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Sun, sand, and more sand.
Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:03pm

Kaze grit his teeth in futile frustration as the sixth of as many communications protocols his suit could tune into failed to bring back anything but static. He'd found an unlikely sulking partner in Kail, who seemed to appreciate Kaze grit his teeth in futile frustration as the sixth of as many communications protocols his suit could tune into failed to bring back anything but static. He'd found an unlikely sulking partner in Kail, who seemed to appreciate tropical weather just as much as he did. So they sat, sweltering in spite of the palm trees swaying overhead. Kaze liked to imagine himself a reasonable man, and felt a small touch of vindication in that when he took his helmet off where The Destroyer refused to. Social life was blossoming all over in spite of what would have been mood-destroying catastrophy to any other outfit. Not that Kaze would participate. Oh, no. He liked to keep a gulf of distance between him and his men- No, that's not right, he corrected himself. He was just too used to not being able to to anything but keep distance, he hadn't even reconsidered his position for people he wasn't in charge of.

Dammit, that water looked cold. Nice and cold.

It was Kail's scoff at a group of mercenaries pulling emergency floatation devices out of the Albatross as beach toys that reminded Kaze of what he didn't want to be, so he finally stood up and brushed the sand off his pants. He hadn't even owned swim trunks before the order for vacation came in, so he was forced to buy from the only place on the SG he could. Crazy Eddie's stock was obvious slanted for the female buyers, but he had a few pairs of shorts for the men in case anyone asked. The only pair that fit to Kaze's contentment was a horrible knee-length swirl of magenta and azure, which he ducked into the Albatross' tiny bathroom to change into.

Ah, sun and sand. It was like being home again. Then again, sentimental value was the only reason he missed home. He hated both sun and sand, and the searing heat under his bare feet served as a keen reminder of why.

Trotting towards the water, he saw the volleyball game nearing its conclusion, predictably, as the teams were rather heavily stacked. Essentially all the mercs classifiable as being of the "Beach Babe" variety had been stuck on one side of the net, with a great many dexterous and agile mercs on the other for viewing purposes. What's a little white knighting on the beach, he thought. So as the final ball was coming down in a poorly guarded corner of the court, Kaze dove onto his back and swatted the ball back over the net and into Cross' face. That was unintentional, but Kaze was sure he deserved it anyways, so he didn't feel too bad.


Aurora stumbled around in the soft sand, the likes of which she'd never seen back in the Mojave desert. Even when it had once rained, the wet was quickly evaporated or totally eaten by the parched sands, so the ground went from cracked hardpan to swamp and back in less than a day. She walked the line where ocean, land, and sky met at one paper-thin strand of nature, realizing that living without the SatNet was much more ominous an existence than she'd previously imagined. It was a moment of relief when she found out the Adaptive Matrix wasn't affected by the strange bubble of interference around the island.

Demios had muttered something about using the AM system to teach the Mars' brain to control the Albatross before giving Aurora a pat on the back and directing her to the people outside. Where to go from there was completely a mystery to her aside from the obvious. She didn't just want to be "Demios' Daughter". Not that there was anything wrong with it, but to resign herself to such a basic limit in life would almost certainly disappoint her father, she thought. Not at all the act of proactive self-betterment she was sure he expected from her. He had designed her to excel in a profession that was lethal to failures. So what she needed, she mused, was a means to define herself. Was this was people called "finding one's self"? No one was beyond it as far as she could tell; even Kail went up to that secret place of his on some hidden directive. And why not start with what already set her apart? Sure, there was plenty about her that would force the most dedicated tech junkie to salivate, but what made her rare above all else was her magic. She knew it without understanding why, but that was enough.

A flash of light from the treeline above the sand forced her attention up and away from her thoughts. She blinked and narrowed her eyes for a moment before the flash repeated. Shinsei was up there. There were a couple stories floating around about her magic, most famously of her blazing a path through an alligator filled swamp with a single searing blast of light. Scrunching her nose up to deal with an itch, a recent conversation echoed in her head.

Aurora looked up to see him, "I understand. I guess I need to learn how to cast 'spells' myself."

Maq grinned, "I can help with that and besides, there are a lot of mages in the Freelance Reploids. Each one would probably love to talk about their magic."

"Heh. Maybe I should be pre-emptive," Demios said, "And ask Dan about how raising a magic-wielding daughter."

Maq stuck out her tongue in jest at him. "Nyah..."

Dan was certainly more accomplished magically than Shinsei, but he was also notoriously unreliable. So Shinsei it was, then.


A group of mercenaries gathered around the base of a palm tree as Aurora finally made it up the sandy banks. Shinsei turned to look at her, holding a small disposable camera.

"Hello. Care to join to shot?"

She opened her mouth, not even sure what she was going to say, but was quickly silenced by Mabs who looped one arm around hers and pulled her in with the group with a pleased squeal. Shinsei snapped the picture as the rest of the mercs posed around the bewildered Aurora. She advanced the film, asked Trigger to scoot a little to the right, and took another.

"Alright, everyone. Go do something else for a while." Shinsei laughed nervously. "I've got plenty of film, so come back later." The mercs took the dismissal well enough for her liking, most of them returning to the crash site. Mabs just floated up to examine coconuts. Shinsei turned to take some postcard-wannabe photos of the landscape, slowly turning back when Aurora didn't leave.

She lowered the camera. "Uhm... Need something?"

Aurora took a deep breath to silence the unexplainable butterflies in her stomach. "You're a mage, right?" The question was blatantly a formality. The aural scanners in her eyes marked Shinsei like she was wearing a suit of flares.

Still, not many people just came right out and asked. Shinsei was taken somewhat by surprise. "Yeah." She shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah I am." Swallowing, she waited for her to explain and elaborate.

"I'm supposed to be, too, I guess." The awkward tension could be cut with a knife. Aurora stared just slightly off to the side of Shinsei to avoid eye contact, her eyes sometimes flickering back and forth to look at her. "I guess I'm looking for a teacher."

Shinsei let out an audible sigh of relief, to which Aurora tensed up in misunderstanding. Just another student looking for direction, they both thought, for entirely different reasons. Shinsei missed teaching. There wasn't much call for it at the Stomping Grounds, but back home magic was a big enough deal to warrant several head instructors, a group to which she belonged. She smiled at the fledgling mage and slid the camera into a belt-mounted case. "I'd be happy to teach you." Aurora's shoulders slackened as her anxiety was swept away, and she returned a weak smile. "I don't suppose you would have asked now if you didn't want to start immediately.", to which she nodded.

Shinsei motioned to an open patch of soft sand and broke off a low-hanging switch from a tree. Aurora sat down, and her teacher began sketching diagrams into the earth.

"So here we have a basic model of the ambient ether field; all the kinds of energy around that we can draw from..."

  • HobbiesAurora/Demios, Mon Mar 15 11:50am
    NRP - Been trying to get this up for a couple of days. I adapted it to Kail's post, so it should fit. --Earlier on the Albatross Transport-- Aurora cupped her chin in her hand as she leaned her arm... more
    • Sun, sand, and more sand. — Kaze, Mon Mar 15 9:03pm
      • Meet the gang!Zeo Grey, Wed Mar 17 10:40am
        Sun dappled ocean water lapped gently against the white sand beaches that acted as a delicious buffer between the sea and the emerald jungle. The island was a paradise. One of the few remaining... more
        • Adventures in ...somethingMaq, Wed Mar 17 11:56pm
          Dan had taken to wandering before most of the mercs had settled into their groups of those intent on enjoying the place and those who were not. He felt a slight stab of disappointment. He'd been so... more
          • Life's a Beach (now not just a comic)Kail, Thu Mar 18 2:51am
            -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Sion Laiken and Cross sat under the shade of a palm tree and watched the others. Laiken was never one for beach activities and Cross had decided to retire from the volleyball... more
            • Spicking things upDemios, Thu Mar 18 2:47pm
              Aurora was eating up the information that Shinsei was teaching her. Ether fields, spell fundamentals, language characteristics, incantation weaving; all of it Aurora absorbed like a ravenous dog ate... more
              • Black SabbathKail, Thu Mar 18 9:38pm
                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- After her swim, Maq took a walk by herself into the jungle. She wanted to be alone and contemplate the possible meaning of her... had it been a vision? A memory? A dream? It was ... more
                • ~Flashback~Lock, Fri Mar 19 12:03am
                  ~Before the flight~ Lock got ready for his paid vacation to Fiji, his bags were fully packed with swim gear, camera, binoculars, food, swords, guns, ammo, and his tool kit along with spare parts and... more
                  • Zombies in ParadiseLock, Fri Mar 19 12:04am
                    ~Present~ Lock smiled, while he couldn't get on the internet, Lock still had his 12 inch laptop powered by a solar panel array that he brought with him. He could use all the programs it came with of... more
                    • Antagonists are cool.Kail, Fri Mar 19 4:49am
                      -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- An oversized jungle mosquito landed on the arm of Ouija and started to suck her blood. As soon as it tasted the first drop the insect began to burn from the inside out and fell... more
            • Re: Life's a Beach (now not just a comic)Anonymous, Thu Mar 18 2:47pm
              Aurora was eating up the information that Shinsei was teaching her. Ether fields, spell fundamentals, language characteristics, incantation weaving; all of it Aurora absorbed like a ravenous dog ate... more
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