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The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

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The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 23/10/2017, 14:20

The air of the Underground was distinct, like no other in the known world. It was cold and humid, but also full of dust. That was the catch, however. The dust down here was always invisible, due to the overall poor lighting. The people living here had no way of knowing it was actually dust they were inhaling and exhaling. To them, it was just air, just the way it always existed.
That was the nature of the Underground. Everything was but a shadow of its real self. The sun, the sky, the building and the people, even the air.
Or so it seemed for the people who came from above, and looked down at the city in distaste and repulsion. For the people living below, it was a different story altogether. When they looked up, they saw a world vastly more colourful and rich than their own. They saw light. They saw freedom. To them, even the humble Mitras seemed like the very Heavens itself.
However, that perspective was dangerous. To most, the promise of salvation and a land beyond was a hope at best. To these people, it was as real as their lives. What would a person do to claim certain freedom?

These are the thoughts that haunted Alan as he descended down the steps, descending deeper and deeper Underground. Below him, spread like a glowing canvas was the Secret City. It was home for millions of poor souls, and yet it seemed so humble, so unassuming. From above, one could easily mistske it to be abandoned altogether.
Alan looked around him, reinspecting his team.

To the right of him was his squad... Or at least most of it. Peter and Hyda were walking alongside Vindhelm who was grudgingly carrying a small carriage with him. They reluctantly agreed to join the rather dangerous mission, after understanding how important it was. They were good soldiers... But ill-equipped to deal with what was to come. They weren't ready for the treacherous nature of this place, for the ferocity of its inhabitants... And for the looming hopelessness.
To Alan's left, however, walked far more capable people. People Alan truly trusted, people who have already stared into life's abbys and carried on.
Mitsuo Shimura, mechanical prodigy of Shimura Works, and field tactician in the Scouting Legion. Beyond his sharp wit, he carried an iron grip of self control and professionalism, that even Alan could not hope to match.
Next to him loomed a giantess in a coat - Cora Wolf, leader of 'The Pack', full-time mercenary and ex-soldier. Alan had yet to meet a woman more dangerous than her, and her personality disorder made her more unpredictable than he'd like, but there was no denying she was loyal to a fault... And for now, Alan was on her 'Nice List'.

They were nearly at the gate below, meaning it was almost time to begin the mission. In essence, it was simple - find out who's been receiving/using the black-market 3DMGs, understand why they did it and arrest them. The mission wasn't supposed to take more than a few days, but you never know with these sorts of things. After all, their leads were scarce - all they knew was that a smuggler from the Underground known as Samuel Traight had been sneaking in 3DMGs into the Hidden City. Alan was fortunate enough to mark some of the 3DMGs with a small carving, unassuming to the average eye but unmistakable for him.
He will be able to tell upon inspecting any 3DMG they might come across.

However, a group of soldiers (With one ex-soldier) waltzing into town may draw unwanted attention. They needed to blend in. And so Alan prepared.
"Wheat? Really?" complained a voice behind him.
Alan looked back, and spotted Vindhelm muttering angrily as he pulled the cart behind him. Alan was about to answer, but Peter, ever the sharp mind, beat him to it.
"Wheat is light and unassuming. We can easily hide our 3DMGs under it, and crops are valuable here, so we have a higher chance of drawing criminals to our stand."
Alan smiled at the prospect. To passerbys, the group looked like a merchant squad, intent on selling their farmed goods. Often, it was the simplest trick that worked the best.
And in this lands of tricksters and poverty, they would fit right in.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 25/10/2017, 20:37

The underground. A very beautiful place, a place...similar to home possibly. The same type of houses, the same type of people, the same type of business. The houses were pretty, people really put effort into keeping them that way. The people put effort into looking pretty as well, their bellies were full, their clothing clean and expensive. The businesses were going good, a lot of money was involved. But they were also on the nastier side. Which made this place seem even more like home to Cora, to put it differently...the same barracks, shacks, old, ruined houses, the same poor, starving people, the same exploiting, awful businesses. Ahhh, it was good to feel like home.

Cora closed her eyes, smiled and inhaled deeply as to take all the pictures, emotions and odours in; only to cough immediatly after. Not too much home. Her home atleast had a sun. And...no vitamin deficiancy from that. They also had more options to get food. This place probably was the worst of the worst. Thinking about it...there were probably alot of desperate people looking for jobs in the 'overworld', right? Ha! She could be their 'Overlord' and get them out. She grinned at the ceiling. Not the sky...because that one was well, not there.

Cora looked at her companions. There was Alan, the secret mastermind. Or not too much secret anymore as he was already captain. He needed brain to be one after all! So someone must have acknowledged his superior intellect!

Vex started complaining about her line of thought. How could anyone BUT them be smarter, eh? After all their IQs combined must be over atleast 250!
He did not realize that three people together should very well have a combined IQ of 300 and not 250...but he did not really care for Nec's explanations.

Then there was Mitsuo, Cora just hoped he would be okay, given the first time she took him to a black market...poor him...eh, he would make it. She had exposed him quite a bit to certain customs of the 'underworld'. Given what mission they were on she was a bit disappointed that she did not take any of her other mercenaries. Groups were better. But they might actually attract too much attention...or scare criminals away. It's not like she alone already didn't. The other's appereance kinda made up for that though.

Cora smiled again, then took a bandana and wrapped it around the lower half of her face.
"Just that noone recognizes me", she quickly said while putting up a hood to hide her hair. They would still be able to tell that she was female from the waist and shoulders, but given the height they might just think she was a scrawny guy.

She strategically positioned herself close to Alan, as he was the leader. Something happening to him would end up bad. Apart from that, this position also allowed her to keep an eye on the wheat.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 26/10/2017, 16:30

The underground. Mitsuo heard stories of such a place but never thought it could truly exist.
The young Shimura had to take a moment to let his eyes and lungs adjust to the dim lighting and dust filled air.
His expression on his face dramatically became displeased.

"How do people manage to live down here?"
Mitsuo spoke quietly, frustration lacing his tone of voice.

The mechanic was not dressed in his usual attire but was instead wearing common clothes. He didn't find them comfortable but he wasn't going to complain.

"The wheat was a great idea, Alan, but there's also the risk of beggars slowing us down," Mitsuo spoke before coughing out the dust that filled his lungs.

'Beggars,' the word ran through the mechanics mind. He didn't like the word but there was no better term to use.

Whilst fighting his own thoughts, Mitsuo realised that a improvised formation was occurring. He figured it was instinct or accident but was a smart move, subconscious or not.
The young Shimura slowed his pace and fell in line behind the cart of wheat. From here he could protect it from any thieves attempting to steal the goods which are hiding the groups' gear.
In this position, Mitsuo could also keep an eye on Alan's squad. He trusted them as they worked under Alan however he just wanted to learn how they act both individually and as a group.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 26/10/2017, 23:08

At last, the group was at the base of the stair. Clearly, the circumstances have already started to take their toll on each person. They have grown quieter, almost afraid to disrupt the uneasy silence of the vast, empty Underground. It may have been a reaction most attributed to fear, but as with most things humans tend to do, it was simply an evolutionary instinct. These young men and women were facing a truly irregular scenario. The solution to the situation was to observe, take in the surroundings. Make the unknown known, the oddities part of the scenery.
Humans were such interesting machines. It made Alan wonder how much of that intuition was to be found in their larger, murderous cousins, the titans.

Alan turned to his friends, giving them a smile to hide the immense fear he was feeling.
"It's time. Remember - we're just a group of travelling merchants. Whatever may befall us, we can handle."
And with that, the disguised Military Police captain turned and approached the guards of the stairway, handing them their permits. The hardened soldiers didn't give them so much as a glance as they passed by. The horrors they have seen (And perhaps committed) were likely many, but in the end they found the strength to carry on with their job. It must be hard, being a human serving humanity by being pit against humans.
Or so Alan thought. He knew too well what it was like to work against humans. Hell - that was exactly what he was doing right now. He was on a mission to stop criminals. How far could humanity descend, to have a titanic threat looming upon its doorstep and yet to delve and dabble in crime?
It was not often, but sometimes Alan wondered if the world would've been better off were the titans to invade and kill all the humans. With no one to destroy, would the world remain peaceful?

The architecture of the the Underground was very alien to Alan. instead of leveled streets and rooftiled houses, the streets were lined by monstrously large buildings, looming tall and grim. Their very texture was different - it seemed they were almost carved out of the very stone of the cave. The buildings towered over one another, hills upon hills of them over in the distance.
By contrast, the people of the Underground seemed very small. It didn't matter who Alan passed - children, adults, elderly (Which were very scarce), they all had a certain look in their eye. Maybe it was some form of mutation that made it easier to deal with the dark? Alan couldn't say. They didn't really seem to look around. They just shuffled on, minding their own business. Despite the streets being rather full, it was rather quiet. Few raised their voices, none laughed or cheered. It was humanity, but without the life.

Alan looked around him as he walked, growing more and more unsettled. A voice in his head screamed louder and louder how this wasn't right. Alan was compelled to agree, but it was not enough for the voice. The voice demanded change, demanded a fight, anything to do to prevent this from being reality. Alan could offer no such respite to himself.
He looked behind him, at his comrades in arms. They too seemed to be moved by the strange and bizzare dark world unfolding before them. Hyda in particular seemed distraught. All her life she spent living above this city, not once visiting it, not once considering the lives of the less fortunate whose very citizenship was taken away. Tears threatened to reveal themselves, but the brave soldier carried on, dignified. Alan turned back to face the road.
Best to look where you're going... else you may stumble.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 5/11/2017, 22:04

There was a surprising amount of people down here, Cora thought to herself, a surprising amount for the conditions, esspecially the health ones that come with living away from the sun.

She once had a talk with one of the other pack leaders about the underground. It was definitly one of the most desperate places. So technically a good place to find someone that could...serve as a mercenary. It technically was. She talked with him for quite the while about it, the main problem with it seemed to be the fact that there was no sunlight. Seemingly it made people develop bone diseases, they grew weaker, it was hard to walk, all that stuff. So in the end...as long as you were not abducting babies or toddlers...rather uselsss to go hunting for teenagers or kids. Yes the younger they were the less signs they showed, but hey, the pack was one of the best mercenary groups out there. Taking... 'damaged ware' was out of question.

Cora was glad Alan or Mitsuo could not hear her thoughts...they would probably hate her for them. For looking down on humans that much, seeing them as wares. But for her, that's what they were, she was after all looking out for them, she was training them, she was...in some way caring for them. The same way a man would train his dogs or a farmer care for his sheep. In the end the dogs, sheep and humans were all just wares. They were to be sold to someone. Not to be kept.

Cora looked around at some of the beggars approaching her cart. While a kid in the front started talking to Alan a few more gathered around. Staying surprisingly far away but they still were close, keeping their eyes on the wheat.

"Sir...sir please...we are hungry...Sir...can we....can we have some wheat? Sir please!", it whimpered. Cora rolled with her eyes. This would end up interesting. How would they react? If they wanted to pass as merchants they would not be allowed to mind them much.

One kid tried taking a bit of the wheat from the wagon, while everyone was 'looking away'. Cora was not for one thing. The moment the hand closed in to the wagon she grabbed it, pulled it up, almost lifting the kid up. It let out a short and rather quiet screech of surprise. She did not hurt it, her grip was hard, yes but she was not crushing his hand or tearing his arm out...yet.
She turned her head and looked at him. Not for long just a few seconds, she then threw him half away. He stumbled but did not fall. Cora went on with staring to the front, her seeming absent might get them to think that they had a chance.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 29/11/2017, 18:55

Mitsuo did his best to ignore every event that unfolded before him.
He was dumbfounded at how such nightmares manifest into reality and could not help but feel bad for being born in a better situation compared to these people.

His fist tightly clenched as his thoughts increased.
Mitsuo now realised how much he had taken his life for granted and was kicking himself for it.
'I'm no better than those who live in greed,' he internally belittled himself, only looking out for myself and being blind to those who are hurt by consequence of my actions.'

His mind now wandered, supply thought after thought, no matter the subject as long as it was relevant.
'I wonder if these people are slaves.
Forced to mine for metals, taken to fields to plough and harvest crops. If they're used for jobs that require hard labour and the dirtying of hands. I wonder...'


His eyes slowly gazed at the surroundings before resting on Cora's back as his mind thought as such.
The young Shimura shook his head ad he struggled to clear his mind.
'No. Don't think about it,' he mentally scolded himself.

The mechanic sighed. He already lost track of how much time had passed since they arrived and was starting to get bored of walking.
"How much longer?"
Mitsuo queried aloud.
Although he trusted Alan, he was weary as not much was told about the mission and his limited knowledge about the Underground was no reassurance to him.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 30/11/2017, 23:51

It didn't take long until a pack of hungry children gathered around the party of merchants. The street-urchins watched with awe as they saw the fresh supplies roll by, so close that they could almost touch it. Almost...
Unfortunately for them, between said delicacy and them loomed the stoic merchants, greedily protecting their wares.

Alan's eyes darted from one kid's face to another. In their eyes he saw the same empty expression that all the Underground dwellers shared. He insppected their bony faces, their dusty and tattered clothing, the thick hair covering their scalps.
They were people, but they weren't human. Their drive was simply to survive, drawn to food like moths to a flame. They acted purely on instinct, like animals.
There was no life to be had here. Their days were not filled with aspirations, or with complex interactions. They did not do anything but the bare minimum to live another day. Purposeless souls, existing due to their basic drive to exist. There was no life to be had here, no human behind the eyes.

A kid stopped Alan in his way, begging for food. Alan looked down on him, his face locked in a stoic expression of disturbance. In a moment, he went over all the possible course of actions.
He could share food with these kids, like he naturally wanted to do, but this will only draw more unwanted attention to Alan's team, as well as make them stand out in this dark, dull place. Quite the opposite of what you would want to do, trying to blend in.
Acting aggressively towards the children would yield similar results - while violence wouldn't be uncommon, the loud commotion would still draw attention, in contrast to the passive, silent crowd.
No, the answer was silence. To ignore the children, and to carry on, with a thin, sad smile on Alan's lips. Would anyone blame or berate the poor merchant for holding onto his wares? Would anyone even care?
In order to blend in, they would have to sct instinctively like the kids, like the rest of the Underground. The kids naturally wanted food, and the merchants naturally wanted to get through another day without any needless hussle, so they too could buy their bread and live another day.

The merchant party continued walking slowly, parting a path through the urchins. Alan looked back at them as he walked. He felt sympathy, pity, but for some reason also repulsion. These kids, like him, grew up poor and struggling to survive. Why weren't they doing anything? Why weren't they trying to rise above?

Mitsuo made a small comment about the duration of the walk. Alan looked back over his shoulder and responded.
"We're almost there. The town square should be right... Here."
And as the disguised Policeman spoke the words, the group entered a large square, framed by looming buildings. Stalls were spread here and there, selling anything from food, to clothing, to tools. It wasn't much, but in Underground terms it was as bustling as can be. Because of that, naturally, two Policemen were about, surveying the open area in search of suspicious activity.
Alan headed to the center of the square and looked around. It didn't take him long to decide on a location for their stall, right next to a small alleyway. Alan had chosen this place because it was very... Susceptible to petty theft.
Alan turned to Mitsuo and Cora, as his Squad got to work on the food stand.
"We'll be working on the stall for now. It will take us a bit of time, so for now you're free to roam as you'd like. The hotel we'll be staying in is right there." Alan nodded with his head to one of the buildings surrounding the square, which looked rather unremarkable.
"You can head there to rest if you'd like. I heard it utilises a natural cavern of hot water to create relaxing, hot baths. Just don't stray too far." he gave them a knowing stare.

And with that, the captain turned his attention to the stall.
Vindhelm was grudgingly hammering the sign in place, that read in big words (Next to a drawing, for the illiterate) 'FRESH FARM FOOD'.
Alan's mothed would have been so proud, were she alive.

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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by cornix on 5/12/2017, 11:12

Cora continued silently walking next to the others, it was their luck that there were no more incidents involving beggars. She was quite surprised at it, usually those kids don't give up this easily, esspecially if the only guard they had, aka her, seemed very absent. Disappointing, really. This was another proof that those kids were nothing for mercenary life, they had no willpower. They barely seemed to have a will to stay alive, how would they ever have the will to do anything at all?

She was really really disappointed in them. Very. It was pathetic. Cora shook her head to stop herself from getting more and more angry at them.

They finally reached their destination and Alan had picked the exact place for a merchant stall she would have not picked if she was to actually protect something. But, given the circumstances....it was probably for the better. Cora looked into the small alley, it was QUITE shady, esspecially given the lack of sunlight. Interesting... this was perfect for abducting people as well.

Cora went over to Alan, "Question: If someone tries to steal something here, shall I actually stop them...or...?", Cora made a pause, she really was unsure about it. THey wanted to find out where the 3DMG went, but did Alan want to sell it to find out where it went or for it to get stolen...
Also did he already mention this? Cora would end up feeling extremly embarassed if that was the case. She still asked.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Mitsuo Shimura on 20/1/2018, 23:47

Mitsuo looked around the town square, uncertainty shining in his eyes.
Eventually, he sighed and shook his head, "I'll suppose I'll check in at the hotel. Hopefully, that will calm me down a bit."

The mechanic nodded to the group before turning and heading in the direction Alan pointed at earlier.

Upon entering the building, Mitsuo saw the hotel was as kept inside as it was outside.
Trying to avoid staring too long, the young Shimura hastily walked to the reception desk.

The receptionist turned to Mitsuo, "can I help you?"

"One room for four and one room for two please."

"Ok, under what name?"

"Um... Robert D. Wheat."

"Your rooms are booked and here are the keys. The room numbers are on the keys."

"Thank you," Mitsuo smiled and proceeded to return to the group.
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Re: The Lower People (Closed to Mitsuo and Cora)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 21/1/2018, 02:04

It didn't take long for the market stall to be set up and running. It was barren, made of weary and coarse darkwood planks. On the stall were neatly organized small trays of various food items. Wheat, carrots, tomatoes, corn, even some small rolls of cheese. These normally colourful farm products seemed eerie and forbidding in the soft yellow glow of the lamps scattered about the Underground.
Still, fresh food like this was not common in these lands. Most stalls sold items that were known more for their longevity than their taste or nutrition, or whatever was leftover from meals served in the city above. What Alan and his crew were selling, although simple and everyday, was considered valuable. They could ask for a criminally high price for them... and were someone to try and steal food in this market, they'd probably try to steal from the undercover troupe.
Perfect.

The disguised captain was about to hand out orders to his subordinates and comrades, but before he could do so, he noticed a tall figure approach. Alan turned to face Cora, looking up at the intimidating ex-soldier. However, Cora's uncertainty added a certain kind of... cuteness to her. Alan found that rather amusing. He half-smiled to himself.
Alan listened to Cora's question. As soon as he understood what she meant to ask, he gestured with his fingers towards the alley, and took a few steps approaching it. When he was certain they were out of hearing range of anyone who could cause trouble, he responded calmly, his glasses reflecting the dim flames of the torch overhead.
"If you notice any petty thievery, and I mean, REALLY petty, like stealing a single item, do stop that. We want to give ourselves an air of professionalism. People who are used to dealing with common thievery. What we're looking for, are thieves with more 'punch', as it were."

Alan lowered his voice even though nobody but Cora was in earshot. It was just a natural instinct.
"My assumption is that the only people who can afford to steal from us are advanced burglars... like people using stolen 3DMGs. When that happens, Mitsuo and Vindhelm will come out of hiding with their own 3DMGs and begin chasing them immediately. We will get ready as soon as we can and do the same. If we do this right, and they don't suspect they're being followed, they should lead us right back to their hideout."
Alan paused, then finished.
"And that's where we'll need you the most."

Having said all that, Alan returned to the stall, a thin smile on his face, concealing the immense pressure he was under. He was responsible for the lives of all those with him. Anything that could happen or does happen is his direct responsibility.
"Peter. Please head into the square and begin 'surverying' the area."
Wordlessly, Peter headed into the square, walking through the stalls, listening the talks of the people. His already creepy appearance suited the place rather well, and he seemed to blend perfectly.
"Vindhelm. Head to the back and get ready. Try to rest as much as possible afterwards. Hyda, Cora and I will begin taking turns manning the stall. Hyda, mind taking the first shift?"
The two soldiers nodded. Vindhelm did so grudgingly, as if accepting a heavy fate. Hyda did so cheerfully, happy to finally do something to distract her from all the gloom.

And so, the game begins.

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