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Topic Summary

Posted by: Farran Falkenrath
« on: January 12, 2020, 10:50:11 PM »

The tinkle of breaking glass was the first indication that something was amiss.  Lana turned sharply, startled by the sound, a hand flying to her chest in alarm.  As nonsensical as it was, her frazzled nerves meant her first thought was that it was a Titan, as though those monstrous beings would have the finesse to break through the window, rather than to plough through brick and mortar too.  Naturally, she instead found a very human intruder peering through the shattered pane.  Misplaced relief flooded through her, especially when the unfamiliar face disappeared, as though spooked by her presence.  An opportunist and a coward, no doubt.

Get Fritz and get out, just leave the rest.  This thought had barely echoed in her mind before a hooded figure clambered through the broken frame.  Lana’s instinct was to sling the backpack on one arm, and sweep up her son with the other.  The intruder - presumably a looter, shamefully preying on others at this time of jeopardy - could have the rest.  The Don’t gave her pause, however.  It was an order, spoken firmly, but without any great roar of authority.  Somehow that chilled Lana, almost as much as the threat of the blade that glinted ominously in the morning light.  In growing horror, her hand flew from her chest - where her heart thudded all the harder, all the more uncomfortably - to her mouth, stifling the scream that threatened to rise in her throat.

“Don’t - ” Lana echoed, muttering the word through her fingers, hers a plea rather than a command.  A glance told her the intruder was correct, she couldn’t hope to grab Fritz before he came to harm.  She was rooted powerlessly to the spot by the threat made against her son. 

“Daddy!” Fritz chirped from his place on the floor, dropping his stuffed rabbit to extend his hands above his head, happily opening and closing his pudgy fists, asking to be lifted.

“He’s not your daddy, baby,” the frightened mother whispered, more out of reflex than anything.  A second figure leapt through the broken window, causing Lana to groan.  Instinct told her to flee, love told her to stay.  She could not - would not - abandon Fritz.  Desperately, she glanced around the kitchen, looking futilely for something, anything, that she could use as a weapon to defend her family.

Tell me where the research is. Make this easy on your son.

That pulled her reluctant focus back to the interlopers.  The first thief had pulled down his hood to reveal a handsome face, one that Lana took a moment to study.  As soon as they were through the gate, as soon as she found a Military Police officer not frantically occupied by the breach, she would report the break-in.  Let the pretty snake rot in a prison cell, let him pay the price for trespassing in her home.  This flicker of righteous anger gave Lana the courage she needed to peel her hand away from her mouth.  The ‘research’ he spoke of could only mean Farran’s work.  What they would want with blueprints and papers, she could not say, nor did she care to think too much on.

“My husband’s study is upstairs.  Everything else will be in his office at the Garrison’s Headquarters,” Lana answered, her cadence unsteady out of fear for her son, her voice sounding as though it was coming from miles away.  She could hear her own heartbeat in her ears, she felt physically ill.  It was difficult to say whether the latter was due to the stress of her predicament - first the word of Titans in the district, now this - or the monthly bleed that she had recently missed, hinting at the possibility of a sibling for Fritz.  Only the previous night, she had quietly poured her hopes onto Farran, just as he drifted off to dreams.  Finding his lips in the dark, she had felt that their corners were lifted in a sleepy smile, one that said he had heard her, even as slumber claimed him.

For her husband, for her son, for their unborn child, she needed to leave.  Immediately.

“Take whatever you want. Just let us go,” Lana continued, her voice steadier now, though she spoke through gritted teeth, her gaze darting between Fritz and the two imposing figures.
Posted by: Quirin Drexler
« on: August 17, 2018, 11:57:38 PM »

A whistle shrieked. To most nearby, those who were not listening out for it, the sound of screams of terror and stomping monsters would drown it out. Not for the gang. Quirin's eyes widened ever so slightly, and his sharp gaze flicked to Matthias. The underground inhabitant held his breath, then let it out in a deep sigh, as though preparing himself. Even he, the product of pickpockets and desperados, struggled to prepare himself for their duty.

Quirin delighted in the idea of such a person feeling nervous.

"The kitchen," offered the soldier, jerking Matthias with a slap to his shoulder. A stumble into the wall might have alerted anybody at any other time, but he doubted such a thing would be noticed. It mattered not now. A sick glint in his eyes had appeared, a sliver of a smile breaking a pale, vampiric face. "What are you waiting for? Get to it."

Flinching at the barked, though quiet, orders, Matthias Axmann nodded quickly, and brought his arm beneath his cloak. The fabric rippled over the limb, bunching up as his fingers clawed for purchase, until secure. The Military Police squadmates had picked him for a reason. It was far more difficult to trace a looter than one with proper training, and they'd heard of his skills in breaking and entering. Not perfect, which was exactly the point. Still, he had been coached. Though unaware that he would be thrown under the carriage at the second opportunity, and slaughtered if he dared speak a word of truth.

The first opportunity would show itself soon enough.

Glass at the window shattered, breaking into tinkling pieces and cascading down inside the house. Matthias' face shown in the gap, then disappeared as he was roughly pulled aside. Appearance shadowed by his hood, Quirin grasped the windowpane, gloves taking the initial bite of remaining glass, and hopped through the new entrance, one leg bent first, the other skimming, then both were on the ground. In the next moment, he had drawn his blade, a shimmering instrument of death. Just one. It was all he needed.

In those seconds, he picked up the details he very much needed. A child, barely older than infant age, sat upon the floor, with some ratty toy. The woman, Lana Falkenrath, having busied herself with preparations to leave. The items to leave on the table.

Quirin's voice was cool, light, not quite deep, as he spoke. "Don't." It was neither a command nor a simple word. One word, directed to the target, to make her freeze, to stop her unnecessary attempt to save her child or herself. It meant many things, far quicker and simpler than specifying what she should not do. He was nothing if not precise.

"This blade is twenty-six inches long, as I expect you are aware." It glittered as he moved the weapon, pointing it towards the child. "I can lunge and slice this across him before you can even take one stride forwards. I suggest you don't."

Wendelin took his leap through the window, his perimeter check finished. No threat of discovery imminent. Especially not with the surprise Alwin had gone to fetch.

Ignoring his squadmate's presence, at least in not taking his eyes off of his prey, the leader of the pack tugged down his hood. With the perimeter checked, there was no need for hiding anything. The only maybe-survivor would never recall his face to care, he was certain of it. "Tell me where the research is. Make this easy on your son." The blade tipped ever so slightly, positioned in such a way that, while further from the boy, a flick of his wrist would send it to cut across his body.
Posted by: Farran Falkenrath
« on: June 03, 2018, 07:53:35 PM »

“Hop hop hop,” babbled Fritz, from where he knelt on the kitchen floor.  His young, rounded face was creased with concentration, all focus on the much-loved, stuffed toy rabbit clutched in his small hands.  In that moment of solemnity, he looked like his father; despite the soft, chestnut hair he had inherited from his mother, and despite the fact that his grey eyes were of a warmer, more carefree shade than Farran’s own.

Lana hurried past him, the swish of her skirts scarcely disturbing the boy.

It was impossible not to think of all the times, late at night, when she had lain in Farran’s arms, fearful of what fate might befall them.  The Titans were real-life monsters she could hardly bear to think about and, once they wormed their way into her mind, the worry would keep her from sleep.  Only now did it occur to her that Farran had never actually promised Utopia would be spared the same fate as Shiganshina.  He had only assured her that it was unlikely, that they were the safest they could be without living within the interior.  The reminder that he worked, every day, to make humanity that little bit safer, that little bit better prepared for disaster - coupled with a well-timed kiss - was often enough to put her at ease.

And now the very worst had happened.  While she packed and prepared to evacuate, her husband was presumably out there on the battlefield, the sigil of roses emblazoned over his heart, no doubt prepared to give his life for humanity.  It was an oath he had made time and time again.  If Lana was to be completely honest with herself, she almost resented the fact that those military vows would always supersede the marital promises he had made.  Farran Falkenrath had a duty to her, and to their son.

The backpack that rested on the kitchen table already had some of their clothes thrust inside.  A wooden box soon joined the garments, one that Lana knew contained letters and sketches from Farran’s youth, those handwritten pages penned by family members now lost.  Though lacking in monetary value, they were still a treasure.

“When we go out, I want you to keep an eye open for daddy, okay?”  Lana tried to keep her voice light.  The penalty of such a game would be that Fritz would invariably point to any and every dark-haired Garrison soldier he happened to see, but that would be a small price to pay if it distracted him from the horrors.  Even indoors, the multitudinous cries of pain and fear could be heard, melding together until they were little more than a distant roar.  Lana shivered as she tucked a picture frame into the bag - an etching of herself and Farran on their wedding day.  Please don’t let that be how Fritz will remember his father’s face.  In her fear of the Titans, and in her current state of trepidation, Lana had forgotten that humans could be monsters too.  “Let’s go to the gate and see if we can see him there, hm?”

“See daddy!” Fritz chirped agreeably, bouncing the rabbit up and down in his hands.  “Hop hop hop!”
Posted by: Quirin Drexler
« on: April 17, 2018, 12:57:19 AM »

[ during the Assault on Utopia ]
[ content warning: violence & gore, human v human ]

A concert of screams surrounded them as they moved through the shadowed streets. Harsh thumps rattled anything loose, glass shattered in the distance, and mingled cries for help echoed. Pain filled the air, as violent as its cause, fear swallowing all nearby. Utopia's gate had been breached. Titans had arrived, jaws wide, hands reaching out. They hunted.

Quirin was on the hunt too.

"Alwin," he hissed, pointing ahead to the Titan lumbering up the street. Its bulbous body shuddered with each step, so slow, seeking out the closest prey to snatch and bring to its drooling mouth. His companion broke away from the group, clutching his gear and heading off to distract their potential interruption. "No kill," the white-haired soldier reminded him. The blond threw up a hand of acknowledgement, rushing into the second stage of their plan.

The rest of the group continued on, four pairs of feet thudding over the cobbles. Evacuating civilians trembled in their fear, paying no mind to any around them. All they thought of was the safety that awaited them, out of Utopia's once-safe walls. Little did they know what awaited them. How many of them would be slaughtered in their haste to be safe? He hoped plenty. Pigs to the slaughter.

"Gerhild, Wendelin," he whistled, nodding towards the targeted house. Two figures ran ahead, straight for the front door, where they crouched, listening and waiting for the next signal. Neighbours were shouting, trying to usher their family members out, to grab their last few valuables, then racing past the group.

All wore dark cloaks that covered their gear, perfect for hiding in the shadows with. It was what felt natural. Besides, they hardly wished to be stopped by some idiot soldier expecting them to help. Quirin didn't want to waste time on taking out any potential witnesses. That was too dirty and slow. He likened his objective to a mission, one that would help them all to survive later.

The question was, who did he count in 'all'?

Truthfully, the less said, the better. A rule others should live by far more than they already did. He couldn't wait to watch them crawl, blood and tears racing down their cheeks, begging for help. Were he in uniform, he might have played his part, poor little precious pigs squealing for protection, saved by the dashing squire.

"Sir," Matthias hissed, charging to the back of the house. The brunet steadied himself against the wall, slipping next to a window, out of sight. He peeked, then looked back at Quirin, who'd caught up and shoved his shoulder to the opposite side of the window. "When do we make our move?"

He paused, listening out to life screeching for help from the chaos imparted on Utopia District. Heh. More like dystopia district. "Once Wendelin gives the signal," he muttered, listening out for the telling whistle, the one that would confirm the positioning of the Garrison soldier's wife. Their target. It would be easy enough to dispatch her.

Quirin intended to do it personally.

[ notes ]

Alwin Weber: member of the Military Police, Quirin's squadmate, blond; cautious. 30, trained alongside Quirin, destructive gambler.
Gerhild Fischer: member of the Military Police, brunette; confident. 23, could charm the socks off of a beggar, wants to use skills meaningfully.
Wendelin Rosenstein: member of the Military Police, Quirin's squadmate, brunet; keen. 27, likes coins in his purse and not much else.
Matthias Axmann: civilian, from the Underground City, blond; impatient. 22, easily manipulated, desperate for work.

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