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Thread: Faster Than Angels

  1. #901
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 32.2

    The referenced album title of Part 32.1 was A Matter of Time (Part 1) by Voicians.

    [s2_24.2: Part 32.2] The Major Cut

    <22120726>

    Sunday, July 26th, 2212

    Münsterranerring, Germany.

    10:29:10

    ...Meanwhile, halfway down the pack, Crinale were having difficulties keeping up, only being able to do so through sheer violence, keeping most of the pack around them. The race would not end well for them in the slightest. For a start, they were not even able to reach Angelus to even attempt to hold them back, let alone eliminate them. Not even the perfect flying of Lucia was able to get the results the so desperately wanted.

    The reason, of course, was simple. The course was a protest against the F12000 Commission. Since they knew that the effective controllers were Crinale, they developed their course to greatly favour high handling craft, a similar fashion to the Japanese Sidewinder course. Therefore, high handling craft such as Jennter and Angelus would excel in the course, where heavy craft such as Crinale would end up in the mid-pack at best. This did, unfortunately, hinder teams who did adhere to pure ideals, but still retained heavy-handling craft.

    At one point, Angelus were right behind the German frontrunners, having enough speed to overtake them, where suddenly, they pulled up and right. As the craft soared through the air, turning around, it performed a barrel roll, landing facing the part of the track that wasn't supposed to be accessed until after the loop ahead of them. The boost gained from the roll was enough to bring them back up to speed, as Angelus, were unable to react, already flying onto the loop.

    "WHAT?! How the hell were we to know they'd employ that same trick in the actual race?!"

    "We were not. Relax. I believe our craft are agile enough to copy them. We are able to use their line with ease."

    Gareth thought about it, then nodded.

    "Alright. Let's do it! We can beat them!"

    <apollo (electro mix) | astronaut_>

    It seemed that at least some members of the team were taking the race seriously, even if Brandon wasn't. The two craft flew off the ramp and, with a flourish, performed a sequential barrel roll, Kyoko rolling to the left, Gareth to the right, soaring right over the craft entering the loop. Landing successfully, the two flew down the straight at an incredible speed, navigating the light chicane with ease, rounding the final corner and speeding across the line for the next lap.

    The next time they went round, nearing the shortcut, they decided to take it. However, it was clear that they were at a disadvantage, and that Jennter had gained a mass of experience in navigating the shortcut, despite Brandon saying that it was doable after the qualifier. Kyoko attempted to mimic the actions Jennter did, by flying up and to the right, performing a barrel roll and...

    Boosting straight into the wall. The craft bounced off, the shields taking the brunt of the collision, but she had otherwise made it. Gareth tried to perform a Scandanavian flick, moving to the left, then turning all the way right, opening the airbrake as he flew upwards. He didn't barrel roll for fear of slamming into the wall. He landed at a 150° angle, the momentum still causing him to move towards the loop, but the craft did eventually slow down, then move forwards, barely missing the craft behind him speeding past. Despite the slower approach, the cut sill shaved some time from the lap.

    The white and azure craft kept on like that, following the orange and white craft's lines, all in an attempt to overtake them and take the win. It was a friendly rivalry, not being overly violent. It was clear, however, that the German team was more suited to the course, and would know every quirk about it, thus being able to navigate through the perfect line, whereas Angelus had to rely only on their practice runs, and the high handling and top end speed of their craft.

    Once again, the teams started objecting to the use of the shortcut, and those with higher handling also made attempts to navigate it, to varying degrees of success, though, naturally, none as successful as Jennter themselves. That did cause the heavier craft to fall behind more than usual. The race had ended that way too, with 2 distinct groupings of the teams' results: Those who took the shortcut, and those who didn't, separated by a large gap in race time. As Brandon had predicted, the winners of the race were, by a long shot, Jennter.

    ------------

    12:15:43

    A tired Lucia was walking through the Crinale partition of the pits, not paying attention where she was going. Suddenly, she found herself outside a room, occupied by a certain person. The yells inside had brought her back to reality, but the curiosity got the better of her, and so she listened in, pressing her ear against the door...

    "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?! You forget who I am. I can and will get rid of those routes."

    It appeared he was speaking with someone, but she couldn't hear what was being said on the other end, as if it was a phone call.

    "Fine, fine. Next order of business, the data.

    ...

    "Yes, that data."

    ...

    "What? What do you mean we don't have it all yet?! What about the Shinigami Project?!"

    ...

    "Fine. I know how I can gather and analyse their data, quicker than usual.

    ...

    "'Isn't it against the r--'?! Of course it is! Since when have we ever cared about the rules?! Or the law for that matter? These stupid teams will learn what is to be expected out of the F12000 sooner or later!"

    '...wha-?' Lucia thought. 'I only assumed the team were obsessed with violence, not completely f*cking corrupt?! Unless I'm misunderstanding...'

    Slowly, the girl stood up and backed away slowly, before turning and walking away, trying to look normal. However, that was slightly difficult with the information she inadvertently been presented with. Unfortunately for her, someone had seen her walking back.

    "Lucia? Are you alright?"

    The young girl let out a scream and jumped, the sudden voice scaring her. She looked around, and saw Leon.

    "Leon?! What the f*ck?! Do you want to scare me to death?!"

    The man looked confused.

    "I assure you, that was not my intention. Although, you did seem to be out of it. I'll ask again: Are you alright?"

    "I-I... I guess? Sorry, I'm just a bit tired, after whatever the hell that trainwreck was."

    He blinked at her, as if he had his suspicions, but ultimately dropped the issue. "Fine. I admit that race was heavily stacked up against us. I can only hope we can do better next time. Get some rest, Lucia. You definitely seem like you need it. I'll wake you when we need to depart."

    She didn't need to be told twice. With a nod, she headed off to one of the side rooms, and took a nap inside it. Or at least she would have, if it wasn't for what she heard, the words echoing through her mind. She needed to tell someone, but who would believe her? Leon? Hal? ...actually, Hal seemed like the better choice. Next time she met, she would tell him. With that mental note made, her fatigue had gotten the better of her, and she fell into a slumber.
    Last edited by Ace3000; 19th August 2017 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #902
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 33.0

    The referenced album title of Part 32.2 was The Final Cut by Pink Floyd.

    [s2_25.0: Part 33.0] A Matter of Time

    <22120801>

    Saturday, August 1st, 2212

    Angelus R&D HQ, Perth, Australia.

    13:42:51

    The weekend after the race brought a guest over to Angelus' headquarters, to discuss a certain piece of tech that was solely in their secretive R&D section.

    "Now that we aren't in the middle of a race, we can discuss the AG Pod further. Has there been any more improvements to the blueprints since we last spoke?" Nikole asked.

    "Only minor updates, but you'd want to know anyway."

    There were two reasons why they were not inside the R&D department itself. The first was that Brandon did not want anyone outside the department seeing the top secret technologies in development there, and also because the device was not constructed yet, so there was no reason to go there in the first place.

    "Anyway, the pod. How are you to get the chemical filtered out?"

    "I admit that's a tiny problem, because of what Alex mentioned. Unless the data was compromised somehow and we find what we need in that data..."

    Unconsciously, Brandon fiddled with a small storage drive in his pocket.

    "Well, wouldn't Viktor find out about his data being leaked?"

    "Well, it won't be leaked, per se. It will just be used by us to rectify the problem on our hands."

    "But would he not just find out his database was hacked? That's what Alex was talking about."

    Brandon had mumbled something sounding like "If only it wasn't so incomplete yet." in response.

    "Hmm? What was that?" Nikole asked, not hearing his mumbles.

    "Ah, nothing. Don't worry. Just thinking out loud."

    "..." Nikole just looked at him, but decided to not pursue the issue. "Anyway, as you said, the updates to the design aren't as important. I may need to get a therapist, or a neurologist, or someone to look at this, and see if it's alright."

    "I had one look at it."

    "And?"

    "Would I be still presenting this if I got a no?"

    "...good point."

    "Would you like to see the report? I have it here."

    "Sure, I'll give it a look-over."

    "Here, then."

    Brandon pulled out a holo-bar, containing pages upon pages of a document regarding the technology and the professional opinion of the neurologist that had examined the technical document before giving their okay on the project. Nikole opened it up and scrolled through the pages, skimming through the results they had come up with. Satisfied, she closed it up and passed it back to him.

    "Very well, then. We can build a prototype of the base system, using a different chemical in place of our unknown variable."

    "Sure, that works for me. If we obtain the data before it's completed, I shall use the proper chemical."

    With a nod, Nikole decided to go further into the basics of the system and the construction itself, discussing it with Brandon...

    ------------
    Unknown Location

    18:40:35

    A certain group of individuals met up with a recent Angelus employee as part of their regular meetings.

    "I have been doing the research," Alexandra Kotova opened with, "And I believe our best time to strike would be right after the final race of the season, Vohl Square II"

    "Interesting, because of its location?" CO-02 asked, to which Alex replied with a nod. "We do have our own plans for that race, but we aren't sure if we should go through with it."

    "Hmm? What do you mean?"

    "Sabotage. We were planning to make Crinale lose. However... that may possibly come at the cost of some technicians."

    "Which includes CO-05."

    "Exactly. We do not want any more COs losing their lives, if we can help it... unless we make the sabotage subtle, not enough to warrant more senseless killing by our new leader."

    "If you can make it so you can guarantee no deaths from this, then do it. If you are even 1% unsure, then do not go for it. It will not worth it in that case, specifically because we are targeting OE-0."

    "Understood. We have time before that race, though, so we may be able to devise a plan."

    "Fair enough. Remember, not at the cost of others. Anyway, OE-0. Have you come up with any better plans than after Vohl Square?"

    "They rarely let up their guard, I believe that after that particular race would be an optimal time to do it. Due to its short distance between a certain building, OE-0 would more than likely visit there. That is when we strike."

    "Okay, then. After Vohl Square. Thank you for the meeting."

    "Thank you, Miss Kotova."

  3. #903
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    Hey Ace,

    Could you kindly link your posts into a spoiler section in the OP?

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    That would take a lot of time to find the parts and compile the links, but yeah, I can get that done eventually.

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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 34.1

    The referenced album title of Part 34 was A Matter of Time by Voicians. The full length release this time, not the Part 1 EP.

    [s2_26.1: Part 34.1] A Ghost's Attack

    <22120807>

    Friday, August 7th, 2212

    Nokav Vertigo, Rocky Mountains, USA.

    12:36:48

    On one of the breaks of the practice round at Nokav Vertigo, one female pilot went on a small search for another. Amazingly, she found her leaning on a wall at the peak of the short course, outlooking the view of the mountain range the track was situated upon. Approaching her from the left of the helmeted girl, who was looking out to the right, Katsuo gave a friendly wave when she saw her head move quickly to her direction, to see who was walking up to her.

    "Heya, how you doing?" Kat spoke in Japanese to the other pilot, Kyoko Fujisaki.

    "Alright." Kyoko replied, in Japanese as well.

    "How's the course?"

    "Twisty, kinda challenging."

    "Yeah, it is a bit."

    "...I love it."

    "You do?"

    "Yeah, I also took a look at the other courses here, and I am rather interested in the 2nd course. Alas, I must wait, but the course we're racing on should be fun."

    Kat nodded, smiling happily

    "Yeah, this should be fun." Suddenly, she had a thought. "Ah, how's Australia holding up for you?"

    "H-Huh? What do you mean?"

    "Oh! What I mean is moving to another country, it kinda changes who you are, you know?"

    She looked at Kyoko knowingly. While she did have a happy look on her face, there was an air of seriousness in her gaze. Kyoko also stared back at Kat, but, with her helmet on, no-one could determine what her emotion was.

    "I think... I understand what you mean. Why you would say that suddenly... is something I'm not yet sure of, but..."

    Kyoko suddenly stopped. Her helmet faced Kat, the Syncline pilot feeling the other girl's eyes piercing glare, even if she couldn't see it.

    "...I get it. I completely understand now."

    Those were her last words before she pushed off the wall, and walked back to Angelus' pits, leaving Kat there. Immediately, without stopping, she walked over to the small lounge room, opening the door and entering.

    "Brandon, w-"

    She stopped dead in her tracks. She had spoken before actually realising who was in the room... and what they were doing.

    "...I-I... I apologise... I, ah... I'll leave you to it then."

    Closing the door behind her as she stepped backwards out of the room, she took the time to think about where Brandon was this time, and so headed to where she thought the lab coat-clad man was, the main control room provided to the teams part of their pits. Like last time, she opened the door and walked inside, this time taking in the scene of the room, letting the door close behind her once she found him.

    "Brandon... we need to talk."

    He spun around quickly, sensing the urgency in her voice.

    "What is it?"

    "...Th... they know." Were the words to come out of her mouth.

    "...huh? Who knows about what?"

    "K-Katsuo, Syncline. They know about... me."

    His face darkened.

    "What... exactly do you mean?"

    "Kat spoke with me..."

    Kyoko proceeded to explain what she had said to Brandon, who listened carefully. When she had finished, he just kept staring at her.

    "...Finally. They just couldn't resist, could they?"

    Brandon suddenly started to move, walking out of the room. Kyoko practically jumped out of the way of the man's path, as he left the control room. Maintaining his pace, he made his way out of the partitioned building, heading to another partition of that very same building. He wasn't invited, but that mattered very little, as he walked right in, as if it was part of Angelus' partition. Since the layouts were the exact same, he knew where to go. He kept walking, unstopping, over to a certain door. He swung it open, and stared at the occupants, his face cold and unsmiling. Walking over to Nikole, he saw that the woman's face had become somewhat grim as well, as she stepped away from him and Katsuo.

    "Did you need something from me?" She asked.

    "I won't be needing anything if you can't keep to yourself for just a few minutes."

    She blinked. "I'm afraid I'm out of the loop on this one."

    The man shook his head. "Don't play dumb with me, you know exactly what I mean."
    Last edited by Ace3000; 10th February 2017 at 10:25 AM. Reason: wait nvm i used that album title before crud.

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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 34.2

    Thanks Bardic for writing this part out.

    The referenced album title of Part 34.1 was Ghosts I-IV by Nine Inch Nails.

    [s2_26.2: Part 34.2] Etymological Kid

    <22120807>

    Friday, August 7th, 2212

    Nokav Vertigo, Rocky Mountains, USA.

    12:54:10

    Nikole kept a heavy pace to her office to be caught off guard opening the door. Katsuo sat against the wall inside with a bit of guilt in her tone.

    "Why don't you stand up?" Nikole asked with an attempt at sympathy. She knelt to Katsuo's level. "I can help you, okay? What did you need to tell me?"

    "I think I f*cked up," she replied.

    "That doesn't tell me much."

    "Well, its kind of a long story."

    "Is it immediately urgent? I'm expecting someone here."

    "How much time do you have?"

    Nikole grabbed Katsuo's hand and implied a request to stand up. "How about you clear your head. I'll meet you in your room and we can talk then."

    Katsuo started a smile at the growing likely hood of her over-reaction. "Will it be a few minutes?" she asked.

    Nikole backed away for space, just before Brandon swung the door open. Katsuo was about to say goodbye when he signalled for her to stay. He walked to Nikole with a stark face, ready to hold his ground.

    Nikole mirrored his expression while stepping further away from him and Katsuo. "Did you need something from me?" Nikole asked.

    "I won't be needing anything if you can't keep to yourself for just a few minutes."

    "I'm afraid I'm out of the loop on this one."

    "Don't play dumb with me, you know exactly what I mean."

    "No she doesn't, Brandon." Katsuo chimed in, without any expectation for a reaction from either of them. Brandon's attention was immediately shifted to the shorter girl.

    "Are you telling me you interfered with our lives for fun?" Brandon asked.

    "You're over simplifying a lot." Katsuo's voice started to raise. "I knew this from something else."

    Nikole went between them with a realization of what Katsuo might be recalling. "Calm down, the both of you. We can all solve this."

    "Just how much can I except you to be a part of this?" Brandon responded.

    "You can stop accusing everyone." Katsuo said.

    "And just why am I accusing anyone? Where's you trust for Kyoko to handle herself?"

    "She can't handle herself! Nikole is just like Kyoko, except she can see she needs help to function."

    "Is that right? You don't know if Kyoko is even like that!"

    "So what? Is that good enough for her to ignore it, because I've already seen what happens when that happens and I was orphaned because of it!"

    "This is different, we have it handled-"

    "It's always handled. Everyone knows exactly what they're doing UNTIL THEY HAVE TO FORCE A KNIFE TO THE SKULL OF SOMEONE THEY LOVE TO SURVIVE!" Katsuo stopped herself with her own words. She found out how close she'd manage to get to Brandon, but wouldn't back away. She was paralysed by memories she'd managed to not think about for years. Nikole pulled her chair behind Katsuo and gently motioned for her to sit. She opened the door for Brandon and followed him outside.

    "Is that something she did?" Brandon asked, "I had no idea she was an orphan, I-"

    "Her mother did that when Kat was very young." Nikole answered. "I suppose it's only a small aspect of the whole story. I don't think it'd be tasteful to carry on with her past."

    Brandon's sympathy returned after better understanding Katsuo's motives. "Is she going to be okay? She's not going to do anything rash is she?"

    "She's definitely not okay. She has a habit of dealing with pain in an unhealthy manner. I'll question her about how much she knows in the morning and I'll give you a call afterwards."

    "You can't see me in person?"

    "We'll be heading back home. Katsuo is in no condition to race. I don't know how Kyoko would act towards her in the race anyway. If anyone asks, my neck is acting up."

    "Yeah, okay... listen, I know you said you wouldn't go into Katsuo's past anymore, but... I just need to know that Kyoko will... that she's still alright for now."

    Nikole took a breathe before she started. "Kyoko isn't nearly as dire of a situation. Katsuo's father had the Condition when we didn't know as much about it. He was falsely told that her mother would take him in and he wasn't able to think rationally. Her mother wasn't able to calm him down and started to panic." Nikole moved her head a bit to make sure the hallway was clear. "You understand how important it is to never repeat this?"

    "Of course." Brandon said. "I'm just going to let Kyoko know that you're leaving the race. I don't know if she'll still feel okay with Katsuo, but-"

    "She shouldn't feel okay about her." Nikole interjected. "Once I find out how she figured out what she knows, I'll have to stress to her that she needs to control herself. I just hope she'll be stable enough to her the criticism."

    "And then we'll be able to trust her?"

    "Likely, yes."

    "What do you mean 'likely'?"

    "We'll talk about it tomorrow," Nikole said. "Just try to keep things sane on your end for now."

    Brandon gave an only slightly understanding nod and started his way back to Angelus, much more calmly than his trip to Syncline.
    Last edited by Ace3000; 15th February 2017 at 11:24 AM.

  7. #907
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    Okay, as was requested, I've written out a list containing links to all of my parts. However, because there are so many of them, I decided to write this list out on an article on our wiki. The article can be seen here, and a link will also be provided in the first post. I haven't listed all the parts though, as I still need to list all of the Curse of the Devil parts (and, maybe, Jonny and everyone else's parts). However, it is a start nonetheless.

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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 34.3

    Posting this part early for reasons. Please note there may not be a part posted on the usual day until next week. It depends.

    The referenced album title of Part 34.2 was The Impossible Kid by Aesop Rock.

    [s2_26.3: Part 34.3] A Series of Issues

    <22120807>

    Friday, August 7th, 2212

    Nokav Vertigo, Rocky Mountains, USA.

    13:12:51

    Back at Angelus' pits, Brandon made his way back up to the control room, finding Kyoko still standing there in the room.

    "Huh? What are you still doing here, Kyoko?" He asked.

    "Waiting for you to get back."

    "Oh, well I'm here now."

    "So? You went and spoke with Syncline, didn't you? What'd they say?"

    "Oh, right. If you're thinking of getting revenge on Katsuo, it's not happening, even if I allowed it. They're pulling out."

    "They're what?" She asked, surprised.

    "After I confronted them, they said they're going home. Nikole determined that Katsuo was not in the best condition to race, so they're leaving."

    "And Hal? Is he going to race?"

    "Seems like it, they do have an 'official' reason, but it's not important to us. Anyway, are you alright to get back out?"

    "Ah, yes, I can get back to practising. Excuse me."

    Kyoko bowed, turned around and exited the room. As she left, Brandon slid his hands into his coat's pockets, and looked out towards the track, looking at Gareth's progress. As the craft soared past the stretch visible from the room above, Brandon's eyes narrowed, then flicked down to the screen displaying the craft's telemetry.

    "...Wait... how the hell...?!"

    Turning on his headset without hesitation, he quickly informed Gareth of the situation.

    "Gareth, return immediately. Kyoko, don't go yet. This is urgent."

    As he got acknowledgements from both pilots, Brandon called the technicians working on the craft to the pits along with the pilots, then fished out his phone and attempted to call Alex.

    "...Huh?" He looked at his phone. She wasn't picking up. No matter how long or many times Brandon rung her phone, Alex just wasn't answering. "What's going on here?!"

    Brandon rushed out of the control room just as one of the people working the control room was about to ask what was wrong. Running down to the pits, where both craft now were situated, he asked the staff entering the large room where the girl was. Almost all of them had no clue, but one person spoke up: Kyoko.

    "She is in Lounge A, but sh... she... wait."

    Brandon, like last time, took off before Kyoko had finished her explanation. Not wanting to leave him on his own, she set off after him. Arriving at the lounge, he threw open the door, and was faced with...

    "...what... the hell?" Was his outburst to the situation.

    "...Wait, what? That's not... w-what I saw earlier..." Kyoko spluttered.

    "What are you-? Ugh, whatever, just... help me."

    Alex was not speaking, but realising they were going to do what they were going to, she opened her mouth. "...W-wait, no, it's not what it looks like!"

    Alex was tied up. Literally, her hands and legs were tied to the chair she was sitting on. Brandon untied her hands, while Kyoko freed her legs. Unfortunately, she looked up at the wrong moment as she was doing so, and had seen how compromised she was, making a small squeak before Alex quickly placed her freed hands in front of her.

    "Damn it, I was hoping you wouldn't see..." She spoke in a soft voice, moving one of her legs once it was free.

    "Hmm? See what?" Brandon asked.

    "...n-nothing you should be concerned with."

    "Uh... right."

    Soon, Alex was completely untied, standing up after Kyoko straightened up, stretching.

    "Why were you tied up? Who tied you up?!" Brandon started questioning her once she rose to her feet. She looked back towards him when he did.

    "Brandon... y-you don't understand... I..." She faltered, and looked away, blushing. Her eyes briefly glowed purple for the briefest of moments. Then, she spoke up. "...I wasn't tied up against my will."

    "You... w-wait... I understand none of this."

    "I-I think I do..." Kyoko murmured.

    "You would... cause you saw... me." Alex mumbled back, before turning back to Brandon. "Maybe you'd understand if I told you who tied me up."

    "How do you figure that?"

    "Well... it was... u-uh..."

    "...it was...?"

    "...Catherine."

    Upon hearing that name, Brandon realised what happened, and his eyes grew wide. He made an attempt to quickly change the subject.

    "...U-uh... a-a-anyway... we need you to accompany us to the pits... w-we have a problem."
    Last edited by Ace3000; 14th February 2017 at 07:00 AM. Reason: minor plot change whoops

  9. #909
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    Post August 8th, 2212: Syncline HQ

    The lights were dimmed in the personal carrier with Katsuo passed out in the back seat. Nikole had been communicating with several e-mails just across the walkway. Despite her tendency to sleep comfortably in just about any situation, this instance led to her back ached and seemingly permanently bent sideways, along with her head not feeling that far off from waking up after getting knocked out cold.

    “Are we there?” Katsuo asked, despite noticing the presence of gravity.

    “We've been here a while,” Nikole said, “you wouldn't stay awake.”

    “How long has it been?” Katsuo asked.

    “We landed about an hour ago.”

    “You've been here the whole time?”

    “I've had a lot of explaining do.” Nikole answered, still focused on typing on her laptop.

    It started to sink in to Katsuo just a bit more what she had done. She unbuckled her seat to straighten herself out, still standing where she'd been. Nikole closed her laptop and set it aside. Katsuo took a breath and sat next to Nikole.

    “I take it you found out when finding Angelus's spy...” Nikole said.

    Katsuo nodded her head.


    “And I assume from the conversation we had after then that you disobeyed orders to find out.” she continued.

    “I didn't know what I was going to find out.” Katsuo said.

    “That means very little, you still confronted Kyoko about it.”

    “Well... I didn't tell her directly, I just-”

    “That is also insignificant. You took a very sensitive situation and ran in without caution.”

    “You don't think I was being careful?”

    “Leaving the issue aside would have been careful.”

    “It would have been careless.” Katsuo protested. “I'm not going to close my eyes and wait for the world to stop burning.”

    “You're not thinking objectively enough. Angelus knows enough about the condition to handle any anomalies Kyoko experiences.” Her statement was punctuated by a notification sound from her laptop. Nikole grabbed it and read though the new content. Katsuo started to get suspicious at the way Nikole stopped her lecture to read a message on a device.

    “You're recording this.” Katsuo said with certainty, with a growing anxiety at the idea that her actions may be more severe then she had thought.

    “It's just a live feed, for my superior.”

    Katsuo chuckled slightly, thinking that had to be a joke. To her, even with Nikole's serious attitude, that seemed more likely.

    “There's no need for alarm,” Nikole said, noticing Katsuo's fast changing expression, “there's just going to be some testing.”

    “They think I might've gotten it.” Katsuo said, simultaneously trying to slow her thoughts down.

    “Not at all, it's just hard to be sure what someone is doing when they go against protocol.”

    “So they think I'm a spy.”

    “It's a precaution. I hope you understand why this needs to happen.”

    “Yeah, I guess...” Katsuo started to lean into her seat, taking in deep, long breaths. “So, what now?”

    Nikole took a minute to articulate her words, and started at a low voice. “There's going to be a DNA test, an MRI for lie detection, and then a test for outside interference, to see if anyone else tries to peek in while you're down there.”

    “That last one can't be done while the other tests are happening.”

    “The other tests won't take but an hour,” Nikole explained, “but if someone else tries to break in, they could wait for quite a bit longer.”

    “Okay... I know you want to make sure I know the reason for everything, and to stay calm, and that I just need to prove my honesty, but I just...”

    “Do you need me to put put it bluntly?”

    “Please do...”

    Nikole took a moment to examine Katsuo's mood once more, even going so far as to check her pulse before continuing. With Katsuo appearing calm and ready to face her dues, Nikole spoke out quickly to get it done.

    “They're putting you in an isolation chamber.” Nikole blurted. “It will last ten days so that a third party would likely give up on you had they been monitoring you.

    Katsuo went to pat Nikole on the shoulder, to let her know she could handle the news. It ended up being a hug, with each thinking it was for the others benefit.

    “Can I make a call?” Katsuo asked, “I just don't want Ryouta to get worried after too long.”

    “We'll let him know you'll be gone for the next week and a half. We can't give specifics, but I'm sure he'll be fine regardless.”

    “Well, I kinda want to just talk to him one more time.”

    “A cellphone call isn't secure enough.” Nikole said. “I'm sorry, but this is the-”

    “It's okay,” Katsuo said, “I understand. If anyone else did this I'd expect them to go through the same thing.”

    Nikole let her arms go and stood up to the walkway. “I am to escort you out, with you going first.”

    Katsuo complied and stood in front of Nikole, and the both of the stepped out through the door into the daylight.

  10. #910
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 34.4

    The referenced album title of Part 34.3 was Issues by Korn.

    [s2_26.4: Part 34.4] Fear of a Dead Craft

    <22120807>

    Friday, August 7th, 2212

    Nokav Vertigo, Rocky Mountains, USA.

    13:32:43

    Now with Alex, Brandon got the technicians to perform a complete diagnostic on both of Angelus' craft, after disconnecting them from their network as part of their safety precautions. It took a long time to go over every detail of the craft's systems, until...

    "There! We got it! Alex, over here. Do you recognise this?"

    The black-haired woman stared at the console, looking over the code. As she did, her eyes glowed slightly.

    "This... I recognise this. So he's finally using my arsenal."

    "Sorry?"

    "I had stored several ideas for some... legally ambiguous warfare against you lot. Of course, that was before I mellowed out, so I kept them on a locked partition on Crinale's servers. It appears that he has gotten into it and is putting those ideas to work. This was intended to take advantage of the fact that we knew how the security on your first craft worked, so we could have been able to implant a virus that would ultimately disable the craft's systems."

    "So, you know how to combat it?"

    "I'm not finished explaining," She continued, "As I said, that was intended for that first craft you built, what was it? The AGR1 or something like that? Anyway, I would suspect that you are all smart enough to upgrade or otherwise rewrite the security's code, so my code would not even touch this craft. Viktor obviously knew that, as the code here is very different to my original, but I can spot traces of that original code in there, which is how I knew what it was. But that begs the question, how was he able to easily slip this into your highly secure systems?"

    This time it was Brandon that spoke up.

    "Do you remember, Alex? He is in control of the F12000. Just as you can spot traces of your original code in there, I can spot traces of official AGRC system code. This virus seems to be spoofing as official F12000 data. Naturally, all craft have to be compatible with the code, and with someone dangerous as him in charge, he could easily fix races like this. Chances are this was a test, an experiment, and we were the guinea pigs."

    "...tch, goddammit. Can you delete the code?"

    "Deleting the code is the easy part. Worst case scenario, we restore a systems backup. The tricky part is preventing it from entering our systems again. Because it spoofs F12000 code, we can't simply mark the code as a virus, as the F12000 code will create system conflicts. The worst case scenario would overwrite the code, though, so we won't have it to examine. However, it's not impossible, I have faith in my technicians that they can get the job done. We can't get back out there, though. Gareth's craft is not in the best way, I'm not risking Kyoko's going the same way, and both craft need to stay here for the virus extraction and to further examine it in order to create the antivirus hotpatch. Anyway, I need to go make the announcement that we've stopped practice for today."

    Alex nodded, as Brandon headed for the control room, letting everyone who wasn't tasked with the virus' removal that they were now free to do as they wished.

    ------------
    13:01:22

    <vargas | vinter in vegas_>

    "It's ready, we've loaded it onto your craft. Now destroy Angelus!"

    As Gareth was going through his practice run, a certain black and orange craft set off from the pits, aiming to catch up to the light craft flying around the track. However, because of the initial tight corner-heavy first half, the heavier, less agile RA8 could not get near the Xygen V, despite the fact that the Micro-Turbine thrusted craft could accelerate out of the corners faster than the traditional Xygen could. Even on the high-speed second half, the Angelus had it beat, having a higher top-end.

    It was there that the pilot of the dark craft decided that it wasn't an actual race, and so had decided to slow down and let the faster craft come around. As the white racer returned into view of the black craft, they put the next part of their plan into action, remembering what Viktor had told them beforehand.

    "Activate the weapon and fly close enough for the data to transfer itself."

    Waiting for the perfect time that the craft would fly close enough to them, the Crinale craft had sped up, flying at it's normal speed, which was still slow enough to let the Angelus craft catch up to it. Eventually, it had gained on the team, and so they engaged a set of maneuvers to prevent them from overtaking, keeping them within range for their attack. Angelus' computer didn't acknowledge that a weapon had been fired because, technically, one had not been fired. It was released, able to be transferred, absorbed, into the systems, under the guise of official F12000 data.

    Once the data had completely transferred, the craft stopped its offensive maneuver, and resumed flying around the track in a normal manner, allowing the now infected craft to fly past. The virus soon started to take effect, with the airbrakes acting odd. Unfortunately for them, that was all they could see of the virus' effects, as the pilot soon spun the craft around and limped back to the pits soon after rushing past the main straight.

    "Brandon must have noticed and called him back in."

    "It is fine, they still have the disadvantage of using up their precious practice time on working on the virus. We can only hope that the nature of the code proves impossible for them to remove it, or at least gain an immunity to it."

    ------------
    <22120808>

    Saturday, August 8th, 2212

    13:54:37

    Throughout the night and the following day, Angelus' technicians worked on the update code for the craft's security, when they had a completed version, they applied it to a virtual copy of the craft systems, then ran the extracted virus to the patched system, noting the effects and, if the patch didn't work, restore the system, work on the update and repeat the testing.

    It was well into the Qualifier, and the team was still working on the code. If they were unable to get it working within the day, they would automatically be disqualified. Although, it seemed like someone had a backup plan.

    "Brandon, I'm not letting my craft let the whole team down, if they can't do it in time, put Kyoko out. She's a good racer, she can win!" Gareth pleaded to his team leader.

    "Gareth, we still have an hour and 5 minutes to get this thing completed, it still can be done. Besides, even if it doesn't get completed, and we send her out, Kyoko's craft may suffer the same fate as yours, hell, maybe even worse."

    "I wouldn't be so sure..." A technician working on the code spoke up. "Come take a look at this."

    Brandon walked up to the screen and looked at what he instantly recognised to be the diagnostic log of the the Xygen's systems. He instantly read the line that was highlighted.

    "Wait... it was deployed as a weapon?"

    "Yeah, and regarding the type of transmission, I believe that they cannot use it in the race proper. At least, that's my hypothesis."

    "Well, I can only hope you're right with that."

    By that point, they were extremely close to being successful with the code blocking out the virus but keeping in the F12000 data. It would only take them 38 more minutes to finish the security patch. Excited, they patched the update to the virtual system and ran the virus on it. It gave two quick, low beeps and spat out an error.

    WARNING: Blacklisted data detected. Transfer denied.
    Virus detected. Data deleted.


    "YES! It works! Now for the dummy file."

    He sent through an official F12000 data file, running it into the system, which graciously accepted it.

    "Brandon, are the craft connected up to our systems?" Was the head technician's question.

    "Yeah, why?"

    "Has Gareth's been restored?"

    "Again, yes. Why?"

    "The patch is complete. We can send them out to the ships, and send them out for the qualifier."

    "Do it. Quick!"

    With Brandon's permission, the head technician brought up the system back-end, and sent the hotpatch through to the two craft, updating their security immediately.

    "Alright, contact the AGRC and our pilots, tell them we're ready."

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