Melbourne S Aftermath

[14:43] <Minaplo> [They had tucked themselves into a sort of metal cave made by the debris. It wasn't much, but it was shelter of a sort.-
[14:44] <Minaplo> [The air was warm and slightly muggy, the humidity rising as a tempestuous storm built up over head, rumbling threateningly. Isaiah had found some spare clothes for himself in the supply backpack, as well as a first aid kit and even a shot of biogel. The gel he kept safe, but the first aid kit he used to stitch himself back up.-
[14:44] <Minaplo> [Now he lay against a wall, looking tired and shell-shocked. Lizzie was at his side, asleep.]
[14:48] * Yanmei was huggled against herself on his other side. While not as worn and shocked as he was, she was obviously on edge, her dark eyes darting between him and Lizzie and the gaping mouth of their little makeshift home.-
[14:49] <Yanmei> ^huddled
[14:52] <Yanmei> 'What now' was the question that stuck out in her brain the most, and she looked to their last remaining group member to help them decide that.
[15:00] <Minaplo> [Isha had, in fact, just returned from scouting- he had a rather grim expression on as he entered, stowing the other supply backpacks down against a wall.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "How does it look?" Yanmei edged forward slightly.
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["Well." He sat down. "I can't say I care for the surroundings. Do you know where we are?"]
[15:07] * Yanmei shook her head slowly. There hadn't been any VTOLs or other military crafts swarming around them yet. She hadn't been sure if that was a good sign or an ominous one… but the look in Isha's face meant that it was probably bad.
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["We're in Melbourne." He said grimly. "A city in southern Australia. Or it was. Melbourne took the full force of 2I and was abandoned. Has been ever since. The city's ruled by warlords and plagued by gangers."-
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["What this means is that, at best, we can -expect- to run into a few under-equipped gangers who haven't even heard of an Evangelion. We can handle them. At worst? We'll run smack-bang into a well-equipped warlord's army or, God forbid, rogue Iron Guard."]
[15:12] * Yanmei focused on the cave's entrance, delicately working through the emotions the news inflicted. "Anyone who has heard of an Eva… like a knowledgable warlord or an Iron Guard? Would they try to take 08 for themselves?"
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["We can't deny the possibility. They'll definitely try to capture the two of you if they know who you are." Said Isha.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["…" Isaiah lowered his head. "Sorry. I screwed this up."-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["Hardly your fault." Said Isha, waving his hand dismissively. "At least here we have a chance to fight."]
[15:18] * Yanmei patted Isaiah gently on the shoulder. "That's right. We're no longer at her mercy."
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["But… But…"-
[15:19] <Minaplo> [Isaiah stared at his hands, his eyes empty and dull. "Juu and Roku…"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's hand stopped. "You remember?"
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["I do now. I-I didn't remember much of what I did. But I remember them. Oh God… H-How could I do that…?!"]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "You weren't in control. But you couldn't stop whatever it was that was doing it. Neither of us could."
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["But I remember them. Hurting t-them…" He pulled his knees up to his chest, hiding his face. "W-Would I have done that if Rei had been in my way?"]
[15:29] * Yanmei massaged his shoulder gently. She didn't have any answers for him. This was the best she could do.
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Mr. Gabriel-Wei, you're exhausted. In shock, most likely. Why don't you rest here a bit? Yanmei and I will plan a few things out."-
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "He's right. So much has happened? You need to rest, and heal, and think, for your own good."
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["… Alright." He mumbled. He sagged a little- some of the stress that had kept him taut for hours seemed to deflate as he gave up the burdens on his shoulders.]
[15:35] * Yanmei turned fully to face him. She touched her forehead briefly against his, and then kissed him gently there. "We'll be right outside."
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Ok." He took her hand and squeezed it for a second before he wrapped himself and Lizzie up in a blanket.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> [He was asleep before Yanmei had left his side.]
[15:38] * Yanmei stood and moved closer to the entrance of the cave, where Isha was. She didn't say anything.
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["I hope he'll be alright." Said Isha quietly.]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "I don't know. I always thought that I'd be able to protect him. But this…"
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["I think you did quite fine." Said Isha. "I don't know if he would've fled that battle as he did if you weren't there."]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "But I still don't know what happened. I don't know how to stop it if it happens again. And… I don't know how to reconcile our current situation. There's no way for us to call for help, is there? And there's no one to contact even if we could." Her shoulders tensed.-
[15:52] <Yanmei> "Can we even go home after what happened?"
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["I don't know about going home." Said Isha. "But whether we can't call for help, or whether there's no one to contact…"-
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["That may not necessarily be true. I have an idea."]
[15:54] * Yanmei blinked up at him cautiously. "An idea?"
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["An idea. Have you heard of the group known as Vercingetorix?"]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "That's… Caine mentioned that during the interrogation. Do you know what it is?"
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["I do. Or at least have an idea. Vercingetorix is officially listed as a terrorist group." He frowned. "I was assigned to a project intended to root the group out, with little success. But I was at the least able to glean -some- information from them. They're a resistance organization. A bafflingly well-equipped and widespread one."]
[16:01] <Yanmei> "Like the LN…? But what are they resisting? The UN?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[16:04] * Yanmei glanced aside, troubled. "If we get on their side, then we really will be enemies with everyone. How many people will we have betrayed?"
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["If you're talking about the UN, then they really betrayed us first. If you're talking about NERV…"-
[16:06] <Minaplo> [Isha sucked his teeth. "Let's just say Caine doesn't trust -anyone- in NERV. My reports stated that Vercingetorix may have infiltrated into the very top of the organization… Although they were written by a very paranoid superior…"]
[16:11] <Yanmei> "But…" She didn't turn back to him. "…we have no way of knowing for certain who is on which side. What if…" She was thinking of a lot of people. So many who had put their faith in her. "We still have some time to think. We'd still have to find a long-distance radio and figure out how to use it without broadcasting our location to anyone and everyone. Caine will be looking for us."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["She will. Luckily, there should be -some- place in this city that has what we need. Providing it isn't in the hands of a warlord or somesuch."-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["EVA-08's taken a lot of damage. I don't know the details but it won't be regenerating for sometime." Isha sighed.-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["On the other hand, there is some good news."]
[16:15] * Yanmei gazed at him. She didn't look very hopeful.
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["I've made an inventory of our equipment. We're in luck there. We have four days' worth of food and water. We have warm clothes, a first aid kit and three shots of biogel." He smiled. "My uniform will protect me, and I had the good sense to grab my pulse carbine as well as my pulse pistol, so that should make me pretty well-armed as far as this place goes. But Doctor Gabriel is a genius. He seemed to suspect we might get into trouble. He managed to find us Barzilite coats."]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Barzilite…?"
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["A type of synthetic fabric." He reached into a bag and pulled out a long black coat. It fell to about Yanmei's ankles. It had belt-buckle cuffs and collar. "A coat made of barzilite will simply repel most bullets, especially pre-2I era weapons, which is most people around here, I'm guessing."
[16:31] <Minaplo> -
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["We have three. Two adult ones and one for a child."]
[16:34] <Yanmei> "For Lizzie too?!" She blinked, and then looked down. "That's… really prepared. How much of this did he predict, I wonder. Dr. Gabriel…"
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["Quite a bit." Said Isha quietly. "Finally, we have weapons. He managed to smuggle out two railpistols and two collapsible surovite combat blades."]
[16:43] <Yanmei> "Extremely valuable…" she murmured. "Expecially the blades? We won't need to conserve ammo for them. We could probably create additional weapons if we were desperate, but this is good."-
[16:46] <Yanmei> "I guess our first priority? Would be securing more food and water and making sure this place stays safe from those guys you were talking about."
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["Agreed. It's going to rain soon- finding better shelter might be nice as well."]
[16:52] <Yanmei> "But we can't go too far from 08. Maybe we could reinforce what we already have."
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["Possible. We could try to just hide the Eva for now. I doubt anyone's really going to take it."]
[16:59] <Yanmei> "I don't know about that." She regarded it now, the big, looming shape just a few dozen yards away. "It's the most reliable means we have of getting out of here. I'd rather not take chances with leaving it unprotected?"
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["I think it's fairly well-protected as is, but that's prudent."]
[17:02] <Yanmei> "Both it and Isaiah will need time to recover. It will be up to us two to make sure everything runs smoothly around here."
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Understood."]
[17:03] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Mr. Isha. Did you ever have to tough it out in a place like this before?"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["Yes." He said quietly.]
[17:09] <Yanmei> "…" She should have guessed. A sudden flash of shame swept over her. "I'm sorry. That was dumb of me."
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Don't worry about it." He said, waving a hand dismissively. "Come on. Let's get to work."]
[17:15] <Yanmei> "Right." She stretched, and looked to the rumbling sky once more before starting off to scrounge around.

* * * *

[14:57] <Yanmei> The sky continued its ominous rumbling. -
[14:58] * Raphael (ua.ten.dnopgib.dlq.4-81-132-06-EPC|leahpaR#ua.ten.dnopgib.dlq.4-81-132-06-EPC|leahpaR) has joined #nervfrance
[15:00] <Yanmei> Far beneath it, someone was slowly poking through the smaller overturned hunks of rubble left behind by the impact EVA-08 had made during its landing. -
[15:02] <Yanmei> She had lost sight of her partner a while ago, leaving him to explore parts closer to their hovel while she rounded the fallen biomechanical god and explored outward. She'd found a stick for herself, and now that she was positive she was alone, she gripped it with both hands. -
[15:04] <Yanmei> Half a world away from either of her homes. Stranded. The 'h' word bubbled to the surface of her thoughts and her eyes darkened. -
[15:07] * Minaplo is now known as Minaplo|Out
[15:08] <Yanmei> There were no sparring partners here, sadly, or training dummies, or even Angelspawn or mafiosi jerkwads. She raised the stick above her head, and slammed it against the pile of metal and concrete refuse that she was supposed to be shifting through. -
[15:11] <Yanmei> Again and again. It didn't take long for it to splinter and snap off. Yanmei glared at the bits of it that were left in her hand, dissatisfied, the stress of this - all this - and the two weeks of hell leading up to it still desperately prodding her onward. Scowling, she tossed it away.
[08:56] <Minaplo> [There was silence.-
[08:56] <Minaplo> [Then the sound of debris somewhere crumbling faintly behind Yanmei.]
[08:58] * Yanmei spun, drawing in a sharp breath. Had Isha followed her after all?
[09:12] <Minaplo> [Nothing…]
[09:17] <Yanmei> "…" Nothing. She drew back her foot and slammed it into some sheet metal that was jutting out of the pile. It made a horrific clang, and it didn't yield much. Stupid, stubborn… she did it again! Unfortunately, it didn't make her feel much better.
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei."-
[09:26] <Minaplo> [It was Isha- he had 'caught up', so to speak.]
[09:29] * Yanmei -froze- in the process of drawing her foot back again. She wobbled wordlessly for a bit, and then set it down again.
[09:31] <Minaplo> ["What are you doing?"]
[09:35] <Yanmei> "Oh…" She spun around with a light laugh. "I was just having trouble getting this thing out?" She gestured to the sheet metal. "I thought a few good kicks would dislodge it. Might be useful as a… a thing to keep the rain out?"
[09:45] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, please. You must be quiet. I think we are being followed."]
[09:48] <Yanmei> "Ah…?" She glanced around, taking a step closer to him. As quiet as it was, it was easy to forget that there were, based on Isha's earlier remarks, other people living here.
[09:51] <Minaplo> ["Yes." He gestured her closer. "Someone might've seen the crash and come to investigate. We have to be cautious- and catch whoever it is."]
[09:53] <Yanmei> "How do we do that?" She moved closer still. "This place is pretty big? They could be hiding anywhere!"
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["Yes," He said, whispering, "But we know that whoever it is, they're following one of us. So we know what they're doing, which means we can direct them. Move them into a place they can't escape from."]
[10:10] * Yanmei frowned, continuing to search, her eyes narrowed somewhat.
[10:16] <Minaplo> [There was a small area nearby where the debris formed a cul-de-sac…]
[10:19] <Yanmei> "Ok. Follow me." She started moving off toward it. "How did you first notice them, anyway?"
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["I left some debris behind me, memorized the pattern, and when I looked back later it had changed."]
[10:28] <Yanmei> "I see." She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. Why even do that? Had he been deliberately making sure that they were alone? Either way, it was clever. Upon entering the cul-de-sac, she strayed towards some of the bordering rubbish and pretended to examine it.
[10:34] <Minaplo> [And Isha went the other way…]
[10:37] <Minaplo> [… And nothing happened.]
[14:24] * @Yanmei frowned. She was trying her very hardest to resist looking in Isha's direction as she prodded here and there in her charade. This guy, whoever he was, was sneaky!
[14:37] <Minaplo> [At the same time, Isha was moving away from Yanmei, perhaps wondering to himself if the quarry had escaped or otherwise stopped following them.-
[14:41] <Minaplo> [There was still nothing but silence from the area around Yanmei. If their stalker was still about, he was being quie.]
[14:41] <Minaplo> <quiet*>
[14:48] * @Yanmei sighed to herself. She was starting to worry about Isaiah and Lizzie, who were asleep and unprotected. But if they went back they would lead to stalker to them. -
[14:49] <@Yanmei> For now, she just listened closely, trying to feel out changes in Isaiah's mood.
[15:04] <@Yanmei> …Nothing out of the ordinary there, either. She frowned even more deeply, and then went for the gun at her waistband. -
[15:07] <@Yanmei> Without even a little bit of ceremony, she fired it loudly into the ground right before her! *CRACK* *CRACK*
[15:17] <Minaplo> [There was an instant scrabbling behind her as someone burst from the debris behind her. She got a vague look at whoever it was- thin and small, draped in ragged coats and tattered clothes and no shoes. They sprinted off, nearly falling in their haste!]
[15:19] <@Yanmei> "AHA!" Yanmei burst into a sprint of her own. "Stop right there, you stalker!"
[15:31] <Minaplo> [And he was off, through the debris- but Isha was in front of him and above him, running on top of a two-metre pile of debris as though it were nothing.]
[15:34] <@Yanmei> Yanmei was quite a bit further behind, truth be told. Fortunately, she hadn't tripped over anything just yet.
[15:37] <Minaplo> [But he turned sharply now and into a 'corridor' of debris, where things became tight and awkward. He grabbed a steel girder and pulled it over, then knocked over a pile of rubber tires…]
[15:39] <Minaplo> [But Isha leapt unhesitatingly from his wall onto the top of the corridor, nimbly chasing the stalker down- before he leapt, crashing into the stalker's back, the two of them going down in a tumble of limbs!]
[15:41] <@Yanmei> "Look-" but her warning had been useless. Isha was already on top of him as Yanmei wobbled through the debris herself. Would Isha manage to keep him harmlessly pinned on the ground?
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Lemme go, mate, I'm sorry, I didn't know what you guys was, don't 'urt me!" Cried their quarry. Now that Yanmei could take a proper look at him, he hardly looked older than thirteen, if that. He had dirty brown hair and light brown skin. He scrabbled uselessly- Isha had him pinned with most of his weight.]
[15:46] <@Yanmei> Yanmei could take her time walking up to them and kneeling right in front of him. Just a kid, huh? "What do you think you're doing? Who are you working for?"
[15:47] <Minaplo> [He looked terrified, and the way he thrashed about reinforced that notion quite considerably. "I wasn't doin' nothing wrong, honest! I was just lookin'! I'm just a starvin' Orphan lookin' for a good bit of scrap before Tradin' Day, mate! I wasn't hurtin' anyone, I just wanted to know what you lot were doin' up in the Gee, s'all!"]
[15:49] <@Yanmei> "…Gee?" She 'holstered' the gun again. An orphan, was he? Out in a place like this all by himself? Wait… "You didn't bring any friends, did you?" she narrowed her eyes.
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Wot kind of Orphan has friends, mate?"]
[15:51] <@Yanmei> "… well, never mind that? What's this 'Gee' thing? And 'Trading Day'?"
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Wot?"-
[15:52] <Minaplo> [He laughed. "Pull the other one, yeah?"]
[15:53] * @Yanmei glared. "Be quiet! I'm serious, so answer me!"
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["… Wot? Alright, come off it." Said the boy, his laugh fading. "T-This ain't funny. Wot you guys doin', then? Who you with? You some weirdo mob from the outer burbs wot don't know about Tradin' Day?"]
[16:00] <@Yanmei> "You could say that? Except for the mob part?" She recalled what Isha had said earlier about there being gangs around here. "We're not with anyone. We ended up here by chance? So hurry up and answer us!"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Wot? Not with anyone?"-
[16:01] <Minaplo> [He eyed her. "You don't look like an Orphan. And I don't know yer face, so you can't be a Tinkerer. Where you from then?"]
[16:04] <@Yanmei> "What makes you think you're in a position to get answers from us?" She jabbed him irritibly in the forehead with an index finger. "We're the ones asking questions, Little Boy."
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Roighto, then, buncha bums from the burbs lost in the big ol city, then I bet it's up to me to set you right, right? Lemme go and I'll tell you wot you want."]
[16:07] * @Yanmei eyebrow twitched faintly. Did they really look like bums? She glanced to Isha.
[16:07] <Minaplo> [Isha shrugged and let go. The boy immediately scrambled to his feet and against one of the walls of debris.-
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["Right, right, ok. So wot's yer names?"]
[16:09] <@Yanmei> "…" What were the chances he'd actually heard of her? But she couldn't take chances when things were so desperate. "…Ying."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Jai." Said Isha.-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Roighto. Ying, Jai- I'm Selim, nice to meetcha." He held out a grubby hand.]
[16:15] * @Yanmei hesitated a moment, and then reached out and gripped it. "All right, 'Selim'. Answer our questions, and we'll let you go, Maybe we'll even help you look for scrap for this Trading Day thing."
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Selim. Are you Turkish?" Asked Isha, shaking Selim's hand in turn.-
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["What's a Turkish?" Asked Selim, his face screwed up in confusion.-
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["… Nevermind."-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [And so Selim turned to Yanmei, willing to answer the mean lady's questions.]
[16:21] <@Yanmei> "Ok. First of all, where are we? What's this part of town called and who're the big players around here?"
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["Uh, well, you're in the city." Said Selim, rubbing his right hand absently against his coat. "This here place is the Gee, right, it's actually called the MCG but we just call it the Gee mostly. It's this big ol' place wot the older folks call a stadium. Once upon a time they used to do football here, and people'd come by the thousands just to watch a buncha blokes kick a ball around. Madness, right? But that was before the Badness, but I wouldn't know much 'bout that."-
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, the Gee's in the middle of it all, yeah? All the Gangers come here to trade and stuff on Trading Day- which is tomorrow- but they don't fight or nuffin' because Parleement's always grumpin' about knocking heads together if anyone fights, see?"]
[16:29] <@Yanmei> "So… it's a truce. Just for that day, while they're here doing business?"
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["Well, sort of, but really it's just that Parleement gets real antsy if anyone fights on Trading Day since it makes a big mess, right? So fightin' around the Gee's always a bad idea, 'cuz Parleement'll be on ya." Said Selim. "But yeah, all the gangs come up and trade and the Fosters and shit come too, y'know, and even Orphans like me get to trade 'cuz Parleement don't let the gangers kill us on Trading Day at the Gee. And the Tinkerers come along too, and they're always good, y'know?"]
[16:36] <@Yanmei> "The Gangers…" That made her give pause, them randomly killing orphan kids. "Which ones are the scariest? And which ones are the weakest?"
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["We's all equal on Tradin' Day!"]
[16:38] <@Yanmei> "That's good, but what about every other day? We dunno how long we'll be sticking around?"
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Right, well." Selim rubbed his hands nervously. "Ya… Ya got six big gangs here in the city's centre. There's lots and lots of gangs, right? Further out, like the Hawks or whatever, but here there's just six bigguns."]
[16:41] <@Yanmei> "Run through them, huh? Starting with the toughest ones?"
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Uh…" He rubbed his hands a little faster, his face screwed up with concentration. "Well, they're all tough in their own way. But right now ya got the St. Kilda Saints who're the toughest and- scariest." He coughed. "Then ya got the Essendon Bombers, but they's both new, y'know, they used to be little burb bums like you guys but then they came all up one day and into the city, caused a huge mess. Before them, the city's biggest and best were the Melbourne Demons, y'know. Then ya got the Magpies from Collingwood-" Selim spat in disgust against the ground- "And then the Blues in Carlton and the Richmond Tigers, who're the closest blokes to us right now."]
[16:46] <@Yanmei> "Tigers…" Images of Felix the Tiger floated to her, unbidden. "So if we run into anyone, it'll be them? What are they like?"
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["Wot, the Tigers?"]
[16:46] <@Yanmei> "Yeah."
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Well, you'll hear 'em before you see 'em. They're loud, wear yellow and black, right? With tiger pictures on their kit. And they love their cars and trucks, it's how they fight, they swing by in a buggy or wotever and shoot you up with their assault rifles and machine guns. Mind you, they ain't doing too well for awhile, since the Demons used to trade 'em bullets and fuel for their cars, but the Demons are up shit creek without a paddle right now, and the 'Pies have always loved fuckin' the Tigers."]
[16:55] <@Yanmei> "Eh? What happened to those Demon guys? Did the, um… the new guys you mentioned shake things around for them too much? The Bombers and the Kilda guys?"
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["The Demons're still 'round, fightin' like… Well, like demons. But they're not so well off as they used to be. Used to be that no one touched the Demons, or else the Demons'd fuck their arms off, but now it seems like everyone who's not the Tigers is havin' a go."]
[17:04] <@Yanmei> "Hmm…" Her eyes brightened a little. "Too bad for them~ But they were the most powerful for a while, huh? Think they were hoarding any good stuff from their time at the top? Like electronics, or big military machines?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, everyone knows the Demons hoard heaps of stuff. Don't know -wot-. I'm an Orphan! If I go near 'em I'm Wallaby Bob's brother."]
[17:16] <@Yanmei> "…?" She shook her head and then glanced at Isha, wondering if there were any questions he wanted answered as well.
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["What's this 'Parliament' you mention?" Asked Isha.-
[17:21] <Minaplo> [Selim rubbed the hem of his jacket. "Parleement call the shots. They got the best stuff, and all the gangs gotta listen to Parleement or else Parleement shuts off their water and won't sell them food or nuffin', and Parleement's lads are the roughest, toughest blokes you ever saw."]
[17:25] <@Yanmei> "The gangs get water?! Like, actual plumbing?" Yanmei's eyes shone. "How does someone like you or me get some? Do we have to trade for it? Steal it?"
[17:29] <Minaplo> ["Uh, you just go 'round to all the taps and try 'em one at a time and see if they're workin', s'what I do. You gotta boil the water first, though, or else it'll make you sick. Most taps don't work, but some do, mostly in ganglands, but there's a few about that're fine."]
[17:31] <@Yanmei> "…oh." She drew back a little, seeming regaining her composure. -
[17:33] <@Yanmei> "Ahem. The Tinkerers you mentioned. I guess they make stuff? They're not hostile too, are they? Like we could probably trade with them or pay the off to build stuff we need?"
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["Wot!? You bums don't know about Tinkerers, either?"]
[17:37] <@Yanmei> "We're not bums!" Yanmei huffed. "And we don't know if… they're the same here as the ones we have back home. What with the warring and all? Like, if there are any who'll work for one of the gangs and no one else?"
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["… You're so full of shit, aren't ya?"]
[17:44] * @Yanmei flushed red. "I don't have to take that from some little kid!"
[17:47] <Minaplo> ["Enough." Said Isha curtly. "It's true, Selim. We don't know about Tinkerers. You'd help us greatly if you could tell us more."-
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Tch. Buncha rude bums bossin' me 'round, Orphan never gets any respect." Grumbled Selim, settling back down against his wall. "Tinkerers is Tinkerers. They know how the old machines and stuff work, they fix everythin' and they're always got lots to trade. Tinkerers aren't with any gang, so they're like Runners, but -no one- hurts a Tinkerer, 'cuz every Tinkerer's famous and if one of 'em gets hurt the whole city's out for blood, so if you hurt a Tinkerer, you've got Buckley's of makin' it out, mate."]
[17:57] <@Yanmei> "-Everyone-, huh? Who're the most famous Tinkerers around here?"
[18:07] <Minaplo> ["They's -all- famous, go out and find one." Said Selim sternly. "You'll know 'em, they usually ride on camels and got packs higher than you are."]
[18:09] <@Yanmei> "Fine, fine." Yanmei folded her arms. "I guess I'll just do that? Mr. Jai, is there anything else you want to follow up on?"
[14:17] <Minaplo> [Isha shook his head.-
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["So what're you lot, then?" Asked Selim, folding his arms. "Or whatcha gonna call yerselves, since you're all a packa lyin' bums?"]
[14:22] <Yanmei> "No one's lying." Yanmei held back the urge to glare at him. "And we're not connected with any of those Gangers or Parliament or the Tinkerers. I guess that makes us nameless?"
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["So you're Orphans, then."]
[14:25] <Yanmei> "Eh?" She blinked.
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["You're Orphans! Yer ain't gangers, yer ain't Parleement, yer ain't Tinkerers or Fosters. Yer Orphans."]
[14:27] <Yanmei> Was that the term for it? When in Rome… she sighed deeply. "Fine then. We're Orphans."
[14:29] <Firgrim> ["Heh heh heh. See, out of the Runners- them's Tinkerers, Fosters and Orphans- Orphans are worthless, see, 'cuz a Foster is protected by a gang but they gotta do the hard yakka for 'em, right? Orphans don't gotta answer to Gangers, but no one's out to save our necks, and Gangers only respect Orphans if the Orphans are -really- good at being the right type of Orphans, right?"]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "What type is that?"
[14:33] <Firgrim> ["Some Orphans luck out and become a bit like Tinkerers, except -not- obviously Tinkerers. It's like, sometimes you gotta get your hands dirty, but it's best if you get someone else's hands dirty instead for a price, right?"]
[14:35] * Yanmei looked vaguely uncomfortable. "I don't think we're cut out for that. What about you, huh?"
[14:36] <Firgrim> ["Me? Pshaw. If a Ganger sees ol' Selim here in the street, I got about a minute or they take me guts for garters."]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "Rough. Guess we're in the same boat, then." She stood up, dusting her pants off. "Look, kid. What kind of junk were you searching around here for?"
[14:39] <Firgrim> ["All sorts. Anything that looks handy, y'know? There's so much scrap and crap around the city that no one could ever find -everything-."]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "So… stuff like that?" She jerked a thumb at the tires he'd overturned in his desperate bid to escape them earlier. "Tigers like car stuff, right?"
[14:43] <Firgrim> ["Eh, Tigers can find tires anywhere. If you want to make the Tigers happy you gotta find 'em bullets and fuel."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Hmph, fine. I'll help you look around."
[14:49] <Firgrim> ["Deal."-
[14:53] <Firgrim> [Fifteen minutes later, they met back near the cul-de-sac, Isha carrying a considerable amount of warm, mostly undamaged clothes and Yanmei carrying a- very sharp piece of metal.]
[14:56] <Yanmei> Wow… she eyed Isha's find incredulously, and resisted the urge to hide her own behind her back. "Take it." She said instead, thrust it at the kid - pointy parts down of course - and shrugged. "Trade it or keep it for yourself, it's up to you?"
[15:00] <Firgrim> ["No worries, sheila." Said Selim, grinning as he took the piece of metal, eyeing it speculatively, before tucking it away. The clothes he also took, shoving some into a bag, the others he threw on over the ones he had.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "Now get home, or whatever. We have to get back to work before it rains?"
[15:02] <Firgrim> ["Pff, home." He grins. "See you 'round, Ying. Don't get killed or whatever. You too, Jai. I forgive ya for the tackle, ya bastard."-
[15:02] <Firgrim> [Isha smiled. "Until we meet again."-
[15:02] <Firgrim> [And then Selim was off, dodging through debris…]
[15:05] * Yanmei watched him go and exhaled. Now that the initial adrenaline from the encounter had worn off, a certain heavy exhaustion filled her in its place. "We should keep looking for stuff we can trade too. And there still the materials we need to reinforce our own sleeping place…"
[15:05] <Yanmei> ^there's
[15:05] <Firgrim> ["Yes. I think I have an idea on hiding the Eva too."]
[15:06] <Yanmei> "You do?!" She brightened. "How? What should we do?"
[15:08] <Firgrim> ["Half the Eva's buried beneath rubble as it is. We can't cover it, but what we can do is build a wall of scrap around the visible parts."]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "That's still a lot of parts to conceal?" She eyed it speculatively now, a hand on her chin. "Think we can manage it by morning?"
[15:18] <Firgrim> ["Do we have a choice?"]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "Heh." She dropped her hand and moved forward for the massive Eva.
[17:00] <Yanmei>
[17:01] <Yanmei> There was still enough light to go out and search for materials and equipment for their project, so that is what they did. -
[17:02] <Yanmei> Yanmei stumbled out into the unknown sleepily, but there was little to seemingly fear from the quiet streets that met her. There was little to -find- either, although she did happen across a small tin of beans left amid some rubbish that had been strewn about. -
[17:04] <Yanmei> The great king, reduced to this? Yanmei peered down at it sullenly before stooping and reaching for it. A long shadow crossed her suddenly, and she stood up quickly again, going for her gun! Only…
[17:08] <Yanmei> The creature that stared back at her was a strange one, with a long tapered tail, and bunny-like legs. -
[17:09] <Yanmei> It was taller than she was! And when she backed away slowly, it followed, curiously. "S-stop that…"
[17:10] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa nahaa." The creature bounced forward a little, snuffling at her in a friendly way…]
[17:18] * Yanmei backed away faster, half tripping over a pile of junk. She growled under her breath, and eyed the thing, still tense. But… it didn't seem to be attacking. And these old broken crates and rusted out garbage cans were pretty decent hiding material, she supposed? -
[17:19] <Yanmei> "You stay there…" she warned, trying to collect them without taking her eyes off it. "I'm warning you…"
[17:19] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa." It scuffed at its face, staring up at her with warm brown eyes.]
[17:20] <Yanmei> "W-what's you're problem, anyway? Stupid…" She hefted up her prizes (?) and turned to go properly.
[17:21] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa!" The creature bounded off after her…]
[17:30] <Yanmei> She tried to ignore it so very hard. Through shady, shadowy alleys they wove. She found a few more things, like a canister that smelled of gasoline resting in the backseat of a burnt-out car husk. Not far from that was a stranger place with waving flags and banners. A building that reminded her a little of Paris' embassies… or would have, had it been larger and less shabby.
[17:31] <Firgrim> [And less boarded up. Nevertheless, a red flag- bounded by a cross made of stars- fluttered in the wind.-
[17:31] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa nhaa." The creature was still at her side, nudging her arm softly.]
[17:32] <Yanmei> "Go away. What do you even want?"
[17:34] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa!"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "I don't have any food!" More crates, below the window of the building. She went for them, grunting under the additional weight.
[17:39] <Yanmei> And soon, she was stumbling back north, in the direction of the stadium. It wasn't long until she was back at camp, breathing hard.
[17:41] <Minaplo> [She would return to the sight of Isha, his coat off, his shirt off, stacking a pile of logs.-
[17:41] <Minaplo> [Next to the pile was a dead animal- exactly like the one now stalking Yanmei.-
[17:41] <Minaplo> [Next to -that- was an eagle.-
[17:42] <Minaplo> [Next to -that- was an axe, a pistol, and a pair of grenades.-
[17:42] <Minaplo> [And next to -that- was a full pot of water.-
[17:42] <Minaplo> [All of this was quite far from the camp itself, where Isaiah and Lizzie still slept.-
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["Welcome back." Said Isha, drinking from his canteen.]
[17:44] * Yanmei stared blankly at him. This haul had almost -certainly- not been here when she left. The urge to hide the broken trash she was carrying behind her back came and went. It was quite impossible for her to, anyway. "Been busy?"
[17:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh, yes. I ran into a party of gangers, too, but they did not care to harass me this time."-
[17:49] <Minaplo> ["Nhaa." Yanmei's creature leapt past her, tilting its head at Isha.-
[17:49] <Minaplo> ["What's this? You befriended and brought home a kangaroo?" Asked Isha with a smirk.]
[17:49] <Yanmei> "I-I did no such thing! It won't leave me alone!"
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Really?" Isha grinned, stepping forward and crouching down. "Nhaa." He said.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> [It was a perfect imitation…-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Nhaa." The Kangaroo bounded ahead, and Isha held out a hand to it, patting its neck and back.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Well done." Said Isha to Yanmei. "I think I can tame this one."]
[17:52] <Yanmei> "You -want- to?" She eyed the other kangaroo corpse meaningfully.
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["Kangaroo meat is fine to eat, but they are fast, swift creatures, clever when directed, and we can put a backpack on this one and it can carry things around for us."]
[17:54] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would notice, now, the fox pelt hanging from a wire…]
[17:55] <Yanmei> It was a good thing Lizzie was asleep. How would a little kid who liked animals react to such a sight? "If you think you can pull it off, then…" She eyed the Kangaroo in a new, marginally less suspicious light. "Go for it?"
[17:56] <Minaplo> ["Very well. Give me a name."]
[17:58] * Yanmei narrowed her eyes a bit. "Hop… uh. Skippy?"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["… Of course. Skippy it is."]
[18:03] <Yanmei> She placed her things down, and took a long drink of water from her canteen. Not much progress yet, but soon…
[18:29] <Yanmei> She followed up on those sentiments soon enough, leaving the kangaroo with Isha, his new best friend. Back to the eerie streets she went, striking out in a new direction. -
[18:32] <Yanmei> But there she only found thick swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitos! And heat. And misery. Gagging and flailing her arms at the pests, she ducked around a corner for a deperate reprieve, and found more… junk.
[18:45] <Yanmei> She would have searched for more, honestly, but her limbs kept growing heavier and heavier, and… was that the smell of greasy smoke in the air?
[18:48] <Yanmei> She saw it, suddenly, wafting from the building she stood in front of. Between the cracks of the boarded-up windows, she saw what it was coming from. -
[18:50] <Yanmei> Flames, dancing, crackling, slowly bleeding through the wood and consuming it. The ground shook, as a deafening explosion tore away some of the roof on the far side. Yanmei yelped, stumbling, and then ran for it. Home, to safety!
[18:52] <Minaplo> [She heard shouts, too, and the roar of vehicles…-
[18:55] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would arrive to find Isha working hard, still stripped to the waist, since it had gotten hotter for some reason.-
[22:02] <Firgrim> ["I saw a fire, earlier. It looked like a big one."]
[22:04] <Yanmei> "So did I?" She glanced aside uneasily, and set down her junky items amids the others from earlier that day. "Hopefully it won't spread too much."
[22:05] <Firgrim> ["I suspect it might, as the air is warm for some reason." Said Isha.-
[22:07] <Firgrim> ["Huuaaaaah." There was a luxurious stretch as Isaiah emerged now, wearing a barzilite coat. "Good evening~"]
[22:10] <Yanmei> "Isaiah!" Yanmei straightened up quickly again. "Are you okay? How do you feel?"
[22:11] <Firgrim> ["I'm fine." He said, grinning, patting his wounded side. "Tip top condition, here."]
[22:14] <Yanmei> "…" She moved closer to him suspiciously. "What? After just one day? No way."
[22:15] <Firgrim> ["It wasn't that bad an injury, it just -looked- ugly. Or would Doctor Zhang prefer to inspect the patient herself~?"]
[22:18] <Yanmei> "Hmm~" An amused expression crossed her face… until she remembered that Isha and that dumb kangaroo were standing there. "Ahem. I mean, think you're well enough to help us out a little? There's a lot to get done?"
[22:18] <Firgrim> ["Of course."-
[22:23] <Firgrim> [Isha nodded. "I have a fire going. The rations we started with will last for a long time, so we should focus on cooking the animals and eating them first. Isaiah, you told me earlier you're a handy cook- and Yanmei, once he is done we can have you boil the water I collected in the pot. I don't think Lizzie will be happy to see animals being cooked, so I think I will take Skippy here and
[22:23] <Firgrim> give her a friend to play with."]
[22:30] <Yanmei> "Watch them carefully, okay?" She eyed Skippy again with a stern frown. "You'd better not try anything fishy, you." And with that, she turned away to find the water as prompted.
[22:37] <Firgrim> ["Nhaa."-
[22:40] <Firgrim> [And so Isha and Skippy would go off to give Lizzie a new friend, leaving Isaiah and Yanmei alone to cook and boil water. Before long, sizzling kangaroo meat filled the air with a delicious smell.]
[22:42] * Yanmei had spent at least some of that time cuddling Isaiah privately. The smell, unique as it was, reminded her of how starving she was, and she pulled away at last. "Dinner's ready you guys!" she called.
[22:46] <Firgrim> [Isha, Lizzie and Skippy would return, Lizzie laughing and dancing around the kangaroo, which seemed extremely friendly as it kept trying to nuzzle Lizzie.]
[22:47] <Yanmei> "…" Well, at least she wasn't crying about that horrible Fino now. Yanmei carved out some portions for them and passed them around. "Lizzie~ Did you have a nice nap?"
[22:49] <Firgrim> ["Yup~ Look, maamaa! Skippy!" Lizzie settled down next to Yanmei, leaning against her arm.]
[22:51] <Yanmei> "Yes, we've… met." She gave the kangaroo a long stare, and passed a bit of meat to Lizzie. It was skewered on a clean stick, for easy consumption. "Careful, sweetie. It's still hot?"
[22:52] <Firgrim> ["What it, maamaa?"-
[22:52] <Firgrim> [Skippy kept a bit of a distance, probably because this was the equivalent of Yanmei watching a group of kangaroos feasting on a distant cousin.]
[22:54] <Yanmei> "It's a new kind of meat! Daddy just cooked it. Tell us if you like it." She found some meat for herself as well. "We're going to be trying all sorts of new things to eat while we stay here."
[23:06] <Firgrim> ["Hmm." Lizzie bit into it- sinking her teeth into it and pulling hard. Apparently it was quite tough.-
[23:06] <Firgrim> ["So what's the plan tomorrow?" Asked Isaiah.]
[23:10] <Yanmei> "Well, first, tonight we have to hide 08. Mr. Isha and I have been working hard to find the materials we need to do that. Tomorrow, the place is going to be swarming with people from all these different factions trying to trade with each other."
[23:13] <Firgrim> ["Hmm."-
[23:13] <Firgrim> [Isha nodded. "We can use this to our advantage."]
[23:15] <Yanmei> "Right! We ran into someone today who gave us a rundown on how things work around here, but actually observing it should be great too? Plus, we can trade for our own essentials and find out information about how to contact the outside world."
[23:20] <Firgrim> ["I see. What're we gonna trade?"]
[23:22] <Yanmei> "I found some petrol earlier. Mr. Isha?"
[23:28] <Firgrim> ["I have wood, an axe- I found a revolver and a shoddy assault rifle, but no ammo. I also found some grenades, and we have the animal skins to trade as well- we could use them to make our own clothes, but I'm no specialist."]
[23:36] <Yanmei> "We should keep the axe and the wood for ourselves. And the grenades. Everything else is fair game." Yanmei took a bite of her own meal, tugging at it slightly. "I'd say we're ready. The things we should prioritize getting would be tools and information. Any miscellaneous technology parts would be great too? Eventually we may have to strike a deal with someone who's interested in that sort of thing."
[23:42] <Firgrim> ["Yes. Ultimately, when it comes to the buying and selling of things, we have three things to offer: resources, expertise and information. If we need to, we can take jobs from various groups."]
[23:43] <Yanmei> "Jobs?" Yanmei grimaced slightly. "But who knows what they'll want us to do?"
[23:44] <Firgrim> ["They can vary." Said Isha, nodding. "Some of them might want to find a -specific- thing. We can't afford to be picky- we can avoid the worst jobs, but if it's a choice between a bad job and survival…"-
[23:44] <Firgrim> ["E-Even so." Isaiah coughed. "I'm probably one of the best doctors in this place…"]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "Now look, don't go around broadcasting that, ok? These groups are at war with each other. If we step in to aid one side too obviously, we'll be targeted by the others? It's not like we have immunity here."
[23:49] <Firgrim> ["If we do it for a price, though…"]
[23:51] * Yanmei was still frowning. "It'd have to be a really spectacular one."
[23:52] <Firgrim> ["It's something we can do, at least. We -do- have to be careful, but if we spend too much time trying not to upset -anyone- we'll just upset everyone." Said Isha.]
[23:58] <Yanmei> "If you say so…"
Session Time: Sat Feb 23 00:00:01 2013
[00:07] <Firgrim> ["… Let's focus on eating for now." Said Isha. "We'll need our strength."]
[00:10] <Yanmei> "Right." And Yanmei did just that, cuddling Lizzie with her free arm.

* * * *
Day 2: Trading Day

[06:45] <Minaplo> [The sun shone in the east, upon the city of Melbourne. The sky was sooty and grey, shrouded in the smoke from a raging fire.-
[06:48] <Minaplo> [Nevertheless, Isha was already up, preparing their 'trade caravan', strapping a backpack onto Skippy's back. Isaiah was awake as well, pulling on his Barzilite coat. Next to him, Lizzie was curled up asleep, her arms snug around General Bear.]
[06:50] * Yanmei woke before Lizzie did, at least, combing through her hair haphazardly and shrugging on her own coat. HEr body screamed at her to rest for a few hours more, but she tried to ignore it. -
[06:51] <Yanmei> Instead she went outside to look for a bit os sheet metal that they could use to cover the entrance of their little home from view while they were gone.
[06:58] * Raphael has joined #nervfrance
[07:29] * Raphael has quit IRC (Quit: )
[07:50] <Minaplo> [It wouldn't take them long to find the appropriate amount of metal- and much more- to keep their house safe as they walked into the 'market'.-
[07:51] <Minaplo> [Trading Day formed a sort of mini-town as people from all over the city. It was the only time when the city truly 'bustled'.-
[07:52] <Minaplo> [Men and women in all sorts of shabby clothes- many of them bearing thin trips of coloured fabric on their arms- walked around the ring of the 'market', often carrying goods. The sound of haggling rose in the air.-
[07:53] <Minaplo> [Tinkerers- notable by their long coats and robes, many of them with camels- demanded crowds wherever they went as they showed off gadgets and goods and accepted deals. The stink of camels mixed with the acrid smell of smoke and fire and that of cooking food.-
[07:53] <Minaplo> [The sound of music reached Yanmei's ears as a Tinkerer played a song on a banjo. "Once a Jolly swagman…"-
[07:53] <Minaplo> ["G'day, girlie." Said one man, chasing Yanmei down the road. "Care for a bit of roast lizard on a stick?"-
[07:59] <Minaplo> [Meanwhile, a pair of men clad in thick, heavy leathers and coats, wearing gas masks, walked down the road, the people giving them a wide berth. A flag of black, red and white was painted on their shoulders. Lizzie shrank away from them as they passed.]
[08:05] * Yanmei politely waved away the snack offer, and squeezed Lizzie's hand. "Must be one of the gangs. Hmph. Let's see what we can get for this stuff, shall we?" And she did just that, striking up conversations with the less-intimidatingly dressed hagglers.
[08:05] <Minaplo> [Their inquiries would lead them through the Market, until finally someone was pointed out to them.-
[08:06] <Minaplo> ["That there's Hermione, one of the arena champions. You got good junk, she's got good junk."-
[08:09] <Minaplo> [Hermione wasn't tall- about Yanmei's height- but she looked tough and mature, a bit like Marianne. She had short straight black hair, a pretty, soft face- made considerably harder by her frown and her sharp eyes- and a thick-looking black coat on. She was sitting in a chair, twirling a knife around effortlessly- it flipped through her fingers as though it were water.]
[08:18] * Yanmei liked her at once. She nudged Isha for the guns, and broke into a disarming smile. "Hi~ You're Hermione, right? Famous Arena fighter~? Feel like making a trade with us? We have weapons."
[08:19] <Minaplo> [Hermione looked up. Despite her tough exterior she wasn't afraid to smile. "That so? I haven't seen you around here before. You got a name?"]
[08:20] <Yanmei> "I'm Ying! Pleasure to meet you? We're new around here. Still trying to get a feel for things. Like this Arena thing? How does that work, exactly?"
[08:22] <Minaplo> ["New, huh. I won't ask questions about that." She leaned forward. "The Arena's a fighting pit. You go in there, show your stuff, and if you do well…"-
[08:22] <Minaplo> [Hermione's eyes tracked a squad of heavily-armed soldiers wearing thick, military armour as they walked down the road. Parliament troops.-
[08:23] <Minaplo> ["… Then you get noticed. People offer you jobs. Good ones. It's good work." She flicked the knife casually and suddenly it was gone. "You sign up for the arena and they ask you two questions: Weapons and Lethality. So either you fight with a weapon- no guns- or without, and either you fight to first blood, to unconsciousness, or to death. It's naked to the waist, so no armour."]
[08:35] <Yanmei> "So that's it. Sounds interesting. If they let spectators in, I might drop by sometime and see. Oh, but…" She eyed the guns that Isha had retrieved. "You won't have a use for these, then?"
[08:37] <Minaplo> ["I don't need these. Your rifle's got a faulty ejection chamber and you don't have any ammo. But hey, guns are guns." Hermione lifted a basket up and held it out. "Ten tins of some pre-cataclysm bullshit called spam for your guns."]
[08:38] <Yanmei> "I guess that sounds okay." Yanmei nodded her agreement.
[08:38] <Minaplo> [Isha took the food and gave over the guns.-
[08:38] <Minaplo> ["Keep safe, Ying."]
[08:40] <Yanmei> "You too." She looked up long enough from stuffing the cans in her backpack to give a parting smile. When she was done, she nodded to the others. "Let's move on. Get rid of this heavy canister?"
[08:41] <Minaplo> ["Sounds good."-
[08:43] <Minaplo> [They'd be directed to a very visually and audially loud sight. A large, armoured truck next to a wiry tough-looking buggy, both sporting heavy machine guns. A gang of young men- many of them sporting spiky hair or mohawks- lounged about, shouting and being generally loud. They wore yellow and black; the RICHMOND TIGERS logo was stamped upon the jerseys upon their chest.]
[08:52] * Yanmei eyed them warily from a distance at first, but as they approach she swept on another smile. "Hi there! Interested in a trade?"
[08:59] <Minaplo> [The biggest and strongest Tiger looked up, leering at Yanmei as he stood. "You're a new face. Nice hair, sheila. Whatcha tradin'?"]
[09:01] <Yanmei> Ugh. She plonked the petrol canister in front of her. "This. Got any tools? Maybe a car you don't need~?"
[09:01] <Minaplo> [That got their attention. The Tigerboss stood up, lifting the canister and shaking it.-
[09:02] <Minaplo> ["Hah! You got balls, asking a tiger for his car when you've got what, 4 litres of petrol? Tools or nothing. A hammer, a wrench, maybe a screwdriver…"]
[09:02] * Yanmei glanced to Isha with a slight frown.
[09:04] <Minaplo> [Isha chuckled, stepping forward. "Gentlemen. Surely men of your caliber would have more than just a hammer or two…"-
[09:05] <Minaplo> [Half an hour later, Isha walked off, carrying a heavy red toolbox under his arm.]
[09:06] <Yanmei> "Impressive~" Yanmei trotted alongside him. "I was totally taking notes?"
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["Is that so…?"-
[09:08] <Minaplo> [Before long they'd be off to sell their last commodity- their animal skins. They'd be pointed at a fat, jovial fellow- a Tinkerer- who was currently getting laughs from a group of dirty children by arguing with a camel.-
[09:08] <Minaplo> ["You humped rascal! Oh, why, I ought to sell you to the Saints-"-
[09:08] <Minaplo> ["Horrrrrr."-
[09:08] <Minaplo> ["You leave my mother out of this!"]
[09:09] * Yanmei waited for a break in the routine before approaching him with an offer. Hopefully Lizzie was getting a kick out of it as well.
[09:10] <Minaplo> [She was! She giggled. "Camel funny!"-
[09:11] <Minaplo> ["Whoa, who's this?" The Tinkerer turned to face her. "This here's a new one…"]
[09:14] <Yanmei> "Ying and her crew, at your service?" She bobbed her head politely. "Would you be interested in some animal skins?"
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["Would I ever! Whatcha got for me?"]
[09:18] * Yanmei retrieved them and held them out for him to see. "What do you think? Worth at least a few hats, and some trinkets, hm~?"
[09:19] <Minaplo> [The Tinkerer rubbed his chin, then his eyes lit up. "Fox! Nicely done, they're hard little buggers to catch, oh yes, oh my… I'm sure I could find you something hat-wise, yes."]
[09:20] * Yanmei grinned, and then noded at Isha. His turn to shine again!
[09:20] <Minaplo> [Isha stepped forward, enthusiastically.-
[09:20] <Minaplo> [He walked out half an hour later, staring down at his two hats. One was an akubra, the other was a sort of leather skullcap.-
[09:21] <Minaplo> ["These Tinkerer fellows are hardcore." He said glumly.]
[09:38] <Yanmei> "I think you did well," she was still in high spirits as she took the skullcap for herself and posed for Lizzie and Isaiah. After that, it was more questions to passersby. News of work trickled down to them. A few runners in need of medical help, and a dangerous sounding journey to contested territory. -
[09:39] <Yanmei> She considered the latter carefully. "Getting in well with a Tinkerer is a big deal," she muttered, and eyed Isha. "Up for accompanying me?"
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Of course."-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["I'll stay here and help out." Said Isaiah. "You'll help me, won't you, Nurse Lizzie~?"-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Help!"]
[09:50] <Yanmei> "We'll meet up at the camp like yesterday when we're both done." Yanmei passed some of the curious canned meat to Isaiah, just in case. "We have food to last us a while, so don't worry about searching for more? If you get done early, look for water that's close to this place."
[09:52] <Minaplo> ["Understood." He pecked her on the cheek. "See you later, ~Ying~." He said, emphasising the name's masculinity.]
[09:54] * Yanmei made a face at him, and then nuzzled him lightly before turning to go. They paid a brief visit to the Tinkerer requesting help, and then… they were off. -
[10:03] <Yanmei> The trip brought them more food right from the start. Startled cats bounded away from them as they transitioned from the bustling marketplace to the cold and dangerous streets. Yanmei stared after them, not even thinking to lunge for them until she saw Isha do it. -
[10:03] <Yanmei> It was… a bit weird.
[10:06] <Minaplo> [Isha cheerfully tucked the cats into Skippy's backpack, before they headed off…-
[10:10] <Minaplo> [But these streets were dangerous, and they'd hear the roar of vehicles before long. A small convoy of them would come into sight, bearing the black and yellow of the Tigers.-
[10:10] <Minaplo> [Before Yanmei and Isha could dodge out of sight, the Tigers saw their prey and began to holler. "ORPHANS, TIGERS! LET'S GET THEIR GUTS!"]
[10:14] * Yanmei bit back a hard curse. "Take cover!" She was already doing just that, sprinting to one side and drawing her rail pistols.
[10:17] <Minaplo> [Gunfire raked the walls and ground where Yanmei had been…-
[10:18] <Minaplo> [As Isha tucked into a wall, leaning out to aim with his carbine. He fired, and the pulse bolt smashed into one of the buggy's engines, setting the vehicle ablaze, killing the occupants.-
[10:18] <Minaplo> [The other buggy raced ahead, trying to pin Isha down as the truck headed ominously for Yanmei.]
[10:23] * Yanmei cringed against the sounds of explosions, and then peer out from he cover just long enough to blast at the remaining buggy with her two… suddenly inadequete-seeming guns. To her shock, more explosions answered her as the vehicle erupted into more flames!
[10:28] <Minaplo> [The screams of the dying filled her ears…-
[10:29] <Minaplo> [Even as the truck trundled forward, raking the area with fire, a trio of gangers hopped out the back- only to immediately be hit from a grenade! One of them burst apart, the other two opening fire on Isha.]
[10:30] * Yanmei turned away, sprinting for a position that would catch them from behind.
[10:32] <Minaplo> [And she'd soon hear more screams- and see the truck suddenly spin out of control, running into a wall, the driver diving out, his body consumed with fire…]
[10:36] * Yanmei blinked hard, and then focused on their ground troops. She carefully took aim and fired into them, but one was bounding out of reach along another building and the other remaining one simply ducked out of the way.
[10:39] <Minaplo> [… And one of her quarry was fleeing now, flat out running, the tell-tale sign of a pulse bolt narrowly missing his head.]
[10:40] * Yanmei grunted, and scrambled forward, aiming not for him, but for the one she'd spotted across the intersection along the wall of a building.
[10:43] <Minaplo> [Her shot narrowly missed- and before long that one was running off too, away after the other. Around the wall Yanmei would spot the gunner of the truck now bearing his rifle on Isha… And missing.]
[10:47] * Yanmei rounded her corner, preparing another shot meant just for the truck guy, but…
[10:47] <Minaplo> [Isha was on him, sweeping the man's leg out, grabbing his arm- breaking it- then roundhouse kicking him into the ground.]
[10:56] * Yanmei sucked in a startled breath and then cautiously approached him, guns still aimed at the fallen Ganger. "Mr. Isha! Are you okay?"
[10:58] <Minaplo> [Isha turned and grabbed the front of his coat, shaking it. A single bullet fell out.-
[10:58] <Minaplo> ["Unharmed."]
[11:01] <Yanmei> "Ah… good." She slowly put her pistols away and knelt for a closer examination of the Ganger. Of his stuff, anyway. -
[11:02] <Yanmei> Before long, she was stuffing Skippy's bag with rifles and ammo after he'd returned from, presumably, taking cover during this messy affair. -
[11:03] <Yanmei> "We're around the spot that Tinkerer guy told us he wanted us to go. Want to spread out and search a little?"
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["Let's."]
[11:29] <Yanmei> So they searched. They found some a lot of normal odds and ends: some abandoned ammunition, a pointy knife, some rope… and some unique-looking metal. It was only after staring at the coloring for a time that it dawned on her. "This is from 08!"
[11:32] <Minaplo> ["Hm!" Isha bent down, looking at it. "Eva armour is strong. If we found a Tinkerer…"]
[11:34] * Yanmei wasted no time. "Pretty valuable stuff~ You know, 08 still had a fair amount of it still on. We could probably make a mint!"
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["We should probably refrain from harvesting our biomechanical war god for metals."]
[11:35] * Yanmei giggled. "I was just joking!"
[11:38] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure-"-
[11:38] <Minaplo> ["Nhaaanhaaa." Skippy bounced past, sniffing towards the south, his backpack bulging with guns and ammo.]
[11:55] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei peered after him, but all she could really make out from that driection was smoke. -
[11:55] <Yanmei> "Oh well. Let's keep going before it gets too dark?"
[12:00] <Minaplo> [They headed on, now, south- through an area where the kangaroos seemed curiously plentiful.-
[12:01] <Minaplo> [But before long they would encounter real danger. The sound of vehicles ahead of them, cutting them off. "WE'RE GONNA FUCK YA, ORPHAN! YOU GOT OUR BOYS, WE'RE GONNA GET YOU!" Hollered a Tiger- driving another truck.]
[12:15] <Yanmei> "Again?!" Yanmei scrabbled quickly for cover, glancing over her shoulder to see if Isha was doing the same.
[12:15] <Minaplo> [He was. He ducked into cover once again and snapped off a shot, burning away some of the truck's armour…-
[12:15] <Minaplo> [Just as the buggy sped by, strafing Yanmei's position.]
[12:17] * Yanmei pressed herself against her cover desperately. The bullets came so close! But she was unscathed for now.
[12:24] <Minaplo> [Isha leaned out of cover once again, snapping a shot at the truck that ripped through its suspension and controls. It toppled over, sliding ungainfully to a halt. "Yanmei!"]
[12:25] <Yanmei> "On it!" She shot once from each hand, a deafening simultaneous blast!
[12:26] <Minaplo> [The two bullets struck the truck square in the petrol tank and ammo cache at the same time, obliterating it in a catastrophic blast.-
[12:26] <Minaplo> [Meanwhile, Yanmei would hear something- the sound of a vehicle's engine- growing very loud…]
[12:27] <Yanmei> "!" Fast movement to her right. She scrabbled frantically backward, trying to avoid it!
[12:28] <Minaplo> [The buggy struck the wall square-on, the gunner being thrown clear and into the wall, his body crumpling with a horrific -snap- sound.-
[12:29] <Minaplo> [The buggy's awkward movement saw it flip rear-over-front down the main street, then again, then again, landing on its top, a jagged spear of metal through the driver's chest.]
[12:37] * Yanmei stared up at the wreckage from the ground. She had fallen over in her haste, and could barely believe how close the impact had come to her. She stood again, shakily.
[12:38] <Minaplo> [Isha walked over, giving her a hand. "Are you alright?"-
[12:38] <Minaplo> [Skippy was there too, giving her a gentle nuzzle.]
[12:38] <Yanmei> "O-of course! It'll take more than that to worry me!" Yanmei tossed her hair triumphantly.
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure." He said, smiling. "Let's go. Isaiah's probably waiting for us."]
[12:51] <Yanmei> "Right!" They lingered only as long as it took to grab the few weapons and ammo that had fallen free of the wrecks, and then they were on their way home. Oh, to relax in front of the fire with Lizzie an Isaiah again…
[12:53] <Minaplo> [They returned to find Lizzie completely wiped out, snoozing in their shack, Isaiah gutting and cleaning what appeared to be a dog.]
[12:57] <Yanmei> The sight actually made her a bit depressed. Were they were really reduced to eating feral pets? She tried to put it out of her mind and joined him with a kiss on the cheek. "How did it go?"
[12:59] <Minaplo> ["It went ok, actually." He kissed her back. "Found a few axes, some more petrol- oh, and I found a house. A secure, undamaged house, cabinets and everything."]
[13:00] <Yanmei> "Really?" Her eyebrows jumped, but her excitement died down when she glanced over at where 08 was hidden. "Was Lizzie good for you?"
[13:02] <Minaplo> ["She was. She did exactly what she was told. Oh, I helped out a bit with those medical cases- they gave us a bit of food, but even better, it looks like I might be getting a bit of a reputation."]
[13:03] <Yanmei> "Oh, huh! Us too… I think."
[13:03] <Minaplo> ["… Oh?"]
[13:05] <Yanmei> "We fought some Gangers today and they knew who we were. I think because we beat some of their friends earlier?"
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["You fought gangers?!"]
[13:07] <Yanmei> "They attacked us first. We weren't even doing anything!"
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["It's true." Said Isha.-
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["How many?"]
[13:10] <Yanmei> "All together?" She counted them up in her head. "Around 16 of them? All of them Tigers. We should probably try to not walk around their territory needlessly from now on."
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["Geez." Isaiah shook his head. "This is bad news…"-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["On the other hand, we found plenty of guns for the Tinkerer." Said Isha in a deadpan.-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["… You're not funny."]
[13:12] * Yanmei chuckled and stood up again. "There's really nothing we can do about it now? Tomorrow we'll strike out in some new directions and see if we can figure out where the safer areas of town are."
[13:12] <Minaplo> ["Good idea."]
[13:13] * Yanmei nodded and stretched. "I'll leave the cooking to you tonight~ Let me see how Lizzie's doing."
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["Nhaanhaa." Skippy hopped after Yanmei.-
[13:15] <Minaplo> [Lizzie was curled up inside, of course, under a huge pile of blankets.]
[13:16] * Yanmei kept her company a while, sneaking a spare blanket for herself to make a soft seat. She'd let her wake up naturally. It would buy Isaiah some extra time, after all.
[13:17] <Minaplo> [And eventually Lizzie would wake up, with a big yawn, her arms wrapped around General Bear. "Maa…?"]
[13:19] <Yanmei> In the interim, Yanmei had grown lost in her thoughts, but now she snapped out of it and smiled down at her warmly. "Hi sweetie! Did you have a good day? Why don't you tell me all about it?"

* * * *

Day 3

[01:14] <Yanmei> Morning came to them slowly and surely, and before long they parted ways - the Zhang family heading off in one direction, and Isha and the kangaroo in the opposite. -
[01:16] <Yanmei> Yanmei held Lizzie's hand firmly. On Lizzie's other side, Isaiah did the same. She could almost forget for a moment that this wasn't a casual family stroll.
[01:21] <Minaplo> [It was quiet today. They didn't have much trouble as they walked through the city, finding tools- knives, pots- some water- Eva debris…]
[01:28] <Yanmei> "This is almost too easy?" Yanmei grinned, tucking some of said debris away in her bag.
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["Hah. Shh, you'll jinx us."-
[01:32] <Minaplo> [And so it seemed. Before long they'd find something assailing their nostrils. A horrible smell… In fact it was a smell that made them gag. Lizzie covered her mouth, going green. "E-Eugh…"]
[01:36] * Yanmei paled as well, gripping her hand more tightly. "H-hurry… oh my god." She covered her mouth and nose with her sleeve, but she was already getting dizzy from how horrible it was.
[01:36] <Minaplo> [They'd rush from the area, and before long the stench would fade…-
[01:36] <Minaplo> [Only for them to find themsevles in the middle of what appeared to be a forlorn impromptu maze of metal and concrete.]
[01:44] * Yanmei breathed in the fresh air gratefully. She smoothed down Lizzie's hair, checking to see if she was ok before turning to face the rest of their surroundings. "Let's hurry and keep heading West. Um…" She suddenly had a hard time determining where west -was-. "This way!" She pointed confidently.
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["Uuuu…"-
[01:45] <Minaplo> [But they headed off, and found the debris starting to clear…-
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["Arf arf arf…"-
[01:45] <Minaplo> [Lizzie looked up. "Doggie?"-
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["Arf arf arf arf arf…"-
[01:46] <Minaplo> [… Suddenly there seemed to be a lot of barks coming from everywhere.]
[01:49] <Yanmei> Oh… oh god, that was too many dogs. "Lizzie, sweetie? Go find a place to hide. And cover your eyes."
[01:51] <Minaplo> ["Doggie… Maamaa…" Lizzie looked deeply upset, but she ran off and did as she was told.-
[01:52] <Minaplo> [The dogs burst from cover now, charging at Yanmei…]
[01:58] <Yanmei> "Hmph." Yanmei flipped the gleaming Surovite sword into view first, and then a butterfly knife that they had found during their searching. With a raw scream, she dashed forward to meet them head on!
[02:20] <Minaplo> [Isaiah followed.-
[02:21] <Minaplo> [The dogs were numerous and tough, but they'd both faced worse, and before long most of the dogs were broken and fleeing, leaving a few bodies behind- and a few bite marks on both Yanmei and Isaiah.]
[02:24] * Yanmei panted, but she was smiling to herself as she wiped off her blades. "Good job, Isaiah."
[02:25] <Minaplo> ["Same to you, Yanyan."-
[02:25] <Minaplo> [Lizzie peeked out of her hiding spot. "D-Doggie, why doggie…?"]
[02:26] <Yanmei> "-!" Yanmei stared at her, and the smile quickly died. She put the weapons away. -
[02:27] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry, sweetie. It was an ugly fight, but… they were going to bite and hurt us! Do you understand?"
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["Why doggie fight?" Said Lizzie, tears bubbling in her eyes. She latched onto Yanmei's leg. "Why doggie not nice?!"]
[02:35] <Yanmei> "They're different from the nice doggies you see at home? They're wild dogs, and they don't like people." Yanmei reached down and picked her up and held her.
[02:43] <Minaplo> [And she cried for awhile. She didn't like seeing dogs hurt…-
[02:44] <Minaplo> [Eventually she'd find something to cheer her up- a pair of bunnies, frolicking playfully. Bunnies that even let her approach and pet them.-
[02:44] <Minaplo> [But they'd soon find something to cheer -Yanmei- up. It was a car, a heavy, solid-looking four wheel drive. It looked like it might even work.]
[02:46] <Yanmei> "N-no way!" She ran to it excitedly and pried the driver's side door open. She fiddled around with it, glancing up anxiously at the sunset every now and then. Finally, she cursed softly to herself. "Out of fuel…"
[02:46] <Minaplo> ["There's some petrol at home." Said Isaiah. "I know where we are, I can fetch it."]
[02:47] <Yanmei> Her eyebrows knit together. "Think you can make it?"
[02:49] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[02:50] <Minaplo> ["I do."]
[02:52] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "We'll be waiting right here for you?"
[02:56] <Minaplo> ["I know."-
[02:56] <Minaplo> [He was off…-
[02:56] <Minaplo> [And back about fifteen minutes later, sweating a little and holding two canisters of petrol.]
[02:59] * Yanmei got out and helped him with the heavy canisters as soon as he approached. "Hop in. You look like you deserve a ride~" Lizzie was already in the backseat of the car, clearly visible through the windows.
[03:00] <Minaplo> [Lizzie was clutching General Bear, staring out the window.-
[03:00] <Minaplo> ["Why thank you~" Said Isaiah, helping to fill the car up before jumping in.]
[03:02] * Yanmei carefully placed the empty canisters in the car before jumping back in herself. She tried the engine… success! But it was noisy and rattled painfully. Slowly, she eased the car forward, homeward.
[03:03] <Minaplo> [They'd soon return home to find Isha, already cooking dinner, looking tired and bug-bitten, a camel chewing cud to his left, Skippy lounging about on his right.]
[03:04] * Yanmei parked and pulled out the canisters, leaving Isaiah to help Lizzie out. She stared at the camel blankly before grinning at Isha. "Busy day, huh?"
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["You could say that." He said, staring at her car with a wry smile. "I found Saladin here over by an overpass. I also found many bugs, and angry dingoes. Needless to say we will eat well tonight."]
[03:08] <Yanmei> "You've already named your new friend, huh?" She eyed the car speculatively. Was naming cars the sort of thing only dumb gearheads did? "We had a lot of… ah," she glanced after Lizzie and lowered her voice so as not to be heard by her, "a lot of dog problems ourselves. I doubt she'll touch what we got from it, though."
[03:12] <Minaplo> ["Not unexpected. Don't worry. I've got plenty of meat she won't ask questions about. Now then. I'm going to see if I can turn Saladin here into a steed or not. That car we can use for things besides transport, though."]
[03:14] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[[03:21] <Minaplo> ["If we add the metal we have to its side- armour, see? Eventually, if we want, we can convert it into a war car like the Tigers. We'd need to carve out a turret…"]
[03:23] <Yanmei> "I thought we'd be passing those mechanics tools on to a Tinkerer who really wanted them, but I guess we have another use for them after all. I'll grab them and get started?"
[03:24] <Minaplo> ["Very well."-
[03:25] <Minaplo> [The next hour was filled with the smell of Lizzie and Isaiah cooking- it smelled unbelievably good- the feel of the solid, hard metal in Yanmei's hands- and the sound of Isha's curses as he remonstrated the recalcitrant camel.-
[03:25] <Minaplo> [But eventually, the car would be tuned up, and armoured…]
[03:27] * Yanmei pulled away from it, wiping her brow and surveying her work. It looked… it looked far less cool than it had in her mind's eye. -
[03:29] <Yanmei> The car itself was had a downright outdated style, and now it looked as if someone had hastily bolted squares of big ugly metal to the fronts and sides of it. Maybe if she had some paint or something…
[03:31] <Minaplo> [Meanwhile, Isha was parading around the camp on Saladin's back, Lizzie in front of him, the little girl giggling madly.]
[03:32] <Minaplo> ["How's the Zhangmobile coming?" Asked Isaiah, from where he lounged near the fire.
[03:32] <Minaplo> ]
[03:34] * Yanmei smiled at the camel parade, happy that they seemed to be having so much fun. "The 08mobile, you mean. And… it's coming." She joined him at the fireplace. "It looks totally ugly? But it'll handle better now and give us a bit more speed."
[03:35] <Minaplo> ["That's what counts." He reached forward and kissed her. "You did good today…"]
[03:40] <Yanmei> "Thanks." She looked over the meal he was preparing. Alone, in a sense, for the first time in a while, there was a lot she wanted to ask him. In this weird, violent wasteland, however, they all the time in the world.

* * * * *

Day 4-5

[00:00] <Yanmei> Yanmei drove slowly. Not only were the roads in Melbourne not kept up at all, but she was worried about treating the car too roughly. Today it was less spluttery, thanks to her efforts, and the steering wheel was less shimmery, but she still couldn't shake the feeling that the thing would fall apart at the slightest bump. -
[00:03] <Yanmei> She had precious passengers with her. Isaiah, in the passenger seat, and a sleepy Lizzie in the back. It was still a bit dark on the unfamiliar and winding path that Isha had told them about. "That guy," she muttered under her breath. "I hope he'll be alright on that camel of his? I told him he should have ridden with us!"
[00:06] <Firgrim> ["He'll be fine." Said Isaiah, patting her on the hand. "Isha knows what he's doing, you know…"-
[00:17] <Firgrim> [A bunch of kangaroos scattered as they came close, hiding wherever.]
[00:23] * Yanmei brakes a little, watching them go. "Isaiah? Can I ask you something? About… when you woke up?"
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[00:55] <Firgrim> ["Go on." He said cautiously.]
[00:56] <Yanmei> "You knew about Mr. Isha right away back then, but you hadn't even met him. You told me to get him and Lizzie and to go to 08. It's been bothering me since then? Like, how did you know?"
[01:00] <Firgrim> ["How I knew about him?"]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "Right."
[01:02] <Firgrim> ["I don't know." He muttered, looking out the window. "I just… I just knew. It was like a part of me had been listening to you throughout the coma, so I just knew because you knew."]
[01:04] <Yanmei> "…" That… troubled her. What other things had he learned? Humiliating things? Her hands tightened around the steering wheel ever so slightly. "That's also how you knew about the Eternity Drive."
[01:05] <Firgrim> ["Yeah. I'm a little surprised you didn't tell me about that beforehand."]
[01:08] <Yanmei> "We were going to do something about it, but we didn't know what yet. If you had known, you would have been in danger."
[01:12] <Firgrim> ["And I was safe otherwise?"]
[01:13] <Yanmei> "I can't predict the future, Isaiah."
[01:15] <Firgrim> ["I'm not asking you to. But when our enemy has -that- on her side, that's something I need to know."]
[01:21] <Yanmei> "I'd barely found out about it myself. It was right before we went away to Reims."
[01:35] <Firgrim> ["And you probably weren't ready to talk about it then." He mumbled.]
[01:37] <Yanmei> "It was hard enough talking about Simon and Gamelin. There was so much going on…"
[01:41] <Firgrim> ["I know." He said soothingly, reaching over to pat her leg. He felt warm and comforting. "You did well. You always do well, even with all the crap thrown at you."]
[01:43] <Yanmei> "Thank you." She found his hand with one of her own, trying not to take her eyes off the road too much. "But I need to do better."
[01:44] <Firgrim> ["Well, it's like you said. You can't predict the future."-
[01:44] <Firgrim> ["If you could, I bet you'd be unstoppable."]
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[01:49] * Yanmei chuckled wistfully. "All I have to do is find some other way to be unstoppable? Your assistance will probably help with that a fair bit~"
[01:49] <Firgrim> ["Oh?"]
[01:54] <Yanmei> "How do I put this…" She tilted her head to one side. "I've always had a weak spot in my heart. Even without recent developments, having you with me always makes it seem less fatal?" She paused, repeating the actual words in her mind. "Ick. That was supposed to be romantic…"
[02:00] <Firgrim> [Isaiah laughed, loudly enough to make Lizzie stir. He tried to get away with just deeply amused chuckles as he leaned over and nuzzled her neck. "Your silver-tongued words have weakened my resolve. Oh take me now, you seductive devil." He deadpanned.]
[02:04] <Yanmei> "Remind me to tease you the next time you trip over your own words?" She didn't quite nuzzle him back as throughly as she would have liked. A kiss or two before turning back around.
[02:09] * Raphael has joined #nervfrance
[02:15] <Firgrim> "Tease me? But I thought I was the weak spot in your heart~?"
[02:15] <Firgrim> []*
[02:21] * Yanmei stuck out her tongue at him. "If you weren't so adorable, I'd let you have it right now."
[02:31] <Firgrim> ["Let me have what, I wonder? Punishment…?"]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "Maaaybe~"
[02:31] <Firgrim> ["So mean…"]
[02:32] * Yanmei snickered, eyes settling ahead again. The spot that Isha had told them about wouldn't have been too far from here.
[14:33] <Minaplo> [The area ahead looked like the ruin of an old shopping centre. Although plenty of shops had been emptied, there was enough debris and mess around to suggest that other shops might be hidden around- and plenty of animals, too…-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["This looks like the place."]
[14:35] <CakeyCake> "Yeah." Yanmei slowed and searched for a level spot to park. "Now we just wait for him before beginning?"
[14:49] <Minaplo> [It'd take Isha a fair bit of time, but eventually he would appear, sitting up straight on Saladin's back, a length of rope used as a rein. From a distance he looked quite majestic, like a lost prince; up close, the combination of Saladin's unique musk and the presence of Skippy gave it a mildly comical feeling. He nodded to Yanmei. "Salaam alaykum, Zhang Yanmei Bahadur. I see you've been busy!"]
[14:51] <CakeyCake> Yanmei had exited the car since parking. On the ground behind her were some oily car parts that she had discreetly been trying to hide from his line of sight. "Well, they were just sitting out here in the open? So I thought I'd grab them before someone else came along."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["I'm not going to steal your car parts, Yanmei. Saladin does not need them. There is no need to lie."]
[15:01] <CakeyCake> "Th-that's not-!" Her cheeks flushed red, and hastily, she cleared her throat. "A-anyway, we were waiting for you. I'm glad you made it safely?"
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["So am I. Saladin here is a fine steed." He patted the camel's neck fondly.-
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Sally! Sally!" Lizzie had woken up during the wait and had eagerly dug about. Now she laughed and ran after Isha and his camel.]
[15:13] * Yanmei watched her warily. There was lots of rubble and sharp rocks and pokey things jutting out of the ground. "Lizzie, be careful!"
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Maamaa…" Lizzie tutted, turning around. "Me careful!"-
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Isha chuckled. "Come, let's have a look around."]
[15:45] * Yanmei tsked a little at the girl's reply, but she soon put her energy into searching for anything else that would be useful to them. She came up empty-handed.
[16:07] <Minaplo> [They'd go their separate ways, Isha going north to speak to a Tinkerer he met, Yanmei and Isaiah heading west. The trip was uneventful.-
[16:07] <Minaplo> [They drove off some dogs through slamming the horn hard, and were given a cautiously respectful nod from a ganger wearing Demon colours as they passed him.]
[16:25] <Yanmei> There weren't meeting much resistance. That was good! Moments ago she had been inexplicably swealtering, but now it had suddenly cooled off again. It was turning into a very nice day.
[16:35] <Minaplo> [… And then they'd run into an awful sight.-
[16:36] <Minaplo> [A clump of bodies in a pile, charred and still flaming- dead. Down the road they'd see people fleeing, running down into alleyways…-
[16:37] <Minaplo> [Pursued by a group of men, intimidating and tall, dressed in heavy fire-resistant leathers, ominous skull-like gas masks, sporting flamethrowers…]
[16:42] * Yanmei stared, tightly gripping the wheel. She didn't know what sort of battle they had stumbled onto, but it was clear who was winning and who was losing. "Lizzie, get down on the floor, ok?" No way she was letting her see this. "Hold General Bear tight, okay?"
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["… Ok, maamaa." Murmured Lizzie fearfully, dropping down and clutching General Bear to her chest.-
[16:46] <Minaplo> [Isaiah's eyes were filling with anger…]
[17:14] <Minaplo> [One of the gangers raised a flamethrower and fired it down an alley, setting a man alight.]
[17:21] <Yanmei> Isaiah would feel something heavy land abruptly in his lap. Yanmei retrieved her hand and set it on the steering wheel again. "Hurry up and take aim?"
[17:32] <Minaplo> [He grabbed it, leaned out the window and fired at one ganger- who turned around, ignoring his wound, and raised his flamethrower. The car was instantly surrounded by fire and flame- Yanmei felt the heat on her skin and face- but the car ignored it.]
[17:46] * Yanmei tried to ignore it too. She pressed her foot down a bit harder, aiming the vehicle at the offender!
[17:47] <Minaplo> [He failed to get out of the way in time- he heavily, noisily banged the roof as he went over it, landing in a heap behind the car.]
[18:00] * Yanmei leaned out her own window and fired at a distant figure with the same scary clothing on, but it barely made a mark! "Tch."
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Isaiah's face was set. "Be back soon." He grabbed the handle of his car and pushed it open, leaping out!-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [He twisted in mid-air, pulling up his pistol, and firing it as he landed, shooting the prone ganger right between the eyes. Isaiah landed on his shoulder hard- and scrabbled to his feet-
[18:13] <Minaplo> [And then many things happened at once. The car was surrounded by flame again, and this time it was enough to jostle the car- and hit Isaiah as well!-
[18:14] <Minaplo> [But once the flames cleared Yanmei would see… That the desperate runners in the street had help. Someone had leapt from the above building, landing on one of the dog's backs, slamming a long, hard-looking sword into its spine as they landed.]
[18:20] <Yanmei> "…!" But she had no time to do much beyond a split second note, because Isaiah… "Isaiah!" She was still choking a little on the smoke.
[18:35] <Minaplo> [But the smoke cleared- and Yanmei saw him holding his own, parts of his armour a little singed, his face ash-strewn. He dodged out of the way of one foe, cutting his leg out from beneath him, and sidestepping another ganger's sword.-
[18:39] <Minaplo> [The masked figure abruptly threw their hand out towards the gangers hunkering down in a ruined apartment floor. Some kind of wire- a grappling hook?!- flew across the street, lodging in the wall above them. The figure was violently propelled after it, releasing the hook in mid-air and sailing gracefully down on one ganger, landing on his chest sword-first, his corpse acting as a cushion. Within a second, the figure was moving, leaping through the air and landing next to another dumbfounded ganger…]
[15:18] <Yanmei> In the meantime, an ominous thunking noise frome the car's exterior prompted a growl from Yanmei. Someone trying to climb onto the roof! "Lizzie, sweetie, hold on." -
[15:19] <Yanmei> She pushed down on the accelerator hard, and the car sped off with a loud squeal from its tires!
[15:27] <Minaplo> [But the weight remained on the top of the roof. Clank-clank-clank came the noise as the stubborn Saint clung to the top. He hung his top half off the roof, staring through at Yanmei, trying to open the door, but not quite managing it.]
[15:58] <Minaplo> [… Remained tenaciously clinging to the roof, but now the car was far safer for him. He leapt off the roof, ripping open the door, lunging at Yanmei with a sword, his gas mask a terrifying visage, caked in ash- Lizzie screamed.]
[16:00] * Yanmei fought back, not forgetting her CQC training for a moment. The first gash she landed across his chest was shallow. The second was hard enough to push him beyond the open car door, where he sprawled limply on the ground. -
[16:01] <Yanmei> She didn't wait for any signs of life to manifest. She shut the door firmly, hopefully blocking the sight from Lizzie's innocent eyes.
[16:02] <Minaplo> [In the back seat, Lizzie whimpered. "Aaa…"]
[16:05] <Yanmei> "It's all right, sweetie, it's all right," Yanmei murmered. If only she had a few minutes to spare… but Isaiah was still back in the center of the fray, and she had to turn around for him as quickly as she could, leaving the fallen Ganger far behind them.
[16:31] <Minaplo> [But he was off, suddenly, running where she couldn't see-
[16:31] <Minaplo> [Whilst a ganger darted around a building, only to be swarmed by a wave of Runners!]
[16:33] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's brow furrowed, but she focused on what she -could- see. She aimed her remaining handgun through an open window and fired two careful shots into a fray, avoiding the Runners but barely chipping away at the lone ganger they were swarming.
[16:33] <Yanmei> ^the fray
[16:34] <Minaplo> [But it would soon be apparent that Yanmei need not worry. That masked figure grappled across the road, landing with a roll, dispatching the ganger with a final quick stab.]
[16:38] <Yanmei> With that done, she began frantically searching for the lost Isaiah, hands tightly gripping the still steering wheel.
[21:37] <Minaplo> [And Isaiah would return soon enough, splattered with blood- but presumably not his.]
[21:46] * Yanmei exhaled sharply. Of course he would be okay. He'd moved with such grace once he was free of the car. And then there was the insanity that had happened in the Synfront just a few days before…
[21:51] <Minaplo> [He looked over at her and smiled, cleaning off his blade…-
[21:51] <Minaplo> [But now the Runners were crowding the car, yelling and waving their arms in the air!]
[21:56] * Yanmei watched them warily, nerves slightly set on edge by the last person who had gotten this close to them. It was fine if they wanted to celebrate, but…
[22:03] <Minaplo> [But they were shouting things as well. It sounded like… "Ying!" over and over again.]
[22:08] * Yanmei flat out stared now. They knew her? Well… she opened her car door and slid out, a smile on her face now. "Hey, hey, I can't take that much credit?" She panned them, wondering where that masked guy in black had gotten off to.
[22:09] <Minaplo> [The masked figure was standing on a wall, staring down at her. Yanmei would notice that the blade he wielded was identical to Yanmei's own- he flicked it, the blade retracting into the hilt, and tucked it into his jacket.]
[22:14] <Yanmei> That bothered more than she was willing to let on. A UN operative? Someone from NERV? Who else would have such a thing? -
[22:16] <Yanmei> She clapped a hand on the shoulder of the nearest Runner and jerked her head at the lofty figure. "Who's that guy?"
[22:23] <Minaplo> [This was the Runner who had been set on fire. Indeed, parts of his clothes had been burned away and much of his skin was now shiny and red. But he was grinning, euphoric with survival and victory.-
[22:23] <Minaplo> [It took awhile for him to respond.-
[22:23] <Minaplo> [What with all the shouting.-
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["That's the Avenger!" He said, as though it were obvious.]
[22:27] <Yanmei> "Hrm." So they knew him too. She raised an arm to wave at him, her voice partially drowned out by the cheers. "Hey! Come down and join us a minute?"
[22:28] <Minaplo> [The Avenger jumped off the wall, landing perfectly.-
[22:32] <Minaplo> [He looked up at Yanmei, then approached, dismissing the Runners. "Go collect the bodies, strip them." He said, his tone muffled by the mask…]
[22:37] * Yanmei left the work to them, waiting until they were gone before continuing, and even then keeping her voice low enough to prevent them from hearing. "Thank you very much for the assistance?"
[22:39] <Minaplo> ["You were the one who assisted me."]
[22:42] <Yanmei> "Heh. Even though you say that, you were the one who made that dynamic entrance after we got caught up in things." She eyed the Runners briefly. "Are you their leader or something?"
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["Not their leader. Just someone who hates gangs attacking Runners."]
[22:49] <Yanmei> "I can relate? I don't much like it either." She leaned against the car, folding her arms. "Seems like more people living around here just accept it, though."
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["They have no choice. Perhaps that will change, if you come to liberate them."]
[22:51] <Yanmei> "Me? What about you? You fight way better than I do."
[22:52] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps, but you've been here four days and already they sing your praises."]
[22:57] <Yanmei> "For reasons beyond me. I'm just one person trying to keep my family alive." But there was something in her eye. Interest? A mild hunger, even. "…you really believe that they can be liberated?"
[22:58] <Minaplo> ["Do you?"]
[23:01] <Yanmei> "Yes. But it will take time? Probably a major shift in resources that would only happen if either Parliament or external forces got involved. The gangs are much better equipped and much more experienced at battle. Now, if the runners could serve them, and appropriate weapons and knowledge from them to aid a liberation movement, they could also have a chance." -
[23:04] <Yanmei> She frowned, eyes narrowing slightly. "But it takes a certain sort of fearless character to do that."
[23:09] <Minaplo> ["Then you must be the person for the job." The masked figure turned and began to walk away.]
[23:10] <Yanmei> "Wait." She took a few steps after him. "You're not from around here either, are you?"
[23:11] <Minaplo> [The Avenger didn't turn around or answer.-
[23:11] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei!" Called Isaiah.]
[23:14] * Yanmei winced slightly. "We'll meet again," she told the Avenger, and then left him, turning away and stalking back to the car.
[23:15] <Minaplo> ["The Runners want to know how much of the loot you want." He said.]
[23:16] <Yanmei> "Eh? Well, we don't need a ton of it? Let them take what they want, as long as they save a few flamethrowing weapons for us."
[23:21] <Minaplo> ["Anything you want, Ying!" Shouted one of the Runners. "We'll tell everyone about what you did!"-
[23:21] <Minaplo> [And so, a few minutes later, Yanmei and Isaiah were loaded up with uniforms and weapons, the Runners on their way.]
[23:33] * Yanmei drove. She was quiet for a long time. "We can't stay here forever," she said at last.
[23:47] <Minaplo> ["We can't." Said Isaiah quietly. Ahead of them they saw a grand old building of sandstone, a shattered clock standing vigil over a glorious stone staircase.]
[23:49] * Yanmei stopped the car, as they got a little closer, peering at it curiously.
[00:01] <Minaplo> [It looked like a grandiose place, but one touched by war. Battered banners that signified the Demons had once flown here, now lying in ruins- but the banners of the Saints, more recently placed, had not been untouched either.]
[00:28] <Yanmei> "…" More of those Saint guys. Better to quickly search around for what they needed and head back to camp. She was already tired, and after the fighting and the increasing number of insects that were gathering around them now, she had a feeling the others were too.
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["Go away, bugs." Whined Lizzie, flailing wearily at the air around her. "Me tired…"]
[00:36] <Yanmei> "We'll be home soon," Yanmei told her as she scrounged around. "Try to cheer - ah!" she held up a battered can. The label was long missing, but it was definitely food.
[00:37] <Minaplo> [Isaiah had found a can as well- 'Heinz Big and Chunky'.]
[00:40] <Yanmei> "This is enough. We can probably trade these to some Runners who are down on their luck?" She headed back to the car and soon they were off, heading back toward camp.
[00:44] <Minaplo> [They wouldn't be long back when they'd hear the clop-clop of Saladin's hooves. Isha returned, the military backpack strapped to Saladin bulging, Isha looking extremely disgruntled.]
[00:52] <Yanmei> "Is everything alright?" Yanmei was shaking some sheet metal free from a larger pile of refuse.
[00:54] <Minaplo> ["One second it is hot, then the next it is freezing! And I am bitten by insects that drink my blood! I hate this city!" He cried in anger. "It is hell!"]
[00:57] <Yanmei> "Calm down. We got the same treatment? Although some interesting things happened as well." She gestured to the corner of the camp where she had set down the flamethrowers and uniforms.
[00:59] <Minaplo> ["Oh dear. What happened?"]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "Some gang was attacking some runners with flamethrowers, and we helped them out. There was this masked figure among them, swooping around with a grappling gun and taking out Gangers easily. We split the loot among ourselves."
[01:04] <Minaplo> ["Indeed?" His eyebrows rose. "I too found something interesting."]
[01:05] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[01:09] <Minaplo> [He dismounted, ferreting around in the backpack. He took out a sniper rifle, a revolver, and- putting them carefully on the ground- tugged out a solid-looking heavy machine gun.]
[01:10] * Yanmei stared. "Incredible," she muttered. "How did you get them?!"
[01:10] <Minaplo> ["I found an arsenal. The machine gun is damaged, though…"]
[01:12] <Yanmei> "That's what Tinkerers are for? It's not long until the next Trading Day. Are you pretty used to handling Heavy weaponry?"
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["I can give a good account of myself."]
[01:13] <Yanmei> "Good." Yanmei grinned. "I was never trained to myself, and I don't think Isaiah was."
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["No use for big guns on 08." Said Isaiah.-
[01:14] <Minaplo> [Isha smiled. "Very well. I have some animals here as well- Yanmei, if you could distract Elizabeth for awhile…"]
[01:15] <Yanmei> "Of course~ Just call if you need anything." Yanmei wandered off to find the tired little girl, and knelt down next to her to play with her.
[01:16] <Minaplo> [And so the next few hours they would spend on cooking, scrounging about- and going afield…]
[01:28] <Yanmei> And after that, when they had gathered enough scrap metal, they worked on 08's hiding place for a while. Despite everything, Yanmei was in decent spirits, even humming a little to herself.
[01:30] <Minaplo> ["You sound happy." Said Isha, dining on yesterday's meat.]
[01:31] <Yanmei> "Someone today suggested I lead a rebellion against the Gangers."
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["An intriguing proposal."]
[01:34] <Yanmei> "An impossible one. We'll be out of here in less than two weeks. If we're not, it's our lives. But you know? Just hearing that made me feel invigorated somehow? I haven't felt that way in years."
[01:38] <Minaplo> [Isaiah grinned.-
[01:38] <Minaplo> [Isha smiled as well. "That's good to hear. But there are certain things I found out today and yesterday that we ought to note…"]
[01:38] <Yanmei> "Ah?"
[01:39] <Minaplo> ["Yesterday I found a notice board. It looks like the Tigers have put a bounty out on a pair of 'upstarts', one with vivid purple hair…"]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei lowered her slab of meat. "You're joking…"
[01:40] <Minaplo> ["I wish I was, but no. They're offering one hundred cans of food, two weeks' worth of water, a good weapon, the protection of the gang and gang membership for our corpses. Each."]
[01:42] <Yanmei> Her cheer was gone now, a firm frown taking hold instead. "There will be a lot of people after us with a reward that big."
[01:44] <Minaplo> ["That -is- true, but there are some mitigating circumstances."]
[01:44] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?"
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["None of the Tigers' enemies are going to want to seek us, in fact they might want to help. I doubt many gangs will want to help them. And the Runners might, but then again…"]
[01:47] <Yanmei> "The Runners seem to like us a lot? There could be some who are desperate enough out there. Like if they need protection from one of the Tigers' rivals or they have a family to feed."
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["True. But even so, we shouldn't have problems defending ourselves." He tapped his chin. "I found an abandoned war car near Tiger territory today."]
[01:53] <Yanmei> "You did?" Her eyebrows rose. Spare parts… "We'll head there tomorrow if there's time? And I think…" She frowned downward a moment. "This hair is starting to become a problem?"
[01:54] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean?" Asked Isaiah.]
[01:56] <Yanmei> "It's distinctive, right? Too easy to pick out in a crowd. Maybe we could get someone to make a hood or a hat for me. Like, something that covers it properly."
[01:57] <Minaplo> ["That's a good idea." Said Isha. "We could tie it back in a bun, as well. And…" He looked over at the pile of saints uniforms. Lizzie had spent hours refusing to even look at them, but after Skippy had gone nudging through one and gotten himself trapped in a gas mask- leading to Lizzie giggling endlessly- she had taken to playing with them.-
[01:58] <Minaplo> ["Those gas masks are reinforced and practical. We should take some."]
[01:58] <Yanmei> "We don't need five of them. We'll sell the extra one."
[01:59] <Minaplo> [Isha nodded.-
[02:00] <Minaplo> [And so- with some work on the car, and other things- they'd retire for the night, crowded around the fire as the temperature dropped.-
[02:00] <Minaplo> [And then the next day, Isha piled Skippy and Saladin up high, and the four of them together would enter the markets. Their first port of call: finding the Tinkerer who had sent them off to scavenge in that dratted badland.-
[02:01] <Minaplo> [They found him, eventually, a thin man with brown, greying hair, a pair of goggles on his head, grimy skin, wearing what looked like a smith's apron over his tinkerer's robes. A plethora of tools lay around him. He'd made a little sign for himself- 'John Bellamy for all your mechanical needs'.]
[02:04] * Yanmei stared at the little sign, stunned into momentary silence. It hadn't been present during their last meeting with the man; now Yanmei scrutinized him carefully, looking for features that seemed familiar to her.
[02:04] <Minaplo> [Isaiah was staring at it as well, his mouth open.-
[02:06] <Minaplo> ["What's this? Cat got your tongue, missy?" Chuckled John. "Here, I found this for your little girl, dunno how good it is, but." He reached into a pack and pulled out a little toy robot. "Here you go. Best I could do, but…"]
[02:08] <Yanmei> "It's m-magnificent," she stuttered, taking it gingerly as if she was afraid of breaking it. She passed it to Lizzie. "What do we say to the nice man, Lizzie? He gave you a nice gift."
[02:09] <Minaplo> ["Thank you!" She said happily, taking it, giggling shyly.-
[02:09] <Minaplo> ["She's a lovely girl. What's her name?" He asked.]
[02:09] <Yanmei> "E-Elizabeth."
[02:10] <Minaplo> ["Oh? That's a pretty name." He said, smiling. "Elizabeth, huh… I knew an Elizabeth once."]
[02:11] <Yanmei> "A… a girlfriend?" she guessed.
[02:12] <Minaplo> ["Hah, if only. She was my brother's wife." He leaned back in his chair, his smile fading into a wistful look. "They're both gone, now. Such is the way of the city…"-
[02:12] <Minaplo> ["… Anyway, that's enough of an old man's ramblings. I see that you are back, in one piece, you have a camel, which is a sign of good tidings, and you have a name for yourself, Ying the Liberator."]
[02:14] <Yanmei> "The Liberator?" She laughed, surprised. "Well, I don't know about that? But we did bring some things in the place you told us to look. Firearms, mostly." She reached into her pack and presented them: the assault rifles and their many many clips of ammo.
[02:15] <Yanmei> ^from the place
[02:19] <Minaplo> [John whistled. "You've been busy. I guess this has something to do with the Tigers' bounty?"]
[02:22] <Yanmei> "They're the ones who attacked -us-," Yanmei grumbled, going through her things once more once the rifles were out and resting in front of him. "I don't see why they get mad just because we fought back? Also, here." With little ceremony, she pulled out a different black, dangerous-looking weapon and added it to the pile.
[02:23] <Minaplo> ["A flamethrower! And I suppose this has something to do with the -Saints-' bounty, then…"]
[02:23] <Yanmei> "They have a bounty going too?"
[02:25] <Minaplo> ["You betcha bottom dollar. They're offering fuel, protection, membership, and they want you alive so they can burn you to death themselves. Saint Luna is kind of a bitch, love."]
[02:28] * Yanmei groaned and clapped a hand briefly over her face. Suddenly she felt exhausted. "Well, thank you for the warning, anyway? Consider the flamethrower a gift. Because of the robot, you know?"
[02:29] <Minaplo> ["A flamethrower for a robot?" He grinned. "Alright, tell ya what. That ain't fair. You got anything you need me to tool up? I'll do it for free."]
[02:34] <Yanmei> "Yeah? Then… there's this one gun we found. Broken." She went to the camel and hauled out with seemingly a lot of effort.
[02:36] <Minaplo> [John whistled. "At this rate you'll conquer the city by next trading day."]
[02:38] <Yanmei> "I wish?" She laughed. "We can find you here in three day's time, right? On the next trading day?"
[02:40] <Minaplo> ["Of course. I can have this baby fixed within the hour or two, though. But we should talk about your payment!"]
[02:41] <Yanmei> "Sure." She glanced to Isha. He was usually better at this part.
[02:54] <Minaplo> [And so they bartered, and haggled, and dealed, and eventually they came to an agreement.-
[02:54] <Minaplo> [John gestured Yanmei closer. "Your mate says you want to know about ripper communications tech."]
[02:55] <Yanmei> "Yeah! Do you know anything?" She eagerly edged forward.
[02:57] <Minaplo> ["How long range are we thinking, exactly? Transcontinental?"]
[02:58] <Yanmei> "International. We're talking long ranged here."
[03:01] <Minaplo> [John whistled. "There's only one place I know of that has -that- sort of thing."]
[03:04] <Yanmei> "Where?"
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["Parliament."]
[03:07] <Yanmei> "Parliament. Of course…" she looked a little uneasy now. She was starting to learn how to handle Gangers, but those guys were a mystery.
[03:08] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm. Also, I have some other information for you."]
[03:08] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[03:11] <Minaplo> ["Little miss Hermione swung by earlier and told me to send you to her."]
[03:12] <Yanmei> "Did she?" A thoughtful look. "Where can I find her?"
[03:12] <Minaplo> ["She's where she usually is."]
[03:13] <Yanmei> "I understand. I'll find her before we take off today. Thanks for the message!"
[03:13] <Minaplo> ["Not a problem. There's also… Something else."]
[03:13] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[03:14] <Minaplo> [He beckoned her closer.]
[03:15] * Yanmei leaned in further.
[03:16] <Minaplo> ["They say there's… Some sort of absurd cache of supplies, from some dead gang that stockpiled everything but no one's found it. They've only got clues…"]
[03:18] <Yanmei> Her thoughts drifted back to the Liberation idea. "Tell me everything you know."
[03:19] <Minaplo> ["Well, you know about the Demons? Once 'pon a time they used to control everything from across the river up all the way past the western area of Parliament. But once the Saints and Bombers came in, they lost a lot of control. One of the areas they lost was the space in the middle of Parliament, the Blues' territory, and the Demons' heartland. The problem is, that area's now caught between Magpies, Blues, Bombers and Demons. Word is that the cache is somewhere in there, but the whole area's a four-way shithouse."]
[03:24] <Yanmei> "No wonder it's never been found." Yanmei closed her eyes a moment. "Alright. I'm going to think it over? If I do decide to investigate, I'll bring some nice stuff to trade with you."
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["That'd be bonzer, Miss Liberator." He says with a grin.]
[22:18] <CakeyCake> Before long, they were moving along, following the path of airborne news and recommendations. If anyone would want a Saints uniform, it would be their rivals, the Demons. So they headed toward where they could be found.
[22:24] <Minaplo> [The Demons were all tall, strong fellows, a mix of men and women, centred around a converted car. Each of them had heavy solid weapons hanging from hips or their backs- some had swords, others had hammers. They started to laugh when Yanmei approached.]
[22:25] * CakeyCake slowed her approach at that, wary and, yes, trying to mask her surprise as well. "Morning~ Any of you feel like making a deal today?"
[22:26] * CakeyCake is now known as Yanmei
[22:31] <Minaplo> [One of them- a woman, who was taller than all of them- stepped forward. "If you're the one they call Ying, then we're always happy to deal~"]
[22:35] <Yanmei> "Is that right?" Yanmei kept her own smile up. "We figured you might be interested in some fine clothes that we… recovered yesterday." She retreived the bundle from Isaiah: 5 Saints uniforms, one of which included the gasmask.
[22:45] <Minaplo> [More laughter. "Sure, we're always interested in Saints' gear. It means that there's a dead or naked Sainter out there, probably being eaten by dogs. And that's a thought I can sleep on."-
[22:46] <Minaplo> ["The going rate's a day's water and two days' worth of food for each Sainter coat."]
[22:50] <Yanmei> "We can work with that? Mr. Isha, if you would be so kind…"
[22:51] <Minaplo> [And so some time later Isha walked away with a bag full of tinned food, their canteens refilled, a big pile of sharp metal, and a little Demons badge that he said meant that they'd been invited to meet with Checkers Lucy, the Demon leader.]
[22:54] <Yanmei> That last one worried Yanmei a little, but she threw her shoulders back and pretended to be fine with it. -
[22:55] <Yanmei> Onward they went, to find some disguises with a Tinkerer they had sought out the last time they were here - the man with the comedy camel routine.
[22:57] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[23:04] <Minaplo> [And this time the dealing went much better, with some food traded away and a request to return in six hours.-
[23:04] <Minaplo> [After that it was back to John, who had cleared the HMG and declared it fit for killing.]
[23:09] <Yanmei> Chuckling, Yanmei bid him goodbye, and led everyone away. There were rumors of a Tinkerer who knew electronics somewhere out there, and Yanmei sought him out with the science books Isha had stumbled over, ready to make another deal.
[23:26] <Minaplo> [And before long they, too, walked away, their burdens lighter, shiny new batteries in hand- and a head full of info about the Avenger, a sort of shadowy Gang hunter that struck them down whenever they attacked poor Runners.]
[23:28] <Yanmei> "Three or four years," Yanmei muttered to herself as they walked away. The Tinkerer had told her that he'd only been around the area that long. "Wonder where he came from?"
[23:30] <Minaplo> ["You say he had a Surovite sword and a grappling gun? Those don't belong here." Said Isha, scratching his chin. "Three or four years ago, there's only one explanation…"]
[23:32] <Yanmei> "What? The LN?"
[23:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. An LN agent, perhaps…"]
[23:37] <Yanmei> "He seemed familiar."
[23:38] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[23:39] <Yanmei> "I don't know where I met him? But I know I've heard that voice before." She frowned deeply for a few seconds and shrugged. "I'm sure it will come to me? But let's get that spear you wanted done."
[23:45] <Minaplo> ["Good idea."-
[23:45] <Minaplo> [A quick visit to a very cantankerous Tinkerer later, they were off, heading for…]
[23:48] <Yanmei> Hermione. Yanmei was ready with melee weapons this time, in case she wanted to buy them. As they approached her usual spot, she put on a friendly smile.
[23:52] <Minaplo> [Hermione was sitting in her chair, legs up on a table, dressed in her body-hugging leathers and a long black coat. She was playing with a knife again. "G'day there, Ying the Liberator."]
[23:54] <Yanmei> "Call me Ying." Yanmei put her hands on her hips. "What's up? Heard you wanted to talk about something?"
[23:59] <Minaplo> ["You heard about this giant supply cache?"]
[23:59] <Yanmei> "Yeah." She dropped her voice appropriately and came closer. "What about it?"
Session Time: Sun Mar 03 00:00:00 2013
[00:02] <Minaplo> ["I have a deal for you. I'll help you guys out for the next three days. But after that, you gotta help me find the cache. We'll split it fifty-fifty."]
[00:05] * Yanmei blinked. "What do you going to do with that much stuff? Sounds like a massive haul even if it's split down the middle."
[00:05] <Minaplo> ["I have a way." She grinned.]
[00:09] * Yanmei eyed her curiously. A car? "Seems like an okay deal on my end. Are you sure about this, though? There's a chance it might not even exist."
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["That's fine." Said Hermione.]
[00:13] * Yanmei scruntinized her curiously. Finally, she extended a hand. "All right." There would be plenty of time to figure out what she wanted to do with it during the three days. "Let's get along while we work together, okay~?"
[00:14] <Minaplo> ["Heh." Hermione shook it.]
[00:15] <Yanmei> "Got a place to sleep? You can hang out at our camp if you want."
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Sure."]
[00:19] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "Let's meet back here at the end of the day, then? We'll head there and rest up. Oh." She went through her pack for the weapons. "We wanted to trade with you too. Not that you're exactly unarmed?"
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["Heh. Water?"]
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Yeah. We're a little low?"
[00:21] <Minaplo> ["Then let's see what you have."-
[00:22] <Minaplo> [A quick display of weapons later would see their canteens and pots filled up.]
[00:23] <Yanmei> And soon they were on their way, Yanmei waving over her shoulder as they went. "Mr. Isha?" she said quietly, not dropping her warm smile while Hermione was still watching.
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["Yes?"]
[00:25] <Yanmei> "Would you consider yourself a good judge of character?"
[00:26] <Minaplo> ["I would, yes."]
[00:26] <Yanmei> "What do you think of that one? Am I an idiot for opening our home up to her?"
[00:27] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. I think she is pragmatic, but thoughtful. She won't betray us. I think she respects your reputation too much."]
[00:29] <Yanmei> "I hope you're right. It doesn't feel like she's lying to us."
[00:54] <Yanmei> They spent some more time asking around about more information - this time on Parliament. The uniformed figure that the line of questioning eventually found them standing in front of tipped them off to a few jobs that they needed to get done. -
[00:56] <Yanmei> And so with a smile and flourish, Yanmei promptly volunteered them for one that was more time consuming than bloody and violent: A search for machine parts.
[15:29] <Yanmei> To determine which parts they needed to keep an eye out for, they consulted another Tinkerer who knew about things like plumbing, and then… it was time to take their time and relax. It had been a good day for trade so far, and so they had time to people-watch and eavesdrop.
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Hm." Isha rubbed his chin speculatively as they returned to camp, unloading their wares.]
[14:25] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei neatly arrange the petrol next to their little shelter. They had left Isaiah and Lizzie behind so that they could enjoy the festive atmosphere a bit more. "Something on your mind?"
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["That war buggy." He said. "It could still be useful. It did have a gun on it…"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "Then we should go after it~" Yanmei hefted up the toolbox. "Bet those dumb Tigers will think we stole it."
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Curiously, I don't think it was a Tiger car…"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "Who else would…? Parliament?"
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["I imagine all gangs have a few cars around." Said Isha. "But the Tigers just happen to have a lot more."]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei grabbed a lone canister and walked closer toward the camel. She only lingered by him long enough to slip it into the carrying sachel; she'd always found Saladin to be kind of stinky. "I guess we've dug a hole for ourselves either way?"
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["Indeed."]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Are you worried about the stuff we heard today? About those elite gangers coming after us?"
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Not really." Said Isha with a light smile. "Let them do their worst."]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "That's the spirit!" Yanmei beamed.
[14:41] <Minaplo> [And so they both set out into the wilderness, and before long Isha's keen memory led them to the abandoned car. It was in excellent condition, relatively, and at a brief glance Yanmei would be able to tell that it was perfectly functional.]
[14:47] <Yanmei> She hopped into the driver's seat after a quick check under the hood and started it up. "It's in even better condition than the last one was?" she reported.
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["Excellent. Want me to fill it up?"]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "I'll take care of it. Go ahead and get a head start on getting home. There's no way you can keep up on camelback~"
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Ah, but then again, the camel has no chance of breaking down…"]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "He could run away when you least expect it."
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["And you could lose control of your car."]
[14:51] <Yanmei> "If I wasn't an amazing driver, maybe~"
[14:52] <Minaplo> [Isha chuckled. "I will see you when you get back."]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Sure. Be careful."
[14:57] <Minaplo> [And so Yanmei would return to the camp ahead of Isha, and finding Isaiah already back. Lizzie was there as well, and there was something on her shoulder. With red fur and a white underbelly, licking at her face and making her giggle- a fox!]
[14:59] * Yanmei parked and stepped out. "Back already, hm~" She eyed the little creature and then glanced at Isaiah with a hint of sternness. If that was dinner, they were going to have a heck of a time dealing with Lizzie afterward…
[14:59] <Minaplo> [Isaiah gave her an adorably innocent grin.-
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["Maamaa!" Lizzie ran over to her, General Bear tucked under an arm. "Maamaa, daadaa buy foxfox!"]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "He did?!" It was a tiny little thing. Yanmei resisted the urge to reach out and scratch its ears as one might with a cat. "That's a surprise. How come?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["She thought it was cute, and it took a shine to her." Said Isaiah. "The old owner said he couldn't care for it anymore, so I gve him some food and a gun."-
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Cute cute cute! Maamaa, give name?"]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Hm… Daji?"
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Dachee?"}
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Yeah. It's the name of a mean lady who lived in a kingdom long, long ago. You could call her 'Ji' for short."
[15:22] <Minaplo> [Isaiah's eyebrows rose. "Daji? Why Daji?"-
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["Jijiji!"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Well… it was the first foxy folklore I could think of?"
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["I thought you'd know all about foxy folklore…"-
[15:24] <Minaplo> [Lizzie giggled. "Thank you, Maamaa! Jiji~"]
[15:28] * Yanmei happily ruffled her hair. "You're welcome. You'll have to take good care of her, okay?"
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["Ok, maamaa!"]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "You got a lot of nice stuff today. A new toy and a new pet! Let's play with them later while Daddy cooks dinner." She glanced at Isaiah. "In the meantime, I should get back to pick up our things from those Tinkerers. And our new guest, too~"
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["You're right."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> [They'd depart only to be intercepted halfway by Isha. "Off to gather our goods?"]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "That's right~ Want to come with?" They were on foot, of course, since it wasn't that far from the camp.
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["I do."-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [And a quick trip later, they found themselves with three lovely new cloaks- with hoods!- and Isha would pick up a heavy-looking shield and a long, lethal-looking spear from their metalworker.]
[15:43] * Yanmei had carefully folded her cloak instead of trying it on right away. There would be no attacks on Trading Day anyway. "Looks good?" she said, grinning at Isha as she started to head toward Hermione's spot.
[15:45] <Minaplo> [Isha had put his cloak on, of course. "Do I look heroic yet?"]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "Like you need a shield and spear to do that?" Yanmei tossed her hair. "You already look the part, you know."
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["You flatterer."-
[15:56] <Minaplo> [But when they arrived at Hermione's 'stall', they'd find her waiting for them, sitting on a tough-looking motorcycle. "There you are."]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Nice bike." She kept her eyebrows from creeping higher somehow. "All set?"
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["Yep."]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "We're not far from here. C'mon, we'll show you?"-
[16:05] <Yanmei> And they did just that. Before long, they were all fed and resting in blankets inside their shelter. It was a little crowded with an extra person, but that became much less of a concern as sleep eventually overtook them.

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