View Full Version : Issue #4: Dream Of The Devil, Wake In Fear

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14th of September, 2005, 07:38
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 habituality 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 blasé. 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 today. 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, and that includes with your former handlers at the DoD. 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 again 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 and personal experiences 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.

14th of September, 2005, 09:13
Welcome to the Rising Sun intranet
The time is 10:12 hours. The temperature is 283 kelvin. The Rising Sun Meteorological Satellite weather report is frosty with an increased chance of snow by... (more) (http://www.rising-sun-applied-tech.org/corporate/intranet/meteorological/live_sat_feed_004002b/html).



Welcome, Mr. Thomas! Digital sentience prototype Socrates III is pleased to report all systems seem nominal. Of course, that how they seemed before the incident with the genetically engineered cobra.

Soc3: You have 104 new messages.
>> Run e-mail agent.
Soc3: Running.
Soc3: 99 of these messages have been classified as spam. Would you like to respond to them with an adaptive system diasbler virus?
>> Yes
Soc3: Virus upload successful. Well done, sir! The world is that little bit safer from snake oil merchants with their creams for enlarging, shrinking, and ensuring financial success!
Remaining messages:

Whyte.K.001 (AVP): [Urgent] Your input needed
Horne.K.001 (PA): Daily Status Report
Whyte.K.001 (AVP): [Urgent] Critical decision required
Whyte.K.001 (AVP): [Urgent] Recommended schedule
Lee.C.001 (cute): Upgrades

>> Download Daily Status Report to palmtop
>> Open Lee.C.001

From: Chyler Lee (Lee.C.001)
To: The Boss (Thomas.R.001)
Re: Upgrades
CC: Mechanical Special Projects Team

Hi, Rob :fun: How was your all expenses paid vacation courtesy of uncle sam? :evolved:

We've almost finished those modifications to the EVA suit you wanted; it's got the soundmaster gauntlets (though we had to cut back on the power) like you wanted and everything.

Come down and take a look when you can.

.xX{|Chyler|}Xx. :cat:

>> Close.
>> Transfer all messages from Whyte.K.001 to Low Priority file.
Soc3: There are 53 unread messages from Whyte.K.001 in the LPF, 53 marked URGENT.
>> Disable Whyte.K.001's ability to append the URGENT tag to messages.

>>Activate newsfeed. Standard keywords, plus: anasazi, green, radiation, sightings/encounters (metahuman). Collate and combine results; provide relevant excerpts.

Soc3: Scanning headlines...

Aliens attack the moon! (source: National Conspirator)
Astronomers baffled by lunar anomaly (source: BBC World Service
Unidentified green light spotted on moon (source: New York Times)
(+135 more sources)

6 hours ago ... ball of green energy, consistent with the flight manifestation of certain metahumans ... ascended from in front of the Centinel Building ... accelerated towards the moon ... flew out of the atmosphere without hesitation.NASA scientists and amateur star gazers watched the energy signature decelerate and land on a depression on the lunar surface ... NASA, NRO and NSA deny that it poses any threat ...

Metahuman Coup in Ghana? (source: International Herald)

President Atsu Omaboe of Ghana is in hiding today, as what seems to be a coup headed by a well-known national hero Paragon takes hold ... the Omaboe regime is well known for both its corruption and repression of dissident groups ... the African Union has denounced the coup, warning that it could destabilise the neighbouring states of Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin, which already suffer from above-average incidents of metahuman manifestation and violence ... reports of looting and rioting, but no military action ... former UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan, a native of Ghana, will be flying in to Accra today to assess the situation and offer mediation ...

Carnage at Madison Square Gardens and AeroDyne Corporation (source: New York Times)
Soc3: Looks like Quantum was involved in one, Osprey in the other. I'll download themto your palmtop.

Soc3: Appointment reminder: the O'Malley arraignment is at 10:45 today.
>> Thank you, Socrates. I'd better get down to the court.


26th of September, 2005, 09:00
Pendleton Minimum Security holding facility, New York City.
Cell F09
8:10 am, January 17th 2010.

“Ave Maria,”

Jerry O’Malley rolled the beads of the rosary between his fingers, murmuring the words of the Latin prayer in an undertone. The smoky light that filtered through the bubbled glass of his cells made the crisp lines of stubble on his jaw seem less clear, seemingly obliterating the careful work of the prison barber. Head bowed and eyes closed, he knelt in the bar-slatted beams of illumination, heedless of the motes that glittered and fell around him like tears for his sins.

“Plenus venia,”

An immaculate Italian silk suit was carefully arranged on the otherwise bare desk, in preparation for the trial in a few hours time. O’Malley himself wore a plain orange jumpsuit; no sense in creasing the knees of that suit, now. They may not be able to run the underworld worth a damn, but I’ll say this fer those I-tays; they know their fashion. I’d rather one o’their suits than the best bespoke Dublin finery.

“Dominus est vobis.”

"Mr O'Malley. Sir?" The voice came from a guard peering through the viewing slot of the door.

O'Malley opened his eye a crack, and gave an impatient twist of the hand, urging the guard to hurry up. The uniformed man dropped something which clunked heavily into the secure package drawer next to the door, and slid it through. O'Malley rose, dusting off his knees and approached.

"So then, David," he remarked in effusive good humour. "Hows that new recreation vehicle I hear you got? Bit of a spot 'o luck, the bank accepting your loan request like that, eh?"

The guard shifted uneasily. "It's, uh, very nice. Sir." To the gangster's ear, the man's reluctance was evident; but he'd decided to sup with the devil, and he could hardly pull back from their meal of corruption without getting in serious trouble with someone.

Lose yer job or lose yer kneecaps, sunshine.

"Present from your, uh, friend, Mr. Kilchurch," the guard continued as O'Malley pulled the brown paper-wrapped object out of the drawer. It's shape was unmistakeable; he twirled it in his hand with obvious pleasure. Tossing the shreds of paper aside, O'Malley quickly unwrapped the claw hammer, enjoying the feel of polished walnut against his calloused palm.

Having it smuggled in, even to a low-security prison like this was a stupid, expensive risk, he knew. But it was a point of pride; O'Malley considered himself a lion in a world of fat, stupid gazelles, and would not go before them without his teeth and claws.

"Well. Dinnae let me detain you," he said, turning his back on the guard and dropping the hammer into the pocket of his laid-out suit. "Busy day. Busy day."

As the guard departed, O'Malley swaggered over to the window, surveying the snow-crusted streets though the bars. Wouldn't be long before he'd be cleared at his arraignment, and then he's be free to get back to business.

26th of September, 2005, 12:05
The High Court, New York City.
Justice Is Blind
10:31 am, January 17th 2010.

Thirty-three minutes ago, the first event occurred in a chain that will inevitably lead to war, genocide, and destruction on a global scale.

But that is still tomorrow.

Today, the maize is asking for clemency.

Normally, Astrid Brandt considers professional presentation and timeliness to be a point of pride, even a necessity. But that was before someone took a gigantic crap in her lap.

DA John Kirwin caved to extortion and threats. She shakes her head, disbelieving. As if anybody could think other wise. It's so out of character for him... Part of her wants desperately to find her boss, make sure he's OK, wherever he's hiding. But there's no time for that. As she gets out of the taxi, cup of coffee in one hand and pile of casefiles, documents and testimonies under the other arm the cold winter air swirl through the gaps in your coat. Your metahuman physiology ablates the worst of the effect, however, leaving you just feeling chilled and miserable.

As you juggle your load and the taxi driver autodebits your credcard with a wave of his scanner, Kristine Edmons rushes down the stairs of the High Court, her grey wool coat with the silver synthsilk lining and GE-sable trim flapping. She holds a phone in one hand and a coffee in the other, the same badges of harassed lawyerdom as you.

"Ohmigod, Astrid. Ohmigod," she gushes as she skids to a halt on the clean-scraped sidewalk. "Are you going to call for a postponement? I mean, I know you can handle it," she adds hastily, "But I mean... John running off like that? That's serious. No-one'd blame you if you needed more time... we could even get DA Fielder back from his vacation by tomorrow."

You look around, regaining as much of your equilibrium as you can in this lunatic day. Lady Justice towers above you, her sword raised to smite the guilty and scales ready to exonerate the good. You can't help but feel a chill; some vandal has climbed up her noble facade, and painted two circles on the statue's face.

Justice is not blindfolded; she wears a mask.

There are plenty of reporters hunkered down around the granite steps that rise to the neo-classical front of the High Court. There's no sign of your friend Jane Kennedy, but a number of other journalists of note are there: Chris Tahner, WebNetNews' Ulrich Wachowski, and...

"Hey, isn't that Trisha Ling?" Kristine wonders aloud, pointing her chin. You glance around; despite the fact you'd heard she was on the lam from some nebulous corruption charges placed by the Centinel Foundation, she's here. You didn't recognise her at once, with her hair dyed and looking so... well, ragged. But she stands amongst her fellow reporters, chatting and laughing, notepad ready at her side.

For a moment, you feel uneasy. There sure are a lot of reporters here at your first arraignment.

"O'Malley hasn't been brought yet, but it shouldn't be long. And there's our star witnesses..." Kristine continues, nodding to a group of three men who stand unobtrusively to the side. You have to admire Kristine's eye for seeing people through their disguises or make-up; you wouldn't have recognised the Centinels that easily.

"See the one with brown hair, in the middle? I think that's Quantum... pretty cute without the lightshow, huh?" Kristine grins.

Quantum, Osprey & the Mechanic
Quantum was the first to arrive, having had a weird morning. Everything about the Centinel Building since he'd first got there a week ago had reminded him of how new it was: the hustle and bustle of people setting up their offices, calling maintenance as the new stuff failed to work right, finishing touches on the very building itself.

But now, that all seems to be running in reverse. People are packing, and there's nervous talk of an uncertain future ahead. He was unable to get a straight answer out of anyone, and Paul Forrester eventually decided that he had to get down to court for O'Malley's arraignment. Quantum had arrived too late for the fight with the gangster, but he can imagine the personal stake that the Mechanic and Osprey must have in the outcome. If this 'team' is to work, which looks more and more unlikely by the day, they'll have to watch out for each other like that.

Osprey arrives under his own power, sliding discreetly out of the air into a bare-branched park behind the High Court, then sauntering around to the front, still mulling over Danillo Fong's words.

"Cassat?! Where did you hear this name?" the old man asked as Rob munched on a mouthful of cornflakes. Further questioning on his part failed to dislodge much information from Fong, who seemed unusually worried and brooding over the matter. Rob's trainer excused himself quickly, leaving his pupil alone in the loft of the martial arts school.

Osprey stretches, keeping the various scrapes and bruises across his body mobile so they don't seize up. He notices Quantum standing in the snow-lee of the High Court's wings, and makes his way over.

Like Osprey, the Mechanic shows up looking a little worn out from his exertions. A quick meal in his office, a decon shower to remove any lingering radioactive particles, and a few hours sleep after the Blackfoot helicopter dropped him back in NYC barely scratched the surface of his tiredness. Only the residual thrill of mystery and discover keep him going... and wondering what became of the Anasazi, last seen flying from this city to the moon.

As his car parks itself a few blocks away self-drive, the Mechanic crosses the street to join his friends in front of the High Court.

Bolt steps out of the shower, his skin pink from scrubbing and steaming from the warmth. Twice now he's cleaned every nook and cranny, and yet the stink of sewerage, human despair and Satanic evil clings to him like a tainted skin.

Isaac, my editor, called me this morning and told me I'd been reinstated. I guess that snake from the Foundation was as good as his word. If you can make it, I'll see you at O'Malley's arraignment.

Take care,

The note you found on your chest when you awoke.

Dim memories of the previous night start to filter through your fatigue-blurred mind. A decent hotel this time; Trisha's credit cards, no longer blocked and programmed to trigger an alarm if used. You guess that snake form the Foundation was as good as his word. So far. Did you have one room, or two?

Did you spend the night with Trisha?

You rub your damp hair, unable to recall. Dropping the towel, you spin on the spot like a ballet dancer as superspeed. The sickening, rushing orbit of the walls makes a nice visual manifestation of your inner state, a roiling mass of sickness at once organic, emotional and psychological. A wave of droplets are blasted of your skin by air resistance, rinsing the walls of the bathroom and leaving you bone-dry.

After dressing, you resolve that the only thing that it makes sense to do is to go down to the High Court, as Trisha suggested. The other Centinels might be there... and you have a lot to explaint to them.

OOC: I've assumed you're all in mufti so you can appraise the scene from a normal perspective, without attracting oceans of media coverage. You can have your costumes on hand so as you can appear incognito, if you wish. Feel free to get back into intercharacter conversations and the like, exchange superwatercooler talk for as long as you wish. You each have exciting tales of the last day's activities, certainly.

26th of September, 2005, 12:56
The Mechanic
HP: 8/8; Status: Tired, but thrilled at his Close Encounter of the 3rd kind.
Robert walks across the street in his (rarely seen in the office) pseudo-Armani. The folks at the State department had nearly fallen over themselves placing orders for the things after the demo he'd had for the President... Any nice looking suit that could stop a .44 slug at close range was definitely something they were in the market for. No mask obscures his features... but folks rarely pay attention to him in a crowd now matter unless he's in full gear (there are benefits to being just another face in the crowd). A brief scan of the crowd of reporters across the street to identify friends, acquaintances and potential sources.
There are days I'm so grateful for eidetic memory... he thinks as he mentally compares photos he's seen with people in the crowd.

He makes his way to Osprey and Quantum... giving them a friendly grin.
"Fellahs... Looks like you had a busy night last night. I hear you dealt with a some thugs in town? How'd it go? And before you ask... yes I was out of town... and no I can't really talk about what I was doing... I will just say it was... enlightening."

26th of September, 2005, 13:46
Casa Blanca, New York City.
Former headquarters of the Invisible Hand
10:31 am, January 17th 2010.


What do you feel when you see the seat of everything you hate reduced to ruins?

Not in the physical sense. Casa Blanca, the 'White House', named in parody or tribute of the nation's capital remains as you last saw it: a blank-faced concrete slab of a warehouse, and probably just as riddled with training rooms, barracks and clandestine labs. Communications monitoring stations, psi-probe chairs, illicit records on every citizen in the country.

Keeping the American people safe from their own thoughts.

Snow falls gently grey all around as Sarah Kennedy brings her van to a halt a short ways down the street. This part of the city is all but deserted, even at this time of the morning; industrial buildings stand stoic and silent, their chimneys venting slowly if at all. The doors to the Casa Blanca stand in a small indentation, unostentatious. No. Physically, the building seems fine; but there is an aura of death about it, the smell of fear and of psychic blood in the water.

What sharks will have been drawn to it?

Sarah turns off the vehicle and stares out of the window moodily. You noticed that the van was set up as a mobile armoury and transport for a group of six people; half of the gear from the weapons lockers and the racks seems to be missing, and a few odds and ends indicate it was used fairly recently; a broken-into pack of toiletries, a ripped comic book, a scattered packet of peanuts.

"Security on the door shouldn't be a problem," the weapons tech says at last, slipping a baseball cap over her head. "It's not like whatever did this was concerned about being found out afterwards..."

26th of September, 2005, 15:31
HP: 5/5; Status: Frazzled but determined.

Almost slipping on a piece of black ice the city crews had missed as her coworker blasts her with bad news, Astrid manages a crooked but weak smile. "Good morning to you too, Kristine." Ignoring the other woman's comment about Quantum, she too dispenses with polite morning formalities. Cute as the Centinel might be, the assistant DA's stomach is churning far too hard to think about men at the moment. Hell, she hadn't been able to take more than a bite of the bagel she'd gotten from her favorite coffee shop, and she hadn't even flirted with Nash, the coffee guy. The super-hot coffee guy she always flirted with, every morning.

"We're not postponing," she says firmly as the pair head for the steps and the guantlet of reporters. "I'm not letting this bastard derail this before we even get it moving. We can call in Fielder if we need to later on, but I'm gonig to handle the arraignment." Before Kristine can even respond, Astrid sips at her steaming coffee and continues, a plan of action obviously already set in her mind.

"While I talk to the press I need you to speak with those witnesses, the Centinels guys. See if they've had threats too -- I had one last night. See if they also have, and double-fucking-triple check that they're planning on testifying as planned."

Seeing Ling and the other members of the media stir, sharpening their knives and spears at her approach, Brant pauses for a moment and touches her friend on the arm. "And look, I've been on the phone all morning, and I can't get a straight story. Where the hell is John? Is he okay? I heard he was sick, but you just said he ran off. What the hell happened? Tell me he's okay, Kristine."

26th of September, 2005, 17:34
HP: 5/5 status: Another day, another depression...

Ryan wipes away the steam from the mirror in front of him, looking closely at the reflection, he looked like hell and he still smelled like raw sewage... how long is that going to last? But at least they weren't being hunted by every law enforcement agency. Making a deal with 'Mr. Lizard' didn't make him happy but really what other choice did they have?

He smiles slightly thinking about the note that Trisha left, at least her life seems to be getting back to normal, although he was some what flustered about not remembering what happened last night, did they... "Don't be an idiot. You would remember that." He mutters to himself.

What he really needed was a good run, he glanced over towards the clock, yea he had time, a couple of fast laps around Manhattan would help clear his head. Running all ways helped clear the cobwebs...

Several minutes later the group of Centinels feel a blast of wind surge past them only to have Ryan appear a minute later coming around the corner. He stands before them for a moment, anxiety written on his face.

"Hey, hows everyone doing?"

27th of September, 2005, 11:03

"No? Okay..." Kristine hides a grin behind the rim of her coffee cup. Her expression turns more sober when you mention your boss. "He took his wife and kid and went upstate... he left a message, something about job-related stress, but no one really believes that. I think they have a place up near Albany, a little summer cottage."

You glance over her shoulder. Despite what you secretly hoped, the journalists are not tugging at the chain and slavering to rip into you - they've noticed your presence, but are not paying you any attention. Apart, that is, from Tahner, whose keen eyes are fixed piercingly on you. Maybe they haven't heard about Kirwin's abandonment of the case?

Kristine looks alarmed at your next piece of news. "Astri... they went after you, too? Ohmigod... what happened? Are you - well, no, I can see you're alright."

27th of September, 2005, 14:24
HP: 5/5; Status: Fully Caffinated

Astrid smiles inwardly at being wrong about the reporters. They were waiting for O'Malley, not her. Fair enough -- one less thing to deal with on a morning where it feels like she has about a hundred too many things to fix as it is.

She also breathes a sigh of relief when her coworker tells her the DA and his family are safe, though, from the sounds of it, in hiding. Probably a smart place to be, based on the chunk of human Astrid found herself looking at in fascination and disgust earlier that morning.

"Yeah, someone dropped a little something off at my apartment last night, something meant to intimidate me." Astrid adjusted her glasses as she returned Tahner's look. "But don't worry about me -- we need to make sure our witnesses are all still on board." Motioning with her head, she sets off for the three -- wait, now there are four -- men, Kristine beside her.

"Looks like these guys aren't looking for a statement from me after all, so let's just get these fellas inside. Funny things tend to happen around masks in public, so let's not tempt fate."

OOC: Heading over to the fellas... will wait to make my intro until after they've had a bit of a chance to catch up amongst themselves.

28th of September, 2005, 14:23
posted on behalf of LonePaladin via email


Paul tried to suppress a shiver in the early-morning wind; it carried a chill that even novas would find oppressive. Despite the heavy wool overcoat and vest, the wind seemed to eat right through to his skin. Perhaps it was his slacks -- for some reason, everyone considers a coat and hat enough to keep them warm, while their legs were protected by a mere slip of material. A nice pair of denim pants would've helped, but showing up in a courtroom dressed like a lumberjack wouldn't help any.

For a moment, he considered invoking his reality-warping field; with his recent epiphanies in its workings, he might even be able to figure out how to regulate its internal temperatures. Better to do that sort of playing around in the lab, he decided. Besides, I'm not here to show off today. We're playing 'What's-His-Face vs. The Other Guy' and flinging furniture and debris isn't the way to win.

As Osprey came gliding in, followed soon by the Mechanic, Paul greeted them both and pulled out his Thermos, filled recently with the best coffee he could get. Offering it to the pair, he asked, "Any idea where Bolt or the meat-shield are?"

28th of September, 2005, 14:52
The Mechanic
HP:8/8 Status: Dreading courtroom drama

"Any idea where Bolt or the meat-shield are?"

"Haven't heard from them since I got back in town. They didn't make the news like you boys did last night."

Setting his Haliburton on the ground Robert pulls his PCS from a pocket inside his suit. It humms faintly as it's operating systems kick in.

"I can try checking on their coord's if you'd like....Though if the Foundation is still looking at Bolt on those charges the rumor-mills been kicking around I'd be surprised if he showed. Then again, the rumors were also going around that Trisha Ling was involved in whatever it was. And she's over in with the press there." Robert comments as he indicates the mob in front of the courthouse waiting for O'Malleys appearance.

A rush of wind knocks over the Haliburton at the Mechanics' feet. He bends over and picks the case up again, as Bolt appears from around the corner.

"Hey, how's everyone doing?"

"Not bad. Wondering if you and Wreck were going to show as a matter of fact. Still... been wondering what's up. Word at the Foundation was that you were involved in 'corporate espionage' or something like that... though what kinds of secrets the Foundation could be keeping that would fall in that category bother me." Robert says, hanging onto his PCS in his left hand with the briefcase in his right.

29th of September, 2005, 02:46
HP: 5/5; Status: A fish out of water

He had a dream once, a commonly occuring nocturnal phantasm in the minds of men, that he was naked in a public place. Completely and unexpectedly unclothed. Exposed, and vulnerable. The psychology books he'd been reading had passed it off as not only pure symbolism, but frequently occurring during times of stress. It had only been a dream, but that sense of dread and urge to flee had stayed with him for a little while.

This was no dream, but he felt no less exposed.

Rob had come to court dressed in the suit provided by the Foundation and with his face uncovered as a nod to his colleagues, most of which he knew would be similarly attired. It had seemed a good idea at the time, a refreshing change of pace from skulking about in black leathers. It had turned into a disaster of anxiety. He had never before come to think of the vigilante Osprey as being separate from plain ol' Rob Holt, but now as he listened to his voice, paid attention to his demeanor, and found himself constantly scanning the place for anyone who might recognize him, he realized that the bifurcation was not only real, but distinct.

They didn't make the news like you boys did last night.

"About that, Mr. Thomas, there's something I need to--"

"And she's over in with the press there."

"I'm trying to figure something out--"

"Hey, how's everyone doing?"

"I need your help with--"

Motioning with her head, she sets off for the three -- wait, now there are four -- men, Kristine beside her.

'Ah, hell.'

Amazing. He was almost invisible here. Was it him? Is his 'plain old Rob' personality just that subdued? Even more distressing, should there even be so deep a schizm between 'plain old Rob' and Osprey? That was something to think about, maybe even talk over with Dr. Chernetsky or Master Fong.

Wow. Master Fong. He'd really gotten worked up when Rob asked him what "Cassat" meant. It was a lot like a parent wanting to know where his kid learned the f-bomb, but there was something deeper...Rob wasn't sure, but he'd come away with the nagging impression that Danilo had felt almost threatened to hear the word come from Rob's mouth. That alone made Rob balk at researching it, out of respect for the old man.

Some woman--probably a lawyer--approached the pack of heroes. Her face was a mask of intensity; clearly he wasn't the only anxious soul in the room, and she probably had good reason: God only knows how badly the deck is stacked against the prosecution, behind the scenes. Rob does not expect justice to win today, and by the vibe this public defender is giving off, neither does she.

OOC: He'll be changing into costume shortly after the conversation with Astrid.

29th of September, 2005, 18:26
Well that went a lot better then he had expected, but what had he really expected? That they would attack him on the spot? Ignore him outright?

No he didn't really know what to expect so this mild acceptance was nice, kind of like a family, no matter how badly you screw up they just accept you for who you are.

"Not bad. Wondering if you and Wreck were going to show as a matter of fact. Still... been wondering what's up. Word at the Foundation was that you were involved in 'corporate espionage' or something like that... though what kinds of secrets the Foundation could be keeping that would fall in that category bother me."

"Why am I not surprised that they would say that," Ryan states with a small sigh, "no that's not what happened at all. It started right after we got together for those drinks, Trisha dug up some 'questionable' information about the Centinels, now she obtained the info by some 'queationable' tactics herself but at the time I didn't know that, I guess it wouldn't have really mattered if I did. Anyways some of the Cent. security guards tried to grab her and before I knew it we were on the run. We decided that we needed more information on the Cents and that involved going into the sewers..."

Ryan gives a brief run down on the mole people, Ritual and focusing more on the meeting with the Seer and 'Mr. Lizard'.

"What happened while I was gone? Where is Wreck anyways?"

1st of October, 2005, 01:52
HP: 5/5; Status: Taking Charge

Astrid Brant is an attractive woman, even on a morning where she's overtired, overworked, over-caffeinated and under-confident. Her black hair, tousled in the morning wind, is just the right kind of sexy-messy, and her black-stockinged legs, visible from the knee down beneath both her skirt and grey overcoat, are toned and shapely.

"Gentlemen," she says upon reaching the group of men, her blue eyes meeting each man's in turn, "I'm Astrid Brant, Assistant DA, and this is Kristine Edmons, also with the DA's office. District Attorney Kirwin had to excuse himself due to illness, so I'll be handling the arraignment. Before we get started in the courthouse, I wanted to see if any of you had questions, and am also interested in knowing if any of you have received threats of any kind from O'Malley or this allies." Adjusting the case files under her arm as Kristine nods her own hellos to each of the Centinels, she adds, "And it looks like we're short a body, right? Wreck? Is he running late?"

4th of October, 2005, 02:38
The Mechanic
HP:8/8 Status: Dreading courtroom drama
Rob looks over to Astrid as she steps up towards the group.
I'm Astrid Brant, Assistant DA
Assistant DA? I thought the DA was chomping at the bit to get O'Malley behind bars for good.... I was sure he was covering this case.
District Attorney Kirwin had to excuse himself due to illness, so I'll be handling the arraignment.
"Ah... I see." Rob says under his breath watching Astrid as she speaks to the others. O'Malley's people must have put some serious pressure on him or his family...Major threats perhaps...Too bad whatever it was isn't usable in court.
I wanted to see if any of you had questions, and am also interested in knowing if any of you have received threats of any kind from O'Malley or this allies. And it looks like we're short a body, right? Wreck? Is he running late?
Ah... and there it is.Rob thinks to himself, as his suspicions are confirmed.

"Difficult to say Ms. Brandt." Robert replies, "I know that I haven't heard anything from him for several days. Granted we just met a short time ago, but I presume he'd be here." He pauses a moment... thinking on other possibilities, "Of course, with his track record it's entirely possible O'Malley's people found him and decided to pay him off. He's a tad....Mercenary is the best way to put it." He looks around the group for confirmations or denials, then moves on. "On the matter of threats... I haven't recieved anything.. but my company's security is pretty tight. It'd be difficult at best for any of O'Malley's people to try anything and not be caught. If they were trying to threaten me that is... Also, I've been out of town for a few days. Some work for the government you could say. That may have kept them from trying anything."

A brief pause follows, then.. "Oh... I forgot... I'm Robert Thomas. You'll likely be calling me the Mechanic."

4th of October, 2005, 08:15
hp 5/5 status: and so the last player appears...

Ryan's head snaps up quickly as the rather attractive woman introduces herself. Could this be the person that the Seer was talking about? Could he even trust what the man had told him, (even that was remarkably little,) It was obvious that whatever happened to him had left him stark raving mad but that didn't mean he was lying, it just meant that figuring out what was real and unreal would be a lot harder to seperate.

Then again what are the odds that two people would be named Astrid...

"Excuse me, what did you say your name was again?"

4th of October, 2005, 13:29
HP: 5/5; Status: A fish out of water

"He's a tad....Mercenary is the best way to put it." He looks around the group for confirmations or denials, then moves on.

The other Rob lets out a barking hiss of obvious contempt, then mumbles. "Glad I'm not the only one that sees it."

"...interested in knowing if any of you have received threats of any kind from O'Malley or this allies."

"Only every day of my life for the past six months." He doesn't mean to say it out loud, but the words spill forth anyway, garnering reproachful glances from his teammates. "Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, sorry. I have not received any direct threats related to what's going to happen today. And I'm willing to bet that his lack of interest in intimidating us means that he's got some kind of ace up his sleeve which he believes will neutralize our testimony." Blue eyes slide across to meet Astrid's gaze. "You and Kirwin are the ones he wanted to make sure didn't show up today; you and Kirwin are the ones that have him nervous. Nervous to the point of using a mighty big hammer..." He pauses, swallows, and resists the urge to clop polycarbonate teeth together. "To the point of abandoning subterfuge and guile in favor of raw visceral terror. Somehow, in O'Malley's mind, while he's certainly not forgotten about us, we've become incidental to the issue, and you're the problem that needs to be dealt with." He delivers this last part with an unexpected amount of gravitas, trying to ignore that it came out sounding like a threat.

4th of October, 2005, 17:35
HP: 5/5; Status: Suddenly thinking she didn't have enough coffee, and hoo boy that one guy is a little off.

"Mr. Tomas," Astrid says with a nod when the Mechanic finishes. "And it's Astrid Brant -- no 'd' in Brant," she says to Bolt when he asks after her name again. When the other Rob -- the moody one -- lets loose this little diatribe, Astrid smiles and appears to take it in stride.

"I won't have a problem standing up to Mr. O'Malley or his friends, I assure you." Brant's gaze, framed by her stylish glasses, is tired but steady as she looks from man to man while asking her next question. "So... I can rely on all of you, then? Your testimony is going to be crucial in this case. While O'Malley might be focusing his attentions on my office at the moment, there's a very real chance you're going to receive threats of some kind. I need to know I can count on you. Without the eyewitness accounts you can provide we're looking at circumstantial evidence at best, and he'll beat charges like that without blinking. I've personally seen him do it twice before."

Exhaling, the black-haired woman looses a long wisp of breath into the morning air and readjusts some of the load she's carrying while waiting on their answers.

6th of October, 2005, 06:08
I should probably be keeping LP more up to date... he's running a little behind, conversation-timeline-wise

For just a moment, Paul has to resist the urge to laugh at Rob; the poor man looks like he needs to pee. Knowing it probably won't help the man's nerves in the slightest, he unscrews the cap from his Thermos and fills it about half-way with hot coffee. He offers the cup to Rob. "Here, drink this. It'll give you the good kind of jitters, instead of this 'maternity-ward waiting-room' type you've got."

He looks at the gathering crowd. "You guys realize that I have almost nothing to contribute to this. By the time the Foundation geeks thawed me out, most of the action was over. I've only met one of the antagonists, and that was at the stadium fiasco -- and I can't think of how they'd be connected."

6th of October, 2005, 06:41
Ryan studies the woman in front of him for a few moments, she doesn't seem to scare easily but something was making her nervous but he couldn't quite figure out what that was. Maybe she didn't like being around capes, it wouldn't have been the first time it happened.

"I can assure you Ms. Brant, that none of us can be intimidated very easily. O'Malley's people probably went after you, figuring that you would an easier target." He tells her with a shrug, "as for Wreck, I have to agree with the Mechanic, they probably gave him a fist full of cash and he took off but the rest of us are more than happy to help you put O'Malley away for a long long time."

He pauses for a moment as she readjusts what she is carrying.
"Do you want a hand with some of that?"

8th of October, 2005, 08:17

Paul always loves it when a conversation gets carried away. Osprey's little monologue was almost worthy of the comic books. Almost. Heh. Once everyone pauses for breath, Paul speaks up.

"Miss Brant, I received a direct threat, with a demand, very recently -- on the night of the fiasco at the stadium. I was there when Devolution turned up and started a riot. I managed to get him away from anyone he could influence, and when I got back for damage-control, the gang's pet teleporter was there. He made it pretty clear that his employer wanted me out of the city for good, and implied physical harm if I didn't agree."

He paused, unable to help smirking. "Like any good hero, I told him where he could put the offer, and the threat."

12th of October, 2005, 14:37
The Mechanic
HP:8/8 Status: Wondering what happened to all the evidence.
"So... I can rely on all of you, then? Your testimony is going to be crucial in this case. While O'Malley might be focusing his attentions on my office at the moment, there's a very real chance you're going to receive threats of some kind. I need to know I can count on you. Without the eyewitness accounts you can provide we're looking at circumstantial evidence at best, and he'll beat charges like that without blinking. I've personally seen him do it twice before."
"I have quite a vivid memory Ms. Brant. My eyewitness testimony should prove fairly ample evidence I hope... It's been accepted by the court in the past, in any case." The Mechanic says, looking around and wishing that the coffee cart was JUST a bit closer. "I am curious about the evidence though... I know that at least one of the mechaical combat drones was submitted as evidence. The police and the Foundation gave me the other to inspect. They were both major pieces of military hardware... pretty illegal for any private citizen to own. And they were both in O'Malley's warehouse."
He stops thinking to himself... "Ah well... I never did fully understand all the twists and turns of our modern legal system. It's especially difficult where the Vigilance Comission and "vigilates" are concerned. I suppose I'll just have to leave the legal manuvering to the professionals." He smiles broadly at the lovely litigator and picks up his Haliburton from the ground.

"Is there anything else you feel you need to brief us on before court; other than the usual; make your statements clearly, don't pause, don't stutter, don't say "Um"?" he asks, obviously preparing to move into the courtbuilding, checking his passes to show to the courtroom guards.

17th of October, 2005, 13:57
HP: 5/5; Status: Feeling guiltly for the lull in the conversation. Sorry!

"I'm okay, thanks," Astrid answers, reshuffling some of what she's carrying while making eye contact with the speedster. Listening while the other Centinels converse, she raises an eyebrow at Kristine. "Call the Foundation, try to verify Wreck's whereabouts and if he was even planning on being here this morning."

Looking to Paul, she continues, "Have you reported that incident? I need statements on things like that, we need it in the public record to use. Talk to the police this morning after the arraignment if you haven't already, please."

Then turning to the technical genius known as the Mechanic, Brant nods. "We do have a fair bit of physical evidence, the military drones and all the Chinese guns, but it's you guys who can place O'Maley at the scene and describe what he was doing there -- as well as the arms dealer." Giving the group a practiced 'follow-me' head nod, the attractive, smartly-dressed woman begins leading the pack up the broad steps of the courthouse.

"There's no testimony or anything today, so no worries on that. This is just the arraignment, where the judge hears the charges and decides if there is a case, sets bail, that sort of thing. And don't worry -- we'll be running down your testimonies in great detail before you ever take the stand."

18th of October, 2005, 19:00

Snagging his cup from Osprey, he hastens to fasten it to his Thermos while following Astrid. As they ascend the steps to the courthouse, a question occurs to him -- and, naturally, it goes straight to his mouth, sans any sort of editing or proofreading.

"Are they planning any sort of precautions? A lot of people involved are going to have the ability to cause all sorts of chaos. I wouldn't be surprised if their resident teleporter tries to send the judge's gavel into a witness."

20th of October, 2005, 09:51
hp: 5/5 status: fine

Ryan says nothing as he follows the others towards the building, only listening half heartily, lost in his own thoughts.

"If she is the one that the Seer mentioned, how am I going to get the information that I need from her? Its not like he could just ask her... Excuse me, a rambling lunatic said that you had information for me, is that true?"

"Yea, sure that will work..."

Ryan is brought out of his thoughts by Quantum's question.

"I don't think he would be dumb enough to come here. Besides we beat him before and we can do it again, if we have to."

21st of October, 2005, 13:32
HP: 5/5; Status: Leading the charge

Climbing the slippery steps without difficulty despite the stylish low-heeled boots she's wearing, Astrid responds to Quantum's question after Bolt comments.

"Well, if they do try anything, we'll be ready for it," she half-lies, not really knowing if John had set up any kind of security measures. She'd certainly get them into place before the trail started, but there just wasn't time this morning if O'Maley's crew was going to try anything. Biting at her lower lip as she reaches the top step, the woman decides there isn't much to be gained by keeping the Centinels in the dark. Turning, she comes clean.

"Look, we think the DA's had a threat on his life, or on the lives of his family. This has really fallen into my lap this morning and I don't have all the answers yet. I doubt these jokers will try anything at the arraignment, but if they do, I have a feeling we might be a little undermanned. We'd appreciate your support, within the bounds of the law, if anything happens."

21st of October, 2005, 21:42

Paul frowns at this. "I wouldn't put anything past him, Ryan. I only talked to him for about a minute -- long enough for him to threaten me, really -- but he seemed like the sort to enjoy causing trouble. Also, he knew me by name, and I hadn't been there to help you out until near the end -- long enough to rush Osprey to the hospital."

As they reach the top of the steps, he comes to a decision. "It's weird. While I had my field up, I could sense him, somewhat. Also, he mentioned my own power bothering him, like it gave him a headache or something. I'm not going to start any teleporting, but I think everyone should be ready in case he does make an appearance. If so, I'm going to get him out of the line of fire before he can do much damage.

"I just hope it doesn't come to that."

23rd of October, 2005, 09:24
hp: 5/5 status: In one of his better moods

Ryan nods his head in agreement to what Paul says. "True but whoever is backing Port obviously has a lot of power and contacts but as of yet he hasn't even tried to get O'Malley out, why wait until now, why not just teleport in, grab him and then teleport out. Simple, fast, clean. No, O'Malley is just a expendable pawn to this person, he had his uses but now that he is caught it isn't worth it to try and retrieve him." At this point Ryan pauses for a moment before continuing to talk. "Actually, O'Malley might even be in danger from this guy, if he knows too much that is. We might end up having to protect him." He adds with a small smile. "Wouldn't that be ironic?"

25th of October, 2005, 18:43

"It would keep ME busy. It seems that this 'Port' guy can't teleport things through my field. Not to mention that it gives him migraines." He shakes his head, bemused. "I can thumb my nose at Newton and Einstein at the same time, but have to take a cab here to avoid drawing attention. Sheesh."

26th of October, 2005, 15:04
HP: 5/5; Status: Thinking...

"Hopefully that won't be necessary," Brant says to Quantum, silently hoping to high hell that none of the Centinels' skills are going to be called upon during the arraignment or trial. She remembers what battles involving novas, mutants, altereds and hyper-techies are like -- not pretty, and innocent people often end up a lot worse off than the super-powered combatants.

Then addressing Bolt's comment, Astrid says, "And you're right. O'Malley has the ability to finger a lot of different people if he flips, as unlikely as that sounds. There may well be people like this 'Port' character who'd just as soon shut him up for good without even giving him a chance to deny the charges."

Stopping just outside the huge courthouse doors, the attractive, dark-haired woman turns back towards the men assembled behind her, towards the handsome teleporter, the on-edge speedster, the incredibly gifted inventor and the quiet, intense martial artist.

"The teleporter really could be a problem, and we can't expect Quantum to by on hand to defend against him 24/7... so what about using a device?" The assistant DA's intensely blue eyes land on the Mechanic. "Can you put together some kind of dampening field?"

29th of October, 2005, 09:24
Verve, Bolt, the Mechanic, Quantum

Jerry O'Malley is not a good looking man by any stretch of the imagination, but he does have a kind of animal charisma at some times, a vanguard of confidence brought on by wealth, power, and walking over the whimpering bodies of crushed enemies. Stepping out of the prison van like it was a limo, dressed in a fine gunmetal silk suit (not one of his, the Mechanic thinks with an odd touch of pride) rather than an orange jumpsuit, and grinning like a movie star, New York's crime boss immediately becomes the centre of attention. Trisha Ling, who'd been trying to communicate with Bolt through some secret woman eye-code he couldn't hope to understand is lost from sight in the crowd of baying, mike-waving journalists that surge towards O'Malley. The police flanking him keep them at arm's length, but nevertheless all you can see is his grizzled red braids bobbing between heads and shoulders. His lawyer swims through the crowd next to him, very much a shark scenting for blood. Alex Waters, tall, blond, text-book good looking quickly scans the area, and spots Astrid Brant ascending the stairs, glancing back past the nondescript, uncostumed superheroes. He smirks; a smug, oh-this'll-be-too-easy expression that fills the metahuman acting DA with a momentary flash of rage.

The three men share a slightly uneasy, slightly amused glance; it's lucky that Osprey ducked around the corner to change into his disguise, or he might have launched into an attack already. Something about the way the murderous bastard is already strutting around like he's cock of the walk sets you on edge, and that's without the kind of personal vendetta that the flying martial artist has.


Superman never got arrested for public nudity.

Rob Holt scowls bitterly as he hops on the spot, squeezing one leg into his costume pants. Stripped down to his thermal skivvies, the winter morning raises goose bumps in the most uncomfortable of places, so he hurries as best he can. Does the cold make the leather shrink or something? he thinks exasperatedly.

True, the only people likely to see him changing are those in office towers overlooking the High Court. The roof is quite high and buttressed with ornate carvings around the edges, making a line of sight from the ground difficult, and planes seldom fly over the city any more, thanks to Homeland Security regulations. And that should make him feel better, but it doesn't, really.

With a sigh of relief, Osprey slips into the jacket of his costume, fixing closed the hidden zips and buckles that hold the ensemble together. As he reaches for his cowl, his keen ears pick up an odd noise, even over the bustling media circus in front of the courthouse. From somewhere out the back of the imposing legal edifice, a slurred voice mumbles and yells as if the owner is afraid for his life.

30th of October, 2005, 08:11

Paul mutters sotto voce, keeping himself below the cacophany of the reporters, but just enough for Astrid and his companions to hear. "Oh, this ought to be fun. He looks particularly predatory today; wonder where his chums are?" He lets the others find the pun on their own.

30th of October, 2005, 10:31
The Mechanic
HP:8/8 Status: Devising a new toy.
"Can you put together some kind of dampening field?"
The gearhead smiles. "Sure... I'll have something together by the time we're done today." He pulls out his PCS from his jacket's inner pocket. A few keystrokes and he's looking at one of the newer projects from his lab, resulting from his previous encounter with Port.

"Now let's see..." he mutters, "if I add a energy response reciever to the original design..." he taps a couple keys... He looks up as the mob of reporters and the crook pass by.
Hm... wonder why he thinks he'll have it so easy? Rob thinks to himself as the grinning crime boss passes by. Might be that he doesn't see us here backing up the DA... If he's that dumb Ms. Brant shouldn't have any problems.

He glances back at the screen in his hand... A device to prevent teleportation shouldn't be a problem in the short term... But given enough time, there might be a way through it. Well... in anycase it'll give me some extra time to think of additional countermeasures.

31st of October, 2005, 14:34
HP: 5/5; Status: Disliking Waters, hoping Osprey isn't about to wig out and attack

Brant's eyes follow Waters and O'Malley as they slide through the crowd like eels through oil; she's fuming internally at the expression on the lawyer's face, and at the confidence and arrogance the crime boss displays. It's no secret what money and connections can do in the city she's called home her whole life, and deep down Astrid somehow senses the odds are against her despite the prepondance of evidence, despite the witnesses she's standing with. She's seen the deck stacked the wrong way too many times over the past few years to feel any other way.

"Great," the woman says when Thomas answers and begins working on his PDA. As Waters and O'Malley make their way up the steps to their position, Astrid makes cool eye contact with the blond lawyer and holds it. "Osprey is going to be able to hold it together with all this, right?" she asks the men she's with quietly, her gaze unflinching. "I know O'Malley's attack on him was brutal. Where did he say he was going?"

1st of November, 2005, 13:08

"Probably changing," Paul replies. "He's never been very comfortable in his civvies."

2nd of November, 2005, 07:44
hp 5/5 status: good mood is slipping away

Ryan smiles slightly as he tries to decipher Trisha's 'eye-code' before giving up and he mouths the word 'later' to her. That smile fades as O'Malley and his lawyer come into view.

He has never liked lawyers, in his mind they were dirtier then the slime they defended but in this case he was going to make the exception, Walters was scum, no doubt about it but no where near as bad as O'Malley. He was rotten to the core, there was no redemption for this man. It was him and people like him that walked over the weak without a care. They were the ones that ruined people, destroyed families, killed innocents just so they could line thier pockets with more blood money.

"Arrogant, smug bastard." Ryan thinks coldly as he stares hard at the Irish mobster.

5th of November, 2005, 12:01
Verve, Bolt, the Mechanic, Quantum

The press are turned back half way up the stairs by an officer of the court, who begins checking credentials and permits with the air of a man for whom bureaucracy is it's own reward. The allowed reporters are sent in one by one, including, you note, both Tahner and Ling.

O'Malley and his entourage head up to the doors. The gangster glances across at you, and calls out, his voice like mocking toxin oozing between those nicotine and coffee-discoloured teeth.

"'Lo, lads. Where's the big fella at? Don't cha tink ya might be needin' 'im?" He gives a bark of laughter, before one of the marshals grabs him by the shoulder - perhaps a bit harder than absolutely necessary, you're glad to see - and mutters somethig to him about settling down. O'Malley wrenches free of the man's grip and complies... though not before lifting one hand, thumb up, index finger extended, and 'firing' the symbolic gun at ADA Brant with a wink and a click of tongue against palate.

The guards hustle him inside just as another van pulls up. Dressed in more conventional prisoner garb, the bald, muscular bodyguard Hamlet is levered out of the seat and pushed up the stairs. Apart from a few camera flashes, the media ignores him, looking despondently after their lead story as he heads inside.

7th of November, 2005, 14:54
HP: 5/5; Status: the leather ain't all that shrinks


It's exactly that kind of cry for help that got Rob into this game, and most days or nights he'd already be in motion, a flitting shadow ready to dole out the stick finger of justice. But this day has an overbearing purpose, one which Osprey has a vested interest in seeing through; he cannot afford to be distracted. He must be there today, must give his testimony, regardless of his fears regarding the outcome.

But, all the same, the man's apparent terror strikes a note within him, a timbre that cannot be ignored. Rob's attention slides back and forth from the courthouse to the direction of the ruckus. God, he has to be there when he is called. Has to. If he's not--or God forbid, shows up with blood on his leathers--then his entire testimony may be endangered. Or so he believes. Rob's knowledge of courtroom drama isn't exactly comprehensive, and he knows it, but he'd just as soon not mess this up if he can avoid it.

His gaze comes to rest facing the shouts, and he sighs. If he's going to pull this off, he better be quick.

OOC: Not dashing in just yet, but he will head that way and try to find out what's going on.

8th of November, 2005, 03:38
HP: 5/5; Status: Ready to roll

Brant offers a stony expression as O'Malley pretends to shoot her, not saying anything as he gets moved inside.

Try it, please. It'll be all we need to seal the deal.

John has a family to worry about, as well as his personal safety, but Astrid isn't about to give in to such thuggery. With her mother now under police protection and her own abilities evidently unknown to the gangster, one thing she's not worried about is some two-bit hitman shooting her in the back on the subway.

Moving her eyes to the other defendant as he arrives and is also escorted inside, the attractive assistant DA finishes her coffee and looks back to the Centinels. "It's almost time to head inside. How long does it normally take for your boy Osprey to get into his getup?"

8th of November, 2005, 10:12

A black shadow moves across a white world.

Osprey leans over the edge, working his jaw muscles to make the cowl sits properly over his head. The snow in the alley looks like rushing water, caught in the middle of a tidal change; a pale, curling carpet that overlies the harsh concrete angles of the gap. Unlike most alleyways in New York, this one is free of overturned dumpsters, garbage cans and old boxes; instead, black ironwork pipes creep down the sides of the buildings, plumbing so old it probably remembers what it's like to be shat in by a pilgrim.

A man in a filthy, tatty coat sways from side to side in the middle of the alley, holding a shiv, an improvised knife made from a length of sharpened metal. His elbow sticks out at an odd angle and then bends back towards the body, so that he seems to be holding it to his own throat, as if shaving with it or, bizarrely, holding himself hostage. His other arm wiggles around a bit, twitching nervously, and is holding something the size of a large box of matches. As you watch, he gives a garbled moan, as if pleading for his life. His arm moves, raising the knife to his temple, where a drop of blood wells up.

At the far end of the alley a cleaner, ordinary looking man in a grey coat and a fuzzy deerstalker hat watches impassively, his hands thrust into his pockets.

OOC: The homeless guy with the shiv is about 30' down from you, and the watcher about 70' from him.

8th of November, 2005, 18:36
hp: 5/5 status: Really not liking Irish mobsters right now

Ryan glares at O'Malley as he enters the building, hatred evident in his eyes, he even takes an involuentary step towards the man before stopping and addressing the attractive ADA.

"How bad is it if Wreck doesn't show up?"

8th of November, 2005, 20:05

Paul snickers. "If it were Bolt, he'd've stripped down to his birthday suit and back in the time it took you to ask that. Should be any time now."

15th of November, 2005, 06:10
HP: 5/5; Status: Ready to roll

Brant checks her watch and grimaces inwardly. First Wreck is a no show, now the twitchy one is AWOL. Maybe he really was just taking a while getting into his getup, but she couldn't quite reign in her concern. Having been a member of a well known superteam, she remembered the kinds of personalities that were usually involved.

"We'll get by without Wreck today," she finally says to Bolt. "It's just the arraignment today. The judge will hear and set the charges, bail, that sort of thing -- none of you will be required to testify or anything. I'm still going to name Wreck as a witness, and then we'll see if we can't hunt down why he's a no-show this morning." Continuing, she exhales into the cold morning air and adds, "And we're all going to be able to keep our cool in there, right, no matter how badly you want to give O'Malley & company what they deserve?"

18th of November, 2005, 13:58

"I'm good," Paul replies. "Heck, I haven't seen much, so I couldn't be much of a witness anyway."

19th of November, 2005, 07:30
hp: 5/5 status: fine

"Don't worry about me, I'll play nice. I'll keep an eye on Ospry as well, he has the biggest reason to hate O'Malley." Ryan responds with a small shrug

28th of November, 2005, 11:39
Verve, Bolt, the Mechanic, Quantum

Astrid can taste blood.

Is that because in this place, she's the shark, the one with the skills and killer instinct, while Jerry O'Malley is deprived of his guns and his muscle and his fear?

Or is it because she's chewed the inside of her lip too hard?

Her heels tap on the mirror-bright grey marble floor of the High Court's atrium; smart, assured. Ryan Sander's grubby sneakers, every last trace of the sole worn away by friction, squeak nervously, feeling out of place in the halls of justice. Rob Thomas' shoes clip and clop - with an underscore of pneumatic hissing, the smart air valves adjusting to cushion his feet as he walks; too consumed by their own technology to notice where they are. Paul Forrester wonders idly why his shoes don't make any noise - until he looks down and realises he's levitating a millimetre above the surface, and hadn't even noticed. Weird. He wills himself down to the ground, quenching the ultraviolet glow of his warp-aura.

Staircases sweep high and low all around, leading to the smaller courtrooms on upper floors and underground. Crime is a big industry in New York, and the justice factory that services it needs to be equally large.

Security is tight today. Police officers, Federal Marshals and guards line the walls, most carrying obvious weaponry. Most of them have their eyes firmly locked on O'Malley, and from the way some seem to be resisting the urge to scratch their itchy trigger fingers, they look like they want to deliver justice and retaliation with a cordite medium. Others seem more circumspect; are they worried about the possibility of a power vacuum if O'Malley falls, a return to the bad old days of a hundred crime lords, rather than the brutal stability of one? Or are they wondering who'll pay them their under the counter black wages of used bills in an envelope now?

The Irish gangster steps into the arch of the metal detector. Waves of neutrinos traverse his body at the speed of light, passing through flesh, bones and clothing at minutely varying rate. The software analyses these changes in speed, noting the metal in his teeth, his ear, the buttons on his coat, studying their shapes and compositions, dismissing them as harmless - until it gets to his right cost pocket. An alarm barks in warning, and a beam of laser light points out the slight bulge in the fabric. A chorus of safeties flick off, welcoming this news.

O'Malley raises his arms slightly, lips open in an expression that is in no way a smile. "Easy, lads..." One of the Marshals springs on him, patting him down and reaching into the pocket. The man carefully removes the plain, wood handled claw hammer, and drops it into an evidence bag.

"Our Lord was a carpenter..." he says in a mocking tone, looking around the law enforcers. He's grabbed and pushed forwards, his lawyer, Alec Waters, following with a flat expression.

The rest of you approach the metal detector, and a policewoman steps forward, holding out a tray for anything you wish to deposit before entering the court.

28th of November, 2005, 18:01
HP: 5/5; Status: Gettin Frisked

Astrid drops her keys and phone into the container and approaches the detector with confidence, shaking her head after O'Malley is finally waved through.

Where the hell did he get that?! she thinks to herself. That's a fucking piece of evidence!

It shouldn't surprise her, but the audacity of the man trying to sneak a weapon into the proceedings is simply staggering, especially that weapon. He must be every bit as crazy as they say. Hopefully she'll be able to use that.

Checking around her, the woman looks to see if Kristine is back from trying to track down Wreck. This hammer business would bear futher looking into. No doubt money changed hands a number of times before the hammer did, and that meant they'd have a trail to follow -- if they got lucky.

29th of November, 2005, 16:23
HP: 5/5; Status: omg wtf

'What an eccentric display.' At his core, Rob is essentially a normal young man, with a normal perspective on life and the people in it. The irony is that, given the time-and-space bending powers of just two of his teammates, a "normal" perspective should be something of a relic in his brain, if not a patently absurd mode of thought. Still, it persists, and even now Rob realizes that he's looking down upon something that has no easy explanation. There are easily two distinct directions this scenario could turn, one involving an apathetic passerby responding (or not responding) to a desperate and possibly maddened plea for help, the other raising the question of "Is there something more sinister at work here?"

'Does there always have to be something more sinster at work? Isn't it more likely that this is just a totally messed-up situation for all involved?' his subconscious mind demands. Yeah, probably. But just a couple of nights ago, Rob watched a woman take a man's brain out and store it in a briefcase, next to his spares. After that, there isn't much that he's willing to completely reject, regardless of perspective. 'So, what then? The guy in the Sherlock Holmes hat amuses himself by making homeless people hurt themselves? That's a little bit far-fetched.

'Brains. Briefcase. You tell me.'

He sighs, silently, and waits a moment longer to see what will unfold.

OOC: Watch and listen for a few more seconds, basically holding an action until the shiv-wielder turns violent or something else suitably dramatic happens. Also, try to make out what he's saying and what he has in his other hand.

30th of November, 2005, 07:57

As you struggle to make out the object he's holding, the shiv jerks up, and the man stabs himself between the bones of the clavicle, probably only just missing the jugular. He jerks, making the jagged blade twist agonisingly, and gives and awful wail.

"D'n make me die... d'n make me die...!" he says in a gurgling screech. He drops the object - a leather wallet - and tries to wrestle with himself to stop the knife going deeper.

30th of November, 2005, 16:33
HP: 5/5; Status: it's always something in this town

'D'n make me die.'

It's a simple, odd phrase that carries so much weight in this instance. "Don't make me die" is very, very different from "Don't kill me," even if the overall sentiment is the same; a four part imploration confirming that sinister forces are indeed at work here.

'Shouldn't have waited,' part of him is chastising, even as he leaps into action. 'What good is judgement if you can't rely on it in a crunch?' Pin and spoon *ping* free from the tiny smoke grenade as it traces an arc into the alleyway, landing between the two participants in this little drama. Rob himself is already in mid-jump, coming to ground behind the wounded man; his teeth grind together in revulsion as the sharpened sliver digs even deeper into the man's own neck. Inside the grenade, binary chemicals fall in love and have children, then release their progeny upon the world in a surprisingly large and dense cloud of brown smoke. The smoke itself is harmless, but serves to visually separate the homeless man from Deerstalker Hat; the second man might get away, but likely not without his wallet, which Osprey suspects is the motive behind this whole episode. Homeless Man finds wallet, or steals it, only to find that maybe he's crossed the wrong random Nova. Deerstalker decides to take out all of his frustrations at once, or maybe he's just cruel; either way, petty theft isn't a hanging offense in Rob's book.

He touches down and immediately seizes the poor fellow's arms, attempting to immobilize them and prevent further harm. "Don't fight me, dammit! I'm trying to save your life!" he growls, hoping that the wounded man won't complicate matters.

OOC: Grapple checks are at +4, and he retains his dodge bonus (Grappling Finesse.)

1st of December, 2005, 09:41

Paul shakes his head at O'Malley's dramatics. No doubt the sneak smuggled in a squirt gun, too, just to play with their heads. He elbows Astrid theatrically, then stage-whispers, "I told you he's got more up his sleeve than his elbow. Watch; the judge will be his long-lost brother or something trite like that."

He drops his keys, some pocket change (complete with lint), and his wallet into the provided basket, sets his briefcase on the conveyer, then walks through the detector. He pauses at the threshold, looking around himself, his eyebrows arching. Hearing an impatient ahem behind him, he looks back over his shoulder. "Sorry, just looking at the magnetism." He grabs his possessions, humming an old tune ("Particle Man, Particle Man, does everything a particle can...") under his breath.

1st of December, 2005, 11:25

"Our Lord was a carpenter..." he says in a mocking tone, looking around the law enforcers. He's grabbed and pushed forwards, his lawyer, Alec Waters, following with a flat expression.

Ryan snorts in disgust at O'Malley's tone. "He was also Jewish but I don't see you pretending to be one." He mutters to himself as he waits in line at the metal detectors.

He didn't like it here, he was in way over his head and that made him nervous, which made him fidgety. Bouncing slightly foot to foot he didn't realise how fast he was going until he noticed the policewoman, the one with the basket, was staring at him.

"Sorry about that." He says quietly, giving her a sheepish smile, he drops a few coins into the basket and then heads through the detector.

3rd of December, 2005, 15:24
HP: 5/5; Status: Lookin Good

"Believe me, I've seen worse," Astrid says in response to Paul's quip about the judge being a relative of O'Malley's."

Moving through the detector herself, she hmms under her breath for a moment, deciding that the gangster trying to sneak the hammer in is actually a good thing. With him doing that -- at the bloody arraignment -- there's virtually no way the judge will throw out the charges, even if a briefcase or two of money has already changed hands. Even the press, whom as a group were shockingly blind to most of the corruption the young assistant DA had seen, would sniff that one out.

A flicker of confidence lit in the woman's chest as she picked up her belongings, tucking them back into her smartly-cut suit. Adjusting her eyeglasses, she says, "Alright, gentlemen -- if I send one of you back outside to find your friend, what are the chances that person won't come back either?"

6th of December, 2005, 10:08

It's should have been comically easy to pin him; a martial arts master against a feeble, unhealthy old man. And, for the first few moments as the smoke belched up between you and the watcher it was. A foot to the ankle unbalanced the homeless man, keeping him from using is hips and spine to keep stable; his left arm twisted into a submission hold; your other hand lifting and pulling his hand away from the shiv swiftly but carefully.

Then his right arm snaps back and down, with enough force to tear yours out of its socket - had you not flowed with the motion. Both of you almost topple over from the sudden, immense force, and the knife is dislodged to go skittering away behind you. A small - but not fatal - amount of blood oozes from the jagged wound. The homeless man gives a moan of pain, and slumps in your hold, showing no other traces of superhuman strength.

7th of December, 2005, 10:13

Paul replies, "Want me to go check? Guarantee nothing out there could keep me from getting back in."

7th of December, 2005, 10:19
HP 5/5 status: In over his head but doing ok

Shifting quitely Ryan watches as the lawyers walk around doing what they do best, cutting deals and making compromises. Letting the guilty walk and making the innocents suffer, he could never figure out if it was them taking advantage of the system or the system that made them what they are. Either way he didn't like it and he really didn't like lawyers that much, except for Astrid, she seemed like she really wanted to help people, to make a difference. A part of his mind wondered how long it would be until she became just the others, only caring about the money and not the defenseless people that needed to be protected.

"Alright, gentlemen -- if I send one of you back outside to find your friend, what are the chances that person won't come back either?"

"I'll go." He says quietly. "He is probably is just breaking up a mugging, shouldn't be too hard to find him and I'll try my best to come back." He adds the last part with a slight smile.

With a nod to his team mates, he turns and for all intents and purposes is gone, loose papers trailing in his wake. Once outside he sets up a standard search pattern, if he is within a mile of the courthouse it shouldn't take him long to be found.

8th of December, 2005, 17:15
HP: 5/5; Status: Losing People Left and Right

"Whoa," Brant says as Bolt vanishes in a swirl of wind that tousles her already tousled hair. "Uh... I guess he's going then," she smiles to Paul. "Tell you what -- he doesn't come back you can go after both of them."

13th of December, 2005, 07:20

Paul smirks. "I've seen this sort of thing before, in a movie -- though it's usually a cartoon pulling that sort of stunt. You know, after I leave, the Mechanic's supposed to say something like 'Zoinks, Scoob, where is everyone?'"

15th of December, 2005, 15:37
HP: 5/5; Status: it's always something in this town

As gently as he is able, Rob lays the wounded man on the ground. "Easy, buddy, easy...I'll get some help on the way." He starts to lift off again, but then common sense slaps him on the forehead and reminds him that not only does he know two novas in the area with phenomenal mobility, he can, y'know, just call them.

Keeping one eye on the smoke, hoping Deerstalker doesn't come through it, Rob clumsily activates the communicator. "This is Osprey, does anyone...do any other Centinels hear me? I've got...a bit of a problem. One man has been wounded, maybe badly; I'm in an alley behind the courthouse, probably two blocks distance. Look for smoke, I'm behind it. And watch out for a man in one of those Sherlock Holmes hats, he's...crap, I don't know what he is, I just don't think I'd look him in the eye. I think he may be a psychic."

He left it at that and waited for a response, but couldn't stop thinking about the Deerstalker. Somehow, the man's anonymity was intimidating; was he a sociopath who does this sort of thing often, tormenting those weaker than him? Or had he merely come to grips with his power and gone about as normal a life as he could pursue? Or was he a known threat who happened along on his day out of costume?

Rob wanted to charge through the smoke, sticks blazing, find that man and get some answers...but he didn't. Perhaps it was fear of the unknown and squirrely mental powers Deerstalker possessed; Rob had never gone up against a mindbender before and had no basis to judge his odds upon. And there was still the matter of the wallet; maintaining a watchful eye, he reaches over to where the wallet had fallen to the ground and opens it.

15th of December, 2005, 19:40

If the Federal Citizen ID card is to be believed, Harold Polidioro is a 30-year old publisher from Soho, NYC, his blood type is B pos, his driver's license expired seven months ago, and he doesn't own a gun. For a moment, you glance at the textured plastic strip below his photo; no doubt the Mechanic has something to read the data encoded in it, should you need his criminal record or credit history. You flick through the other cards; library card, e-cash and so forth; nothing remarkable.

As you briefly check inside the wallet, you feel a momentary wave of giddiness wash over you. Shaking it off, you note that there's no cash in the fold.

You feel an odd itching on your spine. Feels like... ambush


There isn't a stopwatch on Earth that could count the amount of time it takes Ryan Sanders to exit the courthouse and circle the building - even though he's in no great rush.

Bolt appears in the alley behind Osprey, noting with surprise the blood-soaked man on the ground and the dissipating cloud of smoke at the far end. Pinkish, churned-up snow forms a rough ring around the black-clad avenger, who holds a wallet in one hand and his communicator in the other.

But what catches Bolt's attention the most is the jagged, crude knife floating up from the snow and aiming itself at Osprey's back.

OOC: Surprise round. Osprey is flat-footed (though his uncanny dodge will help him dodge, if necessary), but Bolt may act.

15th of December, 2005, 19:46
Verve, Quantum, the Mechanic

Moments after Bolt steaks away, Rob Thomas pauses his tinkering with the teleport blocker (at least, that's what you assume it is... there's no telling if he got distracted while mentally en route and is instead making an electronic cat-spayer) as his comm unit yelps. He presses the button on the side, holding it up to listen

"This is Osprey, does anyone...do any other Centinels hear me? I've got...a bit of a problem. One man has been wounded, maybe badly; I'm in an alley behind the courthouse, probably two blocks distance. Look for smoke, I'm behind it. And watch out for a man in one of those Sherlock Holmes hats, he's...crap, I don't know what he is, I just don't think I'd look him in the eye. I think he may be a psychic."

19th of December, 2005, 12:18

Paul covers his face with his hands, sighing heavily. "Perfect timing. Astrid, will we ruin things by responding to this? It IS the sort of thing we're supposed to do, after all. I'll bet money that it was arranged by you-know-who."

19th of December, 2005, 20:23
HP: 5/5; Status: They're droppin' like flies

Astrid's team of star witnesses is dwindling, and Quantum is probably right -- O'Malley may well have something to do with it. "You're going to go too? Can't your two pals handle it by themselves? You and Mr. Thomas are all I've got for witnesses now. I don't technically need you present at the arraignment, but considering how many charges have been thrown out against O'Malley over the years, I think it's imperative I have at least some of you present."

Knowing the type of man she's probably dealing with, Brant realizes there's little she can do to control them. Sighing, she checks her watch. "How long is this going to take?"

20th of December, 2005, 10:51

"No, you're right. I didn't want to blip away if it would make things tough for us." He taps the send button on his headset. "Osprey, Bolt's on his way."

20th of December, 2005, 11:27
HP: 5/5 status: Alice going down the rabbit hole

If it was six months ago, this would have been a simple mugging, a quick couple of punches to correct the mugger's thinking, then make sure the victim is ok and a run to the cops and its over, so simple, so easy. But now it looks like his on again off again team mate is in the process of rolling some homeless person for his liquor money.

Of course the fact that a knife is lifting itself off the ground about to impale itself into said team mate's back is ample proof that nothing is as it seems and no matter what it seems like no one is going to be hurt if he can help it.

Bolt is hurtling down the alley before most people even realise he was there, he would have shouted out a warning to Osprey but more then likely would have reached him before the sound did, besides it would have wasted time. There was only a few more seconds until the knife struck but fortunately that was more then enough for him.

ooc: Race up and grab the knife or at least deflect its path.

20th of December, 2005, 20:10

The speedster breaks into motion as snowflakes hang like lifeless ornaments in the air, well passed Christmastime.

The knife is slick with blood as Bolt's numb fingers close around the hilt. He latches on with both hands, trying to slow its flight, but it's so strong. The hand - mind? - the force that moves it is too much, and ends up dragging him along. Bolt's feet cut furrows in the already pink slurry as he struggles, unable to get a firm footing. Too slick, too fast, too strong, too -



Hmm. Osprey sense tingling...

There no way a mere man should be able to twist to avoid a jagged shiv moving at an appreciable fraction of the speed of sound that he wasn't even aware of...

And, to be fair, Osprey doesn't. Instinct tries to pull him out of the way, but not quite fast enough. Still, instead of getting the blade in his spine, it deflects off his ribs, cutting a wicked gouge out of the flesh on his left flank.

The martial artist spins, pulling the knife out of his body, and comes face-to-horrified-face with Ryan Sanders.

With the double-bloody blade clenched in his hands.

Blood runs agonising rivulets down Rob Holt's back.

Treachery doesn't come any more metaphor made manifest than this.

OOC: Osprey takes a lethal hit.

20th of December, 2005, 20:18
Verve, the Mechanic & Quantum


A ruddy-faced man moves through the crowd by main force, his Security jacket hanging open and sweat staining the vest underneath.

"Hey," he grunts, coming to a stop near Paul and Astrid, "you're the DA's secretary, right? Whatever. You tell your 'client'" he points at Quantum without looking at him, putting a remarkable amount of venom in the word, "there's no entering or exiting the court building using freak powers. And," this time looking at the Mechanic, "you need an FAA license to use any freak technology."

The man stops to breath, and pulls himself up to his full (and, granted, at about 6'5" pretty impressive) height, trying to look intimidating.

Perhaps he doesn't know who he's talking to.

"We have security guidelines here. And they apply to everyone."

21st of December, 2005, 04:26
HP: 5/5; Status: Wishes she was outside and had a ringside seat

Astrid's just in the middle of offering Paul a wry smile -- the one that Supra used when she graced magazine covers everywhere -- when the big security guard bustles up. After listening to his bravado, Brant holds one of her hands up.

"Alright, alright, take it easy. No one here is going to use any powers or devices. They're just here to attend an arraignment, not cause trouble."

Astrid remembers people like these from her days with the Millennium Kids. For every hundred teen-aged boys furiously masturbating to photos and video of her, there was someone with a massive hate on for novas of all stripes. In a crowd of adoring fans there were always those few with the hate placards. Morons, every one.

The woman's posture remains professional, but a note of defiance creeps into her voice when she adds, "And I'm the assistant D.A. Unless you'd like me to place a call to your supervisor I suggest you concern yourself with making sure O'Malley's friends aren't up to anything."

22nd of December, 2005, 07:28

Paul arches an eyebrow, impressed by Astrid's tone. Looking back at the security guard, he raises a hand, palm outward. "Don't worry, we'll play nice. No freak powers going on here."

Sotto voce, he adds, "Unless you count copious armpit-sweating."

22nd of December, 2005, 08:42
Verve, the Mechanic, Quantum

The man folds his arms with a snort. The movement causes his laminated ID card to drop out of his jacket on a cord around his neck; it says ROBERTSON, B (security chief). With the muscles under that ample layer of fat and his height, he looks like a former Gridiron player gone to seed. Which doesn't explain how he manages to perspire so heavily in the chilly marble and stone hall.

"The Hammer doesn't have any friends," he chuckles smugly, glancing at the gangster's back as he's lead into a side passage to the courtroom. "By now, Kilchurch, O'Flannigan and Babasciutto will be tearing up his business like dogs on a carcass.

"Well, mizz Assistant DA, now I do have to go do my job. Excuse me.' He gives one last threatening glare at Quantum and the Mechanic, then strides off, pulling a walkie talkie out of his pocket. "Grimes, Yussef? Find the speedster... yeah, the spy. I think he's gone runabout in the building..."

You lose track of his voice in the hubbub.

23rd of December, 2005, 17:42
HP: 5/5; Status: Getting Antsy

Brant merely shakes her head slightly as Security Chief Robertson stomps off, his hard-on for busting super-asses pulling him along through the crowd. Looking to the two men still with her, she shrugs out of her long coat, folds it over her arm precisely and says, "Any word from your friends outside? We've got about two minutes. I know Bolt just left, but he is like the fastest man on the planet, right? And how's that device coming? I read a magazine article that said you could rewire a television into a death ray in about three minutes. That true?"

25th of December, 2005, 14:28
HP: 5/5; Status: it's always something in this town

There are certain inevitabilities in the hero game, especially when you play it like this. One of those is that you will be hurt, sometimes badly. One of the first defense mechanisms learned by the vigilante class of hero is how to effectively deal with injury; this differs from dealing with pain in that the body reacts to injury in a wholly different and much more primal manner. Some men bear it in silence, turning to introspection and bitter focus to see them through, while others are consumed by fight-or-flight and lash out at anything they can reach. Osprey, like most, falls somewhere in the middle.

He grits his teeth and stiffens as the jagged shiv bites into him, subconsciously cursing himself for not having seen this coming. Twisting away, rational thought is abandoned as training and reflex take over: he's hurt, bleeding, and mad as hell, but he long ago learned to forge this angry panic into a focused intensity of action. Even as he turns, peripheral vision makes out a human hand and arm, and he reacts.

Strong, calloused hands seek out Ryan's wrist, even as one of Rob's legs snakes around and behind the speedster's own, searching for purchase on the snow. Bolt can feel himself begin to tip backward as leverage is applied, and the sickening realization hits him that if he loses his footing here, his arm is likely broken.

Behind the mask, Osprey is already anticipating the pop and crunch of bone and sinew with some satisfaction, although he wouldn't admit that to himself. 'Sonofabitch gonna learn not to sneak up on people like me.' He very nearly has the upper hand now, just a few more minute of angle and POW, this is gonna hurt.

And then Rob sees the face of the man he wrestles with, and time seems to stop. Recognition blooms in his mind like a drop of ink in a glass of water, seeking out the empty places and coagulating in the shape of a name: Bolt. Disbelief follows then, hand in hand with confusion. His brain begins frantically sorting out what he knows about the speedster: Bolt is a Centinel, they have fought and been injured side-by-side, Bolt is here to testify against the Hammer, Bolt should be considered an ally, if not a friend.

Why, then, is he trying to knife Rob in the kidneys?

Paranoia and suspicion take the stage: Bolt is an unknown quantity, a man whose motivations are unclear, who has from the very start played the role of an emotionally unbalanced youth in search of a steady paycheck. A man who could easily be recruited or pressed into the service of Jerry O'Malley, by dint of wealth or threat, and the very nature of his power makes him eminently suited as a double agent. Osprey is among the Hammer's most notable enemies, a man whom the gangster certainly wants eliminated...and my, my, isn't this a convenient set-up? Has Bolt been the first to fall from their ranks as heroes, is he now an assassin?

The struggle that goes on in Rob's brain is epic, if brief. Part of him thinks that he should go ahead and do it, break the man's arm right out of its socket, as self-preservation if nothing else. 'But that's madness, Rob: What if you're wrong? You're basing this on nothing but conjecture and hasty speculation; can you put a man in the hospital for that? Have you come to that point?

'No. Don't do it.

'Think, Rob, think. Bolt is not your enemy. He himself was very nearly killed by that teleporter. He's here today for the same reason as you: to put O'Malley away. Think about it...' And just like that, a detail clicks into place and this begins to make sense: just before Rob leapt down from the rooftop, he had seen the shiv wriggling like a living thing, trying to burrow itself deeper into the homeless man's neck. It moved as if by an invisible hand. He had guessed the situation wrong: Deerstalker Hat wasn't a mind-controller, he was frickin' TEKE.

The two heroes hang there, frozen in struggle. Blood leaks slowly down Rob's leg, hot and sticky. His breathing slows, calms a bit, and carefully he releases his grip on Bolt's wrist. "Let's find him."

29th of December, 2005, 09:38
HP 5/5 status: Well if this isn't an odd situation to be in.

Ryan has been a lot of things in his life but he never had been a backstabber, at least not literally until this moment. He should have shouted out a warning, but his ego got in the way and now he was paying the price for his hubris.

He didn't move as he felt Osprey grab for his wrist, realising that any attempt to defend himself would be seen as more of an aggresive action and the last thing he wanted was to make this situation even worse then it already is, if that was humanly possible, so he went with the flow.

A curious by-product of his speed was an increased nimbleness, Ryan was uncertain if it went hand in hand with the speed or if it was just the fact that when you can run mach 8, one had to learn how to duck and twist quickly or chance on loosing an appendage. Either way the end result was that he was a lot more flexible then most people, hell he was a lot more flexible then most gymnasts. So when Osprey put the arm bar on him although it hurt it wasn't incapacitating, although if he puts on more pressure it will likely pop out of its socket and that wasn't something he was willing to let happen.

Fortunately he didn't have to do anything, obviously Osprey realised something was wrong and let his go of his grip.

"Let's find him."

"Wait." Now it was his turn to grab onto Rob's wrist, pulling him closer. "Stop and think, your hurt and we have an injured civilian. Against an unknown number of enemies and unless you want O'Malley to walk, we have a court appearance soon. Get back to the court room, The Mechanic should have something to stop your bleeding, I will get John Doe to the hospital. We can hunt these people down later."

"Firstly though return his money."

The befuddled look on Osprey's face is obvious, even behind the mask. Things are going down hill fast, either someone is messing with Osprey' mind or his. Either way it wasn't good.

"Damit, we have to get out of here. This smells like a setup, get to the courthouse, warn the others, do it now." Ryan shoves him slightly to start him going before turning and looking for the assulted homeless person. If he finds him he will pick him up and race him to the closest hospital, if not he will follow after Osprey.

5th of January, 2006, 12:16

"Eh?" The Mechanic looks up at the lawyer, a bit of wire clenched between his lips, as if she's speaking Martian. "Oh, yes, rhetorical question. Very good." He fiddles with the disc-shaped piece of metal, crammed with rheostats and transistors that's beginning to take shape. "Shouldn't be long. Wouldn't make a good death-ray, anyway. The vacuum tube would be too bulky."

At that moment, Osprey limps in, the portion of his jaw under the mask locked in a grimace of pain. He has one hand clamped on his back, and leaves a trail of footprints on the marble floor. Closer to the side door he came in by they are pink, a mixture of snow and blood, but as they approach you the tracks become redder and redder.

Three-tenths of a second later, Bolt appears, munching on a bagel to keep his hyper-quick metabolism on its toes.

Pushing his way through the crowd, Robertson starts to make his way back towards you all, looking angrier and sweatier than ever.

5th of January, 2006, 12:28
South Manhattan Medical Dispatch Centre.
1.4006 seconds ago

A wind whipped through ER nurse Kara Pontelli's hair, and sent several documents scampering for freedom out of her grip. She hissed in irritation, hopping forward to recapture them.

Then she heard the rasping of breathing from behind her.

Kara felt the skin on the back of her neck prickle. It has been quiet so far this morning, blessedly so after the havoc and carnage of the massacre in Madison Square and the gang war outside that corporate office last night. But of one thing she was sure; the room had been empty when she looked, not two heartbeats before. She turned, and saw the man slumped across one of the benches, his neck and shoulder a mess of black and red.

"Where the hell..." she breathed, wondering if the Living Light-Show Guy from a couple of nights before was back... but there was no sign of the wrecked furniture and scorched floors he had left behind previously. Before she took a step, a grey blur rippled into the room...

"Hisorryaboutthatdidn'tmeantodrophimoffandrunGottam akethisquickandgetbacktocourtThisguywasstabbedandw ethinkhewaspsychiclycoercedintoitUmmmmyfriendwasal sostabbedwithaweaponcoveredbythisguysbloodsoyousho uldprobablycheckhimfordiseasesOkayIhavetogetbackno w-nowayasthatscumbagO'Malleygettingoffbecauseofme."

...and was gone.

Kara blinked.

"OK, that's it," she muttered through gritted teeth as she pulled back the collar of the homeless man's shirt, cringing a little at the depth and brutality of the wound.

"This is my last weird-ass-day. I'm going to quit nursing and take up stripping, like mama wanted me to. Hell, I've even got the outfit..."

6th of January, 2006, 08:00
HP: 5/5; Status: Lending a Helping Hand

"What timing," Astrid remarks, seeing Osprey and Bolt making their way back towards security. Seeing the one man's limp, then the trail of blood he was leaving behind him, the attractive assistant DA takes a few steps towards him before noticing Robertson's intercept vector. Stepping in front of him with the confidence of a matador, she holds up one hand and raises her eyebrows behind her glasses.

"The rest of my witnesses just arrived, but it looks like one of them is in need of some medical care -- can you call for an EMT?"

8th of January, 2006, 13:43
HP: 5/5; Status: boy, that's a tender spot

"Firstly though return his money."

"There wasn't any money to take," Rob says matter-of-factly, flipping open the wallet to show his teammate, as if the other man could somehow recognize whether money had been there or not. He then once again pulls the ID card and compares the photo against the wounded man's face, just to make sure the two don't match.

Minutes later, he tries his best to walk into the courthouse as if the pain's just not there. Pragmatism takes precedence over decorum, however, and he limps inside to find medical help, not really aware of how much of the red stuff he's leaving on the floor behind him. 'What was that you said earlier about blood on your leathers?'

He sees Astrid seeing him and involuntarily changes course to head towards her. Better keep this as official as possible, fill out a police report and all that so this doesn't cause any trouble. She's polite enough not to show it, but he very much suspects that she's none too happy about his escapades, regardless of the motivations involved or the reality that he did-in-fact save a man's life this morning, shortly after breakfast.

Bolt whooshes in behind him, and as Rob turns to him he finally notices how much he's bleeding and stops in place. "Jeez, he really got into me," he says to the speedster, almost cracking a smile. "Every time I go out with you people, I swear..."

30th of January, 2006, 15:21
HP: 5/5; Status: boy, that's a tender spot

Robertson looms large in Rob's periphery, and for a moment the young man thinks he's actually going to have to argue his case for needing some Neosporin and a bandage; that would be just typical of the larger man's type, of course. Without even realizing that he's done it, Rob subconsciously sizes him up and puts on his best Masked Avenger face*.

The obligatory circle-and-growl is interrupted, however, by the young DA; she may be asking Robertson to call in the medics, but it's clear that she's not making a request. He has to admire her for that, considering the circumstances--many folks under this kind of stress would be next to worthless right now. Perhaps their case is in better hands that he might have thought.

"Thanks. Although I doubt this is going to be much more than some topical antiseptic and a strip of adhesive cotton; let me get this leak fixed, and I'll be in there with the rest of you, unless..." He pauses, wrestiling with the validity of the question. "Look, I wouldn't miss this for the world, but do you think there's any serious way O'Malley's lawyers could turn this against us?"

*=which isn't really much of a face at all, considering it's a mask

31st of January, 2006, 03:01
HP: 5/5; Status: Ready to Rock and Roll (All Night...)

"Just get yourself cleaned up so it's not even an issue -- if you're sure you're going to be alright." Looking at the vital fluids on the floor, Astrid adds, "You know, it looks like you've lost a lot of blood. It's not going to help anyone if you keel over in there in front of the judge, so are you sure that you're okay? We can get by if you need to go to the hospital." Thinking a moment about the machismo most capes she's known have demonstrated, she wonders if it's better to take that decision out of his hands. "Actually... we should probably let the EMTs make that call. If they clear you, clean up and come on in when you can."

Looking to the Mechanic and Bolt, she adds, "You two will lend enough weight to the proceedings, I hope, but do me a favor and don't go running off in the next minute." Looking at the watch that adourns her slender wrist, she says, "Because we're up now."

31st of January, 2006, 06:06

"I've been wondering that myself," Paul adds. "I mean, I've already figured out this guy's got more up his sleeve than his elbow, but what sort of nasty tricks should we be prepared for?"

31st of January, 2006, 07:02
HP: 5/5; Status: And Party Every Day

"With Alex Waters on this defense, you can be sure we're going to hear about you all being Perpetual Threats," Astrid replies. "Meaning that everything you guys did could be looked at as being 'deadly force' -- but we don't need to worry about that at the arraignment. That's for me to worry about later, during the trial. This is pretty clear-cut in terms of there being enough evidence to at least bring him to trial."

So why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach?

Brant starts for the courtroom. "Just keep your cool -- normally witnesses don't have to answer questions at an arraignment, but if things start to get dicey follow my lead and stick to your statements. This should go our way."

4th of February, 2006, 11:38
HP:5/5 status: At least we are all still alive

Ignoring the big sweaty guy, Ryan heads towards Osprey finishing off his bagel. "Are you ok?" As he waits for an answer he turns to address the others.

"I found him in a alley close by, he was helping a homeless person who looked like he got attacked only to get attacked himself by a free floating knife. I tried to stop it but you can see the results yourself. It seemed like a setup so we took off, I figure we can track down whoever did it after the proceedings."

Ryan turns back to Osprey and gently pats his armor where he saw the martial artist stow the money from the bum. "You still need to return the money you were forced to take."

6th of February, 2006, 12:48
"What are you talking about?" The look on Rob's face is pure, unadulterated bewilderment...but that fades and is replaced by something with a darker tone.

Dextrous hands dive deep into the folds of his outfit where Bolt had patted him, then emerge clutching a wad of bills. Rob eyes flit from the money to Bolt and back, and what Ryan can see of his face is filled with disbelief. "Holy crap...I..."

Behind the mask, however, his mind is reeling. Imagine coming home one evening, making dinner and attending chores, and then only as you lay in bed do you realize that someone has been in your home. The sense of violation is so overwhelming as to seem nearly a physical weight; utterly caught up in his internal whirlings, Rob's knee nearly buckles as he tries to take a step toward the approaching EMT's. It is a tiny misstep that would go unnoticed by nearly everyone around him, but the stern look in the medic's eyes leaves Rob hoping that they won't think him too injured to go on the stand today.

10th of February, 2006, 03:50
HP: 5/5; Status: Ten HUT! Let's get a move on!

"Oh, I do not want to hear about this," Astrid says upon hearing Bolt and seeing the loot that Osprey produces. "Let's just stay on target here, guys. I'll let you worry about what did or didn't just go down outside on your own time, but right now let's get patched up and go see the judge, okay?"

Jesus, Astrid thinks to herself. This is a fucking slam dunk with all the evidence and witnesses we have. Why do I already feel like the wheels are coming off?

Left-Handed Bandit
11th of February, 2006, 07:54
HP: unk; Status: Quietly hanging in the background.

The courtroom had filled up quickly, making the dark-clad figure thankful he arrived at the proceedings early, to ensure he had an inconspicuous spot in the back row.

Henry Elias Blackthorne is normally an unmistakable fellow, a well-known figure in the power circles of Manhattan. But, even with his trademark logo adorning the left breast pocket of his silk suit, Henry is almost invisible in the arraignment court. O'Malley's a popular man.

But, the Irish mobster is not who he's here to see today. Instead, Henry's attentions are directed firmly at the prosecution's star witnesses: the vigilantes of the Centinel Foundation.

Not that he'd get much out of these proceedings, but, in the interest of thoroughness and the morbid curiosity of wanting to see if something...worthwhile happened, Henry decided to see the Centinels "in action."

Suddenly wishing he has even just his baton with him -- blasted security measures -- Henry hears the excitement in the hallway and perks up slightly as he waits for the players to arrive.

Let the circus begin...

15th of February, 2006, 10:41
Verve, Osprey, Quantum, Bolt, the Mechanic, Blackthorne

One would thing that a High Court, allegedly dispensing a justice in some way greater or more voluminous in nature than a local or district, should be.... grander.

Bolt and Osprey, both of whom have had cause to be in courtrooms earlier in their lives, find the similarity most noticeable: the same wood panelling, the same architecture and layout. The jury-box sits empty for now, and the gallery has only a handful of observers, including a small press contingent. Osprey grimaces as he sits, feeling the fresh gash in his back twist under the hasty bandages.

Alec Waters and his client sit off to one side already; the lawyer glancing back with a wry, mocking smile just touching his suntanned lips; O'Malley picking his teeth with his thumbnail and ignoring them.

Judge Wilber Tranh, a wiry, grey-haired Vietnamese man watches the Centinels and the ADA file in with a calm eye. One of the court flunkies, his exact position indiscernable by his uniform alone, sidles up to the judge's podium and whispers something up at him. Trahn frowns, and beckons to Astrid Brand before she even has a chance to put down her documents.

The crimelord's lawyer leans forward, straining as if trying to eavesdrop by telepathy. O'Malley leans back in his chair and half-turns towards the Centinels.

"Psst!" he whispers. "Why don't cha show us those pearly whites, sunshine?" He grins at Osprey, baring his own yellowish fangs.

15th of February, 2006, 10:58
HP: 5/5; Status: Uh Oh.

Brant sees Judge Trahn's summoning gesture and approaches the bench still holding her files, briefcase and coffee. "Your honor," she says spiritedly but respectfully. "Were you told that the DA wasn't going to be able to make the arraignment? I'm Assistant District Attourney Astrid Brant, representing the People in this matter."

Behind her, the black-haired woman hears O'Malley's taunt, and she hopes to high hell as the judge responds that the Centinels can hold their tongues. The last thing they all need a is a verbal exchange that leaves the bunch of them -- O'Malley and the Centinels too -- looking like a bunch of sophmoric thugs who can't keep their penises holstered.

Left-Handed Bandit
19th of February, 2006, 03:17
HP: unk, Status: Interest Piqued

Hmmm, this could get interesting, Henry thinks as he sees O'Malley lean back and appear to address the Centinels. When the gangster looses his insidious smile, Henry immediately attempts to gague the team's reaction.

Maybe it was worth stopping by...

20th of February, 2006, 10:52

For just a moment, a scene from an old movie flashes into Paul's mind. Fight Club, and the scene where the unnamed lead character flashes a grin at someone during a meeting. A grin filled with mashed teeth and blood.

In response to O'Malley, and completely unaware of Osprey's reaction, Paul shows off his own pearly whites -- well, they're not quite pearly, showing years of tobacco use -- including one incisor half-missing. To accentuate the sarcasm of the gesture, he very slowly crosses his eyes.

20th of February, 2006, 10:52

"I was informed, Ms. Brand. Or should I say, Acting District Attorney." The old man's eyes glitter like razors behind the thin lenses of his glasses. "Please give DA Kirwin my regards and understanding when you next speak to him."

He pauses for a moment, lips pursed. "I've been informed that one of your witnesses is... bleeding in my courtroom. Is that strictly necessary?" He question is characteristically open, leaving you wondering exactly which aspect of the matter he's commenting on.

Behind her, Quantum sways on his seat and claps his hands to his forehead as if in discomfort, for no appreciable reason. Astrid suddenly feels the need to scream and swing something very large and solid.

21st of February, 2006, 09:52
HP: 5/5; Status: c'mon, now...breathe

There he is.

Jerry O'Malley, the Hammer, the root of so much evil and disease in this city; the personification of all that is rotten, the antithesis of all that is good. A symbol of corruption that somehow transcends his own humanity, becoming just a thing, a name, an elemental force.

Right there. So easily within striking distance.

O'Malley flashes that mirthless smile, that yellowed rictus sardonicus that Rob has seen in his mind's eye so many nights as he tried to sleep; the sight of it brings back memories of the worst kind: the flash and boom of O'Malley's revolver, lightning and thunder on a night without rain. The crunch and scrape and taste of rust. Agony. Humiliation. Hurt. Fear.

With no more effort than to think it done, Rob could flash across the courtroom, whip the stick around hard enough to split the roof of OMalley's mouth, perhaps even hard enought to kill him with the first blow; and if not the first, there is always the second. It would be just and fitting punishment for all the things the man had done and gotten away with, and all that he will do yet. It could happen just as easily as Rob rising from his seat.

He remains where he is, however, still as a statue and forcibly calm. His eyes stare through the gangster, finding a point beyond that mocking gaze and fixing on it. There is no outward evidence of the turmoil within; Rob's breathing comes deep and slow, his hands remain open and at rest in his lap, and there is no violence. His thoughts pale and evaporate into a zen-like nothingness, and those that sit close to him on either side may or may not hear an odd, hollow sound; a rhythmic groaning, somehow familiar, but somehow alien.

It is the grinding of polycarbonate teeth.

22nd of February, 2006, 16:18
HP: 5/5; Status: SON OF A--

"Uh, I'll do that your honor... and it's Brant with a T. No D."

Why did I say that? Nice work.


Oh good. Better still.

"No D."

Will you just shut the fuck up already?! Jesus!

"In any case, Judge Trahn, Osprey did suffer an injury recently, but the EMTs cleared him for being present. Frankly, he's our star witness, and the one who suffered the worst at the hands of the defendant."

Astrid turns to look over her shoulder and sweeps the men with a pair of steady, stylishly bespectacled eyes. She catches Quantum's gaze for a moment and mentally kicks him square in the balls -- and he can tell. The shoes the leggy, attractive assistant DA is wearing make him squirm a little when he thinks about that, and she turns back to the bench.

"It's a testament to how badly these men want to see O'Malley behind bars, sir, that they're here today. We all know it's a... risky proposition to testify against men like O'Malley. I told the Centinel that I'd excuse him from the proceedings, that it wasn't strictly necessary that he be here for the arraignment, but he'd hear none of it."

Didn't edit this later, noooo sir, not me.

23rd of February, 2006, 09:30
HP:5/5 Status: Storm clouds are a-brewing...

Ryan sits and twirls a pencil between his fingers as he trys not to fidget too much. This wasn't the first time he has ever been in a court room and probably wouldn't be his last but he never did like them. Too much red tape, lawyers weasling about, getting there guilty clients off while the innocent suffered more and more, Ryan shakes his head slightly as if to mentally derail his train of thought, he knew full well where it would take him. He half-turns and glances up at the gallery, locking eyes for a moment with Trisha before turning back with a small smile on his lips.

He watches as O'Malley leans back mocking Osprey, practically daring him to attack and he can feel his team mate stiffen with rage and yet he does nothing. Ryan is impressed with his self control, if the situation was reversed he doubted that he would have been able to do it.

The pencil passes from one hand to the other as he returns his attention back to the judge and the assistant D.A., what was her last name again? Bran.. Brand, no it was Brant. She was a looker for sure but what information could she possible have that would be useful to him and why would the Seer go to that much trouble in pointing it out. To many questions and not enough answers

25th of February, 2006, 10:59

Paul quickly composes himself, mentally checking his face to make sure he's not visibly wincing. I'll bet she'd give the 'Port a run for his money, he thinks. That guy needs someone to say "yes, ma'am" to.

4th of March, 2006, 11:52
The Arraignment

Snorting contemptuously, O'Malley straightens in his chair, brushing a fleck of paint off the shoulder of his crisp suit. As Astrid gracefully takes her seat just in front of the collected novas and the lone technologist, Tranh's gavel drops: the trump of justice.

The officers of the court stands. Quantum is sure he's seen the man fulfilling the same role on Judge July or Mills Lane or Night Court or something. He glances sideways at Osprey, Bolt and the Mechanic, not detecting the same in their faces. He wonders how much difference three years on ice have made to the world... or even just its pop culture.

The officer barks. "This arraignment is called to order at 11am on the seventeenth of January, the honourable Judge Wilber Tranh presiding." The judge leans forward, nodding to the officer as he sits.

But Alec Waters is on his feet before the older man can even open his mouth, all spunk and slick blond hair and creases, like he just stepped out of a Grisham novel. His voice is smooth and confident. "Your honour, I wish to call for this arraignment to be postponed and relocated to closed hearings. It is unjustifiable to ask my client, a humble businessman, to wage a publicity battle with the Centinel Foundation and its masked spokesmen." He glances pointedly at Osprey, the only one actually wearing a mask. "Further more, it is unfair to tarnish his reputation in front of the public's eye before we have even determined there should be a trial." This time, his glance is furtive, and directed back at the public gallery.

Henry Blackthorne meets Waters' gaze, ever so slightly impressed at the man's keen sight, able to pick him out of a crowd he only looked over superficially. The industrialist shifts, recalling his previous dealings with Waters; the man is that useful breed of snake that will take any case, no matter how immoral. Were he more concerned with winning them rather than spinning them to his own benefit, Blackthorne might have had a use for those services. Astrid notices the look, and turns her head, trying to follow Waters' line of sight.

Judge Tranh watches the accused's lawyer for a moment. "According to the records I have here, Mr. Waters - that you furnished me with - Mr. O'Malley's wealth is far from humble... and since he recently retained the talents of the PR firm Prentiss McCabe, I think we can say he's hardly unchampioned in the media." He shakes his head. "This arraignment will go forward. I will, however, consider your request if a trial date and location are set."

O'Malley glares at his lawyer, but Waters seems to be taking the setback in his stride.

"We are here today to assess the necessity and viability of proceeding to the trial of Jeremy Milligan O'Malley on charges of grievous bodily harm, assault with intent to kill - twice, intent to supply illegal firearms, possession of illegal firearms, intent to import contraband, aiding and abetting a metacriminal - also twice. These charges arise from an intervention by the Centinel Foundation into a warehouse rented by Mercer Shipping International on the night of January the thirteenth."

Tranh surveys the assembled lawyers, witnesses, reporters and public. "Matters of crime dealt with under the auspices and protocols of the Vigilance Act are always fraught with difficulties. We recognise that some criminals and terrorists have powers and modus operandi that defy the ability of law enforcement and the military to curtail. On the other other hand, costumed vigilantes must not be allowed to serve as investigator, jury and executioner all at once. Despite our need for them, they must be held accountable.

"Is the prosecution ready to present the case framework and evidence against the accused?"

Left-Handed Bandit
5th of March, 2006, 05:10
HP: unk, Status: Reminiscient

Ah, yes, the Caberlie affair. What a mess that was. Two killed in a field test, lawsuits galore, allegations of bribes and corporate corruption. Blackthorne Industries was only remotely involved in the secret Army project, but was lumped in with the rest of the manufacturers accused of corruption and fraud.

Waters' ideas were...creative, to say the least, but would have had lasting effects on his "street credibility" inside the beltway and on Wall Street. He would have won and earned hundreds of millions of dollars off a counter suit, but lost billions in future contracts.

Instead, Henry maneuvered Senator Edward Caberlie of Ilinois into an untenable position, where the senator was forced to admit his own corruption, exonorate three-quarters of the companies involved in the project, and resign in disgrace. It took a few months to do so, but Blackthorne Industries weathered the controversy and was rewarded 10-fold for its perserverance.

Henry heard the senator took his own life three days before he was going to be indicted. It was a shame, really; Caberlie should've accepted his role as a warning against political corruption.

The Caberlie affair taught Henry much about Alec Waters, especially that his services were best focused on men who needn't worry about their public image.

5th of March, 2006, 15:53

Costumed vigilantes? Paul wonders, thankfully not aloud. Most of these guys don't bother with Spandex and masks. Heck, I even proposed uniforms, but got vetoed. And I thought the Foundation had backing for just this sort of thing.

He looks across the courtroom, at O'Malley and his lawyer. Or lackey. Or whatever. 'Course, they might take the whole 'acting on our own' thread as far as they can. Jeez. I couldn't stand watching this crap on TV, now I'm sitting in the middle of it.

And where have I seen that judge before? Trying to keep his expression neutral, and letting Astrid take the reins, he tries to sift through freeze-dried memories.

7th of March, 2006, 18:48
HP: 5/5; Status: Soliloquy Ho!

"Yes, your honor," Astrid answers without hesitation. She wishes to hell that she'd had proper time to prepare, that she had John backing her up and Kristine in her corner (where the hell is she, anyway?), but she knows that a postponement or any other kind of delay in the proceedings will help Waters and O'Malley more than it helps her. So, turning on one heel to face her opposition, Brant takes a few clicking steps towards the defense. The dark skirt she's wearing covers her to the knee, a slight slit in the material leaving precisely the right amount of leg visible. Enough to distract slightly, enough to hint at what isn't visible. Some members of her gender would be appalled at such tactics, but Astrid Brant is a realist: she uses what works.

"Fifty two policemen are dead, your honor, and countless civilians with them, all because of the cheap, cop-killer bullet-firing Chinese guns that Jerry O'Malley has been selling on our city streets. NYPD tracked a shipment of the guns to the Mercer warehouse and enlisted the aid of the Centinels Foundation to raid the place before O'Malley could move them. With SWAT teams backing them up and the proper authorizations in place -- see Exhibit A -- the Centinels moved in on the night of January thirteenth, 2010." Turning her attention to her star witnesses and then the judge, the assistant DA continues, "We'll hear testimony that they found there the illegal arms, two restricted military-grade defense drones, three metahuman criminals, a number of mercenaries and O'Malley himself, along with his bodyguard."

Moving with an easy, professional grace that keeps all eyes on her -- Astrid doesn't want O'Malley and the Centinels making any more goo-goo eyes at one another -- Brant locks eyes with Judge Tranh. "Jeremy O'Malley and his men refused to surrender, instead attacking the Centinel team and forcing the melee detailed in the report that's part of the prosecution's case portfolio. During that battle, O'Malley himself participated and twice attempted to kill or maim one of the Centinels."
Looking at Osprey, the dark-haired woman raises an eyebrow and adds, "The second attack can't be considered anything but vicious, practically inhuman. With Osprey already injured and down from a gunshot wound delivered by the defendant, Mr. O'Malley approached him and struck him in the face with a hammer, doing severe damage to the man's mandibles and teeth that required extensive reconstructive surgery."

Turning back to the bench, Astrid draws a deep breath before exhaling evenly. She has no idea how this is going. There was more than enough evidence to go to trial with, especially with all the witnesses she'd be able to parade in front of the jury, but it was impossible to know how far O'Malley's reach could penetrate the judicial system. Certainly he'd scared off the DA, and tried the same with her -- had he also gotten to Tranh? She'll find out soon enough.

"Exhibits A through Q cover all the material and crime-scene evidence, your honor. Combined with the eye-witness accounts of the men behind me, the People believe that there is ample evidence to move this case to trial, and I ask that you remand Mr. O'Malley without bail. He is not only a flight risk, he also has business practices that put people of this city in harm's way. Additionally, he's a direct threat to the safety of the witnesses and their loved ones, and as of this morning is under investigation for tampering with these proceedings. I'll note in closing that the defendant attempted to smuggle a weapon into the courthouse -- another hammer. What he had planned to do with it, I can only imagine."

25th of March, 2006, 23:47
The Arraignment

Before the echoes of her speech have even ceased reverberating around the wood panels of the room, Judge Tranh's eyes shift from Astrid to the other lawyer, and he nods. Waters glides to his feet, smiling brightly, like everything is going to plan.

“Your honour...” he begins. “I'll address the assistant DA's case from least significant to most.

“Firstly, the hammer. Which, I may point out, was left with the security personal outside the courtroom – along with certain weapons belonging to the agents of the Centinel Foundation. While the rest,” he gestures at Bolt, with his lightning-fast fists and Quantum, with his reality-shredding fields, “are still armed, via the Perpetual Threat ruling. In any case, it's hardly against the law to carry a workman's tool, something fundamentally no different than a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife... eccentric, I'll grant, but not illegal

“Secondly, she cites statistics regarding the number of fatalities our valiant police department has suffered from the recent influx of Chinese guns. Clearly spurious and emotive statistics, as Mr. O'Malley has no proven connection to these weapons, and over a half-dozen other arms dealers and fences have been arrested in connection with this black trade. None of them connected to Mr. O'Malley.

“No-one is denying that a fight took place at the Mercer warehouse. A fight between my client, a businessman investigating a possible new avenue of import and export, unaware of the smuggler's intentions, and an unannounced, unnamed team of vigilantes. Government-sponsored and registered, perhaps, but my client had no way of knowing this. As for any injuries sustained,” he glances at Osprey, and the Wind-borne Warrior, “A group of novas hardly have cause to complain if they get a little scuffed in the cross-fire. And, I'd like to point out, one of the other novas present remains in intensive care at a government medical institution... suffering injuries caused by the Centinel Wreck.” He gazes around theatrically. “Who, apparently, couldn't be bothered to attend this arraignment.

“And, finally...” Alec Waters practically swells with schadenfreude. “The ADA refers to exhibit A: authorisations, operations plans, crime scene reports, arrest records, charge lists and evidence depositions, provided by the Centinel Foundation.” He walks over to the desk where O'Malley sits, arms folded, and Waters picks up a manilla folder, flourishing it dramatically (and unnecessarily, given the laptop open on the surface next to it).

It falls open, emptily.

“Was I left out of the loop?” he smirks to Astrid.

The judge consults his own files for several moments. “ADA Brand? The counsel is correct. The required documentation appears to be missing.

Interplanetary ice goes nova in Astrid's stomach.

The bitter truth, that she'd been unable to admit even to herself is now undeniable. He's right. The Centinel Foundation has submitted almost none of the required paperwork. None of it. They were the agency in charge of the investigations, but there are no case files or DoJ oversight reports. The Foundation was the arresting party, but there are no records or field accounts of the raid and its aftermath. Hell, there isn't even a letter outline the things O'Malley is accused of. Without their cooperation, the DA's office cannot You knew they were tardy, but you were promised it'd be here today – in fact, that's where Kristine is supposed to be using the court's net to get them from Stone's people. But she never returned with the files.

There is, literally, no case to answer. No accusation has even been made!

26th of March, 2006, 03:10
HP: 5/5; Status: VERVE SMASH!

Astrid's face is impassive as Waters tries and fails to pick her statements apart, point by point -- until he grinningly points out that the People simply don't have a case. Her jaw strains slightly as she returns to her desk after the judge confirms the defense attourney's findings. She simply hasn't had time to go over every last detail in the few hours since all this had been dropped in her lap, and now the unthinkable has happened. There wasn't even truly a case to present.

Why the hell didn't Kirwin reschedule this if the Foundation hadn't even provided the paperwork yet? It just doesn't make sense. It's not like him. And where the fuck is Kristine?

Opening her own copy of the folder and nodding when she finds nothing inside, the attractive ADA turns back towards the bench, ignoring Waters and O'Malley. "A clerical oversight, your honor. You're probably aware of the last minute changes the People have had to make in personnel on this case... this is unfortunately the result." Her voice is steady as she realizes she's probably already lost this one before even going to trial. "The People request a postponement, your honor. I'll contact the Centinels Foundation immediately and get the proper paperwork in order."

Left-Handed Bandit
29th of March, 2006, 06:02
HP: unk; Status: Resolved

Proper order, indeed, Henry muses from his perch in the back of the courtroom. If there was anything that cemented his resolve on the Foundation problem, this was it.

With the chance to get an extremely dangerous criminal off the streets for good, the Centinel Foundation is either so incompetent or wrapped up in internal red tape that it can't submit its paperwork to the court on time, or, worse, is deliberately sitting on its hands so that the DA's office can't do its job.

If I have anything to say about it, that'll be the last time something like this happens, the businessman muses, smoothing his moustache with length of his thumb. It's time to give these people some sense of organization, and give myself a new catalyst.

With that, Blackthorrne stands and leaves the courtroom.

29th of March, 2006, 15:23
HP: 5/5; Status: shockeroonie

It's a tiny, tiny thing, the most miniscule inclination of the cranium that one can imagine, but for a moment--and only just--Rob's mind is on something other than the trial. Rigidly enforced intensity of thought catches up to him, though, and he quickly, subtly turns his gaze back down to the bench rail directly in front of him.

He listens quietly to Astrid's discourse of that night; the way she has it all organized and cataloged, it sounds almost like a mutual disagreement that got out of hand. Like two uncles showed up drunk at a birthday party and had it out in front of the kids. He's not sure what an "airtight" case is, but this has to be close: motive, method, opportunity, presence at the scene of the crime, and--above all--the man's reputation.

He listens quietly again as the case falls completely apart. They didn't need Waters and his slick manipulations, didn't need plausible deniability, didn't even need to call a single witness. A tiny shock runs through Rob's body as he realizes that they, in spite of all the work and ruin they have been through, have no case, and he jumps a little bit.


It's a conscious thought, a practical three-alarm state of mind. Run, fly, get out! Needless drama, of course; surely they aren't in any danger. Still, whether owed to insight or paranoia, he can't get past the feeling that the Foundation may have screwed them. Astrid pulls a card out of her hat, deftly slipping into the courtroom legerdemain that is sometimes necessary.

Hello, who is this fellow getting up to leave?

30th of March, 2006, 09:12
hp:5/5 status: Say what now?

"Son of a bitch." Ryan thought to himself as the pencil he had been fiddling with a few moments ago snaps in half as he tries to control his temper. He had seen enough of these trails to see where this was going, Walters would have a field day with this and even if the Centinal foundation did send over the information the damage was done, unless Astrid had some hidden body of evidence O'Malley was in essence a free man.

The main question was why. Why didn't the foundation send the needed information? The press was going to rip the foundation a new one over this supposed mistake, especially Trisha, she will be more then happy to try and rake them over the coals. So whatever deal they are getting must be big in order to swallow this PR distaster.

4th of April, 2006, 09:06

Trying hard to keep his attention on the trial -- for some reason, he keeps wanting to glance surreptitiously at Astrid -- Paul has to use even more effort to not laugh out loud. He struggles to keep a straight face when he's described as 'armed'. What, am I just supposed to unplug something? I don't even really know HOW this stuff works, much less where it came from. "Yes, sir, here's my Utility Belt and Secret Decoder Ring. My Spandex is neatly folded in this bag. Pardon me while I remove my fake eye..."

He almost laughs when O'Malley is described as a 'businessman'. Right, and Bob's yer uncle. Did he forget the lackeys there? Or is it standard procedure to bring along someone who likes teleporting pinballs into people? His effort at keeping a straight face suddenly gets a lot easier. I'd better not make jokes like that. Ick.

The folder dropping doesn't surprise him in the least. Huh. No file, no case. No wonder. They won't even tell me why they kept me in a fridge for three years. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they engineered all this, for some reason.

I need to talk to Bolt. And where is Wreck, anyway? I owe him a few beers.

Left-Handed Bandit
4th of April, 2006, 10:35
As soon as he clears the courthouse doors, Blackthorne places a call on his satphone.

"Simon? Henry here," he says, fluidly descending the steps toward the company limo. "You won't believe what just happened here -- yes, I'm at the courthouse; they completely bolloxed the hearing. The DA's office had no evidence to present; never got it, they said -- no, I didn't wait around for the ruling. 50-50 on a continuance, I'd say."

The businessman steps into the limo and mouths "office" to his driver, then continues with his phone conversation. "I swear, you can't trust the government to get rid of a rival for you anymore -- yes, execute the deal. I want the keycodes in hand by the end of lunch..."

17th of April, 2006, 11:25
Outside the Courthouse

At first, there's an almost pleasant numbness, a cloud of fluffy insensitivity that buffers Astrid's senses from the harsh reality of the situation. Her stiletto-steps seem muted, the cold wind a gentle breeze as she steps out of the courthouse like a diver onto the high board - and at the bottom, the reporters scent blood, and thrash maniacally. It's like she's been stood up on prom-night - well, theoretically. Nobody ever stood Astrid Brand up in her whole life.

"The court can grant you five working days of grace, ADA. If the Foundation can supply the necessary documentation by then, this arraignment will resume. Until then..." He turns to the currently unaccused crimelord, bitter resignation in his eyes. "Mr. O'Malley, you are released without charge or penalty. There is no bail; however, the court must instruct you not to leave New York city in the next 120 hours." Tranh purses his lips grimly. "After that time, one way or another, we'll know where you can go."

Licensed vigilantism. When it fails, it fails colossally. Who picks up the pieces?

Only half-consciously, Astrid pull out her cellphone and flicks it off silent mode, thumbing in Kristine's speed dial number. Her mind is clouded with incomplete thoughts, sprawled over the Centinel Foundation, her boss, her co-worker, the bloody-handed, scot-free criminal in the courtroom, his oily assistant, and the pack of surly metahumans slouching out behind her. Until she picks one to focus on, they all seem to float just out of reach and taunt her.

SUBJECT NOT IN TRANSMISSION RANGE, the message blinks from the screen.

Osprey is the first to exit after the ADA, the justice system leaving him with nothing but his impotent revenge fantasies. He scarcely hears the crowd of reporters calling her name, demanding interviews, demanding to be told what transpired, why the case is over to quickly. TV news cameras watch like monocled Cyclopses, taking in the the dazed, lost looking Centinels and the city's legal representative. There's no place for personal shame: the media is intent on dragging it out into the light of day.

The Mechanic follows, almost should to shoulder with Bolt and Quantum. "I don't know about you..." he says quietly as the electrical threads of his coat begin to hum warmly, "But I think a meeting with Ms. Stone is in order."

As he says this, Bolt remembers something. He fishes a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket, and glances at it. United Manhattan Recreation Hall, 6pm is says in the SEASA's precise hand. The address of the building follows. That's where they're all supposed to meet for this 'one last job' the cold-blooded bastard has lined up for them; something he has yet to broach to his team mates.

Still, that's almost seven hours away.

19th of April, 2006, 12:17

Rob turns his head, looking over his shoulder at the other Rob without actually looking at him. "What would be the point?" he snaps. "No, you're right. But face it: the Foundation shafted us on this one, and good. This is a colossal screw-up; honestly, I think it's a little too colossal to be just a screw-up. Now I want to know why, and I want to know who, but more than that I want to see this work. I have to know if the system's gonna work, because if it isn't...if I--we don't get him put away, people are gonna die. Maybe even then. I don't have any money, I don't command fundamental cosmic forces, I don't bust the laws of physics all to hell--I just bend them a little. I have to know if this 'edifice of civilization' is going to protect me, because otherwise...because otherwise this whole thing is going to go down a road that I'm...that I'm just not ready to go down." It doesn't take a PHD or a background in psychology to read the signs on his face, or the way his shoulders bunch up as he talks. Something has a hold on him, deep inside, that he can't shake.

He's scared. Badly.

Rob turns away from his comrades, catching up to Astrid with one hand on her shoulder. "What do you need from me?"

19th of April, 2006, 14:41
HP: 5/5; Status: Wondering how many reporters she can kick in the nads before security tries to restrain her, then how far she can throw the security guard

Astrid Brant frowns as she snaps her phone closed. It's possible that Kristine is in a building somewhere that blocks coverage, but it's unlikely -- the new cellular networks typically reach every nook and cranny of the city, even deep inside the steel and glass monstrosities that make up New York City's famous skyline.

She lifts her chin and is about to address the boiling surge of reporters when one of the Centinels touches her on the shoulder. Raising her hand to the reporters to give herself a moment, she turns back to Osprey and speaks into his ear. Her voice is low and close.

"Find out what the fuck happened. Find out who dropped the ball and if it was on purpose. Find out if O'Malley got to someone in your organization, or if there's just general fucking incompetance over there on a mass scale." She leans away and adjusts her glasses, readying herself for the wolves at the bottom of the steps. "Find Wreck. And stay away from the Hammer, all of you. Don't complicate this any further. I'll be in touch."

With that, the assistant district attourney turns to face the music.

21st of April, 2006, 12:29
HP: 5/5; Status: self-determination

"Right. If you run into trouble, you call me. Or Bolt. Or Quantum, yeah. Just don't put yourself in a bad situation, okay? You got the right people on your side." His own whispers are low and rough, almost a growl.

As he rejoins the rest, it occurs to him that his question should have been 'What do you need from us?' They may not be a proper team, know each others abilities and tendencies inside and out, but they do share a common purpose...especially now. "Mr. Thomas, let's go have your meeting with Miss Stone."

Left-Handed Bandit
26th of April, 2006, 02:06
HP: unk; Status: Waiting

Henry Blackthorne keeps one eye on the television in the back of his company limo and the other on the mountains lining the steel canyon his "carriage" is winding its way through.

He is a captain in this world of steel and glass architecture, and cutthroat competition. Blackthorne Industries had carved out its place on the hill through the sheer will and genius of its sole owner and proprietor, but, like many other successful companies, reached a plateau it just can't move past.

So, like any good bodybuilder, Henry has to change the routine a little to jumpstart the muscle growth again.

Soon, Henry, soon.

The image of Astrid Brandt approaching the waiting cameras on the TV screen pulls the industrialist from his musings and he brings up the volume. She's a pretty one, pretty enough for Henry to consider ending his longtime relationship of convenience to pursue her. He could benefit from being seen with a woman who was more down to earth than he was, and it wouldn't hurt to have an ADA on his side, either...

26th of April, 2006, 08:21
The Centinels, guest starring Verve

From the primordial soup of the media, questions bubble and rise to the surface, before crawling onto to land glistening with slime.

And lunge right past her.


"Mr. Thomas! Do you have any comments on the search papers filed on your corporation by the Bureau of Technological Security? Is this..."

"Osprey, Osprey! Was the Foundation's case accepted? How do you feel about O'Malley facing trial or..."

"Is this public appearance a sign that you have been cleared of the espionage charges levelled against you, Bolt?"

"Quantum, is it true there was another teleporter working for the underworld? How many of your kind are there?"

"...sources spotted you at the site of the massacre of alleged O'Malley syndicate members last night. Any comments, Osprey?"

"Mechanic, did you handle the case? Does your genius extend to legal matters as well as technology? Sir, are you a nova?"

"...file a flight plan with Homeland Security's air control arm to translocate within the city, given the state of terrorism alert?"

"...romance in the air with you and a certain CrossMedia reporter, Bolt? Bolt? Bolt!?"

The poise Astrid had gathered to deal with the media evaporates somewhat, replaced by a pointed sense of annoyance (and a little deja vu to the conferences surrounding her earlier profession). They clearly haven't clicked that the DA hasn't, and isn't going to show, and obviously don't even recognise her.

26th of April, 2006, 17:27
HP: 5/5; Status: Verve needs a drink... badly

It takes a moment for Brant to process that none of the reporters know who she is or how she's connected with the case, but considering how poorly things went... well, not having to talk to the press about it is a good thing. A slight smile creases her lips. Walking down the steps, she pushes through the reporters and turns back to the Centinels. "Nothing about the case, boys, okay?"

Pulling her coat closed as she turns and walks down the street, the ADA calls her office to see if Kristine has checked in there, or if maybe they've heard from John or the police about the "package" dropped off at her apartment last night. If nothing else, she's going to get the name and number of the right person to ream over at the Foundation.

Left-Handed Bandit
27th of April, 2006, 01:16
HP: unk; Status: Sigh...

He should've expected it, really. The press completely ignored the person who would know best about the goings on in the hearing and went straight for the flash of the novas. Style over substance reigns in this "gotta have it first" era of modern journalism.

Well, not that Henry hasn't used it to his advantage on more than one occasion.

Flipping open his satphone again, Henry waits patiently for his most trusted associate to pick up on the other side.

"It's me again," he announces, shifting in his seat to get a better look at the approaching Blackthorne Building. "Listen, see if you can dig up everything you can on Ms. Astrid Brandt. She was the ADA in the courtroom today. What's the word on the deal?....Mmmm-hmm. Good...Keep on top of it, then...I'll be in the office in a few minutes. Bye."

Henry hangs up and speed dials another number. "Marie, have my usual lunch order sent up to my office..."

27th of April, 2006, 06:14
HP 5/5 status: Man, that's a whole lot of reporters

The reporters questions roll over Ryan like a tidal wave, he can hardly make out one question when another takes its place, he barely resists the urge to give them all the finger and tell them what exactly they can do with their questions. The only reason he didn't was because Trish was in there somewhere and he didn't want to offend her.

Ignoring the questions, he half turns to face his team mates. "Look, questioning Ms. Stone is probably a good idea but lets face it, she is probably as much in the dark about this as we are. If we want answers we need to talk to Mr. Lizard, fortunately we have a meeting with him later tonight. We can talk about it later, when we have more privacy but for right now lets get to the Centinal Building."

Ryan will walk down the steps and start pushing his way through the mob of reporters. "No comment, no comment." is his only response

5th of May, 2006, 07:40
HP: 1/5; Status: travelin'

"We do?" Rob asks, moments before Bolt vanishes in his trademark fashion, accompanied by a disco ball of reporters trying desperately to catch it on film. While their backs are turned, he nods to Quantum and the Mechanic, adds "Guess I'll see you there, then," and leaves in his own distinct fashion.

It begins as a long and graceful leap to a nearby rooftop, where he crouches for a moment. He doesn't normally give himself the liberty to really cut loose and fly, but the frustration of the day's turn of events catches up to him and suddenly he's sprinting to the roof's edge and flinging himself across the sky as hard as he can go. The wind noise drowns out everything else, leaving him oddly alone with his thoughts as he blasts recklessly through the air; below him, rooftops and streets blur at the edge of his vision. Rob's not sure how fast he goes, only that there isn't a car on the streets he can't catch and that one time, he escaped a police helicopter, although he really only had to get far enough ahead of it to doubleback.

He arrives at Centinels HQ a little winded, but probably only a minute or so behind Bolt. Rob finds a perch high up and catches his breath before dropping lightly to his feet a hundred feet below. Such open enjoyment of his power seems almost like an abuse, to do it with no other purpose than convenience. He shrugs it off and figures the gods will forgive him this one time, then turns to go inside and meet the runner.

20th of May, 2006, 15:30

Paul sighs as Bolt and Osprey take off. "Guess they wanted to do things their own way." He turns to the Mechanic and Astrid. "Well, do you want me to take you to the base, or do you two want to go under your own power?"

20th of May, 2006, 16:15
HP: 5/5; Status: Heading to her office

Caught off guard by Quantum's question as Brant is already on her phone, she lowers it shakes her head. "To the Foundation? No thanks. I've got some things to take care of at the office first. Not only do we need to find out why your people never actually followed through with filing the case, but I need to find out why the DA didn't note that we were lacking that little detail. I'll catch up with you guys later, probably this afternoon."

21st of May, 2006, 09:57

"Fair enough." Paul shrugs it off, though his disappointment isn't hard to spot. "You know how to get in touch with us. Well, me at least; the others seem to like making themselves hard to reach. Take care."

Looking to the Mechanic, he offers a hand, invoking his warp-field. Whether or not he has a passenger, he begins levitating, rising above the media sharks and traffic. Likely, they've been wanting SOMETHING to show on TV. So let's give 'em something.

Playing up the role of media-slave to the hilt, he rises high enough to be clear of everything, but still low enough to allow for some good shots. He then expands his field to its maximum size and gives it a slight mental push, causing it -- and him -- to rotate slowly. After one full turn, he shifts, and vanishes with an audible rush of displaced air.

As he materializes near the Centinel Building, he can't help but smirk. Eat your hearts out.

21st of May, 2006, 10:49
The Centinels

Privacy? At the Centinel Building? The people who have been tapping your phones and keeping illicit medical records on you?

Each of the Centinels gets a chance to revel in the irony of this at his own pace.

Rob "The Mechanic" Thompson's car pulls up behind the assembled journalists as soon as he steps up to the curve, thanks to its pattern-predictive SynChonicity Software. He slides into the back seat, the automatic chauffeur responding to his command: "Centinel Building, please." He reclines, slowly and uncomfortably, the image of O'Malley's smirk seeming fixed in his eidetic memory. With a scowl, he reaches for the crystal decanter of brandy set in mini-drinks cabinet in the centre of the seat. He stopped his hand before picking it up - the miscarriage of justice that just occurred was one thing, but he had other troubles facing him... and Rising Sun Applied Technologies. For a moment, he wonders if he should have mentioned it to the others... No. They have their own troubles, and then some.

For Paul "Quantum" Forrester, the egregious violation of space, time and causality is easier than the equivalent journey by foot or air - even with the effort put into showing off. He simply selects the coordinates he wishes to exist at and flexes his metahuman muscle, pushing his atoms from a state of here to there in an inconceivably complex, yet childishly easy and instinctual motion. Nothingness erupts in a dazzling splendour of purple lightning and fire, the spacetime continuum folding like origami as he // utter darkness lies in the sliver between quantum states breathing and hating you cannot escape the everpresent it waits and thinks thinks about you // teleports across the city in an easy bound.

Quantum almost doubles over as his feet touch down on the roof of an art gallery ten blocks away from the Centinel Building. What was THAT? His skin crawls, as if he's just passed through a membrane of icy-cold slime - that clung and grasped at him possessively. Shakily, he extends himself through the city again, completing his jaunt to the Centinel Building. Whatever the awful, encroaching sensation was, it does not recur.

Ryan "Bolt" Sanders passes quickly through the crowd, not seeing Trisha despite his surreptitious glances to either side. Once he's free of the competing calls for attention, the hands tugging on his coat, the digital recorders thrust into his face and the sea of jabbering faces, he takes a moment to centre himself - and finds he can't. Bolt looks down at his hands, seeing them oscillate at a speed undetectable to the baseline eye. Inside the courtroom, hatred had given him focus to avoid it... but now, in the bitter chill of the outside air, the addiction forced upon him rears its serpentine head, a hungry ache through his bones and veins that food cannot hope to fill. But what can he do about it?

What he always does.


For a few blessed fractions of a second, he is free of fear, of need, of all feeling beyond the road under his shoes and the wind on his face. All too soon, however, he reaches the entrance to the Centinel Building. What he sees their... is unexpected.

Rob "Osprey" Holt streaks through the air like a bullet, as swift a his namesake but ignoring the rotten warrens of buildings below, the natural abode of his prey. This moment, he has other business. Snowflakes strike his cheeks, under the leather of his cowl, like frozen bullets. Eventually, he brings his flightpath down and around towards the silvery glass front of the building where the others wait.


Henry Blackthorne brushes a snowflake from his shoulder, surveying his work. Despite himself, a smile was etched around his aristocratic lips.

Quantum arrives first, an effigy of violet fire heralded by thunder. A circle of clear sidewalk appears, the snow boiling away into invisible vapour under him. The blazing plasma-sphere fades, leaving the nova's solid frame hanging, unsuspended. Eclipsed by Quantum's lightshow, no-one notices Bolt appear on the scene. The runner gazes up at the building in disbelief, before a coughing fit wracks his shoulders, and he cups his hands in front of his mouth. Osprey drops onto a nearby roof, before gliding athletically down to street-level.

On either side of the building's front door, a small crane sits, the arms reaching up towards the title affixed to the wall. The burnished brass letters are being taken down from both ends, leaving only:

The man, darkly dressed and haired turn to look as the Centinels arrive.

22nd of May, 2006, 10:39

I swear, if it's not one thing, it's three.

Paul tried to keep any sort of nasty tone -- especially sarcasm and anger -- out of his voice. The result is a touch of wry irony. "Let me guess. This is the part where we get handed little pink pieces of paper and a cardboard box." He puts out an arm to help support Bolt, letting a touch of worry cross his features. Is he okay?

Looking at the dark-suited man -- and half expecting him to pull out a little device that emits flashes of red light -- Paul addresses him. "You look to be in a rather good mood. Mind telling me who you are, and why they're changing the sign? I don't remember anyone buying a billion hamburgers." God, where did THAT come from? They don't even bother numbering their signs anymore. Paul shakes his head; for all he knows, no one remembers the reference anyway. "I'm Paul Forrester, though you've probably guessed who I play on TV." He offers a hand. Might as well give the guy a chance to be diplomatic.

Left-Handed Bandit
22nd of May, 2006, 15:38
HP: 1/1; Status: Wait 'til they get a load of me...

..."Let me guess. This is the part where we get handed little pink pieces of paper and a cardboard box."...

Henry's roguish smile broadens at the impotent attempt at a cynical quip.

"Oh, no, Quantum; you gents are the 'A' team," the entrepreneur replies in a deliberate, but playful, tone. "You don't fire the ballplayers; you fire the manager."

He listens with amusement to Paul's response and shows no sign of offering an answer to the heroe's questions. A small part of him considers continuing the banter, but he knows it would do nothing but further frustrate the man.

Henry is about to speak when Quantum offers the first olive branch.

..."I'm Paul Forrester, though you've probably guessed who I play on TV." He offers a hand...

His roguish smile warming into a more genuine one, Henry takes the proffered hand and answers, "Henry Elias Blackthorne, owner of Blackthorne Industries..."

As he lets his hand fall, he adds, "...and your new boss."

23rd of May, 2006, 19:31
NONSTOP / ECHELON Intercept, OASIS transcription active.
Additional transcription to [blacktext] For the desk of [blacktext] only.
January 17th, 2010.

Phone number [blacktext] Serial number [blacktext]
Registered to Brand, Astrid

Call Log #1 11:19 am
Code entered to bypass voicemail
Male voice, identified as Yitzhak Esteban: Good morning, this is DA Kirwan's office. With apologies, he's not avail
AB: Zack? It's Astrid Brand.
YE: Ah. Oh. Astrid. Our man in the High Court said
AB: No, it didn't go well. Look, Zack
YE: It's - it' s Yitzhak, actually.
AB: Have you heard from John? Is he OK?
YE: pause No, not - not since last night. I got the call, it must have been past midnight - maybe one. He told me that someone had been pause making threatening calls to him and Jeanette. Telling them the route his children took to school, his eldest's dorm room number at NYU. His mechanic told him someone had been skulking around the workshop. They found a box attached to the brake line. It was just an empty box - but it could have been
AB: God, yeah. But where did he go?
YE: I don't know if I should say over the phone.
AB: It's me. I need to know he's OK.
YE: Look, I - all I know is that he's at his vacation home, up at Lake Hooft. When he called this morning, that was the last I'd heard, just after I got into work, he said he was fine. He's just scared for his family, Ms. Brand - I guess I would be too, now that O'Malley isn't
AB: Yeah. I know. Thanks, Zack.

>>No. As much as a I feel for Kirwan, we have better ways of dealing with O'Malley.

Call Log #2 11:24 am
Female voice, identified as Geraldine Moore: Hello?
AB: Gerry, this is Astrid. Have you - has anyone heard from Kristine in the last hour?
GM: No. Isn't she with you?
AB: No, I haven't seen her since
GM: Um, she sent an e-mail request for the O'Malley indictment files... but that was almost an hour ago. Hey, how did that go?
AB: Bad. I didn't get them; what does that tell you?
GM: Oh, wow, Astrid, that's a really crappy
AB: Goodbye, Gerry.
GM: No need to bite my

>Panopticon tells me that Kristine is "Kristine Edmonds." I want her file - if I'm right, it'll be under Delphi. Copy this transcript and the file to Simon.

Call Log #3 (Incoming) 11:40 am
AB: Hello?.
Male voice, identified as Robert Pawcalski: Um, hello, Ms. Brand this is Robbie Pawcalski, from the Lower Manhattan FIO [Forensic Investigations Office]. We just wanted to tell you - the patella that you found - that, uh, was sent to you. It turns out it's not human
AB: Not - then what
RP: A BEngiPig. It's a GE animal, to, ah, to provide replacement parts for transplant. In this case, knee joints, cartilage and bone marrow - all physiologically and genetically human. To the untrained eye, ah, not that I'm saying you're untrained
AB: That was a pig's kneecap? God
RP: Yes ma'am. There's a medical research facility in New Jersey - that's the nearest place they could be found. We've passed this along to the PD, and they're following up on it
AB: A pig's kneecap. Pig's don't even have - son of a - pause Thank you, Mr. Pawcalski. That's a huge weight off my mind. You people do great work.
RP: Oh. Ah. Thank you, ma'am. I
AB: Bye.
Monitoring continues on outgoing line
RP: Was wondering if. pause/muffled noise Great. Great work, Robbie. Man, that would have been the perfect time to ask her out.

>What the hell is this? I have better things to do that read about some low-ranking CSI's unrequited crush on a lawyer and subsequent pig mutilations. Whoever is responsible for gisting and prioritising this will report to Central for debriefing and mnemonic scrubbing tomorrow morning.

26th of May, 2006, 05:13
hp: 1 Status: Feed me...

As the coughing fit subsides, Ryan wraps his arms around him and squeezes tight in a desperate attempt to keep ache under control. He straightens and nods slightly to Paul that he is and will be ok.

"...and your new boss."

"Since when?" He asks quietly but loudly enough for everyone to hear. "Why weren't we informed about this?"

Left-Handed Bandit
26th of May, 2006, 06:43
HP: 1/1; Status: Lovin' every minute of it

... "Since when?" He asks quietly but loudly enough for everyone to hear. "Why weren't we informed about this?"...

"Since approximately 11:13 a.m., when I purchased the Foundation in its entirety," Henry says matter-of-factly. "And consider yourself informed, Bolt.

"Something very wrong happened today in the courthouse, and it prompted me into action," he continues, choosing to ignore Ryan's discomfort for the moment. "The Centinel Foundation fell victim to its own sense of importance, becoming just another inefficient bureaucracy -- or worse."

Pausing, Henry looks each of the four heroes in the eye. "You gentlemen deserve much better than a lazy and corrupt organization that does little to truly support you," Henry offers, a slight smile growing on his lips. "I intend to reorganize the foundation into the company model Blackthorne Industries has been using so successfully for nearly a decade. We're going to make you the heroes of New York, and we're going to rid the city of men like 'The Hammer.'"

And other enemies and rivals as I deem necessary, he thinks to himself, his smile broadening.

"Why don't you gents get Bolt here some help and meet me in the executive conference room in a half-hour. I'd like a briefing on what you gents have been doing on the O'Malley thing."

26th of May, 2006, 10:42
HP: 1/5; Status: a man apart

"And your new boss...Since approximately 11:13 a.m., when I purchased the Foundation in its entirety..."

Rob stands there, stock still and upright, listening to Blackthorne's words and ignoring his glad-handing-dandy routine. Henry seems to look meaningfully at him as he mentions O'Malley, and Rob takes the opportunity to set some things straight. "I don't know if I can speak for anyone else, but I'm not a mercenary. I'm not under contract, and I never was beholden to answer to the Foundation. It was my understanding that our relationship was entirely voluntary. I want it to be your understanding that that is how it is." He swallows. 'And I know who you are, Henry Elias Blackthorne. I know enough about you to know that I shouldn't trust you, to know that I'm in trouble because I'm going to have to trust you now.'

As Blackthorne calls them in for a meeting, Rob interjects: "I won't be here long. The ADA has asked me to help her run down some loose ends."

Left-Handed Bandit
26th of May, 2006, 13:55
HP: 1/1; Status: Oh, really?

Henry is amused by Osprey's posturing, his smile broadening with the other's revelations.

... As Blackthorne calls them in for a meeting, Rob interjects: "I won't be here long. The ADA has asked me to help her run down some loose ends."...

"Ms. Brandt, correct?" he replies, knowing full well the name of the ADA in question. "Good, then. I would appreciate a report from you when you return."

27th of May, 2006, 17:04
HP: 5/5; Status: Coffee Break

Astrid's eyes flick back to the array of paperwork on the table in front of her as she hangs up her phone for what seems like the hundredth time since sitting down. The morning's courtroom debacle still has her attention squarely fixed on the O'Malley case and the incompetence of the Centinels Foundation, despite having several active cases back on her desk in her office. She wanted to pour over the O'Malley case more carefully, trying to piece together how things had fallen apart quite so completely, so she'd stopped in to her favorite coffee shop in order to have a closer look at the file. Her phone inquiries to the Foundation have met with disconnections, indefinite hold times, transfers to voicemails that don't allow messages to be left and lines that simply ring and ring.

Rubbing her eyes beneath her cat-eye glasses, the attractive ADA finishes her coffee and glances over behind the store counter, to the tall, handsome young man she knows only as Nash. Sighing and grumbling inwardly about her currently comatose sex life, she allows herself a brief and filthy daydream before deciding to dial Kristine's number one last time.

31st of May, 2006, 10:59

Paul can't help but get a mental image of the rest of his team in black fatigues; Wreck sporting an afro, cut into a mohawk, and wearing about five pounds of jewelry; the Mechanic piloting a helicopter; and Osprey chewing on a cigar. It takes an act of will to keep from laughing out loud.

He doesn't flinch at all when the man calls him by name -- given his antics at the stadium just the other night, he's getting used to complete strangers recognizing him. It's only aided by the fact that he can't seem to resist chances to show off.

"Henry Elias Blackthorne, owner of Blackthorne Industries... and your new boss."

This is new. Paul can't help but wonder if someone orchestrated this, especially given the timing. He considers the idea that Wreck had a hand in this, but quickly dismisses it; the so-called 'meathammer' didn't seem to enjoy altruism. Definitely not O'Malley's work -- he wouldn't be so blatant, and seems to be the sort to prefer anguish over irony.

Knowing the others are going to be caught flat-footed by this change, Paul decides to play the F'in New Guy role full-force. "Glad to meet you, sir," he tells Henry. "I've only been involved here for a week or two, so my resume's going to be a little lean. Can you give us an idea of what's changing? The abridged version'll do for now."

Let's see how much is getting thrown out. This can be a good thing, or a total disaster; I need to know where to start applying damage-control, and whether or not this ship is going keel-up.

Left-Handed Bandit
31st of May, 2006, 11:30
HP: 1/1; Status: The Gracious "Host"

..."I've only been involved here for a week or two, so my resume's going to be a little lean. Can you give us an idea of what's changing? The abridged version'll do for now."...

Henry gestures toward the front door to usher them inside as they continue the conversation. "My plans are for a wholesale streamlining of the organization that is more responsive to your needs and government requests," the entrepreneur says. "Only the most motivated and capable employees will remain; once free of the chaff, we'll hire highly-competent professionals.

"We'll bring in strong marketing professionals to help restore the foundation's image and to raise revenue -- your public actions will be a part of that effort, of course," he continues, leading them through the front foyer where Blackthorne Industries uniformed guards are already standing guard, checking everyone going in and out. "We're still non-profit, but we need to make sure we're solvent. Supporting a superhero team is an expensive undertaking, and we want the foundation to stand on its own.

"We also want to make this building your refuge -- a place where you have no pressures of celebrity," Henry says, stopping at the elevator door and turning to face the heroes. "You'll have access to labs, medical facilities, gyms, living quarters -- whatever it takes to ensure you have a place to be yourselves with no expectations.

"Make no mistake about it, the foundation is about you -- not about the man it was originally named for," he adds. "You are the men who are the protectors of this city and her citizens. You are the heroes, gentlemen, and shouldn't have to wade through secrets being kept from you by your own people."

2nd of June, 2006, 15:24
Astrid Brand's Apartment, Manhattan, NYC.
10:56 pm, February 14th 2008.

"Okay, let me read your palm!"

Astrid looked at Kristine dubiously over the rim of her wine glass. You'd be hard pressed to find many people more level-headed than Astrid Brant, even after a glass and a half of Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc - especially given the rate that her enhanced metabolism blitzed through any trace of alcohol. She examined her new friend, sitting on the floor next to the couch with her arms wrapped around her knees and a cheerful grin on her face. What the hey, the junior prosecutor mused. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to cement a friendship

Besides, what harm could it do?

Outside the curtained windows, the wind howled, drowning out the unusually subdued sounds of the city on a Friday night. Ten Horn Solo by one of the newest indie-underground rock bands, Algol, beat from the stereo.

"My mother taught me how to do palmistry... not that she's one of those fruitbat telephone psychics. She's the real deal... let's see what we've got here." Scooching over to the seat where Astrid sits, Kristine takes her hand and unfurls the fingers (strong enough to leave fingerprints on a steel girder). She purses her lips, slowly focusing her eyes (though a glass, darkly) on the lines across the young lawyer's palms. "Hummm..." she said, taking an exaggerated look of mystic concentration.

"Oooo... I see a tall, dark man in your future..." Kristine warbled dramatically. "And... he's not Ted!" They share a laugh, and Astrid secretly thought that that might not be such a bad thing.

"i know who you are i know where you are bitch when I get out of here i'm gonna murder you filthy bitch whore"

Astrid's head spun in alarm at the rough, snarling voice - coming from Kristine's mouth. Her eyes rolled up in her head, revealing only the fevered whites, and her nails dug into her palms. All in all, a very good impression of an epileptic fit (it is just an impression, right? she is just faking, right?). "Quit it. That's... that's not funny..." Astrid said, somewhat more shrilly than she intended. Reaching out, she shook the legal aide by the shoulder. Kristine shuddered, and her eyes leaped, unsettled from Astrid to the glass spilled by her knee to the shadowy corners of the apartment.

"What..." she whimpered, then swallowed. "Did I drift off there, for a second?"

Silence, for a few moments. Then the event was hastily laughed off and forgotten about.

For a time.

Verve. Today.

"Can I fill you up?"

Astrid is wrenched from her mental escapades to a reality that differs, in the main, only by the addition of clothes and the subtraction of 90 degrees of rotation as Nash the Coffee Guy wanders over to her end of the counter. He tilts his head, making his wild, surfer-bangs flip back briefly, and smiles radiantly. The phone pressed to her ear, the ADA can't reply, but nods.

Her call connects.

"Hello." The voice is is bright, that of a young girl, and yet sends chills down Astrid's immaculately postured spine. Kristine did have a youngish niece, she recalls, but she didn't sound at all like this.

7th of June, 2006, 02:52
HP: 5/5; Status: Desperately Needing Nash to Fill Her Up

Watching as Nash refills her cup, Astrid hesitates for just a second, wondering if she's dialed the right number. Like most people in 21st century America, however, Brant doesn't have the time or inclination to actually learn phone numbers. Everything is in her phone already, either in her phone book or on lists of previously dialed and received calls. For numbers she doesn't have access to, directory assistance provides immediate and direct connections, no longer even bothering to list the number unless specifically asked for it.

So she instinctively knows that the number she dialed is the right one. But perhaps the wires got crossed somehow. Stranger things have happened.

"I'm looking for Kristine," the lawyer says crisply, smiling as Nate nods at her and moves off. Normally her eyes would linger on his backside, but something about the voice on the other end of the line has the woman unnerved. "Is she nearby?"

8th of June, 2006, 10:50

For a moment, all Astrid can hear is the electronic-wind sound of the microwave atmosphere over New York. The chilling little girl's voice comes over the line again. “She's here. She's going to be with us, now.”

Nash tips the last few drops of coffee into her mug, and looks like he's about to turn away – then he catches sight of something past her, and his jaw falls.

“Look behind you.”

Astrid twists quickly in her seat, the phone still pressed tightly to her ear.

All around the shop, mugs and cups rise into the air off their coasters and tables, trembling, as if held by invisible strings. People cry out in alarm, fall out of their seats, or recoil back from the inexplicable phenomenon. Hot coffee spills over the rims as the levitating cups shudder and hold in place.

8th of June, 2006, 17:08
HP: 5/5; Status: Utterly Unnerved

Amidst the shouts and cries in the shop, Astrid's throat works for a few seconds before any words come out. When she swallows and finally manages to speak, her voice sounds thin and fragile in her own ears.

"Are... you doing that?" she says into the phone, her blue eyes absolutely riveted to the closest coffee cup that hangs suspended in the air, trembling and dribbling droplets of hot coffee onto the worn wooden floor. Her next words come easier, and are ever quieter, just a hoarse whisper. "Who is this?"

10th of June, 2006, 15:03
Status: Reserved

Paul makes a mental note of his companions' reactions to the developing scene, and he does not like what he sees. Why does Osprey distrust this man? Well, he'd have to find out about that later; it appeared that they had decided to let him take the reins.

"Public image, revenue -- sounds to me like we're going to be turning up on lunchboxes and action-figures. Please tell me we aren't going to have to wear brightly-colored spandex and capes."

Left-Handed Bandit
11th of June, 2006, 01:58
HP: 1/1; Status: Oh, God, no.

..."Public image, revenue -- sounds to me like we're going to be turning up on lunchboxes and action-figures. Please tell me we aren't going to have to wear brightly-colored spandex and capes."...

"Oh, absolutely not," the businessman replies a little more adamantly than he would have liked, an expression of distaste darkening his features for a moment. "However, there is something to be said for a little conformity...even something subtle."

Henry follows with a smile, then adds, "But that's a discussion for later."

18th of June, 2006, 11:38
HP: 1/5; Status: subject to sophistry

'He sounds sincere enough about it, though, doesn't he?' Rob follows the others through the door and into the boardroom less reluctantly that he would like to admit; truth is, he's more than a little disillusioned with the Foundation right now, and Henry's telling him precisely what he needs to hear. Regardless of his stance as the lone wolf, Rob still finds himself wanting to belong to a team, to make friends and allies, to know that he's where he needs to be out there.

And also wanting to know if anything he's heard about Henry Blackthorne has any truth to it. Nobody collects nebulous scandal and attention as Blackthorne has, without there being an underlying reason. Once again, the plot has thickened.

Left-Handed Bandit
24th of June, 2006, 10:01
HP: 1/1; Status: In his element

As he rounds the large conference table in the board room, Henry continues the conversation. "I've already had something for lunch today, but I'm sure you gentlemen must be starving. Why don't we order something and continue the conversation while we wait for the food to arrive."

24th of June, 2006, 18:53
HP: 4/5. Status: Hungry.

The mention of lunch elicits a growl from the vicinity of Paul's midsection. This is what I get for missing breakfast. "I'm up for some Chinese. Lemon chicken would be a relief from the cafeteria food." Paul pauses for a moment, recalling details. "You said you bought this place lock, stock, and barrel, around 11:30 or so. When I was up at ten, people here were packing their stuff. Did I miss something?"

Paul surreptitiously glances down at his communicator's base-unit, wishing it included some way to send text messages. Maybe the Mechanic can tweak it.

Left-Handed Bandit
25th of June, 2006, 00:29
HP: 1/1; Status: Still in his element

Henry looks around at the others, seeing if there were any objections to Chinese for lunch. While the rest are still working out their food orders, Henry responds to Quantum's question.

"I haven't had the time to sit down with Ms. Stone since I arrived, so I can't give you a proper answer to that question," he answers honestly. "I do know that the Foundation was in a state of flux, and I intend to root out the reasons why."

Henry will call an assistant up to take the lunch orders, then turn to more serious business.

"Osprey, you mentioned you were heading off to help Ms. Brant tie up some loose ends," the businessman begins. "Does it have something to do with the O'Malley trial, or is it a personal errand?"

27th of June, 2006, 11:05


While a creepy little girl giggling down the line unexpectedly is bad – bad in an every-horror-movie-made-in-the-last-decade way – a cacophonous, graveyard snarl, a thousand damned voices speaking in unison (or rather, just out of synch enough to send the listener's nerves shuddering like badly-tuned violin strings) – is worse.


The line goes dead.

One of the coffee cups wobbles in mid-air, then in an instant of shocking motion, hurtles towards Astrid. Even taken by surprise, the well-honed, if dormant defensive reactions granted to her by her former profession as as Millennium Kid snap into action, and she raises an invulnerable forearm to block the projectile – not quite fast enough.

The cup glances off her little finger, hard enough to sting, and slams into the side of her head like a cannonball. She lurches sideways in her seat, almost knocked to the floor, shards of porcelain and piping-hot coffee ruining her suit and hair – but doing no more than bruising her cheek and hurting like hell. Nash gives a yell of alarm, dodging the shards that snicker past him to crack the behind-the-counter mirror.

The other dozens of coffee cups begin to tremble.

OOC: Verve makes her damage save – NB that, as we're 2nd Ed now, she has 1 HP, not 5/5.

27th of June, 2006, 11:44
Blackthorne, Bolt, Quantum

Rob Thomas has been quiet throughout the meeting with Blackthorne, stepping outside more than once to check his personal computer, and looking increasingly worried each time he returns. At first, the other Centinels put this down to the frustration of the trial and the uncertainty of the Foundation's current situation. But at last, he stands suddenly and declares in a tense voice: “I'm sorry, guys... something's come up at my company. I have to go be a CEO for a while.”

He gives Blackthorne a momentary, suspicious glare as he turns and hurries out – almost an accusation.

His absence does not denude the room long, though, as Alicia Stone walks in, looking as harassed and busy as ever, but uncharacteristically tired and marginally rumpled, with more wrinkles in her suit and disarray in her fair hair than usual.

“Ryan, Paul,” she looks between the two remaining Centinels. “I'm sorry I'm late - though I gather the Rob's have both left already?” She turns her attention to the immaculately tailored man at the head of the table... standing where she stood, little more than four days ago, telling the Centinels about a certain warehouse...

“Mr. Blackthorne,” she says. The finest nanotechnologists in the world could not construct a thinner veil of politeness over her tone of icy venom.

30th of June, 2006, 01:34
HP: 2/2; Status: Coffee Stained

Brant's cell phone skitters across the floor as she's struck by the high-speed ceramic missile, then the woman leaps to her feet as scalding hot cofee runs down her face, her instincts overcoming the cold fear that had gripped her when she'd heard the terrible, queer chorus of voices.

"Get down!" she shouts at Nash and the other customers in the place, raising her arms defensively. To the air around her, she adds, "Whatever you are, don't do this, innocent people will get hurt!"

When the mugs continue to tremble and look like they're about to strike, the former teen heroine darts over to the counter with the grace of a panther, then yanks a heavy tray out from under a pile of cookies, muffins and breakfast bars -- all of which go flying as she turns, wielding the tray with both hands after adjusting her glasses.

Astrid swings the makeshift weapon at a nearby pair of hovering cups, pulversizing them, showering the coffee shop floor with porcelain dust, then shouts, "Stop this!" as she grits her teeth and prepares for another assault.

Left-Handed Bandit
30th of June, 2006, 02:53
HP: 1/1; Status: The object of everyone's...ire.

He gives Blackthorne a momentary, suspicious glare as he turns and hurries out – almost an accusation.

Henry doesn't react to Paul's accusatory stare, knowing what the likely source of his ire is: something that Blackthorne Industries is dealing with right now, too, and a tertiary motivation for his most recent acquisition.

He is about to repeat his question to Osprey when Alicia Stone enters the conference room.

“Mr. Blackthorne,” she says. The finest nanotechnologists in the world could not construct a thinner veil of politeness over her tone of icy venom.

The warmest and most affectionate of smiles greets her verneered malevolence. "Ms. Stone, thank you for joining us," he says in his usual friendly tone, doing a much better job of hiding his pleasure at her venom. "We've just ordered lunch, and I'm sure there's enough time to get yours in.

"Now, Osprey mentioned he's to meet with Ms. Brant, the ADA, at some point this afternoon, to tie up loose ends," he continues. "He was about to tell us the nature of these loose ends when the Mechanic was forced to leave early."

30th of June, 2006, 09:29
The Meeting

“Thank you, but I seem to have lost my appetite,” Stone snaps.

She sits without being explicitly invited, a slight groan escaping her lips – the sound of someone in high-heels getting their first chance to sit down all day. She drops her folder on the desk, a few page-corners spilling from it and, uncharacteristically, she pays them no heed. Her nails slide across the plasticised black marble of the table top as she stares out of the window, examining the crowns of nearby buildings until Blackthorne finishes.

“Yes. I heard that O'Malley got away with it. I can only think of one cause for any loose ends,” she replies quietly, glancing briefly at all three men. “And that is that in a closed-door, late session last night, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction to the Centinel Foundation, instructing us to cease and desist all licensed vigilantism, support and criminal intelligence activities. Some of our equipment and most of our files have been repossessed by Homeland Security.”

Pinching the bridge of her nose, Alicia Stone continues: “We couldn't file the confirmation of charges against O'Malley... because the Foundation's role as an investigative and legal body has been curtailed. Somebody in Washington decided to shut us down, and they've done it in the most humiliating and harmful way possible.” She opens her eyes, running a nail along the thick steel rim of her glasses and fixes a gaze of the same colour and coldness onto Henry Blackthorne.

30th of June, 2006, 12:07

A spray of confectionery and baked goods flavouring the air around her, Astrid swings the massive tray like an unwieldy baseball bat, demolishing a couple of the cups hovering above the counter... and leaving herself open to a bombarding storm from a half-dozen others.

Almost floored by a grandé mug clipping her shoulder, she throws out her leg for balance – in such haste that she cracks the tile underfoot. More cups rain around her, a few deflecting off it to smash chunks out of the counter's sideboards... while others punch straight through the thin steel like missiles. Another cup slams into her midrift, almost winding her.

Neutral Grounds is filled with screams as its up-market clientèle of legal and financial professionals hurl themselves towards the doors or cower under the tables as their expensive but tasty lattes and mocha chinos fly through the air with deadly intent. The cups zig and zag, ricochetting off tables and walls, or simply smashing through anything in their way. Out of the corner of her eye, Astrid sees one man, older and in a charcoal suit, catch one across the side of the face before cartwheeling to the floor in a spray of blood and teeth.

30th of June, 2006, 14:05
HP: 4/5. Status: Smelling a rat.

"Why aren't I surprised?" Paul asks. "Considering the timing, I'm amazed that the SWAT team that showed up at the stadium didn't try to arrest me for stopping Devolution." He tugs at his tie, loosening it slightly away from his neck. "Was this injunction against Nova organizations in general, or was it aimed at us?"

Left-Handed Bandit
1st of July, 2006, 01:06
HP: 1; Status: Forthcoming

"Blacthorne Industries was recently the target of a federal siezure of advanced technological concepts and projects -- hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research and development," Henry shares. "I'm sure the Mechanic is dealing with a similar situation at the moment.

"As to Ms. Stone's statement, my lawyers are working on an overall reorganization of the Foundation's status," he continues. "Without getting into the nitty gritty that only Ms. Brant and others of her profession would find interesting, we're using some loopholes in the laws governing non-profit organizations to skirt around the need for 'licensing.' Once we complete the reorganization, my hope is that we can get back to the business of bringing bad-guys to justice, with or without the government's official blessing."

He turns to Alicia to see if she has anything to add on whether the Centinel Foundation is the only target of the cease-and-desist order.

5th of July, 2006, 15:56
HP: 1/5; Status: a man on the go

Rob bites back the impulse to verbally cut him; it's been one hell of a day, and it's likely that Rob's only imagining the snicker in Blackthorne's voice. Still, he stands and declines lunch. "Nothing for me, thanks; I'll get something on the move. My business with Miss Brant is strictly related to the trial; in fact, I think it's best that I deliver this information to her immediately. I'm also going to help her run down some loose ends, like Wreck; I'll touch base with all of you later, see if there have been any other developments."

And then he's gone, once again sailing over the city, a lot more like a classic superhero than a masked vigilante. Astrid had charged him with finding Wreck and gleaning what he could about the situation at Centinels HQ. That lattermost issue was pretty much resolved right now, and given the kind of folk he'd likely have to deal with to find Wreck, that's best left for after nightfall; this made reporting to ADA Brandt the best priority right now. He puts down a few minutes and miles away, slots a coin into a payphone and dials the DA's office.


He becomes acutely aware of the looks he's getting. It's not every day you see a black-leather stranger standing in a phone booth with a pair of clubs strapped to his back. Or maybe you do, depends on what part of town you're in.

The voice on the other end isn't Astrid, he can tell that right away. It's a girl's voice, true enough, but lacking the courtroom mellifluousness of the ADA. He tells her who he is, very self-consciously, then asks to speak with Astrid. Of course, she's stepped out right now, but would he like to take a message?

No. No, he would not. He doesn't say this, of course, just explains his mission and moves on to the next question: Does she know where the ADA is? No. Has she checked in since the trial went into recess? No. Rob thinks for a second, trying to fathom Astrid's state of mind at the time, then asks the young lady on the phone if she knows where Astrid might have gone to collect her thoughts.

Bingo. Astrid, along with most of the rest of the staff, frequents a nearby coffeehouse called Neutral Grounds. He gets the location and hangs up.

Rob steps out of the phone booth and gives a sidelong glance at a pair of teens who have stopped to look at him. He holds no delusion that they know who he is; they're just gawking at the freak. Still, an uncharacteristically mischievous thought enters his mind just as he's preparing to take to the air once again.

"Up, up, and away."

Left-Handed Bandit
6th of July, 2006, 08:44
HP: 1; Status:

"...I'll touch base with all of you later, see if there have been any other developments."

"Thank you, Osprey, and be careful; I needn't remind you of O'Malley's long reach," the businessman says in a genuine and serious tone. After a momentary pause, Henry turns to Alicia. "Ms. Stone, was the O'Malley evidence among the items taken -- or, do we at least have a copy we can recover?

"I'd like to comply with the people's request immediately; let the DA and the Federal government fight about its admissibility."

7th of July, 2006, 09:46
hp:1 status: Need a fix...

Ryan is unsure of whether his stomache is going to burst through his chest or if he was going to throw it up right on the desk. Either way it had to be better then the pain he was feeling at the moment, it felt like he hadn't eaten for about a month and his inards were at this very moment devouring themselves in a last ditch attempt to stay alive...

He had sat through the meeting in a daze not saying anything, his arms wrapped around himself trying not to let the others see that anything was wrong. He was smart enough to know what was happening but still he didn't want the others to know.

Trish would know though, she is the one that got him this way even if it was by accident. "If it was an accident," the cynical part of his mind thinks but he convinently pushes that thought away.

"I have to go as well," he says as he stands to no one in particular, his focus was on trying to keep his legs from shaking. "I'll be back for the meeting with Mr. Lizard."

And then he was gone, off looking for Trisha.

12th of July, 2006, 18:45
HP: 2/2; Status: Smashy Smashy Ducky Ducky Runny Runny

Swearing as she sees a customer go down, and then again as she gets clipped and then struck hard by a pair of the bizarre missiles, Astrid continues brandishing the tray, smashing two more spinning mugs before another grazes her cheek, sending her glasses skittering and somehow almost cutting her phenomenally tough skin.

Fighting her way towards the front doors, the woman hopes to lead the ceramic storm outside, away from all the customers who don't have nova powers. Perhaps its self-centered of the ADA to think that she's the reason for the attack, but at this particular frantic moment in time its her only theory. "Stay down!" she cries, picking up speed as she runs for the front of the shop, crushing both of her high heels beneath strides more powerful than any she's taken in a long time.

28th of July, 2006, 11:00
The Meeting

Stone shakes her head. “There... there aren't any other groups left. Almost none.

“Metahuman teams haven't been enormously popular since the InterForce débacle in the 80's, of course,” she explains. “When the G-7 sponsored group was found guilt of numerous atrocities and brutalities and went rogue, people lost trust in novas and other post-humans when they gathered in insular groups. It was that trust that the Centinels were, in part, intended to rectify.” Bitterness contorts her tired face, and she presses her knuckles and unpainted nails hard against the table in frustration as she begins a litany. “The Justifiers, from Chicago, have been issued a cease-and-desist order. The same goes for San Francisco's Westwatch. The Denver Defenders actually assaulted the FBI agents sent to break up their group... my best information is that they are under arrest or on the run.” She seems to shrink with each report.

“The O'Malley prosecution details?” she replies to Blackthorne's query hesitantly. “I.. don't know. Homeland Security took my palmtop, but the master copy may still be in Legal's files. If they're here, the DA should be able to make use of them as evidence. I could...” she pauses, then deliberately distances herself from the conversation. “Maybe you should ask Bryan Lieter, if he's still around.” It's not my problem any more, her grey eyes say, sparkling with sadness and spite.

Quantum glances around, realising he's the only Centinel left in the room. It's difficult to suppress a momentary flare of anger or amusement at the... unreliabilityof the other novas.

“I hope you enjoy your new corporate possession, Mr. Blackthorne...” Alicia Stone says, getting up unsteadily. “I don't think you'll be allowed to do...”

Before she can finish, a dark haired, breathless young man bursts through the door, grabbing the handle to steady himself. “Miss.. Miss Stone...” he pants. He pauses, glancing at Henry. “Uh, Mister Blackthorne...” his eyes flick between the two, before settling on Quantum as some kind of middle ground. “There's a... huh, huhph... man... a nova in the lobby... not in a good mood!”

28th of July, 2006, 12:03
Neutral Grounds

The grubby yellow and other-coloured cockroaches of New York traffic scuttle along dirty paths below Osprey as he weaves through the ever-growing high-rise skyscape. Here, he ducks through a skeletal construction scaffold, making the labourers gasp and point (though the longer-time residents of the city are able to at least affect a blaise response); there he skims over an illuminated billboard for KleenyWhyte (tm) toothpaste.

He wheels to a halt in the air, aware of the chill and grateful for the body-heat trapping properties of leather. Below is the pun-tastically named Neutral Grounds; as decent-looking a yuppy coffee hang-out as ever he'd seen – not that that was saying much. He sees people scurrying away from the front doors, and momentarily, sarcastically wonders if the shop has lost wi-fi access...

Then the six-meter wide plate glass front window with the sandblasted shop logo explodes into shards.

Astrid Brand leaps through the air, her stylish business suit gashed and coffee stained, glass glittering in her hair. A hail of cups and mugs follow her like an artillery barrage, smashing into the sidewalk with enough force to crack it. Some glance off her or shatter on her back, shoulders, skull and legs, making her stagger for a second but leaving her unscathed.

The image of the beautiful lawyer being assaulted by crockery, smashing the last few cups to pieces with confident blows of her forearms and fists (she knows how to fight, Osprey notes with professional detachment) would be almost comical, if not for the terrified wails of stunned and injured customers and bystanders – not to mention a few curious rubberneckers, this being NYC – and the beat cop staring in flat amazement at Astrid, while levelling his gun at her.

28th of July, 2006, 13:46

CrossMedia's headquarters rises like a seven-pointed star of blue glass, towering over a hundred storeys. The colourful banners of Jonathan Cross' various enterprises, from TV news to satellite radio, web browsers and 'blog service providers, pod casting and tabloids bedeck the roof and adorn the flanks, overshadowing the giant sundial set into the Hamil Place park, only a few blocks from the Centinel Building. People and vehicles flow in and out of the area on various missions.

The sky flows above him like grey toilet water. Bolt has to stop, falling to his hands and knees, dry-retching into a sewer grate, forcing himself to ignore the perversely interested, judgemental eyes of the people on him. Wiping his sour-tasting lips with the back of his hand, he staggers to his feet and is gone in a blur of motion, leaving the voyeurs looking around in confusion.

Bolt has to slow down to pass through the revolving doors. Inside the lobby, the air is mercifully warm and fresh, maintained by computerised environmental monitors. A fountain burbles along to the sound of the latest number one pop group, while CrossMedia designers, reporters, wage-slave pseudo-celebrities, technicians and office workers chatter and gossip in the attached café or move between elevators and supply rooms.

The security guards at the door watch him suspiciously.

He stares up at the massive board that describes the floor numbers belonging to each arm of the media conglomerate, directly above the receptionists desk that covers half the middle of the lobby... and he realises he doesn't know where, exactly, Trisha Ling works.

28th of July, 2006, 18:02
HP: 1/1. Status: On duty, and apparently flying solo.

“There's a... huh, huhph... man... a nova in the lobby... not in a good mood!”

Quantum stands up, shaking his head. "I swear, if it's not one thing, it's three." He looks at Ms. Stone, then his new boss. "Well, I'm still on duty, so I guess I'm in charge of handling errant novas. Feel free to come along, but let me stand point, in case he decides to cause trouble."

He walks out of the meeting-room, gesturing for the breathless man to lead the way. No teleporting, he reminds himself. There's no reason to show off for these guys. Not yet, anyhow.

Left-Handed Bandit
29th of July, 2006, 02:36
HP: 1; Status: Hmmm, something new to deal with...

Henry stands and reaches for his satphone as he starts to follow the nova. "Ms. Stone," he says in passing. "You and I need to sit down and talk about your status here. You're too important to the novas and your staff to leave."

He then places a call on his phone. "Kenneth, I'm heading for the lobby; meet me at the elevator with my gun and baton, please."

2nd of August, 2006, 04:52
HP: 1/1. Status: Marching, sah!

Quantum gives Blackthorne an odd look over his shoulder as he hangs up his phone. "Hopefully, the gun won't be necessary, and I assume the baton isn't for leading a parade. If you decide to shoot, don't bother trying to aim through the field I generate. Bullets and the like tend to act... funny when they pass through it."

Left-Handed Bandit
2nd of August, 2006, 05:03
HP: 1; Status: A boy and his toys...

"You needn't worry about my armament, Quantum," Henry says, a smirk growing on his lips. "My gun doesn't shoot mere bullets -- most of the functions are electromagnetic in nature. It's amazing how field generation affects the human body."

4th of August, 2006, 09:19
Quantum & Blackthorne

Henry Elias Blackthorne can't help but ponder the nova that walks ahead of and beside him as they make their brisk way to the lobby. Kept in life-suspension for three years, awoken and thrown head-first into a complex, legally dubious criminal interdiction, and genetically outfitted by the novagenic virus Darwin's Flux with a suite of abilities that defy rational science more than any metauman Blackthorne can think of... and yet, the Foundation's new director is a shrewd enough judge of character to pick that Paul Forrester is probably the most stable and well-adjusted member of the Centinels.

As they reach the express lift, the two men are met by a man of average height with trim, reddish hair and a suit carefully calculated to help him blend into the background of any office, while remaining tidy. Corporate camouflage. Blackthorne breezily introduces Kenneth, his right-hand man and personal assistant. He nods respectfully to his employer, hefting a metal case. Blackthorne takes it, feeling the familiar weight of his defensive gear.

Quantum reaches out towards the DOWN button, but he's too far away, and his finger stops a foot in front of it -

- And then the space between finger and button collapses to a point, folding in on itself. He taps it, and the doors whisper open. Paul enters the elevator, apparently not having even noticed his bending of reality. Kenneth and Blackthrone share a glance. The businessman's perfectly shaped black eyebrows quirk into a jagged zig-zag, a rare display of unease.

The Lobby

“Now, you know I'm not gonna ask you nicely again... WHERE IS SHE?”

The only remaining receptionist cowers behind the massive bench. The voice booms threateningly from the middle of the floor, where sky-blue and cloud-grey marble describe the Centurion's symbol. A tall, powerfully muscled man with tightly cropped hair towers half a foot over the tallest of the few Foundation security guards that surround him uneasily. He wears grey tracksuit pants and a hoodie with an orange comet symbol on the chest. Quantum starts in recognition – it's Meteoric!

Flame-like strands of energy gust out from between his fingers as he catches sight of the three men emerging from the lifts. He starts forward, placing his hand on the shoulder of one of the men that blocks him. The slightest twitch of his arm sends the guard sprawling, but leaves him unharmed. Scowling, the metahuman heads towards Blackthorne and Quantum, clutching a small piece of paper.

4th of August, 2006, 13:05
HP: 1/5; Status: dueling with stoneware

It took him a while, when he was first starting, to learn how to fly downwards. It felt so wrong, so much like falling with gusto, that he had originally resigned himself to falling until he got close to the ground and pulling up at the last second. It was a harrowing, nerve-bending method of getting around, every descent carrying with it the imminent threat of broken legs. He was past that now, and while his descent greatly resembled a feet-first fall to an untrained eye, it was in fact a precisely gauged moment of ballistic choreography; not only does Osprey describe a downward arc to a point merely a half-meter in front of the beleageured ADA, but he does so at a much higher speed than a mere fall, and lands as lightly as if he had only hopped down from a ledge. In a flash, the stick is in his hand and he begins another form of kinetic ballet as he strikes down the porcelain projectiles, interposing himself between their source and Astrid. Rob spares her the briefest glance over his shoulder, partially to make sure she's alright and partially so that she can see his face. He begins to tell her to get behind something made out of brick, but doesn't, choosing instead to focus on the impending crockery.

OOC: Move to a defensive position in front of Astrid, then work Deflect for all it's worth at +4.

4th of August, 2006, 16:33
HP: 2/2; Shoeless and Breathless in NYC

Deflecting a mugissile with a raise forearm, Astrid exhaled into the chill New York air as the thing exploded into a cloud of stoneware dust. Seeing the cop point his gun at her out of the corner of her eye, the woman was about to take a step towards him in her stockinged feet when Osprey landed beside her, startling the ADA. As the martial artist immediately set to work blasting flying cups out of the air, Brant hesitated for a split-second then turned to the policeman.

"Don't!" she shouted, raising one of her hands towards the officer.

4th of August, 2006, 18:07
HP: 1/1. Status: Negotiating.

Paul start for a second when he sees Meteoric. I'm not surprised to see him here, he realizes, just seeing him so angry. He takes a step forward, making sure his hands are easily visible. Not that it matters, he wouldn't even bother carrying a weapon, but he knows that sort of gesture tends to reassure people in a violent mood.

"Cometous, I never expected to see you here. Mind telling me what's bothering you enough to get you to throwing people?" As he speaks, he mentally gauges the distance between himself and the other nova, calculating the best place to put himself should things turn ugly. He has this disquieting feeling that it'll happen, despite his efforts.

5th of August, 2006, 04:20
hp: 2/2 status: looking for a needle in a hay stack.

Normally Ryan would be at least somewhat impressed by the size and grandeur of the building but today he couldn't really even pretend to care, all that mattered was finding Trisha.

Which from the looks of it may not be as easy as he first thought, he gives the security guard a dismissive glance and returns to studing the board, looking for a clue as to where she could be. It didn't really matter he would search this whole building if he had to but first lets try and do things the easy way.

He takes a few more steps closer to the receptionists desk. "Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find Trisha Ling?"

Left-Handed Bandit
5th of August, 2006, 14:22
HP: 1; Status: Here's where the fun begins...

As soon as the elevator door closes, Henry kneels down and opens his case, withdrawing a leather belt that he immediately places around his waist under his suit coat.

He then pulls out an unremarkable-looking metal baton and slides it into one slot on his belt, then draws out a unique-looking gun that appears to be made of the same metal.

The weapon looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, with an over-under barrel configuration, and a large cylinder cutting into the middle of the bottom barrel just in front of the trigger guard.

After cliping the gun to his belt, Henry stands and hands the case to Kenneth just before the doors open to the ground floor. The entrepreneur allows the nova to take the lead, keeping his weapons on the belt to avoid any potential misunderstandings. No need to aggrivate the angry Meteoric any further than he already is...

5th of August, 2006, 17:42
Osprey & Verve

The elastic energy stored by Osprey's legs as they bent to take his power-softened landing is unleashed through his twin rattan sticks. His whole body moves in the interpretive dance of attack, parry and intercept, smashing the last few cups to powder and sending the shards bouncing away. A few chips sting his cheeks or stick into the leather of his cowl, barely enough to make him flinch. Rob Holt stops, eyes keenly scanning the air in front of him for more threats, and the monowire-taut tendons of his wrists and neck relax slightly, confident of victory...


The voice that screams in terror belongs to the police officer, the denial in his cry at odds with the deadly intention of his hand as it aims at Astrid and his finger as it pulls the trigger.

Osprey's skin bristles in immediate appreciation of danger, but before he can react -

klick kaBAM


Astrid turns her hand inward, looking wryly at the lead slug squished like a ballistic Hershey's Kiss against her skin. Still got it, girl.

The officer gasps, scrabbling weirdly at the hand that holds the gun with the other. He manages to grab his own index finger, and he wrenches his arm violently. There's a crack of snapping bone as he breaks his own finger to get it off the trigger, and it seems deafeningly loud in the rapidly emptying street.

5th of August, 2006, 18:07
Quantum & Blackthorne

“Don't you bullshit me, fly-zapper...” Meteoric snarls thunderously. He keeps walking hard towards the other nova, and stands in front of him, staring down at him furiously. Quantum decides that the best place to go in case the man turns violent is as far as his teleport can take him!

After a moment, Meteoric takes a breath and visibly calms himself. A little. “Man, why didn't you tell me she was here?” he asks tensely. “You covering for these people?”

“You, three piece,” he turns to Blackthorne, thrusting one hand forward and displaying the paper - a photograph. “You look like you're in charge. Where is she?”

The photo is clearly digitally cropped from a larger image, and shows a young, African-American woman with close-cropped hair, multiple ear, nose and tongue piercings in a torn denim jacket, grinning vivaciously at the camera. Quantum blinks in surprise – the last time he saw that face it was slack, leaking blood from the mouth, lying in a pile of debris in the Mercer International warehouse in the aftermath of the Centinel's fight with O'Malley and the Port.

Lara Hawkins. Actinic.

“Where's my sister, man?”

5th of August, 2006, 18:46

The woman at the desk stares wide-eyed at the shaking man in front of her. She clearly recognises him, and Bolt almost stops to wonder how far the Centinel's images have been spread around American pop-culture – probably mostly by magazines, TV shows and blogs owned by CrossMedia.

“Floor forty-four. Project room,” she says nervously.

Taking the stairs is quicker than waiting for the elevator.

The project room is a large conference room with a large, low table, numerous rollerchairs and dozens of desks and editing workstations. A dozen people are scattered around, frantically thumbing through stacks of documents, sifting internet chatter and talking animatedly about putting together a major news story.

“We can put sidebars around the front page, with profiles of each of the Cents... go for a sort of 'what job opportunities are there for a nova with this kind of debacle on their resume? I mean, could you see that Wreck flipping burgers?”

“Why're you putting the Denver stuff in here? Cross 's directive was for that to be left to the online division”.

“Has anyone heard anything about this 'Corps'?”

"The headline... we going for 50-point, or smaller?"

“We'll need to push Rierken's interview to page three...”
“What? Rierken is the head of the Vigilance Commission. His opinion carries much more weight than this guy's.”

“I gonna go ahead and call O'Malley's lawyer. He must have something to say about the people that tried to prosecute his client going belly-up, the same day.”
“Fuck... do you think this could be an organised crime thing?”

“I've got Warren on the line... he wants to know if you want to bump the obit for this 'Phillip Mouse' up a bit. It's kinda suspicious that he goes missing the same day as the Foundation gets shut down...”

They fall silent as Bolt appears in the doorway. The man working on Bolt's profile looks especially guilty, like he's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Trisha Ling stands up from her seat in the middle of the now-still storm of activity.


5th of August, 2006, 23:55
HP: 1/1. Status: Deferring to authority.

Paul glances over his shoulder, looking at Blackthorne. All right, he thinks. Let's see what the new boss has to say about this. Unless someone's moved her, I could take the guy right to her, but I want to see how he handles this. He makes a mental note that Meteoric has -- maybe unintentionally -- stepped close enough to be encompassed in his warp-field, and gets ready to take him for a ride; whether it's to the hospital, or parts unknown, is yet to be seen.

Left-Handed Bandit
6th of August, 2006, 01:26
HP: 1; Status: Wasn't quite expecting this...

Henry barely blinks when the nova thrusts the picture in his face. Of course, he recognizes the girl, at least by her codename: Actinic.

She's supposed to be here? Henry muses. How many novas do we have stashed around this place, anyway?

"Okay, Mr. Meteoric, relax for a minute and I'll see what I can find out," he says in a calm tone as he reaches into his jacket pocket for his cell phone. "The Foundation is in the middle of a colossal transition, and things have been crazy here. If your sister isn't under our care, we'll help you find out where she is."

By the time he's finished his sentence, Henry has already dialed Ms. Stone's direct number. Be a professional and pick up, my dear, he thinks as he waits to connect with the person he hopes to be his number two in the Foundation.

6th of August, 2006, 07:59
Quantum & Blackthorne

She's supposed to be here? Henry muses. How many novas do we have stashed around this place, anyway?
As the phone rings, Blackthorne muses on this, blissfully unaware of the so-called “B-team” previously located in a high-security basement below the building.

“Transition? I'll say,” Meteoric mutters, slowly regaining some of his good humour now that someone is taking action on his behalf. “I'll say. First you guts drop the ball on that Hammer thing, now it looks like Under New Management all over.” The searing orange energy fades from around his fists as he crosses his arms, thick muscles grinding against each other. “What's up, Q-man?”

“Hen – Mr. Blackthorne? How did you get this number? No, never mind - what do you want?” Alicia Stone asks in a sharp tone that pushes through her exhaustion.

6th of August, 2006, 09:41
HP: 2/2; Uninjured, despite a whole lot of hate coming her way

Watching in horror as the policeman broke his own finger, Astrid quickly realized that the attacks on her weren't going to end simply because all the coffee mugs had been smashed. That there was some malignant force at work here was now obvious, and though Brant herself might prove difficult to injure, everyone around her was clearly in deadly danger.

"There's something!" the woman called out to Osprey as she cast the flattened bullet aside. "Some kind of force, psychic or something, throwing things around, making people do things they don't want to!" The beleaguered lawyer rushed the policeman then, intent on disarming him so that whatever this thing was wouldn't be able to use his gun again. "I'm alright," she said emphatically to the uniformed man, "and I know that wasn't your doing!"

Left-Handed Bandit
6th of August, 2006, 09:47
HP: 1; Status: Fact Finding

Henry smiles and nods good-naturedly toward the nova's friendly jabs, but steps away from the pair as Alicia answers her cell.

"It is your work phone, Ms. Stone," the businessman states matter-of-factly, ignoring her icy tone. We definitely have to work on that attitude of hers. He lowers his voice slightly and adds, "What do you know of a nova named Actinic? I have her brother here about ready to burst at the seams looking for her, claiming we have her."

6th of August, 2006, 11:25

At Blackthorne's mention of there being a serious problem, Stone becomes all business. “Actinic? We did. A first-generation nova. A photokinetic with flight capabilities. She was one of O'Malley's hirelings when we interdicted his arms shipment. Poor girl was something of an amateur, as metacriminals go, and she received serious injuries from Wreck. I wish we could have found out why she was there.

“We treated her as best we could in the Foundation's on-site high-security hospital but... influential voices in Washington decided to move her to the Ontoligen Clinic. It's a private medical facility upstate, near the Canadian border. As far as I know, she's still there.

“There's not going to be a brawl in m... your lobby, is there?” she finishes acidly.

6th of August, 2006, 14:16
HP: 1/1. Status: Relaxing, for once.

“What's up, Q-man?”

"If it ain't one thing, it's three," Paul explains, grinning at the monicker. "Half the team I'm supposed to be working with goes off on their own little tangents, someone tries to trash a concert I'd never expected to see, the real bad guy gets off on a technicality, and I come back here to find half the crew's been pink-slipped." He shakes his head a little. "Next thing you know, I'll find out I can glow purple and fly."

"Listen, once we find out where your sister is, I'll get us over there; wherever it is, I can take us both there in no time. Just two conditions: don't break anything, and let me buy you that beer I promised once you're done. Sound good?"

Please agree, he hopes. I could really use a beer right about now.

6th of August, 2006, 14:45

“Yeah, wouldn't that be a bummer,” Meteoric says in vaguely amused tones. “I just wanna get Lara back, man. If whoever's got her don't start none, won't be none.”

“Damn, man, sounds like you've head a run of bad luck...” he shakes his head, then glances around conspiratorially. Lowering his head away from Blackthorne and towards Quantum, he asks: “Pink slipped? So, they're trying to break up you guys too? I got, like, half a message along those lines from Masque, all garbled and crap, but... damn. Is the G.O.V.T crackin' down on us?”

Left-Handed Bandit
6th of August, 2006, 17:46
HP: 1; Status: Compassionate for as long as he needs to be...

"Your first instinct was correct, Ms. Stone," Henry replies as he turns back toward the two novas. "And not if I can help it; Quantum and Meteoric seem to be civil enough at the moment. Thank you."

Closing the satphone, Blackthorne returns to Quantum's side and looks directly at Meteoric. "Your sister was here for a short while, receiving treatment for injuries sustained while she was working for O'Malley," he says. "The government moved her to a private facility upstate, called the Ontoligen Clinic.

"Quantum, may I speak with you privately for a moment?" the businessman asks. "If you'll excuse us."

(if Quantum agrees)
When the pair are sufficiently out of earshot, Henry adds, "We apparently still don't know why Actinic was at the scene on the arms shipment bust. Ms. Stone would appreciate it if you could try to gain some insight through her brother, if possible."

7th of August, 2006, 06:40
HP: 1/1. Status: On duty.

"I'll see what I can do. I'll need to know where this facility is, of course." Paul gives his PDA to Henry, so that he can point out the location on the map he keeps prominently displayed.

7th of August, 2006, 09:10
HP: 2/2 status: So close he can almost taste it

Like a good Pavlov dog, the mere sight of Trisha is enough to quite the shakes and pains of the withdrawl, whether this is due to his feelings for the reporter or the fact that his body is reacting to the fact that he is one step closer to a fix is unknown, but for now he will take what he can get.

He takes a moment to glance around at the various workers in the room, he locks eyes with the one that is writing up his profile, glaring at him until the reporter turns his gaze away. Vultures, each and every one of them.

"Do you have a minute? I need to talk to you, right now." He tells her and then turns and walks back out into the corridor.

7th of August, 2006, 11:26

“I...” the reporter, astonishingly pretty despite fidget-ruffled hair and off-kilter glasses balanced on her nose hesitates, then looks around the room. “Alright, people, keep going. I have to talk to my... source.” Her momentary, flickering glance at Rob, however, suggests something much deeper. Intimate, even.

“Ms Ling...” one of the collators whispers, trying not to stare at Bolt's slump-shouldered back. “Could you ask him...”

“Not now, Guyon!” Trisha hisses back, before hurrying out of the room. She grabs her heavy jacket, the pockets bristling with pens, notepads, mini-cameras and recorders, the tools of her trade.

“Ryan? Honey?” she asks breathlessly, catching up to him in a quite nook at the end of the hall. “How are you?”

8th of August, 2006, 13:25
HP: 2/2 status: gimme, gimme, gimme

Ryan leans back against the wall, his eyes closed, the pain and hunger had retreated for now and somewhere in the back of his mind he knew what he was doing was wrong but the temptation was too great to ignore.

“Ryan? Honey?” she asks breathlessly, catching up to him in a quite nook at the end of the hall. “How are you?”

His eyes snapped open at her voice, he took a moment to just look at her. She was amazing, as always, and God she smelled good. He took a half step forward wanting nothing but to wrap her in his arms but the shakes were starting again and he knew the pain would be coming soon.

"I'm not doing good, I need some help... I need a fix."

Left-Handed Bandit
9th of August, 2006, 04:17
HP: 1; Status: Second Verse, Same as the First...

Henry takes the PDA and locates the facility on the map. "It's here, near the Canadian border," he states. "Keep me updated, please."

The entrepreneur steps back and allows Quantum to take point with Meteoric. He nods toward the distraught brother as he opens up his satphone again and calls Ms. Stone.

"Ms. Stone? Executive conference room in five minutes, please. We have a lot to discuss."

9th of August, 2006, 06:25
HP: 1/1. Status: In transit.

Quantum takes back his PDA, noting the location on the map. I wonder if I can make that in one jump. Since my little high-altitude stunt, I really haven't tried for any sort of distance. Shutting down any doubts, he returns to Meteoric.

"Okay, pal, I've got her location. Stay close; I'll get us there as fast as I can." He invokes his warp field, beckoning the nova close enough to be within its confines. "Brace yourself; this'll feel... a little weird."

With that, he shifts.

[OOC: I don't know if I can cover the distance in one jump. I'll try, though, if I can do so without spending my one HP.]

9th of August, 2006, 07:56

Trisha steps nearer to Ryan, almost reaching out to embrace him, but stopping short and squeezing his forearms. He's close enough to see the black roots in her dyed copper hair, close enough to feel her warmth. Whether its the drug poisons rotting his system from within or simply the wind-chill factor of running at a significant fraction of Mach 1 through the winter streets he's not sure, but her body heat is palpable.

“Oh, god...” she whispers. “Oh, Ryan. I'm sorry. How... how long has this been going on?”

As she asks, she dips a hand into her purse, producing something wrapped in a handkerchief.

9th of August, 2006, 08:43

The map is clear enough, Paul reasons, to plot a teleport path. The Ontoligen Clinic is built on a small node of land in the St. Lawrence river, scant miles from the border and just downstream of Lake Ontario. The GPS route-measurer informs him, after a few tweaks to its options menus (it initially refuses to understand that he wants the crow's flight route, not taking into account roads and geographical features), that the distance is 265 miles – a little under double what he can manage in one jump.

A terrible, majestic gyre of purple lightning erupts around Quantum, turning him into a silhouette floating above the floor in an uncanny inferno. The few people left in the lobby point and gasp in surprise, fear or awe at the light show. Meteoric flinches, looking uneasy about his proximity to the warp field, but slowly edges closer.

“Ow. Damn. Hey! That stings!” he grumbles,trying to ignore the sensation of being folded into a thin sheet and mailed through God's letterbox.


Blackthorne finds himself alone. Smiling softly as if at his own private joke, he turns and strides easily towards the elevators.

On a large dairy farm in Otsego county, New York, twenty cows look up from their grazing in dull-witted alarm. The one nearest the teleporter scrambles away, lowing fearfully

Quantum and Meteoric share a glance.


As they depart, a grizzle-haired man leans out of his tractor, blinking at the green after-images burned onto his retina. “Goddamn freaks...” he mutters darkly. “Should stay in the city.”

The air is noticeably cooler and wetter on the island. Meteoric stumbles away from Quantum shaking his head muzzily. The teleporter cranes his neck, surveying the landscape – a low, somewhat boggy island, only about one by two miles across at the widest points. He can see the river at their backs. Thick swathes of tangled woodlands slash across the area, and at the southernmost point is a dock and a completely incongruous building. A little north of that appears to be an area of new construction, a flattened patch of ground with several large pre-fab structures,

Compared to the green-grey murk of the rest of the island, the Ontoligen Clinic is a gleaming structure of silvery glass and white concrete. The angled front of the building faces south, with two wings and a series of pillars curling dramatically around the sides.

But what Quantum notices most of all is the uniformed figure flying in the air, several hundred yards above. As his warp-field fades, the figure begins to scud away, towards the clinic.

9th of August, 2006, 08:44

A few minutes after Quantum's departure, the managers new and old sit in one of the half-stripped conference rooms.

“I don't much care for being ordered around like an employee, Mr. Blackthorne,” tone says dispassionately. Her fatigue seems to have balanced out her dislike for the man, at least for the moment. “I want it understood that the only reason I'm still here is to try an ensure some form of continuity for the Foundation's other staff members.”

Left-Handed Bandit
9th of August, 2006, 10:14
HP: 1; Status: In the Role of the Closer...

"I apologize for sounding like I was ordering you around; that was certainly not my intention," Henry says, noting her fatigue with some compassion. "I know you don't like me, personally or professionally. You think I'm coming in here to turn the Foundation some form of personal PR or enforcement arm. That can't be farther from the truth."

The businessman stands and rounds the table to stand opposite Stone, hands in his pockets over his open jacket, the weapons and belt in their case and on their way back to the lab with Kenneth.

"We have a chance to really do something with the Foundation, to take it beyond the Centinel's original plans and the government's reach," he continues. "I wasn't kidding when I said my lawyers had a good line on exploiting loopholes in the good samaritan laws to allow us to continue helping the citizens of New York.

"You are the heart and soul of this organization, Ms. Stone; I see it in every employee here," Henry offers. "And the Foundation needs its heart to survive.

"I don't want you to work for me; I want you to work with me. Help me build the Centinel Foundation into the shining example of the good people can do. Let's really do this right."

The businessman pauses, reading the woman's expression. "What will it take to get you to stay?"

9th of August, 2006, 11:41

“I have no interest in remaining here, especially in your employ.”

Stone leans forward a little, running a hand through her hair, trying to smooth down some of the blonde frizz. She watches Blackthorne through the narrow gap between her eyebrows and the rims of her glasses, her eyes too worn-out to contain much anger, hatred, or anything beyond blunt honesty.

“The fact is, I don't know what your intentions are, Mr. Blackthorne, but I know your reputation. I don't like or trust the possibilities of you having a cadre of metahumans at your beck and call.

“Heart and soul?” Stone looks up, seeming genuinely surprised and a trace irritated. “I'm no such thing. The Centurion was that, whatever you think. If anything, I was the brain. The director of information.” She smiles thinly. “And there can't be two of those, Mr. Blackthorne.”

She stands, back firm and voice level. “However. I will remain here, under the terms of my original contract. I'll forward you a copy of that. But understand...” she takes of her glasses, fixing the businessman with a strict stare, “I'm not here because I'm inspired by your protestations of sudden virtue. I'm here to protect the Centinels and the employees of this organisation. I'm here to watch you. Because if you do something illegal, it will be my sincere pleasure to blow the whistle on you.”

Alicia Stone stands up, smiling politely and closing her palmtop's case with a snap. “Good afternoon, Mr. Blackthorne. I look forward to working with you.” With that, she sweeps out of the room.

Left-Handed Bandit
9th of August, 2006, 15:49
HP: 1; Status: Drawing an inside straight...

As he watches Alicia glide away, Henry leans back in his chair and smiles to himself. He had anticipated her response, and she had cooperated in showing her hand. It was time to start searching for a suitable replacement...a savvy woman cut from the same cloth and more in line with his ideals would just cut Ms. Stone to the quick.


Now, to deal with the team members. Bolt had to run an "errand." Quantum was escorting Meteoric to his sister's bedside; hopefully Actinic was still there. Osprey was seeking out Ms. Brant. The Mechanic was dealing with government seizure of his company's technology.

Henry can wait for the team to return on their own; although, he should probably try to get in touch with Ms. Brant as soon as possible. The Foundation owed her an apology.

It's good PR, after all...

10th of August, 2006, 03:30
HP: 1/1. Status: Idling.

Paul looks up at the flying figure, but doesn't give it much thought; he's been seeing that sort of thing a lot lately, not to mention being one of those flying things. Besides, he really doesn't have the time to spare for paranoia. Making sure that Meteoric is all right, he points out the nearby facility. "She should be in there. Remember, you promised not to break anything. You want me to come along, or would you feel better talking to her by yourself?"

10th of August, 2006, 07:16
Quantum & Meteoric

Swallowing any teleport-nausea, Meteoric cracks his knuckles, frowning as he surveys the surroundings. “Like I said... they don't start none, there won't be none. So long as I can get Lara outta here...” He grins as Quantum points out the clinic – the only structure of any size on the island. “Ya think?” He rises into the air, smouldering clouds of orange energy burning on the souls of his feet and fingertips as he accelerates to a gentle cruise speed.

The two novas arc up through the sky, and Quantum enjoys the smooth movement of air against his skin, rather than the odd, jagged, sub-nervous sensation of relocating all his atoms at once. Before they reach the Ontoligen Clinic's main building, Meteoric whistles, and jerks his cleft chin down.

A pair of humvees skid across the bare earth of the construction site, between the two completed prefabs, which look like barracks. They are on an intercept course – at least as well as ground vehicles can match course with fliers. Both are painted matte khaki, and have roof-mounted weapons.
“You are trespassing in secured airspace,” a voice snarls over the vehicle's PA system. “Descend to ground level immediately or be fired upon.”

“Oh, this bodes well...” Meteoric growls.

10th of August, 2006, 14:14
HP: 2/2 status: He's getting a tad creepy

Ryan unconciously leans in reveling in Trisha's closeness and the body heat that she is producing.

"I don't know," he whispers quietly forcing her to lean in closer to hear him. "It must have started during the trial... it hurts." He shifts slightly so his forehead is touching hers.

"I just need a little. I need your help."

10th of August, 2006, 15:50
HP: 1/5; Status: OMG WTF?

For Rob, it has become an instinctual and automatic reaction to center himself in combat, to push down the bulk of his natural panic and anxiety and focus on staying calm and relaxed. It's the only way he can do what he does, without unraveling emotionally. For long seconds, he is limpid and serene, allowing his body to flex and react while his mind plots his next move. For a young man who once struggled mightily with a short attention span, it is no small accomplishment. He is collected, cohesive, oriented, and on top of things.

The gunshot erases all of this instantly.

It is not the sound alone that shatters his state of mind, but the immediate and impossible knowledge of the shot's path. He does not see the trigger pulled, does not know where the gun is pointed, but from the tiniest moment when the bullet changes from static object to projectile, Rob knows where it is going. The backs of his shoulders bristle in trepidation, the same sensation of a child who fears a monster behind him; desperately, Rob twists and reaches for Astrid, hoping absurdly that somehow he can outrun a bullet and pull her out of its path. It is, of course, a patently futile effort.

He sees her hand raised in an effort to forestall the gunshot, sees the recoil effect as the bullet strikes that same hand with bone-crushing force, the fingers curling around it in a reflexive gesture. And then...nothing. Where there should have been an explosion of blood and bone as the bullet continued through Astrid's hand, en route to her forehead, there is nothing.

What he has just seen doesn't completely register before a ramekin hits him right on the spine, thankfully where the leathers are well-armored. Rob turns and resumes his defensive efforts, moving to intercept as Astrid darts over to the cop who had just tried to shoot her.

"Some kind of force, psychic or something, throwing things around, making people do things they don't want to!"

Astrid's words sink into him quickly. He knows what's going on, now, but isn't sure what he can do about it. He spares as much attention as he can to scanning the area for a man in a deerstalker hat, but doesn't see him*. This is a bad situation: the ADA, and himself by proxy, are under siege by an unseen enemy that he cannot engage directly, only hold off until he grows too tired to maintain; essentially, the status quo will lead to defeat. Defeat will, as is so often the case these days, lead to injury and death for both himself and Miss Brant. The options are slim.

Again, he looks over his shoulder at Astrid. She's a lithe girl, tall and robust but in shape, probably goes about a hundred and forty...but then, he's a terrible judge of a woman's weight. Still, she shouldn't weigh all that much. All the evidence at hand points to her being the target of all this psychokinesis, instead of just general bedlam. The idea becomes determination, and Rob begins backing himself closer to her. "Miss Brant, I think we should get you out of here."

* = that's my assumption, anyway

OOC: Standard Action to Deflect, another to move close to Astrid.

10th of August, 2006, 19:24
HP: 1/1. Status: Grounded!

“Oh, this bodes well...” Meteoric growls.

"That was my line," Quantum replies, signaling Meteoric to descend. Well, this is just great, he thinks. Just once, I'd like to try to accomplish something and not have it all go to pieces. Once. "Look, we'll talk to 'em all peaceful-like, okay? And keep in mind, Lara might not be in any shape to go anywhere." Though why they moved her to this backwater is beyond me. "Just stay close to me in case they get froggy." Which, the way things have been going, is likely.

Once he's on the ground, he waits for the owner of the booming voice to make himself known. Meanwhile, he makes sure he's close enough to Meteoric for a quick grab-and-teleport.

12th of August, 2006, 13:55
Verve & Osprey

Osprey's ballistic intuition, born of the same complex of special proprioceptors and flight-adapted neurones that allowed him to fly did not let him fully react in time to the shot- not to dodge or pull Atrid out of the way, merely to turn his head fast enough to see the flattened slug tossed casually to the ground by the Assistant District Attorney.

“No, lady... please!” the cop gasps as Astrid approaches. He half-falls backwards in an awkward, panicked stagger, but she easily catches up with him and grips his wrist with superstrong fingers. She takes hold of the gun barrel, intent on prising it out of his fingers without damaging them any more than they are already.

He – or at least his right arm – fights back with psychotic intensity. Osprey's bloodied flesh twinges under the bandages. On some primal level, he's reminded of Bolt stabbing him in the back a few hours ago.

The officer loses his footing on the frosty pavement, but instead of trying to steady himself he twists sharply at the shoulder with a whimper, taking the weight of his fall on the elbow of his right arm. It snaps. The officer gives a groan, jerking his head back and dislodging his cap, and slumps senseless. His hand relaxes, and Astrid retrieves the gun, although not without some revulsion.
Seeing an officer down hits hard in Astrid's psyche. Memories briefly surface like whales, flicking their traumatic fins at her consciousness in greeting. Policemen, civilians tossed aside like rag-dolls. Gutted like surgical mannequins, their organs strewn carelessly or stacked neatly, depending on the whims of the killer. Manhattan turned into a one-night warzone – a million inhabitants versus one unstoppable, unrelenting murderer. She shakes herself clear from the seductive black strings of painful memory.

With the last of the crockery obliterated; the gun-wielding cop lying with his eyes screwed shut, holding his broken arm and silently sobbing; and the scattered crowd of bystanders rising to their nervous feet, staring in awe at the Centinel and the lawyer or in trepidation at the surroundings, a sense of frightful calm descends over the street scene.

12th of August, 2006, 15:52

Trisha presses herself against him for a splintering, passionate moment; the awkward closeness of clothed bodies a gesture more intimate for its humanity and compassion than any entwining of lovers. Ryan can feel the smooth skin of her forehead, the roundness of her brow against his, and silky trickles of hair touch the sides of his face.

Then she pulls away.

Trish cups his hand, her fingers encircling the calloused knot of his fist and pressing the bundled handkerchief into his palm. “It... it's not the same... stuff,” she says uneasily, glance over her shoulders down the hall. “It's Ritalin. My nephew's. But if you grind up the tablets, sn... inhale them, it should... help with the pangs.”

Trisha steps back, folding her arms in front of herself and cupping her elbows in her hands. An unhappy, concerned frown settles on her face. “Are you still planning on meeting that Simon Bates this afternoon? The lizard-guy? Are any of the other Centinels going with you?”

13th of August, 2006, 15:24
HP: 2/2 status: Things are looking up.

There are times when he is running at top speed that time itself seems to slow down, he knew that it didn't but when you can run beside and pluck a speeding bullet out of the air it was a damn good illusion.

Now with Trisha it was the same thing, only more so, what should have been a mere moment, was locked between the ticks of a clock. But like all things it ended and all that remained was the handkerchief in his hand.

With the Ritalin in clenched tightly in his fist, he leans back, listening intently to her instuctions, the withdrawl was almost gone now. It made him wonder how she knew this stuff, there was alot about her that he didn't know. Something that he had to rectify as soon as he could.

“Are you still planning on meeting that Simon Bates this afternoon? The lizard-guy? Are any of the other Centinels going with you?”

"Of course I am." He says straighting up. "It is part of the deal we made, Mr. Lizards doesn't seem to the type to like getting stood up. Who knows what he would do if I did." He reaches out with his free hand brushing back some of her hair that had fallen in front of her face.

"I'm not sure about the others, I'm not even sure there are Centinels anymore. The government shut it down, that's why we didn't have any of the information at the trial and get this," he says pauses for effect. "Henry Blackthorn is now the new owner of the Centinel building."

14th of August, 2006, 10:16
Quantum & Meteoric

“Do not... Ahhh, dammit. Turn the amp off! Ahem... Do not activate your powers,” the voice barks from inside the vehicle.

A man and a woman in jungle-green battledress climb out of the lead Humvee. Their uniforms don't look exactly like military gear – they're of the style, but not affiliated with any branch Quantum can pinpoint. Then again, maybe they changed combat fashions, too, while I was out, he muses briefly. The guards' guns bring him back to the situation at hand. Though safely holstered, and of arguable effectiveness against his space-distorting aura, their sidearms are near enough at hand to impress upon the teleporter that security seems to be taken very seriously at the Ontoligen Clinic.

“There are no scheduled arrivals today,” the female guard, tall and with short red hair pulled back severely snaps, eyeing the two novas pointedly. The second Humvee pulls up behind them, but doesn't disgorge any more personnel. Quantum edges closer to his muscular travelling companion. “So you're not patients or recruits. State your...”

“Lara. Hawkins.” Meteoric says, dropping the words like lead bricks on the guards. “Goes by... used to go by Actinic. My friends at the Centinel Foundation tell me she's here. I'm goddamn family so you so much as tell me visiting hours are over...” he clenches a fist and slams it against his palm, creating a puff of energy that rustles Quantum's hair.

The guards looks apprehensive – but not nearly so much as people faced with a pissed-off Human Comet should.

14th of August, 2006, 10:52

Trisha grips the front of Ryan's jacket, smiling, adjusting the way it sits on his increasingly thin, stooped shoulders. It's such a small gesture, but its very simplicity and humanity help him centre himself.

“Blackthorne...” she murmurs, slowly stepping back to a more normal conversational distance. “The industrialist? That's... very odd. What could he want with a disbanded non-profit security group?” Trisha's dark eyes roam the corridor as she thins rapidly. “He has been known to indulge in corporate raiding, but that's not much good after the fact. Property investment? Organised crime. Organised crime... could he be working with O'Malley?” She raises a hand to her mouth, pinching a nail between her front teeth – then glances down and deliberately pulls it away to avoid chewing.

“There's been nothing about this on the wires... this is a scoop!” Trisha smiles suddenly, radiant in her sudden exuberance. In the age of 24/7 non-hierarchical online reporting, the idea of getting to a story first had been all but abandoned by mainstream media companies.

“I think it's time Mr. Blackthorne gave an interview... let's see what we can find out about his intentions!”

14th of August, 2006, 16:34
HP: 1/1. Status: Negotiating.

Quantum puts a hand on Meteoric's arm. "Easy, now. We're scaring the natives." He turns his attention to the pair in front of him. "Look, he just wants to see his sister, okay? This isn't a raid or anything like that. Check on us -- there should be some sort of message left by Henry Blackthorne, director of the Centinel Foundation; if there isn't, give him a call, he'll vouch for us. He gave us this address, so he knows we're here.

"There's a chance he's on the phone right now. I'm a teleporter, in case you haven't been watching the tube. If I really wanted to, I could've gotten us inside without you ever seeing us. But I didn't. We're doing this by the numbers, playing nice and all. Just call in, check our story."

I hope they're not close enough to see me sweat, he thinks. One twitchy move on their part and we're out of here.

14th of August, 2006, 19:04
Quantum & Meteoric

Meteoric glances down at Quantum, mellowing a little. “Yeah, what he said.”

After curtly admonishing the novas to remain where they are, the female guard retreats a few dozen metres to confer with someone via her earpiece communicator. As she whispers to a subvocal mike, her lips barely moving at all, the other guards assumes a folded-arm obstructionist stance, doing his best to look blank, and to look like he could actually impede Quantum's escape or Meteoric's advance if he tried.

“Mr. Hawkins, Dr. den Bilder has cleared you to enter the clinic and visit the patient... ahhh, your sister. You can make your way there at any time.” She glances at Quantum. “Mr. Forrester, this does not apply to you. Family members only. You'll have to remain outside.” Without so much as a goodbye, the woman turns and makes a snappy, circular gesture with her forearm to the other guard and the second Humvee. Both guards climb back into their vehicle, and both start to turn and drive away.

15th of August, 2006, 06:27
HP: 2/2 status: This should be interesting.

Ryan smiles to himself, he just loved the way her mind worked. It was a rare thing to see someone who loved what they did for a living and if she didn't she sure made it look like she did.

“I think it's time Mr. Blackthorne gave an interview... let's see what we can find out about his intentions!”

"Sure, sounds like fun." He says with a smile, "do you want to meet me there or go together?"

15th of August, 2006, 06:58
HP: 2/2; Status: Deeeeeep Breath

Kneeling beside the policeman supportively with her father's face reflecting in her eyes, Astrid told the injured officer he was going to be alright, then turned her body so that the crowd on the street couldn't see her give the man's service pistol a twist before setting it down on the icy pavement. Its barrel bent and slide and frame crushed together into what might as well have been a single piece of blued steel, the weapon had been rendered useless.

Looking over at Osprey when the vigilante recommended getting her away from the scene, Astrid climbed to her stockinged feet, glancing around at the sudden and peculiar stillness that had settled on the street before nodding. "Good idea," she said, meeting the masked man's eyes with her own. "And thanks for the help."

15th of August, 2006, 10:53
HP: 1/1. Status: Whew!

Paul barely manages to keep from wiping his forehead. Gotta keep up the image. He claps Meteoric on the back. "See, piece of cake. Go on in, Cometous; I'll wait out here." He pulls his PDA out of its pocket, looking for something to amuse himself with. Surely this thing comes with Solitaire or some such.

17th of August, 2006, 13:40

Meteoric grins, catching Quantum's hand and locking it in a powerful, macho handshake. His skin is uncommonly warm. “Naw, I'm good, Bugzapper. I can fly pretty damn fast myself, remember? Besides... no offence, but I wouldn't wanna put Lara through that whacketty-ass purple rollercoaster ride when they discharge her. She's gonna suffer enough through her ma's scolding when she gets home.

“Thanks for the short-cut, though. I'll catch you round if I'm ever in the Big Apple again, yo?” Meteoric releases Quantum's hand and, pausing for his response and final goodbyes, jogs off towards the Clinic's entrance.

17th of August, 2006, 13:47

Trisha smiles back, before glancing over her shoulder into the bustling room full of people synergising their multimedia paradigms (or whatever the hell it is they do). “I'll meet you there. I've got to tie this up, first.” She turns to look up into the speedster's eyes again. “Why don't you tell him I'm coming to get his side of the Foundation story. Butter him up a little, make him think it's a good idea... he's been known to be a little taciturn around the media before. I'm sure you can handle it.”

18th of August, 2006, 05:03
HP: 1/1. Status: Low on sarcasm.

Paul watches his friend jog toward the facility. Who'd've thought I'd end up with friends who can flatten trucks, he thinks. Shaking his head, he keys up his communicator earpiece.

"Quantum here. Still at the medical facility; we had a little trouble with the doorstops, but everything's been cleared up. Meteoric is inside now. He won't need me for the trip back, so if there's nothing else I'm needed for here, I'm heading home."

18th of August, 2006, 08:33
HP 2/2 Status: wondering when he became a PR guy

Ryan frowns slightly, being a liaison really wasn't his thing but he was willing to give it a try. "Sure, not a problem, but I can't promise you anything." He leans in to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. "See you in a few." He says before he heads off down the hallway.

Once she is out of sight he will put on a quick burst of speed to locate the closest bathroom. After taking a few minutes to make sure he is along and there are no cameras that he can see he will stand by the sink looking at the handkerchief in his hand.

With a slightly trembling hand he will open it up to reveal the handfull of small pills that Trisha gave him, for a moment he almost dumps them down the sink, that is until his body gave him a rather painfull reminder as to why he needed them.

Taking two of the pills he carefully rewraps the remaining carefully putting them away in his duster. He crushes the pills between two coins until they are a fine powder carefull not to lose any he cups the fine powder in the palm of his hand bring it close to his nose as possible... He inhales deeply...

19th of August, 2006, 10:35

Ryan Sander's brain does a high dive from a burning building into a peaceful field of snow.

The pain and trauma of the last few days... the lingering, blue-black weight of the bruise that fills his guts; the tension and fear of his flight from the Foundation; the nightmarish, Orphean journey through the tunnels under New York into Hell itself; the black, crushing shackles of despair; the burning poison of the drugs Trisha had forced into him – dims.

Ironically enough, thanks to the new drugs Trisha has supplied him with.

The relief from withdrawal symptoms and the syndrome of countless other miseries flashes through Bolt's system like blue ice, propelled by his superhuman metabolism. The pain does not go away, but it at least diminishes to the point where he feels human again.

Bolt opens his eyes, startled to see another pair staring straight into them, mocking his alarm, shame and exhaustion with pathetic copies of their own. He pulls his head back, and realises he was leaning on the men's room mirror, his brow pressed to the cold glass. He slowly takes it in, the increasingly skinny, scruffy man blinking in the sickly fluorescent lights, traces of vomit and sewerage clinging to the collar of his long coat and white powder on his upper lip. How could Trisha be attracted to a man like that?

Bolt turns as the bathroom door opens. A solid, paunchy man of average height and thinning, woolly hair steps in with a sigh, then freezes as his gaze turns to encompass Bolt. The man stands there for a moment, looking... then frowns uneasily, fear flickering in his eyes. “You don't work here?!” he gulps, a question and accusation all at once.

Left-Handed Bandit
19th of August, 2006, 16:27
HP: 1; Status: Come in Tokyo, come in Tokyo...

"...He won't need me for the trip back, so if there's nothing else I'm needed for here, I'm heading home."

Henry nods to noone in particular as he responds, "Thank you, Quantum. Stay near your phone in case we need you."

~Another good deed done for the day,~ the entrepreneur muses as he disconnects the line and hits his speed dial. "Kenneth, contact Mr. Osprey to see if he can get Ms. Brant here for a discussion. If he gives you any resistance, patch him through to me."

21st of August, 2006, 15:14
HP: 1/5; Status: whoosh

"And thanks for the help."

Flashbacks don't always happen like they are shown in the movies or the comics; rarely is someone so consumed by the sudden resurgence of strong memories that they forget their surroundings for more than a moment or two, and they almost never involve flashes of light and extended vignettes played out within the mind.

Still, what he experiences is something close.

He remembers standing over a beaten and mewling sack of a man, fists bloody and bruised. The man's wife--or girlfriend, or whatever--crawls over the broomstick that was meant for her and calls Rob savage, vile names. He may well have saved her life tonight, certainly saved her from a beating, but all she can spare him is hate and spite.

He remembers a hundred thugs taken down, sometimes during the very commission of a crime, but so much did he value his anonymity that he is gone before anyone else could know what he has done. He remembers lessons taught, cycles broken, crooks run out of town. He remembers taking a bullet in a warehouse filled with the same weapons that had wrought so much havoc on the local police...he remembers almost dying for the sake of saving lives.

He remembers that nobody, no one, not once, not ever, has given him their gratitude. It is something that he has craved since day one: just a single second of recognition, a meaningful glance and an acknowledgement that they are better off for his having been there. It is validation, reinforcement, and invigoration of purpose. Yet here it is now, and he has no idea what to do with it.

A dozen responses flit through his mind. "It was nothing," or "Don't worry about it," would be appropriately casual, but seem almost disrespectful. Something like "It's what I do," while accurate, carries a bit more swagger than he is comfortable with. He finally settles on a response that seems right and fits the situation, the old police saw about "Just doing my job, ma'am."

He doesn't give her time to respond before he has scooped her up in a fireman's carry and launched. Over his shoulder, Astrid sees the world suddenly drop sickeningly and soundlessly away in an instant. One would think that the acceleration G's would be devastating, but the ride is smooth and surprisingly gentle, besides her butt getting cold from being right there in the wind.

He points his toes when he flies. It's an odd detail to notice, and makes perfect sense, but it's still kind of funny to watch.

A half-minute later, they set down on a rooftop and Astrid takes her bearings: they're at least a mile away from Neutral Grounds. Before she has a chance to protest, Rob has seized her right hand, looked at it, done the same to her left, and is frantically asking: "Where are you hit?"

22nd of August, 2006, 06:51
hp: 2/2 status: If its not one thing its another

The man stands there for a moment, looking... then frowns uneasily, fear flickering in his eyes. “You don't work here?!” he gulps, a question and accusation all at once.

Ryan freezes for a second like a kid who has just been caught with his hand in cookie jar, only to relax slightly, as he realises that this guy didn't recognise him. whether it was a good thing or not he wasn't certain.

He doesn't say anything as he turns the faucet on and washes his hands and splashes water on face, partly to try wake himself up and partly to hide what he was just doing. "Your right," he says sadly as he turns to face the man. "I don't work here... I don't belong here but don't worry I was just leaving."

He will exit the bathroom and head towards the Centinal building.

22nd of August, 2006, 17:55
HP: 2/2; Status: Whoa

Very suddenly, Astrid Brant was above the city; her city, her father's city. She'd taken helicopter shuttles to LaGuardia, JFK and the Newark airport before, but being out in the open air with the skyline was exhilarating in a way that surprised her. Given the insanity she'd just experienced, here was a moment of peace, a moment where her mind cleared of everything except the sights around her and the the wind in her already tousled hair (and up her skirt).

The woman relaxed and rode quietly, not thinking about the vulnerable position she was in, draped over the volatile nova's shoulder, nor about the fact that they'd left her shoes, cell phone, glasses and briefcase far below. That didn't matter as they touched down on a rooftop and Osprey placed the ADA on her feet gently. What did matter was that not only were they out of harm's way for the moment, but up here innocent people's lives wouldn't be endangered if whatever malicious force had been attacking Astrid decided to renew its assault, hurling more crockery or whatever it found nearby towards her at nearly supersonic speeds.

Before the woman had a chance to say anything, the black-clad vigilante took and inspected both of her hands intensely, asking "Where are you hit?"

"I wasn't. Lucky, I guess," Brant lied, looking around at the buildings around them and at the cab-filled streets below. "I don't know what the hell that was, but it was pretty scary. I can't imagine... does O'Malley have allies that can pull this kind of spooky crap?"

23rd of August, 2006, 10:29
Verve & Osprey

The eyes of the suspicious, frightened crowd watch them go.

The mind's eye watches them go.

Several storeys up and several hundred yards away, Osprey deposits the barefoot ADA on a grey, gritty rooftop and steps back, almost backing into the low brick wall that fringes the building. His shoulders rise and fall, breathing hard, but not the uncontrolled sob-pants of exhaustion; that short flight at well over one hundred miles per hour had pushed him nearly to the limit of feeling it, but not quite.

In the back of his mind, Rob wonders which part of his body, exactly, should feel fatigued after flying through the use of novic powers.

As Astrid asked her question, a tremulous voice calls out: “I didn't see nothin', I swear!”

Both turn, seeing an older, African American man with a salt-and-pepper beard dressed in blue coveralls backing hastily away from a corrugated iron tool shed on the rooftop. His hands are raised defensively, and his eyes wide with fear as he picks his way past the metal skeletons of TV aerial. Reaching the open door to the stairs into the building, he gives the people that just flew onto his roof one last glance and darts inside.

23rd of August, 2006, 10:47

Brushing past the confused man, Ryan walks listlessly through the CrossMedia tower, avoiding eye contact with other people in the halls by shamefully ducking his head, until he finds the stairs down. Taking a slow glance around to make sure he wasn't being observed, he leaped down the stairs, instantly blurring into superspeed. The building melted away, the streets dissolved into colourful, jagged shapes that whirled past, and his feelings were drowned out by the reliable, non-judgemental rap-rap-rap of his shoes against asphalt and concrete.

Within a fraction of a second, he had reached his destination.

24th of August, 2006, 06:24
HP: 1/1. Status: In transit.

Quantum looks around the island, shaking his head in amazement. They've got a small army here, just for this little rinky-dink hospital. Weird. Giving it up as "one of those things", he pockets his PDA. Making sure he's well clear of the paranoid paramilitary, he invokes his warp field.


The cow, having already forgotten about the events of twenty minutes ago, lets out a startled whine as Quantum reappears, perhaps ten feet away. Glancing around, he notices a surly-looking farmer driving a tractor and glaring in his direction. "Beautiful farm you've got here!" Quantum calls out, raising his voice to be heard over the motor. "Sorry about the short visits, but I'm in a hurry!" He waves cheerfully.


Back in front of the ___TI___ Building, Quantum finds himself thinking of the old joke of going into a McDonald's, and ordering a million hamburgers to see if they'll change the sign. Now they just say billions served or something like that. He realizes that he hasn't eaten all day. He looks at his watch, then nods.


"Wel- um, uh... hi."

"Hi. You okay?"

"Um. Yeah! Welcome to McDonald's. What can I getcha?"

"Gimme a triple cheeseburger combo, the biggest you can manage. And an apple pie."

"Um... sir, we don't have triples anymore."

"You're kidding. Oh well. Make it a Filet O'Fish combo then, and throw in an extra sandwich. Biggest fries and drink I can get away with."

"Okay. That'll be..."


"Um... you've got cash, right? I mean, you don't..."

"Heh. Yeah, I've got cash. Don't worry, us novas aren't given some sort of weird space-money or something like that. We gotta eat the same as everyone else, and we gotta pay for it the same. We're not all that different; think of us the same way you'd think of someone who's really good at Pac-Man -- a little weird, maybe, but still a person."

"Ah. Okay, it's $8.47. Thanks, your change is $1.53. Here ya go."

"Thanks. You know, you're kinda cute."


Paul, once again, is in front of the truncated letters, this time clutching a large bag emblazoned with cartoon characters all saying I'm lovin' it in various languages. In his other hand is a bundle of napkins, one of which bears brief, but important, writing. He pockets this one, and stuffs the rest into the bag to free his hand. Sneaking a couple fries, he pushes open the door.

26th of August, 2006, 15:40
HP: 1/5; Status: inquisitive

Astrid's protestations are almost completely unnoticed as Rob turns her right hand over again and stares at it, pieces falling together like a broken vase leaping back onto the shelf. The gunshot, the bullet, her hand, that casual throwing-away gesture as she approached the cop, the livid red mark on her palm. Click, click, click.

He turns away, suddenly wanting very badly to be angry with her. She, Astrid Brant, the ADA, this woman, this lawyer, is bulletproof. Such a gift, such a powerful talent, and she lets it go unused, content with merely being a human being...meanwhile he's risking his neck out here almost every night, sweating the fact that some mook with a pistol can get lucky and end or destroy his life. The bulletproof barrister just goes about her business as if there was no higher calling.

Is that what it is, the way he feels? A higher calling? And a calling to what?

Her second question reaches him, and he answers without facing her. "Nobody that I've ever faced...unless you count that mess this morning just before the trial." He thinks for a few moments. "The ones that showed up at the warehouse...if O'Malley needed or decided to hire out some novas, he definitely knows people that move in those circles. I think it's a safe enough assumption that he had some hand in this...except that something's not adding up. If whoever attacked you is the same as attacked me this morning, then either it's an extreme coincidence or he's the sloppiest mercenary ever. O'Malley's not going to call someone for a job that can't keep it in his pants, pardon me for saying. So...dammit. I don't have enough to go on to make that call yet. It'd be like saying 'It's going to be cold tomorrow, unless it turns out to be hot.'"

He turns suddenly, body language clearly indicating that he's on the verge of a fervent pronouncement, but the words die on his lips. In a blink, that fury dissipates, but his curiosity does not. "How do you ignore this? Or why?"

30th of August, 2006, 14:02
HP: 2; Status: Hrnuh?

Smiling and shrugging at the fleeing building custodian, Astrid was about to ask about the extreme coincidence -- about the injury that Osprey had suffered immediately before the hearing -- but when the vigilante turned on her with what looked like anger in his eyes, she hesitated, not saying anything as he unclenched and posed his question.

She met his gaze, and if she understood the true meaning of his words, she showed no outward sign. Either she genuinely didn't know what he was talking about, or she was practiced at lying about her abilities. Or perhaps both were true to a degree. In any case, her answer was unsatisfactory:

"Uh... what? How or why do I ignore what? Crazy stuff like being attacked by flying coffee mugs?"

31st of August, 2006, 12:41
Verve & Osprey

In the hollow wake of conversation following Osprey's furious splutterings, Astrid's glib reply drops like a coin into a wishing well, rolling in ever decreasing spirals before plunging into the void. He doesn't have time to press her for more, as his cellphone rings.

“Sir, this is Ken Willows, Mr. Blackthorne's assistant. I was wondering if you'd contacted ADA Brandt yet? Mr. Blackthorne would like to meet with her as soon as possible.”

4th of September, 2006, 05:41
HP: 2/2 status: This dude has got some serious problems.

The world snaps into focus as Ryan comes to an abrupt halt outside the former Centinel building, the snow whirling around him in a chaotic dance that resembled his life. If he had been in a better mood, Ryan would have at least smiled at the irony of it.

The run had made him feel better, slightly at least, but he made no sound as he watched Paul enter the building in front of him. He stands still for a few minutes, a remarkable feat for him, wondering if this is the correct path for him to be on. His life had definately not been getting better but part of him hoped that he was doing the right thing. Its not like he had much of a choice.

With a small sigh he enters the building looking for his new "boss".

10th of September, 2006, 11:49
Quantum & Bolt

Though they may not know it, Paul Forrester and Ryan Sanders have something in common: they can run away from any consequences of their actions. Whether it's flirting with a fast food employee, kissing his former boss, or picking a fight with with a clawed, psychopathic, animalistic man rampaging through a concert, there is as yet nothing Quantum cannot do – and then avoid the after effects of. He, perhaps alone in human history, has broken free form the tyranny of space. Here and there are no more restrictive labels than deciding which draw to put his socks in.

Bolt used to feel that way. He ran, so long, so far, and so hard, that everything around him changed. Everything, except him. And that was the root of his troubles. He could run far, far from Elizabeth's grave, run until no-one knew his name, his shame, his weakness; but eventually, he recreated the very thing he was trying to escape from.

As the belaboured saw says: you can run, but you can't hide. One day soon, Quantum will discover this.

The as-yet unnamed 'Building' has become strangely empty in their absence; the hurried evacuation of personnel and equipment has been nearly accomplished. Halls that once thronged with people rushing to and fro, sending packages and messages about on their mysterious business. How much of the Foundation's business was actually related to trying to fight crime or organising the defence against metahuman threats? What else was all that bureaucracy doing here? The spaghetti-like shreds of paper, the abandoned cardboard boxes of office supplies, the now empty desks and blank whiteboards give an ambiguous answer: nothing.

Dashing up the stairs in a narcotic-buoyed mood, it doesn't take Bolt long to find Blackthorne. He stands in an office at the top of the building, parrying phone calls and riposting memos; businessman en guard.

Left-Handed Bandit
10th of September, 2006, 14:34
HP: 1/1; Status: En Guarde...

"...Listen, I know you have reservations," Henry says as he glances up and flashes a quick smile at the nova and offers him a seat in front of the desk. "But, you've made your money already -- your children's children will never have to work a day in their lives. You have an opportunity here to do some real public service here.

"You know how good that will look when you make your run for governor in three years," the businessman adds. He then mouths "drink?" to Bolt as he listens to the other line. "Okay, Rich. Tomorrow night at dinner; I'll hear your answer then...Tell Margie I say hello. Okay, bye."

His conversation completed, Henry moves around to the side of his desk and leans on it slightly. "Finding a replacement for Ms. Stone. That's like trying to find a replacement for Eli.

"What can I do for you, Bolt?"

15th of September, 2006, 05:00
HP 2/2 status: Things are doing better.

Ryan enters the room and wraps his duster around himseat like a protective sheild, it was painfully obvious that he was wary and distrusted this man. He shakes his head "no" in response to the drink, considering what he has floating in his system already alchohal probably wasn't the greatest idea.

He sits down and waits while Blackthorne finishes up his phone message.

"What can I do for you, Bolt?"

"Just wanted to let you know that Trisha Ling is coming by soon she wants to do an interview with you, I didn't realise that no one knew about the takeover, so I was telling her about it and then one thing led to another." He says with a shrug. "If you want my advice, just do the interview. When she wants something she gets it. Trust me on that one."

15th of September, 2006, 08:14
HP: 1/1; Status: Chewing.

"Surprised she doesn't call me all the time, asking me to bring her food." Quantum sits down next to Bolt, setting his bag on the table and digging out comestibles. "I got Meteoric to promise not to cause any trouble, though I'm no longer certain that he won't." He takes a bite out of his sandwich, chases it with a couple fries, and offers the little ersatz potato strings to his partner.

Noticing the way that his new boss is pacing, and the speedster is drumming his fingers -- 'course, the latter is so fast, it's closer to vibrating his fingers -- he throws out a question for whoever wants to field it. "Is there some part of the big picture I'm completely missing here? 'Cause everyone's getting fidgety: running off on 'personal business' without their communicators, giving vague answers, acting way too emotional about things. I mean, I've got a skewed perspective, having spent the past three years in an Igloo cooler, but this ain't the way to set an example, guys.

"C'mon, one of you fess up something. That, or I break out the bodysuit I found last week and really start lookin' the part. Well, I took off the cape, but..." He pops some fries into his face and makes more inroads on his sandwich.

Left-Handed Bandit
15th of September, 2006, 10:19
HP: 1/1; Status: The facts as he sees it.

"...When she wants something she gets it. Trust me on that one."

Henry nods, his slight smile growing a bit. Running his hand over his goatee, the entrepreneur says, "Contact Ms. Ling and tell her that I'll be happy to meet with her at 8:30 tomorrow morning. She can come here to my office."

He didn't realize he had been fidgeting until Quantum pointed it out, and Henry didn't like to fidget, for any reason. Listening to the nova's question and statement, the new head of the Centinel Foundation furrows his brow with concern as the smile fades into neutrality.

"Since my arrival, my efforts have been focused on three things: one, to get up to speed on the current situation with the O'Malley case and help you gents organize the investigation, two, to clear the Foundation of its chaff and retain as many of those left as possible, and three, to get us around the injunction the courts placed on us.

"To address the second point first, Ms. Stone has made it clear to me that she will remain only long enough to fulfill her current contract. As such, I've been trying to locate a suitable replacement," Blackthorne continues. "It's no secret that some people harbor severe animosity toward me -- a friend once said that I'm either adored or reviled, with very little between -- and Ms. Stone wants nothing to do with any organization, no matter how legitimate and worthy of her services it is, associated with me.

"It's a frustrating situation when people forgo an opportunity to do really good works over a simple personality dispute, but that is the hand I'm dealt and I have to find a way to replace her talent and dedication. That is, unless she can be convinced that she's needed here."

If either of the novas are about to respond, Henry doesn't give them enough time to express their thoughts.

"The legal issue will be resolved in our favor shortly, although I've been assured by my lawyers that the government can't stop us from handing over exculpatory evidence to the state," he adds, walking over to the small bar -- by small, meaning somewhat smaller in length than Shaquille O'Neal is tall -- in the corner of his office and grabbing mixing a quick seltzer. "I'm addicted to this stuff, unfortunately -- dad took me to Coney Island right after he bought it -- I was five then -- and think I cried for a month because he wouldn't hire a jerk and put a soda shoppe in the mansion.

"Did you want something, Quantum?"

(OOC: Okay, I'll stop here before I further turn this into a novella.)

16th of September, 2006, 08:49
HP: 1/1; Status: Still chewin'.

Quantum finishes off the remnant of one fish sandwich, and draws another from the bag without hesitation. As he unwraps it, he says, "Just trying to get a better picture of what's going on, really. When they thawed me out, I was given rather terse instructions with no idea of the real situation. Heck, when I went and rescued Osprey, I will still in the deep-freeze clothes they'd put me in."

He can't help but grin as he makes his next point. "And I wanted to see how quickly one of you would stop me from wearing Spandex." He punctuates this by taking a massive bite out of his Filet O'Fish.

"Frankly, I want to see this whole dog-and-pony show in the courtroom done and over with, so I can get back to being a hero, earn my pay and all that. I'd also like to see the records on what was done to me, 'cause it's been having some weird side-effects -- but I know that'll have to wait."

Left-Handed Bandit
17th of September, 2006, 12:54
HP: 1/1; Status: Amused

Blackthorne chuckles. "That's good to know, Quantum, but I was asking if you wanted something stronger than your soda."

20th of September, 2006, 15:34
HP: 1/5; Status: inquisitive

If Astrid's response is a deception, it is wickedly effective, and enough doubt is put into Rob's mind that the situation has turned awkward. He starts trying to find a way to crawfish out of it when the communicator buzzes silently at his hip; quickly, and for once grateful for the device that he had previously categorized as a fancy leash, he flips it open. Eyes slide sideways to the ADA as Willows poses his question. "I'm with her now. Tell him I'll relay the request." He clicks the unit shut, noticing in the smallest of ways how easy it is to surrender to another man's authority, then turns back to Astrid.

"Forget about it. I must be 'up out my damn mind,' as they say." Deep breath, let it out, unwind. "That was Blackthorne's manservant. He says--wait, you don't know what's happened, do you? The Centinel Foundation is gone. Well, the building's still there, but the organization has completely changed hands; Henry Blackthorne is running the place now. Yeah, that Henry Blackthorne, only one I know of. And the government has put a conjunction on the Foundation's authority, or something, which is the why for what happened at court this morning. Anyway, Blackthorne says he intends to carry on, and...well, I'd like to believe him. I think we all would. That was his assisstant on the line, says that they'd like to see you regarding the shutdown and the O'Malley case. I'll give you a lift if you want, but don't take that to mean I'm running you in."

28th of September, 2006, 18:12
HP: 2; Status: Headed to the Foundation

Her black hair tousled by a stray gust of wind, Astrid listened as Osprey described the changes at the Centinels Foundation. Conjunction junction, what's your function? played in the wind as she nodded, a musical, half-remembered melody as the leather-clad vigilante misspoke.

Blackthorne in control... she wasn't sure what to think about that, but the prospect of learning more about how the O'Malley case had ended up face-down with a knife in its back intrigued her, so she didn't hesitate before nodding.

"Yeah. Let's go. But I need my shoes and briefcase from the coffee shop first." She met the eyes behind the man's mask and held them for a half-second with her own. "And thanks again for the help back there."

Left-Handed Bandit
29th of September, 2006, 02:32
HP: 1/1; Status: As cool as the other side of the pillow...

Returning to his desk during the awkward silence that descended after his clarification, Henry gives no indication that he's feeling any of the tension holding the office hostage.

He considers Quantum's words for a moment longer, sipping on his seltzer as he cogitates, then neatly places it on the ebony desktop before answering, "I have some ideas for team unity in the costume department, but I can guarantee you it won't be spandex. Something more...subtle, but identifiable.

"And we'll see what we can do about getting your records to you," he adds. "On the subject of compensation, we're going to change that around a bit. You will no longer be receiving a salary; instead you will receive a stipend and living expenses.

You won't actually see the living expenses, as they will go directly into a fund that maintains your private quarters here and sees to your physical. The rest will be accounted as a stipend -- an expense account that allows you gents to purchase personal items as you desire without having to use messy words like 'pay.'"

Henry puases for another sip of his seltzer, quietly gaguing the others' reactions to his ideas. "The bottom line is, we will, at the very least, continue to compensate you at your current level," he says. "Our goal is to increase that, so that you gents are comfortable here. It'll take a rewrite of your current contract -- which we're going to be calling a volunteer's agreement -- but I assure you we'll ensure it meets your standards before we even think about bringing it to you for your signature."

The entrepreneur is interrupted by a quiet buzz on his belt, and he taps the call button on his wireless headset. "Blackthorne here...okay, Kenneth, thank you. Let me know when he calls with his answer."

Closing the call with another tap, Henry relays, "Osprey is with Ms. Brant. I've asked her here to discuss the O'Malley case and explain what happened.

"Back to the original subject; our goal is to get away from the corporate image of the foundation, to make this truly a non-profit organization in both form and function. Part of that effort is to 'look' like an NPO -- stipends and accounts instead of pay, agreements instead of contracts, and so on," the businessman continues, his voice gaining a slight edge to it as he sells the idea. "Another part of it is the public face of the foundation; and that's you -- the team.

"I may be executive director of the Centinel Foundation and Ms. Stone will be Operations Director for the remainder of her time, but we do not lead the organization," Henry offers, leaning forward. "We serve; we serve the team, and the team serves the public good. Henry Blackthorne is content to remain mostly in the background where the Foundation is concerned; I have enough publicity with my other firms to keep me in the public eye for the rest of my life and more.

"It'll be the team that makes this Foundation."

(OOC: Henry's on a roll....)

30th of September, 2006, 14:43
Together Again

Like a headstone over the grave of New York, the building loomed harsh and grey over the streets and people in its shadow, distinguishable from the gloomy clouds only by its protuberances and angles. A work crew busied themselves fixing finger-like metal clamps to the concrete above the great glass chessboard of the door, preparing to lodge a new sign in place to mark the transfer of power.

Slipping through the cityscape like a leather shadow, carrying the re-shod and equipped assistant district attorney, Osprey tried to stretch his shoulders without loosening his grip on her waist. She was heavier than she looked. Lounging by a van just across from the doors, a man with a press badge pinned to his purple shirt glanced up and perked as he saw the dark pair of figures gliding through the air.

“Hey, Vic, it's the flier! Cameracameracameracamera – oh.”

Osprey grunted, and adjusted his trajectory up. He and Astrid climbed rapidly, skimming past row after row of dark windows until they'd almost reached the summit of the structure. Just below the helipad and numerous aerials, water tanks and satellite dishes that saw to the buildings communicative and fire safety needs, they landed on a wrought-iron railed balcony.

Looking out from the office behind articulated plate glass doors, Blackthorne, Bolt and Quantum adopted an expression of dry welcome, tired acknowledgement or hamster-cheeked fish mastication, as appropriate.

Left-Handed Bandit
11th of October, 2006, 06:48
HP: 1/1; Status: The more the merrier

The pair are greeted by the sinister visage of Henry Blackthorne, smiling his trademark "knowing smile" as he watches them land on the balcony. He gestures them inside, then immediately returns to his desk chair to await their entrance.

"Impeccable timing," Henry says to the others, picking up a PDA and glancing at its contents for a brief moment. "Maybe we can actually get somewhere on this case, now."

18th of October, 2006, 15:09
HP: 2/2 status: Getting along

Ryan leans forward snapping back to the conversation, he had faded out again, that wasn't something that had happened for a while. It could have been the drugs or the depression but either way it wasn't something that he could let happen again.

Clutching the pendant in his hand he looks up at Blackthorne. "Tomorrow is probably not going to do it, she is on her way now."

22nd of October, 2006, 14:10
HP: 1/5; Status: bushed

After a short hop to recover Astrid's shoes and notebook, the low-altitude and low-speed flit to the Cents building, and then the ascent to the balcony, Rob muses that he's just spent half an hour with his cheek pressed against one of the most coveted rumps in the city. For once, he wishes that Wreck were here so that he could rub that in.

The ADA steps gingerly off his shoulder and Rob catches a momentary glimpse of Blackthorne's smile. Something about it is infuriating; it feels like either Henry knows too much that nobody else does, or that he's quite pleased that Rob has done his bidding. The first is to be expected, but the other...he puts these feelings aside as he enters the room behind Astrid, then takes a seat. Suddenly he is dog tired and ready to rest--after all, just this morning he took a knife in the ribs, and ferrying around other people (no matter how lithe and spry and potentially invincible they may be) is very nearly all he can handle. And he never did get anything to eat.

Eyelids drooping behind polarized lenses, Osprey waits for Blackthorne to continue, completely unmindful of the fact that he's not spoken a word since arriving.

23rd of October, 2006, 15:12
HP: 2; Status: Shod Again! Sort of.

Astrid's experiences with the Millenuim Kids meant that being carried around the city by a flying man in black leather actually wasn't as strange as it might have been. The hero seemed moody, perhaps a little sullen, but she wasn't going to hold anything against the man when he was so helpful, had been injured earlier in the day and clearly had a lot on his mind. They hadn't conversed much more by the time they arrived at the Centinels building.

After being set down by the vigilante, the woman nodded her thanks at him and walked towards Blackthrone and the others with grace and purpose -- no small feat, given the disheveled state of the woman's dress and hair, and the fact that she'd crushed the heels right off her shoes back in the cafe.

Adjusting her cat-eye eyeglasses, the assistant district attorney looked from Osprey to Blackthorne. "You have Mr. Osprey here to thank for the timing, he's got a wonderful knack for avoiding traffic. So what's the story? Have you found out what happened here at the Foundation with the O'Malley case?"

26th of October, 2006, 05:37
As Osprey joins the conference, Quantum digs through the paper bag at his feet, surreptitiously offering the acrobat a still-warm apple pie. Granted, it's not an entire pie, just a little pastry about the size of an old iPod; at least it's not the size of the MP3 players he'd seen recently (and things are getting way off topic). Finishing the last of his fries and taking care not to make chewing noises, Paul finds his attention wandering quite some distance away from his new manager and much more in the direction of the assistant DA.

He had to fight the urge to say something smart-assed, just to get another look like she shot him in the courtroom. Before the accident, he'd only met -- and subsequently married and divorced -- only one woman who could defenestrate him with mere eye-contact, and so far he's worked up-close with two since the thaw.

That, or he was just extremely starved for attention.

16th of November, 2006, 13:28
HP: 1/5; Status: ready

He palms the proffered pastry with practiced prestidigitational pfacility as he sits down, then returns the pie to the table as he reaches up and unfastens the mask--everyone here has seen him before, after all. He grunts in relief as the mask slides backward, blinking his eyes in the now-unfiltered light and rubbing the red lines where the mask's seams have pressed into his skin. "Woo-ah. That's a whole lot better." He wolfs the pie down in just a couple of appreciative bites, then gives Quantum a halfway jovial glance. "Man, y'know, you're a life--uh...thanks." His smile is still earnest as he settles back into the chair, but it's clear that was an awkward moment for him.

Hoping to keep his foot-in-mouth disease in check, Rob awaits the torrential exchange of complicated language that seems to be inevitable with both Blackthorne and Astrid in the room. He would be chagrined to know that, despite his arguments to the contrary, he has conveniently fallen into the role of waiting for orders.

Left-Handed Bandit
21st of November, 2006, 04:00
HP: 1/1; Status: Playing the role...

"Ms. Brant, the Foundation was given a court order to cease and desist all activities covered by the Vigilante Act, this included injoining us from sending you the necessary exculpatory information concerning the O'Malley case," Henry begins, his serious expression betrayed by a hint of a smile behind his eyes. "Ms. Stone, at this very moment, is leading the charge to recover, by any means necessary, the documents you require. I expect she will have them before you leave here today."

The entrepreneur pauses to take a sip of his seltzer, then continues. "My lawyers have assured me the Centinel Foundation will be able to continue its pursuit of justice through older measures that were not superceded by the Vigilante Act. So, we're available to assist your office as needed.

"Which brings me to the major point of this meeting," Blackthorne presses on, his eyes falling on Bolt. "Considering the fact I have an interview at any moment, now, we need to be quick about this, as well.

"Until yesterday, I've only been following the O'Malley case through the media, like everyone else; fortunately, corporations like mine are largely out of his reach. So, since I've only been in this chair for just the better part of the afternoon, I'd like an update of where we are, what you gents have encountered -- and any threats your office has encountered in the last few days, Ms. Brant, if you're willing -- and where you think we need to concentrate next. I want to make sure O'Malley doesn't get out of jail."

OOC: We can obviously gloss over past details... :)

5th of December, 2006, 02:42
HP: 2; Status: Present and Accounted For!

"There was a court order? That covered even existing -- open -- cases?" Astrid asked with some amount of skepticism. "On whose authority? What jurisdiction did this come from?" she pressed before waiting to let Blackthorne go on.

Brant nodded with some satisfaction when she heard that Ms. Stone was working on securing the right documentation, and that Blackthorne at least sounded like he was going to be cooperative. The ADA clenched her jaw slightly when there was mention of threats by O'Malley.

"I've already informed the police about a threat I received last night, undoubtedly from O'Malley," the woman offered. "And I think the DA received similar threats. My biggest concern right now is -- well, I don't even know how to really describe it. Something just happened at the coffee shop I was at, while I was trying to call Kristine, my assistant. Osprey here witnessed it. I was attacked by... flying coffee mugs. It sounds silly, but it was serious, people were hurt. It looked like the work of a powerful telekinetic, frankly, and I don't know if the incident is tied in with O'Malley or not, but if you have any files on at-large telekinetics, it might be worth having a look through."

Left-Handed Bandit
5th of December, 2006, 03:27
HP: 1/1; Status: Questions, Questions

Henry pauses when Astrid interjects, and nods to acknowledge her question. "The Justice Department is behind the interdiction, and effectively shut down the foundation before I turned it into a private entity."


"...It looked like the work of a powerful telekinetic, frankly, and I don't know if the incident is tied in with O'Malley or not, but if you have any files on at-large telekinetics, it might be worth having a look through."

"I'll see what we have left," the entrepreneur replies, tapping a section of his desk and waiting for his executive secretary to answer.

"Yes, have archives pull every file that we have on at-large telekinetics, thank you.


5th of December, 2006, 05:54
HP: 1/1. Status: Digesting.

Quantum takes one last sip from his drink before stashing the nearly-empty cup in his bag. "I got threatened, too, right after I managed to get rid of the devolver-guy at the stadium. O'Malley's pet teleporter showed up and told me to skip town. I basically told him to piss off, and asked him what it was like to be a lackey. He didn't take that too well." He smirks at the recollection.

"Think you could get me some info on that guy? For some reason, my bag of tricks really chaps his ass, and I'd like to know a little more about him if he's going to make things all personal-like."

Left-Handed Bandit
5th of December, 2006, 13:39
HP: 1/1; Status: Executive Director, or Salesman?

"You gents can make those requests yourselves," he offers. "You have full access to the entire building and its services, just like myself and Ms. Stone."

7th of December, 2006, 11:40
Centinel Building: Top Floor Offices

The conversation revolved for a while longer, coming back to the central point: the government had, for whatever reason, stripped the Centinel Foundation of intelligence and security privileges, legal status, enforcement rights and sponsorship – then, in a piece of odd bureaucratic legerdemain, sold the shell to Blackthorne Industries.

Astrid pondered this. The organisation's new owner's people brought her odds and ends of documents, but none of them amounted to what she was looking for. It appeared that the Foundation had been comprehensively de-registered, and that no provisions had been made for the continuity of jurisdiction or workload. In effect, every case and mission the Foundation was working at the time on had been orphaned – open, but compromised. Still, she realised, O'Malley's actions were blatantly criminal and well-recorded, and thus fall within the NYPD's jurisdiction; she could arrange to have them resume the investigation. It'd mean starting almost from scratch for the police and the DA's office, and half the evidence may have been lost, contaminated or invalidated in the intervening weeks, but it was something.

Astrid patted her hair, and a corner of her mind noted through her distraction that her expensive style had been mussed by the bombardment of mugs and the wind-whipping of her journey up the skyscraper. She glanced around the table, her eyes alighting briefly on the buffeted, tired-eyed speedster, who was rubbing his hands together in an oddly compulsive way. Every now and then his digits quivered, becoming indistinct pink blurs; a hypervelocity nervous tick. Despite that, he seemed to be paying close attention to the discussion. The black-clad flier seemed equally watchful, though more passive and distracted as he chewed the remains of his burger. He shifted his back against the seat, grimacing in pain. Astrid remembered that he had been bleeding in court earlier, with a surge of irritation. Quantum seemed the most collected and forthright, frequently chiming in with questions or perspectives on the matter. He seemed so level-headed, it was almost possible to ignore the fact that his bag of fast-food vanished in a puff of purple lightning and reappeared over the waste paper basket as soon as he was finished with it, and without him even seeming to notice. Whatever their current status might be, these were the arresting agents (including Wreck and the Mechanic, though there were no signs of them) – and their statements would be essential to rebuilding the case.

A lateral question by Quantum lead to Henry consulting the files of the Vigilance Commission. Bolt, Osprey and Quantum discovered that their code-names were still filed under Active Vigilantes (though some unfamiliar, unexplained and enciphered tags have been added to their files) – so it seems that it is merely the organisation that has been disavowed, not them personally. Quantum himself doesn't recall ever registering; it must have been a 'present' from the Foundation when they thawed him.

As his eyes flicked idly over the data on Blackthorne's screen, Bolt felt a twitch of surprise crackle down his spone. Via one link, while perusing the files for other information, he sees the words B-team re-routed to Carleton facility appended to the Foundation's personnel records in the Vigilance Commissions database.

Meanwhile, Blackthorne's executive secretary, a petite, efficient woman entered, placing a pile of assorted files, from manilla folders to high-density flash drives on the table – presumably the information regarding known telekinetics. In the midst of Blackthorne Industries' takeover of the building, there hadn't been time to institute a paperless office policy, so things were in whatever format came to hand. She leaned towards her employers chair as said quietly, though not so quietly that the other people around the table can't hear:

“Sir, NYPD deputy commissioner Lesser is on the line. I explained that the Foundation is under new management, but he still... requests to speak with you. He mentioned a metahuman incursion at Rising Sun Applied Technologies.”

Left-Handed Bandit
12th of December, 2006, 04:20
HP: 1/1; Status: Time for some Real Work...

...“Sir, NYPD deputy commissioner Lesser is on the line. I explained that the Foundation is under new management, but he still... requests to speak with you. He mentioned a metahuman incursion at Rising Sun Applied Technologies.”...

Henry puts the "B-Team" comment into the back of his mind for the moment and nods to his executive secretary. "Thank you, Mrs. Hanford," he says, tapping the appropirate line to bring the call to his speaker.

"Deputy Commissioner Lesser, you mentioned something about an incident at Rising Sun," Blackthorne says in a cordial, but professional, tone. "How may we help you with that?"

31st of December, 2006, 18:04
HP:2/2 status:

Ryan pauses and rereads the text about the relocation of the B-team, this was something that he would have to look into but Blackthorne's secretary interupts before he can say anything to the others.

He listens and is rather surprised that this has something to do with Rising Sun Applied Technologies and Rob is someone that he would consider a friend so the B-team had to wait.

"Do you want me to scout it out?" He asks his "new" employer.

1st of January, 2007, 13:02

A hint, but only a hint, of tired desperation, worn-thin patience and nerves touched the Deputy Commissioner's Brooklyn accented voice.

“Who is this? This is...” There was a sound of rustling paper. “Henry Blackthorne, right? What happened to Stone?” He doesn't leave so much as a beat for anyone to reply, even if they were so inclined. “Whatever, hell. I don't care. I know you've got that nova goon squad somewhere in there with you, and we need'em out here pronto. There is some major metahuman sh it going on at the Rising Sun offices, and my guys can't get anywhere near it. Looks like a half-dozen to ten mike-hotels – that's, uh, metahumans – and some real people.”

2nd of January, 2007, 18:19
HP: 2; Status: OH MY LORD IT'S 2007

It was difficult to hear people talk about metahumans and "real people" the way the Deputy Commissioner just had; Astrid had long ago gotten used to the idea of being different, but she never, ever thought of herself as not being human or "real." Knowing as many metas as she had over the years made Lesser's words sound all the more ignorant. She remembered her father fighting prejudice on the force and in the press as well, and he'd always handled it with a kind of wry calmness -- as he did most everything.

Thinking of her father and the good he did made the ADA remember what was at home, hanging in her closet, and for the briefest of instants she imagined herself alongside the men in the room, racing off to face down whatever was happening over at Rising Sun. But it wasn't like the comics she'd read growing up. These men were super-powered, but they were real all right. Passionate, dedicated, flawed -- vulnerable. She knew all about the vulnerability, and so did her mother.

Brant's eyes went from one man to the next as she waited to see their reactions. A half-dozen to ten metahumans was a lot. The Centinels would be outnumbered. Osprey's words suddenly rang in her ears.

"You guys go take care of business," she blurted. "I'll take care of the O'Malley problem."

Left-Handed Bandit
3rd of January, 2007, 06:58
HP: 1/1; Status: Dealing with Official Prejudice

"...Looks like a half-dozen to ten mike-hotels – that's, uh, metahumans – and some real people.”...

Henry frowns at the commissioner's choice of words. "We'll see what we mere metahumans can do for you 'real people,'" he replies, ending the call with a tap on the phone.

... "You guys go take care of business," she blurted. "I'll take care of the O'Malley problem."...

"Given the recent attack on your person, Ms. Brant, would you prefer one of us remain nearby, on call?"

Blackthorne will nod to her response, then turn to his team. "Osprey, I want you to see to Ms. Brant's protection after we deal with the situation at Red Sun," he states, regardless of her answer or any protest. "Okay, gentlemen, let's get going. Quantum, I will need a lift to the site. Bolt and Osprey, scout the building and we'll meet you at the police command post. Ms. Brant."

Henry stands and heads over to a side door, to his private lavatory-turned-changing room. He unlocks the recently-installed safe and retrieves and dons his prototype incursion suit, baton and gun. Leaving the hood back for the moment, the businessman returns to the expansive office and informs Quantum he's ready.

6th of January, 2007, 17:10

The more things changed, the more things stayed the same.

Leaving Blackthorne's office in a whirl of motion, Bolt jogged at what was for him a casual pace down one of the building's precipitous stairwells, warming up as he moved through the eerily empty space. Reaching the street level, he left a revolving door gyrating furiously in his wake as his shoes hit the pavement and accelerated.

Whatever the business with the Foundation's shift from a quasi-governmental organisation to a private venture was, with the sudden stripping of support and information from himself and the other novas, whatever the barely-cordial entente between Blackthorne and Stone, little was different on his end, the man on the street; and he doubted it was much different for the man flying above the street, either:

Go there.

Do this.

Don't ask questions.

With a greyish mantle of cloud weighing down, the city seemed somehow suppressed, unusually quiet. The cold wind threatened snow with every gust, and the people the speedster wound his way past were wrapped in heavy jackets and coats. It only took a momentary delay for him to check the location of the Mechanic's company, Rising Sun Applied Technologies, in a computerised information kiosk, and he was on his way again.

6th of January, 2007, 18:07
HP: 2; Status: OH MY LORD IT'S 2007

"No, Mr. Blackthorne, that won't be necessary. I... well, we'll figure out what happened to me back at the coffee shop later. I've got appointments, and it sounds like you Centinels are needed over at Rising Sun."

The man nodded as Astrid replied, then promptly ignored her, telling Osprey to check on her after they'd dealt with the situation. Brant eyed Blackthorne sternly before adjusting her glasses and clearing her throat.

"Give me a call when you're all available again. Don't just drop in, or you're likely to sit in a waiting room for two hours while my staff tries to hunt me down." Producing several business cards from her jacket pocket, the attractive lawyer placed them on the polished table. "Right. Keep in contact. And good luck."