in space now was exhilarating and all the more reason to get closer to the stars. Having settled in the Commune and trusting his health to be stable enough for one nightly trip, the kid had went to bed as usual, pretending to be asleep when really waiting till his guardian Moh slept. Getting back up on silent feet, he grabbed his cloak against the chill of the night and sneaked out, his daemon Sora huddled into a pocket as a ferret. The spot of his choosing, an empty wharf at the edge of the Commune, had Sasuke already searched out in the day, knowing his way there.

It felt a bit odd, to be alone in the undercity, his surroundings growing more and more dark as they lacked maintenance, lights flickered out. Counting out the steps to the next corner he froze at movement in the shadows. What was that? In an attempt to not appear scared he walked on – breaking into a run when the rustle appeared closer, hair on his neck rising, instinct telling him to get away, fast. Nearly slamming into an lamp pole he stopped, gasping for breath, closing his eyes in expectation of an attack... that didn't came. There still was a rustle around him, but glancing up it appeared that the writhing figures couldn't cross into this circle of light. Well. Now to hope that the lamp wouldn't burn out.
 

Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
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Neutral Good
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Amy was getting pretty desperate. As if having Green Lung in her own world was bad, now she didn't even have safeguards like the vaccine to keep her from getting worse. The one she'd gotten back home was starting to wear off, so she needed to find something, fast.

Admitting to people in charge that she had a deadly illness was not an option. For all she knew, it was just another Aristocracy, and she was going to end right back up in a jail cell, or maybe worse. Maybe she'd end up getting dissected or something. She didn't trust the government, any government.

So, that meant looking for... less than legal channels. If she went around those in charge and found a treatment that way, then there wasn't any need to worry. Not that she was comforted by this task she set out for herself. It wasn't like it was safe to talk to criminals and lowlifes, but she didn't have a choice.

Eventually, her search brought her all the way up to Elysium, which was disconcerting. Being so high off of the planet gave her vertigo just thinking about it. Still, she got word of some fancy drugs that might be what she needed to keep her symptoms at bay. Not that she wanted to get addicted to anything.

Edgar was on her shoulder, whispering all of the ways this would inevitably go wrong. Some might find that annoying, but she actually appreciated it. She didn't like being surprised, so coming up with possible scenarios made it easier to be prepared.

Of course, nothing could ever be easy. As she walked, face still masked to keep from accidentally getting anyone sick, Edgar squawked in surprise. She turned, just in time to watch some kid nearly run right into the lamppost she was walking past.

"You alright?" she asked, gently.

"He's trying to attack!" Edgar cried, "don't trust him!"

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
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male
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enhanced human
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adoptive kid of Moh
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Sasuke, who usually prided himself on noticing a lot of small things, only realizing the woman was there when she talked to him. Normally he'd not talk to any stranger, not after Taylor abducted him in broad daylight, especially not alone in a not-so-good city part... but he was scared and if he contacted Moh, there sure would be a talk about why exactly he sneaked out alone. Stargazing likely wasn't good enough of a reason.

Also whatever thing had hunted him surely wouldn't stop at some other person. Ignoring her paranoid raven – the kid had no means to attack anyone to start with and frail as he was, there was little danger against others – he burst out: “Don't leave the light! There's monsters in the shadows!” He knew how odd that must sound, likely rendering him nothing more than a kid scared of the darkness when there was real danger. Might not have touched him yet, but it was there. A flickering at the edge of his vision, tendrils reaching as far as the light would allow. Sora climbed out of his pocket, curling around his neck for comfort, while he tried to catch his breath. Running hadn't been the best idea.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
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25
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female
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Human
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Mechanic
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Neutral Good
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Amy's expression softened as she took stock of the situation. A kid who seemed exhausted in a dark, creepy part of Elysium. It seemed to her that he was either from somewhere else and was really lost and scared, or he was from the Undercity and knew too well what slums were like.

Either way, she couldn't let him keep getting scared. Poor kid didn't deserve that. "Hey, hey, it's alright," she said, soothingly, "did you get a good look at it?" If she was lucky, he'd just seen a creepy shadow. If not, then there might be some stalker who needed to meet the pointy end of her crossbow.

"He just wants to get your guard down, don't let him!" her daemon hissed, causing her to sigh.

"Quiet, Edgar. No one needs your input right now."

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
link
Organizer
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Directory
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Nothing was alright, this a phrase adults liked to say when they had not much clue themselves. When they just wanted him to be calm and quiet and do as told – instead of listening to his concerns. Sasuke shook his head, wasn't sure what he'd seen, but could retell every detail. “Vines or... or tentacles. Not the ones to bring you here.” If it'd been those, he wouldn't be here now, there was no outrunning them. “Nothing solid, just writhing shadows. They're still there, at the edge of light, only not when you look closely at it.”

Odd to be so afraid of shadows behaving wrong, barely more than instinct, yet he was shaking. “Don't leave. If it's shadows, they can't go into the light.” “What if the lamp fails?” Sora piped up, fear showing. A nightmare. And how should he get home, if the shadows weren't safe? He could maybe pull some trick, rewind the electricity, though for that he needed to go in deep, body kept safe by someone else.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


There were a lot of explanations for what he could've seen, but Amy didn't like making assumptions before she had all the information. "Just staying in the shadows?" she asked, "because that could be a problem." She kind of wished she brought a light or something. At least then they'd have some idea. The kid seemed to follow her logic, though, so at least they were on the same wavelength.

"It's coming for us," Edgar hissed, "it won't stop until we're all dead!"

"Edgar, quiet," she ordered. There was a time for panic, and this was not one of those times. She bit her lip in thought and shook her head. "If we had more time I'd probably be able to scavenge some things to make us a more portable light-source, but that's not really going to be possible..."

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link
It was a problem already, Sasuke trusting his instincts regarding the danger despite nothing having actually happened yet. This was a strange world, the Undercity not the safest area to start with, so combined with the late hour better to err on the side of caution. Her daemon being all but optimistic only fueled his own fear.

“I don't want to die and be stuck in the void again!” Sasuke burst out, tears welling up. Not only would it be awful, Moh would be sad, probably blame himself over not having watched him better – maybe even break from it, like his parents and Hideo. Last thing he wanted to happen or had thought of when setting out to go stargazing. The turmoil kept him from thinking straight, offering his hacking skills as solution.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


Amy always knew she had the shittiest luck, but this was slightly egregious. Here she was, stuck between her paranoid daemon telling her all the ways this kid was trying to trick her, and on the other side was the kid who was so terrified she could barely get anything out of him.

"Alright, alright," she said, trying to sound authoritative and soothing, "you're not going to get sent to any void. Even if we have to run to another light, I'm not letting you get taken by anything. Now, I need you to take a breath and tell me if there's anything you know that might help us." At least if he lived around here, he might know something useful.

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
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Organizer
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Directory
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While not exactly soothed given the situation, he took a deep breath, swallowed tears back. Forced himself into the calm Taylor had wanted too, eerily quiet and calm for a scared child. Had nothing to do with trust, only control. “I'm from the Free Commune – that's way back there” he pointed the way he'd come. “There's light there, but not between.” His own fault for taking a route where no one would see him sneak out in the night. “I... can make more light. But I'll not be able to run then.” Or move much at all. Hacking the cities electricity grid, even if only around them, would take a deep dive into the net. Sora whispered of the dangers, of getting lost, of all that could intrude him when things went wrong.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
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Amy didn't know much about space, but she did make sure to know the basics before heading up. For a brief moment, she revised her assumptions about the kid, realizing he was probably just sneaking away for some excitement or whatever (kids, gotta love 'em). That wasn't important, though, so she shook it off.

"You can't, but I can," she said, then leaned down to offer her back, "come on, I've carried heavier things than you for longer." One of the upsides of being a mechanic, a good workout every day.

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
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There was a brief hesitation at her offer, Sasuke calculating how much of a risk there'd be going with a stranger – but he didn't had much of a choice and since he'd be in control of the lights, unless she wanted to doom them both by running into the darkness and whatever lurked there. Also she had no way of knowing just what exactly he was up to do.

Before he climbed onto her back, he explained some more though: “I'll not be able to move at all. Or talk to you, so you have to follow the lights.” Just a fair warning, so she'd not be worried. “If I don't wake up within the communes perimeter – bring me to Moh. He's the leader and will know what to do.” If she'd rather dump him somewhere, he could still contact the Watchmaker for help. A risk that came with every deep dive.

And that's what he did now, closing his eyes and embracing the other part of him, the one made more of ones and zeros. On the outside going eerily still, yet actually a bustle of activity, just not one that could be seen – until a couple minutes later the first lights flickered on, a pathway of connected spots made off everything that could be find to cast light.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


Well, Amy would be lying if she said she expected her day to turn out like this. Carrying some strange kid through whatever light sources they could turn on was a bit odd, she had to admit. Not that this compared to some of the more dramatic turns her life had taken before this moment. At least here she had an ally that wasn't dying, just going unconscious, apparently.

She gave him a simple, "right," to confirm that she was listening, then waited. If something was out there, she didn't want to give it the chance to get them. So, once the lights were on, she was off. Edgar was hanging onto her shoulder with his talons sinking deep into her skin, but she ignored the flare of pain.

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
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Organizer
link
Directory
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Saske sure hadn't expected a simple trip to see stars to turn out so dangerous. But here he was, having no other choice except for using his ability no matter the risk. And risk there was, too stay in longer than a couple minutes, risk loosing himself – if only it were as easy as flicking some virtual switches. There were networks to hack, electricity to reroute without being noticed, checking that where he send it too bulbs weren't too broken to light up. Timing it to shut off after them, go a certain direction, check their position. Many tasks at the same moment, decisions in fractions of sections, taxing on his mind.

The first sections lighting up in neat sequences, it soon got more difficult, waits for the next to turn on, an erratic pattern back home, using all the odd light sources he could find – but he kept at it. Trusted the woman to take his body along, since except for stopping his help there was nothing he could do to force her to. Not until they'd reach the Communes perimeter, where it'd be safe to pull himself back out, if he could.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


From Amy's perspective, there was nothing other than lights to follow as she made her way through the undercity. A few times, she mistimed a movement and felt something almost grab at her leg. It was pure determination that kept her from being pulled to the ground.

Then things started getting worse, and Amy wasn't sure if she'd be able to keep up. The kid wasn't exactly giving her instructions on what to do. When a light suddenly turned off when she was moving under it, she didn't have any options other to sprint as Edgar screeched, "it's here! It's here! It's here!" which she wasn't even sure she could believe.

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
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Sasuke would've much preferred to do this any other way, wait the night out somewhere safe, but without knowing where that'd be the Commune was the best option. It sucked having no way to communicate with Amy, but that wasn't to be helped – even if they'd had it, turning the lights on cost him enough concentration.

Keeping track of her movements was hard too and when a delay dropped them in darkness, he hurried to switch on other lights to slow down the tendrils grabbing for them, hope she'd be fast enough. They were almost home, a couple turns later the last of his doing flickering out behind them, the Communes grounds having enough on their own. Now to drag himself back up from the world, the kid groaning and shifting slightly, disorientated.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


Amy could be fast, if through sheer determination alone. The need to survive was hard-coded into her, and she refused to let anything get close to killing her. It also helped that Edgar was willing to peck at the tentacles as they got closer, giving her just the opening she needed to get back into the light and keep following the pattern.

Unfortunately, as she ran, lungs started burning. It wasn't the kind of burning one would expect from sprinting, it was a kind of burn she'd gotten used to after getting sick. Why, of all times, did she need to have a flare-up while she was escaping from a monster? The Green Lung couldn't have waited another hour or so?

As she ran, she started coughing, just softly at first, as he lungs started to constrict. "It's going to get worse!" Edgar shrieked, "you're going to choke and we're all gonna die!"

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
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link
Organizer
link
Directory
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As Sasuke pulled himself back into consciousness the path of light petered off, no longer necessary now that there were sources all around. They were safe. Feeling the woman still running, he gathered himself up a bit, tapping her on the shoulder. “We're safe” he rasped, swallowing to ease it. “You can stop now.” After all he could walk, was there no need of carrying further. The cough he only noticed now, put that down as coming from the strain of getting here for the moment. She could come further into the commune with him, get something to drink, a place to sleep. “Did it all go well?” The transition wasn't without flaws, his mind working better out of bodily boundaries, but not all coming back into it afterwards.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


Fortunately, pure stubbornness was enough to get through the last bits of light before they were home free. Amy was still in the middle of a Green Lung attack, but that was manageable outside of the looming threat of whatever monsters were there.

Still wheezing as her lungs were constricting, she allowed the kid to slide off of her back. She made sure not to even look in his direction. While her face was covered and the disease didn't survive long enough outside of her body to infect anyone, she preferred not taking chances.

"G-g-grrrreat," she said, "g-g-oooood." The run hadn't been too much for her to handle, it was just her own body that had turned traitor at the end there. At least they managed to get out in time before anything else happened.

 
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Sasuke Tanaka

Warcross
Posts
142
Age
12
Gender
male
Species
enhanced human
Occupation
adoptive kid of Moh
Profile
link
Organizer
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Directory
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The answer couldn't fool him, he knew the sound of severe trouble breathing all too well. With his own immune system not working as it should he stayed to the side, in case it was something infectious, but that didn't stop him from caring. “Do you need something? What can I do?” Smart as he was, Sasuke still was a kid, couldn't handle adult problems very well. “The Commune is good with medical help – they can manage me. I'm sure we can find.... we just need to get a bit further, to a community center or find a patrol!” It was late, but with this being a workers district, someone always was up. He might get in trouble with Moh later, but the woman had saved him, so she deserved that much.
 
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Amy Wellard

Shardlight
Posts
33
Age
25
Gender
female
Species
Human
Occupation
Mechanic
Alignment
Neutral Good
Profile
link


Amy most certainly did need something, but she doubted a kid would be able to help. Being able to remotely hack lights wasn't exactly a medical miracle. So, she was more than ready to tell him that she just needed to catch her breath, but Edgar just had to speak up.

"Green Lung! Green Lung," he squawked, "gonna kill her, gonna kill me! No cures here, no treatments! We're gonna die!" You'd think having some magic creature would be cool, but Amy just thought that Edgar was an annoyance more than anything.

"L-l-looook," Amy said, "I've li-lived with this f-for a whiiiiiile. Peop... people here don-don't know what to d-do with iiiiit."

 
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