Eclipsed Moon Quest Episode 116
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It is busy and quiet in the dark of the night as you explain what you’ve scouted ahead within the bowels of the under construction Ellis building in Adachi City. Flanked by your Knights, with the Guardian of the Sun standing a slight ways back, you carefully regard the assembled soldiers and civilian collaborator. Captain Osaka of the JSDF Paranormal Incident Task Force listens with rapt attention as you point out along the maps provided by property owner Jonathan Ward Chau of the underground complex and described exotic materials testing planned with the operational particle accelerator.
Deep below you, that sub complex is infested with the darkest emotions of innocent people unbound and corrupted by an external magical infection born of a long defeated cosmic entity known as Chaos. These creatures, Shadows, were created for yet understood purpose by an enemy that threatens this world; risen from the ashes of unremembered prehistory agents of the once golden earthly kingdom of Elysion have coopted the power that destroyed their era and the many civilizations that once circled your star for seemingly unjust ends.
They are an enemy you think can eventually be reasoned with, if they learn the truth of who you are…
Presently you are the mysterious hero known as Eclipse. Secretive and stealthy ally of the new generation of Sailor Senshi, appearing and bringing a turning point to battles and then vanishing with your allies in tow.
In truth you are Mikage Chiba, second year highschool student fifteen years old. Formerly you were the third woman to carry the mantle of Sailor Moon, after your mother and older sister. Now you secretly support the new magical Guardian of Love and Justice, your younger sister Koyomi.
“The undefined ones probably the projection type, but the specialized ones have a chance of being fully transformed civilians,” Captain Osaka reasons once your explanation is finished, “We can’t just go in with incendiaries or close the accelerator off and turn it on,”
She hums to herself a moment as you glance to either side, at both your Nephrite Knight and Jadeite Knight.
“We can use expanding foam rounds to keep them all in check and contained for transport,” she reasons, “Or we can remove the sample they’re attracted to and lead them into a containment ambush or an ambush into the Senshi once they arrive,”
~The other Senshi are coming?~
“Cooperative protocol, and we’ll probably need Sailor Moon’s purification powers for this operation one way or another,” she sighs.
“I would advise against trying to contain them inside of the accelerator. They’ve proven capable of forcing their way in,” Dr Chou comments while pointing to the entryway area you didn’t explore on the schematic.
You consider your opinion on the matter.
>Containment within the accelerator
>Lead them into a PIT Ambush
>Lead them into an Ambush of the Senshi
>Offer for you and your team to go in, seal the accelerator, and clear the whole thing out
Suggest going in with our team in the lead with PIT focusing on containment and us focusing on the heavies.
Hybrib of 1 and 4 I suppose. Think we suggested calling them as a way for them to get some experience working with us.
~In the interest of resolving things quickly,~ you state evenly, ~I would like to lead my team in to engage the unique enemies along with a number of your soldiers equipped for the containment of the lesser creatures,~
“Keeping the fighting contained within the accelerator would definitely reduce the chance of exposure,” she reasons.
“I would argue against further risk of damaging the testing facility,” Dr Chau begins but shrugs as he crosses his arms, “but these grounds are fully insured,”
~Then we move out immediately,~ you turn toward the building.
“Sergeant Kanda,” Captain Osaka barks, “You and your squad are with me. Expanding foam rounds,”
Pausing and turning, you regard the captain carefully as she dons a stocked tactical armor vest. Nephrite Knight loses step beside you.
“You are accompanying us, Captain Osaka?” she queries behind the red mask.
“I lead from the front,” she clips her helmet strap into place.
Joined by Sailor Sol, your Knights, Captain Osaka, and her compliment of ten soldiers you venture into the dark depths of the unfinished tower. The JSDF PIT soldiers keep a lower profile and even formation as you enter the downward spiraling stairs into the research facility. Moving ahead, quiet and swift, you come to the intersection between the destroyed control room and the lower level entryway to the accelerator chamber.
Sergeant Kanda is sent toward the control room to watch the field and coordinate.
You and your girls head downstairs toward the entryway.
“Alright, Eclipse,” Sol questions as the four of you stop at the door into the testing chamber and the soldiers secure both sets of stairs, “What’s the plan?”
>We go in hot and hit them with everything we have
>We go in quiet and take out the three stronger enemies first
>We go in quiet and remove the crystal before we begin fighitn
>We go in quiet and take out the three stronger enemies first
You have a fair point as well, if we end up tied I could accept yours instead.
Maybe grab the crystal, then hit the three?
~We go in quiet and remove the crystal,~ you explain, ~And position ourselves for the fight to start before we wake them. Jadeite Knight, I need you to acquire the crystal,~
“Me?” Jadeite Knight questions momentarily unsure before she shows you her resolve, “Yeah, no problem,”
~Captain Osaka, I should hope you and your men can cover the exit for any runners and to prepare to provide support fire for my team?~
“We can at that,” the older woman smiles coyly before directing her remaining soldiers to form up for the imminent fight.
Opening the doorway slowly, you and the others enter the spherical room ahead quietly. Reflective dish plating lines the room, rising from the flat circular floor extending sixty or so feet out from the central column. Six of Captain Osaka’s men remain outside the room, weapons trained on the door. The other three follow her in and spread themselves on either side of the doorway.
Sailor Sol steps quietly and wide, gesturing with a sweep or her hand the area she expects to be able to cover with her opening salvo once things begin. Nephrite Knight goes a ways further along the curve beside you as you brandish a rose.
Jadeite Knight approaches the mass of shadow creatures, curled and layered tight next to and atop one another. She takes a steadying breath and shakes the tension out of her arms down to her hands before crouching. The trim of her suit glows softly as she leaps over and across the mass to land on the vertical column just shy of the clear plastic. Wrapping her legs around the broad column, she traces her fingers across the plastic and finds an otherwise clear latch.
Taking out a rose, you regard the spread of the enemy and realize you can successfully entangle the lot of them should the need to do so arise.
Tension hangs in the air as Jadeite Knight opens the column and reaches inside. Her free hand wipes her exposed forehead above her mask as a gloved hand closes around the black stone.
There is a sharp and discordant hum when she removes it from its setting.
With a snap, all of the shadows rise and turn their attention to the center column. Drawn by no sound your knight has made, but by some fluctuation of moving the crystal.
>Act now! Entangle all of the enemy
>Hang back, wait for them to notice you
>Tell Sol to unleash her power now
With your enemy distracted by your now worried Knight, you throw wide with the rose high. The green stem explodes at the apex of its arc as the red petals spiral out and away. Twisting vines reach down among the confused enemies as more reach up and out. Thorned edges wrapping around them and holding both the mass of regular shadows and the more uniquely built shadows deal and struggle against their bindings.
Unfortunately for them, they are held fast and immobilized.
In a burst of fire and light, Sailor Sol unleashes her magic and engulfs the lot of them as Jadeite Knight leaps away and out of range of the fire. They strain against the tightening binds, thorns and barbs digging into the bleak surface of some and the more vibrant hides of the others. You never got a good look at them beneath the thorns and flames.
Captain Osaka commands her men to open fire. At each impact site a beige expanding ball of foam sticks fast to the shadows and binds them further while still knocking them about. Over the course of a few minutes, you’ve managed to snuff out the lesser shadows and then tend easily to the purification of the three disabled unique shadows.
You are left with two unconscious construction workers and a scientist.
Returning to the surface, your eyes glancing back to the stone in Jadeite Knight’s hand, you can’t help but feel want and desire for it squirm within you. Still, you hold your course.
Captain Osaka begins organizing a more scrutinized breakdown and investigation of the site. The four of you hang a bit back.
>You’re done here, it’s time to leave
>You want to talk to Captain Osaka further
>You want to talk to Dr Chau further
Telepathically, you pulse out a desire to converse with your immediate allies. Closing in on your Knights and Sailor Sol, you explain the encounter that lead you to this evening’s now exhausted firefight.
~It as a tree in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden,~ you explain, ~Bound in purified ropes and sacred signs, a place of earthly power. It seemed strange, like the enemy couldn’t get close to it. I followed the last shadow here rather than claim the place,~
“So, no question then, we head back and you claim the place tonight,” Sailor Sol reasons.
“It's late though,” Jadeite Knight gestures and flips her wavy blonde hair, the black stone in her hand catching your eye and making you bite your lip beneath the cloth over the lower half of your face, “If the enemy can’t touch it then it will be there in the morning. Hey, since we have a day off we can make a picnic of it!”
~We can go have a picnic even after I claim it tonight,~ you cross your arms as your insides twist in want for the stone, your eyes darting side to side as your Knight’s hand moves, ~Frankly it was a risk leaving it behind tonight,~
“Wait,” Nephrite Knight cuts in, “If the enemy can’t get close to it, what about the-”
She pauses and glances around to make sure the lot of you are not closely observed.
“-what about the stuff that’s in you,” your red headed confidant asks in slight worry, “The stuff you took out of me and others,”
“Actually, that raises a good question,” Sailor Sol considers and turns to you, “Did you eat Metallia out of me or because it was in the dreamscape you just ate the idea of Metallia?”
~Not about whether it’s safe for me to get close to the place of power?~
As you talk, the four of you turn as a presence approaches to you.
“Well, you’re you,” she reasons, “I doubt this is going to hurt you or anything,”
“Excuse me, ladies,” stands the striking figure of Dr. Chau as he holds some kind of biohazard container, “but could I trouble you for my sample back?”
>Certainly, please keep it safe
>Unfortunately no, we need it for another lead
Where do you go after this?
Alright, heading out for dinner for perhaps a bit more than an hour.
We'll resume when I get back and have celebrated another sliding bead on my own abacus of fate.
So, talk among yourselves and vote in the interim. I'll be checking in on mobile.
Wait, -your- sample? Why would a civilian have a dangerous artifact in the basement of an unfinished building?
It would be better off under PIT's protection. Also, they are better equipped to take advantage of the attaction it has on these shadows.
Dinner concluded. Heading home. I don't mean to blog post but I am quite pleased to have had a wonderful conversation with my father about Classic Marx Bros films.
How was voting and discussion?
Alright, time to count and write.
I trust everyone got along in my absence.
Well its your own fault for stranding coach. If you can write off the expense, business class is the best marooning you'll find.
As well one should know their own taste.
Rolled 1 (1d2)
Okay, having read up, I see while the tree is our last stop we may need a final destination on the matter of the sample and what is said.
Rather, in the interest of time lost already I'll simply flip for it.
1 you cheese it
2 you have a slightly restructured conversation with Mr. Chau about the sample and ensure it leaves the site in PIT Custody.
You reach out with your psychic abilities to explain your needed plan of action to your allies. All three of them nod at the speed of thought in agreement, Jadeite Knight’s hand tightening around the black stone as the four of you leap into the night sky, leaving Dr. Chau standing alone on the construction field.
~Come on, ladies, it’s time for a beautiful morning in the park,~ you say once a few blocks away.
Leaving Adachi City behind, you lead the lot of the girls back to the national garden. By the time you arrive, the sky reaches the darkest pitch of the night in the final few hours before dawn. Dropping your disguises and transformations, the lot of you duck into a convenience store and acquire a few supplies. If the experience of the tree is anything like the unexpected grotto, you’d best be prepared.
Besides, the presence of real snacks will keep your mind off of the thing in Midori’s hand. The incomprehensible well of darkness now wrapped in a handkerchief because your blonde friend refuses to touch it directly. This is probably an incredibly wise decision on her part.
Still, even with purchased rice balls and tea on your mind in the bag you carry to the garden in the pre dawn hour, the darkness calls to you.
“Are you sure we can even get in that place this early?” Keiko asks as she ties her voluminous hair back into a singular high pony tail.
“It isn’t exactly walled off,” Kairi observes and takes a brisk step ahead through the garden pathway, “I’m sure it’ll be fine!”
Coursing through the park the group of you come upon the bound and holy tree.
“Alright, let us go ahead Mikage,” Midori says with a serious tone as she steps along in front of you.
~You guys worry too much,~ you complain as Midori crosses the grass ahead of you, and her right hand falls back behind her as the handkerchief wrapped stone sparks against an unseen barrier.
You feel a surge of the stones dark power against a great welling of pure and perhaps sanctified energies.
With a black spark against the suddenly white light of the energy barrier the stone burns through the handkerchief. A brief explosion causes the other girls on the inside of the barrier to step back as the stone shatters to dust, leaving behind a clump of strands of white hair to fall to the ground.
Well, that was something. The great and hunger inducing well of darkness from the stone is gone, physically and spiritually. However you are left with unease about approaching the tree after what you just witnessed.
>Go forward and try to claim this point of earth power
>Nope, Nope nope nope
>Try to investigate this phenomenon, use a spell or a power
>Investigate the ash pile left by the stone
“The hell was that!” Midori shrieks as she looks at her hand and then wide eyed at the the ash pile and burnt handkerchief.
“That,” Kairi wonders aloud, “was worrying,”
~That was something, wasn’t it,~ you kneel down to inspect the ash.
Nestled among the fine powder of the ash are a clump of white hairs. Drawn to them, you scoop them up and left the ash sift through your fingers. The hair is fine, and not truly white under your inspection in the dawning light breaks across the city’s low skyline and filters through the trees of the national garden. It sparks like silver at your touch once the ash finishes falling away.
There is something familiar in that light as the world falls away. It reminds you momentarily of the sensory overload of your panic attacks, but it's different. This is a vision, rippling through your mind, imparting some strange knowledge to you.
Adrift among the stars, you fall into a thick forest aflame with the sound of war. Encased in smooth steel and glass you pound on the clear surface ahead of you, beyond you see warriors in the armor and regalia of the kingdom in which you live fighting one another. Spreading among them is a miasma, creeping evil infecting and controlling.
In the distance, something rises, pulling the living among the warriors up into the night sky with it. The glass ahead of you cracks as the thing beyond roars and rises toward the moon. Darkness seeps in, miasma choking at your life. Your vision blurs in and out, as explosions scour the moon above and the fires rage around you.
Within the prison, the word escape pod rings in your memory, the black slowly solidifies across your vision, crystallizes, before your world goes black.
You awaken in the grass, your friends around you with concern etched across their faces.
~Ugh,~ you groan, ~I don’t like unexpected visions,~
“Are you okay, Mikage?” Kairi asks.
>Yeah, I’m fine
>No, no I am most certainly not
>I demand to plug into my new magical point of power to feel better
>We need to leave, I have to talk to -insert person here-
~No,~ you groan and grope for the fallen shopping bag you’d been holding and unscrew the cap of a large bottle of oolong tea before taking a drag and cough your lungs clear, ~No I most certainly am not,~
“What happened?” Midori asks crouched on the other side of you, propping you up, “And you shouldn’t drink that while lying down,”
“Was that a panic attack?” Kairi asks in worry.
~No, I had a vision when I touched the hair in the ash,~ you look down at the silver strands in your hand as they glint in the early morning light.
The garden around you is peaceful and serene, a contrast to your own feelings. You feel like shit. Like you were breathing in that poison and cooking alive inside that box as the world burned around you. As evil made manifest and infectious crept into you and faceted around you before the world fell silent.
Silent. It all went black and quiet as you watched explosions rock the moon.
~I saw something,~ you rise onto unsteady feet, ~I saw the end of the world...back then, Someone trapped and dying to watch as Metallia dragged her army toward the moon before it all went black,~
“If the stone contains Metallia’s chaos essence from the fall of Elysion and Silver Millenium,” Keiko reasons in thought, “Could the hair have belonged from someone who died in that era?”
~Mayb-wait, just how much Beryl stuff do you still remember?~ you question her with a raised eyebrow.
“It...comes and goes,” she says, uncomfortably, as she glances toward the white rope bound tree.
~Well, anyway we need to go,~
“What? But you were so set on coming here, Mikage-chan!” Kairi offers in confused protest.
~I know, but this can wait, we need to go see Tomoe-sensei,~ you find your balance, ~Now,~
After a quick refueling on the snacks you brought for the picnic, the lot of you rush through the empty early morning streets of the district toward not Infinity Academy proper but another specific private home and property nearby in a stretch of residential houses.
Skipping the low front gate, your friends trailing a few steps behind you.
“How are you still awake!” Midori complains, “Seriously after this before we do anything else I am forcing you to take a thirty hour nap!”
~Passing out from a vision is like a nap,~ you shrug.
“Its really not,” Kairi counters as she opens the waist high gate while you reach the front door and begin frantically knocking.
After a moment, the door opens into darkness and you see shining purple eyes greet you at near level. They are tired, half lidded for the yet early hour. At seeing you, and your generally ragged state of disarray, they widden with a wakeful and alert sharpness. The door opens more fully to reveal Tomoe-sensei clad in a simple fluffy white robe over what you surmise is a silk or satin nightgown in her more preferred shade.
“Mikage? What are you doing here so early? Is everything okay?” the soft spoken and usually stern woman says in concern as she notices your friends come up behind you for the first time, “What happened to all of you?”
~It’s a long story, and I have questions,~ you say in exasperation, ~Can we come in?~
Of course you can, and she ushers the four of you into her home. Gathered and seated in her living room, she puts a kettle on for tea in her adjoining room. To frame matters you recount the previous night, from the tree to the monsters beneath Adachi City, to the black stone full of pure and enticing darkness shattering on approach to your untapped node of earthly power and the vision you witnessed after touching the hair held within the stone, as though it were an evil preservative amber around a fossil.
>What'd you want to ask/talk to Tomoe-sensei about?
Mention theory that we witnessed the Queen's final moments and that it is her hair.
Maybe being preserved and then exposed to cleanse energies my main it a cleaner basis for removing the taint from the one in the tank.
Also see if between Tomoe-sensei and what Keiko can remember we can kick up some theories on what kind of escape capsule could have escaped Saturn's cleansing.
As Tomoe-sensei brings the finished tea into the room, Midori having offered to help her finish preparations and properly introducing herself to your teacher, setting the tray on the table between the four of you and pouring each of you and herself a cup, you finally explain just what you thought you had borne witness too. Tomoe-sensei takes slow care for each of your cups, pre pouring milk into them before the tea, and then mixing a modest amount of sugar into each one.
~I think it was the death of the Queen, my grandmother,~ you sigh and lift the decorated porcelain cup to your lips, she put more sugar into your cup.
You imagine she did so unconsciously, thinking of Usa’s preferences most likely. It's good, you like it sweet. The warmed combination of milk and tea relaxes you. Also it compensates for the very light flavor of the tea, chamomile maybe? Still, there is something else you can’t quite parse.
“That might be possible, but any escape pod Elysion could have built at that time couldn’t have survived the Silence,” Tomoe-sense reasons as she takes a sip from her own cup, “Go on, Mikage,”
~If the hair is her’s, won’t you be able to tell? I mean, you have a complete sample to test against,~ you question while holding your cup steadily with both hands.
“Yeah, but isn’t her hair black?” Kairi questions, having spent an extended time hiding with you and the encapsulated clone of the Queen of old Elysion.
“It is possible that over the millennia the pigmentation was drawn out,” Tomoe-sensei reasons, “Or it could be a side effect of purification. Either way, I won’t be able to test for DNA unless one of the hair’s still has the follicle attached,”
She produces a small plastic baggie and passes it over to you. Taking one last look at the hairs, you drop them in and seal it tight before handing them back to your teacher.
~If they are her hairs, maybe looking at them can help us better prepare for the purification of the rest of her,~ you nod sharply as the edge of your vision blurs for a second.
Your eyelids feel heavy as you take another sip of soothing tea. That visual dilation definitely wasn’t another vision or a looming panic attack, it is the pure and absolute fatigue you can feel catching up to you. As you set your empty cup back down onto it’s tiny and specific plate, you realize drinking it has done you no favors in terms of keeping awake.
~Well, on the matter of the pod escaping,~ you reason as you lean back into the couch and yawn deeply, ~Keiko said she was remembering a bit of Beryl’s memories. Maybe between the two of you, you can piece together anything you might have noticed that could have allowed an Elysion escape pod to survive the ends both of you brought to the world,~
You sit up sharply as you realize the probably outcome of your sleepily realized and said statement.
~Not that I think the two of you are in any way responsible for any of that stuff happening!~ you say sharply as your vision blurs again and you stumble back into the couch.
“No offense taken, Mikage” Keiko laughs lightly and sighs, “Don’t worry about me being so sensitive about this kind of thing. Tomoe-sensei and I are made of sterner stuff. Senshi stuff!”
“Er, yes,” Tomoe-sensei says a bit sheepishly, it is still so strange being able to glimpse this side of her.
Weird. This is catching up to you far faster than you expected. You blearily look to Kairi at your side, to Midori on your other, and then across to Tomoe-sensei and Keiko. Kairi and Keiko both look at you concerned.
“Mikage, are you alright?” one of them asks, you aren’t sure who as their voice seems distant.
“She’ll be fine,” Midori says as her eyes meet your own.
“Mori-san suggested I brew something to help all of you rest, and pay special attention to Mikage’s cup,” you hear the slight stern nature of Tomoe-san’s voice crowd her soft and meek voice, “So along with milk I added two shots of white rum,”
“Well, she had a busy night,” Keiko says sheepishly as a pair of hands coming from Kairi’s side of you take your shoulders.
What? Wait, was that why it was so sweet? Lavender, was that the other flavor you couldn’t place?
A sleep aid tea in milk with liqueur. That bitch.
~Bitch,~ you groan as you slip away, looking over to Midori beside you as she sips her own tea.
“Yeah yeah,” her voice echoes in the darkness, “Let’s get rested first and then you can call me bitch all you want. If you weren’t so exhausted this probably wouldn’t even phase you,”
And with those words, you drift off to sleep.
Through the darkness you hear a frantic pounding against something. Familiar and direct like in your vision. It falls into place, the scene inside the pod, fresh and new. Only this time, you are more acutely aware of a few details. As the creeping crystallization of darkness inches up the cracked glass ahead of you, there is something you didn’t quite see the first time. A reflected face.
The face of whoever happened to die in this way. Whose hair you found in the stone. It isn’t your face, it isn’t your grandmother’s extremely similar face. It is a young boy, with striking eyes and shock white hair. Within this image of the dream, the last thing you see before his sight goes black and his world goes silent is the stark crystallization of his eyes in the reflection of black and purple stone growing over his last window to a dying world.
Eclipsed Moon Quest Episode 116
>Oh what a lovely tea party
There is a fair chance that we've had most of the active group described to us. I no one remembers off hand, I'll mine the archives after work for those with a shock of silver/white hair.
Well, I guess I was wrong about it being Grandma’s hair. At least we now have something else to give the others.
Also, my new theory:
From the last thread’s Unquiet Burrow Interlude:
>It is stern, it is young, it has much light hair left a mess. His eyes are sad and deeply faceted, almost crystalline.
From Mikage’s second vision:
>It is a young boy, with striking eyes and shock white hair. Within this image of the dream, the last thing you see before his sight goes black and his world goes silent is the stark crystallization of his eyes
I will make this post work!
So. How does everyone feel about Midori's underhanded little stunt?
On the one hand, even mature and heroicly competent bunnies need their sleep.
On the other hand, MINOR AND SEDITIOUS ACT OF BETRAYAL!
When I voted
>We need to leave, I have to talk to Tomoe-sensei
I was thinking ”Okay, let’s get this to our expert, then go home and go to bed”.
So I’d go with MINOR AND SEDITIOUS ACT OF BETRAYAL!
I mean, what does it say when your teacher decides to drug you instead of telling you to go home.
Personally, I think it would be better if Tomoe just said “Okay, this is interesting, now go home young lady” and Mikage said “Planning on it, bye everyone”.
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think anyone had forgotten that Mikage was up all night.
>I admit the scene made more sense to me when I wrote it.
Many things only make sense at two AM.
Still makes sense, Mikage was under on sleep and making motions to put off much needed rest and continue charge around dragging everyone after her tired ass.
Midori is our no-nonsense team member, that's why we called her to wrangle in the troops, afterall.
Mikage, as played by us, generated large amounts on nonsense.
Sometimes dramatic measures must be taken for our own good.
It didn't come from a mean place, but I think we get back in the way that will cause her the most fustrated sighing.
Being obviously and ridiculously over-dramatic about this greavous betrayal and how we can never trust the true joy of food with her around ever again. Etc.
Just comicly thick nonsense directed at the non-nonsense girl until we balance out again.
At least a spiritual cousin (or something?) is less odd than the theory of a spiritual grandfather mistaking her for his wife.
There goes my rombus. Also, I underestimated the amount of young in her drawing.
I'm too old, twenties is young kid to me.
Don't worry, next in game week starts on a Sundae.
Though how sweet a day it is will depend on if you have that picnic that got delayed.
Huh, I'd forgotten about that. Oh well, easily enough adapted.
Depends on how long the nap is.
I just recall him thinking about someone, could have been a cowork's SO instead. Maybe an ex? I miss being home long enough to do a proper search. And break is over wheeee~