The runners' City of Glass cabal took a major hit in numbers. Yes, one night KrugerSec raided their newly-relocated base, and a majority of runners died in the scene. The then leader of the cabal, Noah, was captured and tortured to death in a secret little complex beneath the ground called "Kingdom". The rest of the runners decided to lay low in their own respective living quarters, scattered all over the city. But two daring runners, Faith and Icarus, have no such thing as separate living quarters, and elected to live in The Lair, or what's left of it.
They were able to fix most of what's left. The curved screen is back up and running, decorations and furniture restored, water and power line reconnected, and they have a new refrigerator near the stairs after KSec put holes in the old one. At first there was question over security around The Lair as not long ago the place was full of KSec post-raid. But it seems like they've managed to get rid of KSec, at least they're not guarding the place anymore.
It's not the case outside, though. Both Faith and Icarus (mostly Faith because apparently her new tattoo has made her stand out more and that they don't really bother with a hooded man wearing sunglasses jumping across rooftops at night) still encounter packs of angry KSec patrols looking to apprehend them, although it's not clear whether they're still wanted or not. Oh well, they're still branded as offGrids and KSec by default must pacify them on sight.
Faith was declared the de facto leader of the cabal after Noah's passing. It wasn't without reason, though. She repeatedly broke the record for the highest place conquered by a runner. First she climbed to the top of Anansi Emporium to dislodge a tuned mass damper. Then ran to the top of The Shard to confront Gabriel Kruger. The news travel fast, too. Every runners in all of Cascadia now knows that The Shard has been conquered. A place they never thought possible to reach.
Despite assuming leadership, Faith doesn't really know much about leading. All this time she only knows how to run, and how to beat up KSec patrols. Once in a while she drops by Plastic's lair and consult Dr. Aline Maera (who's still holed up there, apparently she's now branded as an outCaste after escaping Kingdom so she can't go outside without being apprehended) for advices. One thing Faith has picked up, aside from keeping the numbers low for the time being, is Dr. Maera's advice on moving The Lair. It's true that now KSec know where The Lair is. Any minute infractions both Faith and Icarus do can lead them back to The Lair, and Faith doesn't want that to happen. Anytime both Faith and Icarus step out to take runs, there are always concern that The Lair might get ran through again. So the choice was to either delegate the runs to whoever is in the vicinity or take them up and hope no KSec patrols are nearby.
The question over moving The Lair still looms large in her head. Does she really need to relocate? If so, where? The former is undoubtedly easier to answer, as in yes they need to relocate so they can breathe easier. The latter is difficult, to say the least, as KSec don't seem to let up on patrolling. Any major activities which involve moving around stuff wouldn't go unnoticed. She originally thought of moving to Plastic's lair. But for the sake of her safety, she elected not to. Patrol rates around Anchor have increased, too, as apparently a number of Dogen's henchmen were pacified on sight. KSec wouldn't dare touch Dogen (not yet), but they won't pass up making those leeching off him scarce as it weakens his grip of the city.
One night, when the number of runs have quieted down, Faith finally has time to rest. She had done a good job assisting everyone taking up runs from The Lair, with the help of Plastic. Faith lays on the sofa, looking at the ceiling. She still thinks about where she should move The Lair, and whether Noah would agree on it. That's when Icarus, who just came back from a run, decides to at least make her relax.
"This sucks…." Faith deadpans. Icarus who just popped a cold one is surprised hearing that from her. "What sucks? You did a great job assisting us from here. It's not like you're not keeping up shop well." Icarus sits on the sofa, arms extended across, and both feet on the table.
"Not running sucks. I said myself that I'm gonna run, but instead I'm bunked here on support all the time. Being one of the most wanted person in all of Glass certainly doesn't help the case." says Faith as she gets up, feeling all jittery. She wants to just get out there and run. But for the sake of keeping the cabal together, she can't let herself run into trouble.
"I mean, I would love to take your place. But you know we-I can't risk you getting caught, or worse, get killed. Better me than you, Faith." Icarus takes a sip, then continues. "By the way, is it really necessary to keep the numbers low like this? I've had plenty of runners from outta town stating that they're willing to move here to be able to work alongside you. Not that I mind having only the two of us here, but don't you think repopulating the place would at least make you work a little easier?"
Faith lays back on the couch sighing, thinking it can't be helped for now. "I'd rather keep it quiet until the heat has lowered, thanks". Faith then turns towards Icarus, "I'm still thinking about what Aline said the other day, about moving The Lair. Maybe when I've found a new place, then I'll start recruiting. Don't your Black November contacts know about someplace where we can move in? The transit hub has never been less inconspicuous than before. They know that we're tucked in this paper airplane-shaped structure. One bad mistake and they could return here. I'm starting to feel kinda sick of the noise from underneath too. Can't really sleep well with trains passing by every minute down there."
Icarus brings out a map of the city, with markers showing various places and events. Including where to buy his sick combo of hooded vest and sunglasses when going to the Pirandello store downtown is out of the question. The Black November spots Faith questioned are marked with a black calendar icon. Apparently Black November used to have stashes all over the city to make carrying out operations easier. "I know some hard-to-reach places, but none of them seems to be big enough to be utilised as an operating base. KSec have ousted them out of some of these spots, too."
Faith rests her chin on one hand. "Hmmm, I guess it can't be helped. Maybe we should instead fortify this place? This place sure had little to no security measures back then. Won't hurt installing some laser cameras. Then again, they cost a lot of scrip. I've not been thinking of recruiting because we're pretty tight on scrip sometimes I don't know if I can feed the both of us. I want to take the big runs but last time I did I messed up and everyone but us ended up dead." Faith sheds a tear, remembering finding The Lair in complete shambles after KSec raided the place. That image, and one in which Noah died in her arms, aren't gonna go away soon.
"Do you think I've been doing well? Do I look broken? Am I gonna be able to fill Noah's shoes?" Faith wipes her tear while glancing at Icarus.
"Honestly? You're doing well. Don't let those images get into you. And you don't have to be like Noah. You're you. It's true that I enjoyed Noah's leadership, but I don't see his passing as an irreversible setback. I'm happy that I have someone to mature up alongside. Once the heat goes down, I'll look forward to you leading from the front, Faith." Icarus looks at Faith, then remembers something. "Oh, come to think of it, we never really ran together out in the open, do we? You ran Anansi alone, you ran The Shard alone. If only I wasn't cooped up in an electric cage or bedridden because of Reflection, I would be there alongside you. The closest thing to us working together was that time we had to take out those Sentry Drones around Black November HQ. I know this will sound cheesy and all, but if you tackle one of those big runs, please take me with you. As in, let's run those together, instead of having one of us play babysitter."
Faith normally would resort to her signature deadpan "Don't gush" like how she usually is around Nomad, but she finds herself blushing after Icarus let out those words.
"Thanks, I look forward to it, too."
A/N: Apologies that I haven't been catching up on my other work, the KOFxTekken crossover. The better part of these last few months have been all about me tackling college, and dealing with the loss of a relative. I'm a very big fan of Mirror's Edge and I too am praying that there will be some sort of sequel to Catalyst. In the meantime, I can only dream (and write fanfics about it). Please do check out my other work here s/12678743/1/The-King-of-Fighters-x-Tekken-Prologue-series