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(Bar) The midnight drifter

| >The night was young, the bars full, yet somehow the drifter enjoyed an empty night for once, being far away from the turmoil of the main streets.
>Emily wasn't the one behind the counter tonight though, instead it was a single girl with short-ish shoulder lenght white hair and dull red eyes.
>She was wearing a bar tender uniform along with a loose red tie, the name plate on her shirt read "Ele"
>She sighed loudly, noticing how empty it was
"I'm bored outta my mind here..."

| "Emily! I'm b—"

> A loud feminine voice enters after a figure walks into the bar. The voice stops as soon as the figure sees the bartender.

"A-ah... Sorry."

> The figure itself is that of a lady. Modestly long hair, one glowing eye, and a suit to complete her appearance. She nervously smiled, taking a seat quickly after being aware of her mistake.

"I-I'll get an, uhm.. a Ragnarok, please."

| >A small girl enters the bar, dressed in only a swimsuit and a sweet pair of shades
>She's at most 135cm tall, and has waist long blond hair
"Yo, yo, yo, gamers. Alice here."
>She sits at the bar
"Gimme a Godfather and a straight shot of Whisky to wash that fire down with acid."

| >>536034
"Oh, friend of Emi? She's out right now"
>'Ele' Says, her voice is cute, but somewhat gruff
"I'll get on that uh..."
>She takes the drink's components from under the bar
"Hell- What's up with the outfit?"
>She asks Alice

| >>536045
"Huh? Isn't this one good swimsuit, I know it's not typical winter wear, but I was never one for typical. Hahahaha!"
>She begins laughing loudly
"To be honest, it's not risqué enough for me... But it will make the guys salivate, and that's all I need."
>She lifts her shades and winks, her eyes are a clear cyan

| >>536052
> The suited lady peeks at Alice's appearance; brewing in her is the look of disapproval.

"Are you sure showing this much skin is helping in your task to capture male hearts?"

> There was a long hum she made, in which she paid no attention to anything particular.

"I'm not one say, though. I have never had an interest for trivial manners like that. Don't let my words be made as criticism."

| > A Hooded man walks in to the bar, smoke coming from the inside of the hood.
"One Whiskey, please and thank you."
> The hood comes off, and the smoke clears, quite obviously coming from a vape pen. As everything clears, some patrons recognise it as John, who takes a seat at the bar.

"Did anyone ever teach you any decency?"

| >>536076
"Thanks for the comment, Miss. Any input counts in the long run."
>She chuckles
"My father tried, but coming from a guy who wears a mask and a wig all the time, it wasn't convincing."
>She taps the counter with two fingers
"And really, does it matter what people wear? Humans really are too concerned about appearances."

| >>536154
"Humans are, but for a good reason."

> The lady winked, turning to the new patron before completing what she is hinting at.

"How is that game of tag doing for you?"

> She said in a colloquial voice; not low, not hiding secrecy. She spoke as is.

"I hope she isn't giving you any troubles."

| >>536145
>The girl behind the bar says with a nod, squinting her eyes at John
"Don't I know you... forget that actually"
>She mumbles before putting down a glass of a whisky in front of him and a Ragnarok in front of >>536154

| > The lady in suit gave a compliant giggle, waving at the bartender as she watches the glass placement.

"That is my order, you are misplacing, 'Tender."

> Ending her short fit of emotion, she exhaled a breath.

"Long day, hmm?"

| >>536198
>The girl looks up and sighs
"I'm sorry, it's been a long day indeed"
>She scratches her bandaged cheek
"I'm not used to working here, i'm only doing Emily a favor... for old time's sake"

| >>536211
"For auld lang syne. A favourable reason."

> The lady nodded, approving of something in her own sentence. There is a short smile made on her face.

"How strange; I can't help but see you as Emily. Maybe a more petite one? No, that will be rude to assume. I never measured either of you."

| >>536223
"Well... the bandages dont help the difference I guess"
>The girl says
"I Don't usually wear these though, I just got... injured recently"

| >A masked guy enter the bar. Far from being tall, you can say a solid 5'4, he walked strangely fast for someone of his height. All in black, the only thing you can see of him are his eyes, an incredible blue. He walks up to the bar.
"Do you know where I can get a contract, 'lady?"
>He says simply

| "Erm...where the fuck is Emily?"
>He says, as he realizes to who he's talking to

| >>536243
"She's out running a few errands, she'll be back later"
>The bandaged tender says with a neutral expression
"huh, This isnt a shadow web bar nor a shadowrun hangout, but I can get you a drink if that also works"
>She eyes the man suspiciously

| "Hmmm. Alright then. Gimme something."
>Shrugs the man.
"Someone interresting might come later"

| >>536252
"Sure thing"
>She hands you a dark drink, it smells very strongly of alcohol
"I hope you like it"

| >>536154
"It's all about scope. Because all you look like to me is a desperate hooker."

"She's trouble alright. I've been trying to deal with people in a... non-lethal way, but maiming is really the only way to keep them away, for now."
>John sighs, not happy with his situation, or his solution.
"They keep raising the bounty. It's at 11 now."

| >>536335
> The lady chuckles, hearing John's words gave her a look of relief. She did her first sip off of the drink served to her.

"When money is concerned, I don't think they will take a break…"

> In her brief pause, she glints at John.

"…Wishing for that sources doubt; whereunto I can only hope you a good luck."

> She darts a quick, hearty smile — shortly before covering it with her hand.

"Be it as it may; I hope it resolves swiftly with your victory attained."

| "Thanks for the drink"
>The short man turns to the table behind as he takes a sip.
"Well, if you want to deal with them in a "very letal" way, gimme a call. The name's O-Barr."
>He says to the named John

| >>536344
"No such thing as a victor in this situation. Only a lesser loser."

>John mulls his words down with whiskey.


>John puts his hand in to his jacket.
"That's... good to know, but I'd rather keep the bodycount low. Makes me less of a serial killer in the GCPD's Eyes. Optics and all that."

| >>536383
"That is the definition of a victor."

> The lady reply came as fast as her next gulp of the drink. Having downed half the glass, she traces the edges of the container with no intent.

"I want to offer help, but what can a broken goddess do in face of complicated plots? I have learnt; this stage is not for me."

| "Hmmm. You don't actually need to put your name on the front line, y'know? All I'm sayin is that there's a way to end this without you taking the blame. Well, in the end it's still your choice."
>O-Barr takes a bug gulp of his drink. He then turns to the woman.
"A broken goddess, huh? That must be a pretty damn good story. Another drink please. With less alcohol."

| >>536414
"That was, uhm—"

> Although she seemed to have found an answer, she stutters here and there. Unable to speak out the proper word, she goes back to humming for an answer.

"—Ah, uhm. A figure of speech! Yes, that's what that was. Apologies for the disappointment."

| >The small girl in her sw- no, she's dressed in a proper gothic dress now, when did she change?
>Alice chuckles
"A figure of speech, eh? I suppose you'd call it that."
>She eyes O-Barr and sighs

| "Shame. Does anybody have a good story to tell?"
>O-Barr responds, still waiting for his drink

| >>536439
"Stories come and go, is what I was told by Emily, not many can share them all that easily"
>Ele says to O-barr with a soft expression as she turns to John
"Sounds like you're in a world of trouble mister, so long as that doesnt follow you in here I guess"

| "Too bad for the stories."
>O-Barr then turns his attention back to the man
"Excuse me sir but I didn't got your name back then. What was it again?"

| >>536414 >>536482
"Unless you can pretend to be me, there's not much in ways of help. The name's John."
>John takes another sip, turning to the woman.

"Broken speech from a broken goddess. You really need to get that checked out."
>John lets out a small chuckle.

"Don't worry ma'am, I'm already out of your hair. Can't stay for much longer anyway."
>John pulls out a cred stick, leaving it next to his empty glass.
"I'll be seeing you people around, alright?"

| >>536618
"The next drink better be my treat."

> The lady says, shortly waving to John with an empty glass in her other hand.

"Be wary, always. I put trust in you; don't be forlorn."

| >>536618
"That's not what I m- ... Have good night then mister John"
>The girl says, looking like she wanted to say something, but letting it go

| >random background character steps in
>the guy is drunk
>goes away

| >>536762
"Don't sweat it. The longer I stay, the more of them will come."
>John says at the door, leaning on the door frame, slipping something in to his shoe.
"I'd give it 30 minutes."

| >>536816
"Have good night then"
>She says with a small wave
"Always such a troublesome man, ain't he"
>She mumbles before turning to the other customers

| >>536968
"A nice source of story. He is peculiar with all his troubles—"

> The lady smiled, pushing the empty glass to signal a refill.

"I will have another serving. I have been yearning for the taste of this, and one satiates very few of me."

| >A tall, slender man approaches the doorway of the bar, hesitantly peering inside before stepping over the threshold. As he walks across the bar floor towards the counter, an odd clicking noise can be heard. If one were to look closely at him in the dim lighting of the bar, they might first notice that his gait is a little stiff-- and moments later they might notice the archaic looking exoskeleton encircling his waist and framing his legs. Otherwise, he looks rather plain.

| >>536985
"Aye aye, you got it"
>The tender serves another Ragnarok to her
>Ele raises an eyebrow at the exo skeleton wearing man
"Welcome to the drifter, what can I serve you"

| >>537644
>The man struggles to get onto one of the bar stools, legs apparently not as under his control as he'd like. Once situated he looks up at Ele, appearing slightly confused.
"You said 'the drifter'-- this is the Midnight Drifter bar, right? There's an Emily that works here?"
>He seems a little clueless. He looks from patron to patron carefully, scrutinizing each of them, then turns back to Ele.
"Is that you?"
>This guy... can't really read an atmosphere.

| >>537910
"Are you looking for me?"

> One of the patron instead answered in the bartender's place. She held her newly served Ragnarok close, but not enough to have it in her mouth.

"The 'Tender there has a means of identification. See? 'Ele.'"

> She points to the name plate, hoping for the man to also see it.

"With that said; Emily is away."

| >>537923
>The man turns to the patron who's answered his query, and his speech takes on an apologetic and embarrassed tone.
"No... I don't think I know you, sorry."
>He becomes quiet and looks down at the counter for a moment. A few seconds pass before he sighs and closes his eyes, shakes his head, and murmurs to himself:
"Oh, that's right..."
>He turns his focus back to the woman with the Ragnarok.
"Thanks for clearing things up..."
>He trails off, not knowing what else to say.

| >>537932
"Well if you want you can leave anything you wanted to ask Emily with m-"

>The tender starts saying before a door is heard closing in the backstore, along with a cute yelp and footsteps
>Soon a taller girl errupts from the backstore, her face red and her hand stroking her head
>she's wearing cute baggy clothes and a pretty rose patterned eyepatch
>Its Emily!
"Owww, I should really fix that..."
>She says with a seepish smile, before looking at Ele
"Thanks Eleanore!"

| >They really do look alike, almost like sisters
>Ele, or Eleanore sighs
"Dont use my name so casually Emi"
>She points to the customers
"Ill be gone now, see you later"
>She goes the way Emily arrived by and you can hear a thunk along with a cry 'Ouchie!'

"I really should fix that yeah"
>Emily nods and looks at Uni, O-barr and the last man
"Sorry about that, I was out in town!"

| "It may sound bizarre, but welcome back!"

> Uni, the lady with the Ragnarok, lifts her drink as though a celebration for the occasion.

"The last 'tender, Ele, was it? She has it in her. May want a tinge of attention training, but she has talents."

> She puts on a short smile, yet once more taking a sip from her drink.

| >>538076
>As the bartenders trade places with one another, the man looks even more puzzled-- though very shortly a look of recognition dawns on his face. He smiles, relieved.
"Please, don't apologize! I'm sure you have your own life outside this bar."
>The man starts to fumble with the jacket he's wearing, haphazardly going through the many pockets hidden in its lining.
"I just wanted to ask you something, and thank you for something else."

| >>538082
"Oh hi Uni! As for her, well she's an old friend... or I think she considers me a friend? she's a weird one"
>Emily says with a wry smile
"Thank me? Thats a rare occurence, I can't say I remember doing something that was worth it"
>She smiles nevertheless

| >>538163
>The man finishes rummaging through his backpack and produces a picture ID, which he then flashes at Emily. The image on the card is... clearly not of him: instead it shows a portrait of a short-haired brunette woman in her late twenties, clad in a simple uniform. The watermark over the image resembles the NSFMC logo.
"You helped save her life. I'd say that's worth it."
>He moves his thumb across the plastic, exposing the name on the ID: "Aikawa Ei".
"I'm Roy."

| >*rummaging through his jacket, not his backpack

| >>538420
"Oh! Aikawa is it?"
>Emily beams a wide smile, maybe it's the different outfit but she's really cute today
"And don't worry about it! I just did the sensible thing"

| >>538518
>Roy can't help but smile back-- that grin of hers is infectious. He tucks Aikawa's work badge back into one of the pockets of his jacket.
"Yes, that's her. Thank you for directing me towards the hospital she's been admitted to, as well. Though, if you hadn't told me... I probably would have found out one way or another."
>His smile goes from being cheerful to looking as if the bottom could drop out of it any second.
"I don't just live with her; I work with her, too."

| >Impulse walks into the bar,he is wearing heavier set of gear today,like his normal gear isn't enough for him to survive a shotgun blast to the head,he also carry a new set of backpacks instead of the usual duffle
>He walks up to the counter
"One gut punch please"

| >>538729
>Roy stares as Impulse heads over to the bar counter, apprehensive about the interaction that is about to take place. A "gut punch"?? Is this guy looking to test the durability of his many layers of riot gear? What's going to happen to that poor 'tender's hand once it hits that Kevlar that's been reenforced with god-knows-what? What's in all the bags? Is this why Ei likes this place??
>Without realizing it, Roy has started holding his breath in anticipation.

| >>538773
> Uni notices, after taking in her Ragnarok, the unease in the man's face. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words were uttered — at least until a long pause and another sip.

"You tell a good story, but nothing speaks louder in a bar than having a glass of something."

> She said; almost like a true alcoholic at that.

"—Ah, of course, this is only a suggestion. Let's say, a 'thank you' for Emily, yes?"

| >>538796
>Impulse smile,although you doesn't notice it due to a balaclava covering his face
"I usually say the "Thank you" after someone handed me something,but I will take that into consideration,thank you. I guess the way I speak is too vague,I will also try to fix that"
>Impulse towards Emily
"May I have a glass of gut punch,please,thank you"

>Impulse say,as though he can read your mind
"Gut punch is a drink,in case you think it's something else for whatever reason"

| >>538773
"By the way,the name's Impulse,glad to see some new faces in the bar"
>Impulse say further,he leave his assualt backpack on the floor next to him,the way it hit the ground suggest that it is empty,he also take his rifle,a VSS Vintorez with a PSO-1 scope attached,slinged over his shoulder down and put it next to the backpack near him,although he keep all the armor and rig on,along with his holstered P226R pistol

| >>538799
"Ah—… I wasn't—"

> Noticing something, Uni stopped her words dead on and returned a smile instead.

"You're welcome. Cheers!"

> She lifted her drink, a sign of salute for a fellow patron, it seems.

| >>538796
>Roy snaps out of it a little and inhales sharply as he turns his attention to Uni. Her suggestion gives him pause-- he's not allowed caffeine because of his job, and not really allowed alcohol because of his legs, but... why come to a bar if you aren't going to drink?
"You're right. Emily, may I have... one of your weaker drinks on the menu? I don't get out to bars much."
>Clearly, since he thought Impulse was requesting that Emily haul off and deck him.

| >>538806
>Roy attempts to shift in his seat in order to face Impulse, but his exoskeleton catches on the chair and he loses his balance, hitting his forearm off the bar counter as he tries to break his fall. He manages to right himself again and sits up, rubbing his injured arm.
"Nice to meet you. I believe you also played a part in taking care of Ei? Your name is familiar."

| >A man in a suit and detective's overcoat enters the bar, his face tense and angry, mumbling to himself.

"This must be the place."

>He approaches the the Bar, leaning on it with his elbows, eyes trained on the bartender.

"Excuse me bartender, but do you know this man?"

>He gets his phone out of his coat, showing the screen of the phone to the bartender.

>It is a photo of John "Anomeat" Doe, but much younger, by maybe 10 or 5 years.

| >>538989
"That is a very cute picture of him."

> One of the patron from a not-too-far distance can be seen eyeing the picture. Her glowing left eye must have assisted in zooming and enhancing.

"You and I; our blood sport is the same."

> She sips her drink, not at all smiling nor putting much expression.

| >>538891
"Of course!"
>Emily prepares a small sugar rush

>Emily takes a closer look and then shakes her head
"I don't know who that is, but he's a cute one isnt he?"
>Emily says with a smile

| >>538900
"I just gave her the nitro,that's all,although she overdosed it for some reason. I guess,I'm kind of guilty to not give her the correct dose instead of tossing her the entire bottle"
>Impulse explain,he is not taking out his magazines and loading it with bullets

| >>539062
"May I have a gut punch please,thanks"
>Impulse repeat,in case she hasn't heard him the first time

| >>539063
>Roy feels a nice wave of secondhand embarrassment wash over him as Impulse recounts his roommate's actions during her last visit to the bar.
"Ah, I... wouldn't be so quick to blame yourself."
>He struggles with finding a nice way of saying 'she's an idiot, but she's a smart idiot.'
"Ei knows how that drug works-- she knows >>>exactly how much you're supposed to take of it and>>>how to take it."
>He sighs, feeling himself getting frustrated with her all over again.

| >>539071
"So... that overdose was a very conscious and... very reckless decision made on her part."
>Roy's confusion and concern about her motivation for doing so gradually becomes visible on his face.
"... I just wish I knew why she did it. I wish she could tell me why."

| >>539077
>Impulse finish loading his magazine and put it in his vest
"She does say something about someone trying to find her or something,don't really remember much"

| >>539079
>Roy absentmindedly runs his fingers over the grooves of the frame on his legs while he speaks.
"... Yeah. I don't know who that is, or what that means. Ei has said some weird stuff like that while she's been in the hospital, too-- it's actually a part of why I'm here. They won't discharge her until they have more information about what happened that night... They want to know if she's telling the truth."

| >>539062
"Uh... yeah, sure. Thanks for your help."

>The stranger looses composition for a second, thrown off by Emily's response.

"Of him? Do you know who he is?"

>He turns to Uni, curious as to what she has to say.

| >>539089
"Of course! Twelve million, was it? Regardless, what a frivolous number."

> She spoke with attention away from the man, but her glances often land on him.

"Although, I suppose it is much of the same, no matter the number."

| >>539089
"Pretty sure one of my guys spot him near a food stand the other day,didn't know for sure though"
>Impulse join in on the conversation

| >>539135 >>539108
"Just more reports of sightings of him. He's all over town, but I know I'm on his trail."

>The suit sighs, ready to give up...
"Well, I'm not getting closer. Bartender, on gut punch please?"

>As the guy orders his drink, you may notice some gangers peering thought to the inside, looking for someone.

| >>539284
"You won't find him by breadcrumbs. I say, your luck is best served with a bigger net—"

> Catching the sound of an open entrance, Uni turns to see the new fellows, though she was quick to return to the conversation.

"Quite the people we have here."

| "We do have a lot of people here"
>Impulse agree after he sees the people coming in

| >Roy quietly listens in on the conversation between Uni and this suit with the photo of the young man (whom Roy now thinks is some kind of cat burglar based on Uni's "12 million" remark). Movement outside one of the bar's windows and in the doorway also catches his eye.
"Did you happen to bring friends with you?"

| >>539294
"It's working so far. I'm closer than I ever was."

>The suit looks behinds him, at the gangers.

>>539331 >>539373
"They are friends alright."

>The suit makes a circling gesture, making the gangers dissipate.

"I'll pass on the gut punch, seems there's another lead."

>The Suit gets up, getting ready to go, as last of the gangers leave.

| >>539802
"Ah, would it be true that the bounty ends with this lead? I hope not."

> Uni responds. Her voice left a playful tone, swept underneath her words.

"Godspeed to your search."

> She promptly goes back to her drink, seemingly minding very little of what had happened.

| >>539802 >>539806
>Roy raises an eyebrow as the suit scatters the gangers with a simple motion of his wrist. Neat. This is definitely getting interesting. He decides, like Uni, to wish the man well:
"Yeah, best of luck."
>He gives a little wave as the man prepares to head out.

| "And if you do run in to him, don't be afraid to call me. Because I have a feeling you do so often."

>The suit slides a card in Uni's direction, before leaving.

>The card itself is embossed with "Shin Bet", and a phone number.

"Ask for 045."

| >>539066
"Surely, as usual am I right?"
>Emily chuckles

"What an odd man, I'm not quite used to dealing with suits or corps, one of the perks of being a small establishment I guess"
>Emily cocks an eyebrow as the man leaves and then sighs
"I see he has put himself in trouble again, how some men never change"

| >>539896
>Roy looks at Emily and then Uni, both of whom have a much better idea of what just transpired than he does.
"I beg your pardon, but... what happened just now? Who was the person in the picture?"
>It then occurs to Roy that both Emily and Uni spoke about the photo's subject with an air of familiarity.
"Do you both know him from somewhere?"

| >>539847
> Uni takes the card, glancing at it before pocketing it to her own suit.

"He simply is a man. One with a very high bounty to his head. However, I trust that is not the answer to your questions."

> She turns to Roy, facing him after a short sighing. Visible now is her expression; weary and tired, but with a sincere smile.

"—To say that I am not worried about him is lying. He is a friend. A good one. I owe him a life; and now he is out with his life at risk."

| >>539896
"Thank you"

"I think he's a weaponsmith,just like me,he seemed a decent man"
>Impulse say

| >>539979 >>540091
>Roy nods, apparently satisfied with these explanations and not wanting for more info.
"Good person in a bad situation? Or something else?"
>He turns to Uni and glances over his shoulder quickly at Emily to check on his Sugar Rush-- he isn't in any hurry, but he's admittedly curious as to how it'll taste given its... unique neon coloring. He hasn't had a drink in years.
"Will you help him? Or is he on his own this time around?"

| >>540103
"He is never on his own. I trust that much from him."

> Uni's reply was brisk, owing to her lack of pause that she only added after her words were fluttering out.

"He may refuse help — but I am one to insist."

| >>540106
>Roy decides not to press any further due to Uni's rather glib response. Although the motivation behind his curiosity is harmless, others might not read it as such.
"With the amount of trouble he seems to get in, he's lucky to have someone like you on his side."
>He grins. His expression rapidly transitions to one of shock and surprise as a loud and very annoying beeping sounds from somewhere within his jacket.
"Ah, excuse me--"
He again starts digging through his pockets.

| >Impulse take out a sheet of cloth to cover the table. He then take the rifle by his bag and put it on the sheet. He check the gun if it is on safety,which it is and unload the magazine from it. He pull back the charging handle and the chambered bullet fly out from the chamber. He catch it and slide it back into the magazine and set the magazine aside. He then start taking apart the gun and cleaning it with some kit from his backpack

| >>540106
>Emily smiles at Uni and nods
"I Hope he'll learn to depend on others more, I'm sure some people would help him"

| >>540216
"That is out of his character—"

> Uni let loose a sweet giggle, relieving her from much of her twining melancholy — or so is what she shows.

"Wherefore his journey is, or what goals he is achieving next — I for sure know of his reluctance to ask help — but, if I were him, I'm sure too, I won't put forth a call for help."

> She continues, albeit slowly.

"How do I put it—… the protagonist always have victories they gain through solitude, earned by support of others."

| >>540191
>The beeping continues as Roy divests each pocket of its contents and deposits them on the counter. Keys, a phone, a wallet... He practically rips the offending item out of his jacket lining once he finds it and quickly brings it to eye level. It's about half the size of a deck of cards and made of gray plastic, with a narrow display across one side. It looks like it's been dropped or stepped on a few times. He clicks a button on the top, and it ceases shrieking.

| >>540361
>Glad to be rid of the noise, Roy gently places the device on the top of his pile of belongings, and picks up his phone.
"... that was very well-phrased. Very eloquent for someone a few drinks in."
>He looks back from Uni down to his phone, swipes across the screen, and starts a phone call that he hopes will be brief. He lowers his voice and turns away from the other patrons.
"This is Roy; I'm returning a page?"
>That thing's a pager? What's this guy's deal??

| >>540364
"T-thank you, that's, uhm—… that's probably the drink talking!"

> She seemed flustered, but there's knowing from her face; now hidden by the two hands covering it — not realising Roy scooting away to take the call.

"—Hmm? Page? What page are you returning?"

> A peek later, and she was livid from her mistake. A resulting large, imminent gulp empties her glass.

| >>540373
>Roy hears her question and raises the index finger of the hand not holding the phone, gesturing to Uni as if to say "just a minute."
"No, I'm not on call tonight. I'd better not be-- who told you that?"
>He goes back and forth quietly with whomever is on the other end of the phone, maintaining a pretty civil tone throughout.
"I'm sorry, I'd pick up if I could, but I'm in the middle of something..."
>He looks guilty, and seems as if he's having trouble giving a firm "no".


| >>540392
>As the conversation nears its end, Roy can be heard offering several more apologies to whomever he's talking with. Before hanging up, he asks the caller one last thing:
"Hey, how's she doing?"
>There's a pause as he gets his answer. He sighs, and something that's not quite a smile and not quite a frown flickers across his face.
"Okay, thanks. She might be able to explain how to use that equipment if she's feeling well right now. Don't push her too hard."
>He disconnects.

| >>540441
"I'm guessing that's about Aikawa,how is she"
>Impulse ask Roy as soon as Roy hang up

| >>540445
"Well, the last bit was about her... the original page was my coworkers begging me to come in tonight."
>Roy slowly starts to put his personal effects back in his jacket.
"She's recovering really well actually. She's just... very pissed at me. She won't let me visit her as of late-- she keeps saying all of these weird things, and thinks I'm lying to her about what happened the night she was admitted."

| >>540450
"How peculiar..."
>Impulse finish cleaning his rifle and start putting the pieces back together

| >>540512
"I'll say. She says I commed her that night and told her someone broke into our apartment."
>Roy murmurs to himself, starting to turn the whole situation over in his head again.
"The apartment's fine. Something in her head is-- or was-- off. They can't tell if it's something psychological, something related to her augs, or if someone >>>did really call her... so that's why I'm here. I'm trying to get some outside accounts of what happened."
>He looks a little defeated.

| >>540512
>Roy watches Impulse clean and reassemble his gun.
"... what was it you said you do again? You're a machinist?"

| >>540938
"Most people call me weaponsmith,but that wouldn't really be true because I also mess with combat gear,attachments, medical kit,and stuff like that too."
>Impulse finish reassemble the gun. He put the magazine back into its magazine well and chamber the first round. He put the gun on safety and put it back beside the backpack

| >>540624
>Emily suddenly jerks at the words Roy says, she seems puzzled
"Roy, you're sure you didnt phone her that night? Aikawa did receive a call from a so-called roommate that night, and it was after the call that she started freaking out, I didnt see all of it, since I was busy with customers, but a regular called Falschen and another called Oenone can vouch for me that its what went down"
>She seems extremely serious now

| >>541030
>Roy is startled by Emily's response, not expecting to hear someone other than Aikawa attest to him making a call that never happened to report a break-in that was equally false. His demeanor darkens as he turns to Emily.
"I tried to call her on her cell a few times-- I couldn't comm her because she was offline-- but the only answer I got was a quick 'can't talk now' text. I never spoke to her."

| >>541030
>He shifts uncomfortably in his seat, feeling himself growing tense. The easy going, slightly air-headed man who walked into the bar seems to have faded away, and in his place has materialized someone a bit more hardened.
"I need to talk to these two people, for her sake. I need to prove her right..."
>He shakes his head and frowns deeply.
"I feel terrible."

| Hello

| >>541121
"Well, Falschen comes around sometimes, as for Oneone you might want to contact her using that huh, text board thingy?"
>Emily says with a frown
"She spent the night talking to Aikawa so she ought to know more"
>She explains

| >>541385
>Roy nods emphatically, and makes a mental note to both reach out to these people AND to get their names right when doing so. His lack of eye for details certainly didn't aid him in helping Aikawa the first time he attempted to intervene.
"Okay, that sounds like a plan. Thank you, Emily... let's have that drink you were making for me, and when I finish it I can order a second as another way to show my appreciation."
>He turns, and winks at Uni.

| >Impulse drink half of his gut punch before start working on cleaning his pistol. He unload the pistol and take out the chambered round as before and start field stripping it.

| >>541532
> Uni is seen busy with her phone. The tiny thing taps loudly with its rows of keys; only ending after she flips it, closing its screen. She catches glimpse of the wink, nodding to its instance.

"I heard 'text board thingy' — if you need assistance with searching and finding there, have at it on me! Your story fascinates me, I want to see its chapter's closure."

> She strikes a smile that quickly diminishes as she opens her phone again.

| >>541537
>Roy's expression softens a little, and he manages a small smile. That's why Ei likes it here.... this bar must put her at ease-- frequented by helpful strangers with (seemingly) decent moral compasses.
"I'll take whatever help I can get. I am... not very good at using the text board."
>Uni's continued use of kind of "flowery" speech does not go unnoticed, and Roy remarks on it again:
"Seriously though, are you a thespian or something? A poet? Writer?"

| >Impulse finish cleaning his pistol and finish the rest of his gut punch. He put the pistol back together,load it and put it on safety,the put it back into his holster
"Can I have another glass of gut punch please"
>Impulse say
>>541539 >>541537
"You kniw what? I'm feeling good today,how about let me pay for both of you guys drinks?"

| (*know,typo

| >>541540
"I may have the greatest luck, but it comes at a form I prefer not to experience. Thank you for the offer, but I'm not letting another person pay for what I drank. Again."

> Uni said, trying her best to politely decline with gestures to match.

| >>541539
> Hearing this, Uni smiled. A broad one; a smile showing pure, raw optimism. She puts her right hand on her face, covering one her left eye.

"—A favourable question, Dear—"

> The atmosphere around her felt shifted, tilted to show grandiose. Her smile paints one word: 'Dramatise!'

"We are Uni!"

> She pulls her hand from her face; in a quick motion as though releasing a curtain. The eye once covered shows a radiant blue now.

"—The Patron Goddess of Glitch City!"

| > She ends her small show with a giggle. The change in atmosphere was quickly reverted by her returning lax self.

"Or so they say! I am a writer by day, a poet at evenfall, and everything else at night. Pleasure meeting you."

| >>541540
>Roy allows himself to gracefully accept Impulse's offer, under the condition that he'll have Ei drag him back here to return the favor as soon as she's discharged.
"As long as it's okay with Emily! Thanks, Impulse."
>His smile brightens a little.

| >>541561 >>541562
>As Uni finishes her split second monologue, Roy suddenly feels himself beginning to blush for a reason he absolutely cannot discern. Before he knows it, he's giving her quiet applause, clapping his hands together in astonishment.
"Wow! That was-- I'm really-- w-wait--"
>Something Uni said runs through his head again.
"You said 'we'?"
>He's clearly dumbfounded.
"Is that supposed to be the royal 'we'?"
>As he says this, he imitates a little queen's wave.

| >>541610
"Oh, indeed! That is most unexpected, to hear a few recognise the pattern. I applaud you."

> Uni nods, forming a tone that sounds like a proud parent.

| >>541622
>Rarely does Roy run into such interesting characters in his day to day life-- at least, not people who are genuinely this entertaining and enthusiastic. Most of the people he meets that are like this he meets at work, and usually they're all absolutely high out of their fucking minds on something. This is nice.
"So, you do this full time? Is there a venue you showcase your work at?"

| ((question: how does Uni pronounce her name? "Uni" as in "universe" or "uni" as in the Japanese word for sea urchin?))

| >>541626
"I don't. It saddens me, but writing pays very little in Glitch City. Professionally, I am a ghostwriter; however it may be, the occupation fares zenny better than storytelling."

> Uni spoke, often glancing to the already-empty glass she holds. Once she becomes aware of its content, or lack thereof, she let the glass by itself to be picked by the bartender.

"—Though, of course — I do more than words."

| >>541628
(She pronounces it closer to 'Universe' or 'Unity' — but I doubt she minds being called with the latter.)

| >>541640
"A mixed-media sort of thing, huh? I didn't know GC was home to such an artiste..."
>He notices her pushing her glass towards Emily yet again, and is a bit concerned about the fact that she may be looking for a refill.
"Um... I'm sure goddesses can hold their liquor, but... are you really going to be okay if you have >>>another one of those?"

| >>541649
"—Emily here, she may have a different take on the drink. The previous 'tender may have done well, but only through this take I can see the difference. Taste, perhaps — not see."

> She put forth her reasoning, which still sounds as though she is justifying for light alcoholism, but her voice disregards any doubts anyone might have from answer.

"Ragnarok is, after all, one and only!"

| >>541652
>Roy nods, equal parts puzzled and mystified by Uni's demeanor. Aikawa would 100% get fed up with her or call her words "pretentious and heady bullshit," and then it'd be his job to both reign Ei in and soothe hurt feelings. He's surprised to find himself a little relieved that she isn't here. Uni's company is enjoyable.
"If you say so."
>He looks at Emily, and addresses her politely:
"I think I'm about ready to try what you've concocted for me, 'tender."

| >>541636
"What do you mean when you say 'more than words,' exactly?"
>Roy is historically not the creative type, and so he's always been interested in people who are a little more 'right brained' than he is.

| >>541713
"I'm lacking the means to demonstrate it, but—"

> Uni began standing up from her seat. She then lowered her head, along with a gesture of pulling a skirt. A bow, not a particularly unique one at that.

"—Welcome, Master!"

> She raises her pitch to say what sounded like a business greeting. Her head was locked to the bowing position, then she lifted it to show her eyes; those orbs are telling a thousand more emotions.

"I hope that is a good demonstration."

| >Emily chuckles at Uni's display and then nods her head
"You're good, even Ele isnt that welcoming! I guess that time as a maid served you well"
>She says, half jokingly
"Still, I find it quite funny that you enjoy Ragnaroks so much, being a goddess and all that, I would think the twilight of the gods would detter you more than anything"
>She laughs
"Although I supose new beginnings often come from some other beginning's end"

| >>541726
>As Uni bows, Roy sits straight up in his seat, the frames on the legs of his exoskeleton making a 'clunk' as they connect with the stool's supports. Now he certainly has a reason to blush.
"Ah, um, yes! Yes, I see. E-even without the proper... tools, you give a convincing performance."
>He gives a nervous smile.
"A-a maid, huh? That's a very subservient position for a goddess..."
"You too with the purple prose, Emily?"
>What an emotionally charged place.

| >>541736
"Ah,well,next time then"
>Impulse sigh softly as he take out his tablet and headset

| >>541736
>Emily gives a chuckle and a smile
"It doesn't really fit me, but I actually studied literature before owning this place. I never was very good at it though; I'm too dumb to get most of the long prose and all that"
>She says with a giggle

| > Uni takes her seat back, with a wide smile, tickled by her own performance.

"I say, Emily, I fancy the idea of the felling of deities; whereamong us can see chaos. It's not uncommon, is it? Wanting to see a suite of change, and so forth? They say those deities lived long — they would wrong themselves if they are not wishing for a rejuvenation."

> She chuckles too, forgetting a part of her speech after the pause.

"—And t-thank you. I try my best to exercise the skill."

| >>541736
"Be it as it may, serving is the core part of my existence. A maid is only an extension of that — the compassion learnt having taken this activity is unending compared to sitting in a lonely throne."

> She said, having no stutter in between her long, extended paragraphs.

| >There are few words that better serve to describe the two new arrivals than "ostentatious". The girl at the lead dons tactical armor, covered by an asymmetrical long coat- The right sleeve is present, but the left shoulder terminates in a half-cape descending to her abdomen. Her companion, clad in a hooded white cloak that exposes only their hands and the lower half of their face, follows her to the counter.

"Hey!" >The girl shouts.
"Could I get a Fluffy Dream, on the rocks?"

| >>541792
>Roy doesn't think Emily is broken up over the fact that she has trouble interpreting complex prose, but nonetheless he decides to offer her some reassurance:
"I don't think one's ability to digest fancy writing is reflective of their intelligence. Intelligence is... more varied than that. Or, it should be."
"I know a few people who could do well to listen to your wisdom, goddess."
>He can't help but call her that at this point; using her name seems too informal.

| >>541879
"H-hey, my name is fine to use!"

> Uni flusters at the sound of her newfound nickname. True, she doesn't show discomfort, but a part of her falters hearing the name.

"You are true to say that. Emily, I see you well above others — proses, poems, stories — they are all walls to interpret, but they denotes little of your wit. However it is, you are not incompetent at such task. Or you can simply stay a bartender! That too, is befitting of you!"

> She said with smile drawn.

| >>541836
>Roy looks at the new visitors, giving himself a moment to take everything about their appearances in. Maybe they're a part of a troupe with Uni? Their getup is unlike any of the kind of wild street fashion he's come in contact with in the past.

| >>541881
> Uni, as though putting a telepathy, tries to get Roy to see she is very discreetly saying, "I'm not one with them."

> Being awful at sign language, interpreting what gestures she made is harder than simply guessing her words from her moving lips — and the clear shaking about her head does.

| >>541880
"Oh, sorry Uni-- I've just never met anyone who acts the part of their title so well."
>Roy chuckles at the fact that he's been taking all of this so seriously. He decides to grab the drink Emily has prepared for him off the counter, sliding it carefully towards himself.
"From some of your previous comments, I find it difficult to believe that Emily is 'simply' a bartender; perhaps after tasting this I'll know for sure."

| >>541887
>Out of the corner of his eye, Roy notices Uni glancing at the newcomers and shaking her head, then making eye contact with him. He's unsure of what this means. Maybe she doesn't like how they're dressed? He gives a non-committal shrug in response.

| >>541890 >>541891
"She is not! I imply she is more than that. Nevertheless, calling her anything else sits too well in uncanny, I say."

> Uni replies, seeing her signalling is a success — at least on her part — without considering what Roy actually meant with the shrug.

"Silly titles are to be left for heroes and gods — or the few unable to see past the lake. They wear those; same with their avarice. A humble and cute bartender is better regarded as a humble and cute bartender."

| >>541900
"A rose is a rose is a rose."
>Roy isn't entirely sure he used that correctly, but it seemed clever given the fact that Emily's eyepatch is rose patterned. He just decides to roll with it, and takes a sip of the Sugar Rush, not knowing what to expect.

| >>541934
"Sacred Emily! I didn't know a fellow poet is with me."

> Uni exclaimed, immediately noticeable in her voice is the excitement flowing after she heard Roy say his words.

| >>541936
>The drink is quite sweet, to the point where it's difficult for Roy to taste the alcohol in it. It goes down relatively easy, and he takes another sip before responding to Uni.
"I can't call you a goddess, but now we're calling Emily 'sacred'??"
>Clearly he has zero knowledge of the quote's origins. Roy has a love of idioms and literary snippets like these, but he's often incorrect about their meanings or sources.

| >>541943
"Non, non, non. What you said, it originates from a poem — 'Sacred Emily', as it happens to be."

> Uni made a quick laugh, almost a giggle, before she manages a response for Roy's confusion.

"It is correct to call her sacred — if that is to your liking. Emily may have a say in that, not us. I'm not fitting to decide on that matter."

| >The Lilim groans. This gets the hooded figure to chuckle softly, their- no, her -first reaction of the night. She remains wordless, though, preferring to just let her companion talk.

"...god, I >>>just got outta concert and I run into this when I step into the one place in town she won't be recognized.">The Lilim gestures to her companion, then sighs.

"Anyway, name's Coda."

| >>541945
>Roy feels himself growing a little embarrassed as Uni giggles and the lilim groans, but lets this slide. Plenty of people say things without knowing exactly what they mean, right? He's certainly no exception if this is true.
"Uh... pleased to meet you Coda; I'm Roy. Nice to meet you as well--"
>He greets the hooded figure, who he's honestly not sure can see him.
"You said you came from a concert?"

| >>541983

"Yup! The one and only- Maria! Cadenzavna! >>>Eve!!!" >Coda brings her fist down on the counter, a wide grin on her face. The hooded figure grimaces.

"...well, it wasn't just her, >>>but I prefer her to Tsubasa Kazanari. They're part of a duo, see. The Queens of Music.">She pauses.

"And they're gonna be here for a whole two weeks, maybe even more!"

| >>541990
>Roy jumps a bit as Coda strikes the bartop, which causes the knees of his exoskeleton to lock. This is not comfortable, and he lets out an "Ah!" as the frame tightens against his legs. As he attempts to get his knees out of flexion, he asks:
"Um, I beg your pardon but... Who are they? What do they play-- are you two... 'groupies'?"
>Do people even use that word anymore? You're dating yourself, Roy. Between this and the pager, people are gonna think you're a fossil.

| >>541992
"My questions exactly. Music interests me so, but very rarely I keep myself knowing the trends."

> Uni enters the conversation between the two. She wanted to echo the name mentioned, but her tongue twisted in her first try.

"Exceptions made for Kira Miki — and that was for a purpose."

| >>541994
"You mean that ghostwriting thing you do?"
>Roy grits his teeth as he struggles with getting the joints of the exoskeleton to release. This damn thing is in bad need of a tune-up.
"I could say about the same as far as far as enjoying music but not keeping up with popular stuff is concerned."
>He turns to Impulse, a sheepish grin spreading across his face.
"Um... you wouldn't be able to help me with this, would you?"

| >>541999
"Y-you can say that."

> Her reply was short, or perhaps made to be short after she sees Roy's struggle.

"Say, I have been through time, but that contraption you wear — such an unusual augmentation — arcane, perhaps. Do not take offence to that. I'm bestirred by its looks and its uncommon appearance."

> In the brief pauses she make, her eye would glow, generating a strange whirring noise as it does.

"What story does it hold?"

| >>542005
>Roy is used to being asked questions about his legs by complete strangers, so he's very candid in his reply:
"My legs don't work very well, but I wanted to... I >>>want to keep them."
>He sighs and shakes his head.
"That's the abbreviated version of my 'story', anyway. There's a bit more to it than that, but I'm not here to bore anyone with my medical history and the fact that I just can't let go of some things."
>He gives a rueful grin.

| >>542007
"Compendious. The way it is meant to be."

> Uni complements Roy's grin with her own. Her interests wane little, but having received an answer seemed enough for her.

"Your strong resolute shows. I will not lust for more if you feel that is the appropriate answer. Everyone has a different answer for the problems they have; I expect no congruent way even for a problem as clear as 'wanting one's legs to work again.'"

| >>542009
>Roy laughs awkwardly.
"They never worked all that great in the first place."
>He decides to extrapolate a little further.
"... I have a progressive neurological disease that >>>should eventually end in me dying in bed, unable to move, unable to breathe without mechanical assistance."
>His tone is so even and his delivery so matter-of-fact that it's almost jarring. He pauses for a second to sip his drink.

| "We're... Yeah, you could say we're groupies." >Coda nods. The hooded woman mirrors the movement, a couple of strands of coral hair falling into view. As quickly as they came, however, she tucks them back into the safety of the white cloth.

"Anyway, that's exactly why we came here. We're kinda... High profile groupies. Didn't wanna be spotted, yanno."

| >>542011
"Thanks to the advent of nanomachines, however, that will never happen. I've had treatments that has stopped this from getting any worse... but they can't reverse damage that's already been done."
>He looks down at his legs.
"They told me to get prosthetics for so many different reasons... but they still work. So, I decided that I know better, and I kept them."
>He laughs again, poking fun at himself for making out of pride what may have been a poor decision.

| >>542013

"I don't know much about that sort of thing, mister, but I don't think prosthetics would've been such a great idea. I just don't trust 'em, yanno?" >Coda rests her head on her arms, gazing behind the counter.

"I've never had ta have any, 'cause I'm a Lilim, but it doesn't sound like much fun for sure. 'Sides, I hear that with you humans nothing quite beats the factory standard."

| >>542014
"Their reasoning was that 'it'd improve my quality of life,' and that I'd avoid some health complications if I were to have them amputated."
>He makes air quotes as if he's remembering their words exactly.
"Like many people in healthcare say, though, treating doctors is a pain in the ass-- and I happen to fit that stereotype. I'm not a model patient."

| >>542014
"But, I think a lot of humans would be quick to disagree with your statement in this day and age."
>He grins wryly.
"Anyway... High profile, huh? Hence your partner's mysterious outfit?"

| >>542017

"Yup. If anyone found out who's under that hood, it'd bring the paparazzi >>>runnin', I tell ya.">Coda glances at the door.

"...wonder how the other two are doing..."

| >>542076
"Should we be expecting more guests...?"
>Consider Roy's interest piqued. This bar seems to be refuge for all sorts of people on the run...
>That thought causes him to stop fiddling with the exoskeleton for a second-- "on the run"... Emily and Impulse said Ei was trying to get away from someone when she last came here...
>He shakes his head almost unnoticeably and bites his lip as he returns to his work.

| >Impulse put on his headset as he slides through his playlist of music.
"So you are some kind of celebrity huh? Cool,I guess,although I doubt I would know any of you"

| >>542093

"I couldn't rightly say, but I'd suggest ya keep some expectation in yer head- yanno, just in case."


"That's exactly my point- No one here'd recognize either o' us, so we're stoppin' for a drink here." >As Coda says this, the hooded woman turns her head in the direction of the door, then back to the counter.

| >>542304
"I suppose you can't share >>>your story with us, then? Not that I think any of us are likely to talk..."
>Roy lifts his head a bit and glances at the rest of the bar's patrons. Well, maybe some of them would... As he bends back down to continue fighting with his exoskeleton, the knee joints make a "click," followed by quick hissing sound before they release... and then swing into full extension, nearly kicking whoever's next to him and flinging Roy from his seat.

| >>542482
"Ow-- son of a bitch!!"
>One of his feet has somehow struck the underside of the counter. His shout rings throughout the bar, and is immediately followed by a very frustrated and restrained sounding growl. It's unlike Roy to curse, and even more atypical for him to yell-- becoming acutely aware of this and not wanting to garner further unwanted attention, he tries to shut up.
"S-sorry... Auuugh, it usually doesn't act up this bad, fuck..."

| >>542485
"Woah,didn't know your exoskeleton can start acting on it's own. You alright?"
>Impulse say as he take a sip of his drink

| >>542489
"It's... not..."
>He sounds like he's in a pretty considerable amount of pain.
"It's... because I drank. If I have anything that excites or depresses my nervous system... it misinterprets signals and... gets all wonky."
>Roy tries to move his leg away from the counter, but hits the chair next to him with his injured foot in the process. He throws back his head and clenches his teeth in an impressive grimace, eyes screwed shut and brows knit together.

| >>542499
".... Gahhh!! Jesus christ--!! I think I broke a couple of my toes..."
>He snarls through tightly gritted teeth, grabbing the calf of the affected limb. His fingers dig into the fabric of his pants. As nice as it is to have something mechanical lend you strength and support, sometimes its movements can be... too strong.
"Ow... ow, fuck..."
>Settle down Roy, you're starting to sound like your roommate.

| "—None of that sounded normal."

> Uni stood up, doing futile attempts at scanning the problem. There is a gradient of panic, worry, and anxiety in her plain face — but she displays very little of them.

"I shan't ask if you are okay. You are not, clearly. Are you in need of assistance, Roy?"

> She waves her hand at the other patrons, trying to signal more ways than one for them to lend a hand.

| >>542510
"Yeah... if one of you could get my shoe off... that'd be great."
>He fumbles with some of the belts that secure his shoe in place within the frame, trying to undo them without causing himself more pain.

| >>542515
> Uni attempts her best to loosen the belts, hoping her hasty hands are less likely to pain Roy's injured leg.

"This is—… this problem — it is worse than my intuition read."

> She jests, trying to lighten the situation.

| >>542526
>Despite the fact that the exoskeleton is rigidly locking it in place, Roy's leg starts to tremble. He's been through a lot, but he's not a glutton for pain-- though his motor neurons are mostly shot, his sensory ones still work.
"Mmm-hmm... ahhhh, jeez..."
>He makes an effort to grin at Uni's statement, but doesn't really succeed. He watches her working to undo the straps on his foot and gently tries to coach her through it.
"Easy, easy, easy..."

| >>542570
"My talents are not with handling such devices, therefore—"

> In one swift act, Uni finishes the belt. She motions Roy to lift his leg, to let her pull the shoe off completely.

"—I will not be of use apart from this. Tis' but a maid's job, after all."

> She smiles, having used to manual labour — this seems to only be an example of her mismatching side job.

| >>542588
>Roy attempts (with some difficulty) to bend forward so he can lift his calf a bit-- with the exoskeleton frozen the way it is, the only way to move the leg is manually. This is, of course, a lot harder to do than just lifting the leg by itself-- which is what Roy is used to doing at the beginning and end of each day. The hard frame around his waist presses uncomfortably into his stomach as he reaches for his lower leg.

| >>542662
>As Uni gears up to pull off his shoe, Roy inadvertently turns his head away a bit, trying not to let anticipation of pain make this any worse. He nods his head towards her a bit, letting her know he's ready... or as ready as he can possibly be, anyway.
"... Go ahead."
>Great. Between Ei nearly kicking the bucket and my foot nearly going through the countertop, our apartment is probably going to end up being banned from this bar.

| >Coda and the hooded woman watch this whole scene with concern. Coda's sleeved hand vanishes under her cape, and the other girl brings her hand to her chest as if taking hold of a pendant. Coda takes note of this, and turns to reprimand her companion in whispers before returning her attention to Roy.

"...if ya need some help, lemme know."

| >>542669
> Receiving the green light, Uni pulls the shoe with what would be her slowest but gentlest try. Her eyes were in steel, ready to rake about the worst result should it is needed.

"Here goes—"

> On what she perceives the operation as a success, now with the shoe safe in her hand, she let out a victorious sigh.

"I dearly hope that was not too much pain to bear."

| >>542785
>Roy lets out a yelp as the shoe comes off-- but Uni's movement is so deft that the pain worsens for only a few seconds before returning to what is was previously... which is feeling like he had stuck his foot in a trash compactor.
"... Not bad."
>He gingerly attempts to pluck his sock off his foot in order to assess the damage. As it slides over his toes, he exhales sharply-- even the slightest movement is enough to make the pain close to as much as he can tolerate.

| >>542880
>Miraculously, things aren't as bad as they feel. His second and third toe look like they're starting the swell all the way to their bases and are pretty red, but nothing looks too bent out of shape. There's already a little bruising on the knuckles of the toes.
"... I think I'm going to need some ice."

| >>542882
> As soon as she saw the state of Roy's leg, Uni dug through the two pockets of her suit; shuffling through them, the sound of her hand rummaging through the strangely packed pockets can be heard.

"—Not at all a frozen ice, but this should suffice."

> She plopped a thin, white packet; its labels are inconspicuous, fine prints barely noticeable.

"All's well."

> The packet felt unnaturally cold when touching skin directly. Almost like ice itself.

| >>542760
>Roy turns to Coda and grimaces, but the look in his eyes is one of appreciation.
"I will-- thank you, Coda."
>Roy had also noticed the woman in the cloak clutch at her chest, and his voice takes on a more concerned tone. He jerks his head in her direction, as his hands are too full to be able to point:
"Does... ahhhh... does she not do well with this kind of stuff? I... know it sounded pretty grisly, but I promise I'm in the clear."

| >>542888
>Roy tries to position the little packet just so it's barely touching the underside of his toes-- putting any sort of weight on his injured foot would just about send him through the roof right now. To his relief, he succeeds. The cold sensation distracts from the pain a bit, and he lets out a kind of stuttered sigh.
"... Thank you. Guess I'll be off my feet for a bit..."

| Thenks

| >>543001
"Maybe you should rest for a bit"
>Impulse say as he finish his second drink

"Anyways,I will see you guys around,I need some business to attend to"
>Impulse put a credstick on the table
"That's for my drink,and for Roy's"
>Impulse put away his tablet and headset then put on his balaclava and helmet. He sling his rifle over his shoulder and take his backpack,and with that he leave the bar

| God by&//\\%%780 «

| >>543017
>Roy looks up as Impulse pays for both of their drinks and collects his things, getting ready to head out. Before Impulse makes it through the doorway, Roy calls out after him:
"Nice meeting you!! Thanks for the drink!!"
>He's unsure if he'll finish his after what's just transpired. While he doesn't want to end up having his exoskeleton go haywire again, he also hates wasting things or throwing them away-- especially gifts from others, no matter how small or temporary.

| >>543198
"Quite a nice man, is he? I didn't catch his name."

> Uni returns to her seat, letting herself rest from the littlest of tension she encountered.

"If the pack begins warming, do your best to notify me. It will not last long. I give it an optimistic thirty minutes."

| >>543455
>Roy nods in agreement.
"Yes, he... seems like a pretty decent guy. He introduced himself as Impulse... I thought that might be a screen name, but I guess not."
>He shrugs, and looks back down at his toes. How is he going to explain this to his boss?
"Thank you for the ice pack, Uni. It's definitely helping a little."
>Even if it's just placebo effect.

| >>543483
> Uni winks, hearing Roy's words. She didn't slumber in her seat, sitting upright as she was before, but now with attention less diverted to her surroundings.

"Screen name? That… may be the case. Some prefer the seclusion of their identity. It is nothing more than normal."

| >>543490
"Is that not what it's called anymore? Maybe it's 'handle'? ... Ei says I live under a rock; I don't really keep up with this stuff..."
>Roy glances at Coda and her companion after Uni mentions "secluding one's identity." How appropriate.
"Do people here in GC have a lot to hide?"
>Ignorance does not become you, Roy.

| >>543591
"Handle, username, screen name; your terminologies are all right for someone trapped in past dates."

> Uni giggled at the uncalled extension to the conversation. It was short, but it was also unnecessary at times.

"To answer your question: it may very well be the case. Trust declines sharply between the people. I personally have little to show, but others have many to hide — but that shows to be the same in this city of betrayal, hm?"

| >The girl in her swimsuit is fiddling on her phone... her presence is thin, so thin you could almost forget she was there
>She sends a glance to her watch

| >>543963
>Wait... a swimsuit? Roy swears that when he entered the bar, she was wearing something else. He side eyes her before going back to talking with Uni and tending to his foot.
"A broken goddess in a city of betrayal..."
>His gaze wanders to some point in front of him, as if he's imagining something.
"Not a lot of words out there that when put together paint a picture like those do..."

| >>543999
"I wonder what the canvas shows with those words at hand—"

> Uni smiles at Roy before taking out her phone.

"—What are the duties of a goddess? In a city reeking poisonous morale, she can only stare; either weep or be taken down. The story goes like so."

> Uni too, sends a glance at the swimsuit girl. Maybe it's a sign of curiosity?

"—Your dress before was much better. Reminds me of a certain fiend, I'd say."

> She comments shortly as she tends her phone.

| >>544016
"Unfortunately, I'm not skilled enough with my words or with pencil and paper to really show you what I can see in my mind's eye..."
>Roy closes his eyes, continuing to muse aloud as he attempts to make the image clearer by shutting out any external visual stimuli.
"... but with that addition to your initial description... I can assure you, it's quite a scene."
>'Against the dark, a tall white fountain plays...'

| >>544016
>Swimsuit? No, she's still in her dress... is your mind playing tricks on you?
"A friend who looks like me? That's gotta be a weird friend."

| >>544022
"Everyone has their own means of expression. I remember that much from my early days."

> Uni noted, still wondering what Roy's imagination would conjure given the words she has pronounced. That is, she can only give away what her mind thinks of them.

| >>544242
"—See, your dress looked much better! The swimsuit is fine, but it's tacky for the setting, don't you think?"

> She seems to have ignored or acknowledged something.

"That fiend—… she wears such a strange hat. I believe her name begins with an 'R', but I don't recall much past that. And indeed; she is one weird cookie!"

| >>544251
"I like swimsuits though. They draw the eye, and going unnoticed kinda bothers me, you see?"
>She sighs while passing a hand in her silky blond hair
"You don't recall much? Got memory issues? Gotta be rough, Miss... I never did catch your name."

| >>544553
"Uni. The name is as short as it sounds."

> Uni replied, eyes drawn away from the lady.

"Swimsuits are fine. Fashion taste is a gradient — and mine happens to stay where dress and walking skirts are."

| >>544553
>Roy smirks as he listens to the girl's explanation. "Draw the eye," huh? That's one way of putting it. As he drifts out of his reverie and back into the reality of the bar, he opens his eyes to see... the gothic Lolita dress he thought she wore before? What's going on here? He decides not to comment on this and instead chooses to listen to her and Uni chat.

| >>544591
"Uni huh? Such a cute name. What are you doing here tonight, Uni? Sorry if I sound rude, you don't seem the type for this place."
>She leans torwards you, her cyan eyes looking into yours

| >>547258
"Hm? Well, I'm celebrating my arrival, of course! Emily is a dear friend, and I can't let loose a celebration without her."

> Uni fidgets with her empty glass, though still keeping her gaze set on the lady.

"I don't fit well here, do I? I don't usually visit bars. They often have a stench I avoid."

| >>547327
>Alice's smile softens
"You do have a high class vibe to you, and it isn't just the suit."
>She eyes you again
"How old are you, Uni?"
>After asking so, she seems to realize something
"Ah, before you ask yourself, yes, I'm hitting on you."
>She flashes a mischivious grin

| >>547436
"My, my. To freshen my memory, I do have daughters! Therefore—"

> Uni held her hand up, her index and middle fingers raised to form a 'V' — but perhaps that is an indication of something.

"My age is about this many. Multiply as you please until you reach the number you want."

> She smiles, withstanding her attention towards Alice.

| >>547459
"I can dig a single mom. I see, I see. Well, I'm kinda old myself, yup."
>She chuckles
"But really, you are quite cute. But I could also call the young man over there quite cute."
>She sends a glance to Roy
"How about you, young man? What's your name?"

| >angelic singing echos inside the bar emanating from the entrance
"If we had an exchange of hearts~
Then you'd know why I fell apart~
You'd feel the pain when the mem'ries start~

If we had an exchange of hearts..~"

>then a girl with black and white hair waltzes in
>she seems cheery
>she uh...oh dear she is wearing one of those ahegao hoodies with matching skirt and garterbelt thigh highs

"I'd never wished a lonely heart on you~
It's not your fault, I chose to play the fool~"

| >followed by a boy wearing a blue jacket and interesting headset
"An angels voice yet the most ridiculous apparels..."
>he sighs under his breath

"So Whats got you happy?"

"Its april first and no better time to go out!"

"Gem that was yesterday"

"No it wasnt! We totally didnt plan to do this yesterday but fail because if adult responsibilities or anything"
>frenzied laughs

"U-uh er..yeah ooookkkkaaaayyy..."
>they take their seats

| >Roy has been observing the interaction between Alice and Uni on and off, in between nursing his injured foot. The corner of his smirk begins to turn gently downward in response to Alice's comments about there being a "type" that frequents this bar, and he feels one of his eyes twitch. He's not sure of whether or not he should take offense to this, and if so on behalf of whom-- Ei? Himself? Emily? The other unassuming patrons?

| >>547471
>Roy is so wrapped up in deciphering the true meaning behind these statements that at first he doesn't notice Alice's rather flirtatious greeting. When he realizes it's him who's being spoken to, he raises his eyebrows in surprise.
"'Young man'?"
>This is new. Only the 90-year-old grannies at work with broken hips call him that.
"Ah, I'm Roy. It's nice to meet you...?"
>He seems to be looking for her to disclose her name.

| >>547508
"I'm Alice. Alice Arcand, it's my pleasure to meet you, young man."
>She smirks
"You don't need to worry so much about my words, boy. I mean what I say, is all there is to it."
>Her gaze feels intrusive, like she can see right through you... it's an odd sensation
"But yes, now that I get a good look at your face... you definetely are quite cute."


| >>547512
>Roy wonders if Alice is patronizing him as she continues to address him as someone increasingly younger than he is. The fact that her eyes are boring holes into him as she says this makes it even more questionable-- but, since she said not to question, he doesn't.
>He blushes and looks around uncomfortably while Alice fuels the fire. Normally not a bad talker, Roy finds himself a little tongue-tied at present. Maybe it's the atmosphere in here?

| >It is worth noting that although he's an airhead and could sometimes be considered a walking disaster (or perhaps, more appropriately, a disaster when walking), there have been a fair number of people who would say Roy is a "catch". He certainly isn't "cover of GQ" attractive, but his features are well put together enough that others notice. Very surprisingly, this is something he seems to be aware of.

| >>547512
>Roy decides he should at least respond politely rather than clam up, and does his best to respond in a similar, almost playful tone:
"I appreciate your compliments, miss Arcand... but, I'm surprised to have caught your eye."
>He looks down and gestures to his exoskeleton.
"After all, >>>this certainly isn't anything close to a>>>swimsuit."
>He jokes, referencing her earlier comment about her penchant for... unique clothing.

| >>547555
"But it is just as unique. Fufu."
>She chuckles with a soft smile
"I have a penchant for cute, younger man... but if I may be allowed to say so, you are also quite... interesting, to me at least."
>She locks eyes, you can almost see something in them
"It's rare I find such talkative people here, I'm glad."

| >>547560
"I guess it is-- I simply can't argue with you there."
>He shrugs, and grins slightly as he tries to bury his slowly growing feeling of unease.
"What is it that's earned your interest, exactly?"
>The look on Alice's face is making Roy feel less like an object of desire and more like a specimen under a microscope... or an insect that Alice is about to skewer on a pin and add to her collection.
"Also, I hate to burst your bubble, but... I'm getting up there in age."

| "Oh my? You are? But I'll have you know that anyone is a young man or women to me. I merely look young..."
>She breathes a deep sigh, eyes still locked into yours
"But then again, my long life has lead me to meet all kinds, for that I am glad. Fufu."
>Inside her eyes... it's as if a vision was forming, a sickening sight of Eldritch Vistas and the end of finite reality, this is getting uncomfortable

| >>547563
>Roy manages to break away from Alice's Medusa-like gaze long enough to call out to Uni:
"Ah... Uni, is there a way to refresh this thing?"
>He nudges the spent ice pack under his toes, and then immediately regrets doing this as the movement sends a sudden, sharp throb of pain up through the ball of his foot. He sighs, and moans quietly to himself, frustrated. "Uncomfortable" is a perfect way to describe his current state, for sure.

| >>547566
>Alice licks her lips while chuckling
"Truly... cute."

| >A young man walks into the bar, wearing a blue trenchcoat. He seems to be looking around for someone...

| >>547576
"Hey! Over here, sexy!"
>Alice chuckles as she calls the young man over
"Man, I was getting sooo bored. TAN must've stood me up."

| >>547577
>The young man walks over to Alice, looking her over.
"You say you're bored but you seem to have plenty of conversation so far. Also I must say your dress choice is a little jarring with my current vision."

| "Oh my? Sorry, but I'm the kind who loves to be looked all over."
>She smiles
"Come now, sit down some!"

| >>547581
"Yeah, yeah."
>He waves her comment off as he takes a seat.
"So how often do you and TAN usually hang out?"

| >>547582
"She lives with me... so pretty often?"
>She sighs
"Dad and Vita live on their own... well, Vita lives in a cardboard box."
>She cups her chin
"To be honest, I'm surprised TAN isn't here yet, that girl never gets lost... did something happen?"

| >Roy breathes a very quiet sigh of relief as Alice's attention is redirected at the man in the trench. Speaking of "jarring dress choices"... He eyes the pair who recently walked into the bar together.
>>547497 >>547498
>Where... did she get that outfit? How... is she comfortable enough to just... wear that out? Roy is a little appalled, and it begins to show on his face. He doesn't realize that his initially casual glance has now turned into a deadpan stare.

| >>547566
"Hm. I wonder now. I believe I have another of those, but neither of my hands can feel them."

> Uni searches through her pockets, returning empty handed from the two times she does so.

"Has the packet run its course? What a short thirty minutes we have."

| >>547593
>the boy sighs
"Gem people are staring againg"

>the girl singing turns over to you
"Something you need mister?"

| >>547602
"It might not be totally out of commission yet, but I think it's getting there faster than I'd like..."
>He winces. Maybe it's time to start thinking about how to get home? There's a whole freezer full of ice there, and it wouldn't trouble anybody to use it.
>Roy blinks in surprise as Gem calls out to him, not realizing he had been staring.
"Oh! No, um... I was... just wondering where you got your outfit...?"
>It sounds like he's not sure if he wants an answer.

| >>547667
"I just bought it online mister."
>she giggles
"Why, is there something the matter?
If i am disturbing you in any way i an use something else..."
>she looks kinda sad now

>for some reason, this sparks a modicum of guilt...

| >>547587
"Well where did you last see her? Think she ran into some trouble or something?"

| >>547694
"She was supposed to meet with AD and talk about some stuff last I saw her. Shouldn't warrent being this late."
>She sighs
"Well, she'll go home eventually, so all is well. How about you, how are you doing, Tower-kun?"

| >>547708
"As well as I can be I suppose. We're getting there to fixing the boundary. We got the hands, now we just need the parts. Now as for stopping the troublemakers involved..."

| "Hmmm... so you made your choice hmm... Ah! Now that I think about it, could I ask you a small favor?"
>She claps her hands

| >>547710
>He gives her a look
"What is it...?"

| >>547713
"Hehehe, no need to be so guarded. I just want you to help me deam with some mad scientist. You recall the C_I streams, right?"

| >>547716
"Yes I do, what about them?"

| >>547718
"There's gonna be another one tonight, my sources say. So I'd like you to find the source and stop the guy who does mad science on kids."
>She chuckles
"A perfect job for Tower-kun, no?"
>Someone enters the bar, a smallish albino girl with pink eyes, wearing an eyepatch and a face mask
"Ah! TAN! Kept me waiting."

| >>547719
"Hmm... okay, shouldnt be to hard."
>He looks back at the entrance towards TAN
"So that's how she looks like."

| >>547688
>Roy waves his hand back and forth, as if attempting to clear Gem's concerns from the air.
"Oh, no, it's nothing like that. I've just... never seen anything like that before?"
>Not on a piece of clothing, anyway.
"Besides, it would be weird of a complete stranger to ask you to change your clothing-- in the middle of a bar, no less."
>If she's got a print like that on her shirt, there's no telling what's going on with her underclothes, either.

| >>547730
"Cassius help this guys a pervert!"

"Wow gem that was pretty harsh, what makes you think that?"

"I can see it in his eyes, your trying to imagine what im wearing underneath aren't you?!?"
>she covers her chest

>the boy just sighs deeply and mouths out a "sorry"
"I honestly doubt that. Gem, maybe your just overthinking..."

| >>547728
>The albino sits down next to Alice before placing her cheek on the counter... she seems listless
"Sorry... I barely slept last night."
"Apology accepted, but please text me if that's rhe case."
>Alice ruffles her hair
>TAN's voice does sound tired and it has the tiniest hint of an accent which you cannot pinpoint
>She lifts her head back up and faces Tower
"Nice to meet you, I'm TAN. Although you knew that already..."

| >>547738
"Yup, good to meet you TAN. Though you definitely sound more tired than the first time I heard you over the phone."

| >>547739
"I guess... bad week. Being in two places at the same time is rough..."
>Alice coughs
"TAN is someone who's from the world of the creators, so her existence here is kinda..."
"Against the rules, according to Arcand. Man he's such a busybody..."
>Alice pets TAN's fluffy hair some more
"So, what were you guys talking about? Not flirting I hope."

| >>547741
"Well she was, I was talking about fixing the boundary and all that when you got here. We just need the parts now, though I'm not really sure how to go about fixing things in a way that removes both of the biggest problems in the field right now."

| >>547732
>Roy is startled by Gem's accusation, as his thoughts are quite the opposite-- from what he can tell, she's the one with her mind (and wardrobe) in the gutter. While his roommate may have said this aloud, he decides to keep this opinion to himself. He finds himself at a loss as to how he should respond without further incriminating himself.
"... No, I was just thinking that disrobing in the bar would be more disturbing than the graphics on your shirt."

| >TAN's eyes narrow
"Yeah, I&K and REO, huh? Arcand's probably been riling them up. He got real mad because I impeded on their dumbass game."
>She sighs and Alice chuckles
"Oh father, what a handful he is..."
"Focus on finding the parts, I'll handle I&K somehow... but REO is above my means right now."

| >>547745
>He headpats TAN
"Thanks for all the help. I'll do what I can... is it mean to admit I just kind of want to punch your dad?"

Total number of posts: 250, last modified on: Fri Jan 1 00:00:00 1554232021

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