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Post by Dementuo on Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:23 am

Catherine stepped onto the stage, right in the very center of the crowd that had gathered around it. This was to be her graduation ceremony, she’d been told, as well as a showcase of Atlas’ finest. A demonstration to others of what Atlas’ best could do- Silva and Shiro stood beside her, the three of them chosen for this demonstration. They had always liked showing off, she thought. At the very least, she was thankful her partners for this little show were ones she was on good terms with, Silva being her teammate and Shiro having proven herself an ally in the past. That was how it always was.

She took the blade sheathed at her side and snapped it out beside her; the blade separated into two and folded outwards, a thin wire spanning the distance between the two blade tips. The blades snapped into place opposite one another, forming the shape of a bow. Gripping the handle- now in between the parted blades- Catherine held the bow out in front of her, her free hand reaching up to the pink-tinted sunglasses that rested atop her head. She hesitated.

That was how it always was. For as long as she could remember.


Images of the previous day flashed through her mind. They’d been spiraling around in her head since then, clouding her thoughts. She recalled stepping into a woman’s office- She’d been called there for an “assignment”. That was what they always called it, anyways. She took her seat opposite the woman, her desk dividing them, and a folder containing three sheets of paper was placed in front of her. She took them out, and the woman began speaking.

“Tomorrow, Ms. Plum, you’ll be graduating from our academy, as you know.” Her voice was firm, but composed. The way she spoke put Catherine at ease, like a caretaker. She continued. “You have received an invitation to Refuge Academy, an organization formed to fight against the ever-growing threat of the Grimm. Keep in mind that this is highly confidential information, so keep this close to your chest.” The woman explained as Catherine held up the first sheet of paper in front of her. As she had said, the paper was a letter inviting Catherine to attend Refuge, praising her exceptional combat statistics. “Now, as you may have already guessed,” The woman placed her finger over the paper in Catherine’s hand, bringing it down and directing Catherine’s attention back to her face. “Your graduation from this academy means we won’t be able to support you as we do now. However, we would still like to continue our working relationship with you, Ms. Plum.” She held the second paper up: It was a contract, like many Catherine had seen before. Her eyes skimmed through it quickly.

“That is an agreement between you and our academy to allow us to continue looking into your condition, despite no longer being one of our students. The last paper there is an example of the form you’ll be filling out for us each month. I’m sure you’ll find everything agreeable.” The woman carried on, and Catherine set the contract down. It was just like all the others she’d seen and signed, requiring her to submit reports on her experiences while scientists she would never meet researched both her and her reports. The only difference was a lack of direct testing- the contract made it plain that she wouldn’t have to submit herself to any physical tests, she’d simply be writing out reports from now on. “No more tests…” Catherine muttered to herself, letting out a relieved sigh. The woman across from her chuckled to herself. “Yes, no more tests. You’ll be free to act as you please, so long as you continue to keep us informed. In return, we will continue to study your condition, and support you in finding the right way to control it.”

“Really? No strings attached?” Catherine spoke up, looking up to the woman again. “You always want something from me, so what do you want this time?”
“Nothing at all, Ms. Plum, aside from your continued cooperation. Go out, explore the world. Experience life.” The woman waved her arm in front of her, as if gesturing to the world outside. “Find out just who you are inside.”
“Who I am?” Catherine’s eyes widened a little. They’d reached a sensitive topic, one Catherine knew she’d be confronted with. One she wanted above all else to avoid.
“Yes, Ms. Plum, who you are. Consider this new assignment a life journey, one to help you discover yourself. That is the best way for you to find closure with your condition, after all.” She spoke the words Catherine had heard over a hundred times prior. Words she had always been told whenever she questioned why all these tests and reports were necessary. It was always about closure- about taking control of herself.

That was how it always was.


Catherine blinked, and the memory ended. She was back on the stage, surrounded by her peers and superiors. All eyes were on her. Time was almost up, and the showcase was about to begin.

She brought her shades down over her eyes, the pink tint covering her vision completely as her focus began to tighten. Everything began to fade from her mind- The memory, the uneasiness, the fear- Everything gave way to the numbing emptiness that overtook her mind. Only one thing mattered now. She had to show everyone how strong she was. She had to succeed. She had to win.

The lights dimmed. The room went dark, and circular lights flickered on from the floor in a ring around the stage, illuminating the area to the audience. A part of the stage near the edge opened up, and a platform rose up to fill the gap- Atop that platform was a squadron of humanoid automatons, and a large, round machine with four spider-like legs, and a large, circular "eye" in the center of the sphere that composed the machine's body. The eye glowed red as it stirred to life, its gaze falling directly on the trio. Catherine's first instinct was to reach down to her belt and tap a finger to a jar filled with yellow dust strapped to it, a portion of the jar's contents floating up out of it as if clinging to her finger. She pulled the dust stream back and drew an arrow with the same hand, the dust congregating at where the arrowhead would be, solidifying into a pointed tip. She pulled the arrow back and fired it square into the machine's eye, a burst of electricity covering the front of it when the arrow struck. It sparked and crackled across the metal surface, but the robot seemed completely unfazed by the attack.

"No obvious weak point..." Catherine commented to herself, dropping into a lower stance, still holding her bow out, ready to fire. But when the electrical charge dissipated, the large machine began to move, various hatches opening around its sides, exposing an array of lasers and vulcan cannons. At its feet, the human-sized automatons drew weapons of their own- some were holding differing types of guns, others carried bladed weapons. The melee combatants began their charge, rapidly closing the distance between them and the three girls. Catherine, already beginning a dash to the side of the stage, drew a set of three arrows, aligning them on her bow and firing them off all at once, each one hitting a different automaton square in the head, causing two of them to stumble, and one to collapse to the ground. The large machine fired off a series of laser shots in Catherine's direction, forcing her to end her dash and take evasive maneuvers, flipping through the air around each shot.

She landed on her feet, flipping the bow around in her hand as it folded in on itself, the two parts of the blade clicking back into place, reforming her uniquely curved sword. Taking shots at the gunners in the back wasn't going to be easy, and finding the main unit's weak spots would be even harder if they couldn't thin the enemy numbers first. Catherine re-adjusted her shades, turning her focus to the approaching melee fighters, her blade held at the ready. "Alright, frontlines first it is."

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Post by Best Girl on Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:51 am

“She’s doing her nails again.” Someone whispered.

“She’s so weird. Always checking inventory or doing her nails. Can you believe people have heard her speak at all?” Another.

“Silva’s sometimes weirder than one of those faunas, but when she talks she’s like everyone else… I think.” One more spoke, but in her defense.

Silva Tempeter, on the eve of her graduation, was taking up her routine. Stocking up on ammo, checking all of her firearms available, performing maintenance on the uniquely crafted multi-form guns - an arsenal that brought the moniker “Storm Bringer”. The woman was also… doing her nails, filing them and making a hobby out of painting them a pretty translucent pink. This is what she always did every day in her years at the academy, and her diligence was highly praised among hunters while her fellows found it odd. Even so, no one truly spoke ill of the gunner as a fearsome reputation as the strongest backline support had made itself known. Getting on the bad side of your artillery support possibly meant someone would leave your back open, letting you die in an ambush to the more cunning Grimm. But not her. People found solace in that focused, but tranquil spirit that offered short bursts of encouragement or comfort. So that’s why - after awhile - people stopped trying to break her focus unless it was necessary or friendly banter. A strange soul who gave one-hundred percent.

“Are you ready to go?” One of the professors approached - a bulky man equipped with silver greaves and gauntlets, asking as the semitransparent painting glistened in the light. “You know, most people are more… excited or nervous when getting ready to move on from school.” He added on, seeing the stoic expression on his student’s face.

“I am nervous.” Silva spoke, her tone monotone and contradictory of the words. Yet, “I’ve been here since morning.” Beginning to speak, the woman had been aware of his occasionally glancing toward her work station. “I’ve gone over the same gun more times than I thought I did, I messed up my schedule… My friends asked why I didn’t show up for a little pep talking and I felt bad, but I have to make sure everything is in order. I’m… not trying to let anyone down.” The girl ended up rambling more than she expected, letting an unexpected burst of nerves spill out. Silva shined upon her forehead, wet her palms, and the stress cramped her dainty digits bending against the pull of strained muscles. The man was genuinely surprised, seeing her poker face never fade behind the evidence of such distress.

“... Ah… haha. Yes, my apologies.” The man smiled after a nervous chuckle, feeling guilty about disregarding her feelings. "It's just... It's hard to tell with you, sometimes." He looked at her work, seeing tables with a larger sniper rifle on one and a small handgun on another. There were boxes of ammo and numerous target boards pinned to the wall, along with tools sprayed all over another surface. "You're taking this as seriously as every other mission."

"More." Silva corrected.


"Getting mauled by Grimm... It's a terrible way to die on the battlefield... But what's scarier to me is letting the people around me down, thinking I might end up alone with no one at the frontline.

I don't want to let people down."


The stage was set as the automatons began to move. Catherine was making her way to the frontline while Shiro began her motions as well. Silva didn't have time to waste, taking aim with her rifle and blowing right through the gleaming red eye of one of Atlas' humanoid mechs. It ripped through the metal with such fierce momentum that even the state-of-the-art material of the machine did nothing but slow the bullet on its way out, still enough to knock a subsequent soldier down. Their programming was far from inept, however, as the Artificial Intelligence designed specifically to disrupt the gunner processed and quickly dashed to her location, moving to the sides and letting the larger spider-mech handle the front.

Don't you say that I didn't, didn't
Give you a chance, just didn't listen
Only wanted out,
But you just kept that garbage talk,
So no blessings
Y'all looking present, I'm already futuristic-cruising
Satisfaction killed me a bit, curiosity brings me back in grooving

A squad of five skid across the earth, alerting her with the sound of sparks flying off the terrain. The sniper easily dispatched one, but the others got too close and forced a change in tactics - forced her to use the handgun in a hasty move to get some time. The bullets were carefully aimed at the legs, either slowing them down or knocking them off balance so she could start running, gaining distance while holding up the rifle and stopping with a twirling stomp as it deconstructed itself on the spot with a small, silver-shining core exposed that was immediately covered by the parts of the gun re-arranging, recoloring, and piecing itself back together. It was a blue-trimmed firearm of sorts that launched a thick, sharp shell that meet one of the steel adversaries and drilled harshly into its torso before exploding and flinging it right into another. This left only two that got nearby, swinging their heavy arms to strike through blunt force. Silva responded by shooting at the faster one's arm and the slower one's leg, then roundhouse kicked the former before throwing the steyr launcher into the latter - the weapon bouncing off of it and spinning in the air.

Whipping out capsules of pocketed dust from her belt, she tossed them up by the airborne launcher and let the handgun undergo a similar transformation the first weapon had underwent. Only instead, it became a gigantic, heavy gatling gun held up with both her hands.

Don't wanna follow order, I oughtta restore that
Told her crossing the border, next corner posing for reporters
Next level explorer with my crew, supporters;
Still conquesting forward with my crew!

Silva grit her teeth, planting her feet firmly in the ground before unleashing a hailstorm of bullets at the robot she previously kicked, pumping it full of lead and more machines that went for Shiro and Catherine and even pelting the spider bot. The spectacle the gunner put on garnered praise, showing martial prowess and quick-thinking that went hand-in-hand alongside an impressive arsenal. The recoil and weight of the heavy arms should have taken its toll, but Silva's back was a monster in its own right that mostly brushed off the blowback. This allowed fancy moves such as letting the gatling gun promptly transform once there was a free moment - despite the approaching bot that had been whacked with the other weapon. Shrinking the current weapon to a more sleek, but still sizable design: it was a rifle with a cavernous barrel and purple lighting. The other had morphed into the same weapon actually, of larger capacity and she caught it, opening chambers that the dust capsules landed into and shut them tight.

Two new firearms were at her shoulders.

Like the shining stars light the path whenever it's dark,
you keep on blinking at me
You never turn away from me, in this vast gloomy night sky.
Light the fire up in the night!
The journey that we travel for our prize.
No matter where we go, we will not stop the shining forever!

They unleashed laser beams that destroyed a handful of the mechs - leaving shrapnel or just blasting huge chunks off of them. The energy was notably blue, and ice had encased the openings left in half-wrecked machines. She didn't even look back as the one behind her had its eye meet the barrel of the smaller rifle. It made a whirling noise, like a whine of fear before being dispatched at point-blank range. That same rifle then reverted back to its handgun state, and Silva began to run across the battlefield for a better position while keeping her eyes on her friends.

"I'm not letting either of you down." This fear of being left alone on the warfield empowered her resolve, drowning out the crowd and paying less mind to the fact that they were being evaluated, and more making sure the other two were covered. That was her role, and one that needed her everything - which she gave.
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