At Home - Canada

For RP in miscellaneous places.

At Home - Canada

Postby QuantumHyena » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:33 pm

A unique sight outside Lana's house, a tailed reploid is bounding between tree trunks and over her roof back and forth. Barrier seems to be practicing, or maybe just messing around. His bits are flying around him in shifting patterns as the experimental reploid bounds and rebounds on a mixture of basic strength and a forcefield buffer, taking at least enough care to use the latter when he bumps Lana's house. His mood is on its wa to relaxed, for what might be the first time so far, and occupied with its own thoughts.
Milan doesn't seem to be anywhere nearby. Based on the link, he's out of range.

Not one to normally be distracted while working out, a strange rhythmic thumping noise sounds even over the dubstep she exercises to. Frowning curiously, she grabs one of her near-countless hidden weapons, flicks the safety off, and ventures outside just in time to see one of her companions bounding off her roof.

<And just what are you doing, exactly?> she thinks casually-- almost /too/ much so.

*roof, tree, tree* <Having fun. What's it to you?> Barrier thinks as his last impact sends him in an arc towards Lana. He rolls over the cyborg's head and lands a few inches above the ground, kicking up a tiny wind as his forcefields buffer the impact. "Cute gun," he comments of the weapon in hand at about the same time he bothers to notice Lana's outfit.

Lana looks down at the revolver in her hand-- a large-caliber one similar to what she usually carries. "It does its job," she replies, flicking the safety back on with a fluid, practiced motion.

Her usual combination of tanktop and jeans has instead become a tanktop and khaki shorts; the top is damp enough with sweat that a violet sports bra shows through beneath. "Must your 'fun' be so loud?" she asks calmly.

"I'm surprised you can hear it over your music," Barrier comments, his feet touching down on solid ground. Noticing the bra through her top, he chuckles to himself.

"I have good ears," Lana replies simply, leaning casually against a tree. "So what were you doing? Trying to fly?"

The reploid shrugs. "Eh. I felt like it. I couldn't really do this before getting these upgrades; it's fun."
Barrier's expression flattens, showing some annoyance. "And the next time some freaking floaty drones start taking pot shots at me I plan to right in their optics."

Lana can't help but smirk at that, the barest hint of tooth showing through. "Sounds like I might have to find you some fun, then," she teases.

Barrier smirks to match. "Some real fun would be nice, you're not much of a challenge," he teases back.

That earns an outright laugh. "Keep telling yourself that," she says. "I'm /full/ of surprises~."

Barrier lifts a hand and theatrically flicks it at Lana, firing a wave of energy at center mass.

The blonde casually sidesteps, watching the energy smash into the tree behind her. "Not bad," she comments.

Stepping closer, she lowers her voice to whisper, "You'll need more than that to really /get/ me, though~."

"You can read my thoughts," Barrier reminds as an obvious excuse. He smiles widely, knowingly, and his orbiting bits form a loose ring around the pair. "But I can read yours too, that goes both ways. And if you're reading my mind properly right now you'd notice the cozy forcefield stopping you from dodging again."
He pauses and taps his chin thoughtfully. "Now see this is the part where I'd whack you again and make it somewhere meaningful but nothing good comes to mind. A limb is too inconsequential, the head is too forceful, your chest is literally hard to miss from this distance but that ruins the moment with the implication that I'm some kind of pervert, the gut's too low a blow, and your hips are right out because while I've got the upper hand now pursuing that line would be silly and unrewarding." A brief mental image of Lana lighting her wrist blade and swinging it, only to have it deftly stopped at the elbow by a forcefield, plays through the reploid's head.
"Hrm... yeah I got nothing."

Another honest laugh escapes Lana's throat. "Not bad at all," she praises. "It's good to see you finally using that head for something other than 'jiggle-physics'."

Suddenly, a small flap opens up in her right arm, and a small grenade launches out. It doesn't appaear to be a threat, since Lana casually grabs it almost before it leaves her arm and the priming lever doesn't move. "But never assume anybody's down for the count until they're dead," she adds, holding the grenade such that the large 'EMP' stamped on it is clearly visible. "Because otherwise /you'll/ end up underground," she notes, slipping the grenade back into her arm.

"Cute, clever," Barrier appraises, still smiling. "And yeah, until you start putting that jiggle to use or add your 'travel companion' to your exercise routine I can adapt to filter it out. If it doesn't have your attention it doesn't have to have mine." Mental images are perhaps unconsciously provided to illustrate the point, but the reploid doesn't dwell on them.
"And you know, I do have a few other scenarios in here..." Barrier taps his forehead and winks. There's images of Lana's grenade being knocked skyward a moment after it's released, then another of the bit forcefields around her constricting too far to allow the grenade out in the first place, and one of the grenade batted away by his tail as if it were a baseball. At this distance and without Milan present, the link's strength is about as great as it can get and the reploid's comfortable confidence, amusement, and playfulness are crystal clear.

There's a subtle hint of pride in Lana's smile as she reaches up and pats Barrier's cheek. "You've learned," she says simply, moving to step back, even as a single image flashes through her own mind-- the grenade going off inside her arm, just as it was designed to do in an emergency. "Someday you might even get close to my level."

Lana's step won't get her far thanks to the forcefield maintained behind her. Barrier's hasn't given her much room to walk. The reploid laughs at the compliment. "And what exactly does that grenade do to your cybernetics? They can't like that much more than I would and that cute gun wouldn't do too much."
"Oh, and enjoy the jarring full body white noise you'd get from our wireless link picking up the EMP. I bet you'd just tingle all~ over..."

Lana flicks her wrist and opens the weapon's cylinder, extracting a single round before offering it to Barrier for inspection. It bottlenecks down a surprising amount given that it's a revolver cartridge. "Anti-armor rounds. Won't take down anything combat-grade under normal circumstances, but at close range like this it works well enough," she replies.

"Not that I have reason to try and kill you at this point; you're far more fun to keep alive," she adds as an afterthought.

Barrier leans forward to inspect the round. "Huh..." The reploid chuckles with a wide smile and shakes his head. "You're nuts. Having you in my head should be fun. Your womanly bits get distracting when you take a shower but at least you don't play with yourself when I'm trying to sleep ... then again showers are always distracting. Too much white noise from the sound and the water, always so loud. You're too serious too," he adds, poking Lana in the chest. "You need to lighten up more often, have some fun."
"-Oh! I forgot, you really ... really like killing things don't you? We should do that again with less me getting shot at."

Lana smirks. "Y'know, if you wanted to feel me get off there are far simpler ways to ask," she notes teasingly. "That said... maybe I'll take you with me on my next... extralegal affair." Suddenly, her voice hardens. "Assuming, of course, you're willing to do what I say and, far more importantly, /not/ do what I tell you not to. I will not have a contract botched because you wanted to get your kicks."

"Hmm... well as long as the contract is interesting enough to get me my kicks anyways I can listen," Barrier admits. Lana's first comment begets another, more detailed mental image. The reploid does dwell on that one for a moment, curious about it. "And you getting off sounds ... boring, and human," he concludes in contrast to his thoughts. It's a white lie, but as the one more experienced, the reploid is hoping to keep that fact hidden from the connection.

Lana might not be able to tell /what/ Barrier's hiding, but she's been around enough to know when somebody lies to her and promptly says as much. "You'll need to practice before you can pull one over on me," she replies, patting his cheek again-- this time far more condescendingly. "Try again in ten years," she teases.

Barrier narrows his eyes and lets out an undirected burst from his forcefields, not bothering to take down the one behind Lana to cushion the momentum.

Lana grunts in pain as she slams up against the barrier, but otherwise gives no outward indication that her nerves are currently screaming at her.

She looks up at Barrier with a look of... something... in her eyes. "Good," she praises. "Never be afraid to use what you have to your advantage."

"Good advice, a little slow," Barrier replies, keeping both forcefields up. The change in his mood leaks through the link even as the reploid's other bits spiral around Lana, behind, above, to the sides...
"Upsy daisy!" Barrier makes a wide, upward swing with one arm to knock Lana off the ground by way of a flung forcefield at about her solar plexus. A moment later the last of his bits slide underneath to cushion the blonde assassin on all sides with a firm but intangible forcefield.

Lana coughs and gasps for breath as the forcefield closes in around her. A few experimental movements prove it to be rock solid. "Impressive work," she notes. "And what do you have planned, hm?"

"I don't know," Barrier admits freely as he walks closer, the pressure from in front, emanating from his body itself, increase with proximity, but caps on her chest so the assassin can still breathe. "It is kind of uncomfortable being stuck like that, but at least I know I won't break anything by accident ... of course a good deal of you's past that point anyway. I probably couldn't break armored cybernetics by mistake."

"Well whatever you intend to do, please do so quickly," Lana says, unruffled. "I /do/ have a workout to finish."
Thoughts flash through her mind of what she has left to do-- a surprisingly long session with a heavy bag, curls, leg lifts; a surprisingly thorough workout all things considered, especially for something meant merely to get the heart pumping.

Without a hint of premeditated thought, Barrier swings a fist at Lana's midsection. He twitches uncomfortably as the sensation registers back for him, but the reploid's attention is on shooting Lana an unhappy, angered glare dead in her eyes. "Attention -here-, please? If 'beat the shit out of you' counts as a workout that might be where this is headed. Cut that damned attitude."

Once Lana's coughing fit subsides, she chuckles a little, though more weakly than she normally does. "Anger is unbecoming," she teases. "It makes you stupid, makes you miss things; anger will kill you as surely as any bullet will."
A memory flashes through her mind; her face contorted with rage as she tries to climb a Ride Armor, only to be flung off. The memory ends with a large metal foot about to come down on her splayed arm.

Barrier flinches and instinctively looks to his arm. There's a moment's pause before he shakes off the feeling, that memory was a little too clear.
"What - did I just say to..." The reploid pauses, catching himself and taking a breath. He shuts his eyes and holds up a finger. "Nope. Nope, nope, nope. I had other things to say to you the next time I saw you and these aren't it. I am going to say those things and then I'm hauling your ass out somewhere in the woods around here and then we're getting back to this because I just know I'll have to beat some sense into you or something."
Barrier's eyes open again and he puts on a big (completely fake) smile. "So Lana... walk with me." Reshuffling his bits, one orbits around and presses against the front of her torso, its height leaving it present at least from waist to shoulders, and providing its own forcefield as Barrier's turns off. He puts a hand on Lana's back and pushes her along, out towards the treeline.

"It is commonly polite," Lana notes, making absolutely no effort to move her feet since there's a hand moving her forward and a forcefield keeping her up, "to allow somebody to walk on their own, even in situations such as this."

"Good for common polite people," Barrier remarks, not feeling any inclination to do so. "You're dangerous enough when you can't move and both of your legs end in cybernetics holding who knows what." Giving Lana an extra push, he lets his floating bits work on their own and carry Lana's momentum further ahead through the relatively frictionless air. The push isn't quite on center though, so the cyborg will find herself spinning too.

Lana manages to stop herself, but not before she does a turn and a half. A glare crosses her features, but she keeps her thoughts carefully blank. "I'll remember this," she notes casually enough.

Lana spins wildly through the air, a heavy frown marring her features. She keeps her thoughts carefully blank. "I'll remember this," she notes casually enough.

"I'm bored, you're functionally frictionless, and you've gotten on my nerves enough times that sometimes I'm ticked off just by seeing you around," Barrier replies freely. He stops again to think while walking along. "I wonder if this is another one of those times. I was having fun before too." With a thought, Lana's spiral stops short of bumping a tree. The reploid looks around, only seeing the house now through a decent covering of foliage. "You know I'm -trying- to like you. It's turning out harder than I thought."
More thinking, and then Barrier lets out a sigh and the bits around Lana shuffle again. The forcefield around her weakens and expands, allowing her to drop to the ground but maintaining an insular dome within arm's reach. "There, you happy now you uptight bitch?" He grumbles. "The point that I can slam you face first into a tree on a whim you should not be able to ruin my mood and yet...!" *mumble, grumble*

"You're not in control, you don't like it, and you're trying to hard to /take/ control," Lana notes casually, her sudden meeting with the forest loam not even disrupting her sentence. "Stop trying to escape a cage you're not even in, and instead accept the situation for what it is. I make you play by my rules, yes, but rules can change. And there's always the option of the door if you really hate it /that/ much. Of course, that brings its own rules with it."

She pauses a moment to let that process, and then adds, "Oh, and for the record, I do not consider myself 'uptight'."

"Unless you save it for when I'm asleep, you don't smile unless you're taunting me, killing something, or being obstinant on purpose," Barrier replies. "I'm in your fucking /head/ and we still don't get along. How else do you explain that!"
The tailed reploid keeps walking into the woods, gesturing widely with his arms. "And oh, yes, I should just go run off on my own because we've seen just how /splendidly/ that works for me! The cognitive dissonance of having a big fucking nothing in my head will drive me nuts again and then a different Hunter will get me! Brilliant! Your mother must have fucked Einstein's corpse!"

"There are times I wish she had," Lana notes conversationally. "It certainly would've made a better father than my own."
"As for our not getting along, it's a simple personality conflict. You are swift to trust, I am not, and the friction results from the fact that I feel you've not done enough to prove you're not a threat to me, while you do. You expect me to simply open the gates and allow you into my deepest darkest secrets with nothing other than your statement that you won't act against me with the information. That... is not the way I conduct my life. Words are nothing but pretty noise that occasionally carries meaning; action is important. You cannot conceal instinct, and you cannot react to stimuli in a way that is alien to your personality. For instance, you could have easily let me smash my face into that tree, but it is not who you are. I could have broken down crying on your shoulder, revealed what a horrible human being I am, asked for a nebulous forgiveness, and ask you to hold me until the sun came up. But that is not who /I/ am. Eventually you will earn my trust, of that I have no doubt. As you said, you're 'in my fucking /head/'"-- here, her voice takes on a reasonable, if very feminine, approximation of Barrier's own-- "and eventually, whether I like it or not, you will end up worming your way inside. But I need to make sure that you aren't the type to go mouthing off about what you learn before that happens."

"So humor me," she finishes, "and it'll end up being worth it."

Barrier tilts his head, caught mentally flatfooted by that. .oO(That wasn't a bad impression of me...) An odd thought maybe, but it's the one that makes it through. He frowns lightly in thought and his mind churns in its peculiarly rational and robotic way.
"You know ... as someone well versed in the theory of human psychology, neurology, and a couple other -ologies ... actually, no, you said it right: actions speak louder than words." Walking over, the blue reploid tries to grab Lana by the back of her tanktop and lift her off the ground by it.

The fabric holds surprisingly well under the sudden onslaught of Lana's full body weight, and she casts a look back at Barrier. "Oh no. You've caught me. I'm helpless. Whatever you intend to do, just get it over with."

Barrier just looks back with a deadpanned expression. "I apologize, you're not uptight, you're mouthy. Believe me this part I'm not dragging out." Making sure Lana's feet are well clear of the ground, he walks over to a reasonably thick tree and mentally braces himself. "I'll be the gentleman here and go first..." <This is going to hurt...>
Without another moment's thought to let himself hesitate, Lana is shoved, firmly, facefirst at the tree.

Seeing herself about to meet wood at high speed, Lana ducks her head enough that her forehead slams into the tree rather than her nose-- at least at first. The rest of her head quickly follows, and blood begins pouring from her nose and lips, but at least nothing's broken.
"How Milan puts up with you I have no idea," Lana mutters, making no outward show of the fact that her face is now on fire from top to bottom.

"Damn it I knew that would hurt...!" Barrier shakes his head rapidly after the impact, not enjoying it in the slightest. "Well maybe you don't know me so well then," he offers, folding his arms. "With how stubborn you are I am sure this is going to sting like a bitch by the time we're done but I am not in the slightest above banging us both up to get through to you; so yeah you slamming face first into a tree isn't how I normally am but exceptions can be made."
"Not that I expect you to cry on my shoulder until a pig flies over the moon ... and then they'd probably be crocodile tears just so you can get to the right angle to stab me." The reploid inclines his head upwards, daring Lana. "Wanna' prove that I don't know you so well, either?"

"What, are you expecting me to try and kill you?" Lana asks calmly. "Because right now I have no reason to; even with your attitude you're still far more useful alive than a paperweight."
Mentally, though, it's another matter. She's keeping her mind carefully blank as before, but there's a slight hint of an honest desire to avoid harming the reploid if possible.

Barrier's eyebrow quirks a little. He noticed that.
"No, partly because you could have just set off that EMP or any number of other things I don't know about yet - although with me in your head I do wonder how long that'll last anyway. You're still more likely to kill me than cry on my shoulder and all that other stuff."
"What was that about being a horrible human being?" He asks, genuinely curious and mentally hoping a train of conversation that doesn't lead directly to more injuries will prove more fruitful.

"Nothing to it, really," Lana says with a shrug. "I am a horrible human being and will be the first to admit such. I've killed men and women with families simply because somebody paid me to. I've worked for rebels, insurgents, terrorists, dictators, presidents, anybody with enough money to pay for my services. I have no reservations about pulling the trigger, regret very little in my life, and am utterly unrepentant. By societal standards I am a monster; I know this, I've accepted it, and it doesn't bother me."
Her tone is absolutely level and carries no hint of emotional trauma, nor does her mind.

"...And we're in each others' heads," Barrier considers, a little shocked at Lana's blunt wording but at the same time, puzzled. "It sounds different when you say it like that. I've killed people too, at least six or seven, and Milan killed at least a couple people in that jail break. I'm not losing any sleep over it either." Despite his words, his mind betrays some lingering conflict, the source of his puzzlement. "You'd have to define human being though to be a horrible one. Sure you've killed a lot of people and the law's against you, but what's a human supposed to do and not supposed to do? You're all animals, you all kill other animals and except some vegetarian folks don't bat an eye at that. I think the root cause is you disagree on the value of a human life; for your case it's pretty literally whatever you're getting paid to end it."
"...Wait, that wasn't right," the reploid mutters to himself. "That was supposed to start a conversation. I'm not sure I was supposed to solve that."

Lana chuckles a little at that. "I wouldn't know how society defines the value of a life," she notes. "I prefer to keep myself removed from it; far fewer headaches. 'Ohhh my husband fucked another woman' 'Ohhh my boss makes me work so hard' 'Ohhh I live next door to a smoker and he smells funny'-- people complain about things that, in the grand scheme, are insignificant. They yell at people for the flimsiest of reasons-- 'He cut me off in the supermarket' 'She splashed mud on my shoes' 'That guy called me Mexican instead of Guatemalan'. I don't subject myself to that unless I have to because, quite frankly, the sheer pettiness boggles my mind."

"That we can agree on," Barrier affirms with a roll of his eyes as memories of a lab and its staff flash through his mind. "Especially the overworking boss, good fucking grief it's like some people get paid to bitch in a lab coat."
He smiles fondly as another memory occurs to him. "Oh, right! That one I killed on the way out."

"You sound proud of it," Lana notes calmly. "That's a slippery slope; first you feel pride, then amusement, then soon killing is the only thing you ever feel like doing."

"I'm glad he's dead," Barrier admits. "I'm sure you can tell," he taps his forehead, "that I did not like that lab, or its staff. Lots~ of unpleasant memories in that little hole in the GTO. Am I proud? Maybe, hard to say, but I definitely enjoyed it ... well after the fact at least. I was a little too busy after the first kill to pay any attention to the fact that I was killing people. It was more a consequence of Isaac Newton, my forcefields, sturdy architecture, and relatively frail human anatomy that made them die as I headed out the first door I could find."
"And impulsive stupidity, that too," he adds. "It's their own dang faults for getting in my way like they could somehow stop me."

"Rationalization," Lana replies easily. "You absolve yourself of blame for their deaths by instead placing it on them. /They/ were in your way, you /had/ to kill them. But you and I both know that is not the case. You could have used less force in moving them aside, but you did not. Perhaps the first kill was an accident, even the second. But there were six. Four chances to avoid killing that weren't taken."

A slight sigh escapes her lips. "Accept the fact that you killed them, own the blame, but don't revel in it. I once shot a man through both a coin he was purchasing and his eye. Am I proud of the fact that I killed? Not particularly. But I /am/ proud of the /manner/ in which I killed. It was... artful. Do you understand the difference? Taking a life isn't something to be prideful of, but the manner in which you do so certainly can be if done properly." (re)

"I have good reason to believe my first kill couldn't have gotten more compressed unless he'd been fed into a car press," Barrier says. "And no, I didn't really have to kill any of them. I wanted to kill that first one, the rest I didn't really try to kill but I didn't bother holding back. They made pleasant thumping noises and the harder I shoved the faster they got out of my way; win, win."
"I got to take out a lot of pent up aggression breaking out of there ... but now I'm somehow the topic of discussions. That's backwards."

"You're the topic of discussion because you're the one rationalizing your kills instead of accepting the blame for them," Lana replies simply. "It is an important step to take."

"I'm not avoiding any blame," Barrier contends. "Yes, I killed them. No, I can't tell how many because I had better things to do than wait around and check their pulses. No, I really didn't need to. Yes, I /enjoyed/ that first one and was able to savor the following ones a little bit at least even though the alarms got me panicked. No, I don't particularly care that their dead and by now buried in some hillside. Good for them, they got twenty or fourty years. I'm working on number fucking one and have been through enough shit that I don't give a damn about most things with a pulse because they've done fat lot of good for me so far."
The reploid pauses to take a breath. He smiles a bit and reaches forward to wipe some blood off Lana's face. "You I like in theory. You keep getting way too far on my nerves and I prefer someone in my head to be more responsive than a brick, but I'd still play a board game with ya' on a slow day."

"Bricks don't make snide rebuttals," Lana casually notes, though there's a sense of appreciation for the gesture.
She takes a breath, then slowly lets it out. "You've earned a question," she says quietly. "Make it a good one."

"One question..." Barrier folds his arms again and adopts a thinking pose as his mind starts racing a mile a minute again.
Not content to just stand there, the tailed reploid begins to pace briskly, his extra limb whipping back and forth to the rise and fall of countless ideas.
"Ah..." Eventually he stops, raising a lone finger in triumphant success ... then goes back to thinking. A few seconds later Barrier nods to himself and walks back over to Lana. He looks her dead in the eyes.
"What's your idea of fun?"

Lana frowns thoughtfully. "That depends," she notes. "Conventions are sometimes fun if hard on the nose, contracts and missions can occasionally be fun if foes are numerous and weak enough, reading a book can be fun if it's good... it mostly depends on my mood."

"Those are examples of what you do for fun ... sort of," Barrier reasons, intending to get all he can from his question, "but that doesn't answer what your idea of fun is, just things that give it to you depending on your mood."

"My idea of fun is mutable," Lana replies, "as is evidenced by the diverse range of things that amuse me."

"Varied but bounded," Barrier retorts. "And being amused isn't the same thing as having fun, although that's at least close."

Lana shrugs. "I have no finite definition of 'fun'; that is left to people who have nothing better to do than think of existential quandries. I simply know what does and does not amuse me and under what circumstances it happens."

"Well that question was a bit of a gyp," Barrier mutters. "So under what circumstances are you amused? There's at least a few patterns there."

"Not my fault you asked a metaphysical question of someone that has no desire to think metaphysically," Lana replies. "And as I've already answered your one, I would appreciate it if you'd let me go; I still have a workout to finish."

"There is nothing metaphysical about what you do for fun," Barrier replies flat faced. "It's like asking what kind of music you like, to which I got conventions, sometimes; contracts and missions, occasionally; reading a book, if it's good; all depending on your mood on top of that."\
"I'mgoing to go out on a big hypothetical limb here and say you don't make any attempts to actually have fun, do you, Lana?"

"Why search for something you don't need to look for?" Lana asks in return. "I have enough fun with my day-to-day tasks that I don't need to go looking for it, and when I do I know where to go to find it."

"Which is maybe a book, a mission, or a convention?" Barrier replies. "I'd think that I would have noticed if you spent a lot of time reading because then I'd be reading along. Pardon me for being a little skeptical, you don't exactly whistle when you walk."

"That's because I can't," Lana replies. "I can sing well enough that I've used it on a few contracts, and I can get your attention with a whistle, but I can't carry a tune. Not that it particularly matters."

Barrier's eye twitches. "Not what I meant ... it's an expression. I meant you don't look happy on a daily basis."

Lana shrugs. "Appearances can be deceiving," she replies. "Now please let me down. I have things to finish."

Barrier sighs. "Okay, ok--oh right! There was one thing I wanted to bring up before you ruined my mood," he admits, recalling his bits and rubbing the back of his head. "I improved the code that I cobbled together so now we can share the load of a three-way, hopefully without frying your brains. I know human minds are ... picky about the things they're willing to process. Learned that the hard way..."
"Anyway I can reprogram your side of the interface once we hook up with a DNI cable. That's not something that's supported wirelessly."

Lana frowns warily. "I see," she says quietly. "How long do you think it would take?"

"Not too long. I just ... on second thought you wouldn't appreciate the details," Barrier considers. "Not long. If you're so eager to work out we can do that after you finish exercising, shower, and whatever else."

"Alright," Lana nods. "Soon then."

"Soon will do," Barrier shrugs. "Soon I'll be able to get rid of this damn headache. Has not~ helped my mood." Turning back towards the house, he springs lightly off the ground and bounces between feet. "Any chance I could help you work out?"

"If you want to take over three dozen knee strikes and as many elbow strikes from both cybernetic limbs and regular ones then sure, you can help out. Otherwise, you can watch but don't bother me," Lana replies, waiting to be let down.

"Here I thought normal people let each other help by holding the punching bag steady..." Barrier deadpans.

"A moving target is harder to hit and therefore more realistic practice," Lana notes, making her way back toward the house. The feeling of dirt getting between her bare toes doesn't seem to bother her at all.

"Ah," Barrier nods. "Makes sense. Do I get to hit back?"

"This is a workout, not training," Lana replies. "So no."

"Well the point that you're trying to hit a moving target blurs the line a bit, doesn't it?" The reploid asks, not as fond of the thought of acting a moving punching bag.

"Like I said, you're welcome to watch, just don't bother me while I'm exercising." She motions to the revolver she slipped into her waistband. "It doesn't put me in the best of moods."

"Exercising puts you in a bad mood?" Barrier asks, quirking an eyebrow.

"Being interrupted," Lana clarifies.

"That one I figured out when I poked my head in on you showering," the tailed reploid agrees. "You take surprises like I take getting shot at."
"...There's a correlation there isn't there?"

"Being surprised on the job is usually associated with unwanted bullets flying toward me, yes," Lana agrees.

"Well we've got that in common at least," Barrier concludes. "I don't like getting shot at and that's usually what surprises mean for me too. Well, getting shot at, tased, bashed, sudden loud noises, etcetera."
"Still not regretting those kills," he chirps.

"I never said you had to regret them," Lana replies. "Just don't /revel/ in them."

"I don't think I'd find actually killing humans fun," Barrier considers. "It's more fun to just knock them around, and knocking a corpse around is the same as knocking around a sand bag - which is to say significantly less."

"Try it sometime," Lana replies, making her way into the house, pausing only to wipe her feet on a small mat by the door. "And don't use your forcefields; use your hands. It feels good to strike something."

Barrier does likewise, following behind. "Well I'd try that on you but apparently you want a workout instead of training," he reminds, "I'm not about to beat up Milan. He wouldn't like it, and he'd break."

"My bag's been reinforced to keep up with me," Lana notes, flexing her right hand for emphasis. "It'll hold up to you as well, if you'd like to try."

Barrier smiles. "Oh now that sounds fun."
Blink. The reploid points to his face and laughs a bit. "Yeah see this? This is what I meant about 'fun', for future reference. You need to do this more often."

"I smile often enough, but that doesn't mean smiling and fun are the same," Lana notes.

"I didn't say smiling. Smiling is part of fun, a common symptom at least, not fun itself." Barrier corrects. "It wouldn't hurt for you to do more of that too though, but eh, like you're going to listen to me at this point anyway..."

"Now you're starting to get it," Lana teases as she makes her way upstairs and to a sparsely-furnished room. There's a large stereo, a heavy bag on a very sturdy-- not to mention stable-- stand, and a rack of freeweights.

She flicks the stereo back on and her song resumes where it left off, and she tries to get back into the zone as she starts striking the bag.

Not feeling like substituting for the heavy bag, Barrier looks around for somewhere to sit.

There's no furniture in the room, but the carpeted floor should be soft enough.

Lana quickly works her way into a rhythm, striking the bag to the beat of the song. It sways back and forth and creaks ominously, but appears to be holding up to the blows just fine.

As much as metal armor needs soft in the first place, Barrier seats himself what he hopes is out of the way and watches.

Lana continues assaulting the bag to the songs on her playlist, never breaking her stride even when the songs transition. Forty-five elbow strikes from each limb pass, then knees, then jabs, uppercuts, kicks, shin kicks-- an impressive array of melee strikes lands on the bag. When the final strike lands, Lana flips the music off and turns toward barrier, top translucent once again. "Want a turn?" she asks, breathing heavily.

Barrier's breathing as well from the empathy of his link. Standing up, he shakes out his limbs. "Wow, you worked out hard," he realizes, shaking his limbs out a second time. "Eh, I've got plenty in me, sure!"
Walking over to the bag, he thinks for a few seconds before matching Lana's earlier pose with good but not flawless accuracy.

"Don't be afraid to take it slow," Lana says, holding the bag steady despite her tiredness. "Go to fast and you'll tie yourself in a knot."

That produces a rather unique mental image. "Tie myself in a knot? You know I can't cramp, right?" Barrier asks.

"Not what I meant," Lana replies. "You'll lose your coordination, your balance, and eventually you'll end up taking the bag to the face."

"I'm not sure this thing could even reach my face," the tailed reploid considers. "But, you're the boss." Extending his fist in a slow motion punch, Barrier works the limb forward and back a couple times to make a target, then chambers the fist and waits before snapping it out.

Lana holds the bag steady as the fist impacts, offering a nod of approval. "Good," she says simply.

Barrier doesn't hide a smile at the praise as he tries to duplicate his first punch a few times before mixing some with his other arm.

Lana continues holding the bag. "Just like that; keep at it. Practice is key."

Punch, punch... punch, punch... punch... punch, punch, punch... Barrier does just that, having some honest fun striking the bag over and over. Eventually he decides to change things up and steps in for an elbow strike.
>> You roll one ten-sided die and get: 2.

Lana hardly even feels it through the bag. "Harder," she says. "Hit it like you mean it."

"No, that one was form," Barrier asserts, backing up and trying a few slow motion elbow, making changes to his stance and motion between each until settling on one.

Lana continues holding the bag. The second strike she doesn't even notice, but the third actually makes her step back a bit. "Not bad," she praises.

"This beating things up thing isn't so hard," Barrier considers, tucking another small achievement under his belt as he does a couple more elbow strikes before returning to punches and tries to mimic Lana's rhythm of transitioning between the attacks.

"Don't try to copy me," Lana advises. "I have a different frame than you do. Experiment and see what feels good."

"Good point, I don't bounce when I do this-" Another elbow strikes the bag.

Just for spite, Lana hops a little in place, enough to get the aforementioned bounce.

"You know those'd bounce better without that sweaty top on," Barrier suggests jokingly. "Might improve the view too ... maybe the smell ... could give you a head start on laundry?" More strikes hit the bag as the reploid thinks idly.
"If you're so loose about walking around naked why do you even bother to work out in clothes at all? They just get in the way and sweat covered."

"I don't take contracts naked," Lana replies. "Best to practice in what you wear; that way you're used to its limits. For instance, if I was naked I could kick you in the face fairly easily without bending my other leg. If I had jeans on, I'd have to pivot in other places to account for the fabric's lack of stretch. You practice with limits, and then you're not surprised by them."

"You mean training with limits," Barrier comments. "Conditioning is just to keep your muscles and joints in shape, right?"

"Yes, but this is also a way of keeping your skills from dulling. Practice can let you hone them, but this keeps you at your same level," Lana explains.

"Well if you never practice in a condition where you can do your best how will you know how much you're being hindered in the first place?" Barrier reasons, now freely mixing punches and elbows from both arms.

"I never said I /hadn't/ done that, merely that I /don't/. At least, not on a regular basis," Lana notes.

"Sure, take all the fun out of it. You know for someone who hasn't done it for years having all that fabric clinging to you isn't so comfortable," Barrier comments. "So why not condition less restricted and then train with more challenge? That'd make you more adaptive to using situational advantages wouldn't it?" Another string of punches, then a hard elbow.

"Because you develop skills based on how you train. If I train in jeans but fight in shorts, I'll act as though I'm in jeans, leaning back to kick high, but since I'm in shorts I'll have a wider range of movement. That means I'm likely to kick higher than I intend, which can be deadly," Lana notes.

"Exactly," Barrier agrees. "So do most of your practice - training, condition, whatever - with as few restrictions as possible, then treat jeans as a special case."
The reploid pauses in his strikes and looks at Lana. "I admit at this point I'm trying to talk you out of your clothes on principle more than anything else. I've got no particular interest in seeing you topless again except insofar as it would mean I was right, but you can already tell that. Either way the only advantage clothes gives you is 'realism', and realism just means 'restrictions to be prepared for' which is another way of saying 'a special case that should not be your norm'. Condition naked - and save on laundry - spar or train with varying degrees of clothes, and you'll be right as rain."

"You would think that, but conditioning is just as important as training. You learn things in training, but establish patterns in conditioning. Those patterns are what can get you in trouble," Lana explains.

"And patterns you learn in conditioning that make you overshoot your kicks in tropical climates can get you in trouble," Barrier says. "Besides, aren't you more likely to need hand-to-hand skills when you have less clothes on, not more? More clothes to you means more places to hide weapons that render hand-to-hand moot."

Lana chuckles. "Ever heard of the 'twenty-one foot rule'? Put simply, an attacker with a knife out can close and kill you before you can draw a gun as long as he is twenty-one feet away or closer. Hidden weapons take time to draw, time that can only be bought by surprise or by combat skill. Therefore, it pays to train clothed."

As an aside, she adds, "Besides, if Milan came in and saw me training naked I'd be unable to concentrate due to his mental noise."

"He'd adapt," Barrier replies. "And no I hadn't, that's interesting to know. Hehe, I ruin that rule more than a little though, and for that matter so does your arm blade. Weapons like that are quick enough to draw that it really doesn't matter." Extending one leg, he repeats the process of slow motion replays to guide a following attack and plans out a simple low kick.

Lana goes back to holding the bag. "But the adaptation phase would be annoying," she notes casually.

"But also funny, and better in the long run. He'll have to get used to getting flashed anyway. You just tend to do that to people..." Barrier goes quiet, then kicks the bag.
>> You roll one ten-sided die and get: 7.

"You just have horrid timing," Lana replies, holding the bag still despite the solid blow. "Good. Again."

Barrier takes his stance again, thinks briefly, then sends out a second kick.. "Horrid timing nothing, you've stripped down right in front of me."
>> You roll one ten-sided die and get: 9.

Lana grunts a little as she holds the bag still. "Better. Again."
A moment passes, and then, "You were watching me work out and I told you I was about to shower."

"I didn't expect you to undress right in front of me," Barrier defends, sending more kicks and starting a rhythm for them.

"And now you know better," Lana replies. "Keep that up," she adds.

"Now I don't really care," Barrier corrects. "It's different now that we're linked too. I'm you, you're me, it'd be silly to be flustered by myself."

Lana laughs. "I bet I could still get you flustered~," she teases. "But there's no point to it."

"I'm sure you've got a few tricks stuffed down your bra," Barrier laughs in kind, continuing his kicks and getting more comfortable with them. "We'll see later. I wouldn't put it past you to use them to cheat at a game."
"Use all the advantages you have, right?" The reploid asks, abruptly pivoting and whipping his tail towards Lana's side of the bag.

Lana dances away on instinct, her blade igniting for a split second before turning off again. She takes a calming breath, then returns to the bag. "A fair fight is the worst insult you can give somebody," she agrees. "That said, please refrain from what you just did in the future. I'd rather not kill you by accident."

"Agreed, although I'm much harder to kill than scratch," Barrier says. "Finally having my forcefields working again, and with upgrades, and having enough time to acclimate to them again has done some small wonders. I wish I'd been build like this in the first place."

"I'm sure there was a reason you weren't," Lana notes. "Likely financial."

"Mainly yes, and I wasn't intended to see real combat. I only needed accurate forcefields, not powerful ones," Barrier explains. "They at least got that half right."

Lana nods quietly, still holding the bag. "So you've never seen real combat before, then?"

"Oh I have been shot at /plenty/, it's just that no one's been using lethal ammo before I met you," Barrier says, winding up and giving the bag a hard kick. The new topic isn't bringing up pleasant memories.

"Simulated combat, then. Better than nothing," Lana replies, straining a little to hold the bag steady. "Though we'll fix that soon enough."

"From a perverse perspective, yes," the experiment concedes. He takes a breath and prepares another kick. Lana might want to brace herself again. "I'm really good at running fucking mazes that shoot back too-!"

"A unique skillset to be sure," Lana quips, holding the bag as steady as she can. "Though hopefully one that won't be useful in the future."

"I'll be increasing my kill count again if it ever is," Barrier replies, breathing back in his stance. "This is fun. Not such practical training but I like hitting this bag. It probably helps that you're on the other side."

"I told you," Lana replies with a smirk.

"I wonder if it'd be more fun to hit you or not," the tailed reploid considers, his train of thought apparently unrestrained. "Probably no more fun that smacking you into that tree. It might be different without the link."

"Given that I am the one providing the bag and the house it's in, I'd suggest you stick with just hitting sand," the assassin teases. "Who knows, maybe someday you'll impress me enough to be worth a spar."

Barrier promptly throws a hay maker at the bag on Lana's side and swings a much heftier forcefield at her in the same arc. There's all of a split second of mental processing to make the decision.

Lana steps back a carefully-calculated distance, avoiding the haymaker purely on instinct. The forcefield staggers her, but she doesn't appear particularly injured. "You'll have to do better than that," she notes. "Now stop trying to hit me and hit the bag instead. Use your legs this time."

Barrier smiles tightly in satisfaction as Lana staggers. Apparently he wasn't trying to knock her completely down. "Keep taunting me like that and I'll throw you against something firmer than that tree ... or maybe I'll throw you against it repeatedly, or heck I could probably just drop you from really high. Yeah," he nods to himself. "A long fall's a little more interesting. I'll do that next time."
Squaring off against the heavy bag, he rears back and kicks it firmly.

"Do we have to try and give death threats and injure ourselves or is this how we're going to show that we like eachother from now on?" Milan, arms crossed, walks in. He seems vaguely annoyed and probably sleep deprived with what's been going over the link recently. "What're you guys even doing?" His eyes drifting over to watch that kick.

"You obviously think I don't know how to fall. Cute." Lana lets the bag rock on its mount, swinging wide... only to swing right back to Barrier. Milan's entrance doesn't even faze the assassin. "He /was/ being a little pissy, now we're..." she cocks her head, intrigued by something. "What /would/ you say we're doing?"

Barrier halts the bag with his forcefield without thinking as Milan arrives and the reploid puts a hand to his chin. "Beating up an inanimate object and on and off pursuing lines of conversation that will lead to her ass righteously beaten... or whipped," his tail flicks at the memory of almost hitting her with it earlier. "Otherwise..."
Memories of a walk through the woods with a force field suspended Lana and her painful impact face first with a tree roll through Barrier's mind and the link by proxy. "We're both learning good reasons to compromise ... sometimes."

Pulling up a chair, Milan spins it around so that he's sitting in it backwards on two legs. His eyes glance to Barrier, than to Lana. ... Then back to Barrier. He almost considers saying something but he quickly muddles it up with other, vaguely relevant thoughts to try and make it appear random or possibly unnoticeable. "I don't think it's called compromising if I potentially have to break out the first aid kit and the tool box."

"Just growing pains," Lana replies easily. "This is nothing serious; I've shrugged off more than a bloody nose."
She grabs the bag and looks at Barrier. "Again, and this time don't try to take it off its chain."

"That was aimed more at you," Barrier replies casually as he returns to his previous newfound rhythm of kicks.

Sighing in annoyance, Milan continues to just watch for a moment. When did the punching bag get involved in this anyway? "Are you training him?" Trying to mentally probe for answers.

"I was exercising, then suggested he have a turn at the bag. He didn't believe me when I told him it was good stress relief," Lana notes calmly. "He has since learned that it is."

"It's not as satisfying but it is less painful," Barrier concedes.

"I suppose it's better than the alternatives back in the lab." Thinking on that for a moment, Milan would experience a rush of negative emotion. Especially one that generally relates to pain. Why did everything have to zap and stun? Ugh. "That was so not in the job description..." Mumbling to himself.

"Employers never tell you the full truth," Lana replies. "You learn to get by anyway after a while."

<At least you got one,> Barrier grumbles mentally.

<Are we getting all nostalgic up in here when we used to talk like this to avoid questions from the scientists?>

Milan sticks out his tongue, "At least I agreed the way they were treating you was incredibly wrong, Syn." Turning his attention to Lana he grunts, not really sure how to respond to that. It probably wasn't anywhere near as awful as crap she's put up with, so he isn't going to try to defend himself on that.

Lana looks slightly amused but otherwise stoic as she lets go of the bag and grabs a bottle of water from a small refrigerator in a corner. She checks the cap carefully for a second, then twists the cap off with the signature staccato popping of a safety seal. The whole bottle is downed in one long pull, the plastic crumpling in on itself until the misshapen chunk looks nothing like a bottle.

"I wouldn't complain about being unemployed," Lana finally says after a moment. "You're welcome to come with me on my next job; if anything will open your eyes, it'll be that."

Barrier enjoys the empathetic refreshment of Lana's long drink and gives the bag a brisk punch. <There's an idea...> his thought is somewhere between cautiously amused and a little jealous from the offer being aimed at Milan. The jealousy fades soon however as the implication of spending long periods with Lana while needing to be careful and conservative in forcefield use at the risk of being all too familiar target practice sinks in.

Barrier enjoys the empathetic refreshment of Lana's long drink and gives the bag a brisk punch. <Only if I get to kill or destroy something,> is the initial response. On reflection, his thought changes. <Then again this place gets boring fast... nothing to do but get attacked by the house.>

Milan rests his elbows on the top, back portion of the chair... Palms pressing up against his face. "Yeah, you two do that. I'll just sit here and enjoy knowing I won't need to throw my fists or shoot a gun. Not that I know how anyway." Knowing very well that in a combat situation, Barrier would probably be way more useful to have on hand.

"Oh, don't worry," Lana says in a tone that borders on frightening. "I'll be /happy/ to teach you how to do both~."

<We need to fix that,> The reploid thinks. Out of his mouth comes, "This is going to be so much funnier when you realize everything you do to him you'll feel too."

"Yeah, we'll just waltz right onto a target range. 'Hey, this is an escaped robot and human who are both wanted. Can we go shoot up some targets?' That'll go over well." Although vaguely concerned, Milan doesn't really seem to take that all too seriously. Although he pauses once he hears Barrier speak, "Wait, what? 'Do to me'? It's training, not real crap."

Lana gives Barrier a scathing look. "You assume that his training will feature bodily harm. The point of training is to /avoid/ that." As a target range is mentioned, though, an image flashes through Lana's mind: an underground armory, stocked with dozens of rifles and a similar number of pistols, all in varying calibers. Right next to the armory is an indoor firing range, complete with mobile targets. It apparently also serves as a last-ditch escape route with a tunnel that leads several hundred meters away if Lana's mental schematic is to be believed.

"Oh no I assume you'll do other damage," Barrier replies. "You're just so gentle and motherly. Good with a blade though." Brief surrogate memories of a particular rampage come to mind.

Milan sits there now with his face in his hands. Gah. <Of course you would have something like that.> Other than that thought though, he distances himself from the current conversation. Not wanting to ask more, least he get spammed with more undesirable thoughts and memories.
Posts: 590
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:40 pm

Re: At Home - Canada

Postby delcera » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:33 pm

Lana casually lobs the twisted once-was-a-bottle into a small trashcan near the refrigerator and rolls her neck a little. A series of wet pops report loudly in the room as she makes her way back to the punching bag.

"Barrier, hold that still," she half-asks half-orders. "Milan, stand up; we're going to teach you how to throw a punch."
My Wellingtons are swift and merciless.
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:45 pm
Location: On the hunt and after you

Re: At Home - Canada

Postby QuantumHyena » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:44 am

The reploid grins and takes a couple healthy steps away from the bag. The bits on his back detach and float out, forming a loose wall on one side of the punching bag. That's almost surely his way of showing off.
"Oh this should be fun... try not to break your hand."

"W-Wait, what?"
Milan would stand, dusting his hands off onto his jeans and looking a bit nervous. "Look, I'm not all that good at this fighting thing. Maybe I could, I dunno... Just provide first aid in fights whenever we're in one?" But he listens, walking over to the bag.

"Just because you're designating yourself a medic doesn't mean you don't need to know how to fight," Lana replies calmly. "If you find yourself in a life-or-death situation, wouldn't you rather live? Now, I need to see what I've got to work with; just hit the bag a few times."

Barrier shakes his head a bit at Lana's choice of words. "Come on, it's fun!" He encourages. "Bags don't hit back." <Or shoot back or tase back or ...>

"Really, I'm just gonna fail at this." Milan would clench his hands into fists and just awkwardly throw them forward a few times. Sometimes the backs of his fingers would hit the bag, other times the backs of his knuckles. His whole body would be tense, and they weren't really hitting the same spot he had hit the previous strike.

Lana quickly stops the exercise. "Alright, first things first," she says, coming up behind Milan. "You need to relax. If you're in a fistfight like this you need to be able to /move/, and if you're clenching up like you are then you're a target."

She reaches out to gently grasp his wrists, her cybernetic right hand surprisingly gentle for what it is. "And while we'll work on your form later, for right now you need to work on your accuracy. Pick a spot on the bag and hit it. First right--" she guides his hand forward and into the bag without any real force behind it before gently retracting it-- "then left," and then she repeats the same with his left hand.
"Take it slowly if you need to; hitting the same spot is more important right now than hitting it fast or hard."

Barrier recalls his bits as he watches, having a hunch he won't need to hold the bag for a little while.

"Alright, alright."
Slowing down, Milan would focus on aiming for the same spot. Trying to keep himself relaxed, and not working on hitting it hard. Just the same spot. He eventually begins to get the hang of it, as much as a beginner can anyway. His own cybernetic arm seeming to hit more accurately than his regular one. "Right... then left. Right... then left." He keeps mumbling to himself.

"Good," Lana says, backing up a step. She keeps a careful eye on his form, noting weaknesses, strengths, habits that need to be learned and unlearned. "I can teach you what you need to do, but you'll need to practice it yourself; this is as much muscle memory as knowledge."

"Okay..." He would keep it up for a few moments before taking a second to pause, squeezing his living hand open and closed a few times, then waving it in the air. Not used to, well, slamming them against a solid bag probably filled with sand or something. "I wasn't aware we were going to have to defend ourselves enough to require this, but... I guess it's okay to learn just to be safe."

"You'll need to learn more than this to be safe, but it's a good start," Lana replies. "We'll take you to the range soon; you need to know how to fire a weapon, even if you never choose to."

Milan would hold out his cybernetic hand, extending it and projecting a small spherical force field. The gentle hum of the generator emitting from his arm, "Couldn't I make use of this at all?"

"Yes," Lana agrees, "but if you don't know what you're doing when you use it you'll just end up making things worse for yourself."

"Hey, I know how to use this at least." Milan would slowly project it forward, then around a portion of the chair he was sitting down in earlier. It seems to take a bit of concentration though, his thoughts unusually silent and focused. Eventually, after a few seconds, he manages to begin lifting the chair upward.

Barrier chuckles at the sight. Oddly, his mind is silent to Milan. "Thaaat brings back memories."

Lana doesn't say a word, but she reaches out with her left hand and taps Milan on the forehead with a pair of fingers. At this range, it's impossible to miss the fact that her knuckles are deeply scarred and sunken, evidence of countless intense fistfights.

"Hm?" Milan would turn his head over to look at Lana, all of a sudden part of Barrier's systems would be used to maintain the forcefield like they were originally developed for. Human minds get easily distracted and tend to be bad at multitasking, so it was a kind of error corrector kinda thing. "What? Oh, sorry."
He powers down his forcefield, dropping the chair on the floor with a clatter.

"Impressive," Lana says, "but in the field you likely won't have access to another source of forcefields. Distractions could spell the end for you; that's why you need to learn how to defend yourself. I don't fancy the thought of feeling your death firsthand."

"That would be what these are for," Barrier interjects, waving an arm towards Milan as his bits take flight again and orbit a few times around the human. "I've gotten used to blocking for him anyway ... a little too used to it really."

"Allow me to rephrase," Lana replies. "There will be times that we're miles apart; unless you're capable of controlling those things that far away, he needs to learn to defend himself. And even then."

"I don't technically need Barrier to project forcefields." Milan sighs, crossing his arms. "I have a pico-projector built into my arm. It's just a little more difficult to do complex things with it unless Barrier is around. But... Yeah. I'm just saying that it's something that I have that might be useful."

The bits fly a lap around Lana next, then start tracing a figure eight around the pair. Barrier's idea of more practice. Fortunately he's improved some and they're aren't flying as erratically as before.

"Unless you get better at using those forcefields," Lana says, "they're as likely to kill you as they are to help you. Practice with them, make using them second nature, but make sure you can do without just in case."

"It's not exactly easy, my cybernetics can only handle so much. The human brain wasn't really made to handle all that's required to project one of these. So... I guess." Milan would look back at the punching bag, giving it a light kick. "Dunno how I'd end up being killed. We're not planning on fighting anyone, are we?"

Barrier gives Lana a long look, then looks back to Milan. "Well we're both pretty wanted, she," he hikes a thumb, "kills people for a living and must be really wanted to be her kind of paranoid, and the house we're standing in could probably kill you by accident a whole lot of ways. Then again wanted for a human usually means jailed - again - rather than scrapped."
"Remind me to poke your brain for all the potentially lethal mistakes we don't want to make," he adds to Lana.

"Something like that," Lana agrees as an unnecessarily long list of traps flits through her mind. It appears the entire first floor is a death sentence to those not keyed into the security system or escorted personally by Lana.

"Besides, there are distinct health benefits linked to knowing martial arts."

"I suppose, yeah, yeah..." Milan crosses his arms and taps the punching bag with his foot once more. "I'll learn, alright? You seem to be a pretty good teacher, probably from all that experience and all. I may not find it necessary, but... I dunno. If you guys are more wanted than I am, I guess it's a valid concern."

"Between killing half a dozen people on my way out of the lab and then breaking you out of a prison where I'm sure so many cameras saw me on my first real trip out of here since getting upgrades ... I'm definitely labeled maverick once or twice," Barrier affirms as he recalls his bits. "And since we're all standing around now anyway, that reminds me," he continues, looking to both Lana and Milan. "We all need to get plugged into one another. I've got a software patch I am literally aching to unload on you two."

"Ah, right," Lana murmurs. "How long would it take to install?"

Milan wasn't exactly as willing, crossing his arms with a frown.
"Wait wait wait, what do you plan on installing? What's this patch do?"

"You notice how there's been an extra voice in your head without any new tremendous headaches?" Barrier asks Milan rhetorically. "Since I wanted to stay compatible with your firmware and I needed a solution on short notice, I tweaked myself so I'm functioning as a switch; everything I pick up from either of you gets combined with my own output and tossed back, so you two are doing your normal portion of one-to-one processing and I'm handling all the overhead of making that a three person link."
"Aside from giving me a near-perpetual headache of varying severity, it also means both of you need me around to stay linked to one another so I wrote a patch that balances the load more properly. The flash should only take a few minutes and you'll stay conscious anyway."

"Are we going to trade one headache for three, then, or did you balance it enough to avoid that?" Lana asks.

"Well, if a software patch won't work I could look into making some hardware changes. A small cybernetic implant may be able to handle the load better... if the load becomes too heavy for my and Lana's current implants to handle, that is." Milan hmmed, nodding. "Well, anyway. S'long as it helps."

"There's some genuine - and major - efficiency gains from not doing the routing and aggregating I had to hack in but it was an experiment just to see if Milan could handle one link, two should give you both some nice matching headaches to enjoy at first if not longer," Barrier replies. "Hardware would be good but unlike me your brains can't pick up the slack so if we fall too short in performance we'll just get a lot of noise when things clip. Iiiii'm hoping there's enough in there to handle it in the first place. We'll see, and it depends on how much data we try to push through anyway."

"So right now this patch of yours is one large 'if' with some hopeful benefits," Lana summarizes.

"This whole connection is a large 'if' right now."

Milan grumbled, pacing around the room. "It was designed for short to medium range between me and Barrier only. It wasn't even close to being out of alpha testing when the both of us were caught. There are dozens, if not hundreds of bugs and glitches. The hardware is experimental and slightly clunky. Nothing was made to give it a boost of efficiency. Very few safeties and such were designed because they wanted to record all the potential issues first-hand so that the next version they would be able to know what they had to fix or change." He would pause, looking over at Barrier.
"We're lucky to be only experiencing headaches through this to be honest. Unfortunately, we share pain. So like you said, it probably wouldn't be pleasant to feel one of us dying. Actually, it might be too much to handle. So any sort of patch that might help protect the three of us should be encouraged."

"Bugs or not, the patch I've got so far is guaranteed to benefit me," Barrier says, speaking mostly to Lana due to Milan's familiarity with the subject. "That should outweigh the trouble it causes you two and as long as the hardware's not too overtaxed those headaches will go away like the first ones."\
"And yeah the overall system is painfully exposed, that's something else I'm going to patch. From the research I've done I don't think death will be so catastrophic except for the missing voice in the head afterwards, but it depends on which one of us dies and how. My link would drop as soon as the rest of me does but with you two it's powered separately so there's the possibility to experience brain death real time. Heck, there's not even a code hook to shut off the link if one of you stops thinking, it'll just stream zeros."

Milan grumbled, pacing around the room. "It was designed for short to medium range between me and Barrier only. It wasn't even close to being out of alpha testing when the both of us were caught. There are dozens, if not hundreds of bugs and glitches. The hardware is experimental and slightly clunky. Nothing was made to give it a boost of efficiency. Very few safeties and such were designed because they wanted to record all the potential issues first-hand so that the next version they would be able to know what they had to fix or change." He would pause, looking over at Barrier.
"We're lucky to be only experiencing headaches through this to be honest. Unfortunately, we share pain. So like you said, it probably wouldn't be pleasant to feel one of us dying. Actually, it might be too much to handle. So

Milan grumbled, pacing around the room. "It was designed for short to medium range between me and Barrier only. It wasn't even close to being out of alpha testing when the both of us were caught. There are dozens, if not hundreds of bugs and glitches. The hardware is experimental and slightly clunky. Nothing was made to give it a boost of efficiency. Very few safeties and such were designed because they wanted to record all the potential issues first-hand so that the next version they would be able to know what they had to fix or change." He would pause, looking over at Barrier.
"We're lucky to be only experiencing headaches through this to be honest. Unfortunately, we share pain. So like you said, it probably wouldn't be pleasant to feel one of us dying. Actually, it might be too much to handle. So any sort of patch that might help protect the three of us should be encouraged."

"Bugs or not, the patch I've got so far is guaranteed to benefit me," Barrier says, speaking mostly to Lana due to Milan's familiarity with the subject. "That should outweigh the trouble it causes you two and as long as the hardware's not too overtaxed those headaches will go away like the first ones."

"And yeah the overall system is painfully exposed, that's something else I'm going to patch. From the research I've done I don't think death will be so catastrophic except for the missing voice in the head afterwards, but it depends on which one of us dies and how. My link would drop as soon as the rest of me does but with you two it's powered separately so there's the possibility to experience brain death real time. Heck, there's not even a code hook to shut off the link if one of you stops thinking, it'll just stream zeros."

Lana frowns, then shakes her head a little. "If you hadn't already done it," Lana mutters, "I likely would've killed the idiots that designed this myself." With a slight sigh, she adds, "Since we've got this we may as well make it a benefit instead of the double-edged blade it is. See what you can do about this... mess."

"I know the system can handle a death, but psychologically can we handle hearing... watching. Almost being the person who is dying, and then remain the same once the link has been severed?"

Milan rubs the back of his head, "Let's try the patch. Barrier, we should work on adding some hardware modifications to it as well. See if we can lessen the load on all of us."

"I'm not sure I actually killed the development team," Barrier comments with a shrug. "Something to fix maybe. And psychology is why I mentioned it matters. You two wouldn't experience much if I died but if one of you did we'd get a very unique front row seat, and of course it figures you two are the easiest to kill."
Milan's comment gets an animated nod as the reploid switches subjects without a pause, possibly causing some good mental friction. "Good! We just need Lana's computer and a DNI cable and I can start flashing." A sweeping wave is given to the woman in question. "I'll let you lead so we don't get first-hand experience of that shared death thing on the way up the stairs. Then again I can just jump them now. Is there anything that'd still notice me if I never touch the floor?"

"The glass-break sensors, IR monitors, motion sensors, and a few other odds and ends," Lana replies as she slips out the door and makes her way to her office. "And Chess, but he's currently in his recharging cradle along with the Hatter and the Bandersnatch. Fortunately, most of the security system deactivated itself when I opened the door, and you're keyed into the rest."

"You know, I only grabbed a bunch of computers and parts at the risk of being caught to set up a system compatible with the link, you know." Crossing his arms behind his head, Milan would follow Lana. Eyerolling at remembering all of the deadly traps in this house. "Has anyone actually ever found your hideouts to require the security system to be used?"

Barrier follows along as well with a noticeable spring in his step. "I'm not sure whether to be disappointed I won't get to knock Bandersnatch in the head or relieved that he won't try to eat Milan."

"No," Lana replies, "and I fully intend to /keep/ it that way. But there is sensitive data here, and it would be foolish to not safeguard it."
Barrier's statement earns a sharp look. "Don't mess with him; it's not worth the repair bills."

"Soo... Like. Bandersnatch? Is that some sort of drone or something?" Milan tries to skim for any thoughts relating to it and what it might be.

Barrier's mind readily provides a memory of the towering Carolian mechaniloid. "Big, menacing, very heavy... pretty much what you'd expect Lana to call a pet." The assassin's look receives a casual and wide smile back. "Only if he messes with me. I know you'd get bent out of shape if I messed anything up around here anyway and that's twice as fun when I'm in your head too."
"On another topic if you're," he looks to Milan, "currently enjoying a headache and facial aches from her," his head tilts towards Lana, "it's because I threw her face first into a tree."

Milan looks annoyed when that's brought up again, "Trust me, I'm aware."

"Less a pet and more part of the security system," Lana replies. "Though I /would/ appreciate you two making nice."
Her office is sparsely populated, merely a desk, computer, and printer for furniture. A few bookshelves line the side walls, and the wall directly in front of the desk is taken up by a large corkboard and a similarly-sized whiteboard next to it. The equipment Milan 'liberated' is settled in a corner, though not set up; likely because Lana didn't know what to do with it.

"Oh, goodie." Milan grumbles as he notices all the equipment there. "I'm gonna set this up tonight, then." Giving one of the machines a light tap with his foot before looking over at the actual working, plugged in one. "Let's hurry up and get this patch done and over with."

"That is my line soo much more than yours," Barrier comments, looking around at the relatively empty room and entertaining brief thoughts of boredom.
"Ah! I should get a few of those little metal pinballs. You should probably get a couple too Milan, that would be good practice." The reploid grins at a further thought. "I wonder how fast I could get one to go..."

"I hope you have a DNI cable handy," Lana notes. "That isn't exactly something I just happen to have lying around."

"I'm fine with smaller objects, I need more focus and practise on heavier and larger ones though." Milan would immediately reach into the pile of 'junk' he had brought in, pulling out several cables bundled up neatly with rip-ties, tossing them over to Barrier.

"Yo, catch."

Barrier snatches the cables casually out of the air and undoes the tie. "Now then, step one's to upload code, step two's to download it. Can you bring the system up, Milan?" He asks, dropping onto his haunches beside the computer and plugging one end of the cable into himself before searching it for the matching port.

Lana's desktop does indeed feature a DNI port, and from the looks of it it's never been used. She logs into the machine and then steps away, letting Milan do his work.

"Yeah, sure."
Milan would climb into the chair and spin around in it for a moment before getting it all set up and ready. "We should also consider a way to make it less tamper-proof. If one of us gets caught again, there's a good chance they could find a way to hook up something to listen in on everything to one of us. Right now the most security this system has when hooked up to a machine is just a login, mostly." Pausing at the thought, he frowns. "... I don't need someone facerolling on a keyboard and somehow managing to make an over-glorified SSH connection to my cybernetics, thank you very much."

"Yes, that's very much on my TODO list. The best part is it's probably trivial to use a hash built off a key stored in each of our systems. Three big keys, combine them, work off that. If we're all in one place we're either cooperating or screwed," Barrier comments, finding the port and plugging himself in. "The file you're looking for should be big and obvious," the reploid comments.

"That shouldn't be hard to implement," Lana notes. "Half the systems in this house use a... similar method. Those MAC addresses are more common there than hashed keys."


With a couple clicks here and a little typing there, Milan would begin to flash the patch on over. "This better not break everything. I've gotten used to having two voices in my head, I think I'd have more of a headache hearing none of them if something happened."

"Oh believe me, it's no picnic," Barrier grouses in agreement. "I don't even remember how long it took me to get back to normal after I got locked up. A little longer than it took to get linked to Lana really."

"This had better not affect my ability to do my job," Lana notes. "It's rather important that I be there on time and ready to go."

"You know, I would be more worried about the link in the first place affecting your ability in your jobs. Most people would be off their game when suddenly linked up with a second mind and all that." Milan shakes his head, tapping his fingers as he watches the little spinny line slowly move across the terminal screen.

"I'm still pretty surprised you agreed to that so quickly," Barrier considers, looking over at Lana. "Not complaining-" <anymore but oh god at the beginning that was terrible you were thinking so loudly and everything about you was distracting but at least I'm getting used to that now although the implications of that are-> "and I was upfront with the headache part."

"Yes, but now I've grown accustomed to what this link does. Radical changes are... less than helpful," Lana replies. "As for agreeing, you vastly undersold the downsides of this link. That's primarily why I took it."

"Should be almost done..." Milan mumbles to himself, listening to this conversation. "How'd you get convinced to take part of this experiment gone wrong, anyway?"

"Hey I did nothing of the sort," Barrier snaps at Lana in his defense.

Lana rolls her eyes. "Just work on the files so we can get this over with."

"Well just a few more seconds..."

"There." Milan spins around in his chair, looking at Barrier. "You feel okay?"

The reploid nods. "Same as usual, yeah. What will be interesting are the uploads and reboots you two get to do. So volunteers, who wants to link back up with me first?" Mentally, Barrier is clearly hoping for Lana to do so while just as clearly expecting Milan.

Lana shrugs. "I need to get used to it sooner; perhaps I should go first," she says quietly. "Besides, Milan might need to lend a hand if something goes wrong."

"I wouldn't be too concerned. I mean, sure, we might accidentally brick that little chip in your brain that tells your cybernetics what to do, buuut..." Milan gently tugs on the cable so that it'll pop out of Barrier. "They generally have backup functions that'll allow us to restart it with all the defaults and jazz. Or else we'd risk killing everyone with cybernetic organs every time we wanted to change some settings."

Barrier helps by unplugging it from his end and standing up to move out of Lana's way. The cable is only so long after all. "Possible bugs aside there shouldn't be a difference until you're both online again. Milan knows how to pair so he can initiate that on his end; same drill as with me, just don't shoot him when you feel someone new trying to read your mind."
"By they way Milan? Could you help me set up a penalty system for all the times she's shown up naked around me?" The reploid asks nonsequitor, his thoughts oddly straight-laced as the notion truly comes nearly out of the blue. There's at least a vague connection between memories, but not too much. Lana's sweat covered top also factors into the reminder.

"You're a guest in my home and want me to change the rules within? Surely you're joking," Lana replies, plugging the cable into herself. "Besides, you know you're just jealous of my figure-- or did you forget how just a few minutes ago you were trying-- clumsily, I might add-- to talk me out of my top?"

"Look, I'm staying out of your guys little love-hate relationship." Milan spins back around to the computer, going back to the beginning. "Hey, Lana. This might feel a little more funny with you being a human and all. I've gotten used to this, they've done this dozens of times to me and Barrier back in the labs. But... I dunno. It's like a reboot of your cybernetics. Everything feels like nothing and then suddenly your nerves all reconnect to your cybernetics with a kind of jolt. If you've ever had a brain zap from weaning off of a medication you'll know what I mean."

"Alright... Three. Two... One." With a tap of the enter key, Milan spins around and watches. Just a touch more nervous than he was with Barrier. Humans generally, well, almost always are more fragile. So he wants to make sure nothing messes up, even if he knows Lana can handle it.

"If I wanted your top off I could just pull it off," Barrier comments. "That was about practicality." His thoughts betray that's only partly true, along with some spite at simply trying to win an argument. As the flash starts, Lana drops off abruptly from his link and Milan's by proxy. Now it's just the assassin in her own head and the two former experiment buddies in theirs.
<She needs to stop being so fun to play games with. I'm going to win one of these eventually! ... hopefully without having to slam her into anything again. You guys are more delicate than I remembered.> The reploid's new privacy is quickly put to use.

<I think she's already won.>

Milan idly taps on the desk once again, staring at the screen with a sigh. "You know, this isn't how I expected my life to go at all. Here I am, sitting in the house of someone who basically murders and breaks every law in the book, a robot who's connected to my brain, and I'm currently wanted by the police because I escaped from jail. I'm not sure if this is something that's gone wrong in my life or just really interesting and different."

The loss of connection to the other two is something of a comfort to Lana; she's still getting used to having two other voices in her head, after all. Along with it, though, comes total and complete darkness, as well as a perfect loss of feeling in two limbs.

She stands perfectly still, taking in the room with her other four senses to make sure nothing's changed. A moment later, her cybernetics turn back on. A bolt of white-hot pain lances through her right shoulder, heralding her arm's reactivation. Fortunately, her leg and eyes don't require the same. As a diagnostic screen flashes over her right eye's usual display, Lana goes about manually testing her systems-- it isn't that she doesn't trust her diagnostics, but more of that paranoia at work.

She starts with her arm first; a plasma blade lances out of her wrist and retracts as soon as she confirms it works. The same occurs with a metal blade from her elbow, and an EMP grenade ejects itself from a storage compartment in her upper arm. Her leg is next; more blades, both from her toes and heel, and mean-looking spike from her knee. By the time that's finished, the diagnostic screen over her eye finishes, and she tests them; she flicks through high and low infrared bands with her eyes, both individually and together, and then tests the zoom capability on her right eye. Once everything looks good, she nods to herself.

"Well, nothing's broken at least. That's a start,"
She then turns to Milan. "You'd best get used to it; odds are good you'll find yourself in even stranger situations than this in the near future."

<She's won a few battles, not the war. I'm wearing her down! ... I think.> "This is an improvement from where I'm standing at least," Barrier comments. Watching weapons of all sorts pop out of Lana's body, the reploid gives a low whistle. "You know a Swiss army knife is never complete without a bottle opener though... you really had all those weapons planned out before you got shot in the knee?"
Mentally there's an undue fondness from the reploid at the impromptu weapon display. That might be to do with his history of being on the lightly armed receiving end.

"You know, I'm not sure if this can get anymore stranger than it already is."

Milan would tug the cord back once more, plugging himself in this time. "Don't mind me, I'm just going to enjoy the only moment of silence I'll get in a long time."

Lana smirks a little. "Foresight eliminates more problems than you would expect," Lana replies, nodding a little at Milan's statement. "You should try it sometime, Barrier."

"Foresight's lost out to apathy the last few times you've been involved but I'll keep that in mind," Barrier says back to Lana. He gives Milan a sideways look, that comment not striking him particularly well for some reason. "You know I -can- set it up so we can disconnect ourselves from one another. I left it at mutual consent because turning off the link whenever we felt like it would significantly slow down acclimation to it."

"I don't like being disconnected unless I'm in the same room as you guys. It just feels too quiet. I can't access your scanners to know nothing's going to sneak up on me, I can't know if I'm going to stumble into one of Lana's traps around the house. Sure, the constant thoughts that aren't my own are annoying but when you tune them out, the benefits outweigh the issues." Milan crosses his arms, waiting for the flashing to complete.
"Although it's mostly Barrier's scanners that I miss. I'm pretty jealous of those."

"That is rather nice," Lana agrees, "but don't rely on it; those scanners can be turned off, but your own skill can't."

"Skills can't give you eyes in the back of your head," Barrier points out, putting a hand to his own. "And now I can't even hear a cricket chirp........." What was probably intended to be a short pause turns into a prolonged silence from the normally talkative reploid as Barrier turns blank faced and becomes occupied with his thoughts.

"Annnd we're done. Now for the awkward part."
Milan waits for a moment, his one arm going limp as he braces and... then shudders as everything reboots all at once. Once it's all done and over with, he flexes his cybernetic hand and gives a nod. "Seems like everything is in working order."

Barrier's sudden silence is noteworthy to Lana. "You alright over there?" she asks, her left hand resting casually on her hip.

"Huh?" Barrier blinks and looks over at Lana, snapped from his thoughts. "Oh, right." There's a small pause. "What day is it?"

Milan raises an eyebrow, looking at the two... Curious. "Uh, can't you check for yourself? Saturday, isn't it?"

Lana nods. "Saturday," she agrees. "What was that pause?"

There's another pause before the reploid replies again, or moves for that matter. "Ahh Saturday, yes I forgot about that. This is a good Saturday..."
"I was just occupied with my thoughts," he answers belatedly to Lana, smiling merrily.

Looking a little confused, Milan begins to bundle up the cable they used earlier. Re-twisting it up in zip ties and logging off the computer. "Hm."
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