[A day like any other in Sakihama.  People going about their lives, trying to get to work on time.  Some even running late and visibly trying not to be.

[Wait a minute-]


[An old but familiar face is running down the street, guitar case held aloft as she works her way through the crowded sidewalk.  By the time she reaches the entrance of a particular cafe she's nearly out of breath, where the owner's been waiting for her with a smirk on his face.]

Please... tell me I'm not-

Nah, don't worry about it.  Not one to watch a clock religiously anyways!  Got your guitar?

Of course!

Awesome.  Looking forward to the show.
[Honestly it'd been a stupid idea to tag along with Roger... especially when the world had just kept throwing EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING that could've gone wrong her way.  Freakish monsters and magic and the Breaker getting fried like it had been... and to start it all off, being stuck in an underwater prison where death had seemed a very real possibility...]

... Just like that time, even.

[The testing accident that'd cost her her hand; a malfunctioning RE Drive had had caused a test-type Breaker to spiral and crash into the ocean...and a day and a half in a slowly-flooding, crushed cockpit .  Water and tight spaces.  Joy.  But at least it was over with.  And the rest of the day would be-]

... A message?

[Yep Ana.  You have one new message, sent from a certain Diana R.  Wonder what this could be about...]

[actual prompt 1]

So... how do I look?  Probably not amazing, but this was what I could do on short notice.

["What I could do" meaning getting dressed up as best she could in a fancy red dress with gloves to cover up her missing pieces.  There's still the lingering -but tolerable- smell of salt water and fish though.]

I got a message from my grandmother.  Commending me regarding the fight against Invicta and, just, well everything here.  Would've just deleted it but...

... Well, she mentioned having an in with the scientists studying the crystal monster stuff found in the Himalayas, and I'd like to have some answers.  About Kisaryth and... everything, I guess.

Wish me luck?

Ana's family is jerks )

[actual prompt 2]

[And a while later, Ana finally returns... in an absolutely miserable condition.]

And fuck you too, grandma.

[The smell of Paradigm's harbor has been completely drowned out with the stench of rancid, bitter coffee... and accommodating stains on her face, dress, and a packet of papers that are clumped together.  Separating them isn't easy, and there are more than a few rips, Ana muttering in frustration with each one before she finally spreads them out on a table.  They're still legible, fortunately... with the title Preliminary Findings on Comparisons Between Specimen One and Specimen Two.  There's even pictures of the Rootworms... along with a different type.  And almost immediately she notices something worrisome...]

... The worms we fought... they're listed as "Specimen 2"...!

There was another encounter before that... months before...  not long after the Breaker program began!  And even if the worms looked different, they were fought in a mountain region and went after power sources!

[She wasn't sure what to expect from all of this, but this all is something else alright.  Maybe even worth her grandmother's gloating.]
[Crystal mutations on people and gigantic, energy-draining crystal worms.  Just when it seemed like just a mundane situation, the Breaker theft had taken a turn for the bizarre, and all Ana could do was just hope that something would come to light about it all.  But right now she has a another crisis to contend with.  A far, far more wackier more immediate one.]


[Down the hallway goes Ana's prosthetic hand, jerkishly and awkwardly.  Sometimes "galloping" along its fingers and thumb, sometimes rolling on its length.  Ana herself is in fast pursuit, complete in fluffy sleeping pants and a tank top.]


[1] (for people who participated in Penance Due or are coming to help pick everyone up afterwards)

[Well... things had certainly happened, but what little that had been learned from this trip just raised further questions without any possible leads.  And with nothing better to do, Ana's been trying to explore what she can of the building that Jason Ortiz had been waiting for them by.  If it was where he lived, clues might've been there... but between all the fighting and Thomas's powers going haywire it's really just become an exercise in lifting up rubble and putting it aside.]

What could he have possibly done?  Ortiz was helping out here at least to some degree.  If it was atonement for some past sin... if it was as bad as Thomas said then we would've heard about it, right?  You can't make enemies with that kind of deep-seated hatred and not get other eyes on you as well...

[In the midst of her searching though, she winds up uncovering a few broken pieces of a wooden object.  It's not had to guess they were originally had a more human-like shape... like some basic doll that was left behind here for one reason or another.  Ana stares at it for a moment before continuing on with her fruitless labor.]


[The doll's still on her mind when the team's finally brought back to base, and along with contrasting images of the fancy, expensive kinds that she'd had as a child.  The whole trip to India contrasted with her wealthy beginnings, really... and even after being disowned she'd never experienced that kind of poverty or seen it firsthand.  It's almost enough to start feeling grateful to her family for all those years of support before they'd thrown her out.  Enough to make her actually pick up a phone to call them.   Considering her working with the Unity Group, she'd probably even be welcomed back as the prodigal child.]


... But to them it's about "family calling" and "tradition".

[Rekindled appreciation for a good childhood is enough to pick the phone up, yes.  But that's all.  Back down the phone goes, Ana heading off back to her room to rest.  She's got another shift scheduled at the cafe in a few hours.]

The closer I get to what they want from me, the more I'm getting away from what they want me to believe.



[Dreams can sometimes feel very, very real.  And when it involves spooky or creepy circumstances that actually might be pretty realistic considering your current lot in life, that can make it even worse.  The nghtmare Ana just went through is one of those, and in the midst of waking up and flailing-]


[... Gravity took its toll when she wound up on the edge of the bed.]

... For that matter, don't tell me.  Is it November ye-

[One glance at the calender clears that up.  Only the 24th... though it hasn't exactly been a great month though for other people...]



[Later that day Ana's actually looking over the memorials and reminders of those in or allies of the Unity Group whose luck ran out.  Even the Breaker theft incident has some stuff set up too...]

... Just seems kinda childish now that I'm actually thinking about it..

[Out from her pockets comes a little black book, one she flips through briefly before closing it with a frown and a sigh.]

Just an excuse to get drunk off my ass and think it was justified.


[In the wake of the massacre at the Yukon base and the theft of... pretty much everything of value associated with the Breaker program, Ana's just trying to piece everything together.  There's debriefing and internal affairs people asking why she hadn't been with the others and a lot of exhausting things to go through after a day that was already plenty exhausting.

[And then someone finally let her look at the death toll.]

Mechanics, pilots... project heads and even the top eggheads...

[Of course the death toll would be like that.  Legato's men and women had just slaughtered everyone in-person at their little performance.  One that had specifically been arranged to celebrate the completion of the Breaker program...]

We went through all of that, buried so many of our own, finished our jobs... and then this!

[2] (frontdated a few days)

[There's a new pilot being transferred to the Unity Group.  She's not thrilled about this -she's a test pilot, not a combat one- but the theft of the Breakers has sorta convinced some of the upper brass she'd do more good here than helping try to salvage the whole program.  But, as she comes in to Fort Alhambra, wheeling a cart behind her with her clothes, guitar, and a few other things... she's got something else on her preoccupying her.]

-And that white-haired girl at the Yukon's a monster too?  And it's not just the Autobots... but there's a Wulgaru princess helping us?  And we might share some genetic ancestor with them?

... And that blue-haired girl from before is ANOTHER princess?!?

[In short: being just a member of the vanilla ESUN locks you out of the loop about some things.]

-And this person's "kin" want to eat them to become immortal?!?

[A lot of things.]

-And Shu Shirakawa was somehow ALIVE?  And he had some talking pet bird?!?

[A whole lot of things.]

... And the cat thing just has to be someone messing with me!

[It's gonna be one hell of an adjusting period.]