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Author Topic: MR: War Arc: Invasion  (Read 1206 times)

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Offline Coryn

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MR: War Arc: Invasion
« on: January 13, 2019, 07:20:27 PM »
Ladies and gentleman, Raiders all, I am very pleased to present you with the latest MR Canon project.

MangaRaiders: War Arc


War Arc is the creation of Fro, Lego, Mahlua, and myself. We started working on this project back in June when Fro brought up the idea of having a truly large and ambitious MR project. War Arc is what we created out of that concept.

War Arc shouldn't be thought of as a single story, but a family of stories. This is why we are calling it an 'arc', in the sense that you might see one in tv shows or comic books. We have plans for a whole slew of stories that are going to take place under the War Arc banner. Invasion is only the beginning of this ride, and will serve as the jumping off point for what we expect to be a full year of MR Canon goodness.

So without further ado, I give you MR: War Arc: Invasion, a story by Fronomenal, Legomaestro, Mahluaandmilk, and yours truly, Coryn Sken!



CHAPTER 1: SHOCK
CHAPTER 1: SHOCK

In years past, an organization known as 4Kids held the Net in the grip of terror. They wished to rebuild the world in their image, a world in which subversiveness and creativity were distant memories. To create a monoculture which would reign over all that was left of humanity. And so, they launched a holy war in the name of censorship, control, and unity through force.
        Their armies were unrivaled. The loyalty of their soldiers beyond reproach. Like a creeping vine, 4Kids spread its tendrils out amongst the Net. What started as the twisted vision of a few soon expanded beyond the founders’ wildest dreams. 4Kids grew its own legends as site after site fell before it. The Demons of the Censorship Unit. The Last Stand of the 5th Division. The Unbreakable General Bethuw'el. The Mad Technopriest Junia. Azazel the Redeemed. The Burning of the Cherubs. True moments and people, turned into myths for the glorification of 4Kids.
        But despite all this, despite their power, despite their ideals, despite their legends and their heroes, 4Kids still fell.
        They suffered the fate of empires.
        They were destroyed not by an outside force, but from internal weakness. Eventually their reach exceeded their grasp, and they were not strong enough to pull themselves back up before falling off of the edge. They rotted from within, and paid the ultimate price for their negligence.
        Their tyranny was gone. The names of their legends, their heroes, their myths, all passed from common knowledge. What remained of their ranks slunk away into dark corners beyond the sight of the common people, and 4Kids was no more.
        Unfortunately, no one considered that once something becomes a myth, it becomes much harder to kill.

        There was a special place in MangaRaiders, reserved only for a few distinct individuals. They were the former 4Kids agents Akan and Achan. During the fall of 4Kids, they had been engaged in a battle with the Raiders, and were subsequently taken as prisoners. Ever since, they had resided in this special floor of MR Tower.
        Not that the accommodations were unpleasant. On the contrary, the Raiders had furnished a reasonable living space for the two. They had private bedrooms, a vast backlog of books and films, great skyline views, and even the occasional guided walk outside (albeit, one heavily monitored by MR’s administrators). Still, house arrest was house arrest. No matter where they went in the apartment, they could feel eyes on them. Their meals were carefully selected for them. Any technology they could use to contact the outside world was forbidden. Even basic toiletries had to pass inspection. But perhaps all that was still a small price to pay for trying to destroy the world of the Raiders.
        Perhaps…
        The two were occupied in the living room. Years of physical training under their general, Digamma, had left them with a strict routine that they continued to live by, and so they willed away the mid-morning with mental and physical exercise. All furniture had been cleared away, and they engaged in hand-to-hand training. Achan had always been the fighter of the two. Akan was just a hacker, but neither were the physical type. It was why they pushed themselves so hard in this arena. To them there was no point in overtraining their natural talents. It would have been a waste of time anyway. Achan’s guns had been confiscated, as was anything Akan could had even hoped to use as a computer. They were without the tools of their trade, and so they fell back on what they did have.
        Akan grabbed Achan by the horn and used her leverage. She sent Achan over her head, but the taller woman wasn’t done. Achan’s feet found the floor long before Akan could follow through with the throw, and she reversed the hold. Before Akan knew it, she was on her back, and Achan stood victorious. “Twenty-one to nineteen. It’s my win today.” Achan extended a hand to lift her opponent up, but Akan batted it away.
        “We’re wasting our time.” Akan lowered her head and sulked. Their imprisonment had been weighing heavily on both of them recently. The holidays had just passed, and being forced to watch their wardens go about their lives happily struck a painful blow. It did every year, but now as the sixth year of their captivity began, it was like the knife was being twisted. For a while, they had hung on to a vague hope that 4Kids would rally and come to their rescue, but that hope soon faded to disappointment. That they could handle, but now it was as if a new emotion controlled their lives. It wasn’t just a sense of betrayal, but a sense of powerlessness. They had tried to escape, to bargain, to plead, but the Raiders had remained unmoved. The demons of the former Censorship Unit now believed they would remain there forever, trapped like beautiful birds in a cage.
        Both knew what they were feeling, but Achan was yet to let herself show it so openly. She opened her mouth to say some words of encouragement, even if she didn’t believe them herself. That’s when they heard it.
A knock at the door.
        They both looked to the door to their apartment. Beyond it lay a man-trap, a secured passageway that could only be opened on one end at a time. Usually they could hear the mechanisms concealed within it as soon as someone began to access the far door, but this time there had been nothing. Had they simply not noticed during the match? Possibly, but there was another problem. The knock itself was unusual. It was dull, heavy, and there was only one. One single, impossibly loud knock. Just as they were about to question whether or not they had heard anything at all, a second knock came. Then a third, and finally a fourth. An announcement should have been made. A request to stand back, to put their hands on their heads. Cameras would have been able to tell whoever was there to see the demons whether or not the orders had been complied. But no such orders arrived, and now, the seals were engaged on their door. It was opening, by someone who clearly did not know the procedure. Or, by someone who did not care.
        The door opened slowly, and to their surprise, Akan and Achan were greeted by a single guest specter. The pale gray creatures were common throughout the Net, but one had never come to them in this way. Even more unexpected, it was holding something. An unescorted specter with a mysterious object, and it had come to pay them a visit? This was no action of the Raiders.
        The guest specter took a few paces into the room and stopped. It located the two women, and raised its arm. Its ‘hand’ turned, and it revealed a small, black object. The item almost looked like a yo-yo, but then it began to light up. Soft red light illuminated the device’s circumference, and a red point grew on its side grew into a circle. Finally, the circle flickered, and in the air before the specter, stood they hazy outline of a man in silhouette. It was so generic that it could have been anyone, but when the figure spoke, both Akan and Achan recognized him immediately. Hoarse, light, prideful. Anyone who didn’t know the man would have called it sniveling. Anyone who did wouldn’t dare to call it anything. “Good morning my beautiful demons! How have you been?”
        It was a dead man speaking to them. A specter in his own right, supposed to only survive in memory. But now, in the light of day, a new truth was emerging. Major Narcissus still lived, and he had gone through an awful lot of trouble to pay them a visit.

        Coryn and Mahlua were bent over a pile of blueprints on a table inside what looked like an abandoned (or never occupied in the first place) shopping mall. They had spent the days between participating in yet another unsuccessfully Great Raid and the annual New Years party drawing them up. That, and recovering from the usual array of life threatening injuries. Each of the plans was created from memory, and they were going through the process of eliminating any inconsistencies between them. “The trebuchets were earlier in the course.” Said Mahlua.
        “I’m certain they weren’t” Replied Coryn.
        “That’s because you lose your memories directly leading up to being knocked unconscious.” Mahlua mimicked getting hit in the head with her index finger.
        Coryn sighed. “Your own memories deceive you I think. I was merely resting my eyes. I knew you guys had it well in hand.”
        Mahlua rolled her eyes. “Suuure you did.”
        The cyborg winked his robot eye at her, while nonchalantly exing out the offending mistake on his drawings. “Sure did.”

        Lego was doing his absolute best to explode the punching bag before him with just his fist. In his defense, he was getting pretty good results. A pile of torn up bags was accumulating in the corner of the expansive room. The only mark against him was that he insisted on using members of the Fighters’ Division to hold the bags steady while he practiced.
        Another punch sent the current bag reeling, and Fortis had to jam his bony feet into the gym floor to keep from being sent flying right along with it. As it settled back down, he poked his head out from around the bag. “L-Lego, I know training is important and all, but isn’t Coach Fro going to be mad that you keep destroying all this equipment? I mean, you aren’t even a member of the division…”
        Lego just smirked at him. “That bastard owes me anyway! He thinks he’s so strong, but he’s never beat me in a fair fight! Not even once!” Without warning, Lego sent another hook flying into the bag, and the canvas finally gave way. Fortis released the bag as its sand poured out onto the wood floor of the gym. Lego just pointed his thumb back at himself. “And don’t think for a second that he has a better afro than I do! Fro may be your coach, but he’s still a thousand years too young to realize that a great afro doesn’t rely on magic to be powerful!”
        Fortis had started hauling the defeated bag off long before Lego had finished his soliloquy. “I’ll never understand those two…”

        Fro, meanwhile, was trying his hand at a new business idea. He was just outside the MR Pub, and had set up a small stand. It was reminiscent of a kid selling lemonade on a hot summer’s day, except he was a fully grown man, and it was a bitingly cold 13th of January. Fro knew this was coming however, and indeed he had been looking for it specifically. For Fro wasn’t selling lemonade like some chump from the 1950’s. No, this was truly an ascended level of curbside refreshment. He proudly served hot orange Kool-Aid, and was hocking it towards anyone looking to enter the pub. His current target was Robin. She was just going in for a second sip, and Fro hoped that it was because it delicious, and not just because it was a good way to warm up. “So? What do you think Robin? I’m open to investors if you’re interested?”
        Robin set down the glass. “It’s not bad! Although...maybe it’s a little too sweet? How much sugar did you put into this stuff anyway?”
        Fro gulped. He had forgotten to account for the fact that warm liquids can hold more dissolved solids than cold ones. Now, Fro knew his orange Kool-Aid, so he had gone beyond simply adding sugar by archaic measurement. Instead, he added sugar until the could tell that the drink was ready by its coloration. In this moment however, it had backfired on him. The afroed man quietly decided not to tell Robin about this fact, and pushed ahead. “Haha! Well, it’s to my own personal tastes, so part of this is adjusting it to a wider pallet!” Fro made his best ‘this is totally what I meant to happen’ face as Robin waved goodbye. He hung his head once she was out of sight however, and for a moment, just for a moment, contemplated calling it quits. “Oh hell no!” Fro leapt from his folding chair. “I’m going until I make everyone a true disciple of the the nectar from the gods!”
        He was about to go into further jubilation, when the Pub’s door swung open, and Pub-tan stepped out. “Hey! I already told you to keep it down out here! You’re going to scare off customers!”
        Fro slumped back into his chair. “Yes ma’am…”

        Narcissus’s crooked form met Akan’s and Achan’s confused faces. It was a terrible connection, but that wasn’t the problem in their minds. Narcissus had been presumed dead for more than a year before 4Kids actually fell. He shouldn’t have been talking to them at all, let alone through such means. Despite the questions that wanted to break forth, Akan and Achan fell back on years of instilled discipline.
        Akan snapped a salute, although it had long ago lost its crispness. “Major! You… I am glad to see you are alive. With all due respect sir, what happened? Why has it taken command so long to contact us?”
        It was a loaded set of questions, but the intent at least was clear. The hologram seemed to rub its chin, and Narcissus spoke. “4Kids command has disappeared, gone dark. For all intents and purposes, they no longer exist.”
        Achan took a nervous step forward. “Then-!”
        Narcissus’ hologram patted the air in front of itself. “Calm down agent. The old men at the top are not important, are they? When was the last time any of them risked their necks for any of us? No my dear girl, I am not coming to you on their behalf. We don’t follow them anymore.”
        A moment of silence passed. The Censorship Unit had been a sword of 4Kids. To believe in serving anyone else? It didn’t make any sense to either of them. Akan spoke. “Sir… I… Please explain.”
        Narcissus seemed to sigh, then again, it could have just been interference. “My poor girl, who did you really follow? It wasn’t Command, was it? No, you followed Digamma! I followed my own general! In the field, the words of men who sat safely at headquarters meant nothing to us! We were soldiers! But to them? We were just numbers on a screen.”
        “I don’t follow.” Was Achan’s reply.
        Narcissus spread out his arms. “We are soldiers! And we must do as soldiers must do! We are bringing war!" He let his arms down. “And we are bringing war to you.”
        An ice cold chill raced down their spines. Narcissus either didn’t notice, or didn’t care. Akan wondered if he could even seen them right now. In either case, Narcissus continued on his own. “I presume you are familiar with the story of the Lost Chorus aren’t you?”
        Achan gulped down her fright at the mention of the name. “When 4Kids was beginning to fall, they marched out into the Net. An army of men made up of only the most devout. But it was a suicide mission. They were destroyed.”
        Narcissus made a ‘tisk’ noise with his tongue, like he was scolding a child. “No my dear, you are quite incorrect.” What followed was a pregnant silence. The hologram continued without the input of the two women however. Narcissus gestured to the sky. He seemed caught up in the moment, generating all of the emotion he needed by himself. “The Lost Chorus is calling for you now! Akan Octa, Achan Heptadelta, you are summoned to serve!”
        Narcissus dropped his hands, and with them the pitch of his voice. Akan and Achan had to strain to hear him, but Narcissus’s words were clear. “MangaRaiders shall burn, and it is by your hands that it shall be done.”



Look out for Chapter 2 next week!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Fortis Scriptor

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 12:57:30 AM »
Great opening chapter. Looking forward to the next one.  :clapping:

Offline Coach Fro

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 05:11:01 PM »
And so it begins...

A lot of work has been put into this, so I hope everyone who reads this story of ours enjoys it.

And glad to see you're along for the ride, Fortis! I promise the next chapter won't disappoint! 
Messatsu...



Offline Rustee

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 02:58:49 PM »
 :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 10:38:19 AM »
We'll take that as approval! Thanks Rustee!

Please keep reading, we're writing this so people can jump into the MR canon without being familiar with it before hand.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline legomaestro

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 07:09:08 AM »
Something I cooked up in commemoration of this event.



Also, potential playlist would make the world go round.

And nooooooooo Achan and Akan... I thought we were friends...

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 07:45:48 AM »
Really cool piece there Lego! The white on black really works for your style! How long did it take you?

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline legomaestro

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2019, 06:07:48 PM »
Thanks Coryn! It took me like 20 minutes I'd say. It was fun trying it out. I think white is just too stark a colour sometimes. I'll need to look into either that or the brushes I use.

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2019, 10:36:16 PM »
It is a little muted, but it adds a lot of 'texture' to the characters. Like they're in shadow, but you're getting to see some highlights.

Oh, as for a playlist, I've made one of my own that's about half classical, half Vietnam era rock. I'll send it to you in a pm, since my Spotify account name is in the link, and that also happens to be my real name.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 10:38:13 PM by Coryn »

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2019, 10:29:46 PM »
And we are proud to give you chapter 2! (I'll give bonus points to anyone who can correctly guess which one of us was the primary author on each of these chapters)


CHAPTER 2: THE PERFECT INSIDE JOB
CHAPTER 2: THE PERFECT INSIDE JOB

In order to tear down a place as secured and unified as MR, the demon duo would have to plan an infiltration weeks in advance, equip themselves with the most advanced technological gadgets known to man, and physically prepare themselves to the extreme for run ins with overpowered alien cats, witches, cyborgs, and afro haired supermen.
        Unfortunately, in between being detained under strict lockdown in their apartment, and receiving directives from a rather impatient man like Narcissus, the two agents were at an extreme disadvantage.
However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and with the combined experience and determination shared between the two, there was certainly a way.
        A few hours would have to do then.

        “You ready?” Achan asked Akan with a whisper as they walked through one of the corridors in the administration building. The two had been granted their usual break from their apartment to roam outside, but of course, their brief moment of freedom was severely limited. Surveillance cameras would make sure they keep themselves in check, and they were positive that the eyes of the administrators were casting glares at them from the unknown shadows.
        “Yeah…” The hacker replied in kind. She turned her head around slightly to cast a quick glance at one of the surveillance cameras that hung on the ceiling above. She never understood why Hasith never bothered upgrading MR’s security cameras to a less conspicuous model. Naturally, a tech geek like Akan would be bothered by this sort of thing, but given their situation and objective, she couldn’t complain much. She turned back to Achan. “You remember the code words?”
        “‘Old Man’ means Joe. ‘Thief’ means Raider. And... “ Achan paused briefly. “What was ‘baka’ again?
        “It means stupid, stupid.”
        Achan felt herself delivering a quick smack to her partner’s temple, but held off from doing so for the moment. “Later…” She muttered to herself.
        The two continued along the corridor to a flight of stairs going down. The central administration building, MR Tower, was rather tall to say the least. A hundred stories worth of floors was certainly no short walk, and at the amble pace the two were going, they would find themselves heading down stairs for a long time. This was fine to them, of course. After all, with the kind of mission they were embarking on, ample time to go over the plan in their heads was needed.
        Upon reaching the first floor, they found themselves in a large lobby. Towards the front of the room was a guest specter standing behind a reception desk. Under normal circumstances on the Net, it would look odd for a lone specter to be standing around in such a specific spot. However, the two agents had come to understand that this was an everyday occurrence in MR. The admins were busy people after all, so programming guest specters to handle their more miniscule tasks only made sense. This specter in particular was set to make sure that all who enter the tower were accounted for on the guest list. Time, date, and all. To the right of the specter was a pair of vending machines that the two had their sights on. Being prisoners, they didn’t actually have money of their own, which is where the guest specter came into play.
        “Hey, you hungry?” Achan asked Akan. She had abandoned the whispering and spoke rather loudly this time, as if she purposefully wanted to be heard. “I can get us a snack if you want.”
        “Yeah sure, I can go for some chips.” Akan replied, matching Achan’s tone.
        Achan walked over to the reception desk and shot the specter a very suspecting smile. It could’ve been easily mistaken as a devilish smile. However, specters weren’t programmed to interpret the meaning behind facial gestures, so it made no reaction to her gesture. It reached below the desk and pulled out a company credit card for MangaRaiders and handed it to Achan.
        “Thanks.” she said with a wink as she made her way to the vending machine. She eyed it questiongly for a second before turning around to address her partner. “Hey, what kind of chips do you want?”
        Akan let out a long, drawn out “Um” before replying. “Whatever you get.”
        Achan smirked. “Right…”
        She swiped the card through the card reader and pressed the button combination for the most generic looking chips in the top row. The vending machine hummed a mechanical sound as two bags of chips dropped to the bottom for retrieval. Upon grabbing them, Achan tossed one over to Akan, and simultaneously they began munching on their snacks, though, neither of them seem to pleased by their selections.
        “Blah!” Akan blurted out in disgust. “Taste like garbage.” She promptly tossed the unfinished bag of 'Overripe Fruit (Taste the decay!)’ potato chips into a nearby recycle bin.
        “Meh, they weren’t too bad.” Achan protested as she tossed hers in the garbage as well.
        “Says the girl who didn’t finish hers either.” Akan turned away from Achan and stared off into a small hallway where the restrooms were located. “Hey, I’m gonna use the restroom for a sec. I’ll catch up with you later, kay?”
        Achan shot her sly smirk and a wink. “Sure.”
        Akan winked back and ran off into the women’s restroom. As she watched Akan leave, Achan patted her pockets  and realized that she needed to take a quick detour as well.
        “Be right back.” She said to the guest specter as she dashed towards the elevator on her left. She quickly passed through the doors and they slowly shut to a close. Now inside, she scanned around for a particular camera that she knew would be keeping her under watch. Her search lead her to the upper corner of the elevator where a rather small security camera was zooming in on her frame. She reached down into her pants, and discretely pulled out a small, sharp kitchen knife that had been strapped to the side of her waist.
        “Mind your business!” She threw the knife and it pierced its way through the center of the small camera. Tiny sparks of electricity scattered about, and pieces of the camera itself fell upon the elevator floor. Achan smiled evilly. “Now the fun begins…” She stuck out her tongue. It was still littered with the crumbs of the chips she had earlier. However, in the midst of the crumbs there was a small black ear piece on the center of her tongue. She took this device and adjusted it properly on her ear, and once adjusted it beeped with a thin red light. The light flashed, and proceeded to phase in and out periodically. With that taken care of, she stepped up to the rows of buttons on the elevator’s wall. Usually, a few button presses at the most were needed to get to a floor on the tower. The destination she was heading to, however, required a bit more. She inputted a formerly secret series of selections into the buttons, and upon doing so, the lights of the elevator dimmed to black. A second later, red warning lights whirled about and accompanying them was a harsh sounding computerized voice.
        “YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO ACCESS CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION'S RESTRICTED FLOORS! PLEASE STATE YOUR PERSONAL ADMINISTRATOR CODE TO BE GRANTED ACCESS!”
        The demon sighed. “Raider is ecchi, and ecchi is Raider.” Achan responded with the right amount of confidence as would suit a man like Hasith.
        “PERMISSION GRANTED! COMMENCING DESCENT TO ADMINISTRATOR SUBLEVELS!”
        The elevator jerked, but otherwise remained in place. Achan could hear some unknowable machinery clanking above and below her. Another jerk, and the elevator dropped without warning to the darkness below.

        Meanwhile, Akan had settled herself comfortably on the seat of the water closet. It was a small restroom for only a single user, which naturally meant no one could walk in on her. Akan would take full advantage of this and had already locked the door. Since not many raiders accessed the central administration building to begin with on any given day, she wouldn’t have to worry about unwary intruders disrupting her plan.
        She stuck out her tongue, and much like Achan, Akan too had a black earpiece that was secreted into the chips from earlier. Akan promptly took and placed on her ear. However, as the hacker of the two she needed an extra set of equipment to fulfill her side of the plan. Lucky for her, the device she needed was already set up for her to use, and it was in the very restroom she resided in.
        She got up from the stall and reached for a box of tissues that was on the counter. Akan didn’t need them, but the box itself had what she wanted. She flipped the box upside down and ripped the bottom open. Out dropped a phone that was hidden underneath the layers of tissues, a phone that been planted there for this particular moment.
        Akan smiled.

        Narcissus stood proudly.
        While this was his usual stance, this day in particular was different. The wind blew with a reassurance of certainty. Today would be day that MR groveled on its knees, and everything that he fought for and believed in would come to fruition for yet another group of heathens.
        He stood in the middle of a desolate city that they had just conquered with ease. Destroyed buildings and monuments lay scattered across the landscape. Smoke from countless fires filled the air and choked those caught unprepared. The Lost Chorus had been standing alongside him. A one-hundred and fifty thousand strong army of devoted soldiers tore through the city with ease. Some of the troops still scurried about across the fallen site, searching for any would be survivors or defiers.
        As he stared off into the smoke filled sky, he felt a buzzing in the pocket of his coat. He pulled out a vibrating metallic sphere, and pressed his thumb into the center of it. The sphere twisted and stretched open, and from it, a holographic display of Akan’s face popped into view. She was concentrated on her screen. Akan’s eyes darted back and forth as they took in the stream of information before her.
        Narcissus smirked. “Hello, my dear agent. I assume all is going well?”
        The holographic Akan nodded. “Yes sir. The first stage of the mission has commenced. Achan should be making her way to Uncle Joe as we speak.”
        “Have you gained access to MR’s digital infrastructure yet?”
        “Working on that right now. Should have access and a working digital map of MR’s underground layout and structure within a few minutes.”
        “Good. Once Achan reaches the central core, she should be able transport you right past its defences with the codes I provided. From there, the rest of the plan should go off without a hitch. Per my directions, of course.”
        “Of course, sir. Although, I’m a little surprised that you were able to manipulate the guest specters here so easily. Thanks to you, this mission is going extremely well.”
        Narcissus shot Akan a stern look. “That’s no excuse to let your guard down, agent. After all, the plan is still in motion and it won’t take long for our enemies to catch on. Besides, it does not take much effort hack into an unprotected specter’s programming. MangaRaiders has grown complacent. Though you should not worry about such trivial things for now.”
        “My apologies, sir. You’re right, we shouldn’t be getting ahead of ourselves too early.”
        “Just see to it that the plan is successfully completed. The very fate of our cause rests solely in your hands. Do. Not. Fail me.”
        Akan nodded with respect. “We won’t, sir.” She said as she faded out of view.
        Narcissus returned the projector to his pocket. And amble footsteps crept up behind the major as if on cue. The voice of a woman spoke softly. “Is everything going according to plan, sir?”
        Narcissus did not bother with turning around to address the woman. “They very much are, Sister.”
        “And I assume the general will be pleased?”
        A smirk escaped the major. “I am certain that he already is…”

        The pub was bustling with activity today, which was a little odd considering the city was always a bit quieter after the holiday season. Raiders were indulging themselves in the usual drunken conversation and drinking games. They included the moderators Lego and Coryn, who were participating in their own little game called “Know your Raider.”
        “C’mon Lego, I’m sure you know Fro like the back of your hand.” The scientist said with a teasing smile.
        “Gah!” Lego shouted in frustration. “How the hell I am supposed to know his favorite color?”
        “I mean, you fought the guy more than I have, with you being his ‘rival’ and what not. I’m sure the debate of color came up at one point or another.”
        Lego scoffed. “Yeah right, like that means anything.” Lego scratched his afro as he contemplated an answer. “Uhhh, is it orange?”
        Coryn slid a shot of vodka across the table towards Lego. “Nope. It’s black.”
        “What!? But that’s not even considered a color!”
        Coryn shrugged. “Try telling him that.”
        Lego growled and wolfed down the shot in one gulp, and proceeded to jump up from his seat after slamming the glass down on the table. He stretched out his arm, and in the next second a femto katana materialized in his hand. Lego pointed it at Coryn.
        “Enough of these silly games, Coryn! Come, let's settle our differences like real men!”
        A barrier formed around Coryn at the snap of his finger. “You’re obviously drunk, but if you insist…”
        “Ahem…”
        The voice from across the room came from Pub-Tan, who was glaring at the two from behind her bar. She was wiping  down some glasses that had their names on them, and upon sensing her murderous intent, the two raiders ceased their squabble and shamefully sunk in their seats. After a moment of awkward silence, Lego spoke up.
        “So uh, what’s Hasith’s favorite anime?”

        Mahlua was out clothes shopping in Corycaly’s store with the other girls from the Fighters Division. Mahlua wasn’t much of a shopper to begin with, but she was in definite need of some new battle gear, and felt that bringing the other girls along would be a good bonding experience. Of course, when you put a tomboy like Mahlua, an absent minded child like Filia, and a gender neutral frog like Greentrap in the same room together, you won’t necessarily get a normal experience. Still, the three were getting along well enough, and that’s really all that mattered.
        Mahlua was helping Filia pick out a cute battle outfit that was appropriate for a girl her age. Mahlua’s sense of cute for a girl was a bit skewed, but she still felt like she could offer some valuable input. But with Filia turning down all her suggestions, she was beginning to think her input wasn’t so valuable after all.
        “You sure you don’t like this one, Filia?” Mahlua asked, pulling out a yellow shirt and a pair of jeans from the rack. “I think it would go great with your shoes.”
        Filia shook her head. “Um, that shirt is a little too yellow, miss Lua…”
        “Well what about this one?” Mahlua snatched a red dress from the rack and dangled it in front of Filia. “It’s a cute red and plus, it’s a dress! You like dresses don’t you? You wear ‘em all the time.”
        “Umm… I don’t know…”
        Mahlua sighed. “I know your favorite color is white and you like white dresses and all, but you don’t have to dress like a royal princess all the time, y’know.”
        “I know, I’m sorry.” Said Filia with an embarrassed glance at her shoes.
        “It’s fine honey.” Mahlua turned around called out for Greentrap, who had been in the fitting rooms for quite a while. “Ayo Greentrap! You’ve been in there for like twenty minutes now. You alright in there?”
        “No rushing, ribbit!” the frog yelled back.
        Mahlua smirked. “Well me and Filia got outfits to try on too, y’know? Stay in there any longer and I’ll make you come out!”
        A long sigh echoed from within the fitting room. “Fine.” Greentrap said, giving in.
        The door swung open and from it emerged Greentrap wearing an oversized beanie with an oversized shirt and blue jeans to match. She folded her arms and posed like a ‘gangsta’ from a played out rap video.
        “Wassup mah ribbits?”
        Mahlua facepalmed. “It’s gonna be a long day with these two…”

        Fro was snooping around the Science Division.
        Mentioning the words ‘Science Division’ and ‘alone’ in the same sentence was a scary thing to say out loud. Aside from Coryn, no raider in their right mind would dare mess around by themselves in the hellhole that was the Science Division. Especially considering the fact that there were areas of the underground complex that even Coryn stayed away from. Fro, however, was a daredevil who didn’t have a right mind to begin with. Also, he was bored after his Kool-Aid venture failed miserably. Boredom alone could drive a man to do some insane things.
        Fro carefully made his way through a dimly lit corridor, making sure his footsteps were as silent as possible. With this being his fifth trip through this particular area of the division, he was already accustomed to its layout. Still though, he had to be careful. Coryn’s personal V.I’s could pop up at a moment’s notice. Jacqueline had got him good the last time, and he wasn’t going to let her catch him slipping in again. Upon reaching an intersection, Fro stopped and pressed his back against the wall, slowly poking his head around the corner to make sure there were no V.I’s in sight down the hall.  With the coast clear, he dashed down the hall and stopped upon reaching a particular door on the right.
        “Whew, made it.” he sighed in relief.
        Fro opened the door and quickly entered inside the dark room, quietly shutting the door behind him as he did so. He flipped the switch on the wall and the lights flickered on, revealing a rather standard looking lab room.         Nonstandard, the lights also revealed a strange looking robot strapped onto a metal table in the center of the room. The robot looked discombobulated, and oddly, it had an afro on its head. Which one close inspection, was just a wig super-glued onto it. This was all Fro’s doing, and with the determined look he had on his face, it seemed he had some unfinished business to attend to.
        Fro dug into his afro and pulled out some tools and laid them out on the table. He took a good look at the robot and made a mental note to bring some hair dye for next time. Now, anybody who knew Fro would know that building a robot would fall into the science category, and that science wasn’t necessarily his strong suit. Fro knew this as well, of course, and quite honestly he didn’t need to. Not when he had YouTube to rely on at least.
        He pulled out his phone and tapped on the screen to bring up a how to video on building robots that he had saved to his playlist. Fro placed the phone on the table and occasionally glanced over at it as he began going to work.
        The phone's meager speakers echoed in the lab. “Hello, ladies and gentleman! My name is Brian and today in this video I’m going to be showing you how to build your very own robot!”

        The elevator had finally come to an abrupt stop. With how violently and quickly it dropped to begin with, coupled with the length of the fall, Achan was surprised that she landed in one piece.
        The doors flew open, and Achan stepped out into an area that was illuminated by dark blue lights. It was hard to see at first, but more lights flashed in front of Achan as she stepped forward. What was revealed to her certainly threw her head for a spin. “A maze, huh…”
        Giant metal walls criss-crossed together to form a giant maze that occupied the entire vicinity. While she was informed that  Uncle Joe would be carefully hidden behind some sort of defense mechanism, she never would have guessed that a maze would be the thing that stood in her way. Just as Achan was about step towards the starting point, her earpiece buzzed with static and a voice rang through her ear. “Achan, it’s Akan. Have you arrived at the location?”
        “Yeah, I have, but it looks like things won’t be so simple from here on out.”
        “Huh? Why do you say that?”
        Achan stepped past the starting point. “Because it looks like we’re gonna have to solve some puzzles along the way.”

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Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2019, 07:41:29 PM »
And here we have Chapter 3! This one is a little shorter than the others, but it's still full of good stuff! Don't worry if you're already ready for some action though! Things are about to kick off for all of us!


CHAPTER 3: THE ENCIRCLEMENT GAME
CHAPTER 3: THE ENCIRCLEMENT GAME

Narcissus approached a large tent at the center of their camp. It dwarfed the canvas structures around it, and the entrance was flanked with weary battle flags. Size was its only aggrandizement however. Its capacity only spoke to the importance of the one who occupied it. The leader of the army always warranted the largest accommodations. While many of them had flaunted their status, there was no hint of it here. The abode was exactly what it needed to be. Nothing more. Nothing less. The General never took what he deemed unnecessary.
        That was just the kind of man that he was.
        Narcissus stepped into the semi-darkness of the tent’s entrance. He found himself in a vestibule meant to keep out the worst of the dust from the battlefield. Trophies flanked the major on both sides. These were no golden cups, but rather the debris of war. Broken swords, shattered shields, the carcasses of gutted technologies and relics. Each item along the short walk told a story of conquest. Each one the last reminder of a world the Lost Chorus had eradicated. The General had hand picked them all. Narcissus had never understood his method of selection, but the display spoke for itself. The path filled Narcissus with reverence for their cause. This was almost a holy place for him, and it seemed to stretch out forever in his eyes.
        After only a half dozen paces however, Narcissus reached the opening to the inner tent. The path collapsed back to its real length in his mind. In such a short walk Narcissus had been humbled enough to address his general. He pushed the tent flap open, and entered the cool darkness beyond.
        There was just enough light to navigate. At the center of the space was a large wooden desk. Narcissus knew this from experience. He had participated in the campaign the General had a acquired it on, although Narcissus was yet to serve under his command at that time. As the major approached, he could just make out the maps and papers which overhung the front of the desk, but the man who sat behind it was bathed in shadow. Narcissus could only perceive the General in silhouette, but he didn't need the light to follow the General’s silent commands.
        Narcissus came to a halt about fifteen yards in front of the desk. There, an intricately woven rug awaited him, and Narcissus dropped to one knee upon it. He 'met’ the General's gaze, snapped a crisp salute, and then bowed his head.
        Narcissus was a man possessing personality traits many would consider unpleasant. He was cruel, zealous, conniving, scheming, prideful, remorseless, and envious. If he saw weakness, he would pour himself into the crack, and rip you apart at the seams. Narcissus had climbed through the ranks by dismantling his own leadership, and by subjugating those who dared follow his example. But the plain truth was that of all his qualities, Narcissus possessed one truly noble attribute.
        He understood the meaning of 'respect’.
        Narcissus did not use the feeling lightly. He did not give it freely, nor had he found many who deserved its graces. But in this man before him, in Narcissus's general, did he find the subject of his utmost respect.
        The General, the leader of the Lost Chorus. A man of impeccable dedication, of unshakable will. In this man Narcissus could place the future of their cause.
        Narcissus had spent years probing him, looking for an opening. Searching for an opportunity to break him down, to destroy him. But it never came. No matter what the General was presented with, no matter the machinations of their sinful foes, no matter the forces of nature pitted against them, they broke like waves against a great boulder.
        Narcissus had found the one man immune to his talents. And for him, that was all he needed to follow the General to the ends of the world. “Major Narcissus reporting, sir. Agent Achan Heptadelta has made contact. The operation is underway.”
        Narcissus paused. He had expected orders hours ago, but the General had remained silent on the subject. Now that the mission was progressing successfully, something would surely come. Surprisingly however, the General had refused to broach the subject. Narcissus kept his head down, unwilling to attract undue ire from his leader. The seconds stretched out, and Narcissus could feel the General's gaze on him like a hot flame. Finally unable to bear the silence any longer however, Narcissus began to speak. “Sir, if I may, the troops-”
        “What do you think of them Narcissus?”
        The General's even voice had stopped Narcissus in his tracks. “I…” He was unsure of his response. “Them? Sir?”
        “You've read the file on our next opponents, I presume.”
        Narcissus had read the file over a dozen times. He had spent the better part of six months planning the infiltration. In that time he had come to know them as well as they knew themselves, if not better. The General knew that of course, so it was clear to Narcissus that he was being put through some sort of test. “Sir, yes sir. I have made myself familiar with them.”
        The General waved a hand through the air, as if to clear it of some unseen haze. “Then please, tell me your thoughts. At ease.”
        Narcissus nodded, and rose back to his feet. “Sir, thank you sir. The 'Raiders’, as they collectively refer to themselves, have been known to 4Kids for some time. In the years leading up to the collapse, they repulsed multiple concentrated bot and spam ninja attacks, a terraforming incursion, a biological weapon developed by Treachery, and multiple encounters with members of the Censorship Unit.” Narcissus paused to think on his summation. “They possessed at those times, and continue to possess, many strong combatants. While they are not a unique case, they proved resilient enough to outlast 4Kids’ efforts. That being said, sir, they have never encountered a force our size. We shall defeat them handily.”
        Narcissus could hear the leather of the General's chair creak as he leaned back. Once again the tent was in silence as the General contemplated Narcissus's answer. Before it became too drawn out however, the General spoke. “You are close Narcissus, but you have missed the mark.”
        Narcissus felt a pang of instinctual anger in his gut, but he was careful not to express it. “Sorry, sir?”
        The chair creaked again, and the General rested his elbows on his desk. “You are correct to say they are not unique, Narcissus. In fact I would go so far as to call them archetypical. Do you disagree?”
        “No, sir.”
        “Good. Because I have seen their tale play out a hundred times. They are a prime example of our failure, Narcissus. We find these newly founded cities, and what did we do with them? Did we muster our forces? Did we commit resources to their containment? No Narcissus, we did not.”
        Narcissus was beginning to feel heat growing under his collar. The General’s cadence and tone had not changed from his normal even level, but he could sense a menace behind his words. “Sir, if I may. In the case of MangaRaiders, all of the normal protocols were followed. There are no clear mistakes in their management.”
        The General fell silent again before responding. “And that, Narcissus, is where we failed. Look at their history. When we first discovered them, what did we do? Send a single bot virus to eradicate them? They destroyed it within the hour. Why did that not incur further wrath? Should we have not seen a future of troubles then?
“And then what did they do? We tested them, and they overcame us. In the time it took us retaliate, they were training, getting stronger. After each time our forces lost to them, we allowed them time to rest, time to recover, time to better themselves.”
        Narcissus took an involuntary step forward. “Every time we reengaged them we sent stronger forces to account for that!”
        The General snapped at him. “To what end?! We were only ever smart enough to attack them in even fights. A war is not won by first ensuring each side is equal.”
        A quiet fell on the room. Narcissus realized his transgression, and slowly slid his foot back into place. “We far outmatch them in every way General. They are nothing more than a thorn in our side that we must pluck.”
        The General did not respond for some time, and Narcissus was beginning to worry for his own sake. Finally he heard a sigh from the General. “To call them a thorn, Narcissus, is to underestimate our foe. A thorn is inactive. It has no will of its own. No, Narcissus, these ‘Raiders’, and all of the other sites like them, are a spider. They are not aggressive all on their lonesome. They are defensive, trap makers. Once you find yourself entangled in their web, their bite will prove venomous. And 4Kids made the mistake of wading into a whole den of spiders.”
        A small flash of light blinded Narcissus’ eyes, which had grown accustomed to the darkness. The General had lit a cigar, and he could see the dull ember burning in the darkness. It seared a line across his vision, but he did not let his attention sway. “And what is your suggestion, General, when it comes to spiders?”
        Smoke billowed out into the room, obscuring even the darkness. “When you wish to kill a spider, Narcissus, you do not prod it with your finger until you have induced it to bite you. No, Narcissus. The opening salvo should be to smash it with your bootheel. Only then may you claim victory. 4Kids had the boot at their disposal, and yet they ignored it in favor of the weakest of options. They left their wounds to rot and fester, and eventually they sat in apathy as the self-inflicted infection killed them. But I am different, my Lost Chorus, is different. We shall not hesitate to use our heels, regardless of the beast which has so arrogantly claimed our home as their own.”
        An ice cold chill ran up from the base of Narcissus’ spine. But it was no chill of dread or terror, it was an excitement that burned white hot as it smashed into the base of his skull. He let the General’s words penetrate every ounce of his being. The major soaked them up and directed them into his core. Holy fire burned in his mind and in his heart, and he snapped a salute. “Sir! Yes sir!”
        The General relaxed back into his chair, and let the cigar rest in his hand. “Order the men to break camp. I want them ready for inspection in half an hour.”

        Between some more (relatively quiet) drinking games, dares, and lost and won matches, Lego was, as you’d say, ‘three sheets to the wind’, besotted, crocked, hammered, inebriated, plastered, etc. etc.. In the common fate of those who can survive preposterous amounts of true physical damage and indeed in some cases actual death, when Lego drank he went… A little too far.
        “I bet you can’t do this.” Lego tried to do a handstand and drink a vodka, but it went up his nose. He flipped over and crashed into a table. By now Pub-tan had had enough, and he was thrown out along with Coryn.
        “Hey I didn’t do anything!” Barked the fair haired moderator.
        “Sorry man.” Lego hiccuped, “I really thought I could land that one. I swear Pub-tan hates me. This is discrimination against green alien cats!” He shook his fist at the pub, and a well aimed peanut flew out the window and hit him in the forehead, sending him down on the ground.
        “Ugh. Why are the Tans so scary? I miss them being cute and cuddly.”
        Coryn shook his head, “Says the guy who likes yandere.”
        “Yandere makes girls cuter and cuddd… lier.”
        “I don’t think that’s a word.”
        Coryn wasn’t quite done socializing in the Pub, but an moderator’s job was never done, and he also had a lot of things to organize and sort out as the new year got rolling. A lot had happened, and a lot would happen. He had to be at the forefront to do his part, and make sure it went smoothly. Without, say, the raiders being teleported to some distant dimension, or some raiders forgetting their names, or anything in between.
        Lego got to his feet, “Hic-! Lighten up ya old sourpuss.” He looked at Coryn, “I’m going to go walk this off, maybe stroll through the Artist and Writers Districts. Wanna come?”
        “You don’t stroll. You run on rooftops.”
        “Stroll, running on roofs, what’s the difference?”
        “Yeah, yeah.”
        Lego walked away with a *censored*-eating grin on his face. His body complained at how much he had drunk, but Lego’s eyes took in the city lights and felt just fine. Juuust fine. Nothing could touch him right now. He’d had big lows. Looking for a job, looking for meaning, and feeling even more lost when he felt the forum was slower and everyone was leaving. But he could still go for a night out and chill with fellow raiders, and that was just fine. Plus, he looked forward to busting up more punching bags at Fro’s place. There was nothing better than annoying that brotherman.
        Lego’s ‘stroll’ took longer than he thought. As he got a little more sober, Lego hopped and skipped from rooftop to rooftop as he went about the city. He didn’t think about it much, but he ‘walked’ in an outward-spiral that started from the centre of the city to the edges. He didn’t exactly follow this spiral or visit every place, but he always crossed into every district during these ‘strolls’.
        MR Tower, the best landmark in town, stood proud amongst several more skyscrapers. Near it was the proud and amazing Ethical Science Division Tower (he really needed to work on more projects to spread their amazing technology). Lego wondered when the destroyed Broadcast Tower would be rebuilt. The last he heard, it had become a weird center for underground street art, rap and music. He’d need to check it out sometime.
He cast his eye out further, at that silver alloy wall that kept everyone safe and protected in the city. Lego also remembered his duty to slay the occasional spam ninja. He was glad they were most of what he’d had to face lately. As brutal as fights tended to be with Raiders, there was a camaredie to it all that beat dealing with real problems. The trolls had been the worst by far however.
        Lego moved forward. The floating Kaos Kubes of the Writers and Artists Districts (the objects which brought stories and artwork to life), were always alight, always busy. Ever since Art-tan re-manifested they had gotten an extra kick in activity.
        Now in the flowing water-roads of The Fashion District, Lego felt a need to buy more trench-coats. His older ones, unbelievably, were getting tattered.
        The interconnected trafficways flowed smoothly operating busses and the like.  Though it was odd to have so many guest specters and only a few actual raiders, they still filled up the city to the point that you would be forgiven for thinking it was a thriving metropolis.
        Standing on the rooftop of one of the skyscrapers, Lego noticed for the first time that something was off.
        There were no spam ninjas.
        None at all. Nada, zilch. Not even a whiff of them. He focused on the outer walls, borrowing his cat form’s eyesight for a bit. He didn’t even see the tale-tale fly-zapper effect of the ninjas being fried on the external defences.
        A slow day? Yeah, that happened, but not like this. This was tantamount to nekomimis not being cute, or something similarly absurd. He never had a day, or a stroll, without the opportunity to swing his sword at least once. Even if sometimes it was such that he could ignore them when the threat wasn’t substantial.
        Instead, there simply seemed to be none in sight, none interested in coming to the forum, none poking their heads out or growing in the underbelly of the city.
        Spam ninjas were like rats. They were always there. Part of the ecosystem.
        And if rats suddenly went underground, suddenly jumped ship, then…
        Lego headed to The MR Tower, feeling an itch but still remaining calm. He was just overthinking things, he knew. When he went up that elevator and walked in he’d be a bit nervous, just a tick jittery. But he’d go up to the tower, check with Hasith and it would be almost disappointingly pointless to have worried.
        Lego was wrong. If only he could have foreseen what was about to happen.

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Offline Vacant

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2019, 02:55:20 PM »
Ohh exciting times! It's interesting to read even with my basic ass knowledge of the MR Canon.  If I had to guess who the major authors were of each chapter, I would go....

Chapter 1: Fro
Chapter 2: Mahlua
Chapter 3: Coryn (Although Lego's POV section he surely had a hand in)

Will look forward to Chapter 4  :thumbsup:


Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 09:11:09 AM »
Hmmm. Interesting choices Vacant. You get 1/3 points. I'll let you decide which chapter you figured out, lol.

Glad you liked it! Please feel free to ask any questions that come up! We'll make a canon nerd out of you yet!

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Offline Coach Fro

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 09:41:43 PM »
Alright everybody, here's chapter 4! Lots of action and suspense that I'm sure you all will enjoy.


CHAPTER 4: THANK UNCLE JOE

CHAPTER 4: THANK UNCLE JOE

        Achan’s foray into the puzzle filled maze wasn’t going as smooth as she would like. To be completely fair, though, It’s not like she was expecting a maze to begin with. She knew the raiders were wacky folk, but the maze was a bit over the top if you asked her.
Static buzzed through Achan’s earpiece as she turned left at a corner. “Achan,” said the voice of Akan, who sounded a bit irritated. “Stop making left turns so damn much!. You’re making this whole thing longer than it needs to be.”
        Achan made another left as Akan said that. “Well, if making right turns didn’t have me reaching dead ends so often, I would probably stop making left ones!” After her retort, Achan continued to follow her better judgement and progressed further to the left half of the maze. At certain points she felt she was going in complete circles. Up then left. Left then down. It certainly threw her head for a spin, and while she couldn’t see the rest of the fortress from her position, she could feel that she would be running into a few more circles, much more than she would have liked to.
        Another left now, and Achan found herself along a path where she could only advance straight. Seeing this, Achan figured she had pretty much covered as much of the left half portion of the maze as she possibly could, and followed the path with hope from making some considerable progress. The straight shot seemed long, but Achan could see a giant metal wall and a path going right. She smiled. She was doubtful at first, but her intuition would not fail her this time, she thought. Akan was the stupid one this time around, and that promising right turn would be her undeniable proof.
        She made the right and continued along the route until finally…
        “A dead end?”
        She stopped dead in her tracks and stood in disbelief. Achan gawked at the cruel maze wall that played the spoiler. Where did she go wrong? She wondered. Surely, in her mind, she was going in a promising direction. Akan had been leading her on blank missions, falsely directing her nowhere, and now her own sense of direction couldn’t be trusted. Achan would have to backtrack.
        Again.
        Salt was bubbling on the surface of Achan’s skin, and as if the sodium pouring out of her wasn’t enough, a mocking Akan verbally began rubbing that salt into Achan wounds. “Haha! Stupid! I told you to stop going left so much. That’s what you get!”
        Achan growled.“Shut up! Aren’t you supposed to be helping me solve this damn puzzle? ‘Cause you’re not doing a good job of that!”
        “I was helping you. You just weren’t listening to me.”
        “No, you know what I mean by ‘helping me.’ What happened to that digital map you were downloading? Having a layout of this place would be ten times more helpful than you just giving me blind guesses to go off of.”
        “Oh please, like yours are any better. And for your information, no, it hasn’t fully downloaded yet. Cracking into the thieves’ underground database was no fast process, so you’re lucky that I at least have a working map of what you’ve progressed through so far. Though, to be honest, tracking your left turns in real time is really giving me a headache.”
        Achan, still a little heated, stormed up to the giant wall and kicked as hard as she could. “Argh! This maze is so frustrating!”
        A metallic shriek rang out.
        “Huh?”
        Achan wasn’t entirely sure at first, but a few seconds of needed silence passed, and she was able to confirm her paranoa. The wall had definitely budged. Not by a lot, but it had budged nonetheless.
        “Hey, that thing moved, right? Try pushing it some more.” said an urging Akan.
        Achan listened. Though, she really didn’t really need Akan telling her to do something so common sense.
She pushed on the flat surface. The wall was certainly dense, but it slowly gave way to Achan’s show of force. A huff, a puff, and a creak later, Achan pushed her way onto the other side.
        And she wasn’t too happy to say the least.
        “Wait, what?”
        Before her were three paths: One going left, one going right, and a path that lead back to the starting point. Her jaw dropped. All her hard work gone down the drain just like that. “How?” she asked desperately. “This doesn’t even make sense!”
        “Hmm…” said an musing Akan through Achan’s earpiece.
        “What are you ‘hmming’ about?
        “That door was an RNG.”
        Achan looked perplexed. “RN- what?”
        “It’s short for ‘random number generator’. Basically it refers to something having an unpredictable amount of random outcomes. Coming across a desired outcome is based on pure luck. In our case, that door you just passed through is probably linked to every other door like it in this maze, and once you pass through one, you’ll end up in another random area.”
        “So what you’re saying is that finding Uncle Joe will depend on luck alone?”
        “Partially, but not entirely. We can still maneuver around normally, it’s just that avoiding going through a RNG door will be highly unlikely. We’ll just have to carefully consider our options each time, and hope for the best.”
        A depressing sigh escaped the tired Achan. “Great…”
        “Luckily for us though, the digital map I’m downloading is nearing completion. It looks like we’ll have much easier time solving this hellhole once I’m finally able to see this maze in its entirety.” Akan paused, and Achan could hear her partner’s subtle moans of thoughtful pondering, quiet though they were. “Damn, it looks like those doors won’t  be the only obstacles getting in our way. From what I’m seeing,  the bosses of the thieves will be have a lot more in store for us.”
        Achan shrugged lazily and snapped back around to the RNG door that landed her in her current position. “As if this stupid maze alone wasn’t enough.”
        “Gonna test your luck?”
        Achan pressed a hand against the wall. “Might as well. It’s not like I got much to lose with where I’m at right now.”
        She pressed forward, the door turned, and Achan ended up on the other side. As far as what this side would lead to was a mystery.

        Lego had arrived at the front door of MR Tower. Stumbling of course. He was still a little drunk, but the buzz was slowly receding and he was at least coherent enough to not fall through the entrance and land flat on his face. Say what you want about the cat, the guy knew how to handle his liquor.
        The automatic doors slid open and Lego stepped into the main lobby. Nothing out of the ordinary presented itself. The guest specter was behind the counter like usual, the lobby was clean, etc etc. Still, even as he shrugged his earlier suspicions off, Lego still felt the vibe in the air was off. But what was it?
He decided not to put too much stock into it for now. After all, his intuition wasn’t always the greatest. Add that on top of being intoxicated and he could easily just chalk it up to pointless paranoa. Lego moved with drunken wobbles up to the counter to sign in on the guest list. Normally, a moderator could just skip signing in altogether, however Lego felt like signing in anyway. To his surprise, though, he found an interesting entry on the list. His eyes squinted hard at the familiar names.
        “Hasith and Corycaly are out again?”
        According to the sheet, the administrators had left earlier during the morning and hadn’t returned since. Not too weird, Lego thought. They would on occasion would leave the city to handle personal matters. Whether those matters included scouring the Net for the latest ecchi manga or sewing supplies was often as not the real question. Either way, it wasn’t Lego’s place to judge. Still though, he was a bit disappointed. Lego had hoped a conversation with one of the two would rid him of his worrisome thoughts. Now he would have to wait until day was over to get rid of whatever bad mojo he was feeling.
        Just as Lego was about to leave, his ears twitched. He had heard something. A voice, mumbled, and with a slight echo. He looked over his shoulder and realized it was coming from women’s bathroom. Who? He wondered. It’s wasn’t uncommon for someone to stop by the tower to take a convenient restroom break. But given the time of day, and just the simple fact not many raiders were out and around at the moment cast a funny suspicion over him. He followed his instinct and headed towards the door of the women’s bathroom. Now that he was closer, the voice was slowly making itself familiar to his ears. Lego had an idea of who it was, but his drunken stupor prevented him from being certain. He knocked on the door without thinking.
        A panicked shriek sounded, followed by a what sounded like something being dropped to the floor. “W-who is it?” Akan asked, sounding almost terrified.
        “Akan?” Lego tilted his head, looking confused.
        “Lego!? What the hell are you doing here? Jeez, don’t you know it’s rude for a guy to just randomly knock on the girl’s bathroom?”
        Lego burped. “Jus’ wondering who was in here. Hey, where’s Achan then? She in there with you?”
        “Um... no, stupid! She uh… left already. Yeah… I told her I would meet up with her later.”
        Lego took a moment to ponder. “Huh… I don’t remember seeing her…” he said quietly to himself. “Yah sure she’s not in the there with you?”
        “I said NO!” Akan screamed.
        Lego shrugged. “Alrighty then- hic! I’ll be going now. Make sure ya flush after you’re done and use plenty of tissue.”
        “UGH! JUST SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY!”
        With that, he excused himself from Akan’s presence and walked back over to the center of the lobby. He flopped down on a lobby couch and hung his head back on the soft cushions. Lego felt dazed. First the weird vibe, and now this awkward run in with Akan was throwing his head for a loop. ‘Normal’, he kept repeating to himself. Everything was normal. He tried his best to convince himself that nothing was wrong, but he shook his head. Something was wrong. Lego just hadn’t figured it out yet.
        He popped up from the couch and headed for the elevator. The moderator wasn’t sure why he was walking towards the elevator, but at this point it didn’t really matter. Lego was operating off of pure instinct, and he allowed it to take him to wherever it saw fit.
        To Lego’s credit, it led him to the source of his paranoa.
        The elevator doors opened, and without even stepping in, Lego noticed the pieces of destroyed security camera on the floor. He lifted his sight up and found a broken hook that belonged to the no longer operating device.
        “Huh…”
        Lego turned back around immediately.

        Back inside the bathroom, Akan was still reeling from her interaction with Lego. Her eyes kept darting back and forth from her phone to the door. Even as she continued to guide Achan, her free ear was still much attuned to the subtle noises coming from the lobby. She hoped Lego had actually left. The last thing she needed was a raider interrupting the plan after everything had already been going so smooth. More than that, it was too important for them to succeed. The lives of the demon’s very much depended on it.
        “Hey, Akan,” Said Achan through Akan’s earpiece. “You alright over there? You’re a bit quiet. That cat isn’t around still, is he?”
        “No. I think he left, but I’m not really sure yet. I’m a bit nervous to tell the truth.”
        “I can’t really blame you for feeling nervous, but now isn’t the time. You need to focus and help me reach the end of this maze, remember?”
Akan took a deep breath. “You’re right, for once. I’m sure he’s gone by now.” Akan returned her full attention to the digital map on her phone screen. “Hey, there’s another dead end coming up soon. Try going-”
        Before she finished, the bathroom door was kicked in. There stood Lego with a stone cold expression on his face.
        Akan jumped, eyes wide with terror. “Ah! Hey what are you-”
        Lego teased his blade against her throat.
        “You’re coming with me.”

        It had been complete radio silence on Achan’s side for quite some time now. And it was beginning to worry her.
        The last thing she heard from Akan was a panicked shriek and some muffled noise that she couldn’t make out. Other than that, her earpiece had been quiet.
        “I hope she’s alright,” Achan said to herself. She knew Akan had been captured, and soon enough she would be caught as well if she didn’t hurry. Even though Akan had been captured, she herself still had a mission to carry out. It was just that now with Akan out of the picture, things would unfortunately be a lot harder than necessary.
Achan headed straight along a path and took a left that had a series of shorter paths. The majority of them were dead ends of course, so Achan stayed away from them. However, a particular path on her right caught Achan’s attention. She skidded to a stop and stared at the potential option. After a moment of contemplation, she went in that direction. Achan didn’t know why, but she felt that the direction she took was absolutely vital, as if a voice in her head had told her to do it.
        Funny enough, there was a voice, but it wasn’t from inside her head. Achan stopped upon hearing the murmuring of a feminine voice nearby. She turned around. “Who’s there?”
        “Over here, intruder!”
        Achan looked all around for the culprit mocking her, but there was no one in sight. It wasn’t until she looked up, however, that her eyes came across the speaker in question.The woman was sitting on top of the maze wall at the end of the path. Her hair was brown and around medium length. She was dressed in a white collar shirt with black slacks and shoes, which gave Achan the impression that she may have been a professional of some sort of occupation. What unnerved Achan the most however was that she gave off an ethereal glow. She didn’t seem quite human in the way the light radiated from her. The young woman adjusted the glasses on her face before hopping down from her perch.
        “Who the hell are you?” Quizzed Achan as the woman slowly approached her.
        “I’m the one who should be asking you that, silly.” The woman shrugged. “Then again, I wouldn’t have to ask you that necessarily, since I know who you are already. But it seems polite.”
Achan looked skeptical for a moment. “You know who I am? And just how do you know that?”
        The woman stopped and smiled. “I know because Joe told me. He knows everything about everyone here.”
        “Joe? You mean… the computer?”
        “Yup! He me told everything there is to know about you. You’re Achan Heptadelta, an ex agent of 4kids who first appeared during the ‘Dystopic Blades’ incident. You were captured along with your companion, Akan Octa, who is also a former agent. Your height, weight, measurements are exactly-”
        “Alright! I get it already!” Achan yelled, cutting the woman off mid sentence. Had she kept going, the proud fighter would’ve ended up losing her composure. “So you know who I am. Great. Good for you. But you still haven’t explained  who you are and why you’re here in the first place.”
        “You’re rude, but to be fair it’s rude of me not to introduce myself as well.” The woman cleared her throat before speaking again. “To answer your questions, my name is AnimeDoodler. And before you ask, no, I am not the actual Doodler. Just a defense program created by Uncle Joe to deal with any unidentified intruders. Think of me as a guardian if that helps. Although, as the actual intruder here, I think it is rude of you to ask my reason for being here.”
        “Defense program huh? Didn’t know data could have a personality.”
        Data Doodler raised a finger. “We’re based off our original’s data during their time in the city. So physical traits, personality, powers, status, etc., are all copied” She raised another finger. “Fun fact: We’re also randomly generated, and unfortunately for you, Joe generated the worst possible raider for you to deal with.”
Achan instinctively assumed a defensive stance. “And is that supposed to make me scared? What makes you so special?”
        Data Doodler waved her hand and before her a giant pencil pixelated into shape. She grabbed it and pointed the lead tip at Achan. “Two reasons: One, you cannot defeat me because I can only be disabled by Joe himself. So, good luck with that. And two, like I said, I am based off my original counterpart’s data at the time of their presence, and before Doodler left she was a moderator sooooo…”
        Data Doodler spun her weapon with a twirl and readied an attack stance. “You’re gonna have a bad day with me, sweetheart.”

        Akan was tense.
        On the elevator trip down, Lego had kept his blade snuggled against her throat. Even while inebriated, Lego made sure that she wouldn’t able to slip away. He was ready to make her pay should she try anything funny. Akan wanted to move, but didn’t risk it. All she could do was gulp down nervous globs of saliva and hope for some sort of miracle.
        The elevator stopped and the doors flung open. The two stepped out, Lego had been right behind Akan, prodding her forward with ungentle jabs. She walked uncomfortably. Being pushed around was certainly pissing her off, but all Akan could afford was groans and balled fists. She thought of Achan, wondering if she was still making any progress without her help. Lego had already confiscated her gadgets and discarded them, so any hope of contacting her was obsolete.
        They made it to the entrance of the maze and Lego whistled after seeing it close up. He had known about the maze from what the Administrators had told him, but he had never found occasion to visit the space. It was far larger than he had imagined it to be. Lego burped. “Pretty big maze…”
Akan rolled her eyes. “You’ve been a mod for how long and this is your first time seeing it?”
Lego wrapped his arm tightly around Akan’s neck, teasing a choke. “You’re not getting smart with me are you?”
        “N-no.” Akan said as she struggled to breathe.
         Lego released his grip and Akan gasped for air with a cough. “Good.” he said.
        Lego pushed Akan on and they stepped past the starting point. Lego looked around with a few head turns and already seemed visibly confused. “So uh, where is she?”
        “Uh, how I am supposed to know that, dofus? She could be anywhere in this stupid maze.”
        “Can’t you contact her or something?”
        “You took away my phone, remember?”
        Lego burped. A look of dumbfoundedness had struck him. “Right…”
        Akan groaned. Her only thoughts were of Achan, and the quickest possible ways of getting to her while ditching the cat in the process. The layout of the maze was still fresh in her mind’s eye. Akan could possibly lead Lego to her by memory, if given the chance. The only problem with that, of course, was that her memory was limited. With the design of the maze being how it was, that could take an eternity. Then again, there was also the alternative…
        “The walls…”
        Lego raised a brow. “What about ‘em?”
        “They’re RNG. If you pass through one, you’ll end up in another part of the maze. If you want to find Achan, going through the walls will be our fastest option.”
        “You lie…”
        Akan turned her head around and smirked at the cat. “I can go first and show you if you don’t believe me.”
        Lego glared at Akan with suspicious eyes. He shook his head. “We’ll both go. Wouldn't want you running off on your own.”
        Akan shrugged. “Fine with me.”
        The two stepped forward and stopped in front of the maze wall. Lego was a bit hesitant. After all, his knowledge of the maze was rather limited, and there was no way of knowing if Akan was telling the truth. Akan on the other hand, crossed her fingers. The chances of actually running into Achan were one in a million. And even if they did, there was still Lego to deal with. Akan hoped that by the time they ran into her, she would have a plan in line to lose Lego and make it to Uncle Joe in one piece.
        With Akan in tow, Lego pressed one hand against the wall and pushed. The wall gave way and turned. Soon enough they found themselves on the other side. It was in that very same moment, however, that Lego was knocked on his back by a giant pencil smacking him on the forehead. Surprised, Akan turned from the reeling Lego and looked in front. Before her was Achan squaring up with a woman she couldn’t recognize. “Achan?!”
        Achan snapped around. “Akan!”
        Doodler was confused. “Akan? She’s here too?”
        Lego eyes shot wide as he got up. “Doodler?!”
        “Lego?!”
        “Cat!” Hissed Achan at Lego.
        “Witch!” He shot back.
        Seconds passed and for a moment there was no movement between the four individuals. It was then that    Akan made the first move with a sprint to Achan. Lego played the spoiler however, and grabbed ahold of her arm before she could take off. Akan cursed as she struggled to break free from Lego’s grasp. “Let go of me you smelly fur-ball!”
        Even as she kicked Lego held tight. “Never!”
        Achan turned away from Doodler. “Akan!” she called out. “Don’t worry I’m--”
        “You’re not going anywhere!” Doodler said, cutting her off. She charged pencil lead first at Achan and went for a stab. She thought she had caught Achan off guard, but she didn’t take the agent’s reflexes into account. Achan sidestepped the stab and tripped Doodler. As Doodler fell over, Achan grabbed ahold of her arm and pulled Doodler over her shoulder for a judo-like throw. With a shove Doodler was launched. Her target: Lego.
        Unfortunately for the drunken cat, he was too occupied with Akan to notice the incoming data clone in time. Before he could dodge, Doodler slammed spine first against his face, and the two were sent tumbling through the revolving RNG door behind them. The maze wall completed it’s rotation, and with that, the two agents were finally together and alone. For now at least. They looked at one another. Achan spoke first. “You okay? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
        Akan shrugged. “The only painful thing I endured from him was his terrible breath. Other than that, I’m fine.”
        “Fair enough. Let’s hurry up and find Uncle Joe then. You still have that phone, right?”
        Akan shook her head. “Negative. The cat confiscated it on our way down. We’re gonna have to wing it from here on out.”
        Achan spit, slightly annoyed. “Great. And just how we’re gonna go through this whole thing without a reference?”
        “With luck, remember? The walls are our only chance of reaching Joe before they catch up to us. We’ll just barge through as many walls as possible until we land on the exit.”
Achan still seemed bothered the idea, but it was better than solving the maze the old fashioned way. “Fine.” she said. “Whatever works, I guess. But we need to get going now before those thieves show up again.”
        Akan nodded. “Agreed. I would hate to have to smell that cat’s breath again.”
        And with that, the two agents charged to a wall on their right and pushed onward.

        On the other side of the maze, Lego and Data Doodler had finally recovered from their collison and gotten to their feet. Lego, being a little buzzed still, was having difficulty figuring out if the woman before him was actually his long lost compadre, or just a mere clone of the girl he’d known. He felt a bit awkward about it, almost to the point of being unable to speak due to nervousness. Lego spoke regardless, with a hint of hope in his voice, of course. “So uh, how you’ve been Doodles? Long time no see, am I right?”
        “Hate to break it to ya sweetie, but I’m not the real Doodler.” she responded with a tone that sounded almost cold to Lego’s ears.
        Lego sunk his head in disappointment. “Kinda figured that. Gah, at least a guy can dream I guess.”
        “I’m sure you’ll see her again, so don’t feel so down. But now isn’t the time for that. We have to find those two troublemakers before they get to Joe.”
        Lego’s face stiffened. He was serious again. “What do you think they’re up to exactly?”
“I’m not entirely sure to be honest, but if I had to take a guess, they’re probably trying to hack into the city’s registry network. What they do from there is beyond me, and quite honestly, I’m not gonna wait to find out.”
        “I can agree with that.” Lego said with a nod. “But how are we going to catch them? It will take ages to reach them in this place.”
        “Not if we use the walls.” Doodler said with a smirk.
        “Huh? But aren’t those things random? Can really rely on them?”
        “Of course we can! We just have to make some adjustments to them first. Watch.” Data Doodler stuck out her arm and directed it to a maze wall in front of them. Her hand glowed with a golden shine, and the wall in front of them reciprocated that same glow. The glow remained for a second, and after it finished, Doodler snatched Lego’s hand. “Lets go!” she said, and headed past the maze wall with Lego following behind her.

        Achan and Akan weren’t having the best of luck in the meantime. They had ended up on multiple sides of the maze, and even ended up back at the entrance a few times. While their route was still leagues better than manually traveling the maze, at this rate they were bound to run into Lego and Data Doodler sooner or later, and that would pose a major problem. The pair doubted the same trick would work twice.
        As they jolted down a path towards another wall, they stopped upon noticing that one of the walls on their left shown strangely with golden light. Achan turned towards her partner after studying the phenomenon briefly. “What do you think? Could it be a sign from Uncle Joe?”
Akan placed a hand under her chin. She looked rather uncertain. “I’m not too sure if it can be trusted. Could be a trap for all we know.”
        “Then let’s keep mov--”
        Before she could finish the maze wall spun, and from the other side emerged Lego and Doodler storming towards the agents at full speed. Doodler pounced on Achan and slammed her down to the floor. Lego had attempted the same with Akan, but the nimble agent rolled out of harm’s way. As Lego was getting to his feet, Akan looked towards Achan for some sort of help. Unfortunately, Achan’s hands were tied, or more accurately, pinned to the ground. Even as she struggled Doodler wasn’t giving her much wiggle room.
As she was dodging punches from Doodler, Achan called out to Akan. “Go!” she screamed. “I’ll catch up with you later!”
        Akan froze upon hearing her partner’s request, but instinct took over as she swayed left when Lego pounced for her once again. “But--”
        Achan trapped Doodle’s swing in between her underarm before yelling back. “Just go already!”
Not another word was spoken. Akan ran for the nearest wall available and desperately pushed her way through. Lego followed suit, but stopped for a second to look at Doodle for some sort of confirmation. Even as she tousled with Achan on the floor, Doodle obliged. She lifted up a free arm and pointed at the wall Akan passed through. Her hand and the wall glowed simultaneously, and once the glowing ceased, Lego headed through.
        Taking advantage of the brief distraction, Achan raised her knees up to her chest and pushed Doodler off with a kick. Doodler flew and landed against a wall, but minimized the impact by planting her feet against its surface at the last second. Achan rose to her full height and wiped her mouth with her arm. Gasping for air, Achan said. “So you’re the reason why that wall glowed earlier.”
        Doodler dropped down from the maze wall with a grin. “Thanks to Joe, I have complete control of every single wall in this maze. I can dictate which side of the maze a wall transports you to, and what’s more, I can control them all from up here.” Doodler said, pointing to her brain. She waved her hand and her giant pencil materialized before her. She grabbed it and lowered her stance. “I don’t know what you two devils are planning, but as long as I’m here you won’t succeed.”
        Achan dashed forward. “We’ll just see about that!”

        The game of cat and mouse between Akan and Lego wasn’t boding well for the agent. While she could certainly hold her own in a fist fight, a one-on-one with a super alien cat moderator didn’t exactly sound ideal. Running was her only viable option. Problem was, Uncle Joe, the universe, and mysterious cosmic forces all felt like they were conspiring against Akan.
        No matter how hard she tried to throw the cat off her trail, Lego was always right behind her with his sword in tow. The RNG factor of the maze walls no longer seemed to matter, for Lego was either popping up from behind walls she passed through, or appearing from another wall in the vicinity. “Doodler…” she said in her head. “She must be controlling these walls somehow.”
        Suddenly in the midst of thinking, the sound of lightning cackled behind her. She turned her head slightly, and saw a lighting bolt already zooming her way. Akan ducked down and rolled out of the bolt’s way. As she got up, Lego was already in front of Akan with his katana swinging for her head. She ducked down and crawled behind Lego through his legs. The moment Akan got back up on her feet, she barged shoulder first through a wall on her right and kept her feet peddling. As she disappeared, the wall behind her glowed, and Lego passed through once it stopped.
        Even though she had lost Lego for a second, Akan knew he would back immediately. If her theory was correct, Doodler had programmed the walls to track her movements, and then use that data to direct Lego to whatever location the targeted wall sent her to. However, from what Akan had seen so far, only one wall could be altered at a time. It meant she could still throw her enemy off if her movements were quick enough and unpredictable to boot. She decided to put that theory to the test by rushing through a wall up ahead on her right. The moment she passed through, Akan immediately turned right back around and passed through it again. As she vanished on one side, Lego emerged from the opposite side of the rotating wall. He looked confused. He expected to find Akan scurrying away from him, but as he looked down the path he found no trace of her.
        “I lost her?!” he shifted his attention to the wall behind him. “But Doodler said as long as I pass through one of those glowing walls I should be able stay on her trail. Gah, what’s going on  here?”
        It was then that Lego heard the pinging sound of a wall glowing nearby. He snapped around and saw a wall shining in front of him. He almost ran for it immediately, but paused upon noticing that another wall at a dead end was glowing as well. Before he knew it multiple walls surrounding him had been glowing on and off in very short intervals. Lego shook his head. “What the hell…?”

        Back on Doodler’s side, Akan’s erratic movements were throwing the data clone’s head for a spin as well. While she could easily link the coordinates between two walls, constantly adjusting them to keep track of Akan’s position was definitely tricky. And an arm flailing Achan wasn’t making her job any easier.
        As Achan closed in for a roundhouse kick, Doodle ducked and weaved. As she rose back up she swung her pencil up with Achan’s face in mind. Achan jumped to side in time, however, and launched herself back at the clone. Data Doodler lowered herself down and swept Achan by her feet. Achan fell, and Doodler went to close the deal with an impaling stab. Before the pencil could connect, Achan rolled to her left and bounced back up to her feet. Doodler did the same, and a moment later the two combatants were engaged in an intense staredown.
Achan could only help but to chance a glance at Doodler’s ever glowing arm. If that arm of hers was responsible for the RNG probability integrated into every maze wall, then she would have to figure out how to throw clone’s focus off somehow. She didn’t have too many ideas on hand, nor did she have much time either. For all she knew the administrators could swoop in at any second and put a stop to their plans in a heartbeat.
        And then, the air shifted.
        “...?”
        Data Doodle’s face scrunched up. Her face revealed worry. And it was for good reason.


        In another part of the gigantic structure, Akan made it.
        “That’s… it!”
        Thanks to some strategic decision making and unfathomable luck, Akan had finally arrived at the exit. A short single path lead to Uncle Joe’s main interface. Supercomputers upon supercomputers, all accompanied by blue-lit monitors with various codes running across the screens. Surrounded by these smaller monitors was one humongous monitor with a blank blue screen. This monitor was the main one, and Akan nearly froze in awe from the sight of it.
        She ran for it. Her chance was now, and Akan refused to waste it.

        On Lego’s end, he had almost given up hope finding his target.
        For a moment the glowing walls that kept him on the right path were no longer functioning. The RNG had completely kicked back in, which lead him back to square one: A wild goose chase with no goose in sight.
         “Dammit!” he cursed. His sudden unluckiness may have been tied to an unfortunate mishap on Doodler’s end, he posited. If Lego’s hunch was correct, then his luck may have indeed run out.
        It was only then that a maze wall in front of him glowed. Lego managed to grab back on to that last shred of hope. Without a second thought, he charged his way through.

        Data Doodler was on tilt for just a second. “How did Akan reach Uncle Joe?” she pondered desperately in her head. She was sure that she set the coordinates of every single wall to not lead to Uncle Joe. Where did she go wrong? She had been sloppy.
        In that same second Achan noticed Doodler’s uneasiness, and that was all the time she needed to capitalize.
Achan jolted forward, leaving Doodler little time to react. Achan shot a kick towards Doodle’s side. Doodler lowered her pencil and blocked the strike in time. Achan didn’t let up though. She could tell from Doodler’s worried expressions that something was keeping her off focus, and that something may be related to Akan. She jabbed, decking Doodler in the mouth. Doodler stumbled, but bounced back with a roundhouse kick. The blow connected. Achan fell over, and Doodler used that moment to get away. Her arm glowed and she directed it to a wall behind her. She started to run, but stopped upon feeling something tugging her by her leg. She turned her head and found Achan using her leg as support to rise to her feet.
        “Where do you think you’re going?!”
        As she pulled herself up on the Doodler’s leg, Achan drove a devastating fist to the side of Doodle’s head. Doodle was dazed. Her eyes dilated. For a moment the space around her seemed to glitch in and out of her consciousness. She collapsed onto the ground, and in her momentary fading vision, she caught a glimpse of her enemy slipping past the maze wall she herself was targeting.
        The wall that lead to Uncle Joe.
        “Crap!”
        Doodler quickly rose back up and made an attempt to move, but for some reason her body was slowly ceasing to function. One by one one her limbs began to glitch out of view. She twitched and squirmed, making every attempt to resist her pending fate, but it was of no use. Doodler didn’t want to accept it, but she knew-- Akan had successfully infiltrated Uncle Joe’s mainframe and shut down all of its security programs-- her included.
        “I’m sorry Lego, I failed you, and MR…”
        With her last fleeting words, the data clone faded away into bits of scattered code

        Akan was crunching numbers on the keyboard at lightspeed.
        With over a hundred thousand soldiers to register she had to work fast. Luckily, her hacking experience made breaking though Uncle Joe’s main security programs a breeze. Clearly, Hasith had never expected anyone to ever get this far. But first things first. Joe could only do so much. Narcissus had supplied her with an order of operations that would do the most harm in the least amount of time. First came what she knew the machine was capable off. Next would come what they could only hope Joe could achieve. At the rate she was going, overtaking the primary  system would take no less than ten full minutes.
        If you tossed a raging alien cat to the equation however, then you could probably add an extra five minutes to that estimate.
        A blade was closing in behind her. Akan could feel her death incoming. Instinctively, she rolled to the left, leaving the blade to clash with technology. Sparks flew everywhere in the aftermath. Akan got up, and her eyes nearly went sore from once again seeing Lego’s ugly face. “Will you get over yourself already?!”
        “Just what the hell are you trying to do?!” Lego swung his blade aimlessly out of frustration. “And tell me the truth, dammit!”
        “It’s none of your business, smelly!”
        “This is exactly my business you dumb b*tch!”
        As they bickered, the sound of footsteps appeared at the edges of their awareness. As they grew louder, both turned to see who was approaching. To Akan’s joy and Lego’s frustration, Achan emerged. Alone.
        “Ach-”
        Lego cut Akan off and spoke with rage bubbling in his throat. “Achan! Where is Doodler?!”
        Achan shrugged. “You mean that half-baked copy?” she smirked. “Probably out of commission by now.”
       “Fiend!” Lego shouted. He gritted his teeth and shot towards Achan in a blind fury.
        Achan embraced the raging cat with a kick to his stomach. The kick connected, but Lego was unfazed. He swung away, almost mindlessly, which made dodging nearly impossible for Achan. But she was sober, and he was enraged. In the midst of dodging Lego’s flurry, she called to her sister in arms.  “I’ll keep him distracted while you finish things on your end!
        Akan nodded. “Right!” She ran back to the main monitor and started back to work. As she typed away, images and codes rapidly flashed across the screen. Behind her was mayhem. The sounds of traded blows and cackling lightning perturbed her ears, but she paid them no worry. Her eyes were dead set on the mission in front of her. Distractions could not be afforded. Not after getting this close to accomplishing their goal.
        In the meantime Lego was giving Achan hell. She had thought after years of training in secret that she could match Lego in one on one combat, but this Lego was different. No amount of training could subdue the combination of anger and liquor settling in his system. Then again, Lego’s anger was of Achan’s advantage, and Lego was too busy flailing his sword to notice.
        Slowly but surely, Achan danced Lego around all the way back to the maze exit. She baited him with mocking taunts, and Lego bit. Ducking another swing, she ran down the path with Lego in hot pursuit. When Achan reached the wall on the far end, she stopped and turned. Sure enough, the moderator was right behind her. Lego thrusted his sword forward, but Achan flipped over him before he could connect.
        From there it was checkmate.
        "You lose, cat!”
        Lego heard Achan’s snarky remark and turned. “What are-!”
        Too late.
        Before Lego could react, he was met with a mouthful of boot. The power behind it was strong enough to fling him past the wall behind him. He landed with a smack, and the wall turned all the way around. Lego was nowhere to be seen. Wherever in the mazed he had ended up, there was not chance of him returning in time.
        Achan sighed in relief and made her way back to Akan. With the Lego finally out of the way, everything else should go as planned.
        But as she soon realized, things never go exactly as planned when dealing with a raider.
        Upon making her way back to her compatriot, Achan had expected her to be finishing up with Joe. But that wasn’t case. Akan’s hands were not mashing away on the keyboard. They were caught in a firm grip by the hand of Hasith, who did not seem to pleased with Akan.
        Noticing Achan’s presence, Hasith swung Akan around in front by her wrist and spoke. “Achan… I figured you would be here as well.”
        “Hasith, when did you get here?! Let go of Akan!”
        “Be quiet. I’m making sure you two knuckleheads don’t disrupt my city. And as for your request, that is going to be a ‘no’.”
        As he said that, the maze trembled.
        “Hmm?”
        Following that was a rumbling from up above.
        “What in the world…?”
        Little did Hasith know, his arrival was a tad too late.












« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 09:42:34 PM by Coryn »
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Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Invasion
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2019, 09:46:12 PM »
Sorry y'all, no chapter this week. I promise it will be out next Sunday. It's just that this one was a doozy, and I have just not had the time to sit down and edit this weekend. So once again, my apologies for the delay, but look on the bright side, y'all now have plenty of time to catch up if maybe you've fallen behind a chapter or two  ;)

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF