05.09.3013: Has the Game Changed?
Summary: Ellinor, Cedric and Nikomachos chat about Hostiles in the mall.
Date: 9 May 2013
Related: The Seen & Unseen
Cedric Ellinor Nikomachos 

The Arcology of Sundry, Landing
The Arcology of Sundry rises two hundred stories into the sky, a towering monument to the prosperity that House Sauveur has planned for Landing. The first five floors consist of an open-air mall, the weight of the arcology held up by thick composite girders spaced every thirty or forty feet around the circumference of the building.

That mall is carpeted by natural grass, with pathways laid out cobblestones. It is built like a medieval village, if a medieval village was built around a pillar encircled with five stories of ramps with nearly two hundred stories of department stores and residences above.

Artificial sunlight floods the mall terraces at all times of the year, carefully modulated so as to not wash out the holographic signs that front each store. Giant holoscreens float at the top of the five story open area, showing movie clips, ads, music videos, and occasionally, breaking news.

May 9, 3013

Cedric is just in the process of stepping out of a satillite officer of the hosptial, shaking hands with a doctor. The two are also holding their own small datapads, waiting a moment and what is apparently a trade of information, though a moare hardcopy folder is handed over as well. Cedric is talking for a moment longer, tapping at the side of his head for a moment, as if gesturing toward something in particular, the doctor more than picking up on. Again, they shake hands, and go their seperate ways. Stepping toward the balcony of the floor he's on, the Captain leans against the side, taking his datapad in hand and beginning to read over what was previously sent to him.

Ellinor is walking casually through the arcology, though she is completely without bags and parcels. She has her hands in the hidden pockets of her skirt, looking over the various shops that line this particular floor of the mall. There is a light sunburn on her nose and cheeks, suggesting she has been spending far too long out in the sun somewhere. She glances up a bit, and she spies her brother-in-law. Something about the exchange quirks her interest, though she does not immediately adjust her strides toward him.

Nikomachos meanders down the spiral from some store at the very top of the vertical faux village, a small, pink bag dangling from his left hand. His right hand holds a half-eaten ice cream bar very carefully, cradling it out away from his body — and the little bag — to protect both his rather ostentatious vest and his purchase from dripping vanilla ice cream and falling shards of chocolate. His steps are slow, but when he spots Ellinor and her brother-in-law, he slings the little pink bag over his shoulder as if it were a garment bag or something equally heavy.

Cedric is busy reading over the display on his small datapad, leaning against the railing of balcony while at the same time rubbing off black washable ink marks that were around his eye. Surgical marks or lines or something representing where something is underneathe the skin. While he reads, he glances at his palm, to make sure it's actually coming off. A small synthesized voice is piping out of the datapad, describing to him the model number, advantages, and unique properties to a particular brand of cybernetic eye implant, promoting it's brandname and it's years of quality service, with affordable payment plans for noble and citizen alike. Various notes about insuance policies…blah blah blah. Cedric skips through a good portion of it, as if he's heard all this before.

"Ric," Ellinor announces herself as she finally comes up behind him with a quirk of her brows. She glances over those washable ink marks with another pique of curiosity. "I heard that Lyrie is off helping the Arboren," she says conversationally while she continues to criticize his face as if looking to see something amiss. It does allow her to completely miss the approach of the Cindravalen, which perhaps puts her at a bit of a disadvantage as she had not expected to cross paths with Nikomachos.

Nikomachos may have come up behind Ellinor, but he addresses the naval man first, "Did you fall asleep around your crew, Captain?" Reaching up with the ice cream bar, he gestures to his own eye, making a slight gestures, "The last time I had that much ink on my face, I passed out around my cousins." Stifling a smirk, he glances over to Ellinor, "Ellie. No purchases yet?"

"When did they add -that- insurance admendment?" Cedric mutters beneathe his breath, repeatedly tapping through various screens of legality text that he just can be asked to read. All that fine print crap that nobody reads except for lawyers. Idly rubbing at his upper cheek, eyes glance up from screen. "Hrm? Oh, Ellie." The vocal description of what he was reading is paused with a press of the thumb. "What? Right, yeah. I don't really know why she went, maybe she knew someone personally that's missing. She didn't seem too keen on me coming along but I had an appointment anyways." Niko's arrival is met with more rubbing on his eye. "I thought I had gotten all of it." With the lack of a mirror, he's just going to have to deal with not getting it all. "They'd do worse than lines on me. No, I have to get my eye replaced."

Ellinor arches up her brows even higher now. "Was the other malfunctioning?" She asks though she is then swept up by the question from the Valen. She turns slightly toward him and offers a slight smirk. "I don't need new things every day," she half-protests. "Though I'm surprised they limited the inking to your face." This directed toward the Valen of course before she glances back toward Cedric. She shrugs. "They are like family, regardless of whatever happened between Lyrie and the Young Lord. I suppose… she felt an obligation."

Nikomachos takes a bite of the ice cream bar, turning it carefully to counter the tectonic slide of chocolate sheathing. After he's swallowed, he shrugs helplessly at Cedric, "Smeared it up at the outside corner. Got most everything else." A quick twirl of the ice cream bar keeps it together a moment longer, and then he collects the last chunk, chewing it, swallowing quickly, and screwing his eyes up in an attempt to ward off brain freeze, gesturing toward Ellinor with the stick from the just-consumed treat to show his own curiosity to her first question. Once the sudden ache behind his eyes fades, he lets out a soft, "Ahhh… better. Brain freeze, it's a killer. And who said they did stop at my face, Ellie?"

Cedric sighs a little. "It's not focusing right. I'm actually seeing you a little fuzzy in my cybernetic. It's just the electronics, since I've had this one for almost four years now, I'm due for a new one. Connections with the optical nerve start to detiorate which will eventually cause my brain to work harder trying to translate the information. Which…have been the cause of my headaches recently." the Captain explains. "A shame, I like this one, it's never given me any problems up until now. I don't need the newer models with all the bells and whistles. If I was an engineer, maybe I'd see a need for being able to switch through different spectrums of light. Just give me something that gives me twenty/twenty sight." Taking the advice from Nikos, he tries to get the last of the ink off. "Sure, that's what I guessed was her reasonsing. I think she sometimes forgets that I do know how to walk in the woods."

"Sounds like you're going nearsighted," Ellie says with a quirk of a grin on her lips before she casts a glance toward Nikomachos. "I figured an internal sensor went off when someone tarnished your lovely face and you stopped further damage." She sends him a quirking smirk before she rolls her shoulders beneath her tunic, offering a bit of a sigh. "I don't know… the Arboren will look after her, I'm sure. I'm still assuming that this is all a misunderstanding. The Knight and his wife probably are on a camp out or something like that." She eyes what is left of Nikomachos' ice cream bar, and her gaze lingers on it a moment more before she looks back to Cedric.

Nikomachos steps over to a nearby garbage can, tossing out the stick, collecting a napkin sticking out of a pocket of his jerkin and wiping off his hand and face, then tossing the napkin away as well. Turning back to the in-laws, he shrugs at Ellinor, laughing softly, "Well, it's not polite to frustrate your family's efforts. I thought I might let them get away with it once or twice." He turns the grin over to Cedric, adding, "Or I may have just been knighted and passed out drunk." Pointing over to the lady knight, he adds, "Did you notice she called my face lovely?"

"Most likely. Then again, there's been an odd series of events going on that I can't seem to wonder if they're connected or not. So while the average man in me hears about a missing couple and figures they probably got lost on purpose, the Captain in me considers other ideas. But, I wouldn't be surprised if you're right. I think I'm just a little indignant that she didn't ask me to come along." The Orelle offers a light chuckle. "On the one year anniversay of a crewmen's time on the Intent, the rest of crew does something similiar. It usually involves duct tape and one of the tables in the mess hall. Keeps morale up." Pausing, he gives a look between them. "Misleading, Sir. She calls my daughter lovely too. But you're almost just as adorable as she is." he comments, amused.

Something Cedric says there actually causes her to glance his way with a blink. "Connected? What sort of events do you think are connected to the missing Arboren?" Perhaps this question will also distract him from his hint of indignance, not wishing to get involved in that potential argument. She glances over toward Nikomachos, casting a bit of a scowl, though no further response as she is curious what her brother-in-law may have to say.

Nikomachos nods to Cedric, "I've heard a lot of theories about the volcano, that ship that was lost in the Desolation, this disappearance, and even the argument between Prince Emund and Princess Janelle being connected. Personally, I think at least the last is patently ridiculous, although it seems like a bit of paranoia to assume too many of the others have the same source." The mention of the party on-ship draws a chuckle and a nod, and the words that follow a thoughtful nod, "I'll take it. I've heard nothing but good things about your daughter, Captain."

"Good things? Peh, she's a troublemaker already at three. Her Aunt is a bad influence." Cedric comments idly. Prince and Princess? Don't get me started on that. And you're right, their little schism hadn't really occured to me. And I'm not supporting either of them until one of them can prove they can act like a mature adult. So far, I haven't seen it. And for the sake of my sister-in-law, I'll leave it at that. As for everything else…" he shrugs. "When the Blackbird went missing, the Intent was one first ships out there to investigate, along with four other ships. I never got a chance to see the wreckage, I was on the other side of Desolation when it was found. I also never heard wether or not there were bodies recovered. But I want to. Still do. I know the difference from collison damage from weapons fire. But everything else, the dream that Lyrie had last week. No," he corrects himself. "Not a dream, one of those…vision things. What she described to me…it was like a warning. Or she saw something she wasn't supposed to. Couple that so recently with these odd occurances. The factory, the ship, even something as innoculous as the Arboren couple, something just suggests to me that while they might not be directly causitive of each other, I get the feeling they all share a common factor. What that is though, I couldn't say. I don't know enough."

"Lyrienne had a nightmare?" Ellinor asks in an almost hush. "What did she… what did she see?" She asks with a nervous note in her voice as she glances toward Nikomachos. "My sister has always seen… things… in her dreams. I use to think one day she was going to dream about how I was going to die…" She shrugs off that thought before she glances back toward Cedric. "I considered that there might be some sabotage going on," she confesses. "That the Blackbird, the issue on the Crescent… but…"

Nikomachos shakes his head at Cedric's mention of the Sauveurs, "Princess Janelle shows the proper drive to rule, drive Haven will need for the Third System War, but I suppose that is neither here nor there." He pauses a moment, then puts in, "One of the Khourni, Sir Asher, had an Awakened dream as well. he thought it was a warning, perhaps that all was not as it seemed." Rolling the top of the little pink bag over the rest of the bag and tucking it behind his back in both hands, he frowns thoughtfully, "All of this would have to happen right before the Hostiles arrived."

"Princess Janelle wants to rule simply for the sake of ruling. There's not a single altruistic intention in her goals." He shakes his head, clearly not being his point. "You want to know what I really think?" Cedric pockets turns off his datapad, sliding the slim device into his pocket. "Dissension is being swen into the ranks." He glances at Niko. "If you can't beat an opponent by a frontal assault, how else would you go about it? Now, me personally, I'd glass their planet from orbit with anti-matter warheads. But if I couldn't do that? Espionage. Subterfuge. Divide and conqour. Get your enemy to start fighting itself, then move in, taken them so off-guard they'll never be able to man a counter-offensive." He gestures at the Cindravale Knight. "Think about what you just said. 'Would have to happen right before the Hostiles arrived'. Doesn't that seem just a bit odd to you? Either of you? Orelles, the naval might, first line of defense, split down the middle and arguing amongst each other. If you read history, when the Second War came, the Houses weren't arguing between each other as much as they are now. Manfacturing in the Crescent impedeed. The Blackbird possibly being sabotaged. Or otherwise." He gestures widely. "In my line of work, there's no such thing as coincidences. And while you both might call me crazy, when my wife is having visions of being wrapped in cybernetics and flesh, speaking directly to her in a language she doesn't understand. It's either a warning or something even more bothersome. What if she witnessed a communications between Hostiles?" A pause then. "What if they're already here? It's been five hundred years, they've had a long time adapt and advance, while we're still relying on tactics that have worked so far. I don't think it's going to be that easy this time."

Ellinor looks awkwardly between the pair of Lords, but she does clear her throat a bit, honing in on the conversation topic she is absolutely willing to discuss — that is, whatever doesn't have to deal with her cousin. "Poor Lyrienne," she murmurs as she hears a brief and somewhat confusing synopsis of what her sister has dreamt, knowing she will need to ask her more about that. She does look toward Cedric as he talks about the Hostiles already being here, and she frowns deeper still. "How could they have gotten here, Cedric?" She asks. "If the Hostiles broke through the Royal Navy's patrols and are already here… unnoticed… I don't even want to think about what that alone would cause."

Nikomachos purses his lips tightly together to clamp down on a response to the commentary on the Royals, although he does respond, he shakes his head, "Over-estimating your enemy is almost as dangerous as underestimating him, or so my tutors always told me. If the Hostiles could make volcanos erupt, wouldn't they have obliterated the Crescent already? If they could control members of the Royal family… there's far more dangerous things they could do than play for power." He gestures over to Ellinor, "I would like to think that the Royal Navy would be able to catch any major incursions."

"That's the thing, Ellie. Nobody knows. It might just a running theory, but it's the only theory that makes sense to me right now, beyond all of this, political unrest and random accidents simply happening at bad times. Which I don't believe." Cedric shrugs. "Unless we're dealing with human extremists. Governmental terrorists, pro-democracy movements." By the way he says that, he doesn't sound convinced that's it. "Like I said, they've had five hundred years. They could have their own waygates, maybe tapped into our own gate network. Or stealth ship technology that hasn't allowed us to detect their ships. There's always the chance that one or two ships just got through, and our ships can't be everywhere at once. Or…" he frowns a bit deeper.

"Sleeper agents. Hostiles that look like us. At least on the outside. That first colony that was put on Fifth World, we never found out what happened to them. Never heard from them. We assume they were killed outright, the first victims. Could've been studied. Well? Wouldn't you want to study something you didn't know? How long have they been studying us? Our government, our political system and manipulate it in such a way that we're too busy fighting ourselves, we're caught with our pants down." This, possibly since the Blackbird vanished has been highly debated topic of his. "The last thing we need right now is having pissing matches between Houses and who's going to rule what. And if we don't get our shit together, we are going to suffer for it." He shrugs at Niko. "You ever own an ant farm, Sir? You never destroy it, but you certainly test them. See how they react, how they rebuild, understand them. It's also possible they don't want to kill us."

Ellinor looks unconvinced. "A Hostile that looks like… us?" She glances toward Nikomachos, gnawing a bit at her lip before she shakes her head a bit. "That right there is a threat to sow distrust… if we can't even trust ourselves…" She rubs a bit at her arm, looking almost chilled by the idea. "I don't know… the Fifth World only just came back into range… unless they have been establishing this for the past five-hundred years…" She sounds unconvinced, but she also does not sound entirely so, perhaps weighing each side with a careful frown and furrow of her brow.

Nikomachos shakes his head, "The Generation of Defiance bloodied the Hostiles. We've been recovering for five hundred years, and only made a few technological advancements. I can't imagine that the Hostiles are likely to have made much more after the bloodletting of the Second System War." He grimaces at the idea of Hostiles that look like humans, reaching up to tug up at his hair a bit, re-establishing the spike to his hair, "And no, I've never owned an ant farm, but the Hostiles have come after us to kill in the previous System Wars…" he gestures to Ellinor, "I think, Captain, you're ascribing far too much in the way of capabilities to the Hostiles. That will lead only to fear and paralysis. We need to act and react without hesitation."

"Look, I'm not saying any of this is true. I'm just saying thing that haven't already been suggested." Cedric notes. "Do I even believe all of it? Do I believe parts? Yes, I'd say so. The other bits I'm not entirely convinced, but I tend to leave nothing to chance. If there's the chance it's possible, I consider, even if it's not the most likely. And like I said, it's been five hundred years. Who knows what they've been up to. And we've had no way to keep tabs on them. They've had a very long time to prepare and plan, while we decided to go back to our lives. More than a few geneations possibly forget about them altogether." he continues to explain, foling his arms. "They don't think like we do. As far as we know, their goal, their -only- goal is either our utter destruction…or our subjagation. If they're here, we'll find out soon…"

Suddenly, Cedric's communicator beeps at him, causing him to dig it out. "This is an Arboren comm code." he utters. "Yes, this is Captain Cedric." Pause. "-What-?" he voice gets near a whisper, harsh and suddenly cold. "How? No, nevermind, I'm on my way." It's clicked off, then he immediately dials another number. "Lieutenant, you are to put the Intent on Condition Yellow. Inform the rest of the Fleet…." he glances at Ellie and Niko, "An unknown number of Hostiles have found their way onto Imperius." He hangs up. "I need to go, Lyrienne has been injured by a Hostile."

Ellinor looks sharply around toward Cedric at his words. "What!" She says with a touch of panic in her voice. "Just now?" She glances toward Nikomachos. "How did… how did they?" Her pale green eyes settle back on Cedric. "I… I need to get to the Towers. The King must be told." She glances around her now, stepping toward Cedric. "Do not let this travel far, Ric… we cannot induce panic. Not yet." This is all said in a hush as she grips her brother-in-law's arm.

Nikomachos responds immediately, and perhaps a little more heatedly than he intended, "They may have gone back to their lives in The Ring…" He bites off his words as the commcall comes in, shaking his head angrily at himself. As the news is relayed, he glances around quickly to see if anyone else has heard the words. He nods sharply at Ellinor, his eyes a little wide. No words come to the usually verbose Valen for a moment, and he works his jaw a long moment, finally getting out, "Cousin Kallista needs to know too. Quietly." He looks over to the Sauveur, "I'll walk you back to the Palace Towers. I'll use a secure commline there."

"My Lieutenant knows my orders. And we've wrote out commands on what might happen should this come to pass. She'll contact my grandfather first, followed an encoded message that'll only be sent to the Admiralty board. It'll be kept within the Navy brass until Ilo has spoken to the King." Cedric doesn't look at the hand that grips his arm, but right at his sister-in-law's face. "It won't get father than that, and if I know my grandfather, a general, but very subtle alert will go out through the Fleet to be put into stand-by. First active ships, then the reserves." He pauses. "And I only get this once chance to see my wife before I report to the Intent. My leave just got cancelled." His eyes are hard, as if as much as he talked about odd theories, he didn't seem or even expect them to come -true-. "The game has changed." Then, he's moving off for the nearest waygate to the Vale.

Ellinor nods, looking torn between following after Cedric to know the condition of her sister while also knowing her duty and her place in the grand scheme of things. "Cedric," she calls after him suddenly. "Tell her… I'll see her soon." Her lips are held tightly, her brow slightly wrinkled. She offers a firm nod of her head to him before she glances toward Nikomachos. "Thank you, Niko," she half-murmurs as she steps up toward him, glancing over her shoulder toward where her brother-in-law has gone before looking back at the Knight. "He's right. It has…"

Nikomachos may have spoken decisively after his initial hesitation, but he hesitates again as Cedric rushes off, rubbing his stomach with one hand, "Has it? I mean… we knew…" he stops, glances around again, and tries again, "We knew this would happen, just not when…" He doesn't even seem to notice that he's rubbing at his abdomen, as if he's reacting poorly to the ice cream he just ate. "I mean, this is what we were born for, right?" There's an actual question there, as if the jouster is a bit thrown by the apparently early arrival by the Hostiles.

His trademark trenchcoat spinning about him Cedric turns about when Ellinor calls back to him. There is a nod in return from Orelle. "She'll be waiting for you." he calls back, then clipping off a salute, not nearly as loose or as casual as the ones that're usually reserved for her. More professional. More percise. In Orelle, being able to predict planets orbits down not only the day, but the very hour and minute that the Fifth World comes back into range. They could set a watch to Hostile's attack if they really wanted. The fact that they're here so early? This only enforces more that this time, it's going to be different. Can't think about that, the Captain has an injured wife to go see. And then a ship to report to.

"I suppose so," Ellinor says, but like her Knightly companion, she looks unsettled. She waits until se can no longer see Cedric before she turns to look at Nikomachos. "We should go," she murmurs before she starts to step away, a bit of a dark cloud forming overhead.

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