View Full Version : Issue #3: Those Who Write New Values On New Tablets

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1st of March, 2005, 20:46
Lake Silverwood Golf Club, Upstate New York.
18th hole
9:58 am, January 17th 2010.

The End of the World: Day One

Philip Mouse, Senior Administrator of the Centinel Foundation, squinted into the winter morning sun. His eyes were lined with crows feet, such was the habitually of this behaviour. Nevertheless, he couldn’t make out where his ball had landed, but long practice with the feel of club and tee told him it was easily on the green.

“Hole in two, again...” he sighed, as the black helicopter dropped from the sky with a hiss of antisound-baffled rotors.

He ambled over to his wheeled robobag, rangy, outdoorsman’s frame moving easily under the loose slacks and shirt he wore. By the time he had slid the nine iron back into place, a thin figure with his black coat snapping in the downdraft was striding towards him.

“Morning. I don’t suppose you’ve joined me for a game?” Mouse drawled to his Special Executive Assistant. The clammy-skinned, pale-eyed man hunched his shoulders as a barrier against the noise of the copper, and shook his head slowly, eyes locked on his superior. Mouse, for his part, clicked his fingers at the robobag, which trundled after him, following him towards the hole. The SEASA had no choice but to follow.

“Sir...” the lizard-faced bureaucrat whispered as they walked. “If you spent more time at the Centinel Building, you might be aware...”

Mouse chuckled. “Oh, I’m fully aware of what’s going on. I just don’t think that my personal touch would change anything.”

The sinewy man sucked cold air through thin, colder lips. “Hmmm. Sir, I find your attitude unacceptably blaze. The activation of the... reserve unit Q. The contamination of the Mechanic. The invalidation of Bolt. The defection of Wreck. The Madison disturbance.”

“’Reserve unit Q?’” Mouse laughed as he circled around a sand trap. “Really, Bates. He isn’t part of your chamber of horrors and more. Call him by his codename, at least.” Mouse’s tone hardened a little. “And your forgetting... we kept a thousand guns off the streets. O’Malley goes on trial tomorrow. The Brotherhood suffered the worst public relations disaster in their hillbilly history. The Mechanic is not contaminated... you forget, this agency is not your private fiefdom. We share resources. I hold high hopes that Bolt can be rehabilitated... hell, he’s already given us a lesson in why we should NOT keep secret from ourselves. Any breach in security caused by Quantum can be ameliorated...”

The Senior Administrator bent down and plucked a weed off the manicured grass. “My god... the groundsmen are getting worse every week,” he muttered. “All right... granted, Wreck was a mistake. We will never deal with an amoralist with kid gloves again. Next time, our terms or a term in Stranglehold. And yes...” Mouse turned his weathered face upwards, and gave the sky a look of regret for a moment. “Yes... we screwed the pooch in Madison. We shouldn’t have let them get separated, become independent... but we can recover form that...”

“No, sir, “the SEASA cut in, his voice a stiletto hidden in silk. “The mistakes have been comprehensive. Systematic. Fundamental. They are not ‘heroes’. We must never elevate them that way. They only serve our interests if they are treated as what they are... soldiers, tactical weapons. You have allowed your romanticism to cloud that vision, and that is a weakness that our more ruthless enemies will exploit.”

Standing on the edge of the water hazard, Mouse turned sharply, and scowled. “Soldiers? Goddamn it. Goddamn it... we tried that, if you’ll recall? InterForce? The worst, most psychotic mistake in foreign policy we ever made...”

“Again, you fail to understand. InterForce was... impure. After all, six of seven were non-American. It existed to further the interests of the G7, not America. The nations that contributed to it are now numbered amongst the very threats we seek to counteract.”

“This is about the Project, isn’t it?”

“This is about control. It has always been about control. You never had the courage to control the Centinels, Philip. You never had the courage to maintain them. That fell to me. Now, it all falls to me. And yes, to the Project.”

The ex-Senior Administrator turned and looked out over the golf course, considering the consequences of the fact that a man to whom informality was like garlic to a vampire had called him by his first name. Meditatively, he said “You know... I never did manage to get below par two on this hole.”

By the time the helicopter took off again, the water hazard was slowly turning red as Philip Mouse’s body floated in it, face down, with a bullet in his brain stem.

7th of March, 2005, 19:26
Old Subway Terminal, New York City.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.






Maim could practically smell his enemy. The huge steel lockdown doors gave way with one more blow, splitting open like the petals of a metallurgical flower, releasing the most pig-ugly fruit in the history of nature. Eight feet of oozing, rippling muscular horror, Maim only looks human in the loosest of terms. Sure, the limbs and bits are all there - but they don’t look right any more. Bony nodules rise and fall under tattooed skin, and unnatural fibrous bundles contract and loosen in place of joints. His buzz-cut hair is sandy blond-ish, and his eyes, possibly the most human things left about him, are watery, blue, and squint piggishly out of hypertrophic orbits.

”Arhhhhhh. Tracy. How ya doin’, buddy?”

Maim grins at his own wit. He sees Wreck hovering in front of a window halfway up the large chamber, still wearing that pussy-ass chin pubes. He looks surprised to see me. Ain’t that cute? That must be where the geek is.

Maim, nee Jake Argeist, was a man of simple tastes even before the accident that turned him into a raging organic destruction machine. He likes drinking, though of late only strong molar acids and diesel fuel give him any kind of kick. He likes fighting, though of late he’s been unable to find foes, whether human or meta that meet his exacting standards of punchability. And they always whimper so when he has his way with them after the fight. And, most of all, he likes pain - and of late, he isn’t too particular if it’s him or someone else that feels it.

Maim reaches up and grabs hold of the spiked metal rings that pierce his nipples. He starts to twist them, simultaneously sawing at the roof of his mouth with the metal hook implanted there. Yeah It’s not enough to damage him - much, but the pain gives him the edge he likes. Maim can feel energy surging through his nerves, turning agony to pure power.

As for what Maim doesn’t like? He hates a lot of things. Foreigners. Americans. Nuns. Kittens. His mother. Mondays. Charity workers. That guy over there.

Right now, what Maim hates most of all, is the scrawny no balls geek that promised him a shot at Wreck, then tried to welsch on the deal. Bad, bad move. What he hates second most of all is Tracy Cavanaugh.

”Haven’t seen you since that job in Da Nang. Gooks sure bleed funny, don’t they?” Maim licked his lips, piercing the flesh with his tongue augmentation. ”Why don’tcha come down here and let’s... reminisce ‘bout old times, hurgh?”

7th of March, 2005, 19:49
Kardo Street, New York City.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.

Red Hare

“Up.” thshwiiish. “Up.” thshwiiish. “Up, Number 14!” thshwiiish-krak!

Number 14 gasped in pain as the polymer whip tore open the skin of her ankles. The trainer’s blow should have given her the encouragement she needed to hover, but she just couldn’t manage it. In frustration, and aching from the gash, she landed badly. Her toe tangled in the trouser leg end of her practice tunic, and she tumbled face first onto the mat.

Some of the other trainees giggled at her humiliation, but were silenced by glares form the other trainers. 14 felt her cheeks redden, and scrambled back to her feet. She almost flinched, preemptively, expected a solid beating for such a mistake. Instead, the bald old man shook his head sadly, and tucked his hands into his sleeves.

“Number 14. You are one of the Gifted. Why can you not fly? Such a simple task. The other trainees have mastered it... yet you cannot. Do you hate the Party so? Is your failure treason?”

14 turned slowly to look at the golden star in the red stained glass window that cast carnadine light into the training room. She stared at it. Stared at it. And could think of nothing so say.

The muscles around Red Hare’s left eye tensed minutely. It was an odd memory to have at such a moment, and she tried to force it from her mind with one of the Mantras.

“I repeat myself, voiceless one.” Red Hare swept her short staff dramatically in a low arc, letting it snarl through the air. “You will not be allowed to prevent this raid, or alert your employer. Therefore, you must surrender to me, or I will render you unconscious.”

8th of March, 2005, 16:43
Native American Ruin, Colorado.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.

He Who Walked Between The Stars

He stirred fitfully in his sleep as, once again, the strangers invaded his chamber. A trickle of anger ran through his dreams; did they not know the danger? Did they not fear his wrath any more?

But then he felt something new. This stranger’s mind... was powerful. It had been uncounted seasons since he had felt a soul that strong. And there was more than that. There was...


He stretched out his mind, and found the other’s thoughts.

Boy, this suit is uncomfortable... I bet I could improve that, if I just added some articulation here and here... Hey, now, focus, Rob...

I don’t know what they were worried about. When combined with my gravity shield, this antirad suit is more than enough to keep the emissions from this... thing... out. Thinking of which, better check the readings again... yow, almost off the scale. It’s ten times worse than Chernobyl in here. And... hmm. The positron energy signatures indicate... yeah. The emission levels have remained almost constant for the past two thousand years. I can’t believe people used to live over this site... though if they did, it would explain what happened to them. Total genetic breakdown within a couple of generations...

Okay, so the googolplex-dollar-question: what is it? Nothing terrestrial could be so active for so long... but there are some extraterrestrial substances that might. Is there a metal asteroid inside that column? Or... could it be a man-made isotope? By Indians?

Okay, shelve that question... to answer it, I’d need to get inside the stone sheath of that column. And that’s interesting enough. The column’s solid... no way to get water in or steam out, so it can’t work like a conventional nuclear core. Anyway, there’s no mechanism for harnessing steam down here. What function could it have?

I’m starting to doubt if this thing is even a power generator.

10th of March, 2005, 13:06

Wreck's face darkens at the sight of his former comrade-in-arms. Although "comrade" might be too strong a word. Yet Tracy couldn't think of one that would cover "homicidal freak who happened to be good in a fight but was too damn crazy to trust." Maybe acquaintance would have to suffice. He turns to face X and gives the man a black look. "A fight I can't win, eh?"

Maim, meanwhile, is making himself bleed and seems to be salivating. Tracy's been stabbed, bludgeoned, and shot more times than he can count, but for some reason Maim's spittle makes him uneasy. Or maybe it's the fact that crazy people don't know when they're beat. And this time he doesn't have a convenient cargo hold door, and ten thousand feet of elevation, to help rid himself of Maim.

What little buzz he had from the bar leaves him, and Tracy suddenly realizes that he never really had a choice with X to begin with. He isn't surprised. They never just let muscle like Tracy walk out the door and never come back.

"Feck," he mutters, sizing up his once partner-in-crime while floating down to the floor of the room. "Guess we have some stuff to talk about, huh, Jake? Fall out of any more planes lately? Why don't you come over here and tell it to daddy."

10th of March, 2005, 16:39
The Home, under New York city.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.

The One Eyed King

The One Eyed King watched the stranger’s confusion with warm, gentle amusement. Trisha looked nonplused, too; Prophet was Communing with his Spirits, and maybe wasn’t even listening on the same plane as the rest of them. Some of his people were watching, peering around the stacks of wooden boxes that marked his ‘front door’, but he let them be for now. It would be best that they saw this man. Ecce homo.

The One Eyed King did not really know what he had been expecting. This tired, drained skeleton of a man? One who was on the run from enemies and demons of his own, and was blind to the darkness that lay ahead, so consumed he was in the darkness he carried within?

“A-heh. A-heh. You’ll have to forgive an old man his joke, Bolt...” he wheezed in his death-rattle voice. “I did not mean to compare you to Our Lord... but I know you are a good man. When you see those around you suffer, you use your gifts to make things right. We suffer greatly, so we hope that your aid will be equally great.

“But, I think you came here looking for my help, no?”

10th of March, 2005, 17:12
Madison Square Gardens, under New York city.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


Striking the big prey was painful. His skin was as hard as iron, and sheathed with flames to boot - Devolution stumbled back, snarling in pain as the tips of his claws charred. Meteoric still looked uneasy - Good. He can smell my power...

The roaring and screaming crowd of nothings seethed and surged like vomit in the plague-ridden stomach that is New York. Confusion reigned, even as the glowing one flashed in and out, grabbing members of the audience and making them vanish. Nevertheless, the ordinary people howled and beat at each other, so easily provoked to atavistic behaviour. All in accordance with my theories. The noise was like sweet music to Devolution, and helped focus his murderous fury into a cold stiletto of hate. He lashed out at Meteoric again. This time, fear weakened Devolution’s foe, and focused rage proved the irresistible force - the muscular man tumbled back through the air, trailing flame and blood.

Now, only the teleporter remained - no, wait. Devolution stopped, and sniffed the air. No, there is another here...

11th of March, 2005, 06:06
HP: 5/5; Status: Normal, Unhurt

'Didn't know I could fly...and probably didn't expect me to survive the fall, so she's playing for keeps. As inscrutably as he can muster, Rob studies her from across the gap. 'Voiceless one...reckon what that's all about. Maybe she didn't hear me...nah. Probably some kind of weird Eastern spiritual thing, I'm not giving off the right kind of vibe or something.' He pats the side of his thigh with the barong's flat, considering his options. 'Looks like she's got some neat little toys to go along with her kung-pow. I've got mobility. Other than that, we're unknown quantities to each other...except that I think I can use her motivations to my advantage.'

"Come and get me." The leap is a classic rearward shootdodge across the roof, ending in a midair twist and a dive over the far edge. Let her follow as she can; he's guessing that she's reliant on that grapple to cover wide open spaces, which will hopefully give him the opportunity to out-maneuver her and take her unawares.

OOC: Full-move flight away from Red Hare, diving out of sight at the earliest opportunity. His general strategy is to try to lead her on a merry chase, circle around her and attack from stealth.

11th of March, 2005, 10:08

“Let us pray I was wrong. Hold him for as long as you can, Wreck; I’ll be down as soon as possible.” With that, X darts off through the door out of his little glass observation lounge.

“Freakin’ GEEK!” Maim howls after the technologist in pure loathing. “I’m gonna make every orifice of your body my own, personal TOILET when I get through with your second rate meathammer!”

He comes at you, a raging, flailing mass of screamed obscenities and pulverizing muscle. At full bore, he just covers the distance between his torn hole in the steel lockdown door and you, leaping over the trench with the tracks in one bound. Tendons bulge like cables on his neck as he swings his whole body mass behind a haymaker. It’s a chancy attack; comming at you so fast leaves him open, and the punch itself is a wild thing. Then again, when each of you are tough enough to shrug off shell blasts, who cares about being hit?

Unfortunately for you, he’s a really, really good brawler. And his gambit pays off.

Luck is on your side, however; if you had been braced one iota less, you’d be 300lbs of finest New Hampshire mincemeat. The hyperdense calcium chains in your skin and muscles take some - half, maybe - of the sting out of the blow, and good fortune and combat experience handle the rest.

You bend a little under the blow, but don’t even get a bruise.

Wreck: 21
Maim: 8

11th of March, 2005, 10:09

Your eyes flicker over every possible point of egress and ingress to the alley on the far side of the building as you soar over it - which, for a guy who can fly, is quite a few. You need to find somewhere you can double back on her, maybe somewhere with no overhangs so she can’t grapple above you -

Something red blurs through the air to fast to see. You twist into an alarmed air-tumble, wondering if maybe she has a whole range of colour-coordinated weapons to throw at you, and quickly right yourself to see what’s what. You end up with your back towards the rowdy bar full of Mafia footsoldier lunkheads, just under the lip of the building, looking incredulously at the ledge of the building across from you, not 10 feet away.

She’s got here ahead of you, and is standing balanced on the ledge as if gravity and her aren’t on speaking terms. The white rabbit-emblem on her breast looks orange in the sooty sodium streetlamp glow.

A boil of frustration pops inside - is there anyone in this city I’m faster that? Bolt, Wreck, Quantum, the ‘Port...wherever you go, there they are!

“Catch you? If I must?” She’s already in motion by the time the words come out. Her arm flicks out, launching the grappling javelin at you. Dimly, you realise that it can’t be her only means of transport, because there simple wasn’t enough time - all this is happening in mere seconds - for her to launch, swing and recoil the weapon then throw it at you again. But this quickly becomes secondary to getting out of the way as it hurtles towards your feet.

Too slow. Expertly improvised, the swing-line with its metal spike makes a fine bolas as it loops around your ankles, tangles up in itself and pulls tight. You’re half tied-up, and your attacker has the end of your leash...

OOC: Osprey is snared, unless you want to spend a hero point to reroll (-2 to attacks, -4 Dex, half speed)

Red Hare: 20
Osprey: 12

11th of March, 2005, 10:58

Trisha drops carefully into a crouch and leans as close to the One Eyed King as she dares. From the wrinkling of her nose, he must smell pretty bad; if so, you can’t sense it, but that may be because you’re still getting over the pervasive reek of fear and unwashed bodies that pervades the underground grotto of the mole people.

“It’s been too long, old man,” she tells him warmly. “How have you been?”

The rag-encrusted mass scarcely shifts, but his eye looks briefly at her, before returning to you. “He knows...” Old One Eye wheezes. “He has seen them...”

11th of March, 2005, 10:59

You’d never thought that people you were saving from a stampeding mob would be so... ungrateful. They claw at your eyes, try and bite your ears and throat as you gab them and pull them through space/time with you. Whatever that Devolution character has done to them, it’s made them feral. It’s like a spring break party with rabies. Or worse, a soccer match. You get more than your fair share of scuffs and bruises, but your power tends to knock their blows and wild attacks away. Those that do hit you find their hands left burned and bloody from random energy discharges and running them through the molecular wringer.

Nevertheless, you manage to deposit about twenty people on the pavement outside the auditorium in just a few trips. You pause to catch you breath, and notice that, now they’re outside, they seem to be calming down. They groan and hold their heads like they’re comming down form a bad trip, and a few have fainted or throw up - but the senseless aggression has gone. And now that you’ve got cold, fresh air in your sinuses, you realise that the irrational fear you weren’t even aware of is gone, too. Finally free of that overpowering rotten-garbage and wet animal stench, you can think clearly...

It’s an irksome feeling, comprehending that someone has been manipulating your biochemistry on a subconscious level. But., surely, there must be a way you can get around it... last you saw, Meteoric looked like he needed your help.

11th of March, 2005, 11:01
The Mechanic

Possible scenarios whirl through your mind like the pages from a science journal caught in a cyclone as you stand in the radioactive chamber, clad in the huge, bulky metallic suit. What other function could a device like this fulfill? Some kind of sacrifice chamber? An... atomic beacon? No, who would there be to pick it up? Oooh, maybe aliens! Hmm, maybe not. Some kind of weapon? What if they could focus the radiation some how, use it to vapourise their enemies?

Well, maybe there is some way to get power out of it... superconducting crystals in the rock? What if they had a metallic receptor in the village above, and beamed energy to it with some kind of Heinlein projector-array? There’d have to be porous sections in the rock...

Robert is shaken out of his thoughts by a brisk knock on the radiation-proof water window. Dr LaCroix waves at him through the glass. She lifts a hardened signal radio to her mouth, and you scramble to find yours.

Her voice crackles through the intense interference. “Dr. Thomas, Dr. Sachs just reported something I think you might find interesting. He’s been analyzing inscriptions on the walls of the tunnel that leads down here... and according to him, it’s in Anasazi. He’s working on a translation now.” You shake your head; getting more mysterious is exactly what this situation needs. A Coloradan site with the writings of a disappeared New Mexican culture, housing a two-thousand year old nuclear pile? You’d get a headache if it wasn’t so gloriously exciting.

The slim black plasma chemist peers through the window, surveying the room. A touch breathlessly, she asks: “So, what have you found out? Have you decided how to proceed?”

11th of March, 2005, 14:10
HP: 5/5. Status: Badass, Unhurt.

The punch connects with more force than Tracy had anticipated. He rolls with it, letting most of the impact glance off his super-dense skin. Jake had clearly gotten stronger since being kicked out of that cargo plane. Perhaps he'd gotten stronger because of the fall, not in spite of it. Either way, Tracy's in for a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred, anything-goes, fight.

And for the first time since the chick betrayed him, he's happy.

"Come on, boy! You hit like a little girl strung out on Supercool!" Kee-rist. Is he really biting his own tongue? "Thought you were tougher than that." He clenches his fists, feeling his knuckles line up, and gives his former parnter the old one-two. It feels good to be up against another living, breathing meta; one who can take a hit and not go down like, well, any number of inappropriate references. No more hitting little girls, Tracy's graduated to pummeling mental patients.

((OOC: Rapid strike))

11th of March, 2005, 15:25
HP: 5/5 Status: Here and there.

Quantum -- in this sort of situation, it's becoming hard to think of himself as Paul, a former truck-driver -- grits his teeth, dropping into a half-crouch that, while not technically accurate for a martial arts stance, feels right. He turns to face the building he's just vacated for the sixth time, even though the direction he faces is an issue when it comes to translocating.

Somehow, in the middle of all the chaos and uncertainty, something clicked. He didn't know exactly why, but the stress and rapid-fire teleporting opened something up. All the time he spent poring over those physics books seems like a waste, now; where everyone else has to describe elaborate formulas and theories, he just simply knows. It's like telling a blind man what your face looks like, when his sense of touch tells him something completely different.

Over the cacophany of panicked people scattering through the stadium, the angry cries of people succumbing to whatever is driving them into a rage, Quantum feels a disturbance that stands out -- a large mass moving uncontrollably. Meteoric. Something's not right, I need to help him. Well, I'd always wanted to be a hero; time to do something heroic.

Focusing his will on the practical aspects of time/space, namely his location within it, he mentally alters that information. Responding instantly, the sphere of power he's projecting vanishes with a resouding snap--

--and with a whump of displaced air, he reappears back on the stage, just as Meteoric lands barely ten feet away. Not wasting any time, Quantum closes the distance to the atrocity that's causing all this chaos.

(OOC: T'port back to the action, move in to keep the Big Ugly busy. Applying Dodge to the same.)

11th of March, 2005, 16:55
HP: 5/5. Status: Thinking he should have kept the taxi job, Unhurt.

With a small sigh Ryan sits down next to Trisha. "It was those men that I fought, wasn't it? Do they come down here a lot and do you know who they are?"

Ryan glances towards the floor, unable to look at the man. "I will help if I can but we did come here for another reason... We need to get into the Centinels building without being discovered."

He pauses for a moment as he glances over to Trisha before looking directly back at the 'old man'. "I don't know what you know or have heard about me, but I'm no savior, and I am definately not a good man. I can't save anyone... I can't even save myself." His shoulders slumping, the blackness threating to consume him once again.

11th of March, 2005, 18:25

With a contemptuous guffaw, Maim pushes your first blow out of the way. ”That all you got? Gee-he-yugh! No wonder the No Front’s didn’t want your pasty butt on their team, Tracy... they wanted a real fighter... LIKE ME! Sure, I mean, I did burn down that nunnery, so they chucked me out, but at least I was in once...”

The two of you fling your Samsonesque strength at each other, grunting in effort and panting as you swing fists with the force of bulldozers at each other. The ground buckles and shatters as your feet seek purchase, and Maim slips a little on the resulting gravel - letting your next blow count.

You feel something squelch against your knuckles, and he gives a snarl of pain. You glance down to appraise the damage, and see a punch-shaped dent in Maim’s thick, scarred flesh glowing with evil-looking blood red energy. His snarl becomes a moan: ”Ohh yeah... that’s what I like... g’wan, try and hit me again, Trace... make me stronger...”

Maim straightens, seeming to swell with power as his demonic metabolism transforms pain and trauma into energy. His knuckles and teeth glitter, dimly, with ruby motes of force...

You don’t see the blow. As you tumble backwards through the air, breath knocked out of you and a dull ache suffusing every part of your body, you contemplate: if you had seen it comming, you probably would have gotten out of the way. All you can remember is the sensation of a fist like a bull elephant getting personal with your stomach, then this wonderful, soft, spinning feeling...

Then you hit the wall.

The wall comes off worse in the bargain; unless you happen to think Wreck-shaped craters are tres chic

The impact leaves you dazed, confused, and somewhat adhesive. You struggle a bit, trying to work yourself free from the crater. Maim bawls in laughter, lumbering a couple of steps towards you. ”Yeah! Blah ha ha ha ... oh yeah! This is gonna be fun... stick around, Tracy, we’re just gettin’ started!” Maim’s chuckling mouth opens wider and wider, and a crimson glow, like fluorescing blood builds in his throat. Wreck groans, still seeing double from the collision is unable to avoid to spear of searing red light that explodes from Maim’s eyes, mouth, ears, nostrils - every opening in his malignant head seems to give rise to a coruscating streamer of scarlet energy.

And it really, really hurts when it bathes you.

Clothing crumbles to blackened fibres and skin ruptures under the beam of congealed hate. The agony is so intense you can hardly scream. But you make an extra special effort to do so. Dust dribbles from the rock around you as Maim’s painbolt attacks it on a psiono-molecular level, and you can feel your nerves shriveling, recoiling into their myelin sheathes. Every sinew in your body contracts into momentary paralysis, making your teeth snap together and your fingers shred your palms while your back chafes into a bloody mess. As it subsides, mercifully, sweetly, you feel yourself keel forward, and you just manage to regain your feet instead of faceplanting.

If there’s an upside to that horrific attack, it’s that it has shocked you back into awareness.

OOC: Wreck took a lethal hit and was stunned by the first blow, and while stunned Maim took advantage of him to inflict another lethal hit.

12th of March, 2005, 13:25
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Intrigued, beguiled, fascinated... and unhurt.

"They've got something? Aww... but I was just getting a good look- round in here." He says into the helmet mic while moving slowly closer to the column and the strange power source.

He studies the column more intently, scannig it's surface looking for clues to its nature then moves on to study the rest of the room.

"You know... it's weird.. I was all set to go with you guys on this one in that it's a power source.. but there's nothing to conduct it. I mean, even as an energy emitter, there would have to be a way of guiding it.. this space is too sealed off."

A glance at the various arrays and equipment that he attached before donning the suit shows him the data being relayed back to the system.

This is TOO COOL!!! NONE OF THESE READINGS MAKE SENSE!! he thinks briefly as he starts the suit on it's ponderous way back to the gantry hall.

"By the way... once this suit is cleaned down I've got some improvements I want to make on it... increase it's mobility and sensory potential, that kind of thing. Once I'm out let me know who I've got to talk to about that."

12th of March, 2005, 14:25

Just before you teleport out, you see the red and blue lights of the police strobing towards the Gardens, and the doors burst outwards as the panicking mob surges out, screaming, sobbing and trampling each other. Reality folds and unfolds around you, the image of the street outside milling with frightened people shifting in one blurred wipe to the dark, reeking interior of what is swiftly becoming a riot.

The thousands of men and women in the audience batter at each other in blind rage, or in an attempt to escape the press and make it to the doors. The Neanderthal-things tower above them, smashing their way through the people with ease, pick human bodies up and hurling them like rag dolls, or sometimes just battering them aside with red-furred arms.

Devolution stands hunched on the stage, cackling in glee. The bones woven into his dirty white beard clatter together and he sharpens his talon-like nails on the neck of a glass flask which he had just withdrawn from his ragged coat. You spot Meteoric in a small crater made from smashed musical equipment, his fiery aura faded. There’s a bloody gash across his muscular chest, and he’s half curled up into a fetal ball.

As you gather your strength for your next move, you realise there are at least two other people here that stand out from the mass of people. Halfway up the stairs, a short, olive-skinned woman ushers as many people as she can towards the emergency exits. Those around her seem remarkable calm, given the circumstances, and certainly aren’t as rabid as the rest of the audience.

In another place, you see a knot of neanderthals and maddened civilians, clustered together as if dogpiling on some unfortunate. The knot suddenly bulges up, and a figure bursts from the mass, with several others hanging from it. A hefty white man soars upwards, borne by large, mechanical wings that beat at the air. He manages to shake off the madmen clinging to him, and points his arms down. Devices on his wrists chuff, and launch nets down at the attackers below him, tangling several of them up.

At least two. As you take this in, an uneasy sensation crawls through your brain. You can’t quite place it, but it feels like the feeling you get when you teleport... but perceived from the outside.

12th of March, 2005, 17:04
HP: 5/5 Status: Bewildered, but determined.

What the-- was that a teleport? Haven't heard about any... waidaminit, wasn't there one at the warehouse? Ack, no time! Unable to come up with a proper response to the unusual stimulus, Quantum commits himself to action. Mentally thanking the other two helping with crowd control, he concerns himself with the real threat: Devolution.

"Laugh it up, monkey-boy," he yells over the tumult. "We're going for a ride!" Closing the distance as quickly as he can, he grabs hold of the half-evolved freak and relocates, taking Devo along for the ride.

(OOC: Move up, get him in my field, and teleport us both straight up as far as I can. If needed, using Move-By Attack to get hold of him before t-porting. Let's get him on the roof, where there are fewer people he can hurt.)

13th of March, 2005, 03:44
HP: 5/5. Status: Still badass but...owie! 2 Lethal hits.

Sometimes life just sucks, and then there's tonight.

Tracy hasn't felt pain like this since he stood too close to a blast of C-4 early in his career. He'd been too cocky then, and is still too cocky now. To say that Maim is more dangerous than he was before would be like saying Bolt is kinda quick, or that Osprey is a wuss; it's a major understatement. He promises his body extra women and booze if it works overtime, and in response he feels some of his bleeding slow and clot. His neck cracks as he rolls it in a circle and he considers his situation. He's a giant S&M superfreak who gets stronger when hit. Right.

People always think a guy of Tracy's size and disposition is automatically stupid, and to be fair, they're usually right. Yet when the blood is up, he can be remarkably insightful. Here, for instance, is a situation where his speciality--punching the bejesus out of things--isn't going to work. The dent in Maim's flesh had only made him stronger. Plus he made a really creepy moan, and Tracy didn't like hearing that when he hit a guy.

"You still hit like a girl," he lies. "No wonder they kicked you out. Freak."

X wants time. Fine. Tracy will give him time. He charges forward, fist raised, but his left hand stays open and it snakes out, grabbing ahold of Maim. If he can hold him, and not hurt him, maybe he can avoid getting another ass kicking.

((OOC: Move, grapple.))

13th of March, 2005, 14:30

The mass of rags rustles a little. “Maybe. But tell me, Bolt... is any man who claims he is a hero truly that? Look at...” he stops and gives a hacking wheeze, as if shifting a particularly asthmatic lump of phlegm in his throat.

“Look at Trisha. She does not believe she is a hero, either. She came to us with no illusions that she was doing anything but hunting down a story. Nevertheless, she brought our plight to the surface with her words... and since then, the charities of your world have done more to help us than ever before.” The cloaked mass peers at her. “Always remember, child... it is never too late to remedy your motives.” Trisha flushes brightly under her cheap makeup, and looks away. The One Eyed King sighs sadly. “It was not your fault that you brought down the killers, as well...”

He turns back to you, and you can hear fearful murmurs spreading through the crowd of mole people behind you. “The men you saw are... they are your police. Sanctioned... exterminators, sent by your government to clear us from our homes.” He sighs again. “There was no place for us above, and now they deny us a home below. If only we could reach our Sanctuary of old... but that way lies blocked with black magic.”

“Understand, Bolt. Without help, they will eventually wipe us out. All of us. But...” A bulge appears in the fabric, as if Old One Eye has raised a finger to make a point. “But... do not mistake me. I will not beg for your help, or make you aid us in exchange for the path to the dungeons under the Centinel Building. All you need do is ask for that, and we will give it to you.”

13th of March, 2005, 14:46
the Mechanic

Dr. LaCroix laughs. “I guess that what I’ve heard about you is true, Dr. Thomas. Never satisfied unless you’re working on a new device or conundrum? Tres Da Vinci.”.

The dust comes off in dense swathes as you brush thick lead fingers across the column, as do several curved plates of the material. Clearly, the stone directly around the energy source has been subject to the most severe neutron radiation damage, and it wouldn’t take much to break it away fully. It’s hard to see through the shimmering curtain of light caused by the fluorescing neon gas around the pillar. However, you do see traces of carvings, or perhaps paintings that haven’t been completely eroded away by time.

The images are fragmentary.

A pale-yellow-green circle, with simple human figures standing beneath it, arms raised as if in supplication or defiance, as some hold spears. The figures are made with oblong bodies, single lines for arms and hollow circles for heads.

A depiction of some quadripedal animal, vaguely wolfish, stomping several people underfoot and chewing on another.

A partial image of a human figure, larger than the others, its head surrounded by a circle of the same yellow-green pigment as before. Below it is a stylised mountain, from which a series of blue lines pour.

The same figure and green halo, this time ringed by less distinct human figures. Adjacent to this is a nearly identical image, but on closer inspection the figures seem to be groveling or contorted in agony.

As you ponder these, you realise that, though the channel is still open, LaCroix hasn’t said anything for some time. At that moment, you hear a noise.

Glancing around, you see her straining against the large wheel on the outer door of the water-window, attempting to force it open. You can’t comprehend why she’d do that - especially as, without a suit, she’d be dead within five minutes of opening the outer radiation lock. And if she opens the second, inner one...

13th of March, 2005, 15:14

Human consciousness is a strange thing.

Yours, for instance. A single mind, a point in the constellation of seven billion suns that is the psychic atmosphere of Earth, able to unravel and rework the very fabric of the Universe with a thought. To rewrite the single instruction on fifty million million million atoms that says be here, and lose nothing in translation.

Or the mind of Dr. Isaac Morsewitz. A tortured, psychotic, animal thing, genius stripped of any pretense of human sophistication or compassion. A mind that can control its own chemistry, and the chemistry of others, weaving the alchemy of madness. And, a mind that can centre itself so clearly, focusing on the singular, atavistic thought KILL so strongly that it could potentially outstrip your own ability, and remain anchored exactly where it wanted to be as you tried to drag that mind, and its fleshly home, along your dimensional slipstream.

But not tonight.

The cold night air is a relief after even another handful of seconds inside the steam room of monstrous hormones Devolution has made of a simple concert. The crackling violet glow of your energy field deposits the both of you on top of the auditorium. Nearby is a glass dome, partially smashed. That could be from anything, given the riot below, but you get the impression it was caused by the arrival of the winged man currently giving assistance below.

Suddenly, Devolution’s fingers are around your throat. He moves like a mongoose, so fast you barely register the attack. His hands are barely even delayed by your energy field, though for a moment his fingers splay, as if he’s trying to embrace a beach ball in each hand. Then, the stench is back - the ancient smell of the wolf stalking the ape, the tiger preying on the protoman. You start to panic - you can’t believe he’s so strong. You’re no weakling, you know - there’s a lot of muscle packed onto your compact frame. But the man attacking you is in his sixties, and rail thin - but he uses every single muscle in his body, every sinew and tendon, as if he is totally without concern for how badly he might be tiring or damaging himself.

“Little. Man.” Devolution snarls, his pointed teeth yellow, snapping in your face, his breath stinking of old meat. “You won’t believe how badly you’re going to die...”

You can hear the fragile bones in his fingers breaking as they are subjected to massive torsional forces by your warping aura. But he doesn’t stop squeezing the life from you.

OOC: Devolution grapples Quantum, taking damage from his field but starting a chokehold.

13th of March, 2005, 15:53

You thank whatever god watches over metahumans that your body can adapt to any circumstances, even massive trauma. You feel something you didn’t even know you had crack back into place as your muscles tense of their own accord, holding bruised and seared organs in.

“Bwah hargh mwah ha ha! ‘Little girl’, huh? Yeah, well, at least I didn’t have to wear an apron for my last job application, Tracy... blargh har har ha... whuh?”

Totally suckered.

While Maim gargles his boneheaded insults, you lunge at him. With his head thrown back, he never sees it comming, and your powerful arms lock around his elbow and waist, crushing his arms into immobility with all your strength. You almost smash the air out of Maim’s lungs with the impact, and he stumbles back. It rapidly becomes a test of raw muscle as the two of you strain and grunt with superhuman power, and you think you’re winning... until you realise that Maim isn’t fighting back. You glance up, and briefly lock eyes -

Then Maim beats your face into submission. Using his face as a weapon.

It’s a textbook Liverpool Kiss. The soft tissues of your head just tear from the force of the blow. Your brain splashes around inside your skull, and your body piledrives into the ground, collapsing on itself like a car wreck (heh). You make another crater in the concrete.

You fumble with the bloody ruin of your face, trying to find your teeth, your cheeks, your nose, your eyes int he torn and pulp flesh. Still stunned by the blow, Maim has no difficulty picking you up again, this time by the hair. He dangle you like a big, ugly fish for a second, then hammers his forehead into the middle of your face again.

This time, it doesn’t do so much damage. There’s just not a lot left of your face for it to harm. It does, however, send you sprawling into the trench that runs through the room, and you crash front-down onto the rails. Luckily, the power isn’t on, though you can feel a loose, rusty spike form the rails sticking out of your kidney.

Above you, Maim chuckles again.

OOC: Wreck recovers one hit, and successfully grapples. Then, Maim scores a critical... owie. Wreck is stunned, and takes another lethal hit. Maim’s attempt to take advantage of that stunned round fails, however.

13th of March, 2005, 17:29
Status: 5/5 HP. Being grappled, and breathed on!

The first reflex the human body has when its supply of air is being cut off is to try to inhale; this is what usually causes people to drown quickly. With an effort of will, Quantum fights off this reflex, concentrating on keeping the air he already has where it should be: in his lungs.

Nevertheless, the inhaling reflex is impossible to completely avoid, and the brief whiff of air he gets is laden with whatever crawled into Devolution's belly and died. It's almost enough to make him gag, not that the pair of emaciated hands wrapped around his throat help that any.

As he grabs the old man's arms to try to take off some of the pressure, something registers in Quantum's awareness. The old man is panting. Heavily. This sort of exertion can't be healthy, even for a meathammer, though maybe Wreck could pull it off.

Not bothering to try to speak, Quantum simply looks up, serenity crossing his face to mingle with the strain of holding his breath. As he does, the sphere winks out of existence again, causing a snap as the air rushes in to fill the now-vacant space.

Where the sphere reappears, however, there is no whoosh of displaced air, or any sound at all. A slight crackling can be felt, more than heard, as the moisture in the air he brought along instantly crystallizes.

Sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.

(Deal with this. Superteleport... straight up, 150 miles. Since I'm already holding my breath, I'm at a slight advantage -- but the shock of being taken completely out of the atmosphere should jolt him, and once he lets go... well, he's going to end up in hard vacuum. Hopefully, I'll still be conscious enough to teleport back. Likely, this will call for a hero point -- consider it well spent.)

13th of March, 2005, 18:41

At 240 km above sea level, the particle density is lower than the amount of meat in a McDonalds hamburger.

The thermosphere is not, technically, outer space; the boundary with the exosphere lies a good 60km higher up. It is, however, empty. Nothing shields you from the vastness of the universe, except a minute handful of speeding oxygen molecules. Below, the entire world spreads out, the very definition of horizon to horizon.

This is space shuttle country, folks.

Teleporting so high presents unique challenges and opportunities. In near-vacuum, there is no mass to shunt aside, thus easing the transition. On the other hand, the conservation of energy plays havoc with your balance, creating, for the first time in Quantum’s meager experiences with his abilities, the sensation of drag on the journey. The significant drop in gravity he experiences makes him shed energy as friction. Though Quantum’s teleportation is instant, a narrow column of disrupted air surges upwards, reaching this point in the atmosphere many minutes after his departure. Teleportational jetwash, if you will.

The floating stars of central New York at night transmute to their literal versions.

Almost instantly, a sense of beatific harmony washes up within you. Though you can’t even begin to comprehend the mechanism that creates a shell of virtual pressure, keeping your blood from boiling in the semi-vacuum, and yet lets your much needed air escape, you scarcely care. Even as Devolution’s hands release your throat and he begins wildly scrambling in the air, held aloft only by your flight field, all you can think about is the wonderful, cosmic oneness of this place. For an aeon, you study the beauty of oxygen molecules colliding with your field. At this altitude, each molecule absorbs vast energy from the sun, and is heated to nearly 1500 degrees kelvin. With so few partners to colide with, they have no way to shed that heat. Thus, they strike your aura with the force of red hot bulelts travelling at hundreds of kilometers per hour. Splashes of brilliant orange colour the purple plasmatic corruscations.

Unfolding matter into a vacuum, the blossom of a quantum chrysanthemum.

You only fade back into awareness when Devolution flings himself at you, harder than before, and wraps his skinny frame around you. You stifle a horrified reaction at his desperation; by bringing himself into such close proximity to you, you can see his body literally comming apart at the subatomic level, shredded valance level by valance level, strong nuclear force bonds comming apart and particles evapourating into nothingness as they are bombarded by the laws of physics from alien dimensions.

Nevertheless, he clings on for dear life. His psychotically, but still humanly, strong hands lock around your neck, this time intending to snap bone, not choke. In the international language of murder, his meaning is clear: Take me back with you, or perish.

OOC: You needed to spend a hero point to reroll your Teleportation power roll, in order to overcome Devolution's save.

14th of March, 2005, 06:32
HP: 5/5. Status: Oh the angst of it all.... Unhurt.

Ryan pauses for a few seconds shifting his gaze between Trisha and the Old man. It was obvious that he was a pretty big influence on her, which was probably a good thing. He seemed like a good man and neither he nor the rest of these people deserved to be brutally slaughtered just because they didn't fit in... Let alone it being the police that's doing it... it can't be the whole police force though, this has to be a handfull of rogue cops possibly supported by a few higher up in the department...

How corrupt has this world become? Is everyone out for there own benifit?

Ryan's mind staggers under the thought that no one cares about anyone then themselves, why fight when the whole world is against you. The darkness in his mind swells, attempting to draw him into its back folds where nothing mattered but his own misery...

"We do what's right not because of any reward but because it's right... even when it seems pointless."

Elizabeth told him that when they found an abandoned puppy on the side of a dirt road. She took it home and comforted it, cared for it and when it died a few days later, cried for it. He never really understood until this moment...

"You don't need to beg," He says quiety, his hand touching the locket under his dirty second hand shirt. "I will help in any way I can. But I don't see how I be of any use. You have other novas here, why don't you fight back?"

He pauses for a moment. "There are others that might help, the ones that are held by the Centinals, if we free them they might help us."

14th of March, 2005, 17:08
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Trying to keep the crazy doctor from getting herself killed... and unhurt.

Roberts eyes widen as realization snaps his focus from all the puzzles and mystery surrounding him and lock his attention on the door.

"Doctor LaCroix... STOP! What are you doing? Talk to me!"

He starts moving towards the sealant doors.. AHH this suit is TOO DANG heavy... I can hardly move in it... On the plus side with its weight on my side I shouldn't have any problems... keeping the door closed.

Robert blinks, shakes his head... and the Mechanic opens his eyes...
She's panicking for a reason.. but not responding over the radio... or am I just not hearing it? Could the radiation be interfereing with my communications gear? Okay... what do I have.. I've only got the analysis gear I managed to get attached to the suit... nothing useful unless I've got some tools to hand or my gear.... which is nice and safe in the Army locker down the hall.......
Right.. just have to hope I've got more folks listening in...

"Dr. Sachs!!! Col. Vanderman!! Somebody get in here.. Dr. LaCroix is trying to breach the containment zone!!! Can anybody hear me?!?" he shouts into his mic, hoping for an answer...

14th of March, 2005, 18:05
Status: HP 4/5; free-floating, enlightened, endangered.

Perception brings about enlightenment. Enlightenment fosters understanding. Understanding invokes compassion. Compassion engenders pity.

Quantum looks down at his opponent's furious, yet frightened visage. He can make out beads of moisture -- sweat -- forming on the man's face, almost instantly freezing in the subzero temperatures. It's only the traces of heat radiating through the threshold keeping the interior from being instantly, fatally cold.

As Devolution's hands clutch at his neck, Quantum reaches one hand up, and places it on his shoulder. Nodding, and smiling an enigmatic smile that speaks volumes, he looks to the side, at the blue planet slowly rotating below.

Abruptly, warmth, and -- most importantly -- air flood the field. It's gotten darker, as the starlight is masked by cloud cover and the variety of pollutants mankind has spilled into the atmosphere. Nearby, the lights of the city can be seen, an electric array of lines, circles, and random constellations. Directly below, no lights can be seen, except for the glint of moonlight over water.

The distance is impossible to measure accurately with the unaided eye, but it is clearly at least a mile. Quantum, his eyes glowing bright amethyst, gives Devolution a determined stare. The message, unspoken as was Devolution's, is clear. Kill me, and fall to your death.

Quantum's hands clutch those around his neck, but not tightly enough to prevent movement. No resistance is given should the brute release himself, or move out of the confines of the sphere.

(OOC: Can't grapple back and move far enough at the same time. Let's see if the guy actually cares about his own life. Here's his chance at redemption.)

15th of March, 2005, 06:28
HP 5/5, I ain't got time to bleed. 2 lethal hits.

It's been months, maybe years, since he's taken a beating like this. And if you ignore the blood, pain, and vague worry of permanent scarring, it's almost a welcome experience. Unfortunately the blood and pain are very much present and there's also the factor of missing teeth. As Tracy pushes himself off the ground, he dimly wonders if his regenerative capabilities cover dental. If his body is anything like his insurance, it won't.

That didn't work. He spat out some blood and possibly a tooth while extracting the rusty spike from his side. He cast it aside and wiped the crimson out of his eyes with a sleeve. Hitting didn't work and grabbing didn't work; Tracy's playbook is just about empty. X hasn't been gone a minute and Tracy's already on the ropes. His mind strains to be inventive, and it succeeds, almost.

His meaty fists reach down and take hold of the rail running through the trench, with a grunt he tears part of it out of the track and holds it like a makeshift staff.

"Come on then, geek. I ain't no nun. You're gonna have to do better than that."

((OOC: Rip some of the rail out of the ground, ready an action to trip Maim if he gets within reach))

17th of March, 2005, 16:42
The Mechanic

You lumber over and lean your weight against the inner door. There’s no way she’ll be able to open it now, you hope. Dr LaCroix doesn’t respond to your questions. In fact, she doesn’t say anything at all. And all that runs through your mind is dosage levels, gamma ray penetration figures, bequerels over time...

The fragility of the human genome in the face of a nuclear firestorm.

About a minute later, the colonel and several soldiers burst into the chamber, wearing lead-lined white plastic ponchos. “Doctor...?” Vanderman says tentatively, carefully stepping forward. She doesn’t answer him either. She keeps twisting and pushing at the wheel on the inner door, striving to get it open against your efforts to hold it closed. Vanderman glances at two of his men, and nods them forward.

The two men each grab one of LaCroix’s elbows, and pull her away from the water-window. The pressure on the door releases, and the soldiers drag her unresisting form into view.

LaCroix looks up at you, her eyes welling with emerald fire.

17th of March, 2005, 16:43

Old One Eye gives a soft sigh, seeming relieved and disappointed at the same time. It’s the sound of a man so steeped in world-weariness that he has learned to take anything Fate deals out with resignation.

“It is not our way to fight. It has never been our way.

“There... are some amongst us with gifts, yes. You met Nicolette, I think. Were it not for the price her powers elicit from their beneficiaries, she would have a great career as a healer in the world above. There are others... but many, their gifts are weak, not suited for battle or protection or escape. And those that do have powers as strong in conflict as yours...” he rolls his monocular gaze to Prophet, standing behind you, “...there would be many deaths amongst our own number, if they fought.”

“Years ago, we had a Sanctuary to which we could flee. Catacombs, deep beneath the city, where the water was pure and friends could supply us with food. Alas, the way there is lost, now...”

Prophet suddenly breaks in here, his voice soft but deep. “Dark magic stands between us and Sanctuary.”

A rustle of dread passes through the mole people.

17th of March, 2005, 16:44

... or not!

You can’t help but think that there’s no place like home as your feet click together, tucking in enough to escape the noose. You levitate up about a foot in the process, bringing you into eye level. You think you catch an iota of grudging respect in that dark, focused gaze.

OOC: Your action, as burning that HP for a reroll is of course a freebie.

17th of March, 2005, 19:05

”Yeah? We’ll see how much of a nun I am when I jam that piece scrap up your... oof!”

Bloated on overconfidence, steroids and crackling red energy, Maim is unprepared for the force of your swing. You catch him in the knee as he steps towards you, and you hear the bone give a nasty crack. The rail itself bends like a shepard’s crook.


The freak falls flat on his back in a sprawl of deformed limbs, his comparatively tiny head smacking on the concrete. With a growl, he slowly clambers back to his feet. Your former comrade fixes you with the ole’ psychout stare. The looks in his eyes says ooooh yeah, you’re gonna pay for that one...

But you didn’t get where you are by bending to pressure.

OOC: Wreck fails to be intimidated.

17th of March, 2005, 19:37

A study in contrasts.

Calm. Frenzied. Regal with power. Bestial with force. The shining future. The slavering past.

Borne aloft on wings of plasma. Plummeting to his death.

Whatever dire will drives Devolution seems to be no nearer depletion than when he began. You realise that he may be simply incapable of relenting. Everything extraneous has been pared away form his brain; mercy, compassion, humanity. All that is left is a gleaming arrow of ferocity and unswerving intention. Through surgery, he has become the perfect scion of Nietzche; the superman who makes the universe give way by hitting it with unbounded will.

Ultimately, he can never be defeated: he can only die.

The spirit is infinitely strong, but the flesh is mortal. His fingers are nothing more than shreds of skin, like empty gloves torn to ribbons in a thresher. Gashes spontaneously open along the Master of Monstrosity’s arms and legs, the tissues degrading as they age and oxidise at ten thousand times the normal rate. Threads of skin tear themselves away form his body, curling off into the air as fractal-edged ferns, severed by the warping and folding of space-time itself.

Finally, Devolution simply has nothing left to hold on with.

“No... no... my children!” The thin, cold air turns this into a whispery shriek as he becomes disentangled from your personal gravity field. The stronger embrace of the Earth swamps him, and the scrawny, bloody mess tumbles away, vanishing into the clouds below. In moments, even his howl of infinite loss is gone.

18th of March, 2005, 06:41
HP 4/5. Status: Winded.

Quantum knew the effects of his power could degenerate objects which came into contact in a hostile manner; what he hadn't known was the effects of long-term exposure. Not something he relished the idea of repeating, and something he would definitely have to talk to the think-tank about, back at the Centinels Building.

In the meantime, there's still work to be done.

Relocating it from memory, he finds the amphitheater's array of lights in the darkness, and sends himself there. Meteoric was in bad shape when he left, and there were those other two Novas to worry about.

19th of March, 2005, 10:22
HP 5/5 Is quick enough to take a hint - unhurt

Sometimes being the good guy really sucks. If you're the bad guy then you wouldn't have to care about people and there feelings. He could just walk away and forget about them...

But he wasn't like that, these people mattered. Someone had to stand up for them, besides if he ignored this Elizabeth would never forgive him.

"How can I help you find your way back to your Sanctuary? What blocks your path?" He tells the old man as he glances over at Trisha.

20th of March, 2005, 12:59

This time, you slide down the gravity well.

In doing so, your warp field draws energy in from the air surrounding the imaginary downwards path of your transition. With one column of air rising and another falling, the net result is a very mild cyclone that sends waves of frosty wind howling around the city in a gradually spreading ring.

You reappear on the roof of the auditorium in a display of crackling light. As you’re not actively using the field to hold yourself in the air or teleport, you notice the chill immediately. Glancing around, you grin as you see your jacket, lying where it must have fallen when you responded to the attack. You retrieve it, and pause a moment to glance over the edge of the building. The crowds below have grown; most of the building must have been evacuated by now, and the emergency services are in attendance. You shift into the building itself.

Things seem to have calmed down. Without the aggravating presence of Devolution, people have regained their wits, albeit in a dazed fashion. A SWAT team tries to fit two bullet-riddled neanderthals into a normal-sized body bag; more police stand guard over creatures that have been wrapped in nets and one that just squats with its head on its knees, looking peaceful but confused. You hear someone call out, only half jokingly, that he hopes animal control gets here soon.

Nevertheless, the place is a mess. Chairs have been torn up and scattered, blood and torn clothing smear the floor, and a pervasive stink of cat-pee and sewage remains in the air.

The two ‘helpers’ stand a short distance from the stage, apparently talking until you burst in with a thunderclap and flash of purple lightning. The Hispanic woman is short and curvy, her black hair pulled into a pony tail away from the white domino mask with a black half-circle emblem on her forehead. She has a thoughtful expression, with more than a trace of surprise. The Caucasian man is very broad across the shoulders and rather chubby, with short red hair and beard. Large metal wings, folded against his back at the moment, connect to a high-tech vest covered in dials, screens and wires. He wears a large belt with many pockets and pouches, not unlike the one you’ve seen the Mechanic use. He’s panting just a little, and his mouth forms an ‘O’ as you reappear.

From the far side of the stage, there’s a smashing noise as a large amplifier topples over and breaks. A painful groan turns into an angry growl as Meteoric rises from his impact crater. His lower legs flash with flame as you leaps through the air, landing unsteadily a few meters away. Once arm hangs weakly at his side, and he throws out the other for balance - then winces, and clamps that arm against the bloody tear in his pectoral.

“Where...” he pauses, and spits out a piece of wood from the set. “Where’s... the psycho?”

20th of March, 2005, 13:22

Trisha’s brow creases into a frown of concentration as she listens to the One Eyed Man. After a moment, she fumbles around behind herself for a cardboard box to rest against.

“Once...” the leader of the mole people exposits, “Once, there was great passage we could use to get to our Sanctuary. But several years ago, the Overcity began to build a tunnel of their own, one that would cross from Manhattan to Long Island, for traffic to go under the rivers. When it came time to open the tunnel, though it was attacked... by a monster called Ritual.”

Trisha mumbles a non-verbal note of recognition. You’ve heard of him, of course; the so-called Master of Sorcery, the only metavillain to claim to be a magician in over fifty years. Whatever the nature of his powers, and their were many theories, he traveled to many different parts of the world over his long, sporadic career, with apparently no aim beyond spreading chaos, stealing ‘mystic artifacts’ that took his fancy, and building a reputation of unadulterated evil.

“The road tunnel collapsed when he began weaving his spells... many of your people died. When it collapsed, it brought down the passage we used, that ran below it. Your people presumed he was killed in the cave in.” Old One Eye sighs. “We could have cleared away the obstructions, given time and man power, but something lingers in the passage... something evil.”

22nd of March, 2005, 03:30
HP: 4/5; Status: Normal, Unhurt

'Interesting...I'd thought she'd play for keeps. She probably could have shot me with dart or something, that'd be more efficient than trying to tie me up.' Not for the first time does Osprey wish he'd kept with the stick as a weapon; the blade was more compact and efficient, but he wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea that it was too easy to kill with. He still hadn't deliberately killed anyone, although crippling wasn't out of the question, and would just as soon reserve that dubious honor for O'Malley. He wonders if that would make any difference to her.

As surely as if he stood on solid ground, he corkscrews up and forward in a tight, 720-degree horizontal spin, tucking the knife back in its sheath as he did. His limbs unfold gracefully as he "lands", still airborne, and begins the repeticion, a close, quick style of attacking that relies on precise movements and high aggression. 'Can't outrun her, probably can't outmaneuver her...this isn't going to be fun...'

Applying Dodge and Aerial Combat to Defense, raising it to 25. I'm assuming that "not 10 feet away" means I can get within range with a 5-foot step, so I'm using Rapid Strike; both attacks are at +8, unarmed damage is +4S. Second strike is a Disarm.

22nd of March, 2005, 11:30
HP: 5/5. Considering becoming a shepard. 1 lethal hit.

He's encouraged by the tactic. Every moment Maim isn't hitting him is a moment his body gets to recover. Even now he can feel the blood clotting on his battered face. The thug tries to scare him the same way Tracy intimidates normals in bars when he doesn't feel like breaking bones. What Maim forgets is that Tracy is brute force made flesh. Threatening him with a beating is like threatening to set an inferno on fire.

"Aw, bump your head?" He hefts the makeshift weapon, feeling more confident with the steel in his hands. "I'll make you forget all about it."

He springs into motion, flying just a few feet above the ground. He holds the giant crook like a spear and barrels toward Maim, but travels past him, as if misjudging the distance. Instead he tries to ram the hook around the psychopath's neck and twists the metal into a long, steel collar.

((OOC: I have no idea what this is mechanically. I guess it's technically a grapple. Basically Wreck's trying to choke Maim with the rail without letting the freak use his forehead as a weapon.))

22nd of March, 2005, 15:41

The rail of course dents when it hits Maim, and it does end up in kind of a crook-shape around his neck. Once flex of those preposterous deltoids, however, sees it break like a candy cane.

”Right, you pussy little... ouch! Guhg?”

Maim staggers around in a half-circle, trying to feel something on his back. Those arms are so hypertrophic and inflexible it’s like a T-Rex trying to scratch an itch. As he turns, you see three metal spikes stuck into his flesh, a long coil of wire stretching form each one to a barrel of the triple-pistol in X’s hands.

“Remember, Maim. You brought this on yourself...” the mastermind’s electronically scrambled voice states matter of factly.

Then the three spikes activate. One blazes with blinding blue-white lightning that crackles down the wire from a capacitor in the gun. Maim howls in pain/pleasure at this, seeming to swell to greater heights.

The second emits a strange, subsonic humming noise. At this, Maim grunts and his eyes become unfocused. His arms go half limp and he stands, swaying slightly.

The third... his no visible or audible effect. However, something changes. You don’t know what, but sense something that was there before is gone, like a bubble around your head bursting. Your fingertips tingle oddly.

“Wreck, now! His defenses are disabled,” X barks.

OOC: Maim is stunned, amongst other things.

22nd of March, 2005, 15:43

In agile defiance of the laws of gravity, you cork screw through the air and unfold right in the woman’s personal space in a blur of fists, elbow strikes and slam kicks.

You have never fought someone with whom you are so perfectly matched.

Your first blow, a closed fist that opens up into a surprise chop, she parries by driving her knuckles into your wrist. Unperturbed, you continue the repeticion with an forearm blow which masks a strike with your knee. She deceives your arm, robbing the blow of force by blocking it with hands kept flexible, making you waste your force on the air, and twists her slender hips so that she’s practically sitting on your knee for a second, rendering the kick ineffectual. Then, you see an opening. She isn’t ready to guard against your left hand...

She grunts as you smash your hand into her kidney, but doesn’t seem unduly harmed. Taking advantage of her momentary off-balance stance, you make a grab for her staff. She twists it competently out of your grip before you can tug it away. In the moment that you wrestle with the weapon, however, you realise that the difference in your physical strengths is so narrow you couldn’t slip a blade between them.

An incredulous look comes into those dark eyes. “Cassat?” She then says something in Mandarin that sounds very uncomplimentary. “Filth!”

The female martial artist shakes her staff, and the weapon breaks into three segments, connected by short chains. Taking advantage of your proximity, she launches into a storm of fast swings with the flexible cudgel, forcing you onto the defensive with feint-kicks. Your mobility keeps her from being able to hit you with any force or sweep at your limbs, however.

23rd of March, 2005, 04:19
HP 4/5. Status: Okay.

“Where...” he pauses, and spits out a piece of wood from the set. “Where’s... the psycho?”

"Dead," Quantum replies, then lets his field drop. "We went on a little trip, and it turned out to be a bad neighborhood for him." Putting on his jacket, he realizes that his clothing is all sorts of mangled -- seams are ripped, his sleeves and the cuffs of his trousers are slightly shredded, and one of his shoes is missing. With my luck, it's out making its way through space. If so, I hope the Hubble telescope spots it. Let NASA chew on that.

He's no medic, but he makes a point of checking Meteoric for obvious injuries, to see if he needs urgent help. As he does, he addresses the other hero-types. "Now that the festivities are over, you two mind introducing yourselves? And please, close your mouth; you're gonna draw flies if you keep gaping."

23rd of March, 2005, 07:03
Hp: 5/5 <insert witty banter here> unhurt

The funny thing is when he first decided to take the job with the Centinels that his life would get somehow easier. Defeat some bad guys, save people, get his head straightened out, get his life back together...

Now in a few short weeks he was wearing dirty second hand clothes, living in the sewers, on the run from not only the law but the very company that had hired him in the first place, with a women that he was attracted to and she was more then likely was just using him for her next big story. And now he had come into contact with a bunch of mole people that saw him as some sort of knight in shining armor that was supposed to get rid of some "evil" thing and deliver them to Sancuary, or he could walk away from them and have them all brutally gunned down just because they didn't fit in with normal society...

Was it so bad to want a normal life?

Ryan sighs again and runs his hand through his hair, he can't see most of them but he can feel them looking at him, all those people who's hopes all depend on what he does. Its not the first time he has wondered why so many people seem to depend on him. He closes his eyes and for a moment sees Elizabeth's face smiling at him, she was always willing to do the right thing, how can he not do the same.

"I'll do it," He says quietly "but if something happens to me I want your word that you will at least try and help Trisha clear her name."

23rd of March, 2005, 11:33

"Couldn't a happened to a freakier sonova... ow! Quit it, man! I'm fine." Meteoric pulls away, rubbing the gash and wincing. "Freaky old bastard... nowhere near strong enough to hurt me, but it was like he was so focused he just cut through my invulnerability."

He offers you a muscular hand and grins. "You're all right, Bug-Zapper Man. Listen, you got things held down here?" Meteoric turns his head, surveying the clean-up and first aid operations. "I gotta go find someone to stitch this up, then I need to find my sister. Aiight?"

The hefty man closes his jaw with an embarrassed snap, and hurries up to you. “Wow!” he exclaims in a gruff voice. “You’re Quantum, right? Oh, man, I saw you on TV the other day... what an honour!” He grabs your hand and shakes it with a great deal of enthusiasm. “I’m... well, I go by Daedalus. I do... well, gadgets and stuff. Nothing like the Mechanic, but... hey, you’ve met him, right? Here, I’ve got this thing I wanna show you...” he starts fumbling around in his belt, sending several odd-looking metal gizmos skittering to the ground.

The woman looks somewhat abashed, and waves slightly in greeting. “I’m Eclipse. I suppose you could say I’m an empath.”

Meteoric shakes his head slightly, and you catch him muttering under his breath: “Was I ever this green?”

23rd of March, 2005, 12:03
HP: 5/5. Feeling strangely fine. 1 lethal hit.

Maim courses with electricity, writhing both in pain and ecstacy. His muscles flexing uncontrollably, he begins to moan in his decidedly creepy manner. But this lasts for but a scant moment before the subsonics hit him. Tracy squints but can't see the effect. The third blast is the least flashy and most disturbing. He doesn't see a thing, but the hairs on his arm stand up in silent protest. Whatever it is, Tracy doesn't want to be hit by it.

X yells at him to take his shot and Tracy doesn't need to be told twice. Besides, he owes Maim one for bashing in his face.

He crosses the distance in a few short strides and delivers a haymaker with every ounce of force he can muster.

((OOC: Power Attack +5))

23rd of March, 2005, 13:09
HP: 4/5; Status: Normal, Unhurt

Sometimes, he wishes he could just watch. Detach his visual consciousness and let his body keep on going, see if it really looked as impressive as it felt. Rob knew that he was a good fighter, possibly even an excellent one, even though he often denied it to his own face. One did not scrap as often as he did without skill and talent, not if one expected to survive. He trained, he practiced, he abused himself until his reflexes were swift and his forms were perfect, until every last muscle in his body had been drilled to within an inch of its life. It was the only edge he had within the coven of 'superheroes' he had thrown in with; in all other respects, one or the other of them exceeded him by a usually wide margin, but this was something he had made for himself. He might not be head and shoulders above any of the others, but this was his niche, carved out with sweat and pain and callouses.

And to meet--even to fight--one like himself was exquisite. It was combat in its purest form, skill tested against skill, the 'art' in 'martial arts.' For a moment he loses himself in the flow, he and Red Hare almost dancing on the rooftop as they matched each others movements. It was a contest that few would understand. Part of him didn't want it to end, wanted to ignore the fact that they were genuinely trying to pummel each other.

'Cassat?' She hissed at him. He didn't know the word, but it was probably something dirty in Mandarin, like 'goat-lover' or 'licker of cat droppings.' He'd have to ask Master Fong about it later, he knew some Chinese. Whatever it meant, saying it seemed to spur her on to a higher level of aggression; in less time than it would take to tell, the short staff transformed into sanchaku, which she immediately tried to apply to his skull. 'Jeez, does the damn thing send email and heat cheese for nachos, too?' He pinwheeled his arm around as she tried to snare it in one of the joints, twisted inside of the weapon's range and aimed a stiff backhand at her jaw. 'I should really pay attention here.'

OOC: Continuing with the repeticion, again using the second attack to Disarm.

23rd of March, 2005, 13:36

An exhalation of relief passes through to homeless crowd, like a breath they didn’t know they were holding has been released. Murmurs of joy mixed with trepidation rustle through the cramped cavern, reverberating off the metal pipes that plunge through the ceiling and catching in the slimy puddle on the ground.

“Thank you, Bolt.” Old One Eye says simply. “Prophet can show you where the tunnel is. Via con Dios, my friend.”

The skinny, otherworldly looking Prophet beckons to you, and starts to move off through the crowd. You and Trisha stand, and the mole people stand aside, some reaching out as if to touch you in an unsettlingly worshipful gesture. You glance at Trisha, and she seems to see something in your eyes, and shakes her head.

“I’m coming with you, Ryan.” She gives you an impish smile, highlighting the brightness in her eyes. “I’ve covered enough super-fights to know how to keep my head down, don’t worry.

As you pass amongst them, the air seems to lighten a bit. Instead of the ground-down despair of people with nothing to lose but their lives who feel themselves inevitably pushed towards extinction, there are smiles, glimmers of hope, and words of encouragement.

You see Prophet waiting patiently for you. He looks as if the whole world could turn around him and he’d never notice. Next to him stands the eerie girl-child with the healing touch, Nicolette. As you approach, she hands a plastic Teletubbies drink bottle covered in translucent goo to the tall black man. Seemingly unfazed by the stuff (maybe it only hurts when it works, you think), he wipes it on his coat and offers it to you.

“Don’t drink it,” Nicolette warns solemnly. “Bye bye, Bolt.”

You can’t but hope that that isn’t as final as it sounds. Almost as if she can sense your pessimism, Trisha gives your hand a squeeze.

23rd of March, 2005, 13:39

If God could punch someone, he’d punch them like that.

Dozen of miles away, in the Geoseismic Observatory at Montauk, Long Island, a geology PhD student monitoring the equipment on the late shift frowns, and wonders what that tremor was.

You hit Maim with a fist that could decommission battleships.

The mutant meathammer flies sideways the air, his body trailing after his mangled jaw like a fleshy comet. He hits the wall and the wall breaks, not just cavitating, but collapsing. The force of your blow sends him grinding through six feet of concrete into a disused supply room, and Maim ends up partially impaled in a mess of collapsed shelves. Oooh-yeah. Now he knows who his daddy is. He's probably not dead, you think; it's take more than that (but not much more) to put you six feet under.

Grinning, you glance around and see X regaining his footing. The shockwave of the blow must have sent him reeling, even at that distance.

“I...” you see a ridge moving under his blank face mask, probably indicating raised eyebrows. “Well done. Now, we should get out of here... a battle like that may have attracted more attention than we need.”

23rd of March, 2005, 14:37

In the air, you’d guess that you have the advantage - by the narrowest of margins. While she leaps from spot to spot pretty well, she doesn’t seem to be able to hover like you. On the other hand, she’s a hair’s breadth faster and more agile.

You exchange blows, almost in a trance. Every move she can come up with, you’ve read the playbook. Every attack you try, she recognises the combat style. Both of you dart and lunge, trying to outmaneuver the other , operating on a peak of combat efficiency none of the others could compete with, even if their powers were greater.

But within moments, you realise the timbre of the battle has changed. no longer are you running through the old martial arts grooves, just testing out your skills; both of you a fighting at 110%. Every blow is made by pushing muscles to their limit; every dodge stresses reflexes along the bleeding-edge of tolerance. Your joints ache from blocking thunderous staff-blows and karate chops; she is rhythmically panting to keep her breath.

You both land lucky strikes in rapid succession. Your backhand swipes across her jaw, and your feel her rose-petal lips crush against her teeth. The woman gives a “Pah!”, spitting blood as her head jerks back. You try and follow up by getting that weapon out of her hands, but she cleverly spins it round and round, trapping your wrists between the bars. She follows up with a breathtaking- literally - kick that knocks you back against the wall, making a cloud of dust and chips of mortar spray around you.

As she flicks her weapon back into a solid bar, you force yourself to inhale, your ribs shaking in agony. In a fight this close you can’t afford to let her size the initiative and attack you while you’re recovering.

OOC: I may have looked like a grapple, but that was actually a narrativisation of a trip, then a critical hit which stunned you. I took the liberty of Hero Pointing you, so that’s -1 HP, 1 stun hit.

24th of March, 2005, 06:23
HP: 5/5 Status: Talk about betting on the wrong horse, unhurt

"Somehow, I knew you were going to say that." He says grimly, unconsiously avoiding the outstretched hands. Its not that he disliked these people, hell he was practially one of them, it was thier trust in him that disturbed him so, their belief that somehow he is the one that will make thier lives better.

"This is going to get ugly Trisha, I can feel it." He whispers to her as they walk towards the Prophet. "I just want you to be safe," he adds giving her a half hearted smile. "And don't do anything stupid, that would seem to be my job." He says in a self mocking tone.

"Thank you and I won't." He says to the young girl as he takes the cup from Prophet although he isn't exactly sure what to do with it.

A lot can be said with just a look, feelings and emotions that normally woudn't or couldn't be said can be passed between people in less then a heartbeat. The feelings are genuine as he looks into her eyes for a moment as he gently squeezes her hand back before turning back to and address the tall black man.

"Lets do this."

Maybe, just maybe everything will turn out ok...

25th of March, 2005, 05:14
HP: 4/5. Status: Being fan-boyed!

"You're all right, Bug-Zapper Man. Listen, you got things held down here? I gotta go find someone to stitch this up, then I need to find my sister. Aiight?"

"Yeah, getcherself outta here, Cometous. Listen, drop me a line at the Centinel building, let's get together and have that beer we talked about later."

Quantum's hand is suddenly snatched from him, and so vigorously shaken it's bound to start telling its captor everything. “I’m... well, I go by Daedalus. I do... well, gadgets and stuff. Nothing like the Mechanic, but... hey, you’ve met him, right? Here, I’ve got this thing I wanna show you...” he starts fumbling around in his belt, sending several odd-looking metal gizmos skittering to the ground.

The woman looks somewhat abashed, and waves slightly in greeting. “I’m Eclipse. I suppose you could say I’m an empath.”

Meteoric shakes his head slightly, and mutters, “Was I ever this green?”

"I was," Quantum stage-whispers back, "then I turned purple."

Thankful that his hand is no longer being held hostage, Quantum puts both of them out to restrain Daedalus. "Calm down, kid. You're making a mess. Slow down, take your time." Oh, man, this place would've been paste if these two'd shown up first. Can't believe I'm actually thinking this about a super. Weird. "Miss Eclipse, mind giving me a hand here?"

I'm going to have to get this kid in front of Mechanic; the guy could use the ego boost, and this poor kid needs some lessons. Like actually coming up with names for his tools.

25th of March, 2005, 13:06
HP: 5/5. Punchin’ for Jesus. Uninjured.

Tracy's jerks his arms over his head in elation. “YES!” Sometimes punching was almost as good as having a woman. Almost. Tonight is one of those times. His face still hurts like hell from the Liverpool kiss and he'll need some new clothes, but all in all he's not feeling that bad. Upon second thought, Tracy decides to never think of the headbutt like that again. He doesn’t need the mental image of that S&M villain trying to kiss him. Slowly he lowers his heavily muscled arms and casually rubs the knuckles of one hand against his torn and bloody shirt.

“Is that all, X?” He grins, face and van dyke coated in blood. “You should get better help next time you want to take me down.”

The Syndicate leader does have a point though. The showdown between Tracy and Maim would generate a bit of attention, particularly that last part with the wall. He gives his work another look and feels a wave of pure satisfaction wash over him. Putting guys like Maim through walls is fun. Hell, punching anything through a wall is fun. Sometimes it's good to be the man known as Wreck. Tonight is one of those times.

Grinning to himself, Tracy follows X out of the room.

25th of March, 2005, 16:11
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Standing in the entryway to a milennia old reactor... and currently uninjured.

Roberts eyes widen as possibilities and potentials scream through his head one after another. Posession.. telepathic contact... a delayed nova reaction brought on by proximity to the energy source? A brief moment of clarity shuts aside scientific curiosity and lhe realizes... They can't see it... It's in her eyes they haven't looked at them yet...

"Vanderman!! Be careful, something's affecting her.. look at her eyes! They're glowing." Robert shouts into the intercomm, eyes fixed on LaCroix's reaction.
Her eyes seem to be matching the core, whatever it is.... waitaminit...those pictographs... The Mechanic's eyes widen as realization strikes...This is a containment center.... for a living thing... thats what the glowing figure was... that's whats going on... It's people were dying after the threat was ended.. so it sealed itself away... and we broke the door down...
GOD I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robert jumps up and down briefly, looking at the column in the center of the room when finished. Walking over to it he taps one of the small boxes hooked on to the bulky suit with the awkward arms. A faint hum in his right ear tells him he's picking up and transmitting.

"Hello? Can you hear me? What am I saying? I'm sure you can HEAR me.. the question is can you UNDERSTAND me...if you don't you won't be able to answer me anyway so don't worry about it... if you do.. um... can we talk about what's going on out there?" He says... the ear transmitter picking up his voice and projecting it throughout the room.

Man... I hope this works... Rob thinks... letting his mind drift on the possibilities of a life form that could survive or generate this kind of energy field...

25th of March, 2005, 18:00

You are lead on a strange pilgrimage through the dank netherworld of New York’s sewers for nearly an hour. Prophet takes you on an irregular path that winds through underground vaults and winding galleries. He crosses difficult terrain as if he was born to it, scrambling over piles of dense rubble, climbing rusty makeshift ladders of chain link, mantling up to overhangs and skirting pools of stagnant liquid. Perhaps he is a native.

You and the reporter have much more difficulty. Metal barbs catch your clothes and flesh, and you trip over discarded cans, empty whisky bottles with alarming frequency. The only thing that keeps you from becoming completely lost is a dim red glow that suffuses the air a short distance in front of Prophet. At one point, Trisha calls out to him in a low voice that nevertheless echoes through the noisome halls, asking what the source of the light is. His only answer is a terse one; “The Spirits.”

At another point, she trips, and gashes her forehead on a piece of broken wood. A tiny smear of the contents of the drink bottle Nicolette gave you confirms what it is; the strange, medicinal slime she produces. After a yelp of pain, and with watering eyes, Trisha is ready to follow Prophet again, with not even a trace of the cut on her brow.

Ahead of you, the One Eyed King’s servant - lieutenant? pawn? friend? - turns a corner. You follow him, and almost plunge into a fast-flowing torrent of sludge twenty feet below. The tunnel you are in crosses a massive sewerage channel here, leaving a ten foot gap between where you stand and the mouth of the tunnel opposite, where you see Prophet. He glances back at you, and continues into the darkness of the tunnel. There’s no obvious way across that he could have used.

OOC: The bottle contains enough Healing power to cure 6 hits.

25th of March, 2005, 18:01

Meteoric grins. “Sure, see what I can do.” He turns to go, then pauses. He sticks his hand into a pocket, and produces a small square of paper. “Listen... I hear you’ve been sort of out of it for the last couple a years or something, but I figure you might eventually get into contact with the Big Apple meta scene. Like I said, my sister’s been outta contact for a while... you see her or anything, you let me know, right?” He hands you the Polaroid and gives you an amicable slap on the shoulder. Stepping away, he gives a vague wave of acknowledgment to Daedalus and Eclipse, then lunges up into the sky on a plume of fire, and is gone.

You and Eclipse spend a couple of minutes becoming politely alarmed about Daedalus’ Heathrobinsonian, jury-rigged inventions which he insists on showing off. His enthusiasm is half endearing, half creepy, but he seems to be a basically good guy. The odd thing is, that the longer you spend in the presence of these two, the more your initial impression seems to be confirmed: there is some intangible, undeniable sense of lessness about them, when you compare them to Bolt, or Wreck, or even yourself. Not in any mental or moral fashion, but you get the gut feeling that, as metahumans, they just don’t measure up to the company you’ve fallen into.

“A word of advice, my clumsy friend: you don’t owe the Centinels anything. You should leave this city before the shit hits the fan, and you get coated in it.” Surprised, you turn to see the source of the gravely, accented voice.

Pietr Loschvuld, the ‘Port, stands on the edge of the stage, and spits the tip of a fine cigar at your feet. You recognise his blunt, ugly features and lank hair from the photos you saw at the briefing two or three days ago. The hand that doesn’t hold the cigar is tucked deep into the pocket of his thick trench coat; an empty sling hangs from that shoulder.

An earpiece, hidden by a lock of hair gives a squawk. Without listening, he pulls it from his ear and drops it to the ground, where he taps it with his boot, making it skitter away form him.

The look he shoots you is heavy with pure, untrammeled malice.

25th of March, 2005, 18:01

Your grin is accompanied by a painful schhhlup as the skin of your cheeks reattaches itself to your face. You reach up and probe your features, gingerly; they still hurt like hell, and you feel the squishiness of bruising, but everything feels like it’s there. No missing teeth, no obvious holes that shouldn’t be there.

The technologist glances at the hole Maim was ejected through, then back at you. In a musing tone, he comments: “Duly noted.”

X reaches up and presses a finger to his ear. “’Port. Come and retrieve us, if you’d be so good.”


Again, irritably: “’Port? We’re waiting.”


“You are damaging your reputation for reliability, Pietr.”

X releases the button on his earpiece. “So hard to get good help these days...” he mutters, dripping with irony.

“Very well. We’ll have to do this the old fashioned way, Wreck.” X presses a button on the back of his glove, and the door you came in by starts to make heavy, stony grinding noises. After a few seconds, the metal door swings open, revealing the stairs you used before.

You and your new employer ascend back to the street level. Once the dark, cloudy sky is open above you, X stops, and a pair of thin metal wings sprout from the back of his coat. A cylindrical bulge appears along his spine, and a low whine gradually builds into a faint screech. A needle-thin jet of blue flame erupts from under his coat, and he launches up into the air.

25th of March, 2005, 19:24
the Mechanic

The soldiers give startled jumps as you yell at them, and pull LaCroix back further. She doesn’t resist, but rather just stands, slightly limp, staring at you. Vanderman steps in front of her and tried to get her attention, waving his hands and snapping his fingers in front of those features panes of beryl light that have overtaken her eyes. One of the other men moves up quickly and secures the outer door.

I can hear you.

The voice is LaCroix’s, sort of, but it comes in your mind.


You’re standing on a bridge. A narrow, wind-carved span of stone, barely a foot wide, curves ahead and behind, black as night. The wind is made of light. Or is the light made of wind? A blinding, white, streaking, silent, blurring force that stretches everything you see. Ahead of you, a figure of emerald light is barely visible standing on the bridge


Get out, or I will destroy you.

LaCroix shudders, and collapses, held up by the two soldiers. Her eyes flutter closed, and when they open they have returned to their n glances up, his sweaty, weathered brow knotted in confusion.

At that moment, the intercom blares: “Dr.’s?” esquires Dr. Sachs, the archaeologist. “I’ve made some progress in translating the text in the shaft. I think you’d better get up here, quickly.”

25th of March, 2005, 23:26
HP: 3/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Even considering the previous events of the night, Rob isn't particularly cruel, and some remote genetic memory still holds onto traces of chivalry. It's difficult to explain; he knows full well that she's a fighter, easily his equal, but time stops for the briefest fraction of a second when he actually hits her. It just doesn't feel exactly right.

Then she drives him hard into the bricks, and the feeling passes.

Before the mortar has time to hit the roof, he's up and away in a cursive-"L" loop that lifts him twenty feet into the air and swiftly back down again, feet extended like talons.

Half-move, then Power Attack +3; final values are Def 25, Attack +7, Damage +7S.

26th of March, 2005, 06:06
HP 4/5. Status: Powering up!

Paul doesn't bother looking back at Daedalus and Eclipse. He remembers the problems this guy caused for his allies in their first encounter, at how badly Osprey got mangled from this teleporter's powers. Enabling his warping field, his voice echoes strangely from its heliotrope confines.

"You two, get on out of here. You don't want to get caught in the middle of this. Hello, Pietr. Was wondering when you'd turn up, try to start a good old-fashioned rivalry. You wanna talk shop, tell me why you're here... or are you just gonna go the barbaric route?"

26th of March, 2005, 08:20

“'Talk shop'? There is nothing that you can teach me.”

“Da. Listen to him, children.” The ‘Port gives Eclipse and Daedalus a contemptuous look as he ignites his cigar with a metal lighter.

Daedalus bristles, and steps forward. The intricately carved metal wings on his back snap open, and he raises both his arms, pointing the wrist mounted net launchers as the smuggler. “If you think we’re gonna let you get Quantum, whoever you are, you’d better...” Eclipse, on the other hand, seems to take your warning seriously. She steps forward and lays a hand on Daedalus’s arm, the tattoo on her forehead shimmering slightly.

The ‘Port rolls his eyes at the gadgeteer. “Close your mouth, or I willll teleport your heart out of your chest and feed it to one of those nice cavemen. Dzsnemi svrobsich.”

Meanwhile, now sheathed in your alternate energy state, you’ve been studying the metacriminal.

The field of energy you harness exists in two modes; one is an invisible distortion of space and time that surrounds your skin and actually does the hard work of deflecting attacks away from you and turning attackers into grated cheese. Then there is the flaring violet aura, the interface between your personal spacetime and that of the general universe. in some ways, that acts as the event horizon of the blackhole; it protects the universe from unraveling when you poke a hole in it, and it causes particles and antiparticles to froth into existence, annihilate each other, and release energy. Hawking radiation is the technical term.

The ‘Port is only surrounded by one kind of energy field, and to your dimensionally augmented vision. Thin bands of warped realty cover his skin and clothing from head to toe. Unlike your warp field, which appears as a flaring, shifting halo that varies from an inch to six inches thick, his is uniform and neat. It’s almost like he wears medieval plate armour made of distorted space.

As Daedalus and Eclipse give you room, the ‘Port turns back to you. “Rivalry? You’re as stupid as them. I don’t give a damn about another teleporter showing up on ‘my turf’,” he gives the phrase a twist of irony and contempt. “This isn’t about the preening, arrogant game that ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ play. This is about business. That is all I care about.”

He takes a puff, and blows a smoke ring into the air. “Despite what I said to your lackey there, I don’t kill. Often,” he amends. “Nevertheless, understand this: my employer wants you gone. That means that, unless you leave this city and never come back, I’ll kill you.

“Because that is business.”

26th of March, 2005, 08:40

The noise from the bar changes in timbre, and across the building you hear beered-up, aggressive Mafia soldiers pouring out onto the street, laughing and threatening about the job they’re about to pull. Clearly, it’s time; they’re off to hit the AeroDyne industrial park.

The female martial artist’s frown on concentration breaks into a thin smile of triumph, just for a moment. As you fly up and perform a vertical Immelman turn in the air, she calls out: “You have failed, mercenary. The raid will be accomplished. But I will not let you warn your master...” She raises her staff to parry your attack...


When two fight, generally, there is only one winner. And since you can’t claim greater skill, or vastly superior tactics, and Master Fong taught you that there is no such thing as luck, the reason why that winner is you can only be:

Because you wanted it more.

Red Hare plummets to the ground like marionette with its strings cut. She scrapes along the ground in a tangle of limbs before comming to rest, quite gently, at the foot of a dumpster. The staff bounces into the dumpster itself.

After a moment, you see her fists clench and her back arch. Gritting her teeth, the petite Chinese woman tries to force herself up, to get back into the fight through pure force of will - but she doesn’t want it enough. She slumps again, truly unconscious this time.

OOC: Osprey spends a Hero Point to change a miss into a crit. Boo-yah!

27th of March, 2005, 04:47
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Currently uninjured, Bewildered and a bit confused, but uninjured.

Well... looks like I was right... to bad they're not feeling friendly whoever they are. Robert thinks to himself as the images flash directly into his mind. Mental projection? Telepathy? I wonder what other skills they might have.

The voice through the intercomm cuts through the images and the thoughts they engender like a knife rousing The Mechanic from his reverie. Shaking his head inside his suit he activates the radio to the intercomm..

"Should be there in a moment doctor... just need to confirm the entryway is clear." he says... the nervousness he's feeling from the last set of images drifting from him, but lingering lightly.

Moving to the now clear Clean room.. he briefly pauses at the door to look back at the pillar. The images on it fresh in his mind. I'll have to tell Dr. Sachs about those... he'll probably go nuts... too bad they wouldn't let me bring that micro cam in with me. Ah well...

The heavy door to the containment chamber begins to swing closed... the heavy hinges squealing in the empty air where The Mechanic can't hear them, but can guess they're there.

"Hope to talk again..." Robert says partly to himself and partly to whatever entity is inside the space being sealed away.

Moving to the next chamber he begins the tedious process of removing all the protective gear they had set up for these forays... and anticipating whatever new discovery Dr. Sachs is looking forward to showing him.

27th of March, 2005, 07:30
Central Tower, Ruins of New York City.
The Leader’s Observation Deck
Work Cycle 1.4, Day3 2046.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
~George Orwell

Only the filtration screen kept the thick, brown smoke at this altitude from becoming instantly fatal to the lean man who stood, surveying his empire with his hands behind his back.

The merest flicker of his eyes caused part of the screen to change shape, becoming a lens that displayed the ground, some 900 meters below. Three lines of thin, scraggly people clawed their way across the war-torn ground, clambering over the collapsed remains of the Chrysler building, lit the harsh glare of overhead spotlights. The Leader watched a man stumble and fall. The guards started forward, lifting the butts of their crossbows, but before they could reach him a woman stopped and let him share her airmask for a few precious breaths. Arms around each others shoulders, the two people hurried to rejoin the three lines of workers that merged together as they entered the cavernous maw of the factory.

Perhaps it said something about the indomitable nature of the human spirit. Perhaps not. All that mattered to the Leader was that they got to their work stations on time, to manufacture the air and water filters, the toxoponic modules, the retroviral resistant seeds that would keep the shreds of civilisation clinging together for another day.

A small note chimed, and a computerised voice informed the Leader that the atmospheric conditions indicated and acid rain storm in a few hours. But he was bored of the scene already, and turned away. At glass doors from the observation deck into his audience chambers slid open on a cushion of graviton particles, and the Leader caught a glimpse of himself in their mirrored surface.

Relentless discipline, meticulous training - and yes, good genes - ensured that middle age was yet to take its toll on the trim, athletic man who saw himself. His hair, however, was fully gray, save for a few darker streaks at the temples, and swept back from a narrow, raptorian face. That face remained mostly unlined, save for deep creases of worry and concentration about the eyes. He cut a slender but muscular figure in his tight black synthetic bodysuit. Thin flows of silvery liquid metal moved across the surface of his clothing/armour like living circuitry, the nanites going about their business of maintaining the material and its wearer.

The Leader entered the round, gunmetal-gleaming room, his boots making no more noise on the metal floor than silk whispering to itself. Sprawling with deliberate easy on a curved couch, he selected an apple from the bowl that rose from the floor. The chemical residues in the fruit gave it a bitter tang. His watch indicated the change from Work Cycle 1.4 to 1.5. Deciding that his lieutenant had waited long enough, the Leader made a short gesture at the door that lead to the waiting room.

“Come,” he ordered absently.

The man who shuffled into the room was of an age with the Leader, but looked much older. Years bent over a desk had given him a hunch; lack of exercise a pot belly. His salt and pepper hair was thinning, revealing a gleaming bald dome trying to emerge. Thick cybernetic goggles whirred with technology, adjusting to the light and distance, correcting defects caused by too much fine work in dark rooms.

“So...?” the Leader drawled. “You’ve found him?”

The lieutenant nodded, his dry lips parting in a grin. “It was just a matter of following gravity waves, as it turned out. You see, every time space is bent, it ripples vector out in the four dimensional manifold. The only difference here is that, because of the expanded Calabi-Yau spaces involved, these gravity waves propagate through an eleven dimensional manifold...”

The Leader let his scientific cohort babble on for a while. It was always good to let the little man think his talents were interesting and important; feeding his ego kept him in line.

“... but the trick was, the eleventh dimension can be tricked into canceling itself out if you use Heisenberg-Lewing calculus. That leaves us with an even ten-dimensional, a decabrane, and of course that means the waves curl around on themselves ad return to zero. So all I had to...”

“Yes, well done. But where was he?”

The lieutenant paused. “Titan. Can you believe it? Of all the places in all the universe he could have gone... Titan.” The scientist cast a moody glare out the window at the roiling toxic clouds that defiled the sky. “Where this all began.”

The Leader nodded, a plan comming to mind. “Excellent. If he was there, then we know what... or rather, who he as looking for. His mentor.” The Leader leaped to his feet with great agility, and tucked his hands behind his back again. “I suppose going to Titan ourselves would be too much trouble. But, if we can deceive him into thinking that his mentor is here...”

The lieutenant gave a spiteful grin of triumph. “Oh, I’d already thought of that. I looked back though some old files. Ones the Centinel Foundation had been keeping, and Homeland Security after them. We found his test results, the energy maps. Also, autopsy records from the other one. From that, I was able to extrapolate the spacetime signature of the originator.”

The Leader turned, his lips parted in genuine surprise. Such initiative? A creeping sensation crossed the back of his neck. The other man so often gave the impression of being a fool, unaware of the practical realities of governing North-East Region 4 that he was no threat... but it would be god to recall that the man was, in fact, a genius.

“Very... very good,” the Leader remarked, a tad tensely. “So we’re ready to call him here?” As soon as he had said this, he realised that things must have progressed further than this. He wouldn’t have brought it up, unless...

“Oh, more than that.” The scientist smirked. “I took the liberty of creating beacon programmed with the signature... and it worked. We have him. I have him. Here, in fact. Wanna see?”

The lieutenant issued a microgesture command, and a strange contraption hovered into the audience chamber. The Leader had seen it before; an arrangement of metal rings spinning like a gyroscope, over two meters across, hooked up to a floating platform loaded with power generation and control technology. This time, however, the trap was full. A vaguely humanoid form of searing, brilliant purple lightning flailed helplessly, caught and anchored within a device that negated all its powers. The Leader could feel faint waves of static crossing his body, making the nanite veins on his armour flow faster.

He smiled a predatory smile. Too a liberty. Yes, you did. “Oh, well done...” the Leader enthused, only half faking it. “Excellent... then we’re ready to move to the final phase?” The athletic man stepped towards the caged form of light, and peered in, seeing if it was in any way recognisable.

The lieutenant nodded. “As a power source, he will more than suffice. As soon as I can work out the parameters for a kaonic non-space, we’ll be ready to go.”

The Leader gave his lieutenant a nod of acknowledgment. Again he peered into the storm of elemental space and time within the cage. “It’s good to see you again, old friend...” he called into the maelstrom. “I just want to thank you for the help you will render to us... you’re doing mankind an incredible service.” He straightened, and stepped back. “See you again soon, Quantum.”

The scientist and the caged teleporter departed, one willingly, the other unable to control his movements in even the simplest way. An ironic fate. The Leader stood in musing silence for a while, then made a gesture.

Five black-cloaked shapes emerged from the air, shimmering into visibility. As one, the bowed before the thin man.

“Follow him,” the Leader instructed. “If he shows any signs of betrayal or... untoward ambition, kill him.”

”We hear and obey, Lord of Assault.”

The five assassins blurred into invisibility again, and this time the Leader was truly alone.

28th of March, 2005, 05:46
HP: 5/5. On the Highway to the Dangerzone.

The concept of single-person flight being "old fashioned" strikes Tracy as rather odd. As used to flying as he is, it seems far from antiquated. Yet when you head a criminal organization and employ nova mercenaries, not to mention whatever technological innovations you might design, perhaps something as simple as flying might be a bit passé.

Watching X launch himself into the air, Tracy wonders what this new path will hold in store for him. He shrugs. Men like him are better off not thinking such things. Get the job done, get paid, and get out. That's how he's lived so far. Whether or not it will continue to work in the future remains to be seen.

Sighing, Tracy lifts off the ground and follows his new employer.

28th of March, 2005, 07:13

You can’t help but feel a degree of apprehension as you follow X high into the air. Giving up a poorly-paid, risky job for a group with an unknown agenda for a high-paid, risky job for a group with an unknown...


Funny, that.

The two of you reach the cold layer of air high above most buildings in the skyline, above the trapped pockets of air that keep things tolerably warm. There seems to be something funky going on with the weather; it looks like there’s a mild patch of cyclonic air forming over Madison Square Gardens.

X twists his body, comming to a stop in midair. He presses two fingers to his ear, and subvocalises something into his comm system. Finishing his instructions to whomever, he takes a moment to survey the cityscape.

“You’re from New Hampshire, aren’t you, Wreck?” He asks in a meditative tone. “What do you think of New York?”

He waits for your answer before leaning forward and letting his jetpack carry him forwards, turning towards Queens.

“I’m not a native, myself, but I lived here for several years as a young man, and for some time recently. I find it to be a curious place... New Yorkers are at once artists and street criminals, selfish animals and kind Samaritans.” He shakes his head slightly. “I suppose that it’s pointless to try and apply a single designation to a city of ten million people, but the sense I get of it is one of vitality.” Quietly, but firmly, he adds: “I hope there’ll be something left of it once we’re through.”

Your flightpath leads you over the sprawling apartment blocks and dirty streets of a tired, poor urban district. X spots his goal, and leads you down towards a blocky, metal-roofed warehouse.

28th of March, 2005, 07:31
the Mechanic

The soldiers carefully carry Dr. LaCroix’s unconscious body towards the elevator under Vanderman’s taught gaze. As you emerge from the Pillar chamber, he rolls his cigar around his tight lips, and asks “Well. Any idea what the hell that was, Dr?”

You answer him, or not, as is your wont, while shedding the heavy lead work suit.

You ride the elevator up to the top with LaCroix and the soldiers, to the roundish room stocked with analysis equipment. You have a passing familiarity with first aid techniques and diagnosis, but you can’t find anything wrong with her. Steady pulse, shallow but regular breathing... it seems possible that the unconsciousness is just a side effect of whatever affected her in the clean room.

Sachs is chewing his lip nervously, hands tucked behind his back when you arrive. He stares at LaCroix when the troopers carry her past, looking a little grim, but not very surprised.

“Dr. Thomas, Col,” he begins. “As you know, I’ve been working on interpreting the pictograms and iconography found in the shaft.” He indicates the vertical passage the elevator traverses. “The work was much easier than I expected. This particular dialect is well-researched and, strangely, the same message is repeated in multiple forms, making it easy to spot where I’d made translation errors. It’s almost as if they wanted to create a Rosetta stone, or a message that would stand the test of time...” He look habitually uneasy about assigning such clear motivation to a long-dead culture.

“From what I’ve gathered, this was some kind of hermitage or sanctuary for a group of Anasazi elders. There’s an implication that they wished to keep this place secret... and there is symbology I’ve never seen before. The iconography for ‘chief’, combined with fragments that indicate ‘superior’ or ‘paramount’. Signs of ritual burial. The only assumption I can make is that this is... the tomb of a Native American ‘high king.’” He shakes his head in wonder. “And if I may be permitted to make a leap of faith, it’s feasible that the radiation is a kind of trap. We know that the Pharaohs used radioactive pigments and minerals to guard their graves, and geophysics tells us that pitchblende and other uranium-bearing minerals in this region...”

Vanderman looks confused. While you can accept the feasibility of Sachs’ ‘high king’ hypothesis, the idea that this level of radiation could be designed just to repel looters... plus, it doesn’t explain the intensity, or the odd, unnatural frequencies you’ve encountered.

29th of March, 2005, 01:41
“Rivalry? You’re as stupid as them. I don’t give a damn about another teleporter showing up on ‘my turf’. This isn’t about the preening, arrogant game that ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ play. This is about business. That is all I care about.”

He takes a puff, and blows a smoke ring into the air. “Despite what I said to your lackey there, I don’t kill. Often,” he amends. “Nevertheless, understand this: my employer wants you gone. That means that, unless you leave this city and never come back, I’ll kill you.

“Because that is business.”

"Oh, I get it now," Quantum says. "You're just a mindless goon, following orders without questioning them. Your moral compass swings toward the highest concentration of cash, is my guess. So tell me, Лакей --" the Russian word for lackey; Quantum's ex-wife had spoken fluent Russian, and a little of it rubbed off-- "did your master, in his infinite wisdom, tell you what he gains if I leave? 'Cause I'm not just leaving this burg on your say-so. And threatening me isn't the way to go. If you want me to leave, you'd better be more convincing than that."

Quantum crosses his arms in front of his chest, levitating up a couple feet off the ground. "Your move, comrade. How good a salesman are you?"

29th of March, 2005, 07:58
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Currently uninjured and looking forward to further analysis.

"I suppose the radiation as a trap is feasible... but I don't think it's the situation in this case Doctor...." Robert says after examining the pictographs and mentally matching them with the ones now locked inside his head from the pillar.

"I'm not sure if you've been into the Pillar chamber... but I found something interesting. A number of pictographs... similar to these... maybe not exactly the same... but close enough by my estimation. ON the Pillar itself."

He pauses to let this sink in, then continues.
"The theory I'm currently working on is that this is the containment chamber of an Ancient 'Nova' to use current terms. In ancient cultures they would be a supreme warrior... and likely elevated to a high position for all the good they could do for their people. Once you get a look at the pictographs I saw, it will sound more feasible. Then there's the fact that whatever was sealed in that chamber is still, for want of better terms, alive."

The shocked expression on Dr. Sachs face is priceless...and Robert continues with a mild smirk just visible on his lips.

"The 'Entity' for want of a better term spoke to me while I was in the chamber using what I can only guess to be a form of Telepathy. It may also have taken control over Dr. LaCroix for a short time... it's the only way to explain why she would attempt to get past the saftey measures around the pillar without a Haz-Mat suit."

"I believe the reason he was either buried alive or contained down here is that after his powers triggered... his people found they couldn't stay near him or they'd die. I believe that he/she or it is the source of the radiation."

The Mechanic stops... letting all of the information he's given them sink in.

"I know it all sounds ridiculous... but I'm sure the Col.'s dealt with stranger things before... I know I have. But then, that's why you called me in."

Robert leans up against a stack of metal crates in the hallway, waiting for the exasperation, fury and disbelief of his theories to hit....

29th of March, 2005, 18:01

The ‘Port clearly isn’t as dumb as he looks; and he doesn’t look very dumb. Taking your insults as an attempt to goad him, the smuggle gives you a look that says: Yes? So? “Every man has his price, my showy friend. The difference between you and me is, mine is on the label.” When you probe for information on his employer, he just shakes his head.

“I’d be more interested in what’s in it for you if you do leave. Continued breathing privileges, for instance.” He takes a puff on the Cuban stogie. “So go, or die. Either by my hand, which I doubt, or by that of another professional.”

Past his shoulder, you notice a paramedic look up from the teenage boy he’s treating, sees you talking to the ‘Port, frowns, and tugs on the sleeve of an armed SWAT officer near him. The two of them cautiously start making their way towards the stage.

30th of March, 2005, 02:12
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Rob crouched on the roof ledge, a tangled mess of emotions. 'She'd tried to do it to you, remember?' Victory and triumph mixed with an odd concern for the fallen opponent and a hunger for more of that kind of battle. He cast a wary eye in the direction of the mobmen's departure, knowing that he had no time to waste, but still dropped nimbly to the ground beside Red Hare.

He didn't know what he was looking for or expected to find, really. He did want to make sure she wasn't dead...and part of him just didn't want to leave. That binary feeling that he'd been swimming in just moments before hadn't completely dispersed, and he foolishly wondered what would happen if he waited for her to wake up again. 'We'd fight, dummy.' He sighed, then lifted off in pursuit of smaller fish.

OOC: Giving chase to the mobmen. General tactic is to get them one or two at a time, as quietly as possible and using Surprise Strike; exact technique depends on whether they're on foot or driving.

30th of March, 2005, 02:23
HP 4/5. Status: Bleh.

Quantum shakes his head slowly. "Well, you're definitely up-front; I can appreciate that. And I'll take my chances with someone trying to kill me -- heck, I just had to deal with one. Thanks for being honest, Pietr, but tell your boss that I've got too much to do here. If he wants me to leave, he's going to have to tell me why. I'm sure he knows where to find me, if he watches the news at all."

He drifts back as he speaks, bringing himself near Daedalus and Eclipse. "Perhaps our next meeting won't be quite so... adversarial. I'd be more than happy to buy you a drink, compare how our abilities work. I think such a discussion could benefit us both, but it's up to you. Без перевода." As he says his goodbye, he pulls the two proto-heroes toward him and teleports away.

[[ If it's within range, t'port to the Centinel Building. If not, then some other known landmark within range that's relatively safe -- like near the bar we were at before. ]]

30th of March, 2005, 03:11
HP: 5/5. Cruising the Skyline. Uninjured.

Tracy gives a shrug that represents the very definition of noncommital. He never has spent a lot of time in the city and, as often as not, doesn't know what to make of it. Portsmouth, while not insignificant in size, is a far cry from New York and its cabs, and planes, and skyscrapers. The people here strike him to be the same as anywhere else; some are nice, some are not, and most just want to be left alone. Perhaps the ratio is skewed, but Tracy's at a loss for why. He never did pay much attention in psychology or sociology or whatever field would cover the question.

"It's crowded." It's an obvious response and he feels a bit stupid for it, but X didn't hire him for his brains. At least, he hopes not.

Far below the city marches on; its residents busy themselves with whatever business they might possess. Yet Tracy wonders how one can live amongst so many people but not actually know any of them? Is this really a city of ten million strangers? Is he any different?

"I hope there’ll be something left of it once we’re through."

His brow furrows, worrying that some clever jest might've passed over his head. X doesn't seem the type to joke and Tracy again ponders what exactly he's gotten himself into. It isn't too late, a small, very small, part of him offers the hook, but he doesn't bite. Oh, but it is too late. For a man like Tracy, it's five years too late. He never was the shining knight and never will be. For the briefest instant though, that small part of him wishes he was.

It fades quickly.

"Right," he mutters to himself, drifting down to the warehouse below. "Right."

30th of March, 2005, 05:24
HP: 5/5 Status: feels like the lamb being led to the slaughter - unhurt

Its not the first time since he has been following Prophet that Ryan has wondered if he made the right choice, at the very least he should have insisted that Trisha stays behind... yea, good luck with that, but just the fact that she was here makes this more complicated.

He had to catch up with Prophet, getting lost down here probably wasn't the best idea and he wasn't waiting, normally it would be a simple matter run down the wall across the "water" and up the other side but he had never done it with a passenger before.

He approaches her and slips his arm around her waist, lifting and pulling her close to him, shifting her to the side slight so he can still run and maneuver. Any other time having her this close would bring on a different set of emotions but he was too anxious about what he was about to do.

"Hang on tight and shield your face." He tells her as he backs up some, he covers her with his duster as much as he can. Normally he never worried about air friction or small particles, but now he hoped whatever protected him will protect her as well.

(ooc: water run and wall run, will use a hero point if needed so Trisha doesn't get vaporised by the speed.)

31st of March, 2005, 13:15
the Mechanic

Sachs frowns colossally. “Really, Dr. Thomas. There are innumerable reasonable explanations available without resorting to the ‘Gilgamesh hypothesis’. For example...” You wait politely as the archaeologist struggles to wrap his mind through any alternatives, and watch him grow increasingly frustrated.

“Oh, Hell,” he sighs, puffing through his mustaches. “Five years ago, I worked on an animal grave in South Dakota. We found fifteen buffalo that had died at the same point in time, by arrows shot from the same bow. The arrowheads had hit with so much force they were pulverised into dust inside the buffalo.” He grimaces. “Tell me that anyone besides a metahuman could manage that. Dr, I have to concur with you; there must be some kind of powerful creature in that tomb below us.”

Vanderman’s response is brief and, perhaps, predictable: “How do we kill it?”

You and Sachs share a sideways glance; he rolls his eyes, giving you a slight shrug that expresses and ocean of exasperation with the military.

Vanderman sneers, and elaborates. “Mr. Super-Indian down there puts out more radiation that a Los Alamos hamburger. He can control minds, and tried to kill Dr. LaCroix. In case you haven’t noticed, thread level has been ramping up for the last year at least. I reckon that means he’s either he’s approaching critical mass or he’s getting ready to wake up.

“That means: Option one - ker-frickin’-boom; or option two - we get a meta of unknown power wandering around. And I don’t think he’s gonna be happy that a load of white folks are livin’ in his country now.”

31st of March, 2005, 13:16

Her pulse is high and slightly irregular under your fingers, but seems to be sliding to a normal rate. About what you’d expect for someone out cold. Uncertain about your feelings, you rocket up into to the air, spin, and propel yourself to the ledge at the front of the bar.

About twenty to thirty rough looking men are climbing into eleven or so cars. There are more of them than you’d expected, and the fight seems to have given them the time to start on their way to the AeroDyne building. One the other hand, there are only about two to four of them in each vehicle, and they’re probably just ordinary Mafioso.

Plus, they haven’t seen you yet.

31st of March, 2005, 13:16

The East European gives an incredulous snort. “Do I have to spell it out to you, idiot? You, and your group, are interfering with our plans. You remember that little party at the docks you crashed, right after I put a bearing in your overfast friend’s guts? Our plan. Your interference.

“Don’t make the mistake of repeating that interference, tovarich.”

You vanish in an implosion of purple light.

The ‘Port rubs his temple as the mental noise of your exit hits him, close range. He grumbles, and thinks to himself: Those clumsy, high-altitude jumps of his have given me a migraine...

The SWAT officer and the paramedic reach the edge of the stage, and the armed policeman challenges him. Pietr Loschvuld gives the man an angry glower, before disappearing into thin air.

- - -

The lobby of the Centinel Building is well within your range, and you’re familiar enough with it to reach there without trouble. Daedalus and Eclipse gasp and stagger as you arrive, apparently disoriented.

A guard starts at your appearance, his hand flicking to his gun belt. Seeing it’s you, he relaxes, and mutters into a communicator for a moment, before giving you a wary nod and resuming is professional, watchful stance.

31st of March, 2005, 13:17

X lands in a discreet alley at the side of the building, in front of a sturdy metal door. His hand brushes a piece of the wall, which slides aside and reveals a keypad. He points at it, and his computer-laden glove bleeps and whirs. As the door slides open, X pauses and does something else you’re not sure of. “Odd.. it’s laggy,” he muses to himself. Bored, you glance around the alley, noting several discreet, sophisticated security cameras watching you.

Finally, X steps into the building. You follow into a rather bare rectangular concrete room. Metal racks and shelves stand empty along the walls, and there are several desks in a far corner. The large roller doors are closed and locked. The most striking feature of the room is a chain-link metal cage in the middle, which secures the tall, black cylindrical shape of a supercomputer. There’s some illegible graffiti with a lightning-bolt motif on the walls and floor, and a number of wooden boxes that have been broken open some time ago.

X swears with some heat. “Damn.” Rapidly regaining control of himself, he lifts his hand. “Access local security grid. Display any recorded anomalies. And run a diagnostic on the uplink. I want to know why I wasn’t alerted during the break-in.”

A faint holographic image appears in the air in front of your employer. At high speed, it runs through several slices of images recorded by the cameras outside. Most show nothing more than people wandering through the alleys, or the odd stray cat nosing around. One recording, however, is nothing but static. X shifts when he sees this.

“Harumph.” He swivels, and looks up at you. “Most disturbing. This is one of our subsidiary bases of operation; as you can see, it is kept relatively empty until we need it. What little there was here, however... seems to have been stolen. I am rather displeased about this, I’m sure you can imagine.”

X strides over the smashed boxes, and starts sifting through the scattered packing material. “I have your first task, Wreck. Find who did this. Retrieve anything that hasn’t been fenced yet. Ensure that the thief, or thieves, reconsider their life of crime. Try not to attract the attentions of the police or the Centinels.”

He provides you with a little more info as he works it out. The break-in occurred seven days ago, and was accompanied by a disruption of the security systems, probably by a fairly powerful jammer. A number of power modules, spare wireless cards, clips of DP-9 ammunition and cell phones were taken, but the only items that really interest him are four computer towers; advanced, black and silver units about the size of a large book. They’d be worth a lot to a knowledgeable buyer, and contain sensitive data regarding the Syndicate X computer network.

31st of March, 2005, 13:18

It’s not the first time you’ve carried her at high speeds, but the tight spaces in the sewers mean you have to be careful about where her limbs stick out. She seems to pick up on your tension, and gives you a gentle squeeze around the shoulders, a gesture more reassuring than intimate. She tucks her face close against your chest, protection her face from the wind friction.

For her, the journey is so quick that it probably doesn’t even register to her senses. You break into a run, accelerating in a way that defies all laws of biomechanics. Momentum easily overcomes the weak force of gravity, allow you to control your descent down the wall and up the other side. Similarly, at your velocity, the surface resistance of the war is effectively stronger than tar, and easily carries your weight for the millionth of a second you’re actually on it. The slime-coated sewer walls provide a minimal challenge to run over, but you manage it without error, leaving only some smudged footprints and sudden ripples in the flow of the underground river. Still at speed, you go a little way down the tunnel, catching up to Prophet almost instantly. Trisha looks surprised when you let her down, marveling at the near-instant change in scenery.

“It is near,” your guide says quietly. He leads you down a sharp slope littered with gravel, and stops at the end of the tunnel, endless darkness stretching out in front of you. For the first time, he meets your eyes, and just for a moment he looks uneasy. “I... do not know exactly what you must do to Exorcise the Devil, hero. His shade lingers here, polluting the Spirit World around him... perhaps it is anchored to his mortal remains, or to one of the unholy artifacts he wielded. Maybe it is the pain of those he slew that fuses him to this world, and you must find a way to alleviate their agony. Good luck, but I will not enter here. The evil cloys my wits, and the temptation to shatter the land of the heathens may grow too strong.” Prophet shuffles up the passage, and sits on a slab of broken cement, sinking into meditative state.

Trisha glances after him, then looks into the darkness. She fumbles through her pockets, and produces a Maglite. “Lucky I brought this...” she whispers, her voice oppressed by the echoing hollowness. She clicks on the torch, but nothing happens.

Before she can check the batteries, there is a rushing sound in the darkness ahead. A dim blue-gray flame gutters into life seemingly from nowhere, casting a ghoulish light that accentuates the shadows. As your eyes adjust to the sudden flare, you see that there is a candle sitting on the uneven ground ahead. After a moment, there are two more flares in the darkness, further back and spread out; then two more, further back still but closer together.

Five candles. I don’t need to tell you what shape they make, do I?

The dim light seems to draw heat from the air, making goose bumps tingle under your shirt. You can, however, see the layout before you. The room must have once been a roundabout of the surface road; now, it is a roughly circular chamber with ragged walls made of subsided concrete and packed piles of earth, pierced by reinforcing beams and the scattered remains of cars. The flickering witchlight makes weird pools of shadow creep across the walls. Twisted hubcaps and rusty doors give the place the look of an automotive graveyard. In the far wall, you can see what must have been the entrance to the tunnel; darkness slopes away through a maw of jagged concrete shards that look like teeth. The candles stand on the distorted ring of asphalt that forms the road, with long red streaks leading between them.

You don’t know whether it’s blood or paint.

2nd of April, 2005, 06:30
HP: 5/5 Status: Waiting for the creepy music to begin, unhurt

When he was thirteen he studied the occult, spells, witches and warlocks and for a while wondered if it could be real, but like all fads this faded and was forgotten. Magic wasn't real, sure, super science and novas did things that seemed like magic but everything had a rational explanation behind it. Magic, true magic didn't exist. He had come to believe that.

Now in this place, at this time he wasn't quite as sure...

"Stay with Prophet and keep your head down." He tells her pushing her a little in his direction. Once she is headed towards him, he will take a few quick breaths and step out of the tunnel into the open space.

If nothing happens he will continue forward and check on the candles and the red streaks between them. Carefull not to touch or disturb anything.

3rd of April, 2005, 02:30
HP 4/5. Status: Unhurt, but ruffled.

Giving the security guard a friendly wave, Quantum lets his field drop. As Daedalus and Eclipse regain their bearings and look around their new environment, he walks up to the guard. "I need to talk to Alicia Stone, ASAP. We've got trouble brewing."

He looks back at his two passengers, indicating that they should sit down. "Also, I've got a couple folks here who might be interested in helping out." And, perhaps, getting a little help themselves. They need a bit of guidance, keep 'em from getting in over their heads. 'Course, I might be doing just that myself.

3rd of April, 2005, 17:55

Trisha frowns a little, but you can tell from the slightly too-wide tension around her eyes that the overwhelming, reeking, malignant atmosphere of this place is getting to her as well. Tellingly, she hardly raises a complaint as she heads back up the tunnel. Your nerves feel too tight under your skin, almost screaming, as you step out into the chamber.

In a relieving anticlimax, nothing happens.

The smell of sulfur is strong in the stagnant air as you creep forwards, unsure of what to expect. You peer down at the nearest candle. It’s a short piece of gnarled, yellowish tallow, bent and ribbed oddly. Not the sort of thing you’d find in IKEA, or even in a New Age crystal store. It stinks of badly preserved fat.

Suddenly, the pale, cold flame gutters and bursts up in brightness. The noxious wax starts to melt as you stumble back in alarm. As it dribbles down the shaft of the candle, the jagged rim of a fingernail is revealed. Your stomach flip-flops in nausea. Behind you, there’s a shifting sound in the gravel, something scuttling towards you... You turn at full speed, seemingly, to all towards observers, to simple invert your facing 180 degrees instantly.

Elizabeth smiles at you.

3rd of April, 2005, 17:55

The guard looks a little uncomfortable at your second comment, and surprised. “You mean you haven’t heard about the... uh, nothing.” He points you to the executive elevator. “The Rep’s in her office. And I suppose I could call someone from PR to handle them...”

Having been to Stone’s office once already, you see no need to both with conventional transportation. Fixing the abstract spatial coordinates in your mind, you shift straight up to the top floor of the Centinel Building after a quick see-you-later to Daedalus and Eclipse. The fronds of a potted fern shift like feelers at your arrival, upset by the gravitational shockwaves that ripple out around you. Practice makes perfect, you reflect. Your skill at teleportational navigation is getting sharper with every jump; you landed almost exactly where you wanted this time.

You knock on the door, and the Representative responds almost immediately; “Come in.” Pushing open the door, you see that little has changed. Despite the lateness of the hour, Alicia Stone looks as cleaned and pressed as ever, from neatly bunned hair to immaculately buttoned blouse. The only concession she seems to have made to informality is a small glass that sits on her desk, the remains of some alcoholic beverage glistening in the bottom.

She stands over her desk, swiftly sliding a number of documents into a folder. Behind her glasses, her eyes are a touch guilty, a touch frightened. “Paul,” she says with a formal but not unfriendly tone. “I thought you were taking the night off?”

5th of April, 2005, 00:16
HP 4/5. Status: Feemin'.

“Paul, I thought you were taking the night off?”

"I was," he replies, "until things turned pear-shaped over at the stadium. Some half-crazed freak with a pile of lackeys and the power to start a riot turned up. I had to expose him to hard vacuum to quiet him.

"A few other 'capes' turned up at the scene, and I want to see what information you have on them. Two of 'em are fairly new to this, and I brought them here to see if you wanted to recruit them. They're greener than Irish Spring, but I think they've got some potential. They're in the lobby, looking lost.

"Also, I ran into that teleporter the guys had to deal with before -- the one that got away from the arms deal they stopped. He tried to talk me into leaving the city to stay out of their way. I think they might be pulling similar stunts with the rest of the team, so we need to check on them, give 'em a heads-up."

Not giving her a chance to butt in, he leans forward, placing his hands on the desk. "There's more. Something snapped when I was tangling with that nova. Things are happening with my abilities that seriously exceed what I'd been able to do before, and the changes are coming hard and fast. I want to talk with the scientists that worked with me three years ago -- and I want to look at their records. It's about damn time that someone told me the truth; I have the right to know just what the hell they did with me, and what they were trying to accomplish.

"Don't bother playing ignorant with me, I know that I'm not a 'naturally-occuring' nova now. I've had memories come up recently, and now I know that I was made this way. I want to know what they did, and why. Hopefully, I can get an answer before I break from the strain, 'cause I don't know what's going to change next."

5th of April, 2005, 08:23
HP: 5/5 Status: Bewitched, Bewildered and Bewondered; Unhurt

<Shock is written plainly on his face.>

There were times that Ryan thought that maybe he was losing his grip on his sanity, that the years he has spent running was just some fevered dream that his mind had come up with to help him cope with her death, that he would suddenly open his eyes and he would be in a white room with his family and friends and he would realise that he couldn't outrun a speeding bullet...

<He tries to speak but nothing comes forth.>

But this cinched it, he was insane, there was no doubt about it...

<He inadvertantly takes a step backwards.>

But insane people don't realise that they are insane... right?

<He starts to reach out but stops almost as if he is afraid to touch her.>

"Elizabeth... Is it... is it really you?"

7th of April, 2005, 14:15

Stone looks poised to answer your questions at first, but as you grow more assertive an indignant, angry flame starts to build behind her spectacles. She snaps a baleful gaze down on your hands, resting on the polished synthwood of her desk. A part of you flinches, that glare that they normally only issue to school principals and librarians triggering a child’s memory, but you hold your ground.

“It’s...” she glances at the screen on her desk, “nearly 1 am, Mr. Forrester. Far too late for your paranoid ravings.

“As far as I know, you’ve been in cryogenic suspension for your own good following your power manifestation for the past several years. Is it surprising that your powers are ‘thawing out’ at a different rate than your other bio-processes, given that they consist of specifically reality-altering abilities?” Her tone grows increasingly sharp and heated as she goes on.

“There was trouble at the stadium? That I know. What I didn’t know is that you were there. Why didn’t I know that? You decided to leave your communicator in your apartment and take a night off. Oh, but you’re not the only one... Osprey’s is turned off, Wreck left his behind too, and the Mechanic’s is telling us that it’s out of range. So I’ve had no-one to investigate the Madison riot, and I had to let the police handle it. Metahumans crimes were supposed to be our jurisdiction. Can you imagine how this looks to our oversight?” She’s working herself up into a real fury now.

“Oh, you met Loschvuld, did you? Wonderful! I suppose I should be glad you didn’t take up his offer - we’re starting to run short of Centinels!” She’s actually shouting at this point, jabbing an accusing finger at your chest.

7th of April, 2005, 14:48

It must be her.

Elizabeth’s nose crinkles up in that way it always did - does - when you’ve done something she finds funny, a little exasperating, but overwhelmingly adorable.

It must be her.

She reaches out to your apprehensive hand, and gives it a playful poke. In her soft, warm soprano, that voice you’ve longed - long - to hear ever since you heard it give a death scream (but that never happened, did it?), she says “C’mon, Ryan... stop messing about.” Her expression sobers, and her very wide blue eyes catch the corpse-light from the candles. “We have to find a way through the tunnel. We have to find a way for those poor people to get to safety.”

It must be her.

She’s right, of course - she’s always been the moral compass you guide your life by, and the light that enriches it. Mentally, you turn away form that filthy, deceitful part of your mind that tries to tell you she’s dead, not really here - that can only be some kind of evil influence seeping in from this tainted hell-hole. A psychoactive field, or a demoralising curse, however you want to describe it. Science, magic, same thing couched in different terms.

It must be her.

She brushes past you, and you catch a whiff of the clean, fresh smell of her light brown hair as it swishes by you. Your girlfriend crouches and plucks one of the candle from the floor. “Eww !” she shudders, quickly wrapping it in several tissues from her pocket. It’s dim, but it casts enough light to at least let you see the walls as she lofts it at the jagged, stone maw that leads deeper into Ritual’s catacomb.

It must be her. Because you can’t cope with the alternative.

“Comming?” Elizabeth asks.

8th of April, 2005, 01:15

“Oh, you met Loschvuld, did you? Wonderful! I suppose I should be glad you didn’t take up his offer - we’re starting to run short of Centinels!”

Any tones resembling accusation fall from his voice, as a look of astonishment crosses his face and decides to stay for a moment. "Waidaminit -- everyone went out of touch? At the same time? And what do you mean, we're 'running short'? What the heck's going on?"

His hands have moved themselves off the finely-polished desk long ago, and now he backs away a bit, taking a seat. "If it isn't one thing, it's three. Okay, let me know what you know about all this. If you have an idea where the others are, I can get to 'em, check up on them and give them their comms. As long as I don't have to fight any more neanderthals along the way, I'll see if I can help patch this up."

8th of April, 2005, 03:12
HP: 5/5 Status: Beyond the ability to process rational thought, unhurt

Nothing else matters, Trisha. The mole people. The frozen people entombed somewhere in the Centinals building. Nothing, not even himself.

Elizabeth is here and so very real. Yet part of him wants to believe something else, he mentally crushes it, smashes it into oblivion. The only thing that matters is Elizabeth. For her he would willing pass though the gates of hell.

“Comming?” Elizabeth asks.

"Of course" He says with a smile. He follows her with only one glace behind him.

11th of April, 2005, 09:40
HP: 5/5. Status: The game is afoot!

Tracy's brow furrows. Asking questions isn't his specialty. Well, not unless there's a punch either immediately preceeding or following the inquiry. Maybe that's what X has in mind. Or maybe he's just confident in Tracy. Either way, it's probably not going to turn out well. But then again, when has anything ever been good? Not since that first morning after getting these damn powers.

"Uh, sure. I'll do it."

But where to start? He could go back down to the bar, ask a few scumbags a question or two. Throw in a couple of punches and he might even learn something. But they aren't the type to steal a bunch of computers and other techno-junk. Then again, if it could fetch a good price...

Lifting off into the air, Tracy began to make his way back to the bar. For a man like him, it's the only place to start.

14th of April, 2005, 01:15
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

From the ledge, Rob watches as they start to leave. Twenty-two men, minimum, not counting the cars with three or more soldiers. All of them shooters, and most of them already ensconced in metal and glass...and he can't fight a car. Realistically, stopping the raid before it starts is pretty much hopeless; he'll have to follow them to Aerodyne and come in from their rear...besides that, they'll probably break off into easier-to-chew squads once they get there, and he might be able to use the imminent confusion to his advantage.

The idea that forms is a little crazy, a lot risky. But Aerodyne is across town and he'll need to conserve his strength, so hitching a ride is essential. Stealthily, Rob hops lightly from ledge to fire escape to windowsill to streetlamp to dumpster shadow, moving closer to the last car as he does so. As the doors close, he sprints, a mere half-meter above the pavement, until he can grab the bumper. The car starts, and as it begins to accelerate he lifts and lays himself as flat as possible against the back of the trunk lid and the tiny ledge afforded by the bumper...hopefully, his ability to defy gravity can keep him from falling off.

As the car nears Aerodyne, Osprey detaches from the bumper and again seeks the cover of high shadows, trying to get close enough to overhear any last-minute planning that might give him insights to their deployment and goal. Assuming it all works, of course...

OOC: Looks like Hide and Move Silently checks are in order. When he first reaches the bumper, he stays primed to fly out of the way in case he's been spotted and they take action (like throwing it into reverse.)

17th of April, 2005, 17:25

Stone gives you a long stare, apparently deliberately swallowing her fury. The skin around her nose remain crinkled with anger, but otherwise she seems to re-master her emotions.

“Was something I said unclear?” she asks in a voice tinged with acid. “You are the only member of the team whose location we have confirmed.

“The Mechanic was last seen entering a military helicopter around 22:00 hours last night, of his own free will by all appearances. We lost track of him about fifty miles south-west of the city; the communicators aren’t designated tracking devices, so don’t have the range to pinpoint position beyond that. The Defense Department isn’t returning our calls on the matter.

“Osprey... we lost him for the same reason we couldn’t find you.” The ghost of a smile touches her lips. “Most metahumans don’t realise how hard it is to track fliers. We don’t have any surveillance vehicles, and can’t requisition them from the NYPD at short notice. You and Osprey both preferentially use your powers to travel, so we lost you quite quickly.”

“Wreck, on the other hand, tends to walk. He went to a dive in lower Manhattan, then, ahem...” she pauses, “we lost him when he left with a woman. There’s been no sign of either of them since then, although... we found signs of damage in a subway terminal near by, consistent with an enhanced strength brawl. We’re investigating that now.”

Stone carefully sits behind her desk, watching you warily. “Thank you for the offer of help, Paul. To be honest, at this moment I’m not sure what you could do. We don’t have many leads - well, except for the fight scene.” She lays her fingers deftly on top of each other, resting her hands calmly over the folder.

17th of April, 2005, 17:50

The gates of hell.

How appropriate.

Boldly, you step to the fore as you and Elizabeth approach the jagged stone maw of the tunnel. With you in the way, the pallid illumination of the corpselight candle casts probing fingers around your silhouette as you peer into the reeking darkness. Even as you consider that ahead, the shadows behind grow more profound. Within one removed, the other four candles spontaneously quench themselves, leaving you shrouded in a hollow veil that conceals godknowswhat creeping up towards you...

The tunnel slouches down in a buckled hunger. The asphalt is twisted into an irregular footing, and here and there metal barbs of support struts gouge their way out of the floor. The walls seem to be melting, Daliesque... or maybe oozing ichor. Everything appears to be wracked, in a state of torture; warped by the very presence of evil.

About fifteen feet ahead, the way is blocked by a mass of metal. Cars, dozens of them, are smeared together in a solid mass of wreckage, like they crashed over and over and over until buckled doors, ruined fenders and bent rooves merged together. The silvery disks of headlights catch the light and reflect it back at you. Oddly, most of the windows and windshields seem unbroken, though many of them do bulge oddly. All the glass is blackened, however, as if smeared with some tarry matter.

17th of April, 2005, 17:54

Seeing your bemused expression, X suggests: “You may wish to consult those in the immediate area. In a neighborhood like this one, wise citizens make a point of ignoring each other’s business, given how much of it is illegal... but I feel they may make an exception for you.”

18th of April, 2005, 05:27
HP: 4/4. Status: Unhurt, concerned.

Paul gets up from the chair, shaking his head. "Something ain't right here. How could everyone -- and I mean all five of us -- go out of contact, and vanish, at about the same time? Yeah, it could just be bad timing, but that's like me rolling a Yahtzee on the first try. It just doesn't work that way."

Stepping back to a clear section of the office, Paul activates his power. He blinks out of existence, then snaps back in about one second later. As he shuts off the field, his communicator can be seen in his hand. Sitting back down, he loops it over his left ear.

"Okay, if you want I can go to the site of that fight, though I doubt I could be any help there. I don't really know Wreck all that well, and I'm a lousy tracker. I'll take my twenty lashes and play nice.

"Oh, and about the guys who worked with me some-odd years ago. I think I've figured out how my power works, I'm wanting to know if they can tell me the why part."

20th of April, 2005, 14:48
HP: 5/5 status: Pretty sure he has become part of some horror flick

Every instinct he has is telling him that this is not the place to be and if it wasn't for Elizabeth he probably wouldn't be, but like usual she was right these people didn't deserve what was happening to them and right at this moment he was their best shot, which meant they were pretty much scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

Carefully he will approach the tangle of vehicles seeing if there was a way through or around, paying particular attention to the tarry matter on the glass.

21st of April, 2005, 15:04

Well, as crazy, pointless plans go... this one turns out pretty well. Or at least, not catastropically.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Every time the car stops, changes direction or slows down your nose grinds against one of the lights. That’s because what you’re doing is hard - not lying on the bumper, but flying, horizontally, against an unpredictable surface, when you can’t see where you’re going. You try pressing your back to the vehicle - but flying backwards feels wrong, white-knuckle, pants-wetting wrong.

“I woulda thought Tom woulda showed...” one of the men in the car grouses.
“Huh. Prob’ly couldn’t find any ammo,” another says in a smirking tone.

Someone turns the stereo on to a retro rap station, loudly. You cling to the vehicle as DMX demands to know where, precisely, da hood at. After a few more streets, it gets switched off again, letting you listen in on a part-way through conversation.

“...doin’ it, man? I mean, it’s like she’s the enemy, y’know?”
“Ain’t no enemy a mine, Jay,” someone in the back seat responds. “She’s, like, family o’ the old capo. And Riley, pardon my French, Riley is a cocksucking greasy two-bit Westie Irish sonovabitch. But, uh, don’t tell none a his I said that.”

Some of the gangsters laugh, other mutter warnings about the risk of mafia soldiers badmouthing the new management of the underworld.

“I gots no love for Antonia’s crew...” another ruminates. “But since Riley don’t feel like paying us this month, then shee-it, I got no problemo with looking other places for work. It’s his fault, really.”

“Keep it down, you mooks...” the driver announces. “We’s here...”

The four men get out of the car, putting on their best hard-man faces. Guns are fingered, flick-knives opened and closed and lucky charms rubbed. The cones of light from the headlamps paint bright streaks across the parking lot, catching on the chainlink fence ahead. The administration and manufacturing buildings of other companies crowd around like curious spectators on all sides, effectively cutting the spacious square off from the rest of the city.

They don’t even notice the black shape shooting up into the air from behind their car, vanishing into the dark sky.

“Turn ‘em off, you moron!” someone hisses as more cars arrive, settling around the secure-looking AeroDyne industrial campus ahead. Within the fence, a blocky ten story office building houses the regional offices of the corporation. A number of low, corrugated-steel roofed adjuncts serve as warehouses and low-intensity factories.

“Where’s the boss lady at?”
“Wha? What lady? I was told bout this by my buddy Louis... said that this was an insurance job... but s’a lot a people for an arson job...”
“Naw, it’s all Antonia’s thing, right?”
“Wha’s the hold up?
“I hear the guy who runs this place is, like, a ‘borg or something...” someone whispers as they criminals gather into small clumps, waiting for some signal, growing more confused and unsure.

22nd of April, 2005, 19:58

When you mention your doubts over the unlikeliness of the coincidence, Stone shakes her head. “I can’t see any way it could have been organized from the outside, if that’s what you’re implying. And I’m sure no-one within the Foundation would have...” her voice trails off, and her lips wrinkle slightly as if she’s just made an unpleasant connection in her mind.

She swiftly brushes this aside, however. “You want to contact Dr. Chen and Espinoza’s team? That... should... be possible. It may take some time, I’m afraid.” She then taps a panel on the surface of her desk, and the monitor slides smoothly out of its slot. She turns it towards you, and calls up a map of the city. “The station in question is... here,” she points. “Chief Proscatti is already there, but you’re likely to get more help if you find the Situation Manager, Luke Greico.”

You study the map for a few moments, and become reasonably confident you can find the location without too much trouble.

22nd of April, 2005, 19:59

Gingerly, you reach out and touch one of the cars. The whole mass gives a metallic graunch, like a shredded gearbox. Some of the piece of automobile shudder and shift as if they’re about to drop... apparently the mass isn’t as stable as it seems.

Suddenly, the windshield of the nearest car starts to bulge out. Like a huge bubble of crude oil flavoured chewing gum it protrudes out in a repulsive, gravid mass. You and Elizabeth stagger away from it, and a moment later the bubble pops. Cold, dry, reeking air bursts out of the interior of he vehicle as the black membrane of the bubble shrivels into itself. The smell is of sulfur and old, mummified bodies.

Apprehensively, you peer inside of the car. You think that you could wiggle through the irregular, jagged tunnel of metal that winds through the wall of wreckage, detouring through the carcasses of several vehicles as it is. Or perhaps if you used your speed to take it apart and create a whirlwind to pull it down...

22nd of April, 2005, 21:38
HP: 5/5. Status: Five-by-Five

Tracy's eyebrows knit together, furrowing at the mention of asking the locals. He reaches up and scratches a stray itch on his superdense skin. That strikes him as funny. He can shrug off everything from knives and bats up to small-arms fire and decently sized explosions without feeling a thing, but he can still get an itch. If his strength wasn't proportional to his toughness, maybe he'd never be able to scratch it. He frowns. It sounds like some sort of crazy Hell.

X is still looking at him.

"Oh, uh, yeah. You got it." He flies off, feeling his new employer's gaze boring holes into his back.

Okay, so...guess I'll just start knocking on doors. It isn't the best plan of attack, but Tracy's never been hired because of his cerebral capabilities. Still, he's a big guy and he can press a semi over his head. Maybe they'll start talking once they see that. Maybe.

Touching down a block away, Tracy walks up to an apartment building and jams a call button one meaty finger. If they won't come down, Tracy will just have to come up. It's not like he needs stairs...or doors...or windows.

23rd of April, 2005, 03:06
HP: 4/5. Status: Okay.

Paul leans over the desktop, studying the map closely. Just in case, he makes a point of memorizing the address. He starts to consider asking for a PDA device to keep maps on; knowing the layout of the city would help him relocate immensely.

Before he can post the request, something else pings on his awareness. Ms. Stone went through the trouble to wear some sort of cologne, not to mention just enough makeup to look like she's not wearing makeup. His ex was good at that, and she'd told him that it was a skill most women didn't have, or bother with. Heck, a lot of women look like they applied their makeup with a trowel; when you have to actually look to notice it, that's a sign of some talent.

The cologne... whatever it is, it's good on her. Maybe it's that 'generic' stuff, the kind that nearly anyone can wear. What was it called? Ah. CK-1. Even I could wear it, though it made me smell like a grapefruit. Always preferred Drakkar, myself.

With the location fixed in his mind, at least the part that wasn't basking in her perfume, Paul said, "Thanks, Alicia," and gave her an impulsive kiss on the cheek. Before he could get a chance to question the act, he stepped away from the desk, fired up his field, and vanished.

23rd of April, 2005, 07:14
HP: 5/5 status: unhurt

A small tiny part of his brain was screaming at him that something wasn't right, that everything seemed to easy, too convienent...

Unfortunately Ryan wasn't listening to that part of his brain right at this moment. His only concern was the mass of vehichles in front of him and how he was going to get by it, the one thing he did know was he sure wasn't going to crawl through it, that would negate his only advantage... his speed, which meant it had to come down.

He turns to warn her to be carefull but pauses as he looks at her, radiant, glowing almost as if the uglyness of this place has enhanced her beauty, like putting a polished diamond among charcoal.

He steps closer to her, still staring, drinking in her image, memorizing her features and making eye contact... He always was drawn to her eyes, so full of excitement, a zest for life, its what drew him to her the first time they met, like someone else he met recently...the reason he was down here in the first place... He shakes his head slightly cutting off that line of thought.

"I'm going to try and take this down, becarefull and don't get to close." He tells her with a smile, he leans in and kisses her lightly before getting to work.

27th of April, 2005, 10:13

Questions lead to answers.

At least, that’s how it should work. Judging by your 1am enquiries, however, questions lead to frightened cowering, whimpering, and people hiding in corners trying to avoid you.

You pause to examine your image in a dark window pane, in a rare reflective (hah!) mood. The light in the hallway and the night outside combine to make a mirror, in which you dimly perceive the broad, rugged face of a six-foot-well-plus man, the muscles in his neck and temples clearly visible as they twitch. That you have a face at all is testament to your enhanced recuperation; everything seems to have mostly sealed up and grown back, through some impressively mottled bruises remain. And you nose will never, ever be the same shape again. You scowl at your visage, lamenting the loss of your manly good looks. Though there is a certain boxer-ish charm to the buckled nasal arch you now possess... or not. Dammit.

A superintendent, dragged (not literally) out of bed in his dressing gown who clearly wants nothing more than for you to get the hell out of his building gruffly suggests you find someone called Jitters, a local ne’erdowell.

He’s not hard to find. And as you dangle the caffeine-high, strung out, manic, scrawny punk twenty feet in the air above a pile of his own discarded Starbucks vente paper cups, you consider the fact that you’re still wearing the same tattered, rubble strewn clothes you fought Maim in. That combined with the obviously fresh-broken nose and raw-skinned face give you a certain hard-man cred. Though in the case of Jitters, all it takes is the threat of a fall to certain pain.

“Ice!” he whimpers, clutching at the unyielding steel of your forearm. “Dude called Ice!”

A few more gentle moments of persuasion, and you learn that ‘Ice’ lives in the basement of a building a few streets down. Dropping Jitters to the safety of a nice, squishy dumpster, you rocket through the air in a wide arc. Grungy slum blocks and distant skyscrapers drop precipitously in scale as you ascend, then roll under you and plunge back up to meet you. At such speed and so high above, it all blurs together into gray concrete walls and sodium-yellow streaks.

The warehouse turns out to be mostly empty, just echoing space, dusty shadows and thick pillars that dice up the dim light. The only place to go appears to be a metal staircase that rattles as you descend. At the bottom, there’s a hefty black steel door and an intercom box. A camera watches you glassily from a corner. Before you can touch the button or decide to tear the door down and crush it into a cube, a voice drawls over the intercom.

“You got no appointment. You got no merch. So what you better have is a goooooood reason for being here.”

27th of April, 2005, 10:14

The last thing you see before the whirling cavalcade of disjointed images surrounds you is Stone’s face turning towards yours, arch-eyebrowed surprise writ large on her features.

The journey is a simple matter of triangulation. Shift. You appear on top of an apartment block, in the moon shadow of an AC unit. Some instinctive direction finder tells you you’re off target. Pretty close, for the first try, though... Shift. Middle of a street. Feels very near. What’s that sound?

Turning, you are overwhelmed by a wall of light. You squint, and involuntarily throw up and arm to shield you from the brightness. You hear the squealing of breaks, the rush of something huge moving through the night, the blare of a horn...

Oh. Bus.


Exhaling in relief, you appear within a ring of black vans, rolls of razor wire, floodlights and armed personnel. There’s a rustle of alarm, the sudden menace of gun barrels thrust inquisitively at you by gas masked men and nervous investigators scuttling aside. After a moment, a short man with the build of a wrestler - the Greco-Roman type, not the WWF type - barks a Stand Down! order.

“No one asked for your help... sir,” the man snap.

The area you’ve arrived in is the parts of several streets and alleys that touch against a low, functional building with no doors and windows. Safety barriers are set up around a door and stairs that descend under a sign saying SUBWAY MAINTAINCE DEPOT 40. Traces of smoke, smelling of explosive hang in the air.

“Chief. Make sure your boys play nice, hey?”

Chief Proscatti scowls at you, Johanssen and the galaxy in general and swaggers over to a sergeant. The deep voice with a trace of Danish accent belongs to a towering, broad shouldered man with a mane of blond hair and red-tinged beard. “I’m Johanssen, the Situation Manager. Which means it’s my job to find out what happened to your buddy Wreck, hey? Lucky me.” He offers you his hand clad in a thick glove.

27th of April, 2005, 11:25

You can’t move a car on your own. Not a whole car, anyway. But, piece by piece you can dismantle them. And you can do it fast enough to bring the entire mass down.

Sitting on the flat edge of a wall block, Elizabeth watches the muddy blur zigzag around the wall of cars to the musical accompaniment of tortured metal screams and klunks as engine blocks, parts of automobile frames and side panels clatter and smash to the road surface. Occasionally, she gently fans or blows on the corpselight, trying fruitlessly to urge it to brightness.

In less than a minute, enough cars have been pushed aside and torn down to make a stable passage through the wall, wide enough for two or three people to fit through. You take a step back to clear your lungs of the pervasive miasma of rust, gasoline and dry bodies. Elizabeth hops down from her perch and grins at you. “All right, Mr. Showoff. I’m impressed, but... Ryan! Look out!”

Startled, you spin to follow her gaze to the source of such alarm. In theory, you should be able to avoid any attack, even with t he most infinitesimal sliver of a second to prepare yourself... but the fright you feel as you see the withered, gray-brown face with its dessicated lips and unseeing eyes lunging at you sets you back long enough for the jagged fingernails to rake across your chest. They tear four gashes into your second-hand shirt. An explosion of panic fills your heart, the desperate need to protect your beloved... I can’t fail again.


More bodies are pulling themselves free of the wreckage in a silent anti-funeral. Some still clutch at pieces of the seat belts that could not save them from Ritual’s cacodaemonurgy; from the stiff fingers of others, cell phones clatter to the ground, or magazines, the traditional New York response to a traffic jam, are shredded by claws that flex in anticipation of spilled blood.

They move as if controlled by an insane puppeteer; jerky, exaggerated motions, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Heads loll or jerk hungrily towards you. One of the animated bodies, that of a woman in a dirty business suit, cradles a mass under one arm. As you watch in horror, the bundle unfolds tiny arms, and the undead baby’s toothless gums gnash together in search of your skin.

Ahead of you in all directions, an unknown number, they advance.

OOC: Bolt succeeds spectacularly on a Dam save after being hit flat-footed.
Bolt 30
Elizabeth 18
Walking dead 12

28th of April, 2005, 00:57
“I’m Johanssen, the Situation Manager. Which means it’s my job to find out what happened to your buddy Wreck, hey? Lucky me.” He offers his hand clad in a thick glove.

Stepping foward to take the offered hand in a firm handshake forces Johanssen's hand and forearm to momentarily enter Quantum's relativistic field. Since he was a willing recipient, however, the reaction the field caused to Devolution's intrusion doesn't occur; the most the Situation Manager feels is a slight tingle at the point of transition.

"Quantum, the Centinel's resident means of thumbing their nose at Einstein. Mind giving me the abridged version of what happened here? And are there any spots you're having trouble getting to, obstacles you need to get some people past? I'll do what I can to help."

28th of April, 2005, 01:08
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Watching from a comfortably high shadow, Rob notes the contradicting stories and objectives with growing curiosity. It's almost as if whoever orchestrated this whole thing has only told the soldiers what was necessary to get them to show up, which usually means that they've got something else in mind. Interesting. Hatchetmen don't usually care much what kind of work they're doing, as long as the money's good, so what manner of atrocity would make deception necessary? Or is it just a sloppy drum-up?

One of the men mentions arson, another: insurance. Highly unlikely, not even counting the trail of shooters that led him here. Another mentions a cyborg, of all things, who may well be on the grounds; there's something to be cautious of. Could be a guy with a life-support system, could be a full-on murder machine.

Mind racing, trying to work out this puzzle, Rob waits for the situation to develop.

OOC: Waiting for some kind of leadership to arrive, or for the mooks to make their own decisions. Tactics remain the same: wait until they break off into clumps and prioritize from there.

29th of April, 2005, 07:05
HP:5/5 Status: unhurt

Revulsion hits him square, his stomache twists and would have purged itself if there was anything in it... who says not eating for the past 16 hours is a bad thing.

He involuntarily takes a step backwards nearly bolting from what ever the hell these things are, only the thought of Elizabeth alone with these monstrosities stops him from retreating any further. He has to protect her, to make up for what happened last time.

Last time? That didn't happen... did it? And why wasn't she more surprised that he could move faster then pretty much anything on the planet? Those thoughts are pushed aside quickly as he focuses on the present threat.

"Elizabeth stay back... don't let them get close to you." He tells her as he starts to spin, lashing out at any of the undead within range. When he can't reach any more he will move in front of her, to make sure they have to get through him to get to her.

3rd of May, 2005, 13:48

In his hazard armour, Johanssen doesn’t even seem to feel that tingle.

“Abridged, hey? Sure. Some of the neighbours called the subway authority about noises comming from this depot. Which was supposed to be abandoned. They sent a maintenance guy to check it out; he found the whole place had been sealed up tight, then burst open. Someone had welded all the steel doors shut... then someone, or someone else, had smashed one of them down. The guy took a look inside, recognised super-level damage, called his bosses who called the Foundation.

“Lemmee tell you, whoever rigged this place up... wow. We tried to go in ourselves and take a look, but it’s been booby-trapped like anything, hey? Hence the smell of smoke. There’s a mechanism in the passage down that can close the whole staircase off with steel and concrete barriers. We managed to get a camera drone in there, for a couple of minutes anyway, before it triggered some kind of jammer. There’s a diamondglass window in there... that stuff’s basically indestructible, hey? Not even Wreck could smash through it. There was damage on the walls, ceiling and floor; looks like two super-strong guys when at it hammer and tongs. We found mines by the burst steel door; that worker was lucky he didn’t blow himself to hell, hey?

Johannsen scratches his beard as the two of you stand by a table laden with laptops and emergency gear. “We were going to wait for an EOD team to get through the mines... but if you can, errr, get past that and drop our teams right inside, that’d save some time.”

3rd of May, 2005, 14:22
Red Hare

If it’s possible to limp in midair, then that is what Red Hare does.

Her trajectory is a long, wonky arc from one rooftop to the next, culminating in an epic jump that lands her on a raised section of road that adjoins a multistory car park. The martial artist stifled a groan as her bruised ankles complained even at such a graceful landing; the journey had taken much out of her, almost all of what had not been destroyed by her fight with the black-masked assassin.

Nevertheless, there was a touch of gratification, even pride in her mind; she had done battle with a killer of the Cassat, and given as good as she had got. A painful throb came to her attention behind her eyes. Well, almost as good. The question remained: why was she still alive? Red Hare could imagine no circumstances in which he would not have taken the extra five seconds to finish her. The only hint of an explanation was that he had been called off by his employer. Unheard of!

What kind of man had that degree of control over a Cassati? That, at least, seemed clear. The kind of creature that would ally with traitors to betray its own country.

Since coming to America, she had met few people who were not, in one way or another, traitors.

Red Hare staggered over to the sleek silver limo, and one of the back doors opened. The raven-tressed head of a stunning Italian-American woman looked out, surveying Red Hare’s battered body and uncomfortable stance. She took it in calmly, almost regally, but her eyes flashes behind $5,000 mirror shades.

Unconsciously, Red Hare straightened her spine, and met the other woman’s gaze. The idea of showing weakness before this criminalwas abhorrent to her.

“There have been complications,” she ennounced.


Some bright spark in the gang down below seems to hit on an idea: ram the gates with a car! After some muffled laughter and no better plan coming to the fore, keys are reached for and men directed out of the path.

You catch sight of something, a fleck of darkness plummeting through the sky along one side of the industrial campus. It takes you mind a few seconds to process the image, but then you recognise the arrow-like speed of the Chinese woman you left for unconscious in the alley. Her leap must have taken her down near that carp park.

No. You catch sight of two something’s. The other is a single glint high in a tower within the AeroDyne complex. Peering as hard as you can, you barely make out a shadowy shape lurking behind that glint... which can only have been a nightvision scope’s green lens catching the light. Seems your not the only voyeur here.

3rd of May, 2005, 14:49

It’s like punching dust. Soft, silky dust that just bursts around your fist.

Pivoting on your toes, you lash out wildly with chops, strikes with the heels of your hands, and whole-arm flails. The light sways in dim veils, letting you see only glimpses of reaching fingers, rotting torsos, teeth jutting from dry gums, and sightless eyes. The dessicated sussurus of dusty cloth and papyrus-thin flesh rubbing together surrounds you, but somehow you manage to avoid their claws and bites with your superhuman speed.

A hot breeze seems to rise behind you, bringing beads of itchy sweat to your spine as fear and warmth combine. It feels pointless, struggling and fighting against such insubstantial foes, unable to see how many they are, or where they are comming from... and the only sensation that overwhelms that is claustrophobia. You have no idea of how far ahead the tunnel stretches, but all you can feel is the shuffling, murderous proximity of the animated dead.

The gray nothing-dust fills your eyes and mouth and choking, you fall back to in front of Elizabeth. Hacking, panting, you manage to clear your vision in time to see Elizabeth throw a desperate snap-kick at a humanoid shape that shambles from the darkness. The figure shudders and breaks apart at the waist where her foot landed, and disintegrates into powder as it falls back into the gloom.

She reaches out and grabs your shoulder. “Are you...?” But the rest of her words are lost in the roar that gradually swells around you. From behind you, the way you entered this tunnel, a dim red light and surging, howling wind race towards you. Your clothes are buffeted, but your skin feels no wind, only heat rapidly growing from warm to searing. It’s as if someone has opened the doors to a blast furnace, and the burning gusts of air are growing in intensity, as if driven by a hunting instinct.

Or the aforementioned gates of hell.

4th of May, 2005, 02:27
HP: 4/5. Status: Boarding passengers for Flight 404.

Quantum grins at Johanssen's suggestion. "Be glad to, though I can't really take more than three or four at a time. Let me see a map of the area -- what you know of it -- and where you want them to go. You want me to stick with 'em once they're in, just in case?"

4th of May, 2005, 19:59

Johanssen frowns a little. “We don’t really have a map, though I can probably find you one if you need it. It’s not difficult to find... about fifteen yards down those stairs, hey? You can see the target zone from outside, if you need line of sight for your powers.”

He turns and calls out to a few of his subordinates. “Jean! Don! Bill! We’ve got a shortcut. I want you to go down first, make the structure and look out for any booby traps. Be careful, hey?” Three people in thick, blast-resistant armour waddle towards you in a vaguely comical fashion.

He looks back down at you and returns his voice to normal. “Thanks, Quantum. It’s a hell of a thing. Go whenever you’re ready.”

4th of May, 2005, 22:20
HP: 5/5. Status: Being the best at what he does...sorta.

He's never been pretty, far from it. Even before the accident, it took a special kind of girl to find Tracy desirable. You know the kind: drinking large men under the table, starting bar fights, piercing things on a whim, and so forth. Even then though, they only liked Tracy because he could keep up, and take a few beer bottles to the head. They usually never even bothered to learn his name.

After the accident though, well, when you're capable of folding steel as easily as paper Tracy decided that maybe it wasn't worth getting put on murder charges for a few hours of fun. That blonde would've been no different. He would've had to send her home eventually, if she hadn't been working for X. But for a little while, it was nice to pretend. His hopes of reclaiming some normalcy dwindle.

Unless...he could find a woman of equal invulnerability. Maybe that would work. It'd be expensive, of course, but who wouldn't want to pay for a woman who could fold herself into any position (literally)? Or one who could change and look like anyone you'd like? Or in Tracy's case: not be killed by an accidental muscle spasm. The epiphany of a escort service for the supers strikes Tracy as surely as lightning. There's just one flaw: there aren't any in existance, not to his knowledge. And even if there were, what kind of diseases would they have? Mega-Gonorrhea doesn't sound like a good time.

The intercom derails his train of thought and he turns to the camera and gives it a view of his face in all of its remodeled glory. Maim had very nearly moved his nose to the back of his skull. He's lucky to even have it as it is, even if it does make him look like that damn actor guy.

"A guy told me I need to talk to Ice about gettin' some weapons. You him?"

7th of May, 2005, 13:53

There’s a pause after your message, which goes on for some twenty seconds. At last, the smooth voiced man responds: “That’s right. Ice I am, and I am Ice. Step inside...”

The door rattles slightly as the powerful magnetic locking field disengages, letting it swing open. Beyond the door is a pitch black room, save for the bright down-pointing beam of a lamp above the entrance. A six by five foot cage of sturdy steel bars around the door with another adds another layer of security for Ice’s business. The arrangement of the light means that anyone in the cage won’t be able to see intot he room, but will be clearly visible to any residents.

13th of May, 2005, 01:24
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Osprey does not openly solicit praise and recognition for his activities, for much the same reason he does not ask the Foundation for a paycheck: he doesn't like being watched. Rob had always been a somewhat shy man, understated both in speech and manner, but comfortable in his own existence. A sort of social zen, as it were. As Osprey, he was even more so, wanting neither fame nor fortune...besides what he earned from the mobmen in their fearful whispers and took from their wallets.

The lens at the window didn't bother him, by itself. But when he added together a raid of questionable origin, apparently organized and driven by an upwardly mobile junior crime boss, and the enigmatic Red Hare, then the watcher took on a bit of a sinister aspect...the obvious rationale, that he was only there to keep an eye on the grounds, was easily rejected. Doing on-site surveillance from a single window is a highly inefficient means of canvassing the grounds...that's the kind of thing better done by a tomato can and a bank of video monitors. Nah. This man was pointed in the right direction, on the right occasion, and that was too much coincidence. His interest was personal. Well, let him watch.

Rob's eyes catch a flicker of movement and he can just make out a lithe, athletic figure descending nearby; his brain makes the necessary interpolations and recognizes his earlier opponent. Now that could mean trouble...she's likely followed him to finish the job. Or...maybe she's reporting in to her superiors. He perked up. 'There's an interesting idea.' Not to mention tempting.

His gaze shifted back to the mob soldiers, then slid back towards the shadowed spot where Red Hare had descended. The raid could easily cost Aerodyne millions of dollars, if the mooks got lucky or knew what they were doing. On the other hand, the very root of the matter may lie only a few hundred yards away, if his suspicions were correct. He felt neither loyalty or obligation to the company, but hadn't he made this kind of thing his job?

He looked back to the pack of gangsters as they began to break up. Maybe...yeah. Change of plan.

Seconds later, as he descended on the criminal throng like a black leather torpedo, he tried not to think about the hunk he'd just bitten off. 'Just do the job, and don't get killed.'

OOC: In the interests of brevity, what do you think of running this mass combat three rounds at a time? Or just keep it going and pause when Osprey takes a hit? It'll take probably 13-15 rounds to knock out that many mooks, so I thought it might be easier to describe it en masse instead of blow-by-blow. Either way, these are my tactics: the first round, of course he'll try to get surprise and use Surprise Strike on whoever looks like a leader or is carrying excessive firepower (in that order; Attack +8, Damage +4 (+9 w/Surprise Strike.) From there, he lashes out at whoever is closest, using Power Attack by 1 point, Expertise to raise Defense by 2 points, and Aerial Combat applied to Defense. The final values become: Attack +5/+5, Defense 25, Damage +5S (fighting unarmed.) Let me know what happens. If things seem to be going well, he'll stick with that spread until he's downed them all or taken a hit. If the situation calls for shuriken, use the same spread and it becomes: Attack +4/+4 (multifire penalty is -4, right?), Defense 25, Damage +3L.

14th of May, 2005, 08:43
HP 5/5 status unhurt

So this is what its like to be between a rock and a hard place. They can't stay where they are or be overwhelmed by these walking dead...

Walking dead... yea, ok, lets just go with that for the moment...

Can't go back, well not without being incinerated. Part of his mind realises that something isn't right here, he needed time to think but whoever was doing these things wasn't giving him a chance, he could only hope that Prophet and Trisha (could that be guilt he feels) are alright.

Thrusting those thoughts out of his mind he grabs hold of Elizabeth's hand and wills a portion of his speed into her. A small smile appears as he looks into her eyes.

"Run with me." he tells her as he starts down the path that he had just created.

ooc: Extra effort to gain the share speed extra (don't have my book with me so I am uncertain what its called) HP to counter fatigue.

17th of May, 2005, 22:06
HP:5/5 Status: Despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage.

Tracy peers into the dark, despite the fact that he has no chance of seeing the man known as Ice. It's a reflex. He knows the room is set up for just this very purpose, but he tries all the same. It's like when a person drops a glass: they try to catch it anyway, even when they know it's out of reach.

"Yeah," he says, rubbing one hand along his newly healed cheek. "We're gonna be doing a job in a couple weeks and I need to get some stuff for it."

Listing the standard equipment needed, Tracy ticks off each one one on a finger: weapons (pistols and rifles), fresh cell phones, some power modules, low grade explosives, DP-9 ammunition. "Oh, and maybe any wireless computers if you've got 'em. The technies might need 'em. They'd gotta be small though. Don't have the space to for the big ones."

He gives himself a mental pat on the back. He didn't screw this one up...yet.

((OOC: Uh, Bluff? Gather Information? Profession: Mercenary? I'm not sure which skill would be applicable here.))

18th of May, 2005, 00:16
HP: 4/5. Status: Good.

Quantum takes a couple steps down, just enough to let him see where he's going to. Whatever happened down there, the place has become a total trash heap. (For just a moment, he has a flash of memory from some TV show he'd watched as a child. A couple puppets saying, "The trash heap! Yeah!")

Waving Jean, Don, and Bill closer, he calls forth his power, and a sphere of coruscating energy envelops them. "You'll want to brace yourself. This feels a little weird at first, and might be a little disorienting. Just try not to turn around real quick until you get your bearings." Once they indicate their readiness, he looks back to the center of the wreckage, and shifts the group there.

19th of May, 2005, 15:06

The screeching of tires as the car rushes towards the gates covers the taptap of your shoes on the ground. The crashing, whipping shriek of the gates collapsing covers the sound of men being rendered unconscious by snapkicks, knee-breaking barong strikes and swift punches to the head. Six bodies hit the ground and skid into a tangle before you get a chance to look around and catch a breath.

It’s chaos. Your attack has gone mostly unnoticed, simply because the majority of the thugs are too far away to hear it over the racket of the rest of the battle that’s going on. The Mafiosi are rushing the AeroDyne compound en mass from all sides, some already firing seemingly at random into the complex. Some of them are scaling the fences, or charging through the smashed down gate, while the car does wild doughnuts in the parking lot inside the compound, men firing wildly from the windows.

You can’t figure out why they’re attacking, or even who at first - until you notice a dozen metal ovoids floating just inside the AeroDyne perimeter at regular intervals. They have slightly pointed tops and bottoms, with an arrangement of lenses sandwiched between. The lenses spin and whir, seeking targets. The smell of ozone hits your nostrils. A line of charred paint and molten steel appears on the flank of the careening car, making it swerve and slam into the doors of the warehouse. A moment later, it catches fire - not the cinematic blast of an exploding gas tank, but the creeping smoulder of metal heated beyond physical tolerance, transmitting that heat to rubber, plastic, flesh.

One of the thus screams and stumbles back, a hole the size of a golf ball burned clean through his elbow, reducing the forearm to just a useless cudgel of muscle and bone. Another doesn’t even have time to cry out, his chest exploding into flakes of human ash.

Someone just walked into a trap.


WheRE aM i?

You run. Or is it a dance?

When you’re with her, the rest of the world always seems so colourless and dull - is it any wonder that, now, united in a world of motion few mortals can ever experience, everything beyond your own flesh fades to black? wHY Is IT SO dARk?

You dance.

Elizabeth at first struggles to keep up with you, almost being dragged along behind you, trying to find her feet, trying to see objects and pathways and reacting to them while moving faster than the speed of sound. She gapes, then half-laughs, half-screams. The air buffets you both as you leave the swarming wave of light behind. i... I CaN’t sEE AnyTHINg. The collapsed tunnel blurs away and into itself as the two of you race off into the depths. The jagged stone fringes become streaks, the winding passage of the walls becomes a chute that you nOBoDY CAn HEar mE? fall carelessly down.

I’M huRT. MY HanDS aRE bLEeDIng. For a moment, you fear your grip on Elizabeth, the conduit of your power into her is slipping - your hands feel wet, slick, for some reason.

i cAN feEl THE FLOoR. IT’s wEt. mY bLOOd.

You don’t know for how long you dance. Elizabeth soon learns how to run at super-speed sOmEONeS BloOD?, and catches up to you. Her hair streams behind her and her eyes veritably glow with life and joy. i rEACH oUt. I Can tOUch...

a BOdY “Oh, Ryan!” she whoops. “Is this what It’s like for you? Is this why you ran?” hE’S dead. DEAD. dead. She’s dead. Why did you just think that?

Whatever traps that ‘Ritual’ i’M aLoNE. - if he’s even alive, or if he even created any of this - left for you, moving so fast seems to let you bypass them. SoMEbodY hELp mE.

Experimentally, Elizabeth puts on an extra burst of speed, her long legs kicking at the swirling floor until she races ahead of you sOoOoOo hUNGry. hOW LONg haS IT BeEn sINCe i, but she doesn’t know how to pace herself, never was a semi-pro college runner, so you catch her up easily. She laughs, brushes against you. Your stomach suddenly gives a grumble. What a time to be thinking about food! But you are sOoo... so hungry. How LOnG... how long has it been since you

ATE? Ate?


Is there something moving in the darkness around you?


You suddenly feel like you’re not alone...

There’s a trick to stopping when you’re a speedster. This is the trick: it’s impossible. A 180 lbs man and a 120 lbs woman moving at 8000 mph have enough kinetic energy to level an city block. Where does it go? For that matter, where does it come from? Apparently, the universe doesn’t care. You can go faster than should be physically possible, without acceleration, without air resistance tearing you apart. wHAt IS iT sAYing? The trick is: you have to use that to stop. You can’t, like a normal person would, use the friction of the ground to bleed off your momentum - friction doesn’t apply to you. The trick is: you have to use your super-speed backwards.

You grab Elizabeth’s wrist, and draw the power back into you, simultaneously willing yourself into reverse. Her weight swings around you, impelling her into your arms as you both spin on the spot. She yelps, then laughs, and pants, and rests her head against your chest, catching her breath.

After a moment, she peers up over your shoulder.yES. YES. yes. i UndERSTaNd. “Oh. Well, that’s ominous...” A little reluctantly, you release her and turn to survey your point of arrival. It seems here that the broken road tunnel struck part of the old sewers, or maybe the ancient, half-mythical subway system from the late 18th century. Vertical walls curve up to meet in a round ceiling, and everything is old brickwork, crusted with the filth of ages. Twisted metal braces burst for the walls at regular intervals, clutching at more of the tainted corpselight candles that fill the corridor with ominous shadows. At the end of the passage a huge pair of doors rebound the light in broken angles back at you. The appear to be made of polished brass, or maybe smudged gold. Blasphemous, darkly erotic images embossed on them repel and attract the eye.

i rEACH oUt. I Can tOUch...

As you take a tentative step forward, your foot taps against something dry on the ground. You look down, and amidst the crumbled, yellow balls of paper, wafting dust and rubble, you see something. A human thigh bone.

The unmistakable shape of human teeth marks dents its surface.

i’VE foUNd sOmeThING TO eat.


Fast talking may not be your strong suite, but you give it a shot. Rattling off the inventory from your last merc job, with a few embellishments and updates, you keep an ear open for what else might be going on in the room.

Your hearing’s a bit more than okay, and you make some things out. The breathing, shifting of gear and squeak of boots on the floor marks three or four men in the room.

“murphle, boss...” one of the guys breaths, so quietly that he must be talking into a lapel mike. “I saw murphle on da TV the murphle... ain’t he murphle... one a da Centimurphles?”

Someone else whispers: “Uh, yeah. Didn’t, uh, he take, uh, a hell of, uh, shot to the, uh, chest from uh of those, uh, mutie-haters? Uhn’t he a uhhh-ing mutie?”

Pause. Tense, tense pause.

Sounds of firearm safeties, very carefully, being slid to ‘oh crap’.

A door opposite the one to your back opens. The room beyond is lit with a very dim green glow, like a computer monitor left on standby. It’s enough to let you discern the frame of a tall, bony man in a coat step into the dark room with you and the bullet monkeys.

“Nice try...” Ice drawls. “But you’re a cape, aren’t you... come to do to me what you did to that Irish mother-[kitten!] [puppy!]-sucker the Hammer? Don’t you thought police have anything better to do that oppress honest, hard working businessmen?

“Try nothing. I have in my hand gun that would kill Jesus Himself. I promise you, it can easily bleed out ugly blanco capes.

“Now. Tell me where the rest of your team are... and maybe I’ll shoot you somewhere survivable.”


It’s almost comical, the way the three ordinance technicians stumble around when you arrive. Clad in padded bomb-resistant armour, they look like people wearing those huge Sumo costumes as they wheel and stagger around, regaining their equilibrium after the dislocation of teleportation. One of them, Don, you think, bends forward with his hands on his thighs and makes a few dry-retching noises.

But, being professionals, they get down to business pretty quickly. Admonishing you not to move, they start going over the area with magnetic scanners, RF sweeps and the Mark I Anthropoid Ocular Sensor. It seems Johanssen was right, and there are more than a few booby traps scattered through the area, especially on the stairs.

While they tag and disarm, you survey the room. If Wreck was here, and he probably was, he certainly lived up to his name. You’d heard about the damage meathammers can inflict on the landscape, even by accident - but it takes seeing human-shaped imprints knocked two foot deep into solid concrete walls to bring it home. Here and there, the walls or floor have a seared, glassy quality to them, indicating some kind of savage energy discharge. There’s a hole torn through the steel doors into the room, and a gaping hole in a brick wall leading out. You guess that they just couldn’t be bothered using doors.

After a quarter of an hour or so, the simplest bombs have been disarmed, and the others sealed off with safety bubbles or protective foam to keep them from going off any time soon. More Foundation specialists trickle in to the subway depot, checking the structure or performing impromptu forensic tests on the craters.

20th of May, 2005, 01:58
HP: 4/5. Status: Stationary.

As the techs requested, Quantum stays put, even dropping his field of power; the light it casts, and its emissions (if it even has any) might mess up their sensors. Looking over the damage inflicted, he finds himself wondering if there's anyone out there who gives property owners insurance against the damage Novas can cause. He's pretty sure Lloyd's of London would -- heck, they insured Michael Jackson's nose, such as it was. Odds are the commonplace set-ups like Geico and Allstate wouldn't even touch this sort of problem. They won't cover acts of God... but his ex-wife argued that any accident or fire was an act of God.

For a moment, he considers reactivating his field, and subjecting a random piece of debris to the more antagonistic aspects of his power. He quickly dismisses the idea -- he doesn't want to complicate the group's efforts to pin down what happened. And, after seeing the effects on a human body, he worries a little about the recent expansion of his powers. When he first woke up from the accident, he wasn't even able to send himself as far as he could throw a football -- now, suddenly, he could send himself clear of Earth's atmosphere.

A lot of what he'd been reading was starting to make more sense to him, especially the stuff regarding quantum physics. The part about particles having a non-zero, but extremely small, chance of relocating themselves nearly anywhere else, irked him a little. Was his power simply changing that chance from a billionth of a percent to 100%? It seemed that he was quite blatantly thumbing his nose at Einstein, Heisenberg, and a host of other scientists who'd labored for years to discover just what he was manipulating.

Running into another teleporter didn't help, either. Piotr had told him that his teleporting gave the man a splitting headache. How did that work? And what was the 'Port's schtick, anyway -- what let him zip around in a similar way?

For just a moment, Paul finds himself wishing someone would write Heroics for Dummies or The Idiot's Guide to Superpowers. Heck, even a copy of The Idiot's Guide for Dummies would help.

20th of May, 2005, 10:24

“Found the jammer!” someone calls out triumphantly. You glance around and see an electrician holding aloft a complex metal cylinder, wires dangling from it like sinews form an excised organ. “Damn, it looks pretty complex... we’d better let the Mechanic take a look at it.”

That seems to be a theme in here, you think, as a cautious all-clear is given. There’s a lot of technology rigged through the walls, ceilings, floors, passages and side-rooms - most of it trans-cutting-edge. The whole place was one big meathammer trap.

And there’s little sign of the trapee, or, for that matter, contestant Number 2 in this little brawl.

Sweeping off his safety helmet, Johanssen makes his way over to you. “Well, no Wreck, hey? But we’ve got some leads. Once we’ve had this tech analyzed it should tell us something; pretty distinctive stuff, I think. And that diamondglass,” he jerks his head at the overhanging window, “is rare, very expensive. Only a couple of manufacturers in the city, or anywhere, hey?.” Johanssen rubs at his eyes with the back of his glove, and peers down at you. “So, what’s your plan? I mean, unless you’re secretly a forensic accountant or a systems analyst, I don’t think there’s much more for you to do."

21st of May, 2005, 01:48
HP: 4/5. Status: Neato-burrito, peachy-keen swell!

Paul laughs at Johanssen's question. "No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn once. My dark secret? I'm a truck-driver. Or, if you look at my record, a truck-crasher. You have any idea where the Mechanic might be? He left without his communicator, and didn't tell us where he was off to." He looks over the debris, and the signs that this was a trap. "You might want to see if there's any sign of the 'Port's boss being involved in this; they seem to have taken an interest in me and the others."

23rd of May, 2005, 08:58
HP:5/5 Status: Do you feel lucky, punk?


The new skin on his cheek itches. One meaty hand reaches up to scratch it while the other remains folded across his broad chest. Sometimes he wishes he had a damn costume like the old heroes used to wear: spandex, capes, and those Zorro masks. It’d make life easier; at least when it comes to blending in with the normals, and situations like this could get avoided. Unfortunately, he always comes back to the same problem.

He doesn’t want to look like a tool.

“You boys might want to reconsider that,” he says, smiling faintly while his eyes spark at the threat of gunplay. “I’m with the Syndicate now. Me and X don’t do that good Samaritan crap.” He shrugs. “But if you want to play, that’s fine by me. Hope your insurance is paid up. Me? I'm a business man, and that's what I want to do here. Get some business done. How it gets done is up to you.”

23rd of May, 2005, 17:00

The big Dane scratches rubs at a piece of grit in his hazard armour. “Tricky, hey? We have no idea who that guy works for... don’t even know if the ‘Port was here. I mean, he hasn’t shown his face that I’ve heard since the big raid you guys did four days or so ago, hey?”

“Err, and the Mechanic? No idea. Doesn’t he run some big shot corporation? Maybe he’s there.”


Ice hesitates a little. “Syndicate? What is this? Don’t stall for...” You feel more than hear him shift, and he seems to reconsider. You can have that effect on people, sometimes, even when you’re not really trying. “Ehhhm... okay. Business. We can do business. Hector, the lights.”

The lighting the room shifts from spot to fill. Two burly, surly, run-of-the-mill strong-arms in black jeans and jerseys lurk nervously in the small room, fingering light assault rifles and wondering if they’d do any good against you. Ice is a tall, skinny Puerto Rican in a long white coat, trimmed with ermine; he carries a nicely machined Desert Eagle, which makes you think he may have been exaggerating its killing power a jot. There are a couple of desks in the room, and a door which must lead to Ices ‘office’.

The fixers looks you up and down. “Guns, ammo, I’m your man. Copkillers have been a little hard to get my hands on of late, you know...?” Ice suddenly decides to avoid this topic, in case it turns out to be a little impolitic with one of the men responsible for said shortage. “Gimme some numbers, man, and I can get to work. Phones, no sweat.” He frowns at the last. “No, man... I don’t usually deal in electronic sh!t like that... not to customers, anyway, more of a middleman, you know? But I think I know where you can get something like that...”

23rd of May, 2005, 17:02
152 km Nor-Nor-East of Medellín, Republica de Colombia.
Headquarters of the Poison Arrow Squad
Past Midnight, January 17th 2010.

Dirty little men, dirty little wars.

Eduardo Ruiz’s brawny, beringed knuckles shook across his stubbly chin, and he thought back to his childhood. Though few of the memories were pleasant, that was not what caused his hands to oscillate; in truth, there was nothing unsteady about them; it was just the gold and deep green jewels grinding against the deep scars along his knotted jaw.

Shortly, Eduardo was probably going to kill two of his friends. But he was not the sort of man that bothered by that eventuality.

Eduardo Ruiz had been a gleaner, scrounging a living amongst the emerald mines of the highlands of the Cordillera Oriental near Bucaramanga. A sliver of gem smaller than a fingernail might net him enough money for a meal and a mat to sleep on for the night; his hands, back then, were nimble and his eyes keen, and spotting the motes of crystal along the stream beds was easy for him. The hard part was getting them before the adults and older children did, and then keeping from being beaten and robbed. Worse were the Venezuelan police, who sometimes came across the border on ‘smuggling prevention’ operations; many who had crossed their path had simply disappeared.

But Eduardo had survived. And he had learned what needed to be done to prosper. So by the time he was twelve, he had graduated to stealing richer hauls from the other gleaners, or even from miners when he could manage it. Eduardo came to understand that wealth, power and respect were part of a continuum; they flowed seamlessly into each other. He also started to develop the strength and brutality required to make sure that anyone who tried to take those things away form him would suffer - and more than that, he discovered a Nova talent that gave him a significant advantage over his non-parahuman opposition. By 22, he was the centre of a petty empire of thieves, emerald miners, smugglers, gangsters and thugs. Ironically, though staffed mainly by outlaws, most of Eduardo’s income came from fairly legitimate international trade in gemstones. However, in Colombia, few businesses, especially those that dealt in exports, avoided the touch of the Cartels.

So, in time, Eduardo’s emerald company and the private security force he hired to defend it was amalgamated into the AUC; the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia. The AUC was little more than an expanded paramilitary force funded by the drug lords and the government, a death squad to fight back against the FARC and the ELN - the Marxist terrorist/guerrilla groups that plagued the country. For his loyalty, he was made de facto lord of a fiefdom in the mountains - in return for unlimited power over the people there, he kept the drugs flowing out of Colombia, and repressed any left-wing sympathizers brutally. But recently, things had changed. In the last few years the FARC had made significant advances against his mining operations; roads and bridges were sabotaged; workers were terrorized; key foreign investors and importers were kidnapped or worse. Eduardo was driven out of his base of operations, forced to take refuge in the AUC-friendly city of Medellín.

It was there that he had been contacted by agents of the US government - a black-than-black ops team formed in the power shadows between Defense Intelligence and the CIA, tasked by no authority greater than itself to conduct exactly the sorts of operations that its parent agencies were forbidden from. It was called SHARD - though opinions differed as to whether that was because it was the Super Human Aggressive Reconnaissance Directorate, or merely because it was small, jagged and unobtrusive until it had drawn blood. SHARD had employed Eduardo to lead a specially funded detachment of AUC troops - a company designed to keep certain strategic resources from falling into FARC hands. The lies were so thick on each side that possibly no one was sure who was really screwing who over; but until the situation changed once again, there was a tentative alliance between Eduardo’s Poison Arrow Squad and two agents of a disavowed branch of the US government.

He had even taken a nom de guerre in honour of his metahuman allies, Eduardo brooded as he flicked a hand at one of his soldiers. The man didn’t salute - in the jungle, you can never be sure you are free from snipers - but did open the steel door to the bunker. He had always thought the custom of wearing masks and calling yourself by a overly macho name was faintly ridiculous - but there he was, Eduardo ‘El Rina’ Ruiz. The Frog, in honour of the anuran name of his paramilitary squad.

For nearly six months he had been working with the two Americans. Eduardo almost genuinely liked Alehandro, the younger one; there was something refreshing about his naiveté that black ops had yet to erode away, and his Spanish was much better than his senior. Battalion, the older one - well, he didn’t look older... there was something ageless about his face, though he had the hair of a veteran and the eyes of a ghost. The older one scared Eduardo, just a little bit. He was so murderously efficient, scarcely batting an eye when they had but that village to the torch. There had been a lot of killing, a lot of civilian terror-ops to keep FARC supporters on the run; so many opportunities for the brotherhood bond of war to be formed, even though Eduardo had sensed that his amity wasn’t entirely reciprocated.

But now, things were different.

For their treachery, they had to die.


Fractured images tumble through your half-conscious mind like empty casings onto the rain-forest floor.

The explosions were flawlessly timed, tearing the Poison Arrow camp to shreds. The fuel and ammo dumps went off thirty seconds later, detonated by the secondary explosives, once the AUC paramilitaries were up and frantically trying to keep the blazes from spreading to those sensitive buildings.

Ruiz’s fist, encased with bony blades, impacting with your jaw, gashing the skin in fifty places.

You and Alehandro were already en route to the recovery zone, racing through the wet fronds of the jungle as the evening sky lit up behind you.

You feinted with your combat knife, getting enough space between you and Ruiz so that you could, hopefully, control the next attack better. He swung his arm though the air, venom-tipped spines erupting in a volley from his skin. You staggered to the side, avoiding the darts, but realised that his target was Alehandro, not you.
The dull, subsonic roar of the stealth ‘copter echoed through the jungle, detectable to you only through the soles of your boots, but sending bats, snakes, lizards and birds scattering. it was close, you were sure, right in the clearing ahead.

Alehandro failed to parry to darts with his psi-matter shield, being to busy with the torrent of bullets from the paramilitary soldiers emerging from the foliage all around. Several of the darts pinpricked across his torso and leg, quivering as they injected their toxic cargo. He gasped, and almost lost concentration on the shield, which flared silver as round after round interfaced with it.

There - the sleek gunmetal Blackfoot dual-rotor craft hovered ten meters above the ground. But something was wrong - the doors were closed, and it was rising. Your long experience tells you that, no, the fault is not yours - your mission timing was perfect. You should have reached the clearing with a full minute to spare.


You tried to take advantage of Ruiz’s smug grin, lunging in with a boot and blade combo to knock him down and gut him. But you didn’t count on the solidness of his centre of gravity, all that weight on those stubby legs helping keep him upright. Your knife deflected from a bone nodule just under his ribs, and only drew a little blood. Behind you, Alehandro managed to impale a man with a psi-matter javelin, but the effort cost him; he lost his grip on the shield, and several bullets clipped him. The young man yelped and spun, collapsing in a tangle of limbs as his psi-matter weapons and armour evapourated into argent ribbons of mist.

You watch for several seconds as the ‘copter’ pivots up, spiraling on itself until its above the canopy. Catching up with you, Alehandro stares in disbelief as your only means of escape abandons you.

“What...” is all he manages to gasp before the Blackfoot explodes.

You were forced to sprint away as the soldiers turned their guns to you, cutting the undergrowth to ribbons. You almost made it to the trees around the clearing, before one of Ruiz’s poison darts catches you in the spine. Agony, fire and ice flowed through your veins. Within a few more steps, your legs gave out, and you kissed dirt.

You were flung to the ground by the concussion, half-blinded and deafened. Hot pieces of metal tinged and whirred through the forest as the mass of the destroyed vehicle tumbled away. Giddily climbing to your feet, you saw Alehandro doing the same. Trying to shake off the dazing effect of being so close to the blast cost precious seconds, allowing the pursuing soldiers that boiled out of the jungle, led by Ruiz, to overtake you.

The last thing you recall is the butt of a rifle hitting you in the throat, the gut, the spine, the skull, and hard steel embracing your wrists and ankles. Just before you lose consciousness, you see the jungle start to move around you as the Poison Arrow’s took you back to their ruined camp.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You awaken to a face full of brackish water.

Eduardo Ruiz smiles down at you, dropping the steel bowl to the concrete floor, where it gives a rolling clang. Before it’s even settled, he kicks you in the face.

“Hola, Battalion,” the Poison Arrow commander growls in his rich, oily voice. He’s a big man, well over six foot and broad with it, though a good deal of his bulk is fat as well. The leather of his boots and pants is lacerated, evidence of his bony spurs erupting during the battle several hours ago, though he has changed his vest and open shirt for crisp new ones. The bunker room is illuminated by two thin shafts of light that stream down from tiny barred windows up near the ceiling; the light is the smoky orange of munitions bonfires. It catches on the gold and emeralds around his neck and on his wrists, making the stones look like shapeless brown lumps.

You spit, tasting petrol-flavoured mud, boot polish and your own blood. Ruiz grunts and squats, resting his bulk on his knees as he leans closer to you. “I’m probably as surprised by this as you, amigo... but I don’t hold it against you. I know it’s just your job... Si, we all have to do things we don’t want to when our masters call. And, after all, you’re just an Americano. Don’t worry, amigo; you’re not going to die here. Those bombs of yours really lit the place up, si? We’re moving, before the government or the rebels decide to come take a look. As soon as we can get a couple of trucks running, we’ll take you into to Medellín. You’re going to die publicly, amigo. And badly, I’m afraid. Hey, you taught me that, man; when someone screws you, you gotta show the world you don’t take it.”

He hauls himself upright, and turns to Alehandro. “Ahh, but you, boy... you disappoint me. I thought you had some love for the country of your padre. Your betrayal, it actually hurts me.” Ruiz starts to walk towards the stairs up, then half turns and adds: “A little. But I’ll get over it at your funeral.”

He glances at you one last time. “There’s one thing I need to know, Battalion... was it just the job? You betrayed me, murder my men because your bosses decided to call off our little partnership? Is that is? Or... was it personal? I just want to know.”

OOC: Chance for you to interject.

Once Ruiz is gone, you look around the room as best you can, looking for any possible means of escape. You’re bound securely; two pairs of handcuffs on your wrists, rope around your ankles. Your chest rests on a small wooden crate, so that your head hangs over the front and you rest on your knees with your hands behind you, quite visible to the three guards in the room.

You pause a moment, and assess your physical condition; not good. Enough of Ruiz’s toxins to leave you feeling really miserable still float around your bloodstream; your regeneration seems to be having some, but not much effect on them. Your joints ache like hell, and your muscles feel slimy under your skin. Most of the cuts, bruises and bullet wounds from earlier have closed, though.

Alehandro is in a similar predicament, just to your right. He’s bound the same way, but because he lacks your healing abilities, he looks much worse off. His head hangs limply, almost unconscious.

Two of the guards watch you both with keen, grudging glares. They’re both a bit muddy and sooty, and look like they’d relish the chance to get even with you for blowing up their base and killing their comrades. The third leans against the wall in a chair, flipping a poker chip in his hand and occasionally saying a few words to the other two. While Alehandro is fluent in Spanish, you speak no more than a couple of dozen words, but it sounds like he’s trying to interest them in a game of poker.

OOC: You’ve suffered 6 points of Con drain from the poisons; any other hits have regenerated away.

24th of May, 2005, 10:29
HP: 5/5 Status: Cool

Staring up into his beetle brown eyes, Battalion rolled his tongue through his mouth, over his teeth, working his dental architecture. He halted, fixing his opponent with his intense gaze, then spat all the blood and foreign matter he could find at Ruiz. He stared at him, content in hearing his question. His lack of an answer was a weakness in him, a incorporeal, ungraspable disadvantage that existed, and that made Battalion feel just a tiny bit better. He recalled the line training, the instruction to grasp any and every disability and use it, twist it, until it gave you something in return. Battalion didn't have any leverage yet, but he would.
Turning his head, he stared at Alehandro. The kid looked bad, but he wasn't able to figure out if he would still be worth toting. Granted, he was a fellow agent. But what use was a half-dead man with a head full of dangerous national security information trying to escape from a lawless jungle full of hostiles? No, he'd give Alehandro all the time he could to muster up some strength, but when it came down to the wire, he'd make it quick.
Scanning the room again, he watched the guards. The words were gibberish, but the greed was universal. He could wait. In the mean time, he looked at the crate he was leaned up against, wondering if a man his size could crouch behind it. Slowly, he moved his wrists and ankles, feeling at the bondage to assess his situation.

(Try to assess a DC for these cuffs and the rope around my ankles, as well as actually Assess- the feat- the guard sitting down (stregth, initiative, and constitution) . Gonna wait and see what the guards do before I make a decision.)

25th of May, 2005, 08:04
HP: 4/5 Status: Still wondering if he is going to wake up any time soon

Running with Elizabeth is always something he loved to do and more so now that they can run so fast that the world literally blurs away and that nothing else mattered except each other...

But reality has a way of invading even the most private of times, the seeds of doubt still linger, questions that can't be answered easily.

<How can she be here?> <i don't know, why question it...>
<How does she know I can run so fast?> <... I don't know...>
<How does she know I ran after her de.. after what happened> <...I don't KNOW...>
<Wouldn't have Prophet and Trisha seen her?> <I DON'T KNOW!>
<Isn't she supposed to be dead?> <NO!!!... no... i don't know any more>

Then there is the other, he can sense it, like when you know that someone is looking at you with out you looking back or when you pick up the phone even before it rings. Its out there and what ever it is wants to consume him and Elizabeth. No, he can't let that happen <again?> He has to defeat whatever it is, to make sure she is safe and happy.

He bends down to examine the thigh bone a little more closely, not that he expects to learn anything more from it, but it gives him time to stop and listen to see if there is any sounds out of the ordinary.

"Stay close, there is something else down here with us." He warns her indicating that she should stay behind him as he approaches the door, tentatively reaching out to lightly touch it, almost half expecting it to come alive and try and bite his hand off. If nothing happens at his touch he will grow bolder and attempt to open the door.

26th of May, 2005, 01:16
HP: 4/5. Status: Hmm.

"Thanks, Johanssen. If you guys need any more chauffeuring, just let me know." He walks out of the wreckage, looking over the barricades planted to prevent passersby from browsing. He considers teleporting back, but decides it's unnecessary, and lets his field drop. Besides, what if the 'Port were around? The last thing the techs need is another fight with a Nova in the vicinity.

Reaching up to his left ear, he thumbs the call stud on his communicator. He knows the others don't have theirs on, but someone back at the base will be keeping an eye out for his call.

26th of May, 2005, 03:22
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Someone just walked into a trap.

'Better you than me.' He spares a moment to watch the carnage going on inside the fence, looking on the scene with detached apathy. He decides to keep his distance, mainly because the drones are doing a fine enough job on their own, but also because he can't be sure they would recognize him as being on the same side. Machines are funny that way.

Glancing up toward the watcher's window, he gives an imaginary tip of the hat and steps back, retreating into the shadows of a small building. He thinks he can still pinpoint the spot where Red Hare set down...

Approaching the area from as much stealth as may be had, of course. Check your PM's.

26th of May, 2005, 16:44

La Rina snorts fondly; clearly this was the response he was expecting.

After he leaves, you try to make a guess about the size of the box, despite your awkward position on top of it. If you wriggled back and knelt down as low as you could, you’d be able to cover maybe half your body with it... but only for a moment, as it would be all too easy for the guards to walk around the 20’ square room and shoot you from a different angle.

Carefully, you start to ease the metal of the cuffs across your arms trying to estimate their strength. Using your long practice at moving through hostile terrain without letting your gear make too much noise, you’re able to do this without making them clank. You figure that, maybe, you could break them, but it’d take a miracle. And you’d probably get only one chance; the guards are unlikely to pussyfoot around with you once you try and escape.

You taught them that.

After a couple of minutes, one of the privates grabs a wooden pallet from the corner and squats down on it, still keeping a hawk eyed gaze on you. The other starts to slowly circle the room, his modified M-16 pointed at the floor, also watching you both. The man in the chair - the corporal - eventually tosses the poker chip away with a grunt, and pulls a mouldy bit of apple and a flick-knife from his pocket. He starts to cut the fruit into tiny bits and pop them in his mouth, obviously bored.


You don’t know what morbid curiosity drives you to investigate the femur, but you do it anyway. It is cold and greasy to the touch; you shudder, thinking of the fat and meat and sinew that was chewed off bite by bite. It’s hard to imagine the desperation or rage that would drive someone to gnaw their way through bone, but the bite mark it too big to be a rat, to short for a dog, and so, ragged and fibrous that you can only imagine it took hours to get through...

And suck out the marrow.

“Is that...? Oh. My god.” Elizabeth’s face screws up in revulsion for a moment, then she turns away.

Around you, you hear little but the hollow sounds of air crawling through ancient halls, the shuffling of years piling atop each other. Water trickles fitfully in the echoing distance.

You approach the door, and as you do so, your body starts to remember how tired, hungry and out of balance it is. The black sludge of catamotive neurotransmitters clog your thoughts, like tar in your synapses. The toxic tang of cheap Air Force go-pills crackles in your brain, punching fleeting holes through that sludge, allowing you to operate with some semblance of normality despite the warring feelings. But, even on the level of the merely biological, your limbs are tired and cramped, your stomach a hollow pit.

Even though you’re walking towards what you fear can be only the heart of darkness in this damned place, it feels like a warm light lies at the end of the tunnel; like that what your doing will bring you closer to the woman you love. But all such thoughts are almost dispelled when you actually see the door up close.

Gleaming a rich metallic yellow, entwined figures rise from its surface. Men, women, animals, bestial composites and demonic figures that defy nature are locked together in a perverse orgy of the unnatural, like a leaf from Charles Manson’s Kama Sutra. Reluctantly, you grip the door handle, which rises in a decidedly organic fashion from the metal diorama, and twist.

The door is pushed open from the inside.

You step back with a gulp, hands rising instinctively in aggressive defense. The brass door hisses across the floor as it opens, and a small, slight figure emerges. Wide, blue eyes fixed on you, the young girl, a child really, squeezes through the narrow gap. Her nightgown catches on a slavering tongue emerging from the diorama, and she pauses to unhook it. Her long blonde hair shifts in an unseen breeze as she straightens and fixes you with a hollow gaze that sends cold fingers skittering down your spine.

26th of May, 2005, 18:41

There’s a part of you that’s glad not to be standing by while men are literally being cut to pieces by lasers. Sure, they did launch a stupid act of criminal vandalism with intent to kill, injure, steal or destroy property; and megacorporations like AeroDyne are government-licensed to provide their own security to any extent they see fit; but nevertheless, there is a voice in your head that tells you swift, agonising death and mutilation are perhaps somewhat excessive punishments.

The only thing that disturbs you is you’re not sure whether that part is the greater or lesser moiety of your soul.

You seek a way through the labyrinth of architectural alleys, shadowy employee parks and corporate allotments, occasionally changing elevation with a long leap up to an office balcony or back down to the streets. It’s easy to avoid the pools of revealing illumination from the ample numbers of street lights, but many of the buildings here have motion-activated security lights; many times you find yourself having to backtrack or risk triggering a wall of light that would reveal your position for all to see. Behind you, gunshots of varying timbres sing out, in addition to the subsonic humm of lasers.

After a few leaps and climbs you arrive a good position to oversee your sparring partner’s landing site. A very classy moonlight silver limousine sits on a discreet raised roadway that leads to an executive parking lot. A top-of-the-range civilian camera drone hovers slightly in front of it, watching the battle at AeroDyne through a telescopic lens. This must be the vehicle of whomever Red Hare was meeting with; the person at least in part responsible for orchestrating this break-in / blood-bath.

Instinct tells you that your opponent must be near; you glance around rapidly, and catch sight of Red hare’s athletic form landing on the top of the chain-link fence around the AeroDyne compound. Using the momentum from her landing, she prepares to ascend the tall, glass office building at the heart of the complex.

27th of May, 2005, 08:34
HP: 4/5 Status: fine

Ryan remembers watching those old star trek shows where the captain would call out "Red Alert" and then suddenly red lights would start flashing throughout the ship followed by that highly annoying sound and everyone would know that something really bad was going to happen really soon.

Well at this moment those lights and that annoying sound was going off loudly in the back of his head and all he wanted to do was get the hell out of here, he was tired, hungry and most definately confused, not to mention getting a little pissed off at the whole situation. He has seen some weird stuff in the last couple of weeks but this has been pushing it way beyond the realm of believeablity and the thought of just taking Elizabeth and living in some cottage isolated from everyone was getting tempting but that would mean leaving the mole people to thier fate and if he did that what would Elizabeth think of him then.

Almost without thinking about it, he takes a side step, putting himself inbetween Elizabeth and what ever that thing was because it sure isn't a little girl. He takes a moment to study it, attempting to surpress a shudder he crouches slightly partly to get more on her level and mostly to be able to react quicker incase it decides to attack.

"Hello.?" He calls out to it softly, even his whisper seems out of place in this tomb.

ooc: using the dodge feat on this undead/mutant girl thing (+2 def against her -1 to others)

28th of May, 2005, 01:48
HP: 5/5 Status: Getting inventive...

Turning to his task, Battalion will try and whisper to Alehandro, attempting to wake him. If he can't then, he'll begin to relax a little and let his body fight El Rina's poisons. If he can, then he'll fill Alehehandro in, and try and ascertain his usefulness/survival rate.

(OOC: What's the door made out of, if I can see it?)

29th of May, 2005, 15:56

The earpiece humms musingly to itself for a moment, scanning the airwaves. A moment later, an attentive, slightly high-pitched male voice replies: “Control here, Quantum.”


She - assuming that she is what she appears to be - lifts a willowy finger to her pallid lips, signing you to silence.

“Shhhhhh. I’m not supposed to be here. He’s not what I thought.” The little blonde girl stares at you cryptically for several more seconds, and then begins to trudge along the tunnel, past you. Despite the terrified sizzling of your nerves, she doesn’t seem to make any hostile moves. Peering over your shoulder, Elizabeth frowns. “No, you’re not,” she mutters, her voice oddly raspy.

The great, obscene crass doors stand open, disgorging a plague of shadows and devouring the faint traces of light from the corridor.


You watch the kid out of the corner of your eye. Closer up, he doesn’t look too bad - heavily blooded and beaten, and he’ll have a great new collection of scars if he survives, but none of the injuries look totally debilitating. They’ll certainly take the edge off his combat abilities, but if he can still produce his psi-matter armoury, he could probably pull his weight.

But that’s not taking into account the poisons. You’re not enough of a doctor to guess how affected he is, but if the dosage you got is anything to go by...

Alehandro’s head turns a little at the sound of your voice, and he manages to open one eye, cracking the crust of dried blood. His lips open, then close, then open again, and finally twitch a couple of times before he manages to wheeze: “...W...wha...?” Before you can say more than a half-dozen words, you feel one of the guards gun barrel give the back of your neck a cold steel kiss.

“Non hablar!” the owner of the weapon growls.

29th of May, 2005, 19:39
43rd and Woodglen, New York City.
Apartment leased to ‘John Albright’
12:01am, January 17th 2010.

You see me now, a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars
I've been living on the edge so long
Where the winds of limbo roar
And I'm young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I'm not sure that there's anything left of me
~ Veteran of the Psychic Wars, Blue Oyster Cult

Bdeep, bdeep.

When the elevated railways in this part of town were replaced by mag-levs two years ago, it was supposed to reduce noise pollution. As you awaken to the grinding, pervasive buzz of deharmonised metal tracks oscillating against each other, you can’t help but feel that this objective was a total, complete failure. Plastic neon light from the liquor store across the street flickers and casts miscoloured shadows through your room as you fight to peel your eyelids apart.

Your body craves sleep; sleep that gives it respite from the constant migraines, from the barrage of painkillers you subject it to, and from the stresses of picking up on stray thoughts that leak from ordinary minds like oil from a broken-down car.

Bdeep, bdeep.

Yesterday, you once again had to face that unpalatable truth that a life spent working for a Machiavellian black-ops outfit like the Invisible Hand hasn’t really left you with many marketable skills. While you may have mastered everything they could teach you in Deceit, Persuasion and Psychological Infiltration programs - even without your own diverse and formidable psionic talents - not once did they cover, say, auto repair, accountancy, bartending, or even slinging burgers. You faced the same problem during your time hiding out in the mid-west; there were precious few jobs for someone with your limited skills and physical abilities...

You need to pay the rent somehow. In all honestly, with your worldliness and flexibility, you could probably pick any entry level job and make a go of it, but none of them feel right...

Bdeep, bdeep.

What is that?

You stifle a groan as you stretch your stiff limbs. Before you can even kick off the tangled bed sheets, you feel a slow, black throbbing building in your temples. The taste of metal fills your mouth, and a cloying, toxic shroud blurs all of your senses. You can barely hear the ringing of the phone over the wave of nauseating pain that wells up inside you. Agony bursts like daggers through your skull as you fling out an arm, fumbling through the balled-up Post-Its, empty whiskey glasses, dull pencils and broken TV remotes no your bed side table.

You... can’t find it.

For a moment, disbelief almost overwhelms the growing pain of your early morning migraine. You always keep a bottle of painkillers close at hand. Despite feeling like you’re leaving pieces of your cerebellum stuck to the pillow, you raise your head and force yourself to focus. The bottle isn’t where you left it, and rolling over, you see that it hasn’t fallen to the floor.

The pain starts to grow worse, grating on the inside of your head like steel wool.

Bdeep, bdeep.

30th of May, 2005, 11:59

HP: 5/5 Status: Not so good...

"What the..." Is all that 'John' is able to say before his body is wreaked with waves of nausea and he vomits onto the floor next to his bed.

The migraines were getting worse it seemed, normally he would have at least an hour after waking before the nausea overtook him, but now he was lucky to get twenty minutes. After he emptied his pitifully empty stomach onto the floor he was able to focus again on his area around the bed. He quickly scanned the area looking for his pills, he just couldn't understand what could have happened to them.

He steels his physical body with his superhuman mind and slowly rises out of bed shifting his body in the direction of his bathroom. He quickly stumbles his way into it and throws open the medicine cabinet to retrieve one of the many bottle of painkiller he keep it stocked with.

30th of May, 2005, 12:48
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Aggravated at the stupidity of the human species...

"Kill it Col. Vanderman? HA! That's funny." Robert says looking the soldier in the face. "Even if I could propose theories to "kill" it... do you honestly believe I would? I'm a scientist and engineer. I don't like killing. Have you ever noticed that 75% of the new non-lethal ordanace that police, military and tactical squads now use have come from MY labs?"

Robert shakes his head in wonder.
"As to the big KABOOM? Do you really think a being that is apparently made up of ENERGY... would really be effected by it? Oh... of course I forget... Let me reintroduce the first law of thermodynamics to those of the class running a bit behind. ENERGY cannot be destroyed. It can be moved, exchanged, altered to other forms... but not destroyed. If my readings are right who, or whatever is in that chamber is likely non-material. So all we COULD do is make him mad by trying to push him around."

The Mechanic pauses and looks around the hallway...
"Does that honestly strike anyone as a good idea? In anycase, I'm not convinced that it was trying to kill Dr. LaCroix. It seemed to be using her as an intermediary to communicate. Now what it actually SAID to me... well that could have been a threat... or it could just have been what it BELIEVED would happen. If it's been down here this long... it might not know that we've developed means to counter radiation."

Taking in the soldier's sceptical glare he sighs and holds the bridge of his nose with his fingers...
"At the VERY least we have to TRY establishing further contact with it. If we don't your entire research team has set up camp here for nothing."

31st of May, 2005, 22:42
HP: 5/5 Status: Feeling a bit peckish.

The sight of two generic thugs and the Desert Eagle causes Tracy to sigh. After the viscious beating he took from Maim earlier in the evening, he almost wished that these guys were looking for trouble. There'd be a certain catharsis in pounding the ever-loving crap out of someone who would kick a puppy or spit on a kitten if he stood to make a buck for it. Still, he applauds Ice's bravura; it can't be easy to act tough when all you've got is a few slug-throwers and a couple meatheads to protect you. Besides, X wants him to keep this under the radar and levelling a building in yet another brawl might not be the best way to do that.

But it'd be damn fun.

He rattles off some numbers for the dealer, but keeps them low enough. X isn't particularly interested in the guns or phones; it's the machines he wants.

"Let me know how long it'll take to get that together. I'll make sure X pays you. Cash, right?" Of course it's cash. The thought of a criminal accepting cheques and all major credit cards strikes him as amusing, and stupid. "Lemme know who I need to talk to about those computers too."

3rd of June, 2005, 01:28
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal, Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

He stayed there for a moment, stretched out long and lean on the rooftop corner, looking at the shiny car and wondering what insidious candy might be inside. Meanwhile, behind him, men were dying by the handful. Men who had been led here under false pretenses, by someone who must have known the extent of the yard's security; serious gangsters were marked by a commonness of competency, and to have not understood the level of resistance their soldiers would encounter would be the kind of glaring mistake that could end a criminal career. The apparent lack of tactical reaction suggested that things were going according to plan, and the evening began to make sense.

The mobmen were a diversion, and the girl didn't show up just to dance with Osprey. She was the expert operator here, and as he watched her prepare to make her ascent, it seemed clear that the real reason for this raid-slash-mass-sacrifice lay in her hands. Wherever she was going would be where the payoff is. A payoff that's worth the lives of two dozen men.

He spared one last, lingering glare at the limo and turned to follow her, trying not to hear the inner monologue that kept whispering that he should do something about the slaughter over in the yard. Rob clicked his teeth together, listening to the hollow clop of polycarbonate dental implants karate-chopping against each other: the audible legacy of Jerry O'Malley, cemented right there in his own jaws. The Hammer was the kind of man these thugs followed, obeyed, maybe even worshipped and admired. Nearly every man among them thought they could take his place, if they only had the chance.

They deserve what they are getting. Or do they? Why is he so comfortable to let men die, so long as it isn't by his hands? He tells himself that they've earned it, by association if not by action, but it falls flat. He tells himself that this would have happened without him, just as surely and just as lethally, but this too does little to soothe his conscience. 'Look, dammit: just focus. You can't save them now, and you didn't put them there. What you can do is spoil the raid, make it so that word gets out Dantonia marched them right to their graves and came home empty-handed for it. Other than that, you owe them nothing.'

OOC: Follow Red Hare, trying to stay out of sight. I'm curious what she's after, so for now he won't press a fight unless she catches wind of him.

3rd of June, 2005, 04:43
HP: 4/5. Status: On the horn.

"Have you heard anything from anyone else? Also, where's this facility the Mechanic works at? If he hasn't called in, I'd like to go there, see if he's okay."

4th of June, 2005, 08:33
Hp: 4/5 Status: very confused but fine none the less

Being basically told to shut the hell up wasn't exactly what he was expecting from this little girl (thing?) If fact it was almost laughable and he would have if he was less shocked about it. And what did she mean by he's not what I thought? Who was she talking about? Him? Someone else down here? He assumed that she was the presence he felt, now he wasn't too sure.

He had done some drugs when he was younger and this whole thing was starting to feel alot like a bad trip he had once, he had a fleeting hope that he would wake up and be 16 again getting stoned at a friend's house...

He stares mutely after the little girl, jaw slightly agape, he was about to head after her when Elizabeth speaks up, he turns and stares at her for a moment, a look of confusion on his face, he never recalled her being that curt with anyone before but that was something to work out later for now what ever lay beyond the door was most important.

He will approach the doors again pushing them wide in a hope to be able to see what ever is in the darkness, if nothing sinister happens he will enter.

7th of June, 2005, 19:12

Unarmed and one on one, it’s doubtful that any of the men would be a match for you - they have, at best, perhaps half your skill in combat, and lack the superior physique built up by decades of training and experience.


Half walking, half propelling yourself on a stream of psionicly induced kinesis, you make your way to the bathroom. It’s difficult to maintain the concentration necessary for operating your powers, what with the sensation of power drills boring their way out of your brain. Disoriented with the pain, your foot catches on the carpet, and you stumble against the full length mirror on the door of your wardrobe - the one held together by duct tape and hope. For a moment, you stare in fascination and repulsion at the drawn, pallid face that gazes back at you. You push away from the mirror, and step onto the ice-cold tiles of the bathroom floor.

Bdeep, bdeep.

The ringing phone is like the laughter of taunting devils.

Turning on the guttering overhead light sends icicles of pain driving through your optic nerves, yet the bleak illumination does nothing to clarify the gray, oozing veil of migraine that blots your senses. You fumble the medicine cabinet open and probe around, but no pill bottles meet your fingers. Instead, you find something smooth, papery.

Bdeep, bdeep.

Cracking your eyelids to look cuts your brain like a misplaced guillotine. Retching from the pain, your eyes slowly focus on the object. In place of your supply of vital narcotics, there is only a Christmas card. As you stand, frozen and blank with confusion, the card starts to wobble of its own accord. It falls from the cabinet into the sink beneath, a polaroid slipping out of it.

Bdeep, bdeep.

The image, like a twisted parody of the mirror, shows your face. The difference lies in the surgical steel bolts fixed to your cheeks and the back of your skull, the slack expression, lolling tongue, and jagged gash of flesh and bone above your eyebrows where the top of your skull was brutally, efficiently sawn-off and your brain excised.

The polaroid drops from your numb fingers

Bdeep, bdeep.

the Mechanic

Throughout your speech, Vanderman stares at you, forehead slightly crinkled, and the muscles of his jaw clenching and loosening almost in time with his pulse. About halfway through, the bitten-through stub of his cigar drops to the cavern floor. Sachs lurks off to one side, at first nurturing a smirk, but then seeming to grow disinterested, and staring off to the middle distance as if considering something.

“You done insulting my intelligence, doctor?” the colonel growls. “I wasn’t suggesting we try and blow this guy... girl... whatever... up. I’m thinking... what if it isn’t as stable as you say? Like Sachs said, we know the radiation level has been ramping up exponentially for the last year, at least. What if that’s leading to...” he shrugs, leaving the potential catastrophe unspoken.

“If it comes down to it... hell, you’re a smart guy. I’m sure you can figure out how to kill this thing if necessary. Stop him breaking out if he’s hostile, stop him blowing up if he’s about to go nuclear. Either way... I’m ordering an evacuation. All nonessential personnel will be removed to Brown River Gulch, a town about ten miles from here. The researchers can do most of their work be remote... you and anyone else with the balls can stay here, keep working on the site.


The fixer narrows his eyes slightly. “I hope you’re not think that you gonna get credit. No superpower gets you that with me.” He settles a bit, and tucks the pistol into his belt, leaving it conspicuously near his gloved hand.

“Yeah. Those portable computers. There’s a kid, a bunch of little punks with delusions that they tough. Hand me some of the stuff they acquire, sometimes. Kid calls himself Thunderman; thinks he’s one of you, or something. You can find them, eh, I dunno... they hang around in Jeffreys park, a couple of blocks east, during the day,” he points. “Maybe one of the buildings over there.”


Your ability to fly outclasses her leaping, at least in terms of mobility; it’s all too easy to stay high in the night sky as she hop-runs up the side oft he building. Only her hair, hanging towards the ground, indicates that gravity affects her at all.

As the gangsters flee below, she reaches the floor just below the penthouse level. She pauses, and takes something from a tiny pouch on her belt to attach to her staff. Finishing that, she stages a gymnastic leap upwards, pressing her weapon against the glass. It adheres, thanks to some rotating device at the middle, and begins to spin. A blade on either tip begin to cut into the window, creating a circular notch large enough to enter by. But the glass does not cut easily; clearly, it’s not the molecularly aligned synthetic carbon of diamondglass, which takes the concentrated attentions of a meathammer or serious military grade explosives to break through, but it must be significantly toughened.

Red Hare lands near the roof, and turns to watch her device work. A moment later, your ears pop, and the glass bulges outwards. A rippling javelin of air, seeded with tumbling, glittering glass shards erupts out of the building, blowing the window out and into pieces. Even before the sonic blast fades, she leaps again, this time downwards, arcing through the shrapnel and grabbing her staff from midair. Landing on the side of the office once more, she immediately back-flips, and vanishes into the building, using the hole blasted for her.


“No, sir. No contact from anyone else.” There’s a brief pause. “The Mechanic, in his other identity, runs Rising Sun Applied Technologies. I can probably patch you through to someone in authority there, if you wish. Otherwise...” he gives you the address.


You walk from darkness.

You walk into darkness.

You walk through darkness.

You walk from darkness.

You walk into darkness.

It seems as if a shadowy membrane separates the passage on one side of the door from the room beyond. Pushing through it like penetrating a curtain of velvety, airy night. And what you see beyond it is surprising.

Smooth, pale brown bricks delineate a moderately small room, though bookshelves and colourful, medieval tapestries cover most of the walls. One of the tapestries is a careful rendering of a grinning, stylised goats head, vomiting blood. Leather-bound books and piles of old paper fill the air with a comfortable, musty aroma that clashes with the harsh sulfur tang that suffuses all these tunnels. Two wing-backed chairs face each other over a small table, on which sit a tea pot, an onyx and marble chess set, and a human skull. A mahogany walking stick, topped with a ruby, leans against one of the chairs, from which protrude a pair of corduroy pants and patent leather shoes, casually crossed and tapping the air impatiently.

8th of June, 2005, 02:24
Quantum thinks for a moment. "Yeah, get 'em on the phone, let them know I'm on my way. Get them to ask him to meet me in front; I'll be in my civvies, so to speak, so he doesn't have to worry about his ID being blown." Once he has confirmation of all this, he takes to the air, giving time for the appropriate phone calls to be made.

8th of June, 2005, 12:08
In all his years, Battallion has not found much room for prayers. No, the thought of self-depcriciative begging to some all powerful being no one has seen before always motivated a feeling of contempt, and quick, fruitful action. This, he feels, is the time. Besides, with what he can see, these guards couldn't handle one of him, let alone two or three. Relaxing his body for a moment, he takes a breath and hopes, for Alehandro's sake, that he's awake enough to realize what the hell is going on. Snapping himself into what limited movement he can, Batallion will fall backwards, creating a clone of himself on the way down. Now if only these bonds will be so willing...

((Using extra effort to snap the bonds and activating the Duplication power to make a duplicate))

9th of June, 2005, 07:38
HP: 4/5 status: Unhurt

It would seem that he has reached the end of the road, this would seem to be the place that he has made his home. Could he really still be alive after all this time?

But what if he is really is dead and this is his spirit, how do you fight a spirit?

He mentally pushes that question aside, this whole encounter has been one mind trip after another, no need to question it further. Just get do what needs to be done and then he and Elizabeth can live happily ever after...

I take it your Ritual? He tells to whoever is sitting in the chair.

10th of June, 2005, 17:58

You sail serenely through the spire forest of skyscrapers, marveling at the wash of lights below as cars flit along streets that still throng with people partying, working, traveling and shopping, even this late at night. Office and apartment lights blink on and off as graveyard shifts settle in or depart, and the wheel of commerce spin around the clock. More than a few heads crane upwards, watching in awe or confusion as the ball of purple lightning crackles and darts through the air.

As the song says, it’s a hell of a town.

After a ten or fifteen minute flight, you arrive at the triple towers of the Rising Sun Applied Technologies building. The centre tower, circular, the tallest, is branded with a golden disc that glitters under the attention of spotlights; the adjacent towers, square and with angled rooves, seem to lean in, supporting or paying homage to the middle structure of this corporation built, essentially, on the genius of one man. The complex is set in the midst of a landscaped, ‘faux-natural’ park, albeit a less bleak one than the place where, a few miles distant, men are dying as the Osprey flies overhead. Back before you were frozen, you can’t recall a single mention of the company, but now hardly a day goes by without there being at least one reference to the company in the Business pages of the Times.

You land with a low rumble in the air and a plume of dust that dances and cackles an electrostatic tarantella. The glass main doors slide frictionlessly open, and a man in a comfortable but expensive suit hurries out. He pauses, examining you apprehensively, before approaching. The older, dignified looking man with iron-gray hair comes to within speaking range as you drop your warp field.

“I was told to expect you... Quantum?” he says in a reserved tone, as if unsure whether to append ‘Mr.’ to your codename. “I’m Kenneth Whyte, Dr. Thomas’s vice president. How can we help you?”


Your shoulders bunch and you give a long, gasping exhalation as you through your body mass against the steel links of the restraints. Muscles stand out on your arms and back, and you feel the cuffs cut into your flesh; the sensation that accompanies the first chain breaking is that of blood lubricating your wrists. But, like a strongman tearing a telephone book in half, you carry the momentum through to the next obstacle.

As the second pair of cuffs break, you feel cellular fire race through your system. Every animalcule of your being screams into life - double life. Mitosis, the organic duplication that normally takes hours, days, or longer, is forced into a split second, powered by animating energies beyond normal comprehension. Flesh expands and bulges to one side, tissues forming from a protoplasmic fluid all at once, gaining differentiation and motion. Cloth and unliving accessories form, too, and in less than a heart beat, an indistinguishable copy of Battalion sprawls next to the prime.

Well, indistinguishable but for one thing: you must have activated your cloning abilities before you finished breaking the cuffs; your duplicate still has his hands bound by a pair. But that’s the least of your concerns, as the guards scramble to react to your escape. You tumble backwards, using the crate as feeble cover. One of the men gapes and starts to yell for assistance, fumbling with his gun. The other is distracts by your clone, who, despite his restricted arms, vaults easily out of the hail of bullets the paramilitary unleashes, unscathed.

You, however, are not so lucky. Despite trying to seek cover as you scramble to regain your feet, the corporal is able to draw a bead on you. Cold eyes meet cold eyes. The shot is lucky - if your system was not compromised by a cocktail of necrotoxins you might, possibly have survived. But as it is, the glancing kick of the bullet to the side of your head is enough to trigger an instant, fatal brain haemorrhage. The prime Battalion slumps over, eyes rolling up and twitching as his body fights a battle that his spirit has already given up.

The clone staggers for an instant, overwhelmed by a torrent of power and memories. Unimaginable energies shift two meters sideways in an invisible arc, infusing the clone with power and making it, for all intents and purposes, the new prime. Down to the most basic genetic level.

A prime whose existence may be short indeed, given that it faces three armed men as is still handcuffed.

Battalion: 20
Soldier: 11
Corporal: 4
Soldier: 3

11th of June, 2005, 02:03
HP: 4/5, Status: Substituting confidence for common sense

Battalion (my name?) can't help but recall the memory of a lecture given on pride and falling, and how the two interacted. Sergeant Bates (my body is on the floor) said, loudly and with his cocky grin "The thing about being good, at any skill, gentlemen, exceptionally good, is that you pass a point where you can be tested. To put simply, you get so good, that you can no longer measure how good you really are. Ask my wife." He laughed then, his chin strap dangling down beside his face. His death occured when a round had been loaded incorrectly in a magizine, causing a misfire. Battalion now realizes the truth of Sgt. Bates philosophy. He knows his is a deadly hand to hand combatant...but deadly enough for this? He hopes so.

The thought occurs that his clone has just died; his body is, for all intents and purposes, dead on the floor. But he has never said that he died, only they or it died. Strange.

Battalion lowers his head, knowing that now is one of those times that demands heroics, no matter your status, demands your success and isn't going to get easier. Poor Alehandro. Chances are, he'll catch a stray and bleed to death. He kicks the chair at the first soldier and dives onto the corporal, hoping to give the ol' flying shoulder. Come on, heroics, he thinks bitterly.

((Spending a hero point to increase defense, and using Rapid Strike on Soldier 1 and the Corporal.))

11th of June, 2005, 17:06

The silence in the room seems to flinch back from your voice, recoiling like a jackal from the flame. Your voice is answered only by the soft purr of cloth on cloth as the man leans forward, peering at you past the wing of the chair.

Irises so pale as to be colourless survey you wryly from within the fresh, energetic face of a sprightly middle-aged man. A mop of brownish-blond hair sits rakishly atop his head, and he smiles keenly at you.

“Quite!” Ritual congratulates you in an educated New England accent. “And you must be Bolt. Won’t you come, have a seat? We have so much to talk about!”


If there’s one thing life in black ops has taught you, it’s that bullheaded recklessness is never a good substitute for a flak jacket. But, sometimes, it’s all you’ve got.

Not bothering to expend any breath on a kiah or warcry, you hurl yourself into the midst of the Poison Arrow militiamen. No movement is wasted on display, show or pointless jockeying; every muscle, every ounce of mass is turned into a weapon in a desperate battle for survival. Your right elbow fails to connect with one man’s jaw, while your other fist snags the corporal’s well padded kidney. He manages to tense for the blow, though, and shrugs it off.

As the... thing... one the floor behind you dissolves into a mass of volatile organics, you realise that this really isn’t your night. The unengaged man chokes and lifts his rifle, aiming to take you out from behind...

And is smashed into the wall by a fist of silvery light, a far cry from the precise, elegant blasts Alehandro usually generates. The soldier twitches a few times, futily, then slides to the ground with blood trickling from a broken nose and mouth.

Meanwhile, the two men you struggle with try and draw a bead on you. At such close range, and with the fury of your attacks, they fail. A few rounds are squeezed off into the walls or ceiling, but your surging, darting body prevents any harm comming to you.

12th of June, 2005, 03:39

“I’m Kenneth Whyte, Dr. Thomas’s vice president. How can we help you?”

Huh. Paul didn't know that the Mechanic had a doctorate, though it really didn't suprise him. He found himself wondering just what field he got it in... actually he wondered how many degrees the man had. And with his recent epiphany, Paul also found himself wondering if the Mechanic might be able to understand his newfound awareness.

Quantum takes Mr. Whyte's hand, giving him a firm handshake. "Call me Paul, please. It's not like I wear a mask, you know. There's been some trouble brewing with my organization, and I wanted to check on Dr. Thomas, make sure everything's still kosher with him. This was the only way I could think of to contact him. If he's here, could you let him know that I'm here, see if he can come out?"

12th of June, 2005, 06:08

Whyte purses his lips, giving you a considering look. His returned handshake is rather weak.

"I'm afraid not. As I'm sure the Foundation has already been informed, Dr. Thomas has been sequestered by the military off-site for some kind of high-priority investigation." For a moment, the businessman's cool demeanour recedes a little, and his eyes and lips tighten in a flash of annoyance.

"I also lack a means to contact him; though I suspect if it's urgent you could go through Defence Department channels."

12th of June, 2005, 09:20
HP: 4/5, Status: Angry

One thing that has managed to pierce his apathy over the years, and does so again and again, with aplomb. He can't stand the offending trait, and when he discovers its taint near his person, he drives himself to get rid of it. These men reek of it: incompetence. Some part of his mind that turns a cynical laugh towards his battle of survival is outraged that two men with assault rifles can't kill a man that is handcuffed and unarmed.

Focusing himself of his next set of movements, he dedicates his mind and body to precise, accurate movements, resolving to perform above his inhuman standard. If he doesn't, then he won't ever have to worry about competence again. Battalion leaps straight up, tucking his knees to his chest as he drops his arms beneath his feet, putting his handcuffed fists in front of him, and loops his arms around the neck of the guard in front of him as he falls, swinging behind the poor meat shield.

(Um..I guess that's an Escape artist check and a grapple?)

14th of June, 2005, 04:13

Paul smirks. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure I'd enjoy slamming my head against a brick wall as much as you have. Thanks."

As he walks out, a question comes to mind. If the Foundation was told about his being pulled by the feds, why didn't they tell me? Either they weren't told, or...

Reigniting his warp field, Quantum takes to the air.

14th of June, 2005, 21:57
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

He has to stop himself from following, forcing himself to settle on the ledge across the way. It's not that he shies away from discretion, had in fact made quite a name for himself by skulking about unseen and striking from the shadows, but he knows that a battle is going on inside that building. The fistic side of him wants to be part of that battle, wants to fight Red Hare again...or maybe just wants to watch her in action.

And part of him wants something so frustratingly insane that he can hardly believe that his own brain would even entertain the idea. The thought takes root deeply, as such bizarre impulses often do, inescapably obliterating all rational thoughts on the matter. He sighs, tells himself that it's decisions like this that will get him killed someday, and flits across the gap, pressing his body against the glass above the maw's rim. Listening, focusing, trained senses straining to glean grains of data from within the room: voices raised in kiai, the desperate breathing of a failing opponent, flesh on stick and vice versa. The smell of blood and ozone, the sound of padding feet, a flicker of light or shadow.

Or nothing at all.

OOC: Move Silently, taking cover; then Listen and Spot checks. Once he's satisfied that the room below is probably empty, he rolls down into it and sticks to stealth, trying to find Red Hare's trail, or anyone else for that matter.

14th of June, 2005, 22:28
HP: 5/5 Status: Been Better!

His look of horror moved from the Polaroid to the empty cabinet and back a forth a few times, even the subtle moment made his head throb with immense agony. It took all of his enormous willpower to keep from throwing up again, and he dared to do something he knew he would regret. He slowly opened his mind and begin to expanded his consciousness out into the rest of his small apartment looking for other minds to touch to see if he was not alone.

15th of June, 2005, 08:55
HP: 5/5 Status: Wheeling and dealing

Tracy shook his head, feeling his neck and deltoids flex underneath the battered gray shirt. It seems clear now why it is he was never assigned any diplomatic roles in his career as a tough: he’s not so good with people. Resisting the urge to spit, the man known as Wreck tries his best to squeeze out some cordiality.

“Nah, we don’t do that,” he says, folding his thickly muscled arms over an equally muscled torso. “You let me know how much time you need and how much it costs and I’ll make sure X gets you paid.”

The idea of a kid calling himself Thunderman and possessing several high-tech computer mainframes seems dubious to Tracy, but then again, a guy named Osprey managed to not be a total pansy. Anything is possible.

“I’ll see about the kid, thanks.” Tracy waits for Ice to give him the details of price and any time needed to assemble before leaving. He’s got a lot of work to do.

18th of June, 2005, 07:34
HP: 4/5 status good to go

Ryan studies the man for a moment before heading towards the seat. "How do you know who I am?" He adds as he sits down. "What are you doing down here?"

For a moment he takes his eyes of Ritual to study his surroundings, to see if its real or some sort of illusion of some sort. He also uses this time to see if Elizabeth followed in after him.

20th of June, 2005, 11:22

Getting your arms in front of you is a much easier prospect than trying to slip free of the cuffs themselves. In a display of functional gymnastics, you hurl yourself into a killing embrace around the soldier. The cuff chain grates over his windpipe, making him gag and twitch. You drag the man’s body around -

And just in time.

You feel the soldier’s carcass jerk and flail as you force it into the stream of bullets, blood splashing from it across your shirt and pants. The remaining upright man, the NCO, stares in horror as his comrade’s body slumps in your arms. He sidesteps onto the stairs, and hurriedly backs up towards the door.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see Alehandro roll off the crate he was sprawled atop, apparently winded by the effort needed to launch the blast in his current state. Panting, he struggles with his cuffs.


The human body has more senses than we give it credit for.

Sight. The presence or absence of light, and all the different frequencies it can occur in. Colours, shades, shapes.

You close your eyes shutting off the prime, and most deceptive of senses.

Mechanoreception. The unpoetic name for the knowledge of your body’s position and movement through space. Balance, a vital tool to one who can orient himself in any spatial direction. Proprioception - that tells you, without looking or feeling it, that your hand hovers over the sling that holds your rattan sticks.

Interoceptors. The dozens of unconscious systems that keep your blood flow and organs working.

Heart rate a little fast. Not from fear of a fight... from uncertainty about what lies ahead. Tonight, the future... all uncertain.

Smell. Block out the burned flesh and ozone nightmare that spirals up from the charnel house below.

Sweat, leather.... woman. A scent that does primal things to your mind. Push it away, focus. What else? The cool, chemical odour of air conditioning. Deeper. At least three men, their smells barely distinguishable under the rest.

Hearing. Difficult, the sounds almost masked by the ambient battle chorus from the ground, and another noise, like a jet engine warming up, from within the room.

“...that this little stunt was your doing, [i]Mizz?” Irate but not enraged, male, middle-aged, Washington accent.

The subtle, forceful exhalation of Red Hare taking to the air in attack. Then an odd noise, like tuning forks hitting glass.

A chuckle, synthetic, like a 1980’s computer generated voice. The jet engine whine builds to a monstrous roar for an instant, and the building shakes as if Wreck has just head-butted it. Chips of concrete rain past you, and more shards of the window drop away.


If you thrust your hand into a snake’s burrow, you might feel one of two things. You might feel the sleek caress of scales on your fingers as it retreats deeper, away from your touch. Or you might feel fangs, and pain, and death.

Fortunately for you, in this case it is the former.

For an instant, you feel the touch of a powerful mind. To your psionic senses, it is as if you opened your eyelids, only to find that a galaxy of a thousand tortured stars had taken up residence in your apartment. The gouging pain of your migraine is, for a moment, forgotten; you collapse to your knees, unprepared for the weight of the other. But before you can come to terms with the multifarious mind that surrounds you, it is gone, vanished as quickly as a burst soap bubble, recoiling into the night.

All around you, the tiles clatter and tinkle as pill bottles and tablets rain from the ceiling, no longer supported by the invisible hand of telekinesis.

Bding, bding.


Jeffreys park sprawls like a khaki turd in the middle of the housing projects, the grass thin and trees dying, cut off form light and nutrients by the anonymous concrete facades that loom all around like a man-made canyon. Out here, the city at least seems to sleep. Traffic, and the occasional police siren rumble and blare beyond the apartment blocks, but within the enclosure they provide the only sound is foraging stray dogs and snoring homeless people. The only lights come form a couple of ground-floor windows, and a flashing beacon on a lightning rod.

The siren. The siren makes you think. The police, they’re the enemy now, aren’t they? Funny. There were no guards on the zebra crossing between law and crime. All it took was one word. But you knew what you were getting into.


You survey the park and its surrounds, unsure of what you were expecting to find.

- - -

As the frikkin-huge gringo lumbered out of his office, Ice felt his sphincters unclench a little. His men looks similarly relieved, freed from the cape’s presence and the understanding that while a big gun might be a phallic symbol, the most dangerous ones are those that don’t need to compensate.

“Hector... lock it. And the warehouse, too.” Ice ran a hand across his face, feeling the sheen of perspiration collect on his hand, defying his nom de crime. “I’m...” he shrugged, and didn’t bother explaining himself any further to the bullet monkeys. The fixer walked slowly into his office, and closed the door. He withdrew a sleek cell phone from his pocket and opened it with a much-practiced flick of the wrist, and thumbed speed dial #2. He had to wait some time for it to be picked up, and the recipient of the call was not happy to hear from Ice at this hour.

“Sir? I have something I think you’ll want to hear...”


As you speak, the man smiles broadly, nodding encouragingly. The gesture comes off as slightly patronising, reminding you of an over-earnest teacher you had in elementary school.

“Ahh, let me turn those questions around... how do I know who you are? What am I doing down here?” He pauses, tilting his head in a bird-like fashion. “No, that’s not right... how do you know who I am? What are you doing down here? Yes, much better.”

You glance away from the bewildering figure, looking to see where Elizabeth -

Has gone.

Aside from you and your host, the dark little room is empty. Like smoke under the door of a burning building, shadows seep into the chamber. You snap your head back around wildly, intending to demand from the man where she has gone -

Sprawled naked in the chair in all its obscene glory, the goat-abomination bleats and rolls all-too-familiar eyes at you. Its thick fur matted with pus and ichor, the thing’s horns gash the air in a frenzy. Where its legs should be, four thick, sinewy tentacles coil around the arms of the chair, over the side table, suckling at the empty sockets of the skull and moving the chess pieces in insane configurations that correspond to no mortal game. Black mucus dribbles from the end of one of the tendrils as it stirs in the cup of tea next to you. Where the abomination’s teats should be, human fingers wriggle out of puckered orifices, their jagged nails beckoning and slashing at you. The goats head bleats in anguish, and blood spews forth from its black maw. Blood fills your eyes, covers your face - you reach up, screaming trying to get it out of your eyes

- Ritual sits politely in his chair, head tilted, watching you with bemused curiosity. There is no blood, as you look down at your fingers. Your legs are tucked up, recoiling away from...

“You look a bit pale, my boy,” he suggests. “Tea?”

21st of June, 2005, 01:38
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Surprised and a bit abashed.

Robert shakes his head ruefully with the comments from the Colonel.
"You're right... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone off like that... there's just so much potential here. I know that it seems like there's potential for problems... but there's so much more potential for learning something... The thought of destroying something like that... well drives me a bit up a wall."
Robert paces the hall in front of the other two men. "You're right ... I agree that evac isn't a bad idea. I've got my gear here, it won't take long to alter my normal gear and field protections to shield me from the Radiation. I think I've got a few spare field generators for my gear... I may be able to equip some of those who decide to stay... but you go get the ball rolling... I'm going to go try another closer look at some of the data, from the units downstairs.... Maybe it'll ry contacting me again. You have my communication frequency? You should be able to contact me fairly easily with all the signal boosters you've go 'round here."

"Right... Back to work." He turns to leave down the hall towards the containment chamber.

22nd of June, 2005, 11:53
the Mechanic

Several hours later

Your vertebrae pop loudly as you stretch your neck around and around, trying to work out the kinks. Setting up the remote multiphase arrays turned out to be the easy part - extracting useful data from the cacophony of useless noise has been a much tougher proposition. But, after much painstaking and the use of obnoxiously inelegant calculus - an embarrassing concession to the urgency of the situation, you think you’ve clarified the readings.

The ruins have been as quite as, hah, the grave for the past couple of hours. Most of the guards and technicians have been evacuated, with Vanderman himself the last to go. Sachs looks positively relieved to be able to conduct his research via telepresense, and thus avoid the risk of immanent nuclear oblivion. A couple of soldiers remain, tensely chain smoking in the corner, in case you need any heavy lifting done. And perhaps, tacitly, to keep an eye on you.

A quarter of an hour ago or so, one of the medics sent a message saying LaCroix had woken up. And had started speaking what Dr. Sachs could only assume was the language of the Anasazi. A language that hasn’t been spoke for over 800 years.

You brush some of the dust off your computer screen, running the number strings through your mind again. Yes, it seems correct. As near as you can tell, the emission spectra have been cleaned up and all the variables corrected for. All that remains is to use the multiphase arrays to penetrate the surface of the pillar, far below...

The computer muses to itself for a few seconds, constructing a 3-D image of the energy patterns to be found in the containment chamber. Rotating slowly on the screen, the energy source describes a five-pointed star of clearly metanormal power. The image gradually resolves; the points of the star become the head, arms and legs of a man-like shape, buried alive, or at least, active.

Something tells you to look up.

His bronzed skin crawls with glowing, viridian tattoos. His ebony-black hair sweeps back in a clutter of thick braids, ending in painted wooden beads. He wears a thick leather belt and long loincloth, and hovers motionless above the shaft that leads back down to the containment chamber.


The Anasazi man sinks out of sight.

24th of June, 2005, 05:13
HP: 4/5 status: Getting pretty wigged out at the moment


Being able to move super fast can have its advantages... other times not so much, right at this time he isn't sure which it is, before he realises it he is on his feet and several strides away from this strange person and only the thought of Elizabeth, Trisha and the mole people keep him from running in abject terror.

“You look a bit pale, my boy,” he suggests. “Tea?”

"Jesus Christ. No I don't want any tea." he states loudly, staring at what was just a reject from some lovecraft novel.

"What the hell are you? What are you doing to me and what have you done to Elizabeth?"

25th of June, 2005, 01:20
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

He kept moving closer, trying to see what was going on.

Dwooooommmmm. Tuning forks on glass. Timed about right to intercept Red Hare's attack. Smug, voxbox chuckling...'One of the gunmonkeys mentioned a cyborg...great. I'd hoped that would be an urban legend, but apparently not.' Some kind of force shielding, then...just doesn't sound like physical armor. What is she up against?

'And why should you care?'

Good question, that. The smart thing to to do would be to leave Red Hare to whatever hornet's nest she crawled into; she picked this fight, let her deal with the consequences. 'You've bitten off more than you could handle a time or two, and paid the lumps for it. It goes with the territory.' Except that this territory was unforgiving and the lumps probably lethal; the massacre in the yard had shown that.

'Be smart, boy. This is not your fight. This is the polar damn opposite of your fight. This is one thing you can learn from him.'

Something else took hold within Osprey then, whispering bleak madness into his ears. Something that wouldn't let go, wouldn't leave him alone. Worried at him like a pack of dogs. 'That's what he would do...what he would do...you know it's the better decision...do what he would do...'

'Well, I am not him. I'm NOT. Not a mercenary.' He almost said it out loud, the thought carried so much force, and when the building shuddered he realized his teeth were clenched and eyes squeezed shut. He relaxed himself and moved deeper into the building, still trying to remain invisible but with a deeper, more forceful purpose in mind.

OOC: Trying to gauge the room, and form up a battle plan. He's going in.

25th of June, 2005, 15:01
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: A glowing indian man just appeared in front of him.... Intrigued is the operative word.

Follow? Robert thinks to himself as his spine feels like it snaps back into line. Well... better that than more threats to kill me I suppose.... I wonder if he's reading my thoughts? That'd be interesting. I haven't worked with too many telepaths before. he ponders as he pulls on the near skin fitting gloves of his suit.

A quick check of his own gear ensures that the radiation dampening field is in place and operating at peak efficiency... In other words roughly 120 hours of operating time off the 9v battery encased within the titanium shell. Snapping his goggles down over his eyes gives a display of all suit functions... Forcefields, Rad. Reduction array... Spatial sampler and Displacement field (allowing for Gravity) a few moments work tie the systems into the multiphase array he put up earlier.

With a flexing of his shoulders and quick crack of his neck that oddly makes him wonder what Wreck might be up to now... He steps away from the protective objective viewers of the scientist and moves to follow the glowing man down to the chamber. Into the world to which he inserted himself after it had captured his imagination...into the world of Bizzare events, remarkable coincidence and Fate laughing at all the little plans we make.

And grinning maniacally... eyes gleaming with prospective discovery; Robert Thomas... The Mechanic rushes off to see what could be hiding just out of sight.

27th of June, 2005, 01:30
HP: 5/5 | Status: Just hanging on.

He stared off into space for a long time as his head began to slowly throb with pain again. Soon, the pin was too much to take and it broke him from his stupor. Pressing his eye closed in seemingly futile attempt to keep his brains from exploding out of his eyes, he fell forward onto his hands and began to search the floor for his pills. He passed up the regular pain-killer time and time again searching for his really medicine. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, through squinted eyes he spotted the brown and white prescription bottle laying behind the toilet. He rapidly crawled to the bottom trying to ignoring the shooting pain at even the slightest movement, that he prayed would soon end. He reach for the bottle and with trembling hands, and it took a long minute to get past that damn child safety cap. Even in his horrible state he had the presence of mind to only take two tablets from the bottle and press them into hi s mouth swallowing them dry. They caught in his throat, but he didn't care, he knew they would still dissolve and filter into his blood stream.

He collapse onto his stomach and pressed his face against the cool tile floor, waiting an praying that the drugs take effect soon. It was then that the insensate Bdinging finally started to bore through the pain and into the front of his attention. As soon as the pain started to subside he resolved to figure out what was making that noise.

27th of June, 2005, 01:56
HP: 4, Status: Getting rough

Grunting with the effort, Battalion carries his meat shield with him as he rushes the corporal.(charge the NCO, keeping a hold of the the poor dude in front of me.)

27th of June, 2005, 10:26

"What am I? Well, that's a more complex question than you might think." Ritual settles back in his chair, lips pursed in thought.

"I'm a professor of religious studies who was on sabbatical at Tel Aviv university. Technically still am, I suppose. I'm a widower. I'm the father of a wonderful daughter who ~never~ calls," here, his lips quirk in a gentle smile. "I'm a southpaw. I'm the last inheritor of the power of the Black Clergy of Lost Mu, the demon-worshipping priests of the sunken land. I'm tremendous fan of the Patriots... no TV down here, though. Any chance they've broken that awful losing streak?" he looks hopeful, but continues when you don't answer. "I'm a registered Democrat. I'm a man who prefers home-made salad dressing to that revolting stuff from the corner store.

But, I think, the quality I possess that is most relevant to you, is that I am the man that has the power of life or death over your girlfriend."

To illustrate his point, Ritual points dramatically upwards. Your gaze follows his finger, and your stomach lurches at what you see.

Elizabeth is pinned to the ceiling, her clothes torn and bloody. Metal rings like croquet hoops fix her wrists and ankles, and a gag is tied into her mouth.

27th of June, 2005, 10:27

A simple flip, elongated by a mild application of power, is sufficient to carry you into the AeroDyne corporate boardroom. It's a long rectangle, with a gleaming black plasticised wood table lined with a dozen black leather swivel chairs. The far wall houses two doors and a large silver screen and computer terminal integrated into the wall, not unlike the one you saw in the Centinels briefing room.

That seems like a very long time ago, now.

A large chrome steel briefcase sits slightly open on the far edge of the table, and next to it there is a man in a business suit with a thin moustache. The most noticeable thing about him, though, is that he is completely bald, and that there is no skin on his head beyond the limits of his face. Instead, his skull and the back of his neck is gleaming blackish-blue steel, as if his entire cranium had been replaced by a mechanised unit. His gloved hands are hurriedly connecting wires from the metal part of his head to hidden ports in the flesh of his temples, forehead and spine. His watery brown eyes flick in perplexity to you as you enter the room.

"Wait! You're... Osprey.... of the Centinels? Help us detain this terrorist!" The voice is the one you heard before. There's an odd pause before your name, almost as if he had to really dig in his memory to remember who you were.

Red Hare is also in the room; currently, she is running along the walls as fast as she can, trying to avoid coming into the cross-hairs of the third member of this party.

A stocky, somewhat overweight man in a bullet proof vest and durable coveralls has both arms raised, tracking Red Hare and trying to get her in his line of sight long enough to fire. From hand to elbow his arms are covered with massive, high-tech looking gauntlets; they are the source of the jet-engine whine that permeates the room. Each gauntlet is marked with a red shield and golden sunburst logo, printed with the letters RSAT; you've seen it somewhere before. They would also appear to be the source of the cracked crater in the wall and the shattered window. He has very pale skin and also wears goggles and something that looks like a metal filter mask over his mouth. The man is surrounded by a faint, shimmering sphere of ripples in the ambient light.

27th of June, 2005, 13:21

After what feels like a criminally long time, the military-strength painkillers take effect.

As you lie there, tasting the chemical after taste of medicine and the sourness of your own bile, the floor seems to draw the heat from your inflamed brain, restoring you to a pale mockery of normality.

You crawl to your feet, your vision spinning around like a washing machine, making you lose your balance and careen into the wall. The dizziness spasms gradually subside, you you begin to be able to pick out individual noises from amongst the clanging cacophony of your mind.

The bdinging resolves into the sound of your telephone. It must have been ringing all this time; in your state, you're not sure if that was one minute or twenty.

27th of June, 2005, 13:22

You hadn't realised how bad a shape your body was in until you tried to push it; your ribs are like iron bands around your lungs, stopping them from expanding to suck in precious oxygen.

Pushing the still moving body up the stairs before you, you are able to rush past the corporal's defences and ram him into the door, stunning him. Shaking free of the dead weight, you unleash a barrage of punches and forearm snaps against the helpless man, rendering him quickly unconscious.

27th of June, 2005, 19:36
the Mechanic

As the elevator rattles down the shaft, Pvt. Tomlinson nudges Pvt. Yussein. "Did you see that?"

Yussein remains staring resolutely at the floor of the cave, puffing methodically on his cigarette. "Nope. Didn't see nothing," he said in a forced tone.

- - -

You catch a few more glimpses of the green-wreathed... well, there's no way in Einstein's black universe you're going to use the word ghost... the non-material parapsionic projection as you leave the elevator and head down the tunnel to the containment room. The glass windows sandwich a layer of ultra-dense liquid and radiation dampening screens, just as before.

However, the quality of the radiant light in the pillar room has changed. Instead of a shifting pink haze of photons emitted from excited neon gas, the pillar is surrounded by a dense, hissing sphere of pink light, shot through with green lightning. Not a very tasteful combination, but what's worse is that you realise the green light can only be coming from within the pillar - it is the unfiltered, natural spectra of the metahuman energy of the being within.

A wave of dizziness strikes you, and the room seems to dim. You feel your hair and coat being plucked at by an ethereal breeze.

I know you. But you do not know yourself.

28th of June, 2005, 10:13
HP: 5/5 Status: Trolling for hooker—I mean, leads.

Being a bad guy isn’t quite what he expected. Surveying the vacant park, Tracy wonders what it was he had thought life would be like. Maybe he didn’t think it through. It’s too late to go back though. The Cents couldn’t help him with Maim; only X could. Tracy never thought making a deal with the devil would happen so easily.

Why did he come here anyway? That’s right, scoping out the grounds. He’s always liked to get a view of the terrain before any potential fight. Knowing his surroundings has gotten him out of more than one jam, well, before the accident anyway. Nowadays he just muscles his way through a tough spot. It had always worked, at least before tonight. The thought of tangling with a guy who’s not just as tough as Tracy but also gets tougher when someone beats on him doesn’t sit right with him.

His eyes roam across the trees and shrubs while his mind ponders what life is like now that he isn’t the biggest, toughest mofo in town. Maim won’t be down, not for long. Tracy had hit him hard, really hard, but if Maim is anything like him, he’ll be back and pissed off to boot. No, right now, Tracy needs X more than he needs the Centinels. It’s nothing personal, but they just can’t help him.

At least, that’s what he tells himself.

Satisfied with his inspection, Tracy flies off. Judging it better to report to X tonight rather than tomorrow, he returns to the warehouse.

28th of June, 2005, 19:12

It takes you a few sweeps to find the warehouse again; you took an irregular path to leave it and track down X's possessions, and it blends in well with the urban landscape. Gray against the black sky, you cruise unseen above the restless masses.

It takes you several attempts to punch the right code into the keypad; perhaps you should just be grateful it didn't blow up in your face after one mistake.

X isn't in the temporary HQ when you arrive. instead, there are a half dozen men in coveralls unloading boxes from a van and fitting new equipment to the bare walls and empty power sockets. You notice the stylised lightning bolt graffiti on the wall; easily overlooked the first time, it makes a lot more sense, now that you known the street name of the punk responsible.

Apparently supervising the operation is a zaftig woman of above average height with a black bob of hair. She turns as you enter, revealing a round, cherubic face at odds with her rodent, calculating eyes.

"So, you're Wreck, huh?" she asks rhetorically in a thick Brooklyn Greek accent.

29th of June, 2005, 00:54
HP: 4/5, Status: Standing on his own six feet...

Reeling backwards as his oxygen supply proves too little, Battalion fissions twice, his copies steadying him for a moment before wordlessly taking the weapons around the room. Eyeing himself in duplicate, Battalion Prime stumbles over to Alehandro, assisting him in getting rid of the cuffs. Two bullets later, Battalion sits Alehandro up against the wall, inspecting him with his cuff-free hands. The clones watch the door, one tossing Battalion the last rifle. After checking the safety and magazine, Battalion Prime will drag all the guerellas into a corner, making sure they're dead with a swift stock to the temple.

(Make two duplicates, inspect Alehandro, and post the clones at the door, listening for noise of more reinforcements. After the synopsis of Alehandro's situation, he'll arm himself and pile the bodies in the corner, making sure they're dead. He's also freed himself and Alehandro from the cuffs.)

29th of June, 2005, 01:25
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Uninjured...and playing with nuclear fire.

I don't know myself? Thats an odd conversation starter. In his mind's eye the Mechanic recreates the imagery of the great stone bridge. The texture of the rock... the feel of it... the white glowing wind whipping across the span of air tugging at him and the glowing green figure across the span.

Letting his technology take its readings and make it's assessments without him for a moment he visualizes the glowing figure he saw down the hall standing across the bridge... matching the coruscating colors of pink and green with the energy cascade from his shape.

"I've often thought that it's impossible for a man to truly know himself without seeing himself from the outside. So the question then is... will you tell me of the man YOU know?" he says, both in his visualization and in the room in which he stands...

29th of June, 2005, 06:49

Hard brown eyes lock with hard brown eyes, indistinguishable down to the retinal pattern. The clone nods his head once, acceding to your subconscious authority and moving off to follow your plans as you generate him a brother.

With a little help from your better halves, its no trouble to get rid of the last of the cuffs and bonds. Alehandro pushes away your none-too-gentle helping hands and manages to prop himself upright on the wall. Up close, his skin has an eerie, greenish-silver tinge, a suggestion of internal rot.

"Thanks," he grunts, trying to steady himself and wiping saliva and vomit from his lips.

There's precious little ammo left in the three AKs as you and the duplicates check them; no more than two or three shots each. Steeling himself, Alehandro bends down to search one of the soldiers, and finds a pistol.

Beyond the bunker, you can hear shouts echoing through the jungle. It might be too much to ask that the fire fight in this closed space wet without notice.

OOC: Your superhuman metabolism burns off some more of the poison, reducing the penalty to -5.

The rifles are weapon +6, autofire.

29th of June, 2005, 06:51
the Mechanic

The cavern around you goes dim as you slide back into the... induced hallucination? It is easy, as the vision seems to be beckoning you in.

Surrounded by crackling spirals of emerald fire, the figure is now clearly visible as the projection that lead you down here. He stands above the bridge, seemingly immune to the incandescent zephyr that turns every edge in this strange place into a shadowy blur. Muscular arms are crossed over his sculpted chest, bracelets of wooden beads pressed against his painted leather vest. A second, shadowy form seems to hover over his shoulder.

"You are... like me," he says with some difficulty. "But also different. I was made; you were born.

"My words were chosen badly. You do not know yourself, because you do not need to, or do not choose to. The purpose of my makers is not my purpose, as my purpose is not your purpose."

There is a strange harmonic in his voice. As you listen, you realise that it sounds like he is speaking in a chorus of two.

"I have slept for many years... but I fear it will not be many more before my task is complete." The aura around him blares brightly for an instant. "This is not as it was meant to be. Time has broken me. I am becoming death and fire and destruction..."

At last, you manage to pick out the second voice. Dr LaCroix's!

29th of June, 2005, 07:45
HP: 4/5 status: this close to losing it

For a moment time stands still, Ryan's mouth hangs agape as he studies Elizabeth pinned to the ceiling like some sort of pseudo-christ...


He clenchs his hands and starts to absentmindedly hitting his outer thigh as he continues to stare, noting at last the torn clothes... and the blood... it isn't the first time he has seen her blood or has it? If it was how could she be here now...

<<No, not again>>

He tears away from the sight on the ceiling, his blood starts to pound through his ears. He looks towards the man sitting in the chair, arrogant bastard, just like all the others, not caring about anything or anyone. Just as long as they get what they want, it didn't matter who they hurt, who's lives they destroyed in the process...

<<Not again, Not again, NOT AGAIN>>

He takes a step forward, its all he can do not to leap at the man and tear him apart with his bare hands, the urge to wrap his hands around his throat and squeeze is almost more then he can take but he retains control, he can't let Elizabeth get hurt again.

"You hurt her and I swear to God that I will kill you!"

1st of July, 2005, 13:12

"Yeeeees... I'm sure you might try," Ritual says patronisingly. "Right after you've broken down and cried for, oh, five or six years."

He stands, and there is a noise like a flag snapping in the wind. The two chairs shudder, and fly away from you into the walls so quickly that anyone else would have blinked and missed it. The demonalter begins to pace, his colourless eyes lit with feverish intensity.

You hear Elizabeth moan softly, but you know that if you dare to look back up at her, you might not have the strength to look away again.

"Here comes the part of the proceedings where we deal, Ryan... Neg. O. Ti. Ate. But don't worry," he says with a sideways grin at you, "I haven't the slightest interest in your soul.

"No, I want you to be my errand boy. One, simple task; deliver something to an old friend." He reaches into a pocket of his tweed jacket, and withdraws a horrifically ornate silver dagger, so wrought with knot work and inscriptions in a dark, forbidden tongue on the argent blade that it looks impossible to hold, let alone use. The pommel is a tiny silver skull with ruby eyes.

"Take this to Prophet; he'll know what to do. And as I sign of good faith," the barest hint of a suppressed snigger in his voice, "if you agree, I'll let you take Ms. Elizabeth and leave, right now."

2nd of July, 2005, 23:09
HP: 5/5 Status: Must…not…stare…

Don’t check her out. Don’t check her out. Don’t check her out.

It’s probably bad form to leer at your new boss’s lieutenants. In fact, from experience Tracy knows it’s bad form, but he does it anyway. Although he tries his very best to be subtle about it, he can’t quite control his eyes. To avoid seeming too much of a lech, Tracy turns to look at the crude thunderbolt on the wall.

“Yeah, that’s the rumor,” he says in reply, looking over at her again. Her eyes bother him. They glimmer with perception. “I’m lookin’ for X. Got some information about his missing stuff. What yer name, anyway?”

3rd of July, 2005, 08:00
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: In the middle of a conversation...

"I hear another voice with your own... what happened to cause that joining? Will Dr. LaCroix recover? Is she alright? Can she hear me?" Robert asks... the questions flying fast and furious inside his head.

"Who are these Creators that made you? Do you know? Is there a way I can contact them? Were you built as a weapon? My information has shown that the energy you emit has grown to terribly dangerous levels... is that part of this purpose that you speak of?" he asks as calculations flash inside his head... damage potential, radiation dispersal... How can these things be altered. Could I slow the process? Reverse it? Could I help him/her/it get some kind of second chance at living? The visual it's projecting to me is male.. but that could just be a random shape it chose... or the things controlling it did... Or could it be an entity... a symbiote or something infused to one of the native population hundreds of years ago....

3rd of July, 2005, 10:38
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

There was a point, early on...well, earlier in his crime-fighting career when he'd flirted around with a cape. It had been a long black rubberized affair, anchored to reinforced pauldrons built into his first costume. At first, Rob had liked the way it swirled around and lent dramatic flourish to mundane movements, but the first time he took flight with it was the last time it had been worn. Maybe Superman was strong enough to overcome the enhanced wind resistance and sidereal buffeting the damn thing caused, but one little Osprey wasn't.

Still, it was at moments like this that he wished he still had it on--how convenient would it be now, to draw a cape menacingly about himself and scowl, relying on physical obfuscation to buy himself time to cover up how badly he'd just blown it. He'd overextended his move, stepped out into the open for nebulous gain, and gotten himself recognized for it. The dilemma of not cooperating with the cyborg and his muscle was clear: he was himself a trespasser, and if he threw in with Red Hare (which he was still oddly inclined to to) then he made himself her accomplice. On the other hand, he found himself reluctant to scrap with her under these circumstances. He wanted to fight with her again, sure enough, but to put it simply he wanted her for himself, on his terms or hers, not at the behalf of...whoever ol' metal-neck is.

When in doubt, fall back on training. That was the mantra of armed men around the world. So he did now, calming his thoughts and surveying the environs, sparing a second to pick up details that many might have missed. One in particular caught his eye: the RSAT logo.

Arse-hat. That's what his brain wants to sound it out as, even while it struggles to piece together just why the acronym should have any significance. Hell, who knows? There'd be time for that later; right now, he needed a way to control the situation. Keen eyes finally came to rest on Red Hare's dance partner: the man's portliness told that he was neither a soldier or professional security, and in that light the RSAT logo took on a whole new significance. A man-portable force-field generator was military-grade weapons technology, generally regulated by Federal law, and while such developments were certainly within the domain of a billion-dollar corp like Aerodyne, transfer of ownership was highly restricted. And whoever Arse-Hat is, Aerodyne isn't.

A plan began to form...if poking a loaded bear in the eyes could be considered a plan.

"You're...Osprey, of the Centinels, right?

"I am, but she's not my problem. I'm more interested in that piece of kit your man is sporting over there...there aren't so many of those that one wouldn't be noticed where it didn't belong.

"I think you know where this is going. What happens next is your decision."

OOC: Trying to force his hand into submission or aggression. It'd be great if he just gave up and the girl and I could go crack skulls over a latte and ice cream, but I anticipate a fight.

3rd of July, 2005, 15:26
HP: 4/5, Status: Leader of the pack

Sometimes, when on a patrol or set deep in the ambush, a warrior can unlearn the anxiousness ingrained in today's society. He can feel the breath of the world, her hear voice, and smell her body again, purging himself of the preservatives and pollutants that infest every pore of modern man. Fear gives him these wings, and for those who master it, they can fly.

Battalion listened like that, as a wolf surrounded by angry, angry dogs. He stood stock still, his identical brothers partners in his statue act. He knew he didn't have a lot of time, but any action now had to be measured carefully; wasted movement were precious seconds. Now that Alehandro was up, he coud get out of here. The only problem was that to leave, they had an entire camp of irrate rebels and one superhuman leader. His professionalism was quickly showing a negative return in this endeavor, but they were no longer on the original plan. Time to adapt.

Motioning to his copies, they formed a stack of men up against the door. As the prime took his place, a four man and five man appeared, fell into the line, with Alehandro sandwiched between them. Indicating the plan with hand signals, they all listened for a moment, trying to discern details. Then, when no more details would help, they opened the door, gliding out quickly and quietly, bodies low to the ground, weapons up to the enemy. Battalion prepared to test his wings.

(Listen check to discern anything, if at all, then Move Silently out of there, towards the nearest part with cover-providing vegetation)

4th of July, 2005, 12:37

Subtlety on Tracy Cavanaugh is like a tutu on a rhinocerous. It ain't gonna fit, capiche? Either she doesn't notice or doesn't care about your cover oggling; in any case, she gives no outwards reaction you can read.

"S' Miranda," she declares offhandedly. Glancing over her shoulder, she spots one of the workers attempting to open the mesh fence cage around the supercomputer column in the middle of the floor. "No, you moron! You leave that for the baws. Set the demi-array up over there." She jerks her thumb at an empty power socket and desk set up along the wall. Flinching slightly away from her voice, the worker schleps the heft computer module over to the desk and starts wiring it in.

"Where was we? Oh, yeah.

"X got called up on business somewhere, left me in charge a this depot. Whatever you got about the gear, you tell me." She smirks slightly. "Though I see you don't got it yet... Woulda thought all those muscle's be good for something, wouldn'tcha? Guess not."

4th of July, 2005, 12:38
the Mechanic

"No, no..." The... creature... or at least, the projection, seems to stumble as it stands on the shadowy bridge, tripping to the ground. It is almost as if the weight of your questions is a physical burden to it. The hand he uses to balance himself leaves a five-fingered green burn mark."Questions... you must listen to your questions... only then will you hear my answers..." The projection rises to its feet once more.

"Your Lar Croy is unharmed... but part of her resides within me, as part of a man resides in the surface of a still lake. And part of me within her. When she came near... I felt that she knew the fire that burns within me, and that she could quench it. It must be quenched, or it will burn stone and sky alike!"

Thunder rolls across the hallucinatory dimension, adding portent to his words.

4th of July, 2005, 12:38

Things happen much too quickly.

Metal-neck looks baffled, as he finishes inserting the links form his skull to his body. Slowly, as if a bit drunk or recovering from a concussion, he replies (over Red Hare's staccato breathing and the lumbering, aggressive growl of the man in the gauntlets): "I... know where they came from... but I'd have to... change my mind to... tell you."

Quite apart from his cryptic choice of words, his body language is perplexing. Though his speech patterns and rate make him sound a touch mentally challenged or inebriated, he holds himself in the tightly balanced, loose limbed stance of a veteran martial artist that you are so familiar; this contrasts with his general physique, which is that of a reasonably well-maintained CEO. Anyone who had achieved that level of skill would have perforce also acquired a far better degree of fitness in the process.

"But there will be time for that later, after you duck, please!" When issuing orders and speaking about matters martial, his tone seems oddly more rapid and assured.

The reason for his concern is clear. Red Hare is running along the walls towards you, or at least in the direction of the end of the room you occupy. Her course will mean that you will inevitably occupy the line of fire of the gauntlets.

"Centinels?" Red Hare gapes, her gait hesitating for a split instant. That moment is all the big guy needs to lock his aim onto her. The ambient whine spikes into a colossal roar for a second, and a column of distortion seems to stretch from his each of his hands to the place...

Even outside the targeting zone of the hypersound beams, the effect is very noticeable. Your ears feel like they're being punched into your skull, and every joint rattles with the promise of the sonokinetic destruction those weapons can unleash.

...where Red Hare was, a heartbeat ago. She rolls forward, dodging the two lances of focused hypersound that explode out of the gauntlets, shattering large pieces of the wall into powder. Regain her feet, she continues her dash horizontally towards you. Her path will cross where you stand in mere seconds...

5th of July, 2005, 04:59
HP: 5/5 | Status: Bit better

"The phone..." rattles around in his head as his thoughts slowly begin to become more coherent. The migraine topped with whatever it was his mind touch still had his brain in the fog of shock.

The ringing was defiantly beginning to annoy him and he thought a use of his powers would be a good what to help clear the fog. He reached out for the telephone, but with his mind not his hand.

[OOC: Telekinesis to bring the phone to him, as long as it is not attached to the wall or the cord it to short, if either of those then he will walk over to the phone.]

7th of July, 2005, 08:05
HP: 4/5 status: fine

Ritual had him between a rock and a hard place and Ritual knew it. Ryan couldn't even dispute him breaking down for five or six years... its basically what he has been doing ever since... No, that didn't happen... Elizbeth was here, safe and sound <well not safe and sound right at this moment.>

He would do anything to make sure that Elizabeth was safe but the urge to wipe that smug look of his face was almost overwhelming. Sometimes he envied Wreck and the way he just didn't care about anything but he wasn't and he did care and he had to make sure that nothing happened to Elizabeth <again.>

Of course what ever Ritual wanted it wasn't something as simple as a delivery, what ever its was couldn't be good. So that meant he couldn't just do what he wanted but first he had to make sure Elizabeth was ok. Of course promises made under duress were never binding.

"Let her down and I will be your delivery boy."

7th of July, 2005, 11:23

A few jumps allow you to get your bearings and set you back en route to the Centinel Building, which is as close to 'home' as you have right now. Despite the books you borrowed and touches you've added, your apartment in the building still feels cold and empty as you appear in a flash of zero point energy.

Less than half a minute later, as you're still collecting your thoughts, the intercom buzzes.

"Quantum?" Stone asks. "You're back? Did you have any luck?"

7th of July, 2005, 11:23

With five pairs of ears listening, the sounds of the camp come in stereo to the sensory cortex of the prime. The crackle of still-burning fires, the faint wail of the night winds, but above all, the sound of boots, angry shouts, distant gunshots and roaring engines, all drawing closer.

Further waiting would definitely be counter-productive, so the clone on point kicks open the door, and you rush out into the night.

Bright torches lacerate the air as men shouting in Spanish rush through the jungle towards the bunker. Armaments heavy, motivation strong, number unknown... but more than enough. The many survival courses you've been on - and taught - let you orient yourself by recalling the twists and turns you've taken since you last saw the sun, and you regain your bearings quickly.

The ferns are thick around here, ample for you and your duplicates and Alehandro to lose yourselves in. They won't hold up to a prolonged search, though.

You start to think about potential escape routes, accessing plans you first formulated on coming to this camp, months ago. Never walk into a place without an exit or two, the unofficial motto of SHARD. There was a bridge several miles to the east, you recall. Cross that, and you'd be in open territory, out of the Poison Arrow Squad's reach. Or perhaps some of the trucks in the motor pool survived the bombs you and the kid planted as a going away present; it'd be a rough cross country drive, but once you hit the roads you'd be pretty safe. The only other possibility that springs to mind is the heli-pad north of the camp: though you can't fly, there's bound to be a potential pilot around who could be 'persuaded' to help.

7th of July, 2005, 11:25

"Wonderful!" he enthuses. Swirling darkness veils the room for a moment, and when it clears Elizabeth stands by your side. Her eyes flutter open, and she gasps, slumping against your shoulder for support. The gentle vanilla smell of her hair has been replaced by the sour stink of sweat and fear.

Ritual flips the blade in his hand and offers you the hilt. The ruby eyes on the silver skull pommel glitter evilly.

"Turn about is fair game, Bolt..." he breathes.

7th of July, 2005, 11:37

Reaching out telekinetically makes your whole skull ache, like your brain is slowly swelling in its bone nest and ready to boil out your eye sockets.

When you lift the receiver, the relief from the cutting, sawing noise of the ringing is great indeed. Your telekinetic fingers slowly and clumsily carry the handset through the air to you, numbed by migraine and drugs.

"...lister? Are you there? Please, if you are, say something. Jonas? A woman's voice, hushed and laced with fear.

7th of July, 2005, 22:15
HP: 5/5 Status: Smooth Operator

Convinced of his own mastery of the covert leer, Tracy is briefly elated. And then she does it: she makes fun of the muscle. His moment of triumph deflates like a balloon let go before it can be tied off, spilling his ego all across the room.

It's happened all through his life, both before and after the accident. His superior officers in the army, as a merc, and as a super have all acted as if he were borderline retarded. They all acted as if Tracy served no other purpose than to be a walking engine of destruction. Maybe they're right; maybe that's all he's good for.

To Tracy, there's nothing more life affirming than a fight. The reasons don't matter. It's two guys going head-to-head. It's primal. The competition, the test of strength and skill, that's what matters. The feeling of fist impacting flesh, the grunt of pain, and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth makes Tracy feel alive.

Maybe they were right after all. But if that's true, then why does it bother him so?

"Yeah, well," he says, folding his arms across his chest. "X said he didn't want any police or Cents to know about this, so I had to keep it quiet. Looks like some punk named Thunderboy, or something, stole this stuff. I'm gonna go pay him a visit tomorrow for the computers. Got some of the guns and ammo lined up at a dealer named Ice. X'll need to send over some cash though.

"So," he says, searching for some appropriate small talk. "How'd you end up working here?"

8th of July, 2005, 02:14
Paul's stomach growled in protest as he materialized in his quarters. Can't even think about it as an apartment. Jeez, I'm pitiful. He opened his half-sized refrigerator, scowling at the contents. A fridge full of condiments, but no food. All I need is a bout of insomnia and I'll be turning into Tyler Durden. Then his communicator beeped. Funny that he didn't remove it.

"Quantum?" Stone asked. "You're back? Did you have any luck?"

"Not a bit," he replied. "The Mechanic is in the middle of something, and isn't even taking messages. I have no clue where Wreck or Osprey are at. And tracking Bolt would be as hard as tracking me. That thing at the subway station looks like Wreck was involved -- lots of property damage, in other words -- but nothing saying where he could have gone. I left the clean-up crew there, and they promised to call both of us if they found anything interesting."

He can't help but sigh. Heavily. "Ms. Stone, I'm worried for them. Maybe it's because I'm still the New Guy, but something feels... wrong. You know?" Running out of things to say, he felt a compulsion to end with a question. Half-subconsciously, he realized that he wanted, above all, an excuse to hear Alicia's voice again. He found himself wondering what her hair looked like without her usual restraints, and winced. Stop it.

8th of July, 2005, 07:02
HP: 4/5 status: fine

Ryan ignores Ritual for the moment as he wraps his arm around Elizabeth protectively, looking her over quickly to make sure that she isn't injuried too badly, once that is done he returns his gaze back to the man, disgust easily written on his face.

He steps away from Elizabeth and removes his duster and steps back in again so quickly he is unsure whether she realised that he was gone. Folding the duster in upon itself he creates a makeshift bag, holding it out infront of him like a child at begging for candy at halloween he tilts his head slightly.

"Drop it in, I said I would deliver it. I didn't say I would touch it."

9th of July, 2005, 10:47

"Thunderboy, huh?" Miranda scratches her chin. "Sounds familiar. I'll... yeah. Nuttin'."

She crosses her arms at your next question. Is she mocking you? Getting defensive? Or... hey, didn't that TV psychologist guy say that people mimic each others body language when they're into each other? Aww, yeah.

"Probably the same way as you. Got fired, got a good offer from the man in the hat. I can't imagine workin' for those Centinel geeks was fulfilling work for you, anyway?"

Over her shoulder, you notice four men carefully carrying a Vartan Gurney. You've seen them in the military - a portable demolitions lab for field ordinance work, capable of setting up and disarming most common explosives. What every terrorist and bomb squad wants in their Christmas stocking.

9th of July, 2005, 10:50

"It usually does," she remarks drily.

There's a pause, and then she says tiredly, "It's an important day tomorrow. O'Malley will be arraigned to see if the prosecution regarding his involvement in the arms deal can go to trial. We also have something lined u regarding a number of unusual, possibly meta-related deaths. If Osprey's true to form, he'll check in by tomorrow. Wreck too, if he's come off this bender, or whatever it is.

"If that's all..." she stifles a yawn. "Goodnight, P... Quantum."

9th of July, 2005, 10:52

Elizabeth shrinks into the shelter of your arm, and you feel the cool indentation of a locket against your bicep as she cowers. Though her skin feels unusually warm and flushed against yours, she's shivering.

Smiling, Ritual deposits the ornate blade into your jacket-bag. "Delightful," he purrs. There's a metallic cluttering behind you as the door unbolts itself. "Now, shoo, shoo, children," the arcanist laughs, turning away and wandering back towards the middle of the room. "And, please, don't provoke me to do something regrettable by, say, dropping my little present in the sewer somewhere..."

9th of July, 2005, 12:34
HP: 5/5 | Status: Hanging in there
He had his eyes tightly closed, concentrating on keeping the rising bile at bay. He has found the sometimes the best way to get back on his feet after such a powerful migraine was to jump into using his powers again. Almost like having a drink the morning after a hard night of partying. He paused in thought, he had not yet tried that option, perhaps alcohol would help cut the headaches. His train of thought was shattered into a million pieces as he raised the phone to his ear and heard the voice on the other end utter a name he had forgotten years and years ago.


'No, there must be some mistake' He thought to himself, 'Jonas is dead, he died a long time ago, they should have forgotten about him.'

In as calm a voice as possible he spoke into the receiver, "No Jonas here, you got the wrong number lady."

11th of July, 2005, 00:48
HP: 4/5, Status: Executing

After rushing into the bushes, the small team pauses, then heads in an arc towards the nearest motorpool. If feels odd to hope he didn't do as good as he knew he could have, but this time it wouldn't be so bad to be below par. The vehicle can travel faster than they can, and stop bullets; in the event of an injury while escaping, the wounded man could still fight and be transported by the truck. The overland route was the simplest, but the most desperate. With little to no ammo or weapons, it would turn into a deadly footchase. Capturing a pilot also seemed like too many variables to him. Finding the pilot while remaining undetected and unharmed, and then escorting the pilot to the chopper only provided more chances for bad luck to stop in. Batallion stopped, ripping the right sleeve off the remains of his shirt, and wrapped it around the lower part of his face. Mentally, his fire team already had a plan of movement, had adopted the strictest noise and fire discipline, and we're stretching. Touching Alehandro on the shoulder, he said softly "It's going to be hard and fast, kid. We're heading for a truck, hoping we didn't get them all. Then we'll be out of here. You think you can run?" He asked the question with the right inflection in his voice, but his icy dead eyes and careless features betrayed him. Alehandro would run, or he would die alone in the jungles of South America, executed by rebels, disavowed by intelligence officers, erased from the world by American politics.

Alehandro made his mind, and the team moved. Like a predator, held still in anticipation of nearby prey and then finding its juicy target unaware, they moved, a deadly blur of shadows upon shadows and soft feet on softer ground. Silent and fluid, they circumvented the search party, silently taking down any stragglers if possible.

11th of July, 2005, 13:23
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Uninjured...and playing with nuclear fire.

Robert shifts his mind from the environment and back to the information he'd aquired and things the being was telling him.

LaCroix could quench the fire? Is that why she tried to expose herself to the radiation? If so... why didn't she attempt it BEFORE I arrived. Regardless... I may have another way to contain the energies..

With that thought Robert's full intellect is turned to designing a containment unit... a suit...Something to hold the vast energies in check.
Mathematics... theories of physics... energy expansion rates and decay... all blur inside his head forming a latticework of engineering.

"I'm not sure what you NEED from me. I'm trying to help... in my own way if nothing else."

12th of July, 2005, 11:19
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0


'Yeah, baby, that's right: I'm all kinds of filth.'

The discrepancy between metal-neck's stance and physical appearance isn't lost on him; one could imagine that a fellow with a computer in his head would have a means of defending himself with skills that he had neither the time or inclination to acquire himself. Combat subroutines, or some such. The change in vocal inflections, though, is a bit out of Rob's realm, but probably an indication of danger.

A bionic brain probably means an enhanced nervous system, which generally means enhanced reflexes even if the rest of him is just meat. 'Like me.' That, and even if he were running Shao-Lin Immortal Fist 3.0 (register now), it's still a machine. Escrima is a mathematical style whose foundations are based on 12 essential angles of attack and counterattack, but without human intuitions even it is limited in scope. So, metal-neck he can probably handle.

But he can't handle metal-neck and Mister Loud. And judging by Red Hare's consistently evasive tactics, neither can she. And he's in too deep to just walk away. So, oddly enough, they're going to have to work together.

He fixes the suit with a seemingly intense stare, letting him believe that they're about to showdown. But he listens for the pat-pat-pat of Red Hare's running feet, and when she's in a place that Mr. Loud has to turn his back to follow her, Osprey strikes with everything he's got.

The blade flicks out of its sheath and into his hand, nearly of an innate will; clenching it in a reverse grip, he spins and sails across the room, driving the blade into Loud's back with all the force his body can muster, plus the momentum from the spin. He has to break through that force field.

OOC: Power Attack +3, Charging, with the blade; total attack bonus is +7, Damage is +12L, Def is 20. I would rather have him disabled, not dying.

13th of July, 2005, 07:23

There's a soft note of surprise on the other end as your weary voice breaks onto the line.

"Wait! Don't hang up! My name's Sarah Kennedy. I was with you in the Invisible Hand... a weapons tech."

Your head swims. Whatever else, you're certain that mentioning the name of your former black ops outfit is a recipe for trouble - the NSA's communication filtering semi-AIs will no doubt pick up on it within minutes and get a fix on both your location and that of the woman.

"I need your help, please. It's after me.... it'll come for you eventually. Meet me in the diner on 37th and Hentley, as soon as - "

Click. beep. beep. beep. beep...

13th of July, 2005, 07:24
the Mechanic

"...I felt that she knew the fire that burns within me..."

As you consider this, it seems to make sense, taken literally. LaCroix is a high energy plasma chemist... phenomena like this being's energy aura are right up her alley.

"The woman was indeed wise about my flames... but she had no gift to control them."

Using the materials at hand, you think you could jury-rig a containment suit of some kind... though it would probably not last very long. You'd need more data on the being's energy signature, and good deal more high quality resources to work with. Your lab would suffice, of course, but the idea of transporting this unstable energy source across country is laughable.

"But it is too late for control!" the figure laments. He reaches up, placing both hands on his chest, and in a way you can't quite see or describe, opens himself.

Within the shadowy cavity of his chest are three depressions... or sockets. One contains a dull grey sphere; one is empty; and other contains a sphere wreathed in emerald flames. Tendrils of energy crackle and arc from this sphere, like a sun undergoing nova.

"I was given three hearts by the makers. One failed, more than a thousand years ago. One was stolen from me by a traveller. And now, my last remaining heart cannot bear the weight of this world, of the air and earth and time and grief."

He shudders, and his shoulder seem to slump a little. "It is too late for control... you must help me escape this prison, before the fires of my hear are unleashed!"

13th of July, 2005, 07:24

You would have expected a stocky guy like him to move slower. Tracking Red Hare with his sonic gauntlets, you're in his field of view. He quickly sidesteps as you lunge towards him, and your knife cuts the air harmlessly, though you get so close you can feel the blade sympathetically vibrate with his forcefield. He got lucky; it was a poorly executed strike on your part.

A fraction of a second after you burst into motion, Red Hare follows suite. She leaps, her power carrying her through the air faster than the eye can follow, bringing her staff around. Pushing herself beyond the limits, she unleashes a storm of blows with both ends of the staff, hammering the cyborg's left and right flanks with shattering force. Not satisfied with that, however, she uses the momentum of her attacks to vault upwards over his head and launch a quick double kick to his spine. It's fast, elegant and deadly; your assessment of her skills was right.

At least, that's the plan. Metal-neck protects himself flawlessly. His hands snap from defensive kata to defensive kata, parrying every sweep of the staff. When he tries to attack form behind, he simply twists his head to one side and knocks her ankles away with an elbow block.

"How... adequate," he sneers.

He strikes, a hard-knuckled fist thrown calculatingly, without the impediment of emotion. He seems to note that Red Hare's staff is in position to deflect his blow, and he instantly changes the angle of his attack, just penetrating her defences. The attack lifts her off the ground; the cyborg doesn't seem that strong, but his fist sinks into her centre of gravity. You hear her grunt in pain and see her tumble to the floor; but with an act of will, she forces herself back upright on wobbling legs. Sweat glistens on her brow, framed by strands of dark hair curled loose from the knot she keeps it bobbed in, and her eyes scan for any opening.

Meanwhile, you find yourself staring down the humming sonic generator coils of the mercenary's fists.

"HA HA I AM SOUNDWAVE AND YOU ARE A GREASY SMEAR ON THE WALL" the mans voice synthesiser mocks.

At point blank range it's close - far too close. You have to backflip to avoid the lances of hard sound that scream through the air. But your manage to evade; behind you, the last bits of the window are blow out into the night.

Osprey 26
Red Hare 23
Encephalon 22
Soundwave 11

Encephalon spends a villain point to reroll his attack; Red Hare spends a hero point to avoid stunning.

13th of July, 2005, 09:32

There's really no other response he could give; try until you die is beaten into every special and black ops warrior, and he clearly realises the implication of failure as much as you.

Alehandro grits his teeth, and nods.

You and your clones become part of the jungle; fifty-years-plus of skill in covert assassinations and surgical strikes all across the world, from Siberia to Iran to Germany to here enabling you to foresee every creaking branch and avoid it; to time and avoid every sweep of the spotlights and torches of the searching guards. Even the kid manages to both keep up and keep quiet, holding himself to his training through force of will. Minutes pass as you follow an irregular path through the dank, slumped branches and mossy trunks, keeping to the pools of shadows. So stealthy are you that you're able to sneak past a resupply point, and acquire an extra clip of ammo for each of your guns.

At last, you come to the slope that leads down to the motorpool. The low, khaki building knits smoke and sooty orange light into the night, but seems mostly intact. The trail you must follow zigzags down the rough hillside, divided by walls of tangled roots, slouching boulders and thick undergrowth. About halfway down you can see a cluster of four soldiers maintaining a careful watch up and down the path. They check in, or are checked on by radio every few minutes.

14th of July, 2005, 06:12
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

For the second time in recent memory, he finds himself staring point-blank down the cavernous mouth of some device whose user intends to leave him a lifeless wreck. There's a tiny chance--academically speaking--that Soundwave really just wants to bash him around a bit and doesn't really plan on mashing him into paste, but Rob's not into that idea, either.

For a long time, he's tried to play by a rule that, while a bit nebulous and not entirely inviolate, is still very much a part of his psychology: meet force with similar resistance. This is one of the main reasons that he does not carry guns, preferring instead the "handicap" of using traditional weaponry in exchange for a greater influence of will over the outcome. Rob knows that he hurts people, entertains no delusions about the long trail of broken bones that marks his passing, but he's never deliberately struck to kill. This is not a courtesy that his opponents have been very reciprocal with, from the lowest soldier all the way to the King himself, Jerry O'Malley. Part of him (isn't there always?) wants to believe in a sort of cosmic recompense for his restraint, but all it seems to have gotten him is shot, stabbed, shot again, and vandalized. Now some jackleg named after a popular toy from a million years ago is trying to grind his bones into dust.

It's time to push back. His fists are woefully inadequate against even a rudimentary force field, and even the knife seems almost laughable. Meanwhile, Soundwave is throwing out hundreds of decibels like candy. If this is the kind of opponent he has to face, can he afford not to use all of his advantages?

The essence of these thoughts seeps through his mind as he dodges and lines up his next move. Keen eyes scan over Soundwave's stocky form, searching for any weakness or opening in the force field. His vision catches on the night sky beyond the window, and an idea explodes into being. 'Bet I know something you can't do.'

OOC: He's going for a grapple, then a half-move out of the window, then escape from the grapple to drop this guy like a bad transmission. Using Heroic Surge to try to pull this off in one round. Also, if you feel it necessary, use Extra Effort to double his carrying capacity: Soundwave's probably near his max load, between physical bulk and equipment, and it'd be DAMNED anticlimactic to make all those rolls but not be able to push him far enough. A grapple from Rob would be an arm bar or wristlock, opposed to the classic bear-hug-and-lift technique. Keep up this tactic if it fails the first time.

14th of July, 2005, 06:34
HP: 4/5, Status: Moving

Battalion has often been told that when he gets in the "zone", he displays erratic behavior. He'll never confirm this himself, either returning the comment with a stare, or with a shake of his head, but it has been noted several times in his psych-evals. While this "behavior" never takes on a mission-threatening attitude, it has been said to be "odd". It comes about in his brand of teamwork; most groups of professionals, no matter how much training or practice, simply cannot communicate like a team of clones can. In this, Battalion is the master, and he knows it. This is when he has fun, or what he knows of it. There were six of him, including the prime, and four of the guards. Four of the clones dashed ahead a small ways, then hunched down, scuttling close together in silence. Alehandro only stared as he jogged, not understanding, but too hurt to care. Leaving one clone and the prime, the two Battalions left behind sprinted, the copy first, then the Prime. As he came upon the squatting four, he stepped up into their hands and jumped, assisted by the strength of four commandos. He sailed up into the sky, followed by the Prime, to land in the midst of the guards. Then, they unleashed hell.

(Form a sort of cheer-leader cadre with the first four clones, then have them assist the 5th clone and the prime in leaping into the group of guards. Not sure how that's going to work exactly, but...then attack.

15th of July, 2005, 09:50
HP: 5/5 Status: Stylin’ and Profilin’

Tracy watches the Gurney pass, the men having a surprisingly gentle touch with the equipment. Given its contents, he doesn’t blame them. Yet what X could want with such a thing here is beyond him. The chances of the mastermind of the Syndicate wanting to disarm a bomb seem slim.

“They needed a job done and were payin’. Doesn’t need to be all noble, just needs to pay the bills.” He shrugs at Miranda’s question. Tracy doesn’t fancy himself as a hero or a villain; he’s just Tracy.

“What’s all this stuff for anyway?”

16th of July, 2005, 08:33
HP: 4/5 status: fine and dandy

Ryan heads towards the door with his one arm draped over Elizabeth protectively. Just before they head out the door he turns and addresses Ritual. "Don't worry I said I would take it to him and I will but don't think that this is over."

Once they are out and the door is shut behind them he visibly relaxes. "Are you ok? He didn't hurt you to much did he?" He asks her as he checks to make sure she is physically ok, he pauses for a moment as if remembering something. "Where did you get the locket? I thought I had it." He adds placing his hand on his own chest to make sure that it is still there.

16th of July, 2005, 09:40

A sweep of the barong across his line of sight distracts Soundwave, and sends a shivering ripple over the dome of his forcefield. It takes a lot of training to overcome the natural human fear of incoming objects; intellectually, you might know that it poses no threat, but try telling your gut instinct that. As he leans back to avoid the blade, you lunge in. Going for his arms would be no good - they're clad hand to elbow in unbending plasteel gauntlets. Instead, you drop and fix your grip on the mercenary's ankle.

Plunging your hands through shield is not pleasant - the boy's got a bass line you can feel. Rhythmic shockwaves make your knuckles ache, but you manage to grab and overbalance him. Rocketing up and back on wings of invisible, unknown meta-energy, the burly man slumps backwards in the air as you pull his legs out from under him. You grunt - he's heavy, and while not very strong on his own, the gauntlets seem to have terrific force behind them that makes up for it.


Soundwave's synthesiser wails as you drag him back and out of the window, kicking and screaming. You push yourself hard, striving to accomplish your goal before he can react - and it works.

The two of you hang over the long, long fall to the courtyard below, where AeroDyne security troops comb through the remains of the gang army. He swings his body around, trying to grapple you with his arms to apply that vicelike strength so you won't be able to let him go.

You let him go.


You strain your eyes as the big, pale man plunges through the night. He twists in the air like a cat, seemingly with more agility than he should have, but still lands heavily. You don't see him rise immediately, and can't really spare the time to investigate further without abandoning your Chinese opposite number and the wet-wired cyborg businessman.

Speaking of whom...

Seeing her previous failure, Red Hare changes tactics. Abandoning the flurry of attacks, she resumes evading, leaping away from Encephalon. As soon as her boots touch the wall, though, she rebounds, leaping towards the opposite wall. Her staff uncoils into three-piece mode in mid-air, and sweeps low.

What happens next is beautiful to behold.

The last articulation of the staff catches the cyborg's ankle, and the red blur of her motion whips it out from under him. With a yelp, AeroDyne's CEO collapses like a felled tree. His head catches the edge of the table; a normal man's brains would be all over the carpet from a fall like that but, unsurprisingly, metalneck's head comes off the winner here, knocking a saucer-sized chunk out of the mahogany.

Red Hare's not finished, though. The three-piece staff is designed to floor opponents, and she knows just how to follow up. Sprawled as he is behind the table, you don't see where the martial artist's lashing foot ends up; but the screech of agony and meaty crunch from the cyborg tells you that it hurt, wherever it was. Her trajectory carries her away, and she keeps bouncing off the walls, leaping and twisting like an antigravity gymnast

Wheezing, barely shaking off the effects of the blow, Encephalon climbs to his feet. "Die now, you interfering bitch!" he snarls, vaulting over the edge of the table. Overcome by fury, he drops his guard in order to launch a focused, potentially crippling attack against her. Red Hare rolls to the side, narrowly avoiding his fist, which impacts with the wall. his punch does even less damage than yours would - for all the unfair advantage of his combat computer brain, he's clearly not that much of a threat, physically.

OOC: Trip attacks, critical hits, villain points, hero points - it's all here this round! Osprey's go. Encephalon is about 25' away.

16th of July, 2005, 13:41

Whatever God watches out for nasty Colombian militiamen seems to favour the fools ahead of you with momentary insight. One of the guards staring uphill catches sight a duplicate through a gap in the foliage, and raises a yell of alarm.

The prime and one of clones rush forward, trusting the locked hands of their cellular progeny and kin to hurl them upwards. The clone stumbles in his leap as a hive of bullets sizzle through the air from the sentries, and hits dirt poorly about halfway to the enemy, slipping over and landing on his backside. The two duplicates that lifted him sprawl to the ground to avoid the gunfire.

The prime has a much cleaner trip, smashing down in the midst of the soldiers and immediately unleashing a barrage of fists and boots. Rising from a landing crouch, he launches an uppercut which cracks the chin of one of the militiamen and knocks its target into unconsciousness, sending him rolling down the path spitting blood. His foot then swings out, but fails to connect with any shins.

16th of July, 2005, 14:30

She snorts at your first comment, and shrugs at your second. You're hardly an expert at reading such things, but you think you see her body language become a little less antagonistic. Her folded arms lose a little tension, and she doesn't stick out her chin so much.

"That's the question I don't ask. If X wanted me to know, X would let me know. He doesn't, so he don't."

That answer sounds more politic than sincere. Miranda glances around the warehouse, and lowers her voice.

"Here's the thing, though. He's been buying these cheap-ass guns for years, now he's selling them for way less than cost. Just in NY, too. He's setting up little munitions dumps and bomb labs in places like this. And he's been hiring guys like you, the 'Port... even the No Fronts, y'know, the MSF? Like it was nothing."

She shakes her head. "I mean, the guy's rich, but no way he's that rich. I dunno who's bankrolling him or what X's game is; I just know that I'm being well paid to manage crapholes like this, make sure that the street scum has access to cheap firepower, and that X's techs get their bomb factories up on schedule."

22nd of July, 2005, 11:30
HP: 5/5 Status: The game is afoot!

Tracy purses his lips while absorbing the information divulged by Miranda. X had offered him a lot of money just to leave the city, let alone join him. The Centinels would’ve had him do ten jobs for the same amount of pay. To keep running with them just didn’t make good business sense. She’s right: if X wanted them to know something, he’d tell them. Moreover, half the money they get is for not asking too many questions.

And yet there’s something a little troublesome about her words. They spark a memory of something the leader of the Syndicate had said earlier in the evening, but Tracy can’t quite recall it. He said something about New York…

It’s gone. He has many gifts, but a good memory just isn’t one of them.

“Huh. So what else do ya do? ‘sides running this crew.”

23rd of July, 2005, 11:09

"Couple of other groups like this 'round the city," she shrugs. "Used to be that when someone needed to be taught a physical lesson, know-whad-I-mean, I got sent to take care of it. But, looks like we got an expert for that, now." She smirks at the last.

"If you mean other than that... I drink a mean tequila and can kick your ass at poker." She grins over her shoulder at you, then sweeps towards the workers, barking commands. The Vartan Gurney now tucked into a secure corner, the labourers are bringing in cases of light firearms. Another couple are putting up plastic screens as priming paint sprayers around the van, which already has its plates off.

23rd of July, 2005, 11:40

"I wait in esperence," the sorcerer says acidly as the room sinks back into darkness.

Elizabeth sighs in relief as you start back up the tunnel. She gives a tight, tired smile at your concern, and hugs you weakly. She's more than a little scuffed, and the bonds left welt in her flesh, but there's little in the way of lasting harm.

"The locket? Oh... we had two of them made, remember? Err... Together Forever?"

25th of July, 2005, 11:41
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Rob crouches in the air--he's never quite lost such earthbound habits--and watches Soundwave just long enough to make sure that he's not getting up immediately, then turns his attention back to the room in time to see Red Hare's astounding display of athleticism. Encephalon's response seems almost impotent by contrast, and Osprey grits his teeth in the grim smile of his archtype. 'Probably millions of dollars worth of smart systems in that neck, but you still haven't spent the one thing to make it work properly: time and sweat. I don't come telling you how to calculate things, pal, so do yourself a favor and stay out of MY playground.'

Even as the thought forms he is already in motion, shooting across this tiny patch of night sky like a rocket aimed with laser-guided precision directly at the cyber CEO.

OOC: Charging attack at Encephalon, unarmed Power Attack +3; final values are Attack +9, Defense 20, Damage +9S.

25th of July, 2005, 13:14

Encephalon looks genuinely startled as you jet back into the room. "Soundwave? Did you just... Hmm. Effective." Your knives leave argent crescents in the air as you bring them around to take the fool down once and for all.

What he lacks in power, he makes up for in defensive algorithms. He parries your attacks mechanically, but with a precision no unaugmented human could match. Ducking past your guard, the man in the now scuffed business suit darts towards the table. He grabs the briefcase, and glowers back at you. "Continuing this fight would not be cost effective. I'm sure my security staff will... YURCH!"

He shouldn't have taken his eyes off her.

Red Hare slams into his other side, her staff catching him in the guts. Being in three-piece mode robs it of some force, but you still hear the wind being knocked out of him, and see bloody spittle fly from his gaping mouth. Eyes bulging, the cyborg collapses to his knees, and then onto his side. Some of the wires are knocked from his neck dataports. It appears that the entire computerised portion of his skull is removable, and the fall dislodged the latching mechanism. It doesn't matter though. As the briefcase drops from his hand, two flattened metal ovoids roll out of the foam padding, green blue and red optical circuitry glittering in their gunmetal superstructure.

Looks like he has a couple of spares.

Red Hare backflips gracefully in mid-air, and lands on the far side of the room. She still holds her staff aggressively, and her eyes flick suspiciously between you and the prone executive. For a split second, at least, the ball is in your court again...

26th of July, 2005, 10:47
HP: 5/5 Status: Love at first insult.

Tracy grins. Tequila and a beatdown? Miranda seems to be quite the lady. Perhaps “lady” isn’t quite the right term. “Badass” might be more suitable. Not nova-level, but good enough in her own right; more so than the blonde had been anyway. And yet there’s something about how sweet she’d been, even if it was all an act. He shrugs. Women make about as much sense to him as Birdman had. He idly wonders if the kid has gotten himself killed yet.

“Tell X I’ll be back tomorrow,” he booms from across the warehouse. The workers scurry before Miranda’s stern direction and Tracy leaves them to their work. Demolitions aren’t his thing, unless it involves getting hit by them.

The night air is pleasant enough, if you discount the smell of car exhaust and garbage. He casts a glance up and down the street before setting off to find some place to sleep. It’s been a long day.

28th of July, 2005, 08:00
Hp: 4/5 Status: Confused - beating up muggers was so much simpler

They had two lockets made? How could have he forgotten that? It has been a long day and it is possible that it could have slipped his mind... although its not something he would seem to forget but then again why would she lie to him, she never did before, why would she start now.

With a small sigh he draws her closer to him as they walk. "Sorry, its been a long day, must of slipped my mind." He walks in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying the quite with her, he tries to forget that they are deep underground, virtually lost in a maze of sewers, if it wasn't for Prophet there would have been no way he would have found his way here.

With another sigh he raises his jacket/bag, giving it suspicious look. "So, what do you think we should do with this? I am definately not going to give it to Prophet, somehow I think doing the opposite of what Ritual wants is a good thing but just dumping it doesn't sound good either, who knows what it could do in the wrong hands. Once we get back to Trisha and Prophet we can discuss it further and then when I know your safe, I think I am going to go back and have a little chat with Ritual..." he leaves the the rest of the sentence unsaid but the implied threat is obvious.

29th of July, 2005, 10:55
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

Osprey eyeballs the spare...part with concealed revulsion. 'That's just gross.' But then, it's eminently pragmatic. 'A different brain for every task of the workaday world. One brain for fighting, one full of business acumen, another packed to the gills with...well, something else.' He suppresses a wholly inappropriate snicker. 'One brain to rule them all...'

Then something sticks in his mind's ear, that metal-neck had said earlier. 'I could tell you, but I'd have to...change my mind...'

Holy Crap. The implications are staggering. He pushes them aside; there'll be plenty of time for deep thought later.

He notices the rabbit-shaped emblem again, almost as if for the first time; it's an appropriate avatar, given the feats she's accomplished. In fact, she has made so much of that subtle and understated symbol that it seems absurd for him to have named himself for a bird of prey. If such are the rabbits of the underworld...

Time seems to slow to a crawl as they watch each other. Finally, he asks the one question that, at it's essence, is really his whole reason for being here: "Who are you?"

OOC: Did I have to spend a hero point to drop Soundwave? You mentioned that one had been spent, but not if it was mine or hers.

30th of July, 2005, 18:39

Once, a long time ago, you had planned to go to Paris, somewhere Elizabeth had always wanted to see. But you'd been very poor, and the price was far out of your range. That was before your nova powers had awakened, of course... you smile, thinking of how easy it would be to travel there now. A matter of minutes. For a moment, you falter... it's been many years since your powers emerged (why did they do that?)... why haven't you been yet? Why did you and Elizabeth spend so much time travelling America doing odd jobs like taxi driver and short order cooking, and why does it seem like it was a sad time?

For a long while, you walk in companionable quiet. The tunnels seem to have lost whatever dark guardians they possessed... or at least, the ghasts and wards that protected it have slipped into the darkness, allowing you unobstructed egress. All that remains is filthy brick and grimy cement, and, as you reach the collapsed road, the withered skeletons of abandoned cars. You can feel a headache coming on, not the internal throbbing of a migraine, but more like the seeping pain of an old bruise. Still, given what you've been through, escaping with just a sore head seems like good fortune. You also can't shake the feeling of eyes burrowing into the back of your neck as you walk, but you can tolerate it.

With her at your side.

When you bring up the question of what to do with the silver dagger, Elizabeth shrugs uncertainly. "Well, of course we can't give it to Prophet... but you heard what he said." She shudders delicately. "I... think... he's not someone you want to cross. Throwing away his athame sounds like crossing him to me."

At last, you reach the end of the dark tunnel. Even the Satanic diorama at the passage's mouth seems hollow and non-threatening, deprived of the malicious will behind it. Further ahead, you can see Prophet sitting in motionless contemplation.

30th of July, 2005, 18:40

For a long moment, cool brown eyes hold yours, assessing the changed situation. "I am called Red Hare," she at last admits grudgingly, quickly stepping across the room to stand over the unconscious cyborg. Kneeling, she fingers his throat, pressing gloved digits into his jugular and counting. Seemingly satisfied, her brows clench slightly. "But who are you? This man said you were of the Centinels, but... who trained you?"

Not taking her eyes off you for more than a few seconds at a time, she gathers up the scattered cyberbrains and starts to pack them back in the case. Her gaze, when it is on you, scans your face and hands, watching your eyes and the placement of your weapons, clearly wary of possible attacks.

OOC: It was hers. You're still at 2/5.

2nd of August, 2005, 07:58
It was a literal light at the end of the tunnel, all this was so close to being over, he could pass over the knife to Prophet (with a warning of course) and then he could take Elizabeth and leave, living happily ever after.

But then why did it all feel wrong, there were questions that he either didn't know the answers to or he just didn't want to know the answers to, like a critical piece of a puzzle was being hidden from him and for what ever reason he didn't want to find in the first place... They said that ignorance was bliss, but was it? Could he continue in a lie even if deep down he know that it was a lie?

At the mouth of tunnel entrance he pauses, gently grabbing hold of her arm, not wanting her to continue... he studies the scene in front of him keeping quite dispite her questioning glances. It looked right, Prophet contemplating the universe or whatever he thinks about but where was Trisha? She wouldn't just up and leave, she would get lost in a heart beat without Prophet leading the way, besides she would never leave a potential story behind.

"Elizabeth?" He turns his head from the scene before him to gaze at the women before him.
"Why didn't we ever go to Paris?"
"Why didn't we ever get married?"
"How and why did my powers emerge?"
"Why didn't we go to college? How did we end up roaming all over taking dead end jobs?"
"How did you get down here without Prophet's help?"
"Why is can't I remember anything specific about us?"

He pauses for a moment almost unwilling to ask the last question but he has to know or nothing will be right.

"What am I forgetting?"

2nd of August, 2005, 10:04
HP: 4/5, Status: Poisoned

His blood already rushing and pumping, the adrenalin has no problem infusing itself into his bloodstream, and, like a jet turbine hitting the after burners, he exceeds the threshold. One of them down, he attacks the next with a pair of snap kicks, his duplicates rushing down the hill to assist.

(Two attacks on same target, clones are coming to attack as well)

4th of August, 2005, 13:56

With a unity few others could manage, the five of you surge down the hill in a storm of practised blows and tight-knit kicks. You and your clones strike from both sides of the group of militiamen, quickly crushing them in a vice with your superior strength, numbers and expertise. In moments, dead and unconscious enemies lie scattered across the hillside path. Leaving a duplicate to finish them off, the rest of the group jog off down the slope, Alehandro leaning on one clone's shoulder as he hobbles along, making good speed.

At the base of the hill the jungle opens up, revealing the large tarpaulin tents that serve as a motor pool, where you should hopefully be able to find a working truck to commandeer. The adjacent fuel dump in in flames, your handiwork, and oily black smoke obscures most of the area, choking your throats as you approach. There don't seem to be any soldiers in the area.

4th of August, 2005, 14:00

"Ryan, what...?" she whispers as you hold her back. She glances up the tunnel, trying to see what you see, a frown lightly creasing her forehead. You ask your questions, and at once she answers you. Good, sensible answers... exactly the ones you were privately, secretly hoping to hear when you posed them to her. Answers that calm all your fears and silence your doubts with a blanket of love and affection. Just the words you wanted to hear.

So why can't you remember what she actually said?

You stumble for a moment as the pain in your head flares. It feels like a barely-healed bruise is working its way into your skull. Maybe a side effect of all those drugs Trisha forced into you.


Standing right next to you?

No. You shake your head, and the momentary, incongruous image of the screaming Trisha is replaced by Elizabeth's beautiful, concerned face. She looks so perfect in white, with the veil hinting at more than concealing the expression below.

You lower your hands from your temples and glance around the church, shrugging your shoulders slightly against the tightness of the unfamiliar, rented tux. Beams of colourful, mid-summer afternoon light blaze through the stained glass windows, casting multi-hued shadows through the warm, love-filled hall. Your mother sobs happily into a bouquet, your father's arm indulgently around her shoulders. He looks up for a second, and gives you an encouraging smile. Your numerous brothers and sisters laugh and jostle with each other in the pews behind them.

Across the aisle, Mr. and Mrs. Creuzt sit in relative solitude, watching their only daughter marry the boy they never thought was good enough for her. Her father occassionally dabs at the several day old, well concealed black eye that matches the one on your pop's face. You're not really sure what happened on that fishing trip the prospective brothers-in-law took the week before the wedding, but both men came back with a cooler full of empty beer cans, righteous shiners, and some kind of understanding.

"Ryan? Honey?" Elizabeth asks worriedly, unconsciousnly smoothing the skirt of her white silk dress. Carl Linner, your best friend and best man leans in form the other side. "Ryan, bro... you've gotta give the rings to the preacher-man before we can get this show on the road..." He nods to the front of the church, were Prophet stands, his tangled black hair in sharp contrast to the crisp white of his dog collar. His vacant, blind-man-sees eyes study you and Elizabeth unreadably.

You glance down at the knotted, battered leather jacket in your arms. It seems an odd way to carry your wedding rings, but it must have been a good idea at the time.

"Go on, bro. Give him the rings."
"Give him the rings, Ryan."
"Do it, son. Do it."
Rings, Ryan.
Do it now.

6th of August, 2005, 12:29
HP: 5/5 | Status: Shock & Awe...Baby!!

The phone dropped from suddenly numb fingers, "Oh for the love of God...Sarah Kennedy...I hope you know what you are doing."

The man once known as Jonas quickly went to the bedroom and pulled on a pair of worn jeans, a tight black t-shirt, socks and a worn pair of gym shoes. He turned to the closet and pulled out a well traveled duffle bag from the closet. He unzipped the bag and began to stuff what few clothes and other personal affects he owned into it. Then, he moved to the bathroom to get his medicine. As he stepped back into the room he saw that his pills were still scattered all over the floor, sink, shower and any other open space. He knew it would take to long to pick up every pill, so he only concentrated on his powerful prescription medicine, and concentrate he did. Instead of picking up the pills with his fingers he reached out with the fingers of his mind and plucked the pills from the ground placing them in his bag. Finally, he went to the kitchen and grabbed a couple bottles of water, Gatorade, a bag of Oreo's, a half used loaf of bread, and some equally half used bag of processed Ham. He took one final look around his small apartment checking to see if he left anything of value or anything that "They” could use to track him. Satisfied that he had everything he needed, he took his black trench coat of the hook attached to the wall next to the exit door and put it on.

He opened the door leading into the hall and stepped out looking each way down the hall to make sure he was alone. He didn't bother to shut the door; instead he took off for the stairs. However, instead of going down the stairs he proceeded to climb them to the roof. He knew the roof access door would be locked, but it was of little concern to him. Once he reached the door he paused and concentrated his will on the door, a moment later the door was ripped from its hinges and thrown out onto the roof. He stepped out on to the roof and drew in a deep breath of the horrible polluted "fresh" air of the city he called home. He walked over to the side of the building and looked down, he was several stories up, but he was not concerned with escaping the roof rather he was concerned with being seen while he escaped. He threw the duffle bag over his shoulder and around his head so that is sat comfortable along his back, then he went to the back of the building and jumped off the side.

A moment of exhilaration rushed through him as it always did when he used this particular aspect of his power. He freefell of only the barest of a moment before he froze in midair and began to rise, his rate of rise increased in speed and he was soon shooting straight up into the sky at a breakneck speed. He stopped his climb a couple thousand or so feet in the air to get his bearings. After a few minutes he recognized some landmarks and began his high speed high altitude journey to the diner to meet this Sara Kennedy, or at least meet what would probably be left of her if he didn't get there before "They" did.

6th of August, 2005, 14:53
Hp: 4/5 Status: He needs a really good therapist

He instinctively starts to hand the bag over to Prophet, only to yank it back and clutch it protectively to his chest. How did he get here? What happened to the sewers? Why is Prophet the priest? Where is Trisha? She was there for a sec, wasn't she?

He looks around for a second at the church, his parents and siblings and then back to Elizabeth, she was radiant, a living avatar of the goddess Venus... this was everything that he ever wanted, all he had to do was reach out and grab it, so why couldnt he do it? Maybe because deep down he knew that it was the wrong choice.

"Elizabeth," he whispers to her as he lifts her veil. Some unknown desire made him want to see her face without anything in the way. "I love you more than words can say and becoming your husband would make me the happiest person alive but I can't do this, not here, not now. You've always told me to do the right thing, to listen to my gut instinct, no matter what the cost and I have tried to live my life that way and although this is every I have every wanted something isn't right. I have to find out what it is before we can continue."

He takes a step away from her, expecting the worst. "I hope you understand and can forgive me."

8th of August, 2005, 11:39
Splitting off until only the prime remains with Alehandro, the duplicates search for a working vehicle, scanning the shadows quickly. Looking around, Battalion feels the hint of battlefield jitters. This is the point where things can get sticky, real quick. Of course, the whole sitaition has been a total snafu from the get go, but he's not going to let his hopes build just yet. Giving Alehandro another hollow smile and reassuring word, he keeps his eyes peeled and his body low, finger near the trigger.

8th of August, 2005, 12:08

You're more than a touch tired by the time you reach Gustav's Diner, on the corner of 37th and Hentley. Travelling at that speed is as draining as running hard for an equivalent length of time; the only difference is that the energy-carrying molecule, ATP, is draw directly from your body to be burned in the Nova portions of your brain, rather than being used to power the nerve and muscle cells in your limbs. The result is a kind of weary,full body hunger that serves to remind you that you empties the contents of your stomach all over the place only half an hour ago.

Munching on some cookies and dry bread (the ham, unfortunately, had gone off... way off), you study the diner from the pool of darkness across the street. Two of its walls are large windows facing the outside world, decorated with sandblasted designs and stencilled letters proclaiming the owner's name. It's clearly still open, and the windows are brightly lit. There's no sign of Kennedy out here, but you can see a few people inside.

Training and habit makes you check out the attack and escape routes from the place, making you take note of the alley behind it and the add-on store room above.

Inside, the vague impression you got of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks is confirmed. A thick necked man in an apron stands behind the counter, and four customers sit in the bar, with another in one of the alcove seats. They're all quiet, staring into their coffees or half-eaten late-night pies dully, as if seeking the answers to life's problems there. Two doors lead to the men's women's toilets and the supply closets, and another to the tiny kitchen at the back of the diner. In one corner, a payphone hangs off the hook. You vaguely recall Kennedy, a youthful blonde woman with the grace of a gunfighter, but no-one here looks at all like her.


8th of August, 2005, 12:09

"No! No! No! NO!!!"

The organist, who had previously been tapping away at the keys and playing the Wedding March, suddenly leaps up, his coat tails whipping around and rushes towards you. To your shock, or perhaps not, it's Ritual.

His voice shakes with rage and his eyes seem to spark. "I give you one simple instruction and you can't even manage it? No wonder you failed her." You feel something warm on your hands. Looking down, you see a thick, pinkish-white liquid flowing over your digits as they hold Elizabeth's veil up.

Her face runs like wax off the blackened skull beneath, her eyesockets a haunting accusation. You never loved me you useless, cowardly bastard. Weak, weak, weak. Her voice seems to come form all around, ringing from the organ pipes, resounding in the bell tower, issuing from the still lips of the dearly beloved. By the altar, Prophet seems to be partially flickering in and out of sight. His face and hands remains constant, but his clothing changes as if someone painted a piece of canvas over it, changing between real and imagined costumes. One moment he seems to be dressed in his priest's vestments, the next he wears his filthy sewer clothes. His gaze fixes on Ritual, and he lifts his hands, knotting them into loose fists. A low hum fills the church; amidst all the madness it seems shockingly real. The stone tiles under your feet seem to be slowly cracking, is if some awesome force were building behind them.

"Ryan. Sanders." Spittle flies from the black-hearted sorcerers lips. "Give my gift to Prophet. And don't think his power can shield you or your whore from me!"

Your fingers, covered in the liquefied flesh of your beloved's face tremble before you, numb with pain and cold nothingness. Outside the church day has become vacuous night, a starless oblivion slowly spreading into the building, fading it into nothingness brick by brick and guest by guest.

8th of August, 2005, 12:46

Like the snore of some massive beast shifting in its sleep, a helicopter rises from the jungles a few hundred yards away and flies low over the hillside. Instinct and training propel you and Alehandro into cover. The downdraft of the rotors beats sharp twigs and dead leaves against your skin, and through the tangled branches of the bush you lurk under you can see the grey bulk of the vehicle slide overhead. At last, it vanish up towards the camp, and the noise recedes.

As you emerge from cover, one of your clones sends a mental message that it has found a working truck in the largest tent.

9th of August, 2005, 05:02
Like the probing tendrils of an insect, or the tenctacles of an octopus, the team of a single man repeated in hypermitosis pulls back from searching, and closes on the working vehicle. Silently, they examine the truck, scanning wheels, transmission, fuel, anything that comes to mind. After the search, they board it, and start the engine. The prime and Alehandro pile into the cab, and a clone driver begins to manuever the massive deisel beast onto the road. In the back, four clones lay inside the canvas-covered back, rifles pointed out towards any curious insurgents.

9th of August, 2005, 06:28
HP: 4/5 status: fine (well as fine as he gets)

He stares at his hands as he sinks to his knees as Elizabeth's accusations ring in his ears. It wasn't blood but it should be, it was his fault that she was taken, he shouldn't have gone to the police that night, he should have been quicker, should have been him and not her... he told her that everything was going to be ok, that he was going to get them out safe and sound but he was wrong, one misstep and a life ends and another is destroyed completely. He hoped that somewhere, somehow that Elizabeth forgave him, he wasn't sure that he could ever forgive himself.

The darkness returned to his mind to slowly eat away everthing matching the blackness that is consuming everything on the outside

And don't think his power can shield you or your whore from me!"

His head snaps up locking eyes with Ritual. He couldn't save her in life, he didn't have the power but now he did, he could save her now, for a moment the man standing before him wasn't Ritual but a killer that hid in the shadows. Here was a second chance, a chance to save her, a chance to redeem himself.

Years of self loathing, self pity and self hatred burned through him, finally given a direction the flames of hatred pushed back the darkness in his mind. Nothing else mattered except the man in front of him. With a cry of anguish he leaps to his feet and comes at him fists flying.

"You won't touch her you bastard."

ooc: instant stand (free action) move to get within melee, if needed (half action) Rapid strike (half action) Use a hero point if one of the attack rolls is lower then 13

9th of August, 2005, 09:46
HP: 2/5; Status: Normal; Stun: 1, Lethal: 0

'Who am I? That just blew a whole bunch of theories out of the water.' Aloud, he says: "Yeah. Yeah, I guess I am, though they might reconsider after tonight. I'm called...well, I call myself Osprey. Don't even look at me that way, I've heard 'em all. I like the name and I'm sticking to it. As for who trained me, he's just an old friend...although he would prefer to say that I taught myself, and he just pointed the way. Why is that important?

"And why are you taking those?"

9th of August, 2005, 11:03

You checked the brake lines for sabotage.

As your clones acknowledge the search's completion and pile into the back of the truck, you help Alehandro into the passenger seat. Still looking pale and breathlessly weak, him carefully tries to remove one of la Rina's poison barbs from his arm.

You checked the ignition.

Glancing around, you see everyone is as already as they can be, and there's nothing obstructing your escape. You're not a great driver, but you're more than competent - and a unimog truck like this doesn't need much subtlety to use.

You made sure the tires hadn't been slashed.

Your gloved hand locks around the gearstick, polished smooth and sticky from years of tobacco-laden hands against it. The truck roars into life, and demolishes the khaki tarpaulin wall of the motor pool tent. Shaking on its poor suspension, the huge vehicle plunges through the undergrowth, leaping over a swallow trench to crunch down on the packed dirt road beyond. The axles screech in complaint ans the truck rumbles off in a cloud of smoke, following the winding track as the jungle thins and slopes away all around.

There was just one place you forgot to check. Simple, mistake, really... it was hidden in plain sight.

The arms crate in the back.

So close to the blast, you don't notice it in the classical sense. Instead, it feels like someone gave you a whole body shove, and suddenly you're cartwheeling through the air (where did the the windscreen go?), and everything around is alternately fire-bright and smoke dark. You can feel the fragile life forces of your duplicates snuff out all at once. Hitting the ground feels like a light click, as if you'd just dismounted the double bars in gymnastics, but the world keeps spinning, even though you're sure you've come to rest. When your torso and head smash into a tree root, though, you realise it hadn't.

Gradually, your mind drifts back together. You must have only been out for a few seconds; the canvas roof of the truck hangs, burning and shot through with holes from the branches of a nearby tree. Flaming metal is scattered all around, and the body of the truck is visible on the far side of the road fifty meters or so away, teetering on the edge of a long drop into a forested valley. You look down at yourself, and barely suppress a groan. The pain is there, definitely, but long experience and the knowledge that it can all be healed helps you keep it from overwhelming you.

Your right leg is missing at the hip; strips of ragged meat from your thigh hang in its place. You are lying on your face, and can feel the cool night breeze playing across the back of your torso, the skin burned and flayed off by the blast. A shard of glass a foot long is embedded in your left arm from shoulder to elbow, cutting right through the flesh.

Out of the night, a voice comes conversationally. "Hola, Battalion."

La Rina.

OOC: Remember your header, Bat.

9th of August, 2005, 11:04

"Oh, aren't you sweet?" Ritual chortles as you hurl yourself at him, snarling bloody murder.

He vanishes before your blow can strike. But you see him form the corner of your eye... even he's not as fast as you, you think triumphantly. Spinning on the spot, you lash out with a snap kick... but he's gone again.

There, by the buffet table! You rush towards him, vaulting past your parents by grabbing the edge of the pew. Ritual seems to be surveying the selection of custard tarts. Both hands out, you plan to pick hi up and slam him into the wall at full speed...

Gone. Prophet's gaze swings through the empty air from place to place; somehow, he can see your enemy as (or before?) he moves.

Again. Again. Ritual is never where your wrath seeks him. Again. Again.

Finally, despair crashing down like lead weights on each of your limbs, you stop, panting. Frustration leads to that all consuming sense of failure and impotence, and you can almost feel yourself shrinking in the penetrating light of your inability to defend anyone you care about, or avenge their loss.

"Haven't you figured it out yet, boy?" Ritual's voice comes behind you, mocking. "You can't beat me. I am the god of dark places... and your mind is a very, very dark place indeed. Shall we go back and watch the highlights of what I like to call 'Ryan Sander's pathetic existence'?"

A dog, a small, sleek golden retriever staggers up to you, licking at your shoe in miserable supplication. It looks up at you and whines, letting you see the bleeding hole straight through its head. "You remember Sammy, don't you? Of course. I mean, how many other beloved family pets did you murder, just for the fun of it?" Ritual mimes aiming an air rifle. "Click-PLAM-woof! Yipe, yipe, yipe!" He laughs. Part of your mind, silently, screams no, it wasn't like that, it was an accident, I didn't do it, it just went off in my hand...

A couch appears, with a young man and woman sitting on it, drinks in hand, talking and laughing. Their body language is unmistakeable. You look so young, so fresh faced and alive that you can hardly recognise yourself. But Elizabeth has hardly changed. "Oh, you two were so sweet together. My favourite part is the next bit... the bit where you spiked her drink and took advantage of her. Remember that bit, Ryan?" No, you're lying, I didn't, I'd never, it wasn't, we were both drunk, she, she she... NO!

Suddenly, it all vanishes. Ritual, now clad in a long brown robe with dark red and blue glyphs inscribed on it steps back, looking apprehensively at Prophet.

The illusion of the church is coming apart at the seams. You are still in the sewers, right were you first entered the submerged tunnel system. The whole chamber is shaking as if an earthquake was building under it. In one corner, a steam pipe ruptures and, hot, clammy air swirls all around. As the illusion fades, your head feels worse and worse; touching your skull, you feel a massive bruise on the back of your head, the kind of injury caused by a really solid blow. It aches like hell.


Prophet steps forward, his fists slowly clenching tighter and tighter. The rumbling in the chamber grows ever more intense, and cracks start to form underfoot. A slurry of sewage from deep below the city wells up through the small fissures, making your footing slippery.

"Have you come to die at last, Sorcerer?" First the first time, Prophet's voice holds a hint of interest, even eagerness.

9th of August, 2005, 11:31

"Don't even look at me that way, I've heard 'em all. I like the name and I'm sticking to it."

She stares at you in polite incomprehension. Maybe it's not so funny in Mandarin.

"I do not believe you," she says levelly. "There is no one who can walk the path you walk without a guide. But you did not kill when you could have killed. You follow the government of this country. I think you have strayed from that path... and if you have, you have enemies stronger than I to contended with." Red Hare stands with perfect grace, closing the case.

"These are..." she glances down for a moment, searching for a word. "Evidence. They will stop a bad crime." As she speaks, the cyborg seems to regain consciousness. His eyes flick open, but remain only half-focused. He sits up suddenly, arms seeking the edge of the table. Wobbling, he tries to stand, but fails.

"Muh brainth," he grunts, eyes rolling wildly at you, then her, then you again. Drool leaks down his chin, but he forces himself to speak. "Gi muh muh brainth... pluth." Red Hare glares at him, her delicate features hardening, and lifts her leg. Her toe presses into his windpipe, making the stulutified man collapse back to avoid choking to death. He remains half-propped up, mumbling to himself.

Somewhere several floors below there is the sounds of thunder echoing through the building. It seems to be getting closer.

9th of August, 2005, 17:42
Astrid Brandt's Apartment, New York City.
Too damn early, January 17th 2010.


Two costumes hang on the door of her wardrobe, a study in contrasts.

The court suit is pricey and well cut, hire-purchased from the tailor everyone at the DA's office uses, but stylishly accessorised by her own hand (with Kristine's input).

The costume, on the other hand... made of a kevlar and silk weave (which is apparently crapped out by biotech spiders in a lab somewhere), black, and fits in all the right places. It's entirely possible that the universe itself would unravel if female capes didn't wear something body hugging, she reflects. Certainly the covert manufacturer she picked this doozy up from seemed to think so. While not as protective in and of itself as some designs, it does nothing to hamper her movements or natural defensive capabilities.

Each is a symbol; one speaks of obedience to the rules of society and trying to make things right by dancing the dance. The other promises it will do something to make things right. One walks the fine line between action and futility, the other the line between defender and extremist.

Astrid Brant sits on the edge of her bed, unable to sleep. The city rumbles to itself outside her window, quietly in this part of town. The beams of light coming through her blinds occasionally lashed down in brighter swathes as passing vehicles lit the night. It's not that O'Malley is an infrequent visitor to court; he's practically on first name basis with the bailiffs. It's just that it's rare there's a real chance to make any charges stick. Add in that this is her first big case as assistant prosecutor...

Recipe for no sleep.

It's funny how the definitions of vigilantism change over just a generation or two. Before the big 'supergroup' fiascos, before InterForce were revealed to be nothing more than powered thugs for the First World, before the Overwatch collapsed in a mess of political intrigue and personal scandals, before the NYPD turned a dangerous situation into a bloodbath, it was a pejorative term. The unaffiliated vigilantes were perceived to be lone wolves at best, deranged thugs at worst, unable to be trusted because they couldn't fit in to a sanctioned or publicly trusted team. But now, the whole idea of a team has fallen into disrepute; the public looks for hidden motives in any organisation. Sure, there have been attempts to revive the concept, but her own experiences with the Millennium Kids tell her how accurate public opinion is on the matter. What should have been a way to protect people turned into an orgy of marketing and clashing egos.

Now, superpowered individuals step forward to protect themselves, their communities; they call it 'grassroots heroism.' Somehow, they feel that people can be held accountable where groups cannot. Maybe they're right, maybe it's better; though her father would have disagreed. Nevertheless, that costume calls to her. She feels the inevitability of it; the law alone can't keep people safe. It calls to her, she thinks, finally drifting off...

Calls to her?

"Alright," calls a voice from the lounge. "I've got my eyes closed his time, Astrid. Don't tell me I'm missing anything good."

10th of August, 2005, 03:05
HP: 5/5; Status: Sleepy

Opening her eyes, Astrid sits up, looking over towards the voice. Something about it sounded familiar, but "off" at the same time. Something about it was unsettling, and she feels goosebumps race over her skin.

"Pardon?" the dark-haired woman asks, picking up her glasses before getting up to walk barefoot towards the living room. "Hello?"

10th of August, 2005, 08:49
Emotionally and physically drained to the point of being broken he watches as Prophet smashes through the "illusion" that ritual had created. One of his hands touching the back of his skull to see how damaged it was, he doesn't remember when he got hit but with Ritual mucking about in his noodle, who knows what really happened.

He almost laughs at the though of Ritual in his mind... like he really needed someone else in there screwing his brain up even more but all he does is fall to one knee the smell of the sewage not bothering him, nothing did at this moment, everything he had done or tried to do was garbage anyways so this seemed fitting in a way.

But yet something still drove him on, maybe it was one last act of defiance, spitting in the devil's eye as it were. If this is were it was going to end then at least he was going down fighting.

Not really sure how he is doing it he compresses the air between his hands and sends it flying at Ritual like a bullet.

ooc mach one attack with the extra ranged

10th of August, 2005, 11:48
The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Uninjured...and playing with nuclear fire.

As with so many moments of his life... all things seemed to slow... cascades of calculations... probabilities...potentials... danced as his mind raced to the words the entity gave him...

The numbers just aren't working... if he "detonates" here... at least the ground and the environment are more conducive to containment of the energies... If we remove it... him... they may get beyond his control. He may detonate in the atmosphere... cause a massive EMP pulse... it'd have far reaching catastrophic effects... If I had more time... one of the units appears to be intact... if I could re-charge it... maybe it would control the cascade...

OOC: Right... spending 1-2 Hero Points for "inspiration"... to figure one of the plans and implement it without causing catastrophe. Use more HP's as necessary.

11th of August, 2005, 09:25

As you slide the door between the lounge and your room open, a gentle ruby scintillation envelopes you. The room looks eerie in blood-red illumination, the couch, TV and shelves all casting flickering shadows.

Hovering three feet in the air is a translucent red hologram of a tall, boy-next-door-kinda-good-looking man, looking a touch more solid around the mid section than when you last saw him. He has one hand over his eyes, but deliberately peeks as you open the door, and puts on a theatrical look of disappointment when he sees your nightgown.

"Hey, Supra," Timothy 'Imago' Hunt smiles at you. "Or I should say, deputy district attorney Miss Brant. I'd apologise for dropping in and waking you, but I see you still can't sleep before a big fight, huh?" His expression turns a little more serious. "How're you doing?"

11th of August, 2005, 09:26


The illusion breaks apart at last, and where Elizabeth's living corpse stood in wedding apparel , Trisha now appears, a look of desperation etched on her face. Her voice sounds raw. A metal lockets hangs around her throat, and she carries a solid length of wood... which, you suddenly conclude based on little more than instinct, is the instrument responsible for giving you this near-concussion!

Ritual wobbles and flickers like a sheet on the line when your air missile strikes him. "Stop that, or I'll fill your bowels with radioactive scorpions," he says conversationally without looking around. The attack doesn't seem to have affected him in the least... could it be yet another induced hallucination?

Prophet extends his hand, and your skin crawls with the unseen, awful energies he channels. If this is his power... it's terrible to behold.

You can only describe it as the city going mad. It's as if you're trapped inside an earthquake. The ceiling and floors shatter, sending huge blocks of stone crashing down and jagged fissures open up; an underground powerline snaps and thick, rubber coated wires lash around Ritual, spitting bolts of electricity in all directions; a geyser of sewage explodes from a pipe beneath him; and a hurricane-force wind whips through the chamber, screaming and scouring all in its path. You narrowly avoid being pulled into the heart of the tempest of destruction, and Trisha is knocked sprawling, escaping the same fate by getting her arm caught on a piece of reinforced concrete.

The force exists only for a few seconds, and then the three of you are left alone in the room as the rumbles of the chaos slowly fade. Prophet has a grim set to his jaw as he surveys the walls of the chamber.

11th of August, 2005, 09:46
the Mechanic

Lines of equations and hypothesise grows around you like the filaments of a web. Input: Weight of the world. Bioplasma field. A Power source of extraterrestrial origins? Analysis: Fragile-state fusion cores need perfect force equalisation to disperse their waste materials and energies. On Earth, the planetary gravity field pulls it out of symmetry.

Short term solution? Remove gravity. That will, at least, stop the problem from worsening... though the fusion 'heart' looks like it's so close to the critical point that it could explode anyway.

Long term solution? If you could get him into outer space, the microgravity would help keep him balanced, and the void of space allows plenty of room to dump waste energy.

Or... shut down the heart. His anatomy seems to include radiation dampeners; these could be easily reconfigured into fusion nullifiers. It's his last one, though, and without a power source...

Or... split the load between the two hearts. If you could work out a way to restart the burned out sphere, there should be enough capacity to handle the power distribution and waste containment, at least temporarily. If you increase the density of the burned out sphere, stimulate fission, it should respond by reactivating fusion...

Or, heh, find the missing one.

So many possibilities swirl around your head that you feel giddy.

11th of August, 2005, 11:25
HP: 5/5; Status: Still sleepy, but also pretty damned sexy in her nightshirt

Astrid grins, remembering the last time her former teammate had 'dropped in.' She'd had panties on, at least, but had been forced to have most of the conversation hugging a pillow to her chest. She and Tim went back; they'd been teammates in the Millennium Kids, the ill-fated supergroup Astrid had joined after her father died, and had even had a fling that probably wasn't as brief as it should have been.

"I'm doing fine," the woman answers, putting on her eyeglasses so she can see the crimson, flickering image better. "And you know what you're missing, and you know it's good," she jokes, her voice a little raspy from the late hour.

Walking around to her sofa, Astrid watches Tim's image turn to follow her as she moves. Her nightshirt covers her to about mid-thigh, and the lean muscles in her legs flex when she sits down. She's in better shape now than she's been in her whole life; you'd never know it from seeing her in a suit, but nary an ounce of extra fat graces her body.

Running a hand through the messy dark curls of her hair, Astrid smiles crookedly at something else her friend said. "And no, I still can't sleep before a big fight. Though you know as well as I do that most of my big fights back then were with Maxipad and the Ice Queen. You also know how much I love being called Supra, so cool that crap. 'Astrid' will do quite nicely. As will 'your highness.'"

Hunt, as Imago, had always been the peacemaker on the team. He was forever getting people to forgive bad behavior, to apologize, and generally make nice-nice when egos and uglies bumped in the night. It had about killed him to see the team fall apart the way it did... wait. It didn't exactly fall apart. More like it exploded, without the Feel around eating everyone's angst. Regardless, Tim Hunt was the one Millennium Kid who was disappointed when the team broke up. Now he works for the government, if Astrid remembers right.

"So what's up, Tim?" she asks, stifling a yawn. "What brings you by at god-knows-what-time-it-is? Just wanted to catch up?" Her face darkens. "This better not be about another reunion."

[OOC: Ah, it was the "lounge" comment that initially threw me. In North America we call those "living rooms." I'm on the same page now. http://online-roleplaying.com/forums/images/smilies/smiley%20-%20nervous.gif]

11th of August, 2005, 12:32

His smile turns a little tight when you mention the others. He's always been a little uncomfortable about your bad relationships with the others, but there seems to be something else bothering him.

"It may be god-knows-what-O'clock where you are, but here in Kazakhstani airspace it's..." he turns his head, glancing at something that only exists where his physical body is, "...ugh. Ten thirty tomorrow.

"What brings me here? Well, Miss-suspicious, I heard that you've got your first big cases as ADA tomorrow. Today. I just wanted to check in and say good luck." He looks apologetic. "I would have called earlier, but Mr. Sigirrson of the Swedish Foreign Ministry has a very expansive pantry and wine cellar, and insisted I help him put a dent in it." He rubs his stomach by way of explanation. "But it sounds like a real meaty case. Sleaze bag crime bosses, real capes, the works."

He shifts in his aeroplane seat uneasily. "Actually, there is kind of something else I wanted to say. I was ordered from Stockholm to Beijing in a hell of a hurry a few hours ago. Word is, it's something to do with..." he pauses, and negotiates around whatever he was about to say. "Anyway, I sent one of my 'little red ears' to the Pentagon, to try and find out what's going on. Word is... well, I heard the words 'New York' and 'terrorist' in close proximity.

"I don't know if there's anything to it, but if you see or hear anything funny... well, you might want to get everyone you care about and leave town for a while."

11th of August, 2005, 13:04
HP: 5/5; Status: Now fully awake

Feeling a little guilty about directly asking the man what he wanted, Astrid's crooked smile straightens and warms. It is late, though, so she doesn't feel too guilty.

"It is a big case," she returns, deciding to keep her doubts about things to herself. "Real chance to start to make a name for myself in this profession, and more importantly, real chance to put one of the big names away. O'Malley's got his fingers everywhere. Nailing him will be like tagging the New York underworld on the chin. They'll be reeling."

Grabbing her Yankees hat from the shelf above the couch while she listens to her friend's tone grow serious as he talks about a potential attack on the city, Astrid settles back down onto the sofa, tucks her hair under the cap and frowns. "Oh, Jesus, that's all we need. Seriously?" Her thoughts immediately go to her mother, to her friends at the office, to her old college roommate Jane Kennedy who is working over at Channel 2 news. Terrorist attacks are absolutely terrifying, as trite as it seems to say. Even for a woman who can shrug off a tank shell on a good day, they are terrifying. The sheer randomness of them, the blind destruction, the sheer disregard for innocent lives, it's always made Astrid's stomach churn.

"Have you heard when this might happen?" she asks solemnly. "Or where? A public building or a landmark?"