Metaverse Deathmatch!
Phase Two

Night #6: Things Fall Apart
Part Four

From: "Chika da Chaos"
Date: Jan 24, 2001

{Place: Garage Roof}
[The Authoress looks up to the hovering Puck, blinks, and steps back quickly. She stares at him in disbelief. Then she starts jabbering, trying to make sence of the situation, switching dialects frequently.]

Java: Jay?...What're you saying? It's me, Java, y'know, the Authoress? The Magenta one - "du'polih", nev pekai'tiv maih "du'Polih", kih heih, yes, I am ei'du'Polih - your ally? I knelt by your bed all last night praying to Oosi you'd be alright! qa'Sasit de'Ma? to you! [steps forward slighty, words kinder] Jay, why didn't ya tell me you were ta, did ya think I'd be angry? Sweety, what do you take me for? A traitor? eh te'si'Jusqua?
[Translations: "du'Polih", why do you call me "du'polih", but yeah, ~ ta - virus, ~ "eh te'si'Jusqua?" Or your sweetheart (roughly)]

{Place: Above the Stadium}
[Aarys watches questioningly above the stadium at the two. She turns back, figuring Java could get her out of any serious problem, and sends an open psy message aimed towards Voodoo's room.] *The silver virus, he's not attacking you anymore, you might want to open up.* The she Disapparates.

{Place: Arena}
[No intro music, no nothing. Just a sudden flash of light for theatrics and a certain becostumed Sphinx enters the Arena.]

Sphinx: So this is the Arena?...[She looks down, not even touching the canvas, and looks back.] Seems like no one's exactly fighting, neh? Maybe I should challange someone! Yet Elogin is out, and Miss Zaria...well, I haven't even met her! And there is already a fight planned.... [She turns slightly to look at the ramp.] Now that it seems to be relatively quiet, mayhap the lady Chaos might accompany me in waiting for her opponent? Or someone might take me up on that challange? What do you think?

From: "The Queen Bitch of the Metaverse"
Date: Jan 25, 2001

[Aarays taps her foot lightly, a rather board look upon her face, much like Java she is looking in the wrong direction.]


[She spins around and upon her eyes readjusting to the new image, stands Bios clad in her Team Voodoo armor. Rather short and exposing it wouldn't be conisderd armor if it weren't for the matrial it was made out of.]

Bios: Ya looking for a good time ah?

[*Snikt*, her left blade extends and she raises it up to eye level.]

Bios: I'm more then willing to play. But what are we playing for? Voodoo fights for his reaons, Jay for pride, Java to prove herself, and Sai... well.. we aren't to sure why she is here. But she always provides more then enough entertainment when she comes around. So...what's we playing for?

From: "Puck"
Date: Jan 24, 2001

{Place - Rooftop}
[Puck listens to Java's rambling with an amused expression as he hovers a bit closer. His red-on-black eyes glow a bit -- not a very pleasant sight.]

Puck: [in Standard] You seem to be under the impression that I care for you, na'Polih. But, see, you are simply an insignificant little polymorph.

[He tilts his head as he looks at her. She shies back, as she can feel his powers washing over her as he scans her.]

Puck: [with a derisive laugh] Furthermore, your code is completely ra'Satku. Now why would I care about a polymorph with FAQ'd up code?
[Translation: ra'Satku = F.U.B.A.R.]

[He reaches out his hand.]

Puck: Howza `bout I fix that problem for ya? And no polymorph should be walking around as a du'Polih.

From: "Java Beansie"
Date: Jan 25, 2001

{Place: Rooftop}
[Java steps back again, staring at Pucks hand, then at him, and clutches her icon protectively.] Well, Y'know, I...I do appreciate your offer, I really do, but I do like Magenta ya know and I really figure that nonea your colors would be magenta and then I'd have to change, neh? And, oh Oosi knows I'd like not to always have that sword'a Damoclesie and all, but..well....

[She stalls, stepping back again, but hits the bars and when she looks behind her, down to the ground far away...She jumps back away from the edge, much closer than to the viral Author than she would probably like. Suddenly she remembers:] Voodoo and Seraphie! They're in the GR and Jay'll attack it and that's really bad...But if we were here, he'd remember sooner or later...Mebbe Seraphie'll be able to do something to help him, turn him back to Jay...if he ever was Jay...maybe Voodoo could change me back if anything happens...mebbe....

[She turns around carefully, shyly, her hand less firmly clasped to her Icon, right next to Puck. ]

Java: Well...Y'know, this certainly isn't the place for anything like a risav ta'polih, really...if you don't mind...mebbe your lair or whatnot, ta'hallih?
[Tranlation (ta'Oosi: risav ta'polih - ritual-type thingie, ta'hallih - Sir, Lord]

From: "Puck"
Date: Jan 25, 2001

{Place - Edge of Stadium Wall}
[Puck smiles at Java.]

Puck: Excellent. It's been too long since I've had a na'Polih. Come along, then.

[He swoops forward and takes her by the wrist. He smiles again, unsettlingly.]

Puck: Ya might find this a tad unpleasant.

[And he disapparates.]

{Place - Unknown - Puck's Lair}
[Puck reapparates in his lair, still clutching Java by the wrist. His lair is dominated by more of that technorganic look -- the same look that makes up the "waypoints" that the Rogues have been using. All the technorganics here, however, glow blue or silver, not green, like the "waypoints."

[Various vidwindows -- all in the blue/silver motif -- hover about. A large throne, again, technorganic, is set in the wall. Puck grasps Java's wrist and throws her to the floor half-gently. He strides past her and goes to sit on his throne.]

Puck: Now, to see about making you a na'Polih instead of a du'Polih.

[He beckons to her with a finger.]

{Place - Jay's Mental Plane}
[Minke finds herself on the far edge of the mysterious "courtyard", which is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. The shimmering multi-colored clouds of his raw knowledge make up the sky over head. To Minke's right, halfway across the courtyard is a long spiral staircase that leads into the darkness below -- Jay's conscious.

[Still on the far end of the courtyard, hanging between two stone pillars, is Jay's personality. He looks incredibly weak, and energy spears and swords continually pierce through him and impale him. A shimmering silvery field encapsulates him and the pillars and blades.]

From: "Java"
Date: Jan 26, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[After sorta-sprawling out on the floor for a few moments, the little 'ress scrambles up, sitting on her heels and looking around attentively at the walls, the ground, the anything...both intruiged by the tech and trying to see any fighting advantages whatsoever. Few, and anything like that would only be a desperation attack.]

Back to plan A again, I guess.

[Then Puck summons her. Carefully she creeps forward to kneel next to his throne, hoping that she was helping Minke in her own efforts. She sighs and flicks the clasp of hr necklace open, letting the chain and icon pool nto her hand. She holds it up by the chain to him.] I guess ya wanna change something, my scarf, my code...[almost a whiper]....don't let me be deleted though...

From: "Puck"
Date: Jan 31, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[Puck smiles evilly as Java holds out her icon. Without rising from his throne, he gestures with a hand. Her icon is plucked from her fingers and sails through the air to Puck's hand. He shifts his grip so he holds it in his fingers, and then his red-on-black viral eyes glow a bit. The red turns blue as he focuses his powers on the icon.]

Puck: First, we'll fix that little no-Master problem.

[As Puck slowly alters bits and pieces of Java's code to make her subservient to him, the resultant code-changes cause at first minor discomfort to the polymorph, but the pain increases.

[Then, as her "renegade" code is altered, her magenta color scheme starts to change as well -- slowly darkening to blue.]

Puck: Now, let's fix those discrepancies in your code, my dear.

[The pain starts to intensify now.]

{Place - Jay's Mental Plane}
[Minke slowly moves across the mental courtyard toward the imprisoned personality of Jay, whose pain can be felt by those on this plane even without psionic powers. As she nears, she can hear Jay groaning in pain as the psychic blades pierce his body and pass through him bloodlessly.

[Suddenly, the blades pause for a moment, and the misty landscape around them swirls a bit as attention is diverted elsewhere. But now Minke can sense the pain of another -- and this person's psychic presence is more familiar to the CReaTuRe.

[It's Java.]

{Place - Jay's Greenroom}
[DaVinci leans over the desk, looking incredibly flustered. Justice, Bruno, and Lean (who stands with Tri) all look at him. So does everyone else in the Greenroom for that matter.]

DaVinci: This is insane. We've got a renegade virus running around blowing stuff up and apparently trying to eradicate every Author in-System -- and that virus is apparently Jay. We've got Tomasi and his buddies running amok -- or at least him and Ünres -- stealing technology and terrorizing people. We've got a crashed ship with Voodoo's tech on it. And now we've got Tri's mother duking it out with the Queen Bitch of the `Verse!

[He looks up at Justice and the others.]

DaVinci: Any suggestions as to how to deal with this?

[No answer.]

DaVinci: I'm actually asking you!

Lean: One thing at a time. Call the System PO and tell them to get the System Blues out there and guard the Raider. They can handle things until Voodoo's team can salvage it or whatever.

Justice: Start up a VirusCheck and set it to look for any viruses with power levels higher than anyone else's.

DaVinci: Okay, what about Tomasi and Ünres?

Justice: They're no threat right now, not compared to a renegade virus like Jay.

Lean: As for Aarys and Bios, why not call in another high-powered virus?

DaVinci: Like who? Jay didn't write that many viruses -- just you, Ünres, and Elogin. You are, quite frankly, no match for both Aarys and Bios. Ünres has gone rogue, and isn't likely to obey anything I say. And Elogin's still recovering from that nasty shock that Earia gave her.

Justice: And the Vector Virii are weaklings. [pause] What about the pre-Purge virii Jay wrote?

DaVinci: Since their fic hasn't been finished, they're stuck in some kind of limbo. Only Jay can get them out. Though getting someone like the Prince of Cats might get Aarys calmed down, but I dunno about Bios.

Lean: But as you said, we can't get Tybalt, because he's in "limbo." [to Tri] You have any ideas?

From: "Java/Aarys/Tri"
Date: Feb 1, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Java is down on the floor, kneeling, bet forward with her hands on the gound. Her face is white, the blue scarf drawing any color away. She grasps the floor, trying not to make a sound.]

Hamana Oosi, ai'tiv erigem. Naih mirva'tiv maih.. Hamana Oosi...

[Vaguely, outside her praying, she does try one thing- to hide one thread of her code, her Authoric code. Other than that, she does nohing. A smal, high moan escapes her, but she cuts it off.]

Hamana Oosi, ai'tiv erigem...Seraphie, bring Jay back...Naih mirva'tiv hell, hell Minke...

{Place: Arena}
[Aarys looks Bios up and down calmly, examining her.]

Aarys: A reason. Do we really need a reason to fight? But if you wish...

[She smiles widely, turning to the Sphinx. Bios tenses to fight.]

Sphinx: How about revenge?

[She soars up and throws a TK blast at Bios, who dodges the attack but stays down on the ring. The Sphinx rolles her eyes but floats downward. Bios suddenly jumps up at her and stabsa at her, only barely missing. Sphinx kicks her down, andsd she lands on her feet, readying herself again.]

Bios: And why's that?

Sphinx: Your war contracts.

[She swoops down at Bios and fireballs her. Unfortunatly (someone didn't exactly study the matches) Bios absorbs the energy and fires it right back. It catches the Sphinx's shield on the side and makes her fall down, nearly on the mat. Bios walks towards her as she recovers.]

Bios: And why's that?

Sphinx:[snarling] Your meddling with their military helped Codex fall, neve ta'shav!

[She touches ground and slashes her claws at Bios, but they only hit the armor and leave no mark. Se tries to retreat, but gets slashed by the tip of Bios' own claws on her shoulder, far too close for comfort. She backs away and circles carefully.]

{Place: Jay's Green Room.}
[Tri pauses for a short moment, sorting things out in her mind, then speaks like the Author she is.]

Tri: For Jay, if he's not around, good, use the time to figure out a plan. Sai should be safe, and she's got Zar about anyway. Voodoo can certainly fend for himself. And Java should be safe...from Jay anyway, even if he's gone utterly insane. And for Meme and the Bitchling...well, me and Lean did a good job once...

From: "Garg-Voodoo"
Date: Feb 1, 2001

[Place: Voodoo's Chambers]
[Voodoo, having been forbiden by his own characters to sleep, Hangs open eyed from his bar. But within those eyes, behind those dimmly going green eyes, his psionic powers run through the minds of the Stadium go'ers as he searches for the lost psionic wave that Java gives off.]

[He wouldn't care so much about it being missed, but the fact that is just vanished concerns him for he knows of Polymophic nature and Puck is truly powerful. There is a quick spike in energy before it is quickly controled and contained.]

[He blinks a few times as he trys to pin point the location but fails. He thinks to himself for a moment or two before he lets go and returns to a standing position. He looks at Minke who is still busy trying to get inside Jay's mind and he vanishes.]

[Place: Jay's Green Room]
[Tri had just finished when she feels an overwhelming presence, and before their eyes, is Voodoo.]

Tri: Don't know how to knock?

Voodoo: Would you have let me in?

[There is a slight pause from the others in the room as they adjust to his presence, But that is soon followed with energy crackling, and guns being cocked and aimed.]

Voodoo: Relax guys and gals I ain't here to fight. I here because we got a problem.

Lean: Yeah, we got a gargoyle in our green room.

Voodoo: Besides that, we have an Auhtor that has gone insane with some sort of viral infection. And to top it off.. he's got Java.

Tri: And just how would you know that?

Voodoo: My minded is tightly turned to the Psionics of powerful telepaths and Authors. Jay's isn't in control so I can't see him, but I can sense this beings powers when he uses them. Java cried in pain when this power was used, and from what still lingers in my mind from scanning her mind her very code has been touched.

Tri: Your not saying..

Voodoo: Yes...ether she choose to do it or he captured her I don't know.. but I can't help any of them without your help.. [He turns to DaVinci] .. My team has the skill, but they need the help of yours and the others. If we want to save a life.. we might have to destroy one. I ask for us to be allies.. nutral for how ever long it takes to complete this task. But we need to keep the public from knowing so we go on with the MDM matchs as they come. So..what da'ya say?

From: "Puck/Team/Rogues"
Date: Feb 2, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[Puck smiles as he puts more and more of Java's code in an alignment he finds suitable. Finally, he pauses and scans along her code, then nods in satisfaction.]

Puck: There we are. As nice as it would be to steal your Authoric abilities, I find it much more amusing to have an Authoress in thrall to me.

[He changes his grip on her icon -- which is now the sinister blue/silver combination that is Puck's trademark, rather than the regular black/white -- and tosses it to the floor in front of her.]

Puck: Now then, summon that ... 'Twinsie' of yours. I want her to see who her new Master is.

[Java picks up her icon in worry and fear.] What is he doing? Polih icons no s'posed to change! How much did he do...

Java: Ja-Master...Tri? I can't contact her like this, twins are separate..and she wouldn't bow down to you, please...leave her out of it?

{Place - Jay's Greenroom}
[DaVinci thinks over Voodoo's proposal, then nods.]

DaVinci: You're right. If word gets out that a virus somehow took over Jay's body and powers, we could have a real panic. [to Bruno] Get your men searching the Stadium as unobtrusively as possible. See if you can't find Jay, Tomasi, or Ünres. Those two are wild cards, and that's just something we don't need right now.

[Bruno nods, and leaves the GR, giving Voodoo a very wide berth.]

DaVinci: Okay, with the resources and experience our Team has, and the technology your Team has -- plus the added abilities of Java's Team -- we might stand a chance of at least finding a way to contain the viral Jay. Call up Sai, if you can, and tell her we might need her help as well.

[He glances at a door off to the side, leading to Team Winger's detention area.]

DaVinci: If she's got a character who can corral Nails and Renei like that, then we could use the help.

Lean: In the meantime, it seems to me that only those with special powers -- like viruses and psionics -- should get involved in a fight with the viral Jay. Unfortunately, the only viruses our Team has that are up for fighting are myself and Ünres. Elogin's still all burned and stuff.

Justice: And Archer's in a similar state, since the stupid bitch linked herself with her.

DaVinci: Right. So, going with viruses we can trust, somewhat, the only ones available are you, Lean, and you, Tri, Aarys, maybe Bios, and Zaria. Add to that you, Voodoo, and Minke, then we could take the viral Jay down a peg.

Voodoo: Good idea, except for the fact that Minke is unavailable, since she's attempting to free Jay from some sort of mental imprisonment. She can't directly get involved.

Justice: Damn. That cuts our capabilities down some.

DaVinci: Whatever. Voodoo, your tech's got a better chance of locating the viral Jay and Java. We know they're still somewhere in-System, since Jay's programs on this computer [he indicates the one on the desk] would've notified us if anyone left.

Hyena: In the meantime, us hackers will get to work seeing if we can't hack into Jay's private dBases and see what he's got hidden in those masked sectors he has here.

{Place - Rogues' Place}
[Tomasi and Ünres tinker with the weaponry they stole from Voodoo's old greenroom. Or rather, Tomasi does, while Ünres is at work with something else.]

Tomasi: Almost done there, `Res?

Ünres: Almost, Tom'.

[The Class-12 holds up a two-handed cannon of some sort. The tech-virus grins.]

Ünres: I think this thing might be able to decrypt the parts of the Hybrid ship which the Sphinx encrypted. And then we can steal the rest of that technology.

Tomasi: Sounds like a plan. [lifts rifle] I think I've got this thing primed and re-fitted. Should be less of a recoil now, and less power drain.

[Tomasi holsters his twin handcannons on his back as he leans the plasma rifle against his shoulder. Ünres slips the framework of his decryptor over his broad shoulders and trudges after the sprite toward the waypoint station that will take them back toward the vicinity of the Raider.]

From: "Garg-Voodoo"
Date: Feb 2, 2001

[Place: Jay's Green Room.]
[Voodoo shifts his weight to both of his talon feet, having finaly the room to do so. The teams are ready to face this threat but they don't know what they are truly facing so the Garg Author decides to fill them in just a bit.]

Voodoo: I should warn you that this version of Jay is very powerful. The total might of both me and Minke only seemed to keep him in check, we could hardly even damage him.

DaVinci: So in others words..

Voodoo: Containing him within these walls would be a mistake and could even get you all killed.

Lean: Then what do we do? Kill him? Not good for any of us if we do.

Voodoo: Not kill, imprison.

DaVinci: You just said keeping him here wouldn't work.

Voodoo: No, I said, or rather implyed, that butting him here wouldn't hold him. So we need to put him somewhere where his powers would be in check.

Justice: And you have such a place?

[Voodoo grins beneath his blaken mask.]

Voodoo: I got everything.

Lean: Care to explain or high and mighty Author?

Voodoo: E.V.A.'s holo-platform.

[There is a moment of silence as the group tries to understand the Black Clad Author.]

DaVinci: I've met E.V.A., a truly powerful computer but how can a holo grid conatain something like that?

Voodoo: E.V.A's platform uses photon energy, but by switching the photonic energy with a containment feild then putting a highly modified dampaning field inside the containment feild we could keep his powers in check.

Tri: What would keep hom from asorbing the energy from the containment field?

Voodoo: Having the feild remodulate its harmonics and transfer his kinetic energy from say him hitting it, to powering it would keep him from both punching through the field or even asorbing it.

DaVinci: Clever... And how do we go about this?

Voodoo: You get him to my room and i'll worry about it, till then I'll send Jeff and Jenny along with Dax to bring whats left of the Raider back to the docking port on the far side of the stadium, since Jenny is back to full health I'm sure she wouldn't mind takening on Tomasi and the others.

DaVinci: I have Bruno on that.

Voodoo: Could always use a little help, i'll tell them to behave.. so..any further thoughts?

Tri: Yeah, Voodoo. [points to the vidwindow] Stop the fight, alright?

From: "Puck/Team"
Date: Tue Feb 6 11:42:30 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[Puck leans back in his throne, gazing at Java.]

Puck: [in se'Macik] Aine... te'nase'mazin da'Oana.
[Translation: Now... you must speak the Oath.]

[Java looks up at him fearfully, hesitant, but Puck's eyes -- which have gone back to red-on-black after being blue-on-black while he was altering her code -- flash. Pain sears through her, causing her to cry out in pain.]

Puck: de'Mazii! [pause, then prompts:] ie'nasu'liande me'Napaan...
[Translation: Speak it! ... I will obey my Master...]

[Hesitantly, Java begins to repeat it. Puck goes on to finish the Oath for her, then waits for her to repeat it back to him.]

Puck: ie'nasu'sestanit lealc-a me'Napaan, e ie'nasim'masnak me'Nesz anne traisen-nam.
[Translation: I will remain loyal to my Master, and I would kill myself before betraying him.]

[Puck waits for Java to repeat this back to him.]

{Place - The Raider Crash Site}
[A moderate distance away, Tomasi and Ünres emerge from a waypoint and take the elevator back up to ground level, then start trudging over the rubble-strewn ground toward the Hybrid ship.

[Tomasi stops in front of a piece of the ship which had fallen loose, then examines it. He nods.]

Tomasi: It's encrypted. Give your little gadget a try, then, `Res.

[Ünres grins and hefts up the unwieldy device. He grabs it with both hands and aims it at the piece of debris while Tomasi steps aside. The virus activates it, then sweeps a blue beam over the encrypted piece. After a moment, the loud device shuts off with a whine and Tomasi steps in to look at the debris.]

Tomasi: Hmm. Only about 40% decrypted. S'not much... but it'll do for now. Let's grab all we can and take it back to the Hole.

Ünres: Right.

[They trudge into the ship, leaving the useless piece of junk outside.]

From: "Liturgy/Java"
Date: Feb 6, 2001

{Place: Raider Crash site}
[Unfortunatly...the place is sorta already occupied. Again.]

[The cockpit is sparkling clean, but wrecked still. Creatively. New bits and pieces smashed, the window blacked out, and the canvas of the harness redone into a hammock-chair. It's a small place, but for the occupant, it'll do.]

[Liturgy lies from the hammock, having entered after Bios cleared the memory banks, and sings. Fairly.]

Liturgy: For she is fair, my lady fair, with eyes so bright and hands of care. She, she my bride shall be, and we will live forever... (Greensleeves)

[Then he hears the two Rogues enter, panics, thinking the Hybrids are about, and dives into one of the lockers next to him, igniting a fireball just in case...]

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Java begins to repeat Puck again, slowly, obviously not wanting to or not expecting to have, thinking if Jay was so untraditional that he would have just scrapped the Oath and did whatever. This binds her almost irrevokably.]

Java:'nasu'sestanit lealc-a me'Napaan, e ie'nasim-

[She falters, but shakingly touches her side - the ta'Oosi dagger appears- and unsheathes it, layng it down in front of her.]

Java: ie'nasim'masnak me'Nesz anne traisen-nam.

[She looks up, trying to read anything in his face.]

Jay, Jay, why are you doing this? Why are you hurting me? Am I nothing more to you now than a little na'Polih? Why?

From: "The Hybrids"
Date: Feb 6, 2001

[Dax, Jeff and a fully ready Jenny look over the nacell that had snapped off in the landing and watch as the two enter their ship.]

Jeff: Well, I'll give them one thing, they are persistent.

Jenny: Which is often not good.

Dax: For some of the most highest paid silent killers in Metaversian history you sure talk alot you know that?

Jeff: This coming from the girl that spends her free time slaying sub-viri for creds?

Dax: You both installed a very unhealthy tone of destruction in me at an early age.

Jenny: Huh.. whadda ya know, for once the parents are to blame.

Dax: Wouldn't give it up for the world though.

Jeff: I though as much.

[Place: Raider Cockpit.]
[Unres slams his hands on the console, but it's unclear rather he is made that his device didn't give them full access or the fact that he can't find anything.]

Unres: They wiped the core.

Tomasi: There is nothing?

Unres: Nothing really useful.. some expense files.. a few pictures.. a few contract kill forms.. Did you know they were the ones that killed Senator Malacom Henns?

Tomasi: The Half-breeds killed a Crossie politcal big shot? Maybies they's got's come good points to them.

[The front glass of the cockpit breaks open and a gun points through.]

Jeff: Avon calling!

[Fully automatic fires throws the two onto the ground of the cockpit as they cwal to freedom through the door. The two manage to get out as it closed and took a deep breath before an...]

Tomasi: Ah shit.

Jenny: Hello boys...looking for a good time? [Jenny relased the slider of her gun and it cocked as she checked her aim.]

From: "Puck/Rogues"
Date: Feb 6, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[The virus-Author smiles as he finishes the last few lines of the Oath, then listens to Java repeat them. ((OOC - dinna feel like making up new se'Macik words. ;P )) Then he sits back in his throne, a pleased look on his face.]

Puck: Now, then. I want you to go find your Twinsie -- this Cyanopia girl -- and bring her back here. I shall find it very amusing to have an Authoress and her counterpart virus under my control.

[He makes a 'shooing' gesture, then adds,]

Puck: And make no mention of your new loyalties, me'ha'Puppe. Find rational explanations for any discrepancies, but bring Cyanopia back here.

[He produces a leather sack seemingly from nowhere, then pulls a blue-and-silver marble from it. He tosses this to her.]

Puck: That will get you back here. Make any mention of myself, and you will suffer a great deal of pain. Now, go.

{Place - The Raider}
[Tomasi and Ünres start to slowly get up as Jenny points her gun at them. The sprite sneers, as does his virus comrade.]

Tomasi: You know, as much as I've earned some respect for you half-breeds, you are really, really starting to piss me off.

Ünres: Indeed.

Tomasi: In fact, soon as I finish pillaging this ship, I think I'll burn it, just for spite. Then I'll go blow up a few buildings in Scifera, just to piss you guys off. [pause] But I'll pillage the buildings first. Always pillage before you burn.

Ünres: Indeed.

Jenny: You talk big for someone who's in really deep shit with his Author.

Tomasi: Our Author's out of his mind, bitch. I don't think he cares what we do right now. `Sides, we've got big friends who'll help us out.

Jenny: [skeptic] Right.

Tomasi: Serious. Or rather, we've got one big friend.

[Back inside the ship, Liturgy is ferreted out by Jeff and winds up alongside the two Rogues, then held in check by Jenny. She glances at him, then back at Tomasi.]

Tomasi: Nah, that's not him. Like I said, we've got one big friend.

[There's a small explosion behind Jenny, and an in-System portal opens. A massive eight-foot figure steps out. Its body is mostly metal, and a skeletal 'smile' dominates the chrome face. Tomasi and Ünres smile.]

Tomasi: There he is now.

Ünres: [grinning] Indeed.

Chrome: Am I fashionably late?

From: "Liturgy/Tri/Java"
Date: Feb 7, 2001

{Ploace: Outside Raidder, on the ground.}
[Liturgy pauses a moment and tries to absorb what's going on, what with the hybrids and now an eight-foot-tall mech. And he responses as a Chaos would when Jenny turns her head a fraction of a moment.]

[Namely, he zips up above the people, raises a shield, lights a fireball, and promptly begins ranting.]

Liturgy: What do you people think you're doing?! [This gets everyone's attention.] Look, I'm not trying to do anything! I'm just squatting for a bit, Aarys's powers were on this so I get rights for at least until the owners salvage it! Not stealing -- And now I get ambushed by a buncha idiots and the bloody Hybrids! I ought to just turn you all into...into...


Liturgy: [to Jenny, blinking] You're very pretty. [He coughs and sweatdrops before flying a bit lower.] No, no, I'm forever vowed to the One Lady of the Legacy, Tri-chan...But, I have no problems with beauty, you know... [smiles sweetly] Can I get rid of these guys for ya? [The fireball splits in three.]

{Place: Arena Hallway}
[Tri closes the door of Jay's Gr and looks to Midi questioningly.]

Tri: You're telling me you found something?

[Midi wotsit-speaks an affirmative and turns.]

Tri: [stops] Hold it. What is it?

[Midi shows a terminal.]

Tri: Is it Jay's?

[Midi wotsit-speaks a "dunno" and zips down the corridor. Tri looks confused but flies after her a while.]

Tri: Where?

[Midi finally stops at a door and bounces into it.]


[Tri sighs and opens it. It's a terminal room.]

Tri: Jesu...Mid', which one?

[Midi shrugs, but motions to another door. Tri suddenly hears a very low moan.]

Tri: Hello?

Java: ...Tri?

[Tri starts and runs over, slamming the door open and rushing in-]

[-to dissapear into the portal, her twin following.]

From: "Puck/Rogues/Grizzly"
Date: Feb 7, 2001

{Place - The Raider}
[Tomasi, Ünres, and Chrome all glance at Liturgy as he rants, then at each other. The two more organic of the three start laughing.]

Tomasi: You, the Intended of Cyanopia? Oh, that's rich!

Ünres: [laughing] Indeed.

Tomasi: You don't have a FAQ'n clue, do ya?

[Lit, surprised that he's not striking fear into the hearts of the three Rogues, blinks puzzledly.]

Tomasi: Lemme spell it out for ya - your little doll Tri is sweet with our former virus partner, Lean Il Lupe. I think the feelings mutual.

Ünres: [grinning] Indeed.

Chrome: Shall I defrag his jaw?

Tomasi: Sure, why the FAQ not?

[Chrome raises his hand toward Liturgy, the small porthole on the palm opening and starting to glow. A ball of energy forms, and the air crackles dangerously.

[An energy pulse shoots through the air and knocks Chrome's hand aside, so the ball goes past Lit with a wide berth. All eyes turn to the side, where none other than Nathan Justice stands with smokin' pistol in hand. Beside him, Dirk Manning aims his machine gun, Sil al'Nasen has sword out and disc ready, and Lt. Burke has Cron raised.]

Justice: Bad Smiley. Naughty.

[Like always, he's not smiling as he says this. Dirk, Sil, and Burke fan out to cover the three Rogues, and Burke glances upwards at Liturgy, hovering overhead.]

Burke: [to Jenny] Whose side is he on?

Jenny: His own, I think.

Burke: ...

Jenny: I don't think he means any harm.

Dirk: Anybody'd say that with as many guns as we've collectively got around.

[With the current distraction, Tomasi has drawn his handcannons from his hip holsters and has one aimed at Jeff and the other at Justice. Ünres holds the decryptor up, and with his technical skill, it's entirely possible he's rewired it. Chrome has both hands raised, but with the amount of tech he's got on him, that means nothing.]

Justice: [with a brief nod to Jeff] All right, boyos, you've got two things going for you. Jack, and shit.

Dirk: An' Jack just left town.

[Weapons cock.]

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[The portal deposits Java and (a surprised) Tri on the floor in the lair of the Virus-Author. Puck leans forward on his throne with a smile.]

Puck: Ah, the 'Twinsie.' Welcome, Miss Cyanopia. Forgive me if I seem awfully direct, but you've got no chance of leaving here without my authorization.

[Puck beckons with a finger at Java, and points at the foot of his throne. It's quite obvious that he wants her to sit there.]

Puck: So I finally have a Legacy virus to put under my thrall. How delicious.

From: "The Hybrids and the Grizzly"
Date: Feb 8, 2001

[The group of hybrids and bounty hunters stand side by side ready for combat, after all, thats what Soilders of Fortune do right?]

Jeff: As the Hunters code goes by joining sides for just a short time that we have a non aggresstion pact and therefore at the end of this mission things go back to normal.

Justice: Yeah yeah, I don't kill you and you don't kill me I know the drill.

Jeff: After you then.

[Nathan runs forward to engage with Unres as Tomasi fires towards Jeff and Jenny, the group splits up and fire fills the air.]

[Dax pops up from her spot ontop of the Raider and raises her right arm taking aim she lowers her arm and with a silent hiss of compressed air a thin stran of wire attached to a weight shoots out towards Chrome and wraps around his legs]

Dax: Gotcha!

[She pulls the rope tight and but his mass is greater then her calculations had thought and she is unable to pull him down. He turns his head to look at the young hybrid and grins as he kicks his leg forward, sending the young hybrid into the air.]

Dax: Whoa!!! Heads up, Incoming!

[Dirk looks up from his spot where he was giving cover fire. Laying his gun down he stands and runs backwards and WHAM! Right into his arms is Dax, in new perfect condition. She grins at him and wraps her arms around his neck]

Dax: My hero! [She says with a light tone in her voice and kisses him gently on the cheek before laughing]

Dirk: Oh! Let go!

[She slides out of his arms and pulls her side arm and runs into battle again.]

Tomasi: I'm gonna get ya you frek'in User.

Jeff: I ain't a User! [He backflips out of the way of Tomasi's shot and fire's off a quick round, knocking Tomasis foot off center and the sprite falls.]

[Jenny seems to come from nowhere and lands on Tomasis chest knocking the wind out of him and quickluy pulling her bowie knife from her back places it on his throat.]

[Over yawnder Nathan and his team along with Dax are taking on Unres and Chrome]

From: "Liturgy/Tri/Java"
Date: Feb 8, 2001

{Place: Raider Crash}
[Liturgy watches the rest of the confrontation in the air, puzzled-looking. He finally turns and looks to fly towards the Stadium, then stops. He turns back towards the standoff. Then he concentrates quickly.

[A golden ring appears around where Chrome is standing. It bursts into flames for a few moments. He shrieks, and the others look up.]

Liturgy: I don't know who's been talking to you people, but whomever "Lean" is, he's about to be kicked out of the picture. Immediately!

[He nods in affirmation, and flies off, leaving the Rogues to their fate.]

{Place: Jay's Green Room entrance.}
[Knock knock!]

Liturgy: [furious, to the door] Alright! Who's Lean and Where's Tri?!

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Tri manages to stand, staring at Jay in a mix of shock and fury. Java looks up at her, winces, and tries to scurry over to her place but Tri holds her where she is, taking her and her appearance in. Finally she let's go, and the poly kneels down next to Puck.]

Tri: What the hell did you do to her?

Puck: I relieved her of her status as a du'Polih, simply.

Tri: So what are you going to try to relieve me of? Free Will? Life? Or perhaps the Legacy? [Her eyes glint dangerously. Her claws flick out and her fangs are more visible.] You even touch me and you'll live to regret it. Now bring me and Java back to the stadium. Now.

From: "Puck/Rogues/Team"
Date: Feb 8, 2001

{Place - Jay's Greenroom}
[DaVinci looks at Liturgy a tad surprised, then glances at Lean (who is wearing his Andrew Ginole appearance). Lean looks back at DaVinci and shrugs. Hyena, seated with the rest of the hackers by the desk, looks up.]

Hyena: Ah, that would be a Chaos Virus, D. One of Java's, evidently.

DaVinci: Thanks for the info, Hy.

Hyena: No problem!

[DaVinci turns to Lit, then looks at Lean. Lean steps over and folds his arms as he looks at Lit.]

DaVinci: Well, stranger, Tri left a little while ago. That wotsit of Java's -- Midi -- came by with some errand for her to run. She's left.

Lean: As for the other half of your question, I would be Lean Il Lupe.

[At which point Lean shifts into his viral form, with plate armor, gauntlets, and glowing blue-gray eyes.]

Lean: Something wrong?

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[The Virus-Author laughs a bit at Tri's show.]

Puck: You honestly think I am threatened by your meager show of force? Allow me to remind you of something.

[He gestures briefly, and a ghostly form materializes for a few moments. The form is male, a virus by its look, with yellow cat-like eyes, and a cat-like shape to the mouth. It is muscular, wearing a sleeveless top, and an ornate dagger adorns its belt.

[Tri stares at the ghostly form of Tybalt, her great-half-uncle, until it fades. Puck smiles a bit.]

Puck: You are not only dealing with a supremely powerful virus, but an Author as well. You do not count, exactly, since I hold sway over half of your 'Twinsie's' Authoric powers.

[Puck leans forward in his chair, eyes glowing.]

Puck: As for what I plan to do to you, I'm not going to strip you of anything. Certainly not your Free Will, since that would make you little more than a drone, and I can make as many of those as I want.

[He gestures at the technorganics that make up his Lair. In the shadows, glimpses of movement are noticed, but nothing ventures into the light. These things in the shadows, however, are clearly Puck's "drones."]

Puck: I certainly don't wish to rob you of Life, since that would be far counterproductive... not to mention bad for the disposition of me'Polih.

[He pats Java's scarf at this.]

Puck: And, no, stripping you of your Legacy is the farthest thing from my mind. No, you see, I'm going to make you mine, just as I did your Twinsie here, and then I'll have my own little ta'Oosi in thrall to me.

[He smiles evilly.]

{Place - The Raider}
[Chrome is screaming and flailing about in the ring of fire that Liturgy set off around him before leaving. Tomasi is pinned underneath Jenny, who has a huge knife at his throat. Dirk is setting Dax down and reclaiming his gun. Justice is circling Ünres warily while Jeff stands slightly opposite him. Not directly opposite -- since if they were to fire, they'd run the risk of shooting one another. The big red tech-virus eyes them a bit.]

Justice: I sometimes question Jay's reasoning for keeping you around for Deathmatch!

Ünres: [raising an eyeridge] Indeed?

[While the two mercenaries/soldiers-for-hire circle the virus, Sil has joined Jenny over Tomasi. She flashes the sprite a vulpine grin.]

Sil: Looks like we bagged ourselves a badass.

Jenny: 'We'?

[Sil glances up, then shrugs. She looks back at Tomasi and raises her disc up, ready to crash it into his head. That's when the sprite moves. He swings his knees up and into Jenny's rear end, knocking her off-balance and into Sil. The knife moves away from his throat, though not without leaving a sizable cut. Not too deep and life-threatening, but nasty-looking anyway.

[Tomasi gags a bit and chokes as he puts a hand to his throat. He swings to his feet and picks up one of his handcannons, pointing it at the two females.]

Tomasi: [rasped] Eat buckshot!

Burke: [short distance away] Cron, flashbang!

Tomasi: [turning] Huh?

[He turns full-face into a flash of white-bright energy from the Guardian's keytool. He screams and topples back, dropping his gun again. Jenny and Sil are quick to follow, weapons at the ready.

[Burke smiles and feels a bit triumphant, then acks! as a hot metal hand closes around the crown of his head. He flails a bit as he's lifted off the ground and turned to face the (slightly charred) visage of Chrome. The cyborg's thick oily ropes of black 'hair' are smoking and mostly burned away.]

Chrome: I don't die that easily, but in case you're wondering, that hurt like hell!

[Cue the rescue effort of Dax and Dirk. The latter whistles through his teeth to attract his attention, then calls:]

Dirk: Hey, Smiley! Don't turn around!

[Chrome obligingly turns his head to look at them, just in time to get staggered a bit by a tandem blast from Dirk's machine gun and Dax's sidearm (or whatever). Chrome, however, recovers quickly and swivels to face them. He hurls Burke at them, and the Guardian shouts as he collides bodily with Dax and Dirk.

[As Dirk starts to get to his feet, Chrome's hand closes around his throat.]

Chrome: Don't call me Smiley.

[Justice, meanwhile, has decided to make a move against Ünres. He feints to one side, then rolls in the other as the virus' flesh claw rends rock there. Justice fires his pistol at him, but Ünres' metal fist deflects the shot over his shoulder. Jeff ducks and rolls away from the deflected shot and fires at the virus' unprotected back.

[The shot doesn't do much surface damage, but it obviously hurt, if the bellow of pain that Ünres unleashes is any indication. He swings around to growl at the Hybrid, stooping to pull a hunk of rock out of the ground. He raises it with obvious intent.]

From: "Java/Tri/Lit"
Date: Feb 9, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Java peeks out at her Twin, who watches the two with mixed pity (for Java), shock (for Puck) and fury for both. Java herself meeps and edges back a bit towards the wall.]

Tri: [bitter] So you want me kneeling at your throne to, then. Well, I'm sure you can do that with all of your powers if you want to. But do you really expect me to just surrender like her?

[Java winces and turns away, hurt. Tri continues.]

Tri: Won't happen. Spare my dignity and at least let's fight?

{Place: Jay's Green Room}
Liturgy: Oh, problem? Oh no, there's no problem -- I'm Lit, pleased to meet you -- it's just a...misunderstanding. Y'see, this could all be cleared up very quickly if you could tell me exactly where Tri -- [aimed at Lean] my Intended by Aarys --would be at, and I'd happily be on my way.

From: "Hybrid and Hunters"
Feb 9, 2001

[Jeff shifts to his knees, all time seems to slow down for him as his eyes scan over the battle feild. He sees Jenny and Sil about to strike down Tomasi yet again, Dax in mid stride towards Chrome, and finally Unres ready to slam down onto him. With all the information he acts and time seems to him to return to normal.]

[Jeff darts forward and slides right underneath Unres and reaching into his buts pulls out in each hand a titanosteel flip knife and opens them as he stops behind Unres and slams the blades into the back of the Viruses knees. As the virues screams in pain and falls backwards Jeff jumps forward.]

Jeff: DAX! Heads up!

[Jeff came well stocked for this fight and huals from his belt a Static Gardnade at Dax who catches it and jumps into the air and lands on Chrome her legs wraping around his neck she slides around to his back.]

Dax: Don'tcha know? The girls gotta marry the person who saves her life..[She says sarcasticly and attaches the device to his back and punches the button before pushing off him as the device goes off sending a large amount of voltage though Chrome. As she flys into the air, hoping that Dirk will survive she extends her foot out and lands on Tomasi slamming him to the ground and pinning him underneath her. She looks up to her mom and Sil.]

Jenny: Having fun dear?

Dax: I love our job.

From: "Puck/Lean/Grizz & Rogues"
Date: Feb 11, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[Puck gazes at Tri for a moment as she makes her challenge. He strokes Java's scarved head as one would a dog, then inclines his head to peer at Tri.]

Puck: Very well. If vanquishing you in battle will show you your place, Cyanopia, then I shall oblige.

[He makes a slight gesture at Java, and she is moved to the side as he rises from his throne. His eyes flash, and he abruptly rushes at Tri, striking her in the body with both hands and knocking her back into the technorganic wall. The wall creaks a bit, sounding almost -- but not quite -- alive. The blue glow from the walls reddens a bit, but only slightly.]

Puck: [with a sneer] Your move.

{Place - Jay's Greenroom}
[Lean blinks at Liturgy, then looks at DaVinci, who shrugs. Lean looks back at Liturgy.]

Lean: Well, I'd oblige you if I knew exactly where Tri is, but seein' as how I don't, I don't really see the point in telling you. And also, if you're Tri's "Intended" by Aarys, then I question her mental stability at the time of the bestowment of that honor.

[He folds his arms.]

Lean: So lemme summarize for you. I don't know where Tri is, I don't know who you are or rightly care, and I don't think Tri likes you all that much. You are, after all, a Chaos.

Hyena: [from her vantage point across the room] In other words, piss off!

{Place - The Raider battlesite}
[Chrome screams as the static grenade goes off and releases Dirk in the process. The big cyborg's scream resonates between mechanical and human in its sound, and finally Chrome keels over and lies on the ground, inert. Dirk rubs his throat and mutters an oath under his breath as he gets up.

[Ünres, meanwhile, is snarling in pain as he drops the hunk of rock he'd pulled up. He reaches down and pulls the knives out of his knees and looks up. Justice and Burke are both aiming their weapons at him.]

Burke: Don't FAQ'n move.

Justice: Your ASCII's in the recyke bin, Ünres, and we're the guys who're gonna derezz it.

[Tomasi, meanwhile, is pinned underneath Jenny, Sil, and Dax. He snarls, the sound gurgling a bit due to some of the blood from his neck wound. He leans his head forward enough to spit some of this bloody spit on Dax's chest.]

Tomasi: S'what I think of you.

[Sil responds faster than Dax -- much to the younger Hybrid's surprise. Sil smacks Tomasi across the face with her disc, and sparks dance as she does so. Tomasi grunts a bit, then snarls again.]

Sil: Bad boy, that wasn't nice.

[Dirk dusts himself off, then pumps a couple ineffective rounds into Chrome's back. The shots, of course, don't do anything to the cyborg's armor -- but it makes Dirk feel a lot better.]

Dirk: So we got 'em all?

Justice: Looks that way. Call up Bruno and his men. We got some guys to throw in the Clink.

Ünres: I'd prefer the Hoosegow.

Burke: With the way you've been behaving, you're lucky we don't throw you in the FAQ'n Pit!

From: "Liturgy-san/Tri"
Date: Feb 12, 2001

{Place: Jay's Green Room}
[Liturgy sags a bit from the kindly welcome Hy and Lean have afforded him. He turns around and leaves, closing the door quietly behind him. Life goes back to normal.]

[Five minutes later, the door slams open, Lit strides in and flings a wotsit-sized ball at Lean. The Wolf catches it, and Midi "mrowls" for his attention.]

Liturgy: Oh, what a fine fiancee you've turned out to be! Mid's, mind showing Bow Wow what ya showed me?

[Midi nods in Lean's hands, turns, and runs a short vid, showing Java calling for Tri and the both dissapearing into Puck's portal. When it finishes, (the whole GR, Voodoo included, having turned their heads when they heard Java) Liturgy looks both triumphant and scared-to-death. His claws are partially unsheathed in case.]

Liturgy: So, I've heard someone's trying to kill off Authors. And since Tri and Java are Auth' Twins -- if you all didn't know, there you go -- you've certainly done a sorry excuse for protecting her, haven't you?

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Tri moans a bit and pulls herself away from the wall, eyes never losing her opponent. Java has inched forward, worried. Tri looks around quickly, then fixes herself on Puck and replies harshly.]

Tri: Arrogance...the viral sin, isn't it?

[Unexpectedly she throws a TK blast at Puck, catching him off-guard and pushing him back a few steps. Tri pushes herself off the wall and flies at the Viral Author, claws out, thin fangs visible as she hisses.]

From: "Voodoo/Hybrids"
Date: Feb 13, 2001

[Voodoo folds his arms at this new ( to him at least ) viruses comments before he decides to speak.]

Voodoo: The fool has a point...

[There is a moment of awe as the characters think over Voodoo's words of agreement.]

Lit: Fool?

DaVinci: He's clearly nuts Voodoo.

Lean: And a waste of viral code.

Lit: WASTE!!

Voodoo: But he has a point and more importently he has proven that I did not hold true to my words. Although I told Java she was protected in my green room, and she clearly left it, I still am found guilty of not having protection provided for her so she would stay out of trouble.

DaVinci: Great... This night has gone well.

Voodoo: It isn't over yet..and further more...

[DaVinci looks up as he does not hear Voodoo's voice and sees that Voodoo eyes are glowing brightly now, not the dim green as before.]

DaVinci: Whats going on Voods?

Voodoo: Pain... hurt.. a battle.. viral...two changed.. polymophic...

Lean: Found our Author.

Voodoo: Powerful.. there's an Author.

Lean: That would be Java.

Voodoo: No.. more powerful.. stronger then me.

DaVinci: The only Author here more powerful then you is Sai. She controls the Metaverse.

Voodoo: Not Sai.... Its...

[Voodoo yells in pain as Puck senses his energy and slams him with a psy distruptor blast and Voodoo slams his talons into the desk and leaves holes as he removes them as the pain subsides.]

Voodoo: Puck...Is Jay. He's got Java and Tri.

Lit: Where!?

Voodoo: Not sure.. couldn't get a real good fix. But we are going to need a team for back up...

[Place- Raider Battle field.]
[Dax is standing next to Dirk who is placed beside Nathan and Jeff]

Jeff: So what are we going to do with 'em?

Justice: We got a place or two to hold 'em till we get things settled.

[Behind the small group one hears Jenny yelling how Tomasi broke one of her nails and then a grunt from pain from him as she kicks 'em.]

Voodoo: *Jeff.. *

Jeff: Hold on a sec Justice... *Whats up boss man?*

Voodoo: *Whats the status out there?*

Jeff: *Everythins cool, E.V.A.'s beaming whats left of the ship back to the docking ring for repairs and right now Us and the Grizzly team are debating on what to do with the trouble makers.*

Voodoo: *Good, we have system guardians well equiped on their way to finish the job, we need the entire team plus Jays hunters there to get back here to Jay's green room.*

Jeff: *What's going on?*

Voodoo: *War.*

From: "Puck/Team"
Date: Feb 14, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[Puck snarls a bit as Tri attacks him. He catches her with one hand as she lunges, then pivots and hurls her using her own momentum into the base of his throne. Unpleasant mechanical chattering sounds emanate from the shadows as his "drones" seem eager to get involved. Puck glares at the "drones."]

Puck: [se'Macik] no'semai-einvol! fe-as mei!
[Translation: Don't get involved! She is mine!]

[Obediently, the drones seem to vanish from the shadows. He stalks forward, eyes glowing harshly. As Tri gets up, one of Puck's own TK blasts rocks her back against the throne. Java moves forward to check on her Twinsie, but Puck roughly shoves her away.]

Puck: You shall learn your place, ba'Disa!

[Tri, to her credit, fires back with another TK blast that staggers Puck down the small set of stairs that leads up to his throne. Tri ducks into the shadows, recently vacated.

[While this is happening, Puck looks up, sensing psionic scanning. He snarls and pulses out a psy disruptor blast at the source of the scan. Elsewhere in-System, Voodoo is violently ejected from the psy-net. Minke, however, remains "plugged in," as it were, since Puck has not noticed her intrusion yet.

[That distraction taken care of, Puck turns to look for Tri.]

Puck: [almost playfully] Come out, come out, wherever you are...

{Place - Jay's Greenroom}
[Justice, Dirk, Sil, Burke, Jeff, Jenny, and Dax all return to Jay's Greenroom not long after Voodoo's little psy message to his character. Being dragged along behind them, escorted heavily by Bruno's men, are Tomasi, Ünres, and Chrome.

[DaVinci looks at them levelly, Voodoo beside him, and Liturgy beside him on the other side.]

DaVinci: All right, here's the low-down. Evidently this virus that's been terrorizing the System is Jay himself. This shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, since the virus, Puck W!ld, is identical to the way Jay looked last Night when he battled Voodoo. He's become unhinged, and that makes him dangerous.

[Grumbles of assent from all at this, save perhaps the Rogues.]

DaVinci: What makes him so dangerous is not only does he have high-level virus powers, but also Authoric abilities. This means he could conceivably control all of those from Team Winger, but the fact that he hasn't suggests something to me.

[He nods to Hyena.]
Hyena: What we think is going on is a sort of battle between two personalities. I think that Jay -- like Java -- has an 'Authoric Twin,' if you will. The difference is, Jay's Twin is himself -- this virus-half, Puck W!ld.

DaVinci: It explains a lot. Why Jay seemed to have such weird powers on past Nights, and why Jay got so violent last Night during his match with Voodoo. Evidently, Puck is trying to assert more control over the body, and that's what's going on now.

Hyena: Now Puck's captured Java, and due to her polymorph nature, Puck's seems to have decided to convert her to be subservient to him. Now he's trying to do something similar to Tri, we're guessing.

DaVinci: It's going to be hard finding Puck, since he doesn't want to be found. Jay controls most of the System, and Puck hasn't left, because we would have found out as soon as he had. The only person to have entered or left the System recently is Chrome, who arrived a short while ago. Jay also has a large private sector for his own use -- so we're presuming that Puck's set up shop somewhere there.

Hyena: He's got some kind of scanner-block around his base of ops -- or Lair, if you will -- which means we'll have to rely on psionic guides. That would be Voodoo, Minke, Aarys, and any one else with telepathic ability.

Voodoo: Minke's busy.

Lean: Doing what?

Voodoo: Trying to get into Puck's mind, actually.

DaVinci: All right, so we'll rely on you and Aarys. Once we find Puck and get into his Lair, we'll have to wear him down, which won't be easy. If he manages to get full control of his Authoric abilities, then he'll be able to control anyone from Team Winger.

[He looks at Voodoo.]

DaVinci: Can you have E.V.A. ready to contain Puck?

From: "Tri Cyanopia"
Date: Feb 15, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Tri lies flat against the wall of the Lair in deep shadow, regrouping her powers and her strategy. Java is curled up into a ball next to the throne, absorbing anything that happens. Tri looks to her and considers an idea, but dismisses it.

[She floats a few marbles into the air, pushes them to her left along the wall a half dozen meters, and flings them out. Puck turns as they hit the light and waves his hand, slamming them back into the wall. Tri dodges away from the smoking wall, staying to the shadow, trying to think a plan up. She wipes blood off her mouth where her fang had caught.

[Inspiration strikes. She touches the tip of her finger to the fang, then runs the tip of her claws through the droplet. This done, she steps forward into the light and whistles for Puck's attention. She smirks and beckons to him. Java stares at her.]

Tri: Don't tell me you gave up on me. Let's finish the fight, neh?

From: "Voodoo and others"
Date: Feb 15, 2001

[The team has reloacted to the confines of Team Voodoo's Room. The team this time consists of Jeff, Jenny, Dax, Justice, Dirk, Lean (surprisingly), Sil and The Guardian.]

[Justice is standing infront of E.V.A.'s main termianl talking to DaVinci on the main screen.]

Justice: Voodoo's all set here, we got the field ready to go and all we's need to do is get Puck out of his damn hiddyhole.

DaVinci: Alright, Keep me posted.

[The image cuts out and Justice returns to the rest of the group, including Voodoo himself. The Hybrids are handing out new rifles for the team and ammo mags for them, but Burke declines.]

Burke: Got the only weapon I need for this mission [he taps his keytool]

Voodoo: Alright, listen up. The things you are holding aren't toys. These are E.M.P Rifles...

Justice: Those were banned by the fourth Guardian Accord of 2460, where did you get them?

Voodoo: In case you hadn't noticed Justice, I'm an Author, therefore I can have what I need as long as there is a way to make it work. The Vault holds weapony banned by most systems and nations.

Justice: Just thought I ask.

Voodoo: Anyways. We know for a fact that since Puck has Author powers he can't be really harmed by these weapons. The body remains intact while his viral powers suffer.

Sil: Non-Lethal weapons in a sense.

Voodoo: I could care less about that Viral..Jay is who we want alive.

Jenny: Any word from Minke?

[Voodoo shakes his head slowly, it doesn't take a trained eye to tell he is worried about his friend.]

Voodoo: None, But She must be making some progress right?

From: "Jav"
Date: Feb 15, 2001

{Place: Outside V's GR}
Liturgy: Hey! [knock knock] Let me in! Tri-san's *my* fiancee, I should be included in this! [slam slam] Ya hear! Hey, Pretty lady, please let me in? Huh?

From: "Jay -- finally"
Date: Mar 1, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Puck stops and smirks as he hears Tri, then turns slowly to face her. His eyes glow.]

Puck: Oh, we will indeed finish this fight.

[He starts forward, one fist clenched back. As he advances, Tri drops back into a ready position, and then gets caught by surprise when Puck shoots his fist forward and 'releases' something. An invisible force line punches forward and hits Tri in the gut, sending her back into the wall hard. While she's stunned, Puck swoops in and grabs her up by the collar of her shirt.]

Puck: Any last requests before I defrag your code for defying me?

[Tri mumbles something, seemingly dazed from the force line.]

Puck: I can't HEAR YOU!

[Tri jabs her hand into his neck, pricking him with the venom-tipped claws. He jerks and drops her, slapping the spot she jabbed. His eyes disfocus.]

Tri: Night night.

[Growling somewhat, Puck staggers back, the venom already starting to knock him out -- though the virus-half's abilities are attempting to dilute its affect, they aren't doing very well. Java, despite being scared to death of the evil virus-half, goes over to him as he collapses on the floor -- this being an extention of his influence over her.]

Puck: [drowsy] da'Blornik ba'Disa... [slumps, unconscious]

Tri: [to Java] With all his power, that might not keep him down for long. Let's get out of here.

{Place: Mental Plane}
[Minke runs up to the Jay-personality ((hereafter, simply Jay)), who is surrounded by the energy 'blades' that Puck has been torturing him with. As she approaches, one such blade turns around and slashes at her. She jumps back, only slightly nicked.

[Abruptly, she feels her concentration almost slip and she almost loses the psionic connection. It's obvious what those blades can do if she's not careful -- they'll disrupt her psionics and kick her out of Jay/Puck's mind. Only her quick action saved her from getting disconnected -- and possibly even suffer a sympathetic wound. Like in The Matrix, this is her mind that is working here -- and if one of those blades were to attack her, her mind would be injured, and thus her body would also feel it.]

Minke: *Jay, please, try to help me. I can't do this alone.*

[Jay seems to come to his senses, and looks up weakly at her, then winces and cries out in pain again as a blade impales him and passes through. Oddly enough, the blades seem to do no physical damage to him (though they had to Minke), but they do cause immense pain.]

Jay: I... [impale, wince] I... c-can't m-m-- [slash, groan] m-move...

[All of a sudden, the darkness below them -- the conscious part of the mind, where Puck is right now -- seems to flash, and a deep growling becomes audible. The blades halt, though the chains holding Jay in the 'X' position between the two columns continue to stretch him taut.]

Jay: I-it's him...

Minke: *The virus?*

Jay: [with a weak nod] Puck...

[And a form starts to rise up out of the conscious depths, still a good distance away, but getting closer.]

{Place: Voodoo's Greenroom}
[The Hybrids, the Grizzly Crew, Burke, and Lean all look at Voodoo, who is finishing up the preparations for E.V.A.'s role in their attack on Puck's Lair. A few eyes turn toward the door, where Liturgy is making a racket. Lean, Justice, Jeff, and Dax all roll their eyes. Virus, mercenary, and Hybrid look at each other.]

Lean: Who wants to go dissuade him?

Justice, Jeff, Dax: [simultaneously] Me.

Dax: I have experience in dealing with viruses.

Justice, Jeff: [simultaneously] So do I.

Lean: I might point out that I am a virus.

Jeff: Only by one person's definition.

Lean: All right, fine. Rock-paper-scissors.

[Dax rolls her eyes again at that and waves it off, as if to say 'screw it.' Justice and Jeff look at her, then at each other, and shrug. Lean, Justice, and Jeff put out a hand each.]

Lean: One, two, three.

[Lean puts out scissors, Jeff and Justice rock each. Lean shrugs and counts again. Jeff and Justice put out their hands -- paper and scissors respectively. Jeff shrugs again and Justice goes over toward the door where Lit is knocking. He opens the door.]

Liturgy: Well it's about damn tim--

[Lit breaks off as Justice puts the business end of his pistol in his face. Justice, as usual, doesn't smile.]

Justice: Scram.

Liturgy: But my Tri...

Justice: I guess you didn't hear me the first time, so I'll speak a little louder.

[He lowers the pistol and raises the EMP rifle that Voodoo gave him. Lit's pupils get real small.]

Justice: Scram.

Liturgy: Indeed, I go.

[And he does. Justice closes the door and turns back to the others.]

Burke: He'll be back, you know.

Justice: Let him tag along if he likes. I could care less. I just wanted him to shut the hell up.

Sil: Have you located Puck's Lair yet?

Voodoo: In a minute. I'm trying to see if we can't narrow the search parameters a bit and decrease the area we have to search.

Dirk: Shouldn't we get Java's team in on this? I mean, this is their Authoress at stake here.

Sil: Good idea. I'll ping them.

[She goes to the comm and dials up Java's Greenroom. Pyra answers.]

Pyra: Yeah?

Sil: Pyra? It's Sil al'Nasen. Listen, we've got ourselves a problem...

From: "Sai's Own"
Date: Mar 2, 2001

{Place: Jay's Mind}
[Minke's mental form tenses up at the sight of the approaching shadowy figure. He is the one who took the life of the original Voodoo, and though she had battled against the author-virus on the physical plane and landed the occasional shot, here she is fighting on his turf, on his terms.]

[Though she is uncertain of the outcome of this battle, should a confrontation occur, the CReaTuRe is almost certain that losing could put her in a permanent comatose state. Not to mention that even in unconsciousness the fact that she'd failed yet again at protecting an author would plague her. She is unsure of herself, as she has seen no weaknesses in the powerful author-virus other than his own arrogance...]

[Desperate, she moves towards the bound author once more, intent on releasing him from the chains. Her eyes are locked on the spears for any sign of movement, but after a moment of seeing them not move, she looks up into Jay Winger's pained eyes.]

Minke *What do I do? Please, Jay...*

{Place: Sai's New Greenroom}
[News of all the allying forces preparing to barge in on Puck W!ld's party has not reached Sai, Zaria or Ibi in their secluded greenroom. Zaria and Ibi are in another section of the greenroom's greenhouse section, probably sparring as Ibi'd said they would.]

[Sai is sitting before a computer console in the LAN area of the greenroom as words scroll across the screen. If anyone saw her face, they'd see a glistening of tears forming in her large blue eyes and then being reabsorbed as she tries to control her emotions. It is the words upon the screen that are upsetting her.]

[Minke has not come back for quite some time now, and though Zaria had advised that Sai give her newest character space, she wants to bring Minke back to the greenroom, where she'd be safe.]

Minutes Before
...he is Puck Wild, perhaps an alternate persona of Mr. Winger, or perhaps a seperate invading entity altogether. It --.-' it is difficult to reach you. Your greenroom's plane is distant from here.

S : Where are you, Minke?

M : Within Jay Winger's mind. I'm attempting to solve problems from the inside out. I doubt that this entity can be defeated by mere physical force. He is too deeply rooted into Jay's mind. A seperation could prove devestating to the author.

S : Problems? If you're talking about that battle you had with Jay, that's finished now.

M : It was not a battle with Jay, it was a battle with Puck Wild. And it is hardly finished.

S : Whatever. Minke, this is an author you're fighting. The odds are stacked full against you! You've got to come back here to the greenroom. You'll be safe here with me.

M : He killed Voodoo. I will make him pay for that now that I know it is not Jay I am fighting.--'.--_-

S : Even if it means you getting killed?

[For a moment nothing is heard, and Sai feels a lowering in the energy wave she'd sensed. Finally the wave rises again, and Minke begins pouring more text over the link, albeit slower than before.]

M : It is becoming more difficult to contact you--.'-

S : What happened?

M : Do not concern yourself. I have to go now; he's coming. Something must have happened in the physical world to bring him out of conciousness, though I can't read what.

S : Minke, don't go yet!

M : I have to do this, I'm sorry, Sai. I don't know what will happen, but if I fail... You always tried to do what you thought was best for me. Do you know that?

Present Time
[She'd not even had enough time to put her fingers to the keyboard once more before Minke's link was severed. Emotions had been in a confused loop since that severing, but fear finally rises above all the others, fear for her Minke...]

[Lowering her head to rest upon the desk within her cradling arms, Sai goes limp, occasionally tensing as a sniffling gasp for air escapes her. She finally lets her tears flow freely.]

From: "Tri/Java/Py"
Date: Mar 2, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair}
[Tri moves towards Java, who has knelt dwn next to the viral author, and speaks again:] Come on, Java! I don't even know how to get out, you're wasting time! Get up and let's go! [She turns and looks around for an exit of any sort.]

Java: I'm not going.

Tri: [turns back] Java?! What the hell?!

Java: You go. I can't leave.

Tri: I'm not leaving you. You're coming if I have to drag you.

[She steps forward. Quicker than she can react, however, Java sits up, flashes the dagger from it's sheathe and presses it against her neck. Tri stops. The Authoress' eyes are wet.]

Java: [forcefully] I can't. I'm sorry, Tri-san.

[She goes forward, but Java presses the blade much too close for her liking. Bitterly:] So how much of this is you and how much from his coding, eh?

Java: Please forgive me...The Oath, heih?

Tri: [calmly] ...I understand. [She turns anfd fishes a portal marble out of her pocket.] Don't let him hurt you. Heih?
[She throws the marble out, and it works, but the view keeps switching around the sys, whatever the fields in the lair are making it unstable. She sighs and steps through, hoping to get somewhere.]

[Java sighs and carefully pulls the dagger away, sheathing it. One tear of violet blood trickles down her neck. She looks at the wound in Puck's neck and takes his temperature an pulse, then sits and watches. She hears vaguely the mechanical chitter of the drones from a bit away, slowly moving closer, it seems.]

{Place: Java's Room}
[Pyra interrupts Sil before she can elaborate.]

Pyra: We know. D called us just a bit ago and told us. Uhm...I don't know where Aarys is - [to See and Erinys] You guys? Aarys?

Erinys: Haven't seen her since she broke off fighting with Bios.

See: [pacing] Don't look at me.

Pyra: [back] We're mostly confused about what's exactly goung on. Hey, [looking behind Sil] You guys putting up a rescue? Wherever are ya, I'll come up. I did train as a Guardian, no reason to waste it, eh? 'specially for Javs.

From: "The Rescue Team"
Date: Mar 3, 2001

[Place: Voodoo's GR]
[Voodoo's eyes flash open and he stands from his chair]

Voodoo: Got 'em. A portal open... Hold on gent's and gals, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Pyra: What? Whats going on! I wanna come!

[The team doesn't wait, they can't, as they fade away in a flash of light that Voodoo has created and feel as every atom in their body is being ripped apart and tossed around in the dryer. The sound is high pitch and hurts their non-present heads. The all feel a hard thud and and a pain as their bodies are reassembled into real space and the light fades they can once again seen the worl around them, and they are knocked for yet another loop.]

[Place: Puck's Lair]
[The group is scatterd about and no one other then Voodoo is quite sure where they are. The walls are techno-organic and their is something no very comfortable about the air, maybe the energy still running through it.]

Jeff: Everyone check in.

Jenny: Online and ready to rock.

Dax: I'm here, waiting for orders.

Lean: That reminds me a lot of my out of body time..

Bruke: How am I going to write a report on that?

Dirk: I'm fine..thanks fer askin.

Justice: Well. That trip makes two things I can't stand.

Sil: Any clue on where we are?

Dax: Voodoo?

[The group looks around to see Voodoo kneeling and breathing heavy, breaking through Pucks barries must have taken a hard toll on the Garg-Author and the group encircles around him to check on him, when a strange metalic sound fills the room, the group turn back to back and raise their arms, ready to fire.]

Jenny: It's too dark, can't see anything.

[A scamper of metal makes Dax fire off a very high power shit from her rifle. It hits something and metal scraps sound out and a whine screams through the room. More scampers of metal sounds and the group blind fires into the darkness, more whines and scaps sound out along with the loud fireing.]

Jeff: WHOA!!! Cease fire! Hold your weapons wait till you see a target!

From: "Puck/Rescuers"
Date: Mar 4, 2001

{Place - Puck's Lair}
[The "chittering" sounds from the shadows intensify a bit, and sound like they're getting closer. What little light there is comes from the slight glow from the technorganic walls, and from any lights on the strike force's weapons or eyes. Everyone groups together and aims outwards, hearing the chittering get closer, but unable to see it.]

Dirk: Ah can't see a damn thing!

Sil: What the hell is that sound?

Justice: [collected] You're not afraid of the dark, are you?

Jeff: Quiet! I can't tell how close they are.

Lean: Let's shed some light on the subject...

[He raises his cane a bit and generates a standing ball of light in the air. This serves to light up the room they are in -- and also the source of the chittering sounds.

[Dozens of mid-size technorganic drones (the smallest about the size of a small bird, the largest about the size of Sentry) shrink back a bit as the light stabs them in their optical receptors. All have multiple legs, like an arachnid or centipede, and some have obvious "heads." All their eyes gleam blue/silver in the reflection from the light, and some have slavering mouths with clicking mandibles. The legs of the drones have unpleasantly sharp implements on the ends, and some even glow with energy.]

Justice: I think this would be the welcoming committee.

Jeff: Let's give 'em a merc-style greeting, then, shall we?

Dirk: Let's shall, Freeman, let's shall.

[And they open fire on the drones. The ones directly in front get blasted open in a shower of shrapnel, oil, and blue/silver blood. They die with a strange keening sound as they fall apart under fire, apparently somewhat hollow. But as their comrades die, the surviving drones seem to build up their armor and start stalking forward.

[Lean lowers his cane from the ball of light, which remains and allows the group to see, and begins charging up an orb of electricity. Once it's big enough, he prepares to throw it.]

Lean: Fire in the hole!

[The group checks fire and ducks as Lean hurls the orb into the thick of the drones, where it explodes, blowing a path through them. Beyond, they can see another room, and this one appears to have two humanoid forms in it.]

Voodoo: [pointing] That way!

[Spraying energy at the drones, they move through the hole Lean had blasted and start toward the exit.]

[In that other room, Java sits beside Puck, who remains unconscious from Tri's venom. His face is taut and his lips are curled back in a snarl, faint wisps of energy whipping around the two as he fights some internal battle.]

{Place - Mental Plane}
[Minke moves toward Jay as the energy spears and swords ripple and vanish, but he remains locked in the chains. He grunts and strains weakly, but his body is pale and weak.]

Jay: I-- can't break these chains... give me a hand, CReaTuRe, quick...

[The shadowy form is rising up toward the "courtyard" the two are standing in on a wide disk-shaped elevator, toward the far end of the courtyard. Ominous thunder rumbles around them, and the colorful swirls of the "memory" above them flicker through colors in an almost chaotic way.

[Minke pulls at the chains, which seem to slacken a bit as the shadowy form gets closer. Jay strains harder.]

Jay: Th-the chains... restrict my abilities... I only have physical powers (or as close as you get in here) while I'm chained up.

Minke: *I'll try to break you free...but help me, Jay, I can't do this by myself...*

Jay: I know, CRe, but I can't get free without help...

[The elevator reaches the top at the far end of the courtyard and the shadowy form growls.]

Puck W!ld: Who intrudes in my mind?

From: "The Rescue Team"
Date: Mar 6, 2001

[The team rushes forward, blasting a drone or two when they have a clean shot, but Jenny stops and looks back to see Voodoo being overwhelmed by the drones, but it's the drones that are taking the beathing the worst. His talons slash through their hulls and his fist breaks through their "heads" and his tail knocks them across the room.]

[One jumps up at him and is quickly slashed apart with a psionic blade]

Voodoo: Go! Get Puck detained and cuff the polymorph. I'll keep the tin cans off ya!

[Jenny nods after a short moment of thought and runs back to the team. Voodoo fights his own battle as he sends a message to Minke, or to anyone that is turned to her waves (Zaria and Sai would be a few)]

Voodoo: *Minke.. I know you are busy but we are close.. anything you can do right now would help, I will... Get Puck contained...*

[The link is broken for a moment as a drone slams its leg into Voodoo's side and Voodoo grunts in pain before quickly knocking it off his his body and letting it slam into many others of its kind]

Voodoo: *But we need more time....remember.. don't risk your life...on us.. We are a Team.. and we will not let any member leave us because of this threat...*

[Voodoo breaks the link and and battles on.]

[Place: Pucks Lair]
[The team breaks through into the lair, heavy fire is heard as drone after drone is blasted, ether completly blown apart or just half-way deleted it doesn't matter, because Dirk and Jenny quickly raise weapons at Java as she stands ready to protect Puck]

Dirk: So..What do we do'?

Jenny: Puck wouldn't strip of her Author powers so we can't blast her.

Jeff: Well do something! These things are popping up like Gloobs!

Jenny: Back off Java.. we are here to help Jay. We don't want to have to detain ya..but we will do it by force if needs be.

From: "Java"
Date: Mar 8, 2001

{Place: Puck's Lair, Main Room}
[Java looks up as the wall is smashed open fearfully, then stands and mooves in front of Puck when Dirk and Jenny come in. In the light of the Lair proper, her scarf and icon are very visible.]

Java: I won't let you come near him, you two...I'm sorry.

Dirk: Well, we're not leaving without him.

Java: Sure?

[Her form ripples and she and Puck dissappear. Red cracks suddenly form all over the Lair and Antechamber floors, and a huge tremor shakes the area, throwing people off balance, into walls, shaking the drones off of Voodoo. The quake subsides, no structural damage evident, and the two reappear into the Lair, Java holding a staff with a Sorceress Emblem (from FFVIII)on it.]

Java: I told you.

[Jenny fires a shot close to her as a disraction and runs forward, but the sorceress blasts her back. Suddenly she hears Puck stir, and forgets the fight, turning and kneeling down next to him as he wakes.]

From: "Puck/Jay/Team"
Date: Mar 15, 2001

{Place - Mental Plane}
[Puck scowls as he sees Minke trying to help Jay. She tugs on the chains binding Jay a bit. He starts stalking forward, eyes glowing.]

Puck: da'Blornik ba'Disa! You dare intrude upon my domain! For that, you shall die a very agonizing death.

Minke: *I'm going to stop you, Puck.*

[Puck stops and laughs heartily. Jay strains against the bindings.]

Puck: You stop me? Hah! You may be a strong psionic talent, freak, but you aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto.

[He suddenly flashes forward in a blur, vanishing and reappearing behind Minke in an instant. As she turns toward him, he swings a backhanded fist and releases a burst of energy, knocking Minke off her feet and back a few meters.]

Jay: NO!

Puck: Oh, do be quiet.

[Puck turns, generates one of those 'blades' that had been torturing him and slashes him across the body with it (nicking one of the chains in the process), then impales it in Jay's stomach. He leaves it there, pats Jay's cheek with an evil smile, then flies off to fight Minke.

[Minke, to her credit, recovers well and swings around, her tail connecting with Puck below the ribcage and knocking him a good distance, as well as driving the wind from him. She flies up and heads to Jay, who shakes his head.]

Jay: I'll be okay! I... I think I can get free. You handle him until I get loose.

[A bit reluctantly -- though whether she wants to help Jay or just not fight Puck is unclear -- Minke swoops off to Puck, who has gotten his wind back by now.]

Puck: That hurt.... somewhat.

[As Minke descends, Puck grabs her wrists as she reaches for him and rolls back, judo kicking her off of him. Minke, however, grabs him with her tail as she flies, recovers in mid-air and slams Puck hard against the ground. He grunts as the air is knocked out of him again.

[Jay, meanwhile, is trying (painfully) to free himself. The chip in the chain caused by the sword squeals as it is stressed, and the link starts to buckle.

[Minke dives again, but Puck flashes and vanishes in a blur again. He reappears behind Minke as she lands and forms twin blades in his hands. She senses him and whirls away before he can impale her. One of her wings, however, is clipped by one blade and becomes useless. He reverts the blade into a ball of energy and hovers around her in a circle before firing. Minke negates the energy and fires a blast of negative energy back at him. Puck topples from the air and lands on the ground.]

Puck: That's it, now I'm mad.

Jay: [from behind him] You are?

[Puck blinks and starts to turn, but then he screams as his own psionic blade is thrust through his midsection. He's lifted off the ground by Jay, who scowls at him, chains still dangling from his wrists, but severed.]

Jay: Hoist by our own petard, are we, Puck?

[He jerks the blade, and Puck screams again.]

Jay: Payback's a bitch, ain't it?

[Puck suddenly roars and a wave of force knocks Jay back and off his feet, and staggers Minke somewhat. Puck hovers in the air, gripping both parts of the sword and reconverting it to energy. The wound slowly closes, bleeding. Puck turns away from Minke to confront his fellow Authoric Half.]

Puck: Blast you! Why must I continue to have to put up with you and your damned existence!

Jay: Because we're two halves of one person, Puck. I don't like it, you don't like it. And frankly, I've had enough.

[Puck charges, but Jay's eyes suddenly flash themselves and Puck is thrown back by a "force line" from Jay's hand. Cobblestone from the ground explodes along the line, showing gravel and stone chips in the air as Puck flies back. Puck groans slightly as he sits up.]

Puck: How... did you do that?

Jay: Authoric privileges, boyo. You're not the only one who can throw powers around.

[Puck leaps up and darts away as another force line shoots at him. He flashes and blur-vanishes, but Jay whips around and hurls a curving force line behind him, catching Puck in the chest again and knocking him back. Puck snarls and blur-vanishes, and Jay whips around to attack again, but stops.

[Puck has reappeared behind Minke, a 'blade' at her throat. Minke looks surprised.]

Puck: One more move, Jay, and I'll cut the freak-bitch her new smile.

[Jay just smirks, and suddenly Puck feels something tap him on the shoulder. He glances back, and Minke's tail grabs his head. Puck shouts in surprise, the blade vanishing as the tail swings him off her back and into the ground on one side, then the other, then the first, then the other, before swinging him around like a hammer and hurling him into the air.

[Puck soars, and suddenly Jay blur-appears above Puck and slams him to the ground with twin force lines. Jay drops to the ground and starts to swing twin force lines at Puck from the sides, but moments before impact, Puck stands and thrusts his hands to the sides, his own powers blocking the attack. He then thrusts one hand up, and the pavement beneath Jay explodes upward, sending him into the air. Puck makes a fist, and swings it down and around, and Jay follows his movement, swinging around and into Minke.

[Minke and Jay tumble and come to a stop between the two columns betwixt Jay had been chained. The 'blades' appear around them, and Puck laughs.]

Puck: I'd love to stay and finish this, but I've got an invasion to take care of back outside. Please, if you feel like dying, don't hesitate to scream.

[Puck hovers back to the elevator, and Jay sprints after him, plowing a hole in the blades with a force line. Minke jumps in the air and lands atop one of the pillars just seconds before the blades begin their dance. Unable to fly because of her injured wing, she jumps again to safety beyond the blades' boundary.

[Puck has begun descending again, and Jay jumps and plunges after him. Minke stops by the elevator and stares down after them.]

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