Stalwart Hunters (5)

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Downtime at Hunter HQ

Seikou walks into the square and waves to Variance. "How are you today, oh fearless leader?"

Variance nods in reply to the wave, still taking his usual seat on the bench. It's amazing there isn't a depression there by now. "Well enough, though I don't think 'leader' is exactly accurate."

Seikou shrugs. "You're my superior, and Signas mostly stays in his office, so..."

Variance nods again. "Good point."

Seikou sits on the bench for once. "...Variance-sama... I didn't want to say this in front of the civilians because I was afraid I'd scare them... There was a Maverick attack on me yesterday."

Variance suddenly looks much more serious at the mention, not minding to send the glare needlessly in Seikou's direction. "Who was it?"

Seikou looks embarrassed. "I'm afraid he never stated his designation. He seemed to have shadow-manipulation powers... He attacked me and unfortunately succeeded in knocking me out and escaping..."

Seikou blushes and looks at his oversized boots.

Variance takes a moment to try to recall anything remotely like the description... Vice never seemed to use the shadows to his advantage, and he knew nothing of the other high-priority Maverick... "At least there's something to go on for next time."

Seikou says 'I'm sorry that I failed to capture him!'

Variance softens and waves a hand dismissively. "It's alright, no one's expected to take one down the very first time, though the feat -would- be impressive. Mavericks tend to be somewhat elusive, anyway."

Seikou says 'He used dirty tactics like damaging my visual receptors with dirt and the like...'

Seikou seems to be holding some fact back, as he stares at the ground.

You say 'Typical maneuvers for them. Of course, they can't be expected to have any sort of honor whatsoever, at least from my experience.'

Seikou sighs. "I wasn't expecting honor, just mentioning it so we can know it for the next fight."

Variance mutters a short agreement, not really having much else to say to extend the subject.

Seikou closes his eyes and leans back, still seeming more withdrawn than before

Variance sends a short, slightly concerned glance towards Seikou, but quickly takes it back, finding it better to not pry into the other's sudden distance.

Seikou sighs and finally seems to come to some sort of decision. "...The virus nearly emerged again."

Variance nods in understanding. "I see." He seems a little far off himself, as if looking deeply into a concept or some other intangible idea. "It's probably just theory, but I'm starting to think this 'Maverick Virus' is more than a simple string of code."

Seikou opens an eye. "How can it be more than that?"

You say 'As I said, it's probably just a random thought that's been read into too far, but... Maybe there's something else behind the Virus, something I can't quite grasp. Like a pure malevolent force bent on one objective...'

You say 'But a force that can be overcome, given proper incentive and willpower.'

Seikou says 'actually I think i just have a good antivirus program... But who knows...? It does feel more like I'm fighting it than anything else...'

Variance shifts a little. "But then we go back to the whole 'do reploids have souls' question and the existentialism starts all over again." A small, cynical smirk shows on him again.

Seikou shrugs. "I really don't bother worrying about that anymore after the conversation with Bahamut. He scared me."

Seikou says 'The thing I'm worrying about right now is.... Why does everyone seem to dislike the Hunters...?'

You say 'A small band of outsiders, imposing a sort of martial law on a realm they don't even belong to. There's bound to be some people against that. It's simply how politics work.'

Seikou says 'It just seems like most people don't believe we're doing anything... One person said we weren't attacking the real problem... I admit, I reacted badly to that one, but still...'

Variance lets out a quiet sigh, adjusting himself on the bench. "Or maybe they think we're not sure what the 'real problem' is. We could speculate about the public opinion all day and never run out of things to say."

Seikou says 'True.'

Seikou says 'I just worry that they're right... We kill one maverick, 2 show up. We need an antivirus that works, but it infects the core program to such a large degree it's hard to remove...'

Variance becomes somewhat distanced again. "If it remained static, there should have been a true cure for it by now... but that's obviously not the case. It's more like a true virus, changing and adapting to whatever's thrown at it, or at least it could be."

Seikou says 'So, what the hell can we do about it?'

Variance shifts uncomfortably, despite knowing it's his thoughts and not the bench that are making him so. "I... don't know. I don't think anyone does."

Seikou says '...We'll find a way eventually... Until then, we'll just do what we've always been doing...'

Variance lets out another sigh, trying to shake the subject from the forefront of his mind with a defeated nod, but failing horribly. "I suppose it's all we -can- do for now."

Seikou laughs bitterly. "I always seem to make the conversation turn depressing..."

You say 'It's not you, I'm just reading too far into something that's probably a false hope. I suppose manipulating the forces of life and earth takes its toll on one's psyche in time...'

Seikou says 'I've been curious about that... How do you do it? I thought it took a human mind to use magics...'

Variance raises a hand, idly calling forth a small bit of the energy known here as 'mana', flicking it about out of a lack of something better to do with it. "I suppose reploids are close enough to use magic if they put effort into it..."

Seikou says 'Hmn... maybe I'll try to learn someday...'

You say 'And then there's the fact that it's practically what I was made for, though I'll admit that it's likely much stronger here than it ever would be in a training room.'

Seikou says 'Hmn?'

Seikou looks curious. "Why would you be made to use magic in a world with no magic?"

Variance dismisses the tiny ball of energy, going back to a state of mostly inactivity. "I never said it didn't work there, but what I -did- get out drew more on my personal energy reserves than the environment itself like it's supposed to."

Seikou leans back. "Interesting..."

"Isn't it?" It came more as a statement as a question. Variance's gaze turns to the sky, having found the fountain a little monotonous. "But you do raise an interesting point."

Seikou says 'Hmn...? I did?'

Variance nods in place of breaking his train of thought. "Most of the land around the city is dead anyway, and I'm sure the FMS can't draw on what isn't there..." A short smirk makes its way onto his face as he brings his gaze back to earth.

You say 'But Shima always was a bit of a strange one.'

Seikou says 'Was Shima your creator?'

Seikou looks interested. This is the first he's heard of Vari's past, after all.

Variance nods again. "Shima Faldrien(don't ask). Bit eccentric, but knowledgable in her field." He pauses, brow furrowing. "...Make that -really- eccentric."

Seikou grins. "My creator - Dr. Hitomi Fujimoto - was a bit odd herself... Apparently she designed my appearance on that of a character in a videogame becaus it would make me "shinier".

Variance breaks into a grin of his own. "Sounds like she and Shima would get along quite well."

Seikou grins more. "I wonder if they know each other... I mean, the scientist community is pretty close-knit. Probably spent hours together squeeing or something..."

Variance lets a short laugh escape him, valiantly trying to keep it to just that. "It's definitely possible, especially since Shima spends hours -alone- 'squeeing'."

Seikou says 'They're sounding more and more alike with every passing minute. That's kind of frightening, tell truth...'

You say 'Yeah, I know what you mean~...'

Variance composes himself, looking a little more relaxed than before.

Seikou watches the shimmering water fall into the fountain basin, still smiling a little.

Seikou says 'Should we get out of the rain?'

Variance vainly shakes off some of the pooling rainwater from his right arm, starting to stand. "That would be a good idea, I'm sure."

Seikou pulls himself to his feet, grabbing his staff from where it had been resting against the wall. "Off we go!"

Variance takes his own polearm in hand, closing his eyes and focusing briefly...

Variance surfaces from the casting, looking slightly upwards. "...Why did I -ever- think that would work?" He sighs and starts off on a slight run towards the base, feebly shielding himself from the rain.

Seikou says 'Nani...?'