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-   -   Issue #3: Those Who Write New Values On New Tablets (http://online-roleplaying.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4182)

Dirigible 1st of March, 2005 20:46

Issue #3: Those Who Write New Values On New Tablets
 
Lake Silverwood Golf Club, Upstate New York.
18th hole
9:58 am, January 17th 2010.


The End of the World: Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 7th of March, 2005 19:26

Old Subway Terminal, New York City.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


Maim

”TRAAAAAAY-CY!”

CLUNGG

”OHHHHHHH TRAAAAAAY-CY!”

CREEEEE-awk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 7th of March, 2005 19:49

Kardo Street, New York City.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


Red Hare

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dirigible 8th of March, 2005 16:43

Native American Ruin, Colorado.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


He Who Walked Between The Stars

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

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

Kinship.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Cadrius 10th of March, 2005 13:06

Wreck

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 10th of March, 2005 16:39

The Home, under New York city.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


The One Eyed King

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 10th of March, 2005 17:12

Madison Square Gardens, under New York city.
Early Morning, January 17th 2010.


Devolution

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

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

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

GusPorterhouse 11th of March, 2005 06:06

Osprey
HP: 5/5; Status: Normal, Unhurt



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

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

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

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 10:08

Wreck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initiative:
Wreck: 21
Maim: 8

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 10:09

Osprey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initiative:
Red Hare: 20
Osprey: 12

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 10:58

Bolt

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

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

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

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 10:59

Quantum

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

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

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

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 11:01

The Mechanic

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

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

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

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

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

Cadrius 11th of March, 2005 14:10

Wreck
HP: 5/5. Status: Badass, Unhurt.

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

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

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

((OOC: Rapid strike))

LonePaladin 11th of March, 2005 15:25

Quantum
HP: 5/5 Status: Here and there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaos 11th of March, 2005 16:55

Bolt
HP: 5/5. Status: Thinking he should have kept the taxi job, Unhurt.


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

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

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

Dirigible 11th of March, 2005 18:25

Wreck

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

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

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

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

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

Then you hit the wall.

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

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

And it really, really hurts when it bathes you.

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

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

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

Chronaltap 12th of March, 2005 13:25

The Mechanic
HP: 9/9, Status: Intrigued, beguiled, fascinated... and unhurt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 12th of March, 2005 14:25

Quantum

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

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

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

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

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

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

LonePaladin 12th of March, 2005 17:04

Quantum
HP: 5/5 Status: Bewildered, but determined.

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

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

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

Cadrius 13th of March, 2005 03:44

Wreck
HP: 5/5. Status: Still badass but...owie! 2 Lethal hits.

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

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

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

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

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

((OOC: Move, grapple.))

Dirigible 13th of March, 2005 14:30

Bolt

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 13th of March, 2005 14:46

the Mechanic

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

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

The images are fragmentary.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dirigible 13th of March, 2005 15:14

Quantum

Human consciousness is a strange thing.

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

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

But not tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

Dirigible 13th of March, 2005 15:53

Wreck

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

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

Totally suckered.

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

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

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

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

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

Above you, Maim chuckles again.


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


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