Modern Day Alchemists
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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:53 pm


Straying from the beaten path was really the stranger in the leather jacket's overarching story. Time and time again, he had proved himself a number of unusual things. Unorthodox, sadistic, manic, gruesome, refined... and time and time again, he had proved himself an irreplaceable asset to the Amestrian military. He was most likely defined as a 'capable combatant', and had proved himself to be in well with both Spade and the head of Security in Central, one Mr. Stuka, a man who shared many of his... interests. The pale form grinned as he remembered the man, no stranger to him indeed.

Alongside that, with his alchemical prowess - mainly focusing in biochemistry and bioelectricity with some dabblings in alkahestry - he had been an optimal candidate for the State Alchemist program. This had put a little more drive into his research, under the guise of 'researching new military techniques', really only actually attempting to satiate a ravenous, self-perpetuating hunger for blood and knowledge. He'd made a lot of progress since his enrolling; dabbling and refining original branches of alchemy had been almost effortless with the State's alchemy grants, alongside a little sapping from his salary. It was necessary, really. A means to an end; an end he lusted after enough to spend his 'well-earned pennies' on it.

And when Reila had left him in South not a few days ago with an offer subliminal yet almost on a fine, decorated, ornate, engraved, perfectly-carved golden - nay, not silver, golden - platter, an offer for him to transfer to Briggs... it was just too sweet. Chocolate that melted at the very taste as composed to the boring, stale repetition of Central life. Supposedly marked down as a 'candid' individual in his files documenting his militant life, he'd simply had the good Security Chief mess around with a few inner mechanics, and, alas, the paperwork was all-too-quickly taken care of. Moving from South with a minimal amount of phonecalls, he'd visited La Ciliegia, Ishval, and, finally, East City, encountering some odd characters over the few days that his detour lasted, before the plane had landed in North not thirty minutes ago.

He'd arranged for his car to be parked at North barracks, but, really, there wasn't much point driving it up here. In the snow, his suspension would be totally wrecked, courtesy of the frost, and he presumed that inside a fort, there wouldn't be much need for it. Considering Briggs was best-renowned for its defensive stratagems and chokepoint tactics when it came to brushes against Drachman forces, this appeared especially true; more so considering the presence of the thin roads unsuitable for anything bar travel on two wheels or by feet. And he certainly wasn't going to make a fool of himself cycling up there. Pfft. Only idiots rode bicycles. Ayden absolutely loathed them. So stupid. Definitely not befitting a man of refined, exquisite taste such as himself.


Black on white. A blemish across the fresh, bleak, untouched morning frost of the Amestrian North. Renowned for its harsh climate and colder people, Ayden had often wanted to visit the mountains, but only ever done so in passing. The man wasn't uncomfortable; he was suited for weather like this, snowflakes idly drifting, swaying from side to side in what was currently a light, forgivable breeze. The fort sat a few hundred metres on the horizon, towering over anything nearby in its majesty, rivalling even the nearby mountains inside. A narrow passage and great iron gates sat wrought nearby it. He'd experienced weather not too dissimilar from this in some particularly bad Londonian winters, although nothing ever quite this cold.

His pale complexion spoke worlds of him. He looked as if he belonged nude amongst the picturesque, idyllic blankness of the scene. His clothes were contrasting completely; the white-faced man garbed in dark leather and chrome buckles. Gunbelts and holstered littered him completely, and in each gloved hand he carried a single sports bag, filled with his various possessions. He wore no mask or garb over his face whatsoever, save for a pair of dimmed, darkened sunglasses obscuring his cerulean eyes, which seemed to pierce the comparatively thin glass with a sharp gaze anyway.

Pale pink pursed lips sat resistant to the cold as he trudged onwards through the frost and ice. His shoes pounded in an unrelenting beat; for hours he had walked, having set off before sunrise, and he was close to the end of the journey. He permitted himself no satisfaction yet; solace would come within the walls of Briggs, even if only slightly warmer. Stomping, crushing, destroying, dominant. Nature was now beneath his feet. A grin swept up onto his face as he remembered promises of carving his crimson swath into the snow, letting enemies' and targets' lifeblood spatter across the ice in unison.

Every few moments, as the cold crept through his skin and caused him to tingle, he would flush. His face was constantly beaten by the variable yet usually unrelenting winds, though for once, the clouds had parted, and there was an odd, pale blue morning sky. The harsh sun, barely a speck in the distance, small enough to be a minor star, not even a beacon of any variety, cast down its rays upon the face of the world, and yet the catarrh still numbed him. Every few moments, also, to ensure he maintained motor control, he would stretch, flex his fingers. They were one of the greatest tools of his trade; he couldn't allow loss of functionality. Not now, when such a promising new opening sat barely metres away from him on the horizon.

He remembered just why this offer was so promising. People to kill, and friends that he could perhaps share camaraderie with, considering that they seemed to actually be... well... exciting. If others followed by Reila's example, he even considered the possibility that his term of service in the North wouldn't be as inexplicably boring as his term in Central had been. Bar the regular calendar-based nearly daily slaughter sessions he'd held with Jay. And the freelance work. Come to think of it, he hadn't actually done much in Central.

Bah. It didn't matter. Working with all this ice would allow him to iron out a few creases, see how his bloodbombs worked in this sort of climate; in the cold, they'd be particularly devastating. Watching an ally explode in a red haze was one thing; feeling ice shards forged of your teammates' blood pierce and nick your skin was another thing. Psychological warfare was the best of all the varieties, of course; when used in combination with pain, intimidation and fear could cause one of the finest-trained platoons to turn tail and run seeing only a single group casualty.

Ayden was a warrior. Warriors survived at Briggs. He knew this, and he knew of the creeds that the men and women there followed and had instilled in them. But above all else, he was an assassin. A torturer. An alchemist. A scientist. A cold-blooded murderer.


He was nearing them, now. Those huge, towering metal doors. Those that he would remember so well for what would be a lifetime to come. Significance. He'd become part of a cycle. Here, Ayden could tell... he could just tell that Briggs would refine him, reshape him, mould him as an ever-changing liquid, flowing smoothly into a malleable shape that he could decide and change the form of whenever it became necessary or even simply a want. Ayden was flexible. Fluid.

His thought processes mirrored those that he'd been having during the party only a few days ago. He remembered vividly... his impression, his strangely simply, straight-forward admissal of defeat. It had, however, lead to something greater... much greater. New beginnings. New beginnings, new prospects, new characters, new orders, new... new friends, even, perhaps. Friendship wasn't something that Ayden experienced a lot, either.

He stared up at the icicle-laden halls, figures clad in blue faded into specks even at a distance as close at he was; a pair were pushing their torsos over the railings as they scrunched their eyes in an attempt to make out the figure, the single figure, nearing the most stalwart of modern historical Amestrian defenses and blockades ever documented. Fort Briggs.

The silver-haired cerulean-eyed assassin made a quick pose as the iron doors, laden and crisped with frost, the very moisture freezing as it trailed down the wrought metal surfaces, bolts and screws solid and tight. They towered over him, imposing and impressive; Ayden looked up at them in total awe. Hell, today, steelwork was art. Bravado and machismo were art. Soldiers were visionaries. Today was a day where everyone stood upon this magnificent structure, regardless of what the man would usually think of them, were worthy of following, worship. This is as close to true friendliness as perhaps the man would ever get.

"BRIGGS!" Ayden shouted, chuckles rippling through his body moments later. He couldn't just hear the echoes; he could feel them. Ominous, impressive, resounding through the cavernous sky, reverberating through to the mountaintop. Azure irises vibrated as sound waves shimmered across them; the assassin's throat was sore just from a single shout, although the cold hadn't done much. "I HAVE ARRIVED!" He announced the statement as if it were something worthy of majesty, as if his presence should be taken as that of a king.

He stepped closer, a few more metres, letting his fingers brush against the metal of the gates - the border - and allowing the assassin to feel the cold; even through just a few millimetres of leather. This was the only thing standing against a prospective Drachman invasion. If Briggs fell, Amestris fell. And Briggs had never fallen. And it never would - the assassin would do his part towards ensuring that.

Inching closer, the silver-haired man then rapped leather-clad knuckles against the metal; it hurt, but the impacts were strong enough to cause a few icicles, about a few centimetres long, to drop from the arch at the top, and shatter on the compacted, solid snow below. The ensuing vibration resounded through the door in the form of a series of strong, sharp, simple reverberating low-pitched ringings.

He looked upon the highest, tallest balconies with a grin set upon his face, he scanned and surveyed figures close, training rifles, unsure, readying themselves for this oddly-clad deceptor bearing a glint hanging from a shimmering chain between his fingers.At closer range, they would recognise it as the pocketwatch of the State Alchemist. Identity. This was assassin extraordinaire, Major Ayden Derocha.

And he... he had transferred to Briggs.


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:29 pm

Someone was knocking on the door. His eyes cracking open, he moaned as the sound reverberated through the structure, shaking his brain. He was either having a bad reaction to fish, or this was a hangover. Quite possibly both, but…

”Alright, alright!” he yells, straightening his suspiciously clean clothes, and approaching the door with his shotgun in hand. ”I thought this country had intercoms or something,” he mutters. Intercoms, something that only the best Drachman installations had. The rest had runners and tin cans connected with string. He chuckled. Drachman runners? That’s a good one.

”Just a moment!” he shouts, lazily feeling around for the lever. After a few moments, he slowly activates it, causing a series of chains to swing into motion, slowly sliding the front doors open. He sighed happily as the cold air hit him, the sweet smell of arctic air filling his nostrils. Squinting as the sun blinded him slightly, he eventually saw the person that was knocking. Looking down at him, his mind tried to start running, but sputtered out halfway through. ”No, I told you, we do not want your cookies,” he says, lowering his shotgun. ”Too expensive!” He stood there in silence, staring down the man who he had mistaken for a girl scout. Then it hit him.

”God damnit,” he mutters, shaking his head. ”Forgive me. I am, how do you put it… not feeling tip-top.” With a half-hearted salute, he turns to his side as to not block the man’s path. He looked the man over, scanning him closely. A lot could be told by the way a man dressed. Like, for instance, this man as a militant, and thus wore the same damn uniform as everyone else. And that watch…

”Nice watch,” he comments. ”I did not know anyone used pocketwatches anymore.” “Weird” was how he would’ve worded it, but then again, he was doing his best as the Briggs greeter. He chuckled. Maybe he should try and freak more people out by wearing his old Drachman uniform. ”I am Viktor Stalin,” he says, trying to identify the man’s rank. All he could tell was that this man wasn’t his rank, nor was he the general’s. Which didn’t help him much. ”You do not have any other bags with you, do you?” he asks, looking around. That certainly wasn’t a task in his job description.


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:06 pm

”мгновение!” Ayden cocked his head and attuned himself to the cool, blowing winds as they washed over him. Drachman; he couldn't yet interpret it, but it was both surprising and not so. Considering Briggs' proximity to a the border, it would be useful to have a Drachman native for diplomatic purposes... however, there was bound to be hostility, most likely the man's blood clashing with his cause...

Ayden had felt it once before. During the war with Creta, he wasn't sure where his allegiances lie; did he defend his mentor, or his opportunities and assets? Heart had always taught him to do the latter, but he owed more, much more than he could ever pay back, to the man who had brought him up with this ideal. A complete and utter paradox.

The assassin resolved to stay silent until he heard Amestrian. He hoped the man was bilingual, if not a polyglot... someone with a modicum of intelligence answering the door would just further increase the amount of allure surrounding this fort, bloody history as it did have. General Tsukino herself was reason enough to stay here; she was enjoyable, primal, appreciated his humour and way of living - to an extent, at least - and... well, she intrigued Ayden, despite the pair both obviously being otherwise... occupied.

”No, I told you, we do not want your cookies,” He caught a glimpse of the man as his head snapped towards him; large, barrel-chested. Stocky frame, bearing a weapon the man and even his near-perfect vision couldn't pick out - in a detailed manner - at this range, although it appeared to be... unorthodox. ”Too expensive!”

Taken aback, however, at the statement, Ayden arched a silvery eyebrow and a leather-clad hand moved to his hair. The man looked from side to side, making sure he hadn't accidentally brought along a companion, or perhaps the mutilated remains of one of his marks tacked to a boot, or something; but, no, he was alone. Alone in the freezing, blistering, numbing tundra-like cold of the Briggs mountain range. He cursed under his breath. Why couldn't they be at a gritty, no-holds barred war with Esparia, with the fort there as opposed to this godforsaken Cocytian wasteland? Normally, the cold was manageable - even enjoyed - but these sub-zero temperatures bordered on unbearable.

He growled initially as he realised the connotations of the insult, and resigned to waiting until the man presented himself until he could pass further judgement. Hopefully by rank-dropping, he'd send the message... it was early in his days at Briggs, and though he was learned and experienced of the military, he was still new blood inside the fort's supposedly-harsh hierarchy... perhaps the man could prove to be a worthwhile ally yet. As he'd resigned to thinking on the way up here, he needed to be careful where he stepped and who he pissed off. In effect, if the lowest of the Lieutenants was the brother of the highest of the Generals... they had the power of their sibling, provided the pair were on good terms.

Further analysis could wait until later. Slowly, grinding gears and sliding cogs forced, heaved the two doors aside. Massive and wrought of iron, icicle after icicle plummeted from an array upon the top of the metal structure, the brutal process shearing them off in scores. Spiralling down like deadly frozen arrows, Ayden stepped to the side to avoid being eviscerated; oh, that would be such a sorrowful end for all his tribulations and all the promised paradises, and forbidden fruits he could munch on til the rapture came full circle and he was finally brought to his knees; his death would be at the hand of a greedy competitor or a backstabbing partner, not by an inanimate spear of ice. ”Forgive me. I am, как вы выразились… not feeling tip-top.”

Ayden cocked his head and chuckled quietly, stepping forwards, inwards through the massive mechanical structures. He took a gasp of the air of the fort's interior; musty, oily, cold... an aura that suited him well. Provided the thermostat was kept at a manageable level, it would be a more-than-suitable workspace; the bare essentials, and no further decor. Peeling military-issue paint on stone and iron walls, Jeep after Jeep parked in regimental lines in the front halls. A military complex indeed.

His head then snapped towards the other man. Close-cropped, brown hair; militant uniform to contrast the silver-haired man's deep black leather garb. Being a State Alchemist had its privileges. He cradled in his arms the oddest weapon Ayden had ever seen; he couldn't even discern the base model, and presumed it was some sort of hand-fashioned weapon, 'Sasha' inscribed along the side. Immediately, the assassin thought of his bread and butter, Asmodeus and Astaroth, and an odd, uneasy smile carved itself up the pale man's visage.

"I can understand that," Ayden muttered in response. The man was visibly either ill, tired, hungover, or a combination of all three... from the faint, lingering smell of vodka radiating from him, the Colonel presumed the last of the trio factored in somewhat heavily.

"Nice watch. I did not know anyone used pocketwatches anymore.” Formal, slow, accented... the man was obviously a native Drachman speaker. From the snippets of the language he'd heard the odd, bear-like man use, he was clearly not a fluent linguist in dialects other than the one he was most at home with. Ayden smirked, and prepared his response, staring down obviously at the silver pocketwatch pinned to his lapel.

"I'd like to say something as its use as an efficient timepiece or an alchemical catalyst..." He trailed on, smirking, before tucking an eagerly displayed a loop of its chain into his pocket, making the entire mechanism on the whole a lot less noticeable. Finally, he looked back to the odd man. "But, really, it's just sentimentality, prosperity, a symbol... all that patriotic and emotional crap." A frown furrowed his forehead as he finished off the speech, letting his single bag clatter to the floor. Within, hard surfaces slammed against each other, and made a series of simultaneous loud clunks. Mechanical parts rattled within.

”I am Viktor Stalin,” Viktor Stalin. If the language hadn't given it away, the name certainly would have... the man was tough, toned, large, bore an imposing frame... yet conformed to so many Drachman stereotypes. Ayden couldn't help but let a small grin slip onto his face, the assassin appearing apparently rather calmed, happy, and contented for the whole day's interactions overall.

"Colonel Ayden Derocha," He responded, thrusting a hand forwards at an oddly high speed, stopping it inches before it would've presumably made contact with Viktor's vest. "Briggs' new Alchemy Specialist." He was as concise and brief as possible; he didn't know the man well enough to even begin to try and manipulate him yet, and had yet to calculate whether he'd be a worthwhile ally or friend. Plus, the assassin was as egotistical as all hell; so long as Stalin didn't reflect or outrank his military standing, he'd have the man leading him around, presumably, addressing him as 'Sir' and 'Colonel'. He'd never quite gotten used to dealing with superiors in such an officious fashion.

”You do not have any other bags with you, do you?” Cerulean eyes flicked to the large, long sports bag on the ground. Within were contained Perseus, Andromeda, a heap of alchemical books and scribblings within notepads, and a few test subjects. Chalks, pencils... supplies in general for the budding alchemist.

His vision fell on Viktor's small orbs once more, locked in contact. He could tell, now; beneath the droopy, tired exterior, this man, like many, had secrets. A bestial, primal urge that perhaps only alcohol could draw, trigger within him? He knew not yet. He hadn't even tested the water, dipped his feet in the pool that was the man's mental stability. Just a touch more analysis was required.

"No," He spoke slowly, calmly. Doing his appearance and Viktor's ears a favour. "My car should be arriving within the next few hours. It's down at North City now... within it is most of my wares," He growled, mentally; the R8 wasn't suited for offroad drive. He'd arranged for the sleek, black beauty to be brought up by truck, but he'd have to make a few weeks' worth of modifications - or find a grease monkey with a modicum of skill - before it was truly ready to handle the vicious white blanket of snow that Amestris' north had so cruelly set before him.


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:16 am

”I'd like to say something as its use as an efficient timepiece or an alchemical catalyst... But, really, it's just sentimentality, prosperity, a symbol... all that patriotic and emotional crap.”

Viktor nodded simply, but stayed quiet. Too any words to say something simple, either the sign of a man too intelligent for his position, or too confident in himself and ignorant in the ways of the world. Maybe both, but preferably the former. Probably the former, actually. He was aware of the nationalistic rationale hammered into soldiers, the connections superiors try to force upon recruits to care for their country, almost unconditionally. Smart man. Maybe too smart.

”Colonel Ayden Derocha, Briggs' new Alchemy Specialist."

Viktor chuckled. Short and to the point now? Strange, little man he was.

”Amestrians and their alchemy,” he mutters, shaking his head. All a soldier needed was a gun, not this… scientific mumbo-jumbo. A great portion of the soldiers in Briggs couldn’t measure up to himself, and the others were considerably enhanced through alchemy or… some other means.

Viktor was relieved to hear there were no more bags with the colonel. ”Good,” he replies with a smile. ”It would be a shame to see you go back and forth to lug them to your room.” He was a soldier, after all, not a lackey. Though, then again, maybe the general was rubbing off on him…

”I was not aware Briggs needed another… ‘alchemy specialist.’” He chuckles. ”The general is a one-woman army herself. If Drachma were to attack now, I am confident Tsukino and Ito would handle it by themselves.” Giving the lever a “gentle” kick, the chains roar into action again, making an almost deafening sound in the entrance as the doors slide shut. ”And who are you trying to fool? You sound like my old commanding officer. Fancy titles, like your code names, to make you feel more important. Ego is something that should never be earned nor prized. And on the battlefield, it will get you killed.”

After holstering Sasha, he looks down at Ayden. Taller than most Amestrians he runs into. And though his hair was silver, like his uncle Bogdan’s, he didn’t show any other signs of age. Intelligent, yes, conniving, maybe, but old? No. He was still a youngster in his book.

”I hope your car is suited for the North, Ayden,” he says, turning around and motioning him to follow. ”I hope the fluids do not freeze up in transit. Very annoying thing to deal with. But, in the meantime, how about a tour of the facility? Trust me, this complex is tricky, despite it being a straight line.” Nooks crannies, basement levels, alternative passages, a heavily defended underground railroad leading… somewhere…

”They say that a General Raven got lost here, long ago when he ventured off alone. His body was never seen again.” An old wives’ tale? Probably. But it contained a grain of truth within it nonetheless, something that could only truly be appreciated if one gets lost within the labyrinthian corridors. Longest trip to the bathroom EVER.


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:45 pm

Viktor muttered another unintelligible Drachman statement. Ayden cocked his head; the language sounded harsh, cold. Linguistics had been something he'd always wanted to study, and the dips and turns of most languages were far smoother than the harsh barking noises of the language his 'comrade' now spoke. Even as but a mutter, it sounded intolerant, almost... snake-like.

Hopefully out of courtesy, after the man finished briefly scanning his superior up and down - Ayden very much content with being on exhibition, as he had little to hide - Viktor spoke once more. ”Good. It would be a shame to see you go back and forth to lug them to your room.” Smart, sharp... oho. Snarky. He could most likely issue some disciplinary command due to his position, but he presumed that whilst being a good way to instil fear - as good a control mechanism as any - it wouldn't exactly line up with the presupposed regulations in place at Briggs. Here, he was the newbie.

However, he did arch an eyebrow and snap back a response. He was more than willing to carry his bags alone - he didn't expect this man to do anything other than open the gate for him and perhaps provide company. But, still, a war of the words would be one he wasn't exactly ready to submit in, yet. The Colonel's charisma was amongst his greatest tools. "You must've been mistaken, Viktor. I never expect anyone to carry my burdens but myself..." He continued by muttering a short adage in Cretan, as of yet unaware of whether the man could speak it or not. "If you want a job done properly, you do it yourself."

This very much rang true in the situation. He carried naught but weaponry and experimental supplies in that bag - should the man be the slightest bit clumsy in carrying it, considering the nature of the cargo, it would be very much possible that a live round might just discharge. Firmly, the man's grip fastened ever tighter around the strap of his modest holdall.

”I was not aware Briggs needed another… ‘alchemy specialist." Oh? ”The general is a one-woman army herself. If Drachma were to attack now, I am confident Tsukino and Ito would handle it by themselves." He knew who Tsukino was, considering his brush with her back in South; but this 'Ito' sounded interesting. If his alchemy was on a level even remotely similar to Reila's, it was definite that he would very much be an intriguing prospect and perhaps assistant in his new 'occupation'.

However, once more, a response was necessary. A grin carved itself across the man's pale face, opening up pursed lips to reveal almost pearl-white teeth. "I'm more than aware that I'm one of many alchemists dotted throughout the military. However, I've my rank and title as a State Alchemist for a reason, Mr. Stalin," Ayden's voice had gone from warm and almost friendly in a very forwards way now to an icy, cold tone, suitable and fitting perhaps for the environment the pair now found themselves in. To presume he was one of many was one thing, but to presume that he was just another addition to the masses with no differentiation... why, the sheer audacity of it all.

"Believe me, although my methods are somewhat unorthodox, my alchemy is..." Raising a hand to demonstrate - the left, considering the right's occupation with attempting to keep the bag suspended and steady - Ayden allowed the sleeve to fall down, and reveal the Necrotic Alkahestry arrays running identical up the underside of each wrist. Twirling and tattooed in a rather tribal, grotesque way, unnecessary spines and spikes added to each prong and end... the artistry was beyond perfect, it had transcended mortal skill. The unique Xingese tattoo artist he'd hired to do this was an old man who had seen much in his day... but this array caused even him to widen his eyes. This was an array not meant for useful household purposes or even military applications... it was simply fashioned to destroy. "...effective."

"And who are you trying to fool? You sound like my old commanding officer. Fancy titles, like your code names, to make you feel more important. Ego is something that should never be earned nor prized. And on the battlefield, it will get you killed.”

Stalin had his point, and very much one that the Colonel agreed with. Inclining his head slowly as he watched the entire mechanism lurch into action once more with deafening squeals and roars as the various machinery responsible for the Amestrian North's defense moved into action once more. In an instant, the doors slammed shut, and Ayden squinted, tilting his head from side to side to ensure his cochlea still functioned accurately.

After ascertaining that the racket - which had seemed far louder in the confined inside than when he'd been on the other side - hadn't done any permanent damage, he retorted. "You'd be surprised to know how far I agree with you on this point. My statement of rank was simply a matter of courtesy; some infantrymen and recruits on the lower end of the scale oft mistake me for one of their company, everything considered. I don't wear standard uniform, so..." There was the literal explanation...

...and now the opinion. "But... I know what you mean. Military hierarchy? The old and weak rule the young and strong? The absolute reverse of what it should be, in my opinion," He was hoping that his appreciation of power would appeal to this bear-like man's senses and hopefully further bolster their relationship, even if they'd perhaps gotten off on the wrong foot. "And, yes, ego is undoubtedly the fall of man time and time again," The hypocrisy was laughable, but to Ayden, Viktor still seemed like a worthwhile and enjoyable ally to have around, should the assassin be able to sway him.

"The only title I need is that which forewarns enemies of my coming and my nature," The next three words, uttered like a hex upon the air, a deathly curse that no man should bear. "The Blackskull Alchemist." A cold, plain look of seriousness on his face for but a moment, before the man burst into true, raw, uncontained laughter.

Was he psychotic or delusional? It was odd, and near-impossible to tell whether these hysterics were simply from his attempting to lower the mood, or, if the former was away from the mark completely, out of some internal sense of glee that just required expression. An odd man, to say the least.

”I hope your car is suited for the North, Ayden,” Ayden hurried along as his body's temperature slowly began to adjust to the barely-warmer interior of the fort, even now a welcome change to the harsh tundra-like conditions of the outside. Shooting a glance at Viktor, he imagined the man would be more than accustomed to it, given his homeland.

Undoubtedly, he was older than the Colonel... perhaps this was the source of his bitterness? Ayden had sniffed out an aura which maybe meant the man was wiser than he first let on. He was... odd. Whilst initially conforming to so many Drachman stereotypes - shotgun-toting, the stench of vodka lingering about him - there was something else within which the silver-haired assassin couldn't yet... fathom. Couldn't yet understand. Analysis had yet proved barely useful if at all; but the man felt he was almost on the verge of something.

"I hope the fluids do not freeze up in transit. Very annoying thing to deal with. But, in the meantime, how about a tour of the facility? Trust me, this complex is tricky, despite it being a straight line.” Ayden shook his head vigorously at the first part, before offering up a reply.

"I had some choice modifications made before I shipped the car up here. The engine has been drained, the hydraulic fluid adjusted, and the coolant for the various... aftermarket 'additions', as well as the engine, has been switched for a few tanks of the stuff that I hear you use in your Jeeps up here..." Laughter again; however, this time, less hysteric, and far more pure, and genuine. Ayden was 100% hot and cold. He'd go from extreme to extreme in seconds; he transcended seeming polar opposites in an instant. Perhaps it was solely his nature as a sociopath; and perhaps other conflicts and imbalances further within him were still waging wars inside his mind. "I don't doubt that,"

He contemplated his own wants for appearance and presence; doing a guide wouldn't do wonders for his reputation, but, however... the facility was rumoured to be one of the most complex in all of Amestris. Slowly, Ayden responded by nodding, but made a little addendum. "If you could maybe direct me to this 'Ito', then perhaps that'd be best,"

His intrigue and curiosity set awry, as the footsteps of the pair resounded through Briggs' cavernous halls, he listened intently - despite his absent-minded expression, gazing up at icicle-laden walls - to what Stalin had to say, nodding at his tale of General Raven. "So I've heard,"

His vision fell upon his would-be guide's back, and irises sharpened, pupils shrunk rapidly. Cerulean eyes twinkled in the cold artificial light. Thoughts of Nikolaus and his mysterious Xingese contact, Mr. Jin, ricocheted from each side of his mind to the other like rounds from a machine gun. General Raven... Nikolaus had informed him of this man before, and his... failures. "So I've heard..."


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:17 am

Viktor looked at Ayden’s tattoo. Curious, he thought, how willing alchemists were willing to defile their bodies for their work, to forever mark themselves as weapons. And Blackskull Alchemist… Certainly a name intended to inspire fear in the eyes of the enemy, something he couldn’t argue against. More original than some of the other names he’s heard. Silver alchemist, railgun… This Colonel seemed to have a better understanding of human psychology.

”If you could maybe direct me to this 'Ito', then perhaps that'd be best."

Viktor nods. ”After a cup of coffee,” he says, slowly rubbing his head. It was too early for this.

”The young do not always rule the old,” he says. ”War is tricky. Decades can pass without a war, so few opportunities open up. Men who serve for years fall by the wayside, forgotten heroes in the masses of recruits and NCO’s, with the young guns, who are more lucky thank skilled or experienced, reap the rewards.” His voice had a hint of bitterness in it as he remembered his years of service in service to the Motherland. ”Then again, it is the young that fight? That is their burden to carry, is it not?”

Viktor chuckles. ”Though I never complained. I always had much enjoyment running through the fields, doing crazy things. Good times, good times…” He chuckles. ”But now I fight for the downtrodden, to pay back a debt. This world has not seen the last of this Armored Bear.”

Stepping into an elevator, he looks over the floor options. ”Does Ito have coffee? Ah, fuck it.” Pressing the seventh floor, the elevator whirrs into action. ”You seem like you are right to survive. Something about you tells me that. Call it… instinct.” He taps his nose at that last part. ”But let us see if the fates shine on you. Lady Luck is a fickle mistress too us all, is she not?”

With a pleasant “ding,” the lift arrives to the seventh floor. Sliding the doors open, Viktor leads the way down the hall. ”Lieutenant Colonel Ito is third-in-command. Strange man, very unlike the leadership back in Moscow. Then again, so is Tsukino, so maybe he fits in well here. Goes into alchemy techno-nonsense. Just so you know. Assuming he’s here.”

Approaching the door, he turns and leans against the wall outside. ”This is your stop. If you still have need of my services, Colonel, I will be right here.”


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Re: Crackdown

Post by Guest on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:01 pm

”After a cup of coffee,” Ayden chuckled as his eyes scanned various passing engravings, scratchings, and rough splatterings of ordered, concise military painted designation upon Briggs' walls. It was more than likely that they were forty, perhaps fifty years old; and, yet, almost as a testament to the fort's very nature itself, they had hardly faded in the slightest.

He spoke almost dismissively, entranced with these odd philosophies and ideas. "Yes, yes, of course, Viktor..." Further going down this train of thought, Ayden walked, querying himself, locked in a philosophical limbo. What was it that truly gave Briggs its durability? Was it those tough stone walls, built many a century ago, structured to stand stalwart against an assault of any kind? Was it the fact that Briggs was viciously offensive, or so the Colonel had heard, in its defense, the one objective and priority it had been given above all else?

Or was it simply the people manning the stations and battlements of arguably one of the most powerful military structures to ever be created?

He snapped back into reality, and caught a snippet of Viktor's speech once more. The Drachman accent was heavy, and despite his fluency when it came to Amestrian, it felt slow and sluggish. He still stumbled a little bit around the odd word, and the accent was painfully obvious... but at the same time, it was almost lulling, entrancing. Tiring, in a way. ”Then again, it is the young that fight? That is their burden to carry, is it not?”

He nodded pensively in response, and let the man continue. ”Though I never complained. I always had much enjoyment running through the fields, doing crazy things. Good times, good times… but now I fight for the downtrodden, to pay back a debt. This world has not seen the last of this Armored Bear.”

Insight was good. Was this a literal debt, one of cold, hard, solid cash? Or perhaps one of a more spiritual and metaphorical meaning? Either way... Ayden's turn to speak had come again. They had lapsed back into an uneasy silence, and he had been far too lazy in voicing his responses and opinions. Nevertheless... Viktor was indeed an interesting man. "Oh, by all means, for men such as us, soldiers, there is naught to be found save for joy in battle... I just wish that a young man's intellect would be perhaps recognised as something other than a weapon from time to time," A faux sigh; it was obvious, but not overly so. Viktor was a witful man, Ayden could tell this much. Confusing the man with his multi-faceted exterior and giving him a bad first impression wouldn't lead to him exactly making a great name for himself - to start, at least - in Briggs.

He scoffed at the 'Armored Bear' quote. "What happened to fancy titles being for egotists, eh?" He had now returned fully to his wits, and concentrated properly on analysing the conversation. His tone had been light, sarcastic, playful; this was proving to be more interesting and entertaining than he had previously predicted it to be, and required a decent amount of effort to stay in the game properly. It was odd. Most doorman were nowhere near this talkative. Well... mostly because Ayden usually greeted them with the barrel of a .45 M1911, but... still...

”You seem like you are right to survive. Something about you tells me that. Call it… инстинкт. But let us see if the fates shine on you. Lady Luck is a fickle mistress too us all, is she not?” A smirk in response and a gentle nod.

He appreciated the compliment. It meant more to him than a passing smile or a fleeting gaze; this was a hard, cold, true statement from a soldier, a man who spoke generally with his gun rather than his mouth. There was not even the faintest hint of a lie there... and oh, how Ayden wished he could say the same for his utterings. A look to Viktor, the nodding becoming far more vigorous. "Indeed she is, Viktor," His cerulean eyes fell like a pendulum and his vision landed upon the floor; the grimy, simply patterned, metal-ridged ramshackle service elevator floor. "Indeed she is."

”Lieutenant Colonel Ito is third-in-command. Strange man, very unlike the leadership back in Moscow. Then again, so is Tsukino, so maybe he fits in well here. Goes into alchemy techno-nonsense. Just so you know. предполагая что он здесь.” The Drachman felt a lot more brutal and yet far more fluent and flowing. A sharp, harsh language, as he had thought before; even more so with the smell of vodka and... fish, possibly... upon the man's breath. A strange, strange language. Powerful by its very definition, booming in its sound, and yet almost perfect in its phonetically jagged twists and turns. The assassin made himself a mental note to look into night classes for it, mouthing what Viktor had said as he turned away, trying to commit it to memory - even without a response to follow.

But... third in command, even with his presence? Either that meant that the news of his arrival hadn't been made clear... or, well... Briggs' hierarchy... yes. He had been right in his presumptions as he made his way to the fortress. Pecking order here didn't depend on military rank. Military rank was worth shit. Each man was an asset, and here in Briggs, as he'd been told time and time again by harrowed 'survivors' who had transferred back to Central after a few weeks' work, the motto that all who resided up here long-term lived by was 'survival of the fittest' - and nothing else. Hell, if they could last longer than a few days in this weather, they practically deserved the mantle of a General.

”This is your stop. If you still have need of my services, Colonel, I will be right here.” Ayden shook his head quickly and vigorously, turning to face his cohort and would-be guide, raising a gloved hand and shaking it at the heavy-set Drachman.

"That's where I draw the line, Viktor," A smile... warm, friendly, and hiding beneath it sheathed daggers. "Get some coffee, and some rest," He gestured to the man's eyes; the bags beneath them weren't hidden well. "It's the least you deserve - rather than to be waiting on a Colonel's beck and call simply because of military rank. Ego, right?" He flashed a grin with mischief and perhaps the odd spot of disobedience shining through those pearl-white teeth of his. "I appreciate it, though. Thank you for leading me around this..." Looking from ceiling to wall and back again, before his eyes finally locked with those of the 'armoured bear', the grin stretched ever further across Ayden's pale pallor and he finished off the sentence. "...labyrinth of a fort. I might come to rely on your assistance in the future," With a quick wink, and a wave, Ayden laid his left, free hand on the door handle, and twisted it, pushing the door, adorned with a black plaque reading 'Arms Development', open, and slipping his tall, slender, and almost apparently gaunt frame inside.



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Re: Crackdown

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