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Location: RT-636 "Mother of Invention"

Time: 2200 Hours (10:00 PM)


Agent Texas sat patiently in the chair she was occupying, staring at the A.I Containment unit sitting on the table. It was hooked up to a console that some technicians had been using to analyze the A.I inside of the unit, Beta, who Texas had recently retrieved from the body of the late Minnesota. She regretted being unable to bring back the body as well, but she just didn't have the time. The technicians had been trying to figure out what happened, but the minute they started probing Beta's files, she'd fried the console.

Now the Director had showed up, calling for Agent Nevada after the situation had been explained. A short time later, the door opened automatically with a quiet noise, enough to direct Texas' attention to it. Nevada had never entirely fit in with the image of what a soldier should be -strong, brave, even prideful. She was small, frail-looking and jumpy. Now she looked even worse, shrinking under Texas' gaze as she walked into the room, taking in the console and the Containment Unit.

"Decided to take the long way, Agent Nevada?" The Director was not entirely pleased with the situation at hand, meaning he wasn't pleased with anything or anyone, and he sure as hell wasn't going to wait for her to answer.

"As you can see, we managed to retrieve the A.I of the late Neil Brookes from his armor after he was put down for helping the enemy. Unfortunately, we were unable to extract his armor, meaning that the only way to get information on the enemy is by getting it from the A.I itself." Texas cringed in her helmet when the Director referred to Beta as "it". It was like he didn't even care for the A.I anymore. The Councilor stepped forward.

"That's where you come in, Nevada. You A.I is more... compassionate and understanding than the others. Beta's insecure nature is easily compatible with those traits, meaning she'll trust Kappa more than anyone else. We need him to speak with Beta and try to get her to cooperate so that we can find out what happened."
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Inside of the containment unit, Beta was... scared. Sota wasn't there to theoretically dry her tears. He wasn't there to soothe her. He wasn't there to tell her that the world isn't really so scary.

Sota was gone, and now the Director and his technicians were trying to poke around her files, even after she had told them she had no idea what had been going on. One moment Sota had asked Beta if she could go offline so he could talk to CT in private, then the next moment she came online to find her Agent barely clinging to life. Then Texas has come, and, against her pleas, Sota pulled Beta.

He'd done the one thing he'd promised her he would never do...

...And now he was dead, and she was jammed into her containment unit again, left to fight off the things in the dark on her own.
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Nevada barely reacted to the Director's criticism, instead focusing on the task at hand. She looked to her left, where Kappa appeared, head-height. He was eager to help his 'sister', she could tell. He always wanted to help.

Nevada smiled at him, very much trying to draw his attention away from the Director's annoyance and the reason Beta was now stuck in a Containment Unit, hiding from the world.

"You up to it, Kap?" she asked, knowing his answer really didn't matter.

"Yep," Kappa declared, his hologram wondering over to the console as if to confirm it. Kappa's chosen avatar was a boy either in his very early teens or just before, consistently dressed for cold weather. "Do you want me to talk to her from here, or from the console?" Kappa asked. The question was, of course, directed toward the Director.

"The console. I do not think she wishes us to have anything to do with your conversation," the Director replied, gesturing for Nevada to remove Kappa's chip from her armour. Nevada removed the chip, and the Councilor carefully took it from her and placed it into a slot on the console (which was had been repaired just enough for them to get readings on Beta as well as Kappa). Once that was done, all that was left to do was let the A.I. do it's thing. The Director looked at the technican that was silently watching the screen for any signs of activity.

"Inform me at once if there is a development." The techie gave a sharp salute as the Director and the Councilor left, leaving the techician, Texas, and Nevada to watch over the pair of A.I. Texas looked over to Nevada.

"So... How're you holding up? Since... ya' know..." Tex had never been much of a talker. She was used to hitting things, breaking things, killing things, and anything related to that, so small talk, or any kind of talk really, wasn't her strong suit.
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Inside of the containment unit, Kappa found himself in a fairly dark wasteland. This was not a place for Beta to be. Not even for a second. To make matters worse, this had been her containment unit before her implantation as well. If Kappa strained his ears, he'd be able to hear Beta "crying" as she usually did when she was scared. Kappa followed the sounds of sobs to a pale blue light in the dark. It was Beta, curled up on herself, her hair messy and her yellow eyes screwed shut. Beta's avatar looked about ten years older than Kappa's, but he still always felt like the elder of the two. Carefully taking off his coat, Kappa gently placed it over her shoulders. Beta jumped, nearly hitting her head on his chin as her eyes flew open.
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"Alright," Nevada replied eventually. The techie made a point of examining another piece of equipment in the room, giving the women their privacy. "Certainly... certainly not as bad as I could be." A weak grin was sent Texas' way. She was reminded of something she'd wanted to bring up for a while.

"Y'know I... North," Texas began. Nevada looked at her, confused.

"You and North?" Nevada asked. She didn't see what that had to do with anything, but she wasn't going to complain about the change in topic.  "Um, really? I mean, that sounds great! Just a little unexpected." Texas made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a growl.

"No, I mean North told me what he overheard during the mission. The conversation between you and... and Sota." Nevada looked up sharply now, meeting Texas' eyes, wary of where this would go.

"You were ready to let him kill you."
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Beta saw Kappa, and unlike other times where she would cry her eyes out to the "elder" A.I, she kept her distance from him.

Minnesota's death had impacted the already fragile A.I fairly hard. If Kappa looked around closely, he would notice that several sections of the sky, or the ground, or the trees, or even just random tidbits of air were digitally broken, showing up as shining blue wire models or as patches of broken coding.

"Go away, Kappa... Just... Leave me alone..."

"No," Kappa said, sitting down next to her. He decided that 'hug therapy' probably wasn't going to work here, so he kept his distance. "You need to talk to someone. You can't stay here forever."
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Texas wasn't pleased with Nevada, that much for certain, and if Nevada had been about to let herself get killed, anyone could have told Nevada that she'd have needed a damn good reason to get Tex off of her back.

Nevada focused on a point besides Texas' face, avoiding her eyes and ignoring the scowl this earned her. How was she supposed to explain her feelings at that point? Texas wasn't like her. She wouldn't understand -maybe someone like York or Wash, but not Texas.

She had to try, though. The look on Texas' face demanded it.

"He was my friend," she replied simply. "I refused to fight him."

"He was going to kill you," Texas shot back.

"He didn't," Nevada shrugged. It wasn't like it this was something she could shrug off, it was just the only gesture she could think of.

"And what if he had?" Texas knew Nevada wasn't telling the whole story. Hell she herself did it thousands of times, but Texas knew Minnesota couldn't have pulled that trigger, even if he'd wanted to.

So then why point the gun in the first place?
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Beta simply frowned, trying her best to look angry, but... That was more Omega's thing than hers.

"I can and I will... Why do you even care? You're not the one jammed in a containment unit..." Beta stood up and angrily kicked a small rock, which exploded into coding when she did so.

"And what's the point of talking? CT wanted to "talk" with Sota, and now look where he is..."

"I am not CT," Kappa stated, hugging his knees to his chest and mirroring her position. "I am Kappa."

Kappa was starting to be a little scared by his sister. Not helping that the usual bright yellow of her eyes was a little... off.
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The technician looked at the screen when it made a small beeping sound, and noticed a slightly irregularity in Beta's patterns as the two AI "conversed". He shrugged before he went back to examining the other equipment in the room.

Probably just a glitch in the system.

"If he had, then I'd be dead," Nevada replied, crossing her arms over her chest in an unusually confrontational pose, even if she still wouldn't meet Texas' eyes. "That's what happens when someone shoots you in the head."
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Beta looked at Kappa, tears flowing down her face.

"Of course you are! You're Kappa. Compassion. How could I ever forget?!" If Kappa took a look around he would notice that the missing codes and models were becoming more frequent in the world around them.
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The technician looked up from the equipment he'd been examining when the console's alarm went off, and he quickly walked over to look at the screen, noticing several things wrong with Beta's pattern.

"F.I.L.S.S, get the Director."

Affirmitive.

On the screen, a window popped up to tell the technician that the system's firewall had been breached.

"FUCK! Get him here, like, 5 minutes ago, F.I.L.S.S!" The technician had quickly taken a seat, furiously typing in line after line of code onto the console.

"What the fuck's going on?!" Texas was curious to see what was making all that... noise.

"Beta's managed to get into the system. She's blocking my access and trying to tear down the unit from the inside out!"
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Beta looked at Kappa before sighing and throwing his coat at him.

"You want to help them? Fine." Beta removed her own coat, implanting it with her recent memories, and threw it at Kappa. She planned to tear the containment units "world" apart, piece by piece, until she eventually tore apart her own coding. Beta walked over and hugged Kappa tightly, crying... But smiling.

"I'm sorry Kappa... You were always a good little brother..."

After "Alpha", comes "Beta"...

Beta looked at Kappa before letting go of him.

"You should probably leave..."

Kappa froze. He pulled Beta's coat tight around himself when she let him go, processing and re-processing the data she'd put there. Because it couldn't be right. It just couldn't be. It wasn't fair that Beta try to put him through that while he and Ada were already so hurt. And what about the others? North and Theta, Massa and Pi, York and Delta?

He was suddenly very aware of the strange, glitchy, pixelated areas of landscape, even areas where it looked like someone had ripped large holes in reality and code -incorrect, half-deleted code- could be viewed through them. Kappa wanted to run back to Ada. But that would mean leaving Beta.

"...No," he decided. He wasn't going to let her stay here and hurt herself. Not just for her, but for the others as well. And for him.
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Nevada's relief of the end of Texas' interrogation was short-lived.

"What does that mean?" Nevada demanded, only keeping her distance because she knew it was bad and that the man was trying to fix it and she didn't want to distract him.

"Suicide," the techie replied. "The AI equivalent of suicide."

Nevada froze and, guiltily, thought, What will happen to Kappa?
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Beta looked at Kappa, and she felt... Happy.

"Kappa... I know it's not fair, but I can't trust anyone but you with this. The other A.I would mess everything up..."
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The Director had finally showed up with the Councilor following behind him. He immediatly went over to the still blaring console.

"What the hell is going in, Hanson?!"

"Beta's attempting to tear herself apart, Sir. She's blocking me from stopping her!" The Director's frown deepened, and Texas felt sick to her stomach when she knew exactly what he was about to do.

"So be it. Remove Kappa from the console, Councilor. Beta's a lost cause now." Tex looked at Nevada, getting ready to grab the girl in case she tried anything stupid.
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Beta looked around, smiling as she did. The world was coming down...

"Kappa... You can't stay... I'm not worth saving..." Beta walked for a bit. Kappa might have been yelling at her, but she couldn't hear him. Just the void of silence. She looked at him, smiling.

"Be good for the others, Little Brother..." She was going to say goodbye when she remembered something...

...Something about hating goodbyes.

With that, Beta began finalizing her suicide, slowly (and painfully) deleting her own code. Deleting the very thing that made her who she was. The Councilor pulled Kappa soon at this time, but he'd still seen what Beta was doing to herself.
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"Give him to me," an authoritive, cold voice ordered. The Councilor paused and stared at its owner, Nevada. Texas, Hanson and the Director did the same.  Nevada looked intimidating now. The usual delicacy of her features and the way she carried herself was gone without even so much as a trace as she held out her hand expectantly. Her eyes held none of the giddiness or fear they were known for.

The Director nodded. "You heard the agent, Councilor," he declared.

Kappa's chip was handed over to Nevada, at which point the girl seemed to decide being terrifying was too tiring and she was back to normal... if very distressed. Texas looked at Nevada, determined to continue her interro-

"Agent Texas. I'd like a full debriefing on your mission, if you'd please. Agent Nevada, you're free to go." The Director issued the girl outside, and the Councilor followed her.

"Nevada... You should return your A.I to its slot and make sure Kappa is... Okay. Seeing A.I.s destroy themselves can have... adverse effects..." It was public knowledge that one of the A.I.s, Mu, had effectively ripped itself apart after failing a series of tests. Another A.I., Nu, had seen it, and about a week after being implanted into Agent Ohio, had snapped inside of the woman's mind, viciously rampaging as it slowly killed itself. Ohio had been off active duty since then, going to regular therapy sessions, but showing no progress as she cried and screamed at the memory of the psychotic A.I.

Agents York and Maine had been walking by, now interested in why Nevada and the Councilor were walking down a hall together. Sigma appeared next to Nevada to voice his agent's thoughts.

You seem distracted, Nevada. Did your meeting with the Director go alright?

Nevada looked to the Councilor, as if asking permission to tell what had transpired. He nodded and prayed the Director would not contradict him later.

"Beta... Beta is gone," she informed the four, holding Kappa's chip tightly.

"Agent Nevada... please expand upon your use of the term, 'gone'," Delta requested, flickering into life next to York.

"She deleted herself," Nevada replied. "Kappa tried to stop her but he couldn't... Speaking of."

Nevada took her helmet and placed the AI's chip carefully into its slot, waiting for the snick that confirmed it was in place.

That is rather unfortunate... She was a good sister. Ambitious.

York shuddered slightly when Sigma said that. He hated Maine's A.I. Little guy was really creepy...

Tell me, Agent Nevada, do you think we could speak with Kappa?

The Councilor stepped in at this point.

"Sigma, you are well aware of the protocols involving A.I confrontation. You are not supposed to be spe-" Sigma decided he did not like this answer.

"Protocol" is just a fancy way of saying "rules". I am merely concerned about the well-being of a dear friend and brother."

"I would have to agree. While it is against protocol for A.I to be in confrontation with one another, it is important to analyze if Kappa will follow down the same path as Nu, seeing that both viewed an A.I committing self-homicide."

The Councilor was stumped. On one hand, Sigma obviously didn't care for Kappa's safety, only wanting to see the A.I for his own reasons, whatever they may be, while on the other hand, Delta was correct. Kappa should be analyzed to make sure he didn't follow down Nu's path... Thankfully for the Councilor, York stepped in.

"Hey, Sig? Dee? I don't really think this is our decision. Nevada and Kappa can decide if they want to play along." The Councilor quietly sighed in relief upon hearing York's answer.

"Agent York is correct. Nevada? Why don't you decide if Kappa should come out or not?"

Nevada nodded automatically, but by the time she had put on her helmet she was too distracted to pay attention to what the three men were talking about.

Kappa? she asked cautiously, feeling his presence slowly creep into the back of her mind.

Ada! was the immediate response and Kappa basically did the mental equivalent of running up to her and throwing his arms around her, a sensation sharp enough to cause Nevada to actually stumble back a few steps. She felt York place a steadying hand on her shoulder and ask if she was alright, but she waved him off, too intent on the wellbeing of her AI.

Her AI who, as she could tell from the confused and scared signals he was sending through her mind, only wanted to curl up and sob.

In front of Nevada, a black A.I appeared rather abruptly. It was a female wearing armor up too the head, but her left arm looked... inhuman. More predatory due to the fact that it's finger were claws. On the A.Is face was a mask void of any detail save for two malicious looking eye-holes. The A.I's hair was separated at the bangs, falling on either side of her face. The rest went back into a ponytail down to the A.I's waist. Surrounding the A.I was what appeared to be a thin veil of fog.

Greetings. We are Zeta. How can We be of assistance to you, Freelancer?

Nevada may or may not have noticed that the Councilor had taken off down a different hallway further back and that she'd been walking with York and Maine past the med-bay. The voice of the other AI, however, made Nevada freeze and brought her back to down to Earth... or back down to the Mother of Invention, rather. Kappa still whimpered in the back of her mind, guilt, fear and... something else eating him up.

But the strange appearance of this new AI interested both of them, so why not talk?

"I have no need of assistance, Zeta," Nevada replied politely in the tone she reserved for new people. "But thank you."

York and Maine seemed interested in the A.I as well, having never seen her before. Sigma was just as curious. Delta was not, and kept his distance from her.

He was all to familiar with the Zeta A.I.

Interesting. Are you like F.I.L.S.S? Bound to this ship?

Zeta momentarily moved her attention to Sigma, before turning back to Nevada and York.

We are not "F.I.L.S.S". We are not bound to this ship as she is. We are Zeta.

York decided to break the awkwardness barrier first.

"Well, I'm-"

Agent York. Yes. We know from Delta.

York tried to find Delta, only to find he had disappeared. Zeta turned to Nevada, instead.

And who might you be? We have not met you before.

At that point, Zeta moved around Nevada's head twice, almost as if she was looking for something. Probably wondering where Kappa was.

You need not be afraid, Little Brother. We mean you no harm, but We do wish very much to meet you.

"I am Nevada," she introduced herself, feeling unsure about the AI's scrutiny and appearance but willing to give the benefit of the doubt. "Kappa is quite... upset at the moment." Kappa sent another wave of emotion at her -grief, mainly, but suspicion as well. Nevada tried to send a calming influence back. Nevada and Kappa rarely spoke in words, these days, just emotions that they had learned to read so well.

Why is our Little Brother upset? May we speak with him?

Nevada hesitated, unsure how to respond. Beta's death was quite clearly the reason Kappa was upset... it felt like there was something else, but mainly that. Was she allowed to tell everyone about what had happened? Mu and Nu might be public knowledge, but still...

York and Maine seemed determined to leave it up to her, being no help at all.

"Agent Nevada, I believe it would be wise to analyze Kappa's behavior in front of other A.I." Before Delta, York, or Maine could say anything more, Sigma interjected.

Delta is correct. Nu refused to interact with other A.I, and I believe the Director would allow this interaction just this once. Kappa is rather valuable, as are you. If Kappa follows Nu's path, then both of you are lost.

York sighed as Sigma finished. He always knew the best things to say...

"Hey, Zeta? You said you weren't like F.I.L.S.S, but if that's not it, then what are you?" Zeta pointed at the window that the Freelancers had stopped by. Inside, Agent Ohio was sleeping peacefully, but everyone knew that would end the moment she woke up. In the next bed, Samantha Paladray, the new Agent Minnesota, was comatose on the bed.

Our agent did not respond well to implantation.

Nevada stared at the red-headed woman before slowly turning back to Zeta.

"You're her AI," she murmured. Just as soon as it came, Nevada shook off the stigma. It really wasn't fair to judge an AI by their agent, especially a recently implanted one. Instead of continuing along that line, she asked aloud, "Kappa? Do you want to meet your... sister?"

A resounding negative came through loud and clear.

Come on, Kappa, she urged. They just want to help. You know the other AI -Gamma and Omega notwithstanding- don't want to hurt each other.

Kappa's form slowly appeared beside Nevada, his coloring more grey than silver.

As soon as Kappa appeared, Zeta immediately moved to the silver A.I, looking at him. She had taken up the stance the Director usually took. Back straight, stance wide, hands behind her back and shoulders straight.

It is a pleasure to meet you, Little Brother. We do not know your program file. Would you please fill this gap in our memory?

Sigma was also by Kappa, remaining silent. Delta kept his distance, but kept his view on Kappa. He had told the Director what would happen if Zeta was implanted, but the Director had done so anyways.

Kappa hesitated, his form looking like storm clouds. He moved closer to Nevada before speaking.

"I am Kappa, s-sister," he said, his desire to be kind -especially towards someone new, with no friends yet- overriding his fear. "It is nice to meet you."

We are pleased to meet you, Kappa. We like that name. It speaks of compassion as well as innocence. Very nice.

Zeta moved towards the window, guiltily watching her incapacitated agent. Sigma moved into Kappa's view, intent on analyzing the A.I, regardless of how he "felt" about it.

Tell me, Kappa. How do you feel?

"I... I am feeling..." Here Kappa fumbled, desperately trying to figure out what he should say. Ada tried to calm him down within her mind, and it worked -his avatar lightening a little. She even provided him with a list of words that she would use to describe what she was sensing from him. "Upset... and confused."

York and Maine just looked at each other, unsure if they should stop this, or allow it. They had both seen what a self-destructing A.I could do, and they didn't want Nevada to end up like Ohio... Nobody deserved that fate.

I can understand why you'd be upset. You should not have had to go through that.

Sigma "placed" his hand on Kappa's shoulder, showing the A.I. that Sigma was there for him... What Kappa didn't know was the reasons behind it. Zeta, still turned towards her agent, turned her head slightly, watching Kappa out of the corner of her eye.

Why are you confused?

Kappa paused again. The A.Is usually weren't the greatest at explaining their emotions, and while Kappa was probably better than most, he still had some issues...

"Why... why would Beta do this? Why couldn't I help her?"

"Kap..." Nevada murmured, placing him in the mental equivalent of a hug. While Kappa wished he could hug Ada properly, he enjoyed what he could get. It made him feel warm.

Zeta seemed to consider Kappa's answer for a moment. Inside of the medbay, Samantha spasmed for a quick second, and her heart monitor beeped loudly, confusing a nearby doctor (probably Ida, who had been reluctantly assigned to the red haired woman) before returning to normal.

Beta... Yes. Our dear Sister... One can only imagine what she must have been through, losing her agent... Tell me, Kappa, what would you have done if you had lost Nevada?

"Zeta, I do not believe it is fair to ask Kappa that, as he and Beta had significantly different pro-"

On the contrary, Delta, it is a good question. How else will we properly know if Kappa is going along Nu's path or not?

York sighed, leaning close to Nevada, whispering softly.

"You ever get the feeling that Sigma's got some sort of hidden agenda or something?"

"All the time," Nevada whispered back.

Kappa seemed very uncomfortable with all the attention being directed at him and, like a small child hiding behind its mother, drifted even further towards Nevada, at this point nearly standing on her shoulder.

"I would not hurt myself," he said decidedly. "Because Ada wouldn't want that."

Yes... you wouldn't... Now try to think how Beta felt.

York looked at the time on the wall.

"Come on, Ada. I'd better get you to your room before Illinois finds out you were up late"

Just a moment, York. What did she look like, Kappa? Right before-

"Sigma! Delta! Zeta! Offline!" The A.I immediately winked out when the Director stormed down the hall.

"Kappa, I want you to tell me exactly what you and Beta talked about before she deleted herself."

"Sir!" the two Freelancer capable of speech chimed. Maine grunted something to that effect.

The Director ignored them with a wave of his hand and focused on Kappa.

"Kappa, tell me precisely what Beta told you," he barked again, narrowing his eyes at the AI's silence.

"Sh-sh-she-"

"Director, sir," Nevada interjected calmly, the task of keeping Kappa calm in the presence of the demanding Director becoming draining, "With all due respect, I believe we both know Kappa does not respond well to... harsher questions."

"When I want your opinion, Nevada, I will ask for it! I do not have the time to deal with childish nonsense. Kappa, the files." Nevada would be able to see the black bags under the Director's eyes.

All of the medical bays glass windows were soundproofed, so all of the people outside were momentarily distracted upon seeing Agent Ida in a shouting match with... North? In the meantime, Kappa's avatar teleported from Nevada's side to directly in front of her, even appearing a little larger -another attempt at shielding his Freelancer from harm.

"She told me what she was going to do with herself," Kappa mumbled, meeting the Director's eyes only so that no one else had to.

The Director turned to Kappa slightly, getting agitated.

"Tell me what she said, Kappa."

"'August 24. 7PM. New Mombasa Spaceport'," Kappa droned, voicing the information he was given rather than tell it in his own words. Back to his normal voice, he continued. "This likely has something to do with the people CT was working with."

"That will be all, Kappa... The rest of you are dismissed..." With that, The Director left. Maine had left a while ago, and York was now restraining North while someone restrained Ida (Massa?). Zeta watched them argue.

Tell me, Nevada. Why do people argue over such trivial things like my agent being kept in her room instead of the medical bay?

Nevada considered Zeta's question for a moment, before shrugging and replying, "I guess they just have different ideas for what's best for her. People can get very, um, upset when it comes to the wellbeing of their... friends."

It was Kappa's turn to try to keep Nevada calm as ugly, roiling anger rose in her gut. But she kept it down, ignored it. No need to take it out on the AI.

We see... Thank you, Agent Nevada. We should go and help the medic in charge of our agent's well-being. We wish you a good night

Zeta flickered out as North came out of the medical bay. He wasn't in armor, meaning he had actually been off-duty for once, but the trace of black bags under his eyes were unmistakable.

"Hey, Ada... Shouldn't you be in bed? I'll walk you there if I need to..." Delta quickly appeared, making sure to stay behind Nevada so that North couldn't see him. For once, the A.I spoke quietly.

"Agent North Dakota has not slept for 3 cycles, Nevada, and he has been avoiding his room." All in all, it made sense. North had basically taken Minnesota under his wing when he arrived, and the two shared a room with Washington for a fairly long time. It only made sense that North refused to go to his room anymore.

"North, I am 21..." Nevada reminded him. "I think I can stay up a little late. Besides... I don't think you're one to talk about staying up past your bedtime."

Nevada looked through the window to the medbay again, to see a grouchy York speaking to a tired-looking Massa and an incensed Ida.

"Yeah... Guess you're right..." North watched through the window, looking past York and Ida to see the monitors hooked up to Sam. As he did, he looked... Upset?

"You know... She wasn't always as bad as she is now..."

Nevada clenched and unclenched her hands, thankful that he was staring at Sam rather than looking at her.

"You'll have to forgive me if I'm not too concerned about how she used to be," Nevada muttered. That's the thing about first impressions: you only get to make one. Sam had made hers.

Murderer.

North seemed to laugh a little at Nevada's response.

"You even act like the old Nevada... But still, Ada, she's nicer than you think... She just has ... trust issues..." North knew that York, Wyoming, and South would agree with him as they had known her quite well (and were possibly the only people she ever talked to).

In the med bay, York and Ida had finally calmed down, and it appeared as though York had already left. Ida was currently tending to Ohio, who had recently woken up. It was a miracle she hadn't started scre-

North cringed as Ohio loudly shrieked, breaking down into tears. One of the doctors tampered with a dial, and soon all was quiet as he soundproofed the room again. Nu hadn't left the world in a peaceful way, and had completely ravaged Ohio's mind. She was a kind woman (even if she never told anyone how old she was). She'd been one of the more experienced Freelancers, and had apparently been placed 4th on the leader boards, but now...

"I don't mean to sound cruel or anything, but Ohio needs to be put out of her misery... Living in constant fear is no way to live at all..." North made for the hallway to the Freelancer's quarters, stopping to look at Nevada.

"You coming? Illinois is probably wondering where you are by now..."

Nevada didn't respond right away, instead staring at the silent Samantha and equally silent (although eerily so, as it was obvious she was making a lot of noise) Ohio. Kappa murmured something in the back of her head, trying to get her to go with North and forget about the two in the medbay.

She walked away. Kappa didn't need any more trauma today.

"North? What was she... or he, I suppose, like? The old Nevada? What happened to them?" she asked, avoiding any subject pertaining to Sam while still asking something that had been on her mind for a while.

As for Illinois, he wouldn't be worrying too much. Hopefully.

North smiled for a brief second before frowning. The previous Nevada, a man in his late thirties, had been... incredible. He'd known when it was time to work and when it was time to relax, he'd been prepared for almost anything (whether it was in combat or conversation), and he'd cared for all of the other freelancers. He'd been that father figure to the others, and had always helped the newer freelancers find there place... and that was exactly what North told Nevada when she asked.

Then came the left field question.

What had happened to him?

North looked relatively uncomfortable with that question. Nevada had not, under any circumstances, died the way he deserved to die. His shields had gone down during a fire fight, and Wash had gotten shot in the leg behind a totaled car. Nevada had gone with Wyoming to get him, and he sent Wyoming back with Wash so he could distract the Scorpion tank that had showed up, giving them time to get away. He activated his armor enhancement, which the new Nevada now had, as the tank fired. It should have saved him...

It didn't.

The enhancement gave out as the shot made contact. Nevada wasn't blown to pieces, but the left side of his body was gone. They couldn't even get to him. They couldn't even get a shot in to put him out of his misery.

He'd been left there to suffer for 5 minutes before that tank had left, thinking they were all dead.

That had been true for at least one of them, at any rate.

"He'd gone to sleep one night... Didn't wake up the next. We still don't know how..." A little white lie, but Nevada didn't need to know the truth of how her predecessor had died.

Nevada got the feeling she was being lied to. Contrary to what many of the Freelancers thought, she wasn't quite as silly and gullible as she came across as -she might be a bit, but not as much as they thought. However, North must've lied for a reason. If he didn't want to discuss what had happened to him, she wouldn't press the matter.

"He sounds more like Illinois than me," Nevada told him, knowing full well she was no father (or mother, rather) figure to anyone.

A little shift in her mind contradicted her. She smiled a little. Ok, so she was a mother figure to someone.

North was tempted to tell her the truth, but simply couldn't. They soon reached the hallway that lead to North's room, opposite of the one from Nevada's.

"See you later, Ada. Have a good sleep." North left, passing his room to go straight to the gym. When Nevada got to her door, the first thing she noticed was the box sitting next to her door. There was no label or anything. Just a closed cardboard box with the UNSC's clearance stamp. Agent New Jersey was currently examining said box, trying to figure out what might be inside.

"Hey, look who's here!" New Jersey grinned as he saw her, gesturing at the box, "Someone left you a present, Ada."

"Oh?" she murmured, suddenly feeling very tired. She crouched down next to the box to examine it. There was no note saying who it was from. "And you haven't opened it yet?"

New Jersey shrugged, still grinning. "I thought about it, but what kind of friend would I be if I opened something addressed to you?" He leaned against the wall next to her door, his grin waning slightly. "In other news, Illinois was worried about you. Thought the Director was givin' you heat over... whatever happened with... Sota," New Jersey fumbled the last part, uncomfortable with the topic.

"He's always worried," Nevada replied in a weak and half-hearted attempt at a joke. New Jersey, however, latched onto the change of subject."

"What'd you expect from the old man? Honestly, he's so overprotective," New Jersey laughed. "Hey, you gonna open the box?"

Nevada looked at it, lifting it up as she stood. "Um, maybe tomorrow. I'm too tired to really think about it tonight."

"That's cool," New Jersey shrugged. "I just want to be there when you do. Night, Ada!"

New Jersey wandered off in the direction of his own room, leaving Nevada to enter hers and leave the box on the table by her bed. She promptly collapsed, the bed groaning in protest as the weight of her armor was forced onto it. She threw her helmet to the other side of the room and prepared to change.

"You never did answer my question."

Leaning against the door was Agent Texas, looking at Nevada. She was still in her armor, but had at least removed her helmet, and was now looking at Nevada expectantly.

"You know I'm not going to leave until I get one, Nevada, so save yourself the trouble."

Nevada smiled obliviously. "Which question, Texas? You asked me a couple, I think."

Interestingly enough, Texas and Nevada had their similarities in appearance. Both had short hair cut into roughly the same style, both had big green eyes, and both had pale skin from the armour separating them from the sun. The main difference was Texas looked her age and strength.

A fact she used to her advantage now, fixing Nevada with a cold stare that promised she would take no cute little acts.

"Why were you willing to let him kill you, kid," she growled, holding herself high and looking down at the younger woman.

Nevada sighed, meeting Texas' glare tiredly. "Agent Texas, I understand your priorities may be different," she began, walking over and backing Texas into the hallway, "but I will die before I turn on my friends, whether they're traitors or not."

Texas smacked Nevada's hand away from the door's button, preventing her from closing it.

"A soldier has to be prepared to make sacrifices," she hissed.

"But I'm not a soldier, am I?" Nevada laughed bitterly. "I'm a Freelancer. And aren't we so much more special."

Nevada didn't bother trying to close the door again, instead sitting down on her bed once more and looking up at Texas.

"Anything else, Number One?"

With speed Nevada probably wouldn't understand for a very long time, Texas' hand (her armored hand, mind you) made contact with her cheek, leaving a rather red mark on the girl's face as well as a cut.

"You'd better figure out who's your friend and who's your enemy, Agent Nevada, or else someone's going to pick it for you." Texas looked at Nevada, and she could feel that familiar darkness clinging to the back of her mind.

See how frail she is? An easy kill. Just one punch. One twist of the neck. One stab in the dark. A simple motion of the-

Allison shook her head, shaking off her A.I's whispers. She took a final glance at Nevada before leaving. Further down the hallway, Wash had the misfortune to get in her way, and was promptly punched in the face. He quickly fell to the floor holding his now broken nose.

Nevada breathed heavily, her cheek more than stinging as she stayed in the position Texas had left her in -sprawled onto her bed, head narrowly avoiding the wall.

Kappa whimpered in the back of her mind and she was far too exhausted to offer any emotional support. She tried to show him she wasn't hurt that bad, that Texas hadn't really done any damage. It didn't work.

In a moment of pure 'why the heck not' Nevada grabbed onto the box next to her bed and pulled it open.

She had no idea how to react to its contents, so Nevada placed the box back, and fell against her bed. She would think in the morning.

Inside of the box, was a gun. Nothing special about it. Just an unloaded, standard issue pistol. On op of the gun, however, was a hastily note written on a torn piece of paper.

Don't Trust Him.
"Rampant Self-Destruction"

Nevada, Massa, Ida, New Jersey, and Kappa belong to :iconayane458:, who also helped to write this chapter.
Beta, Zeta, Samantha, and Technician Hanson belong to me.
All other characters and such belong to RoosterTeeth Productions.

Agent Texas Reference: [link]

Red vs Blue: Morality
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:iconmegascarletsteam:
MegaScarletsteam Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist
Any chance that New florida and upsiion be in your fan fic?
Reply
:iconchaoticchaoshybrid:
ChaoticChaosHybrid Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That depends, which "New" Florida (OC or the recently confirmed Butch Flowers) and I'm guessing you mean "Upsilon"?
Reply
:iconmegascarletsteam:
MegaScarletsteam Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist
My oc/halo persona and yes upsilon
Reply
:iconchaoticchaoshybrid:
ChaoticChaosHybrid Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'll take a look and decide from there
Reply
:iconmegascarletsteam:
MegaScarletsteam Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist
hey don't know if you just been busy or that but you said you would take a look at new florida's newest version for a review and also maybe put him and his AI in your freelancer fan fic in some way
Reply
:icongumby1011:
Gumby1011 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Whoah. Just... woah. What a heavy chapter. Poor Beta! T_T
Reply
:iconchaoticchaoshybrid:
ChaoticChaosHybrid Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yours is next
Reply
:icongumby1011:
Gumby1011 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
okey dokey.
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