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AerialAssault

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  1. I think one of the issues is an AI problem and not a power problem, as there are enemies with melee attacks that will stay at range if they can help it, chiefly Council Marksmen. Despite having a Brawl attack, they will, most of the time, fire their rifles rather than close the distance. They do use brawl if confronted in melee, and I have seen them charge in from time to time as well. But most of the time, they stay at range. AI behaviour can also be observed in AE enemies. Even ones set to range will attempt to close to melee distance if they have a melee attack and no other ranged attacks available. I do seem to recall one of the Live devs talking about AI behaviour and that enemy groups have a sort of 'hive mind', where if a certain number of enemies are engaged in melee, then the rest will stay at range until a position opens up for them to charge in. Of course, from what little I know of programming, any time someone mentions "AI Coding" it tends to send a shiver down programmer's spines, so I won't hold my breath on that being changed any time soon. However, if there is a quick solution, well, the Beta server exists to test these things.
  2. There's no list long enough on a personal level, but if it had to be something I'd appreciate the older Paragon City zones getting the Atlas Park treatment, or Kings Row treatment if that's not possible. So the former is a total zone revamp, while Kings Row got some new storylines and the Skulls got an update. I'd love to see the same applied to the Outcasts, the Lost and so on, each one could be done in an Issue to stagger the release. The other thing would be revisiting older Task Forces and in particular the most unpopular ones, such as Synapse, Citadel & Numina. On a person level I feel the Shadow Shard task forces should just be nuked and re-done completely, but then I imagine that would tie in to any Shadow Shard content/update.
  3. It isn't as simple as "put it on another platform.", there has to be business negotiations between the developer (in this case the Homecoming team) and the publisher & operator of the platform (so Valve for Steam, EA for Origin, Microsoft for Xbox/Windows Store, Sony for PlayStation & Nintendo for the Switch). The issue, as PaxArcana points out, that would involve sales, and Homecoming is a strict non-profit project. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think a company like Microsoft or EA are going to get embroiled in a legal dispute over something that won't see them any actual profit.
  4. Supervisor Graham looked out over the harbour of Port Recluse from the safety of the Sinister Submarine’s deck. The sea was unusually calm around the Isle today, but the nose-wrinkling stench of fish and industrial spill still polluted the air. Only the acrid tinge of their cigarette did anything to make it bearable. Truth be told though, he had become accustomed to bad smells. A few months ago, Graham had been put under the direct leadership of Carter McKeeny, better known as Cesspit. Among the Sinister Soldiers, it was regarded as a ‘joke’ position. He knew why he’d been put there, of course, as punishment for failing to stop a duo of ‘heroes’ from sabotaging a smuggling run. He initially resented the posting, the constant pervasive miasma of the Squad’s chief terror weapon had him consider signing up for Bio-lab duty just to get away to it. But it was Carter’s personality and mannerisms that made him stay. Some of the Squad were known for strange habits or outbursts. Soldiers sent to the bio-lab usually came back different, physically, mentally or both. If they ever returned, that is. Those in the engineering bay found themselves censured for the slightest infractions by its neurotic inhabitant. The recording studio was were the truly unfortunate went, forced to record hours and hours of demagoguery. He’d heard that some had tried to swim their way back to the mainland on the mere suggestion of being sent to the studio, but figured those were just stories. Cesspit, on the other hand, was surprisingly, and refreshingly for Graham, quite normal. His abilities he would never understand or get used to seeing in action, but he had a certain coolness and understanding about him. He was neither heavy-handed nor a soft touch, and the two had found a common interest in men’s hair styling products. A waft in the air and a souring of the atmosphere indicated to Graham that his boss had joined him on the deck. He was watching some protesting miners clashing with Arachnos, and snapped a quick salute to Carter. “All quiet up here then?” “No interference. We’re in position like asked.” “Good.” Carter clapped the soldier on the shoulder. Carter was unusually tall, through no apparent scientific or technological enhancement, towering over the already fairly tall soldier. He also left a dirty imprint on Graham’s jacket. “I don’t expect I’ll be too long, but you’ll get th’ signal when I’m done.” Graham smirked “Just a friendly visit then eh?” Carter grinned back “Hey, y’know me. All friendly, all the time.” The Supervisor took a long drag on their cigarette before flicking it into the ocean “Make a mess out there boss.” Carter nodded in sadistic agreement, slipping on their iconic gas mask and taking to the skies. Graham hated it when he did that, flying along on jets of toxic gasses. He didn’t even want to entertain where he summoned enough of it from to be able to jet through the sky, but as he watched the veritable dirty missile soar through the air, he didn’t give it much thought. A few months watching the mutant at work had jaded the soldier through. - Carter raced through the air like a fly with a rocket attached to it, bumbling and ungainly as he focused his powers as jets of propulsion from his hands and feet. He’d long forgotten when he’d discovered how to achieve such a feat, because to him it didn’t matter. He could, and that’s all that he needed to know. Scanning the docks below, he flew overhead a number of skirmishes between Arachnos and some rebellious miners. Flying further inland, he spied his destination and swooped down. It was a dingy old warehouse, now ostensibly a mass-laundry cleaning service, but the well suited thugs outside suggested that filthy overalls weren’t the only things they were laundering. As he landed, the two guards motioned for their weapons, until the miasma caught up with him. One of them gagged while the other recoiled in horror. Carter waited for a moment until they stopped coughing. “Fellas. Here to see Big Boom.” Carter stated matter-of-factly. One of the guards held a handkerchief to their face in a vain attempt to block the suffocating effluvia emanating from Carter. “Jeezus .. Y’must be th’ one th’ boss mentioned .. holy mother of- .. look just get in an’ out before we gotta get th’ whole place condemned.” The guard fumbled with the door to open it. Carter gave a mocking bow as they entered. “Why, so kind. I’ll let th’ big guy know he’s hired th’ right muscle eh?” He didn’t wait for a reply, taking a certain pleasure in hearing their pained gasps for fresh air as he moved into the building. Business was booming here, both dirty and illegal. Naturally, this was one of the oldest tricks in the book, and one Carter had hoped the mob boss he was meeting would surely not have been so stupid as to actually try. But then, he wondered, perhaps it was so stupid that nobody would expect anyone to actually do it. Was Big Boom a genius, or a lucky idiot? Carter shrugged to himself. Soon he’d be a dead idiot. Carter & Big Boom, who’s actual name was Benny Loggens, had a lot of history. When Carter first made the jump to Primal Earth, Benny helped find Carter somewhere to stay … then tried to extort him. That didn’t end well for Benny. Carter had forgot the number of times he’d had to put Benny in their place, but their somewhat pathetic, puppy dog charm had prevented him from ending him in a brutal and unpleasant way. He sighed as he knocked on the manager’s office door. All good things come to an end, he supposed. A muffled confirmation of acceptance came from the other side, and Carter walked in. The office was a horrid mess, with files and books haphazardly shoved into whatever space could be found. Clothes, both male & female, were dotted around the room and draped over any available furniture. A painting of a clown hung on the wall, and Carter made a mental note to take it once he was done. The lone occupant of the manager’s office had been enjoying a meatball sandwich until Carter had walked in. “Ah .. shhhhhhhooooo good t’see ya Carter! He-heh .. it’s been a *urp* while ain’t it?” Big Boom forced a smile and opened his arms in a welcoming gesture, promptly slopping himself with marinara sauce. Benny was not like most other Family bosses. For starters, he was possessed of mostly luck and no actual skill, and hadn’t been “Supe’ing up” like others had to face down heroes, or worse, villains. Instead he’d been able to get to where he was by simply being in the right place at the right time, or avoiding the wrong places at the wrong time, or a mixture of both. Carter feigned interest in Big Boom’s office “Oh y’know. Work. Speakin’ of work, I’m just gunna cut straight to th’ chase. By all means, keep stuffin’ yer trap.” He gestured to Benny’s sandwich. The portly mobster briefly considered doing so, until the wall of stench hit him. He was no stranger to Cesspit, and yet every meeting seemed like the first time they’d ever met. He took a deep breath of what would surely be the last clean air he’d breath for the next few minutes. “What’s on yer mind buddy?” Benny squeezed through their pursed lips. “Shipments pal. The Boss ain’t happy.” Carter folded their arms “And when he ain’t happy, nobody can be happy, y’get it?” Benny nodded, then shook their head “Everything’s been runnin’ smoothly, jus’ like we agreed.” He fidgeted with his short, fatty fingers. “Yeah, there’s delays .. th-there always is in this business y’know.” “Delays we can live with. I’m talkin’ ‘bout no shows.” “Whaddya mean no-shows? There ain’t no no-shows with Big Boom, y-y’know that right?” A layer of sweat began to form on Benny’s forehead. Lying was certainly not the forte. Or maybe it was the effort of holding their breath finally getting to them. Carter relaxed a bit and stepped back, again feigning interest in their surroundings “Yeah, shipments always get there. Just problem is, not all th’ shipments. Like U-12236? Ring a bell?” Benny paused as they searched their mental notes “Right, 100 pieces t’Indy Port. Got there uh .. fifty minutes late? Come on, that ain-“ “88 pieces, Benny. 88 turned up. Now y’tell me how 12 hi-tech guns managed t’fall outta their secured crates? Cause it’d be real bad of ya t’keep lyin’ right about now.” Carter approached the mobster at their desk, privately revelling in the interrogation. Scrabbling in their seat, Benny stammered for an answer. The mutant approaching them, and being fully aware of their powers, he raised his hands in protest “Okay okay! We were skimmin’ of th’ top! We all do it, y’know that!” Carter tutted, shaking their head and talking in a condescending tone “Oh Benny, Benny, Benny .. ye really are just that stupid ain’t ya? Well, how ‘bout y’tell me where yer keepin’ th’ skimmed guns, an I’ll see ‘bout lettin’ ya finish y’sandwich eh?” He placed both hands on the mobster’s desk, leaning in to face the terrified criminal. Benny’s stomach was churning, from the terror, the overwhelming toxic aura of Carter and from the marinara sauce “W-we keep th’ trimmin’s in Talos u-uh .. Warehouse 218, they’re all there, I swear!” There was an uneasy pause. Carter’s head sagged, and Benny was still held in a cold, sweaty fear. Carter’s low chuckling turned into a hysteric laugh. “Ohhhhh Benny Benny Benny. Y’know when I came here, I thought ‘How bad will I mess him up? I know, I’ll mess him up as much as he lies t’me face’..” Carter pressed away from the table, circling around the room and then clasped their hands, turning to face Benny. “Y’see Benny, our weapons guy, they’re a bit of a paranoid wreck. So all those guns? Trackers. Trackers, Benny, y’freakin’ fresh idiot!” Dread realisation crossed Benny’s heart. He knew his time was up. He stammered a response, but then he felt .. something .. in his chest. Heavy and burning, he choked on it as he started to convulse. Bloodshot eyes fell onto Carter, who stood, relaxed as if this were a normal conversation, with a single outstretched hand balled into a fist. “Man Benny, y’really did yerself in. I woulda been happy just dowsin’ ya and ya little shindig here, but y’just .. couldn’t help it, could ya? Now .. I’ve gotta make an example” Benny coughed and spluttered, their lungs filling up with .. well, in their last few moments, he barely had time to consider it as Carter’s outstretched hand flexed open .. - Operative Vance inspected the scene like one might look at a piece of art one found pretentious, yet not utterly repulsive. Being a Huntsman of many years, he’d seen a lot of things, but this one probably had to take the cake as both the weirdest, and most brutal. He turned to his colleague, Seer Yulia. “Don’t suppose it was the meatballs that did him in hm?” Arachnos were crawling all over the crime scene. Whoever had been here had no interest in a robbery, although a clean patch on the wall suggested a painting or other fixture had gone missing. It looked to be a clear cut case of intimidation. “I do not think that is very funny, Operative.” Yulia’s sense of humour was as dead as the look in her eyes. With her helmet removed, she had a haunting beauty about her which belied the grisly scene they found themselves in. Other operatives had either refused to enter the scene, or kept their business brief. Vance shrugged, sipping their coffee from their travel mug, grimacing a bit as it had gone a bit cold. “So either someone planted a bomb in this guy or .. well, that’s all I have.” The Seer prodded a still warm chunk of gristle splattered on a fancy looking clock “You could say that. I suspect the victim fell foul of a Destined One.” She paused, looking over to her colleague “We have no reports of any Destined Ones in this area at the time of the murder.” The Huntsman idly inspected some of the (now soiled) filing cabinets “Hm. Too bad neither of the two outside feel like talking.” He looked around and stifled a yawn “Just call it foul play and call it a day?” Soundlessly, the Seer moved over to one of the cabinets the Huntsman was inspecting. As if under some given mission, she flung it open and began flicking through the files. Eventually, she stopped at one and pulled it out. “No. I think we’ve found our lead ..” Sinister Squad
  5. I've always thought that Aid Self was meant to be used as a little pick-me-up between fights, or as an emergency heal when there's a brief respite in a fight. I've certainly had a lot of fun using it on Force Field characters by activating Personal Force Field and zapping myself back to full health. A shorter cast time would be nice though.
  6. It's assumed that 'Natural' heroes have mental or physical capabilities far beyond what your standard, or even above average human could achieve. Someone who has naturally attuned their body to say, punch through sheets of steel (i.e. a Martial Arts character) would be on the FBSA's radar. In a similar vein, there are a number of psychics who have attained their powers through rigorous training and self-discipline. While they're still not technically super-powered, they possess abilities that no ordinary human could achieve. Now, a hero without any notable powers (for example, can't throw a punch that can knock down a Mek Man) would still need to register to be afforded the legal protections that heroes receive, otherwise they'd basically just be a costumed cop and liable to all those same rules & regulations (see the Citizens Crime Fighting Act I linked further up).
  7. Weren't you the guy who said you were "not an elitist" when you were called out on being an elitist? And yet here you are telling people what they can and can't ask for since Bentley Berkeley said they don't matter. Jabs aside, my own personal feelings on the matter is that, if it's an harmful EXPLOIT, it should be fixed. In this instance, people are reporting that incredulous folks in PvP are using it to avoid a defeat, which is wholly unacceptable. But I agree that, in it's stead, base teleport powers should be more convenient for those that use them, and PvP overall could be made more enticing to people. I mean, for me, I just run/fly/jump to the nearest portal, since most zones have one, but since Homecoming came live I've been shocked to find people even lazier than me.
  8. "Hnng .. Positron, I'm trying to sneak around, but i'm dummy thick, and the clap from my ass cheeks keeps alerting the Council."
  9. Hi, just popping in here because my hyperbolometer suddenly spiked and hOLY JESUS
  10. If you go up to the bar behind the portal, the bartender Pollux (i think thats right) is a vendor who you can sell stuff to and buy Tier 1 inspirations.
  11. This is the sort of topic that should have been discussed when Homecoming & Everlasting first opened. But I don't think it's a topic worth approaching. Personally, I oppose any kind of "server lore", that is, a group of people deciding how people are allowed to approach a certain topic (in this case, the Real Time between shutdown of live and Homecoming), since there will always be people left out due to not reading the forums/discord. If you want, on a personal level, to say your own characters did X Y X in that time, that's fine. I did that with mine, but I feel a line has to be drawn under "[This Event] happened to everyone."
  12. have you be listening in to some of my conversations? 😛 i think out of all the Energy Melee powers, Stun is in dire need of a buff. Most of the EM powers have a decent chance to stun anyway, so that most enemies will be stunned after one rotation of powers. like you say, perhaps Stun could do bonus damage (or even Crit) against stunned enemies and also turn into a cone attack. It would make the long casting time at least worth it. my only other suggestion (aside from some of the good ones already made here) would be to make Total Focus a Targeted AoE like Thunder Strike, doing an AoE stun rather than KB.
  13. Hi I’ll be blunt and say that this is an ill conceived idea. It also seems like one made on a spur of the moment, that doesn’t have any clearly defined goals beyond being a parrot of an already well-known plot from Marvel. From my experience, every Roleplay Event that comes about because of these spurs of the moment ultimately gutters & fails because the momentum and ‘honeymoon’ period eventually wears out with no satisfying conclusion. It also has far reaching implications that would affect the foundations of virtually every character’s RP, and I am generally opposed to any RP Event which tries to do this. So, as to why I think this isn’t a good idea? Reconfigureyourface pretty much summed it up; America already has the FBSA, and the Citizens Crime Fighting Act covers vigilantism so that even unlicensed heroes can fight crime, so long as they follow the same laws that police officers do. It even allows certain supergroups to ‘deputy’ unlicensed heroes, thus allowing them the freedoms & protections that actual licensed heroes get. There is even a UN Special Council of Super Human Activities so again, one of the major sticking points of the Civil War is already an accepted part of City of Heroes lore. In short, there is no real need for a Civil War plot-line because the measures are already in place, and in the case of the CCFA, has been in-use for decades. Now, you could, for example, run a Roleplay Event wherein a government official is trying to overturn the CCFA, or increase the powers of the FBSA/make the registration process more invasive. That might tickle some people’s fancy, but it would not be something I would be personally invested in. Ultimately, I feel a plot-line of such magnitude would be something reserved for an actual in-game task force or signature story arc, which naturally would have to be taken to the Suggestions forum. See the following: Citizens Crime Fighting Act UN Security Council of Super Powered Activities
  14. Soldier Finnian sat on their bunk, enjoying some well-earned rest after a long shift in the base. The barracks were medicinally clean and utilitarian to boot, with few personal effects being noticeable around their squad’s bunks. A few of Finnian’s squad sat around a table playing poker, invariably betting to cover each other’s shifts or ‘visits’ to the bio-lab (which never ended well for the Sinister Soldiers who went there). Others were playing on their games consoles, socialising or otherwise spending their downtime relaxing. Finnian was engrossed in their book, as they usually were. Finnian was a typical case for a Sinister Soldier. A criminal nobody who had done a few stints in jail, in their case, armed robbery. An unassuming white male, they’d fell into the Squad’s clutches in one of their ‘recruitment’ drives, which is to say, surviving an encounter with the Squad. Word got around and eventually Finnian found themselves in a Squad uniform within the week. They were too engrossed in their book to notice the sudden ceasing of talking or the snap of heels. They also didn’t notice the figure looming over them for a good minute or so, before Finnian took notice. When they did, the hapless soldier scrambled backwards in their bunk, like an animal cornered into a wall. Maria Alvarez, otherwise known as Anti-Mage, was looming over them. At least, not physically, Maria was not exactly tall, but carried a force of character and air of authority that cowed all but the most unruly of minions. Finnian hurriedly climbed out of their bunk, tripping on the sheets and banging their knee in the process, before ungracefully snapping a salute to the villain. There was an uneasy silence as Anti-Mage stared them down. She wasn’t wearing her full get-up, eschewing the skull-mask and rough leather body glove for a more comfortable one-piece loungewear, but still wearing her long-coat and signature hat. Her bronzed skin was criss-crossed with scars, some clearly visible and others barely noticeable, all a mixture of combat and medical scars. To the errant eye, she had a typical beauty about her, but upon closer inspection her face had unsightly, unsettling veins showing just beneath the skin at odd hues, and her steely eyes and stern expression stared straight through those who drew her ire. Arms folded, she didn’t even have to say anything to show that she was awaiting for an explanation from the soldier. There was an uneasy pause as Finnian tried to avoid eye-contact with Anti-Mage, giving side-glances to the other soldiers in the barracks, who were similarly on edge. Eventually, Maria broke the silence. “Care to explain yourself soldier?” Finnian hesitated. As far as he could recall he hadn’t broke any regulations, aside from perhaps making jokes at the expense of some of the villains. He stammered a response out, but before he could finish she pointed to the book he had been reading. His eyes narrowed and his brow began to sweat as he looked between Maria and the book. “R-really? I-it’s just a bo-“ Maria held up the book; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (a signed copy) “This? This isn’t a book. This, is propaganda.” “I d-don’t understand..” “No, you don’t. That’s why you poison your ignorant brain with this filth.” She tossed the book onto the bunk like one would dispose of a used bit of toilet paper. Finnian winced as his only prized possession became crumpled and scuffed. “You will destroy this item before the end of the day, and if I see you, or anyone else for that matter, reading these things again, I’ll have you put on bio-lab duty for a week.” There was terrified murmuring throughout the barrack at the mention of bio-lab duty. Finnian could barely contain their sadness, stifling to hold back their fear. Maria gave an insincere smile to the now thoroughly intimidated soldier before leaving, arms behind their back in a confident stride. There was stunned silence for a moment. “Well, shit ..” - Wherever she walked, staff at the sinister base either did their best to avoid her or try and end any conversation as quickly and painlessly as possible. This suited Maria fine. After all, the grunts hardly made good conversion material. They did what they were told and that’s all that mattered. Still, she felt a measure of disappointment that they had not been taking her lessons to heart. Did they not respect her? Fear her? Perhaps they were simply too ignorant. Or perhaps they were being purposefully misled. Either way, it did not dampen her resolve. She would simply have to broadcast more lessons. She made her way to her recording studio in the base. It had taken much negotiation not just with Blackwell, but also Dr. Zhou & Ten to even get this tiny piece carved out for herself. But it was her temple. It sat down the hall from the engineering bay, it’s sound-proofed walls providing a peace & solitude from the hum of activity and occasional screech of machinery. Inside, she breathed a sigh of relief, drinking in the lightly scented and clean air. The equipment in here was top of the range, everything she needed to begin tearing away the lies permeated through society. To some, this was merely a recording studio, but it was her battlefield upon which she waged war. It was empty in here, as it usually was when there was no recordings currently taking place. Usually some unfortunate soldier was dragged in to manage the recording equipment, microphones and cameras and the like. She hoped some day that they would fight over the opportunity to see her orations first hand. Entering the stage itself always sent a rush of euphoria through her, a feeling of excitement and of intense purpose. To say this was her passion would be a disservice to how fervently she felt for it. Were it not for the fact that circumstances required their personal intervention, she would be happy to spend the rest of her days in here, fighting the good fight. When she sat down at her chair behind the large, circular desk, it was like being sat on the throne of her god. Though idle, the camera sat opposite her, silently observing, was the implement in which they would reshape the world, albeit as much as the bandwidth would allow. Ten had stressed numerous times the efforts they had gone through to ensure that no enemies of the Squad could trace her sermons back to the base. As she traced her fingers across the artificial wood desk, she felt an unease begin creeping in the back of her mind. As she probed her thoughts for this feeling, it only began to grow. In this timeless, motionless room, it seemed as if reality was coming to a stop. Her breath became laboured, restless, and a chill rested uncomfortably upon her skin. Was the room cold, or was she cold? She shivered, the feeling alien to her .. and yet somehow familiar. The room was beginning to spin and undulate, her vision swimming in whatever malaise was taking over her. Not even closing her eyes could stop the nauseating visions, clear even behind her eyelids. She grasped the desk, an anchor of normality in a sea of unreal. Was this an attack? Was some vapid sorcerer taking their umbrage? She couldn’t feel the stink of magic. It was then she heard a voice. A deep, raspy and deathly voice. The sound of heavy fog given a voice, it’s syllables wrapping around her head like a suffocating smog. And yet, it said nothing. Just a deep, airless gasp that emanated from all around. Gasping for breath, she went to stand, but her feet found no purchase. Surprised, she opened her eyes to see she was no longer in her sanctuary, but some shadowy reflection of it. Her feet were stood on writhing masses on indistinct tendrils which clung to her feet, their touch icy down to the soul. She tried to summon her powers to her, but found only a damning silence on her lips and an empty feeling in her hands. Something was overtaking her, and she didn’t know whether it was fear or whatever this affliction was. She tried calling for help, but only thick, inky smoke escaped her mouth. Clutching her throat as an unseen force throttled her. Stumbling for the door, she felt equipment and stationery knocked out of her way even if she couldn’t see it. But that’s when she saw it, floating ominously and soundlessly above her, like a dismissive god looking down upon their unruly subjects. A skull, it’s jaw fused into a furious grimace, the eye sockets burning with hot, red rage. It did not say anything, only drawing closer. It’s eyes stared through her very being and the heat from it’s rage scouring the skin from her bones. She held her hands out to stop the unnatural power from unmaking her, watching in horror as her hands were reduced to bones, and then to ash. For the first time in a long time, she felt fear .. and she heard her name being called, echoing through the cosmos .. “MARIA.” She snapped too. She was stood at the doorway, her hand on the handle. Stood directly in front of her was Ten. She felt glad to see a familiar face, even if that face was robotic and expressionless. “I heard some shouting. What is going on in here.” Ten asked. They peered over her shoulder at the studio, and she followed their gaze. Expensive equipment lay on the floor, along with the shattered remains of her favourite mug. Maria stumbled over her words, and over her feet. Ten grabbed her and steadied her, setting her down on the chair. It took her a moment to gather her thoughts, taking deep, measured breaths and resetting her mental state. Ten waited patiently. “If you are going-“ “No .. Ten. It was nothing.” Maria grabbed Ten’s jacket to emphasise her point, but her trembling hand suggested otherwise. Ten gently removed her hand from their jacket. “I detect that you are being defensive. If this is about your Condition, might I remind you that-“ “Yes, yes I know, Ten. I know what to do.” Ten stared back at her. She looked into their green optical lenses. Cold, uncompromising. Emotionless. And yet it seemed like exactly what she needed right now. She sighed. Ten stepped back. “I will have to keep a record of this incident.” “Don’t, Ten. Keep this between us.” “You know that I cannot do that.” Maria stood up, the sudden inertia making her wobble, but she pointed a finger at Ten. “Consider it a personal request Ten. This will hamper my work.” She stared the robot down, before adding Ten stood quiet for a moment, before putting their hand to their chin in a gesture, something that was unusual for the robot. “If I do, you will owe me a favour, correct.” She noted that it was not a question. “Yes. Within reason.” Ten tapped their chin twice. “Good. Then this will remain between us.” Maria relaxed, exhausted. Disappointed, annoyed & confused, but her direct problem dealt with. “Thank you Ten. Now please, get out of here.” The robot nodded and turned, leaving through the door, giving a second look over their shoulder at Anti-Mage. Their impassive expression did not betray any feelings or emotions, but a measure of doubt had entered the robot’s thought processes. Maria waited in baited silence, hearing the rhythmic clanging of the robot’s boots fading into the distance, until she could only hear her own staggered breath again. She sat there, not moving, not thinking .. waiting .. for something, anything to happen. But only silence answered her. And it said .. “Hate…”
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