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Advanced Training Complex / Re: Diamond Eyes [Lion!]
« Last post by Lion on Today at 01:42:10 AM »
"That is one terrifying sonuvabitch," Vander admitted, but couldn't help but find himself grinning as he watched that eel-like fish slither on by. The thing cut right through the water like a hot knife through butter. Sure that wasn't an original thought, but it was an accurate enough depiction. Vander didn't know much about life in that world before Aedolis. As far as he was concerned there was no life worth living that wasn't Aedolis.

That wasn't to say he couldn't appreciate the creatures in front of him, or that dark and terrifying world behind the glass. "Wow," he whispered, more in awe of that darkness - and it's sheer vastness than anything else.

He couldn't imagine surviving in that smothered embrace - not the pressure - but the fact that there was no light, no vision. Nothing to be seen for miles and miles. And these creatures not only lived in it but thrived. He reached up, adjusting the edge of his visor to sit more comfortably on his face. It had never felt heavier than it did now.

Once they moved along, the light adjusted with ease through his lenses, and he stuck close enough to Loa. The rest of the exhibit was spent largely in observation, listening to the cued voiceovers, holographic projections, and the e-notes that Vander scanned here and there with his phone. Once the reached the end of it, Vander wandered back to the entrance, a small smirk playing on his lips.

"Hey, that was fun man. We've got to hang out again some time. If you wanted! You're pretty smart, but I'm not really surprised you knew more about those fish than I did. Which ones were your favorite?"
Edanith Characters / Ankia Caydian, Galaxian GunMaester
« Last post by Xcavius on September 20, 2017, 09:06:45 PM »
Ankia Caydian, Galaxian GunMaester

Height: 6'1
Weight: 145 lbs
Gender: female
Species: Human
Hair color: blue
Eye color: light blue with sparkles of silver
Ethnicity: Edanith
Residence: Edanith
Occupation: Bounty hunter
Sexuality: Bisexual
Relationship status: single

Ankia never knew her mother, she died giving birth to her. Her father was always there, always smiling helping through every aspect of her life. He was strict, but forgiving, he always gave Ankia a second shot at everything, both metaphorically and literally. Her father was a famous bounty hunter back when he was Ankia's age. He mastered every single gun he had ever come to known, his natural psionics that has run in the family passed down to Ankia as well. He had 3 guns that were his go to's no matter what: Cartius- a binary sniper rifle (binary meaning it can either shoot plasma or kinetic rounds), Tauron- a sawed off shot-gun firing explosive rounds, and Ankus- his revolver that has an ace of spades design all over, named after his daughter, it fires void and light imbued rounds. He took Ankia to the wild west frontier of Edanith when she was 15, she adored shooting and her father made sure to teach her everyday. One afternoon, while clearing up the targets, Ankia grabbed one the bullets that her father fired from Ankus. Unfortunately, it was more of the void than light, her mind was invaded with images and scenes of another world, nothing close to what was in the galaxy. The creatures rushed her, sinking their claws into Ankia, even thought they were halluciantions it still felt beyond real. Her father rushed over to her, caressing her in his arms before he put Ankus in her hand. In order to remove the visions, she needed to perform a truly impure deed, her father was aware of this. He motioned the gun underneath his jaw, Ankia was in a river of tears seeing no wat out of this wretched situation. She tried to bring it to herself but her father wouldn't let her, he looked her in the eyes "I love you, you're a brave and strong woman, be better than I could ever be." He spoke just before pulling the trigger for her. Ankus phased into Ankia, completely disappearing as she screamed for her now dead father.
5 years later, Ankia returned to her old home on the frontier of Edanith, she grabbed Cartius and Tauron, and his old Ti-700 body suit, it had silver plate-like pieces on the outside with an extremely durable and breathable spandex suit to hold everything together, donning the suit caused it to glow blue in between each plate, it conformed to her body perfectely. She accentuated it with a leather jacket and cowgirl boots. In those 5 years she learned how to master every gun she came across, but she always stuck with her father's best, cause she knew thats what he always wanted for her.

Personality: Ankia genuinely cares for people since thats how she was raised, she always is out to help the little guy no matter what. She's kind to everyone that is kind to her, but don't be surprised if your head gets blown off for trying to mess with her. When it's time to get down to business, she gets down to business.

She has blue hair and an athletic build, curvey in all the right ways, she always has her body suit on since the plates detach for when she needs to sleep. The spandex underneath is black and opaque no matter how much she stretches it. Cartius always rests on her back with the body suit, Tauron is on her right hip.

Cartius- Binary rifle- can switch between plasma and kinetic rounds. Go to weapon for most bounties.
Tauron- strictly used for close quarters combat featuring explosive rounds.
Psionic over drive: Ankia's psionic powers are sent into an overdrive mode in a sitaution that triggers her righteousness complex. Her body becomes mixed with void and light energy ( dark purple and white) and she summons Ankus, her father's ace of spades revolver. It has 7 rounds, each mixed with light and void energy, her effective range is increased to beyond what Cartius can reach, and the rounds can disentegrate a pilot's dragon easily (for sake of understanding damage). Afterwards, she immediately passes out, the time it takes for her to become conscious again varies.
GunMaester- she can master any new gun given to her in under a day. If she deems it worthy, she'll add it to her main arsenal.

She also has her own personal hover bike, it is made from Cartius. Yes her sniper rifle can turn into a hover bike, science.
Advanced Training Complex / Re: Diamond Eyes [Lion!]
« Last post by Cheesigator on September 20, 2017, 05:32:20 AM »
It'd been a long time since Loa had made anyone laugh, and he had completely forgotten the slight warm, fuzzy feeling one got inside from it. He didn't know how to take it, so he just said nothing, smirking only slightly behind his mask as he let Vander lead the way, the hand on his shoulder still a little stressful.

Ru had had a big laugh like that. Hearty, like he'd been laughing his whole life. Vander's was somewhat similar but it wasn't so deep.He still found the comparison interesting.

The walkway led them down into depths where the walls on either side of them were reinforced every meter or so with heavy metal frames that held the glass panels keeping the water in, if it was glass at all. They had to have been at least two, maybe even three feet thick--Loa found it mind boggling how many immense amounts of pressure was being held back here in order to keep those fish maintained.

Flashes of silver and platinum reflected off the low lighting as eerie fish mingled in the depths; it was impossible to tell how many fish were even around them, and the mystery of it all might have been what made it so creepy.

He glanced at what Vander was looking at and he shrugged. "Anglerfish?" He asked, feeling like that was the right answer--it swam closer and he saw its mouth was full of needle-like spiny teeth and shuddered. On the other side, he saw a length of silvery-taupe slink past them at least 6 feet long.

He nudged Vander and pointed to it as its head passed them; a frilly shark? Something like that, he thought, as he watched the snake-like head glide past, mouth open in an eerie grin, flashes of red inside of its gills and a large, round, reflective eye that seemingly looked nowhere and made the damn thing look possessed.

"If we got in that water right now we would die instantly." He said quietly, being surrounded by creatures that he never should have been able to see by nature's standards making him feel very small and helpless, "Not by the fish--the pressure would make us explode."

He stepped over to a little sign, illuminated by a small blue light, reading it over really quick. "... I guess a lot of these guys don't have bones. Cartilage."

He looked over at Vander, curious to see his reaction before they came to a set of doors that let them into the next exhibit, which made him squint and raise a hand to shield his eyes as they stepped out into normal lighting again. They were surrounded by reefs and sea bedrock, a showcase of the varying plantlife that grew under the water--or used to, rather, Loa realized.

This planet used to be so full of life. It was a little depressing, seeing the wonder and beauty they had chased off of it.
Advanced Training Complex / Re: Diamond Eyes [Lion!]
« Last post by Lion on September 20, 2017, 02:25:22 AM »
"Yeah, he's a weird looking bugger. But he's fucking cool. And with all those tentacles, he can probably stop any asshole from trying to stab him in that big bulbous head. Can karate-chop any mofo that messes with him. Wacha!" Vander whispered harshly. He laughed foolishly at his own joke.

No go? Dang. Well, he tried. Vander awkwardly stuffed his hands into his hoodie and wandered alongside Loa, wherever he went.  It wouldn't do to invite the guy somewhere and then he didn't bother at all sticking by him. That was a dick move if there ever was one. Vander shrugged and adjusted his collar, because maybe the AC was on or all the water around them made the tunnel chilly by default.

"Deep sea fish? Oh nah, never seen one. Let's go check them out. This is just one part of--"

What?  What was that?

Vander paused mid-speech and snorted, glancing over to Loa. "AHahahahahahaha!" he actually cackled, throwing his head back again, and the door attendant glanced back to glower at him.  Vander recovered and snorted, scratching at his cheek. "That was a good one, man. Very clever. Sharp. I like that," he snorted.

"Come on, hammerhead. Let's go look at those deep sea fish. Maybe we'll find some ninja ones with their faces covered too. And don't give me that look," he snickered. He reached out and gently tapped him on the shoulder. "You can tell me all about them. And if not, we can learn about them together."

He shrugged and nudged him forward, deeper into the aquarium, where a separate tunnel dragged them out into a darker section. Down down they went, a ramp spiraling down and there an array of lights igniting the walkway and little light beyond that.

Up and around them were the faint glittering traces of those same deep sea fish fluttering by. "Whoa," he whispered, speaking softly still as if to keep from disturbing the fish.  "I've never seen anything like it. Hey what's that fisherman looking one over there? The one with the thing hanging from its head." The fish themselves' ignited the tunnel with their faint glowing.

Vander had no trouble navigating in the dark, and there was nothing bright short of the walkway. But even that was rather non-invasive, only giving enough to see where they could step and not disturbing the world of darkness around them.
The Citadel / Re: The Blood that Binds [Nephero]
« Last post by Lion on September 20, 2017, 01:21:09 AM »
Banning had the remote in hand, and his thumb running over the power button. It wasn't like he didn't even want to watch anything. Anything to distract his mind from running wild was more than welcome; the feel of his thumb running over the vague bumps of that remote power button kept him grounded. Kept him from throwing that remote into the TV screen and seeing it just gray and spark everywhere.

But Izzy didn't need him ruining her stuff. And didn't need to see him having a fit. They were having a child together. The last thing she needed was him going on and acting like one. Banning's breath hitched and his grip loosened on the remote.

Her lips making contact with his head, his hand twitching and a small shiver ran down his back. Tingles sprawled out from there and Banning dropped it off to the side. Closing his eyes that wave of relief couldn't have come at a better time. And her being there, who was he kidding himself, she was the one keeping him grounded. Banning just needed her touch, to know that she was there and his hackles immediately relaxed.

His hair had grown in and those fake tattoos had washed off his face. The only thing that ached was his thigh and the place where he still felt his leg. That phantom limb of where it remained and he twitched a little.

"Yeah. And it is pizza," he admitted, trying to mitigate the twisting blender feeling in his guts. Her arms draped over his shoulders and he reached up to meet those hands, long fingers dragging up her forearms and another shiver chilled him, and a soft whine came out.

"Terrible. I still feel it. But at least I have toes to wiggle. I know you like those wiggling toes," he murmured, smiling now that she had her face next to his. The beard had grown back in, the faint stubble rubbing against her cheek. "Let me look at you. Come around here."

Banning coaxed her hand and guided her around to the front of the sofa. With a grunt, Banning forced himself to stand. The prosthetic was well made, and there was no real conceivable different between using his new leg in how it felt to the old one. Strides in limb replacement had come a long way, and each joint could be articulated thoroughly. The visual aspect, certainly, was the most jarring.

Banning sometimes found himself staring at his foot. Maybe he'd opt for synthetic flesh later on. How they connected the synapses to his nervous system, he didn't know. It wasn't his job to figure out the complexities of that. It performed the task it was meant to do, and he could move as well as he did before. Nothing different, he told himself. Nothing was missing.

And when those phantom pains came ghosting back to him, he just leaned closer to Izzy. She didn't care. Or so he thought.  He didn't ask her. Maybe he was afraid of the answer.

He held her hand out, to do that dramatic twirl and he grinned wide. "Damn, you are on fire, girl. You sure you don't wanna go out on the town tonight? Maybe I ought to cancel his invitation altogether."
The Frontier / Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Last post by Cheesigator on September 19, 2017, 09:35:57 PM »
Somewhere, in the farthest, deepest, cobweb covered depths in the back of his mind, Chi was aware of the sunlight rays burning into him, heating the ground on which he lay. If he'd been even a slight bit conscious, he might have drawn the comparison that he was frying like an egg out here, the red dust beneath him serving as both skillet and seasoning. Pepper, or something.

But even as a kind soul ran through the blistering heat with urgency Charlie himself might not have had if he'd seen himself lying out there, he stayed there, unable to move, unable to will himself awake, accepting the fact that by tomorrow he'd be dead and some creature would come along and eat him. Circle of life and all that.

He'd die the nobody he'd been all his life, and for some reason he preferred it that way. It was comforting, knowing he might not worry anyone or make anyone sad.

But life had other plans, as his limp body was dragged through the red dirt and into the welcoming coziness of a home.

It was the sudden shift in temperatures, and the feeling of something moving him around, jostling the wounds that had started to wake him up, though he certainly wasn't all together the more he regained consciousness. He felt delirious. And no, he was the exact opposite of pretty, which is what a hooker told him he was once. When he wasn't beaten to a pulp.

When he was able to crack his eyes open, crusted over with dirt and blood and sweat, they stung. He couldn't honestly feel very much. The different aches, pains and sores; all a blurry mess. It took a couple of tries for him to keep his eyes open long enough to try and see through the hazy tunnel vision where he was, what had happened and what was going on.

Everything was foggy and smeared; if he moved his eyes everything was slow, making copies of itself, blurring, and making his head swim and reel. He was vaguely aware that he was not doing great right now; hanging on by a few threads someone's god had decided not to cut just yet.

From what he could tell, he was inside. There was a window, somewhere. He couldn't tell where it was in relation to himself; there might have been a doorway. Furniture. Or maybe this was just a ship on a sea populated by blob people. He didn't think he'd been anywhere near a body of water but maybe he'd been mistaken, or this was a dream. A fever dream born from a man's dying thoughts as he lay out in the desert. That seemed highly likely.

So he wasn't sure if he should be surprised, concerned, or indifferent about the shape of what he assumed was a person or person-like creature moving close by, hovering over him and doing... Stuff and things. Poking him and prodding him, possibly. The paleness of the figure's skin made him almost glow in the light that came in from the mystery window floating around nearby combined with Charlie's blurry vision.

Maybe it was an angel. Or a glowing alien.

Could be lots of things.

He was only awake for a few split seconds before he went out again, blackness engulfing him with swift wings, and he let it embrace him without a fight. Whatever happened, happened at this point. All he knew was that this was the worst he'd ever felt in a long time; he was dehydrated, hungry, dying, and his head was pounding like he was being trampled to death by an elephant.

A few hours passed that felt like an eternity, and he started to climb out of the bog of darkness once again; it was almost as physically taxing as actually wading through a swamp. When he opened his eyes everything was too bright and he grunted, squinting and raising an aching and trembling hand up to shield his vision until his eyes could adjust. His hand flopped down against his chest and he winced with a grunt; that was a stupid, stupid idea. That hurt. A lot.

He didn't remember what he'd seen earlier, everything presenting itself to him now seemingly doing so for the first time; a quick check around told him he was in a home, on someone's bed, probably getting it pretty damn dirty while he was at it, which he immediately felt guilty for.

Although it wasn't a house so much as a hut or a cabin, he noticed now that he looked around. It was mostly one room, with a kitchen area and some chairs, and the bed he was currently laying on.

The oddest part was that he seemed to be in here completely alone.

This wasn't his own shabby hut--too well made, furnished and kept for that. And he didn't remember opening any portals, jumping to any other places. There hadn't been any around. Was he dead, was this the waiting room, to... Something?

His brows furrowed; he tilted his head, trying to rubberneck around and see if he was missing something--maybe a hole in the ceiling for an attic, or something where someone could be, but it seemed like ignoring the bursts of pain that ran from the middle of his spine up into the back of his head that made every muscle seize was worthless.

There was no one.

All he could do was lay there in that bed, naked down to the boxers keeping him modest, eyes wide open and staring at that ceiling, thirsty, starving, and wondering

Well, what the hell do I do now?
The Frontier / Re: Pretty Handsome Awkward [Nephero]
« Last post by nephero on September 19, 2017, 07:06:16 PM »
Frontier life wasn't easy, but it was peaceful.

Perhaps more peaceful than a man like him deserved. In his more melancholy days, Kelly was prone to thinking exactly that. After all, he was a murderer, and there were plenty of decent, hard-working folks who had earned a quiet existence far more than he ever had.

A lot of the townsfolk agreed with him: maybe not audibly, but he could see it in their faces whenever he rode in to resupply. There was no mistaking the ports in the back of his neck, no mistaking what that meant. No mistaking just what kind of man he was.

Kelly could understand that. Accepted it. Dealt with it. He never went into town unless he had to, and never lingered longer than he needed. In and out, dropping off excess harvests, but never making a nuisance of himself. The first few months out here, he'd had a visit from local law enforcement damn near every day. The next few months it was every week. And so on and so forth until finally it was obvious that Kelly wanted to be left alone just as much as they wanted to leave him alone.

He never got visitors anymore. Occasionally something would go wrong in town and the sheriff would come calling, but other than that, it was him and the great red barrens.

So, it was a little weird to see someone just beyond the (admittedly more decorative than anything) fence surrounding his little parcel of land. It was downright concerning to see that same someone collapsed in the red dirt.

Kelly dropped the toolbox he had brought out onto his porch for the purpose of finally fixing that leaky roof problem, a few nails scattering as they were jolted out of the container. He'd have to go searching for them later, but right now there was more pressing matters at hand. Like the human being just outside the boundaries of his homestead.

Rusty dust clouds trailed behind him as he bolted across the yard, hopped his rickety fence, and over to where the stranger lay. A bit closer, he could see it was a man, but it wasn't anyone he knew or even had seen before. Not that it was easy to tell, because man, oh, man, this guy looked like he'd been on the wrong end of a twenty legged horse. Should Kelly even move someone when they were like that?

Not that leaving him where he lay was any better. It was baking out-- the price you paid for having a piece of land right on the equator in the summer-- and it would take near an hour to ride into town and get help. Leaving this man at the mercy of whatever else was out there in the sands. Not really an option.

So it was only after minimal thought that Kelly crouched down, bringing the man’s arm over his shoulder and hoisted him up, carry-dragging the whole mess back through his gate and up into his house. He supposed if it really did prove to be too much for his minimal first aid to handle, dying in a soft bed was a far sight better than dying in the dust. He'd still need to ride in for a doctor, of course, but one step at a time.

Kelly tried to drop him as gently as he could onto the bed, and began the rather involved process of trying to get off the bloodied and dirty clothes to see just how bad it all was underneath.

Which was…

Wow. Wow.

How was this man even alive? Shit, he was like a walking bruise all his own, and Kelly winced to see several of those bruises had a distinct boot-shape to them. He'd seen this before, of course, back in the pen, when someone was just too mouthy or too cocky or pissed off the wrong inmate or didn't suck off the right guard. It wasn't pretty.

This stranger wasn't pretty. Kelly moved to his kitchen, filled a bowl with water, and brought it back. The first step was getting the wounds clean, and he wrung out the rag before gently dabbing around the worst of it, carefully wiping away the rusty red.

Now, watch this guy be a bandit of some variety, and get him slapped with aiding and abetting. That'd just be great.
Advanced Training Complex / Re: Diamond Eyes [Lion!]
« Last post by Cheesigator on September 19, 2017, 01:22:38 PM »
Loa was so full of naivety and wonder at the vast collection of life surrounded the two of them that for once he didn't notice Vander step closer; didn't notice the quiet voice and the intimacy of the moment--or it would have been intimate, if it was anyone else but Loa.

He blinked, realizing he was just standing there staring like a doofus as he looked to Vander and noticed the closeness in proximity. His heart beat a little faster and his cheeks flushed out of embarrassment for letting his guard drop so easily just because of a few lousy fish.

"A hammer?-- Oh." He looked back at the fish again. "I don't really know much about fish, but I know sharks can track the smell of blood underwater from miles away, or something."

He wondered how the logistics of that actually worked out--how they could smell underwater. To them it was probably the exact same as how it was for Loa to smell something on land, it was just that their brains were built differently. Noses were different. Still, it was kind of neat.

He looked at the creature Vander pointed out to him, taking a moment to find where it was camouflaged between rocks and coral, and when he spotted it he recoiled a little.

"That thing looks disgusting." He said, taking a step away from it, which coincidentally was a step closer to Vander. ".. Wonder if they have any deep sea fish in here. Ever looked at those?" Nasty things. Fish in general were just gross and nasty but some of them could admittedly be very cool.

Either way, he started heading towards the exit of the tunnel to the next showcase, glancing at a sign that said they were going in the direction of an exhibit where you could touch some kind of fish. He glanced back at Vander and pointed to the sign.

"Maybe they'll have some of those bug-eyed goldfish and you can go reunite with your people."

He was making a joke--a joke of all things--about Vander's goggles. He had no idea if it would land or not and the asshole in him didn't really care. But at least he was trying, his dragon couldn't fault him for that.
Advanced Training Complex / Re: Diamond Eyes [Lion!]
« Last post by Lion on September 19, 2017, 12:53:16 PM »
"Haha. Like little doodles, man, yeah I can do those. But not straight up amazing sketches. I guess I put most of my creativity into a real hands-on approach. I like to fiddle, and just use my doodles for vague reference. I got all kinds of critters just roaming around my apartment. You can come over some time and check the out. Open door policy on that," Vander explained softly, voice just barely above a whisper.

He stepped in closer, just staying within whispering range but far enough away to see those bristling feathers relax about Loa's form. It was a nice form, not bad for a guy that seemed to be a shut-in. Or so he just assumed. Nobody clung to a wall to be dark and mysterious if they wanted to be social.  That was bad vibes 101.

"You like the big ones huh?" Vander commented idly, pointing up to the massive shark that floated through the water, with narrowed squinty eyeballs. "I like hammerheads myself. Or mallet heads I guess you could call them. But that monster could eat them for breakfast."

Vander shifted around to the other side and spotted something hidden in the rockface at the bottom of that side of the exhibit. "Hey, look, an octopus thing.  Creepy. I love it."
The Citadel / Re: The Blood that Binds [Nephero]
« Last post by nephero on September 18, 2017, 09:23:53 PM »
Isabel Kiers was the absolute model of calm and collected. Anyone who knew of her could tell you this. She rarely lost her temper, rarely raised her voice, and rarely could be baited. It took quite a bit to get on her bad side, but when you did, oh…

Isabel hated you to the grave.

There were few quicker ways to earn a permanent place upon Commander Isabel Kiers’ shit list than to hurt a member of her family. This also extended retroactively as well: all it took was a perfectly off-handed comment over a pizza dinner for her to summarily decide that if she ever had to be face to face with Captain Lockhart, she would let him know in no uncertain terms that he had done. Fucked. Up.

So when Banning-- her Banning, her wonderful, sweet, thoughtful Banning, the father of her growing child and object of every last ounce of her affections-- when Banning told her about the email Xavier had sent, WELL.

Izzy had damn near popped a blood vessel, all under the calmest, coolest expression ever worn by sentient creatures. She'd had OPINIONS, of course. But right then was not the time for a hormone driven tirade. It was clear Banning was upset, and so instead she had sat herself as close to him as possible, had pulled his head down against her chest, and pet his hair (no longer stubbly and back to its normal hue), and let him take his time. Figure out what he wanted to do. And made it clear he'd have her support no matter what.

Which was why when Banning kissed her and Virgil, Izzy was immediately awake. She didn't emerge from the bed at first, touching instead at the soft bit of wetness left behind on the sheets, where she was sure Banning thought he could hide the fact he'd been crying.

A flash of white hot anger hit her, and for a wild moment Izzy indulged fantasies of slapping the ever loving shit out of what she imagined was just a bigger, craggier, much more unpleasant Banning. Those fantasies made her feel a thousand times better, but they'd have to remain fantasies. Banning had decided to give Xavier another chance, the golden opportunity to be a proper part of their family.

Their family.

Not that Xavier deserved it. Not after how he treated her Banning. After he told Banning he'd never amount to anything.

Well, fine. She couldn't obliterate Captain Lockhart on sight? She could at least make him eat his goddamn words.

Banning had made it clear he didn't want to make any effort. Which was fair, he shouldn't have to. But Izzy was another story. She'd dress to the nines (in what fit over her belly, anyway), put on eyeliner like Lilo had showed her, put on a bit of perfume…

She was a Kiers. And she was Banning’s. And she would make it abundantly clear that Banning had amounted to everything. Pilot Royal. Expectant father. And with one of the oldest Aedolian bloodlines there was in Haviah. Certainly nothing to shake a stick at.

Slowly, the Pilot Noble rolled out of bed, rubbing affectionately at her rounded stomach, sensing the pulse she and her growing child shared and feeling overwhelmingly happy for half a moment. How had she gotten this lucky? Well, she knew HOW, but…

She was getting sidetracked. She needed to shower, to get dressed, and while Xavier would not arrive for a while, she wanted to be absolutely ready.

Thoughts of revenge vacated her as soon as she saw Banning on the couch, television still off and every line of him hard and tense. She frowned, hearing the low growled threat, and immediately leaned over the back of the couch to kiss at the top of Banning's head.

“If he's late, you and I get a delightful dinner, just the three of us.” She said against the short strands of violet hair. “And you'll never have to worry about this again.”

She slid her hands over Banning's shoulders, squeezing here and there to ease tense knots.

“How’s your leg?”
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