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  1. Travis awoke to an unusual level of silence. The temple, with it's thick solid stone walls, hardly tended toward an excess of noise, but it seemed more still than usual. The space beside him was both empty and cold; May had been awake and away for some time it seemed. He sat up and worked his tongue around his mouth as he brought a glass and a pitcher of water to the bed. Such casual use of his powers was so ingrained in him now that it as as unconscious as flying across the room would be to another, or creating the drink from nothing was to Mary. He drank his fill washing away the thirst before stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. Half an hour later, washed, dressed, and feeling hungry, he shoved aside the door to May's room, their room, and went looking for something to eat. ,, In the kitchen, such as it was, he found some fruits and some not entirely stale bread. Travis snatched up a little of each and set them orbiting him as he started on a banana, likely fresh from nearby. Floating through the halls he finally caught up with Sol in one of the larger gathering rooms. The kinetic suppressed a frown, "Hey, where is everybody? It's like a ghost town around here." He really had no idea what to think about Sol at this point. In two weeks he'd more or less gotten over the fact that the other man had been with May while he was frozen. After that he had found himself regarding Sol as one regards a figure of legend or history, but David quickly proved himself entirely more real than that. This was no towering God or Titan, he was just a man and a mutant, the same as Travis, and that meant that he really stood above Travis by way of power and position. Maybe they weren't equals, but this man was certainly not one to worship either. That left Travis unsure of their relationship, and the lack of communication between them had not helped to establish a course. ,, David looked up, "They're all on missions, or dealing with the needs of supplies and the like." He went back to reading the sheaf of paper in his hand. "Take the chance to enjoy the quiet," he added as an apparent afterthought. ,, Travis' frown deepened. "Why am I here then?" ,, "What?" David looked up and seemed to actually notice Travis for the first time. "Come again?" ,, "Why I am apparently left to loaf around, if everybody else is out on missions and stuff?" Travis was more than ready, willing, and able to kill humans, especially DEHA agents. ,, It was Sol's turn to frown. The expression slid into place like clouds crossing the sun before it melted away in similar fashion. "Because your talents weren't required this time out." ,, "Oh." Travis took a deep breath and chewed on a hunk of something that tasted like a pear. "Is this about the thing in Germany?" ,, Sol's frown made another cameo, "Kind of, but not entirely." The older man put the papers he was reading to the side, "Listen kid, honestly you weren't needed. A bunch of them were sent into a city to scout and secure some living space, another couple were sent on an infiltration, and I sent Fahrenheit and Grav out to deal with Silberman, mostly cause I didn't figure that Fahrenheit would rest until she did. That's her revenge to get and the two of them are more than enough to deal with him." ,, "And?" Travis asked around a mouthful. ,, "And, yeah, a little of it is because of Germany. Don't get me wrong, you probably did more to save everybody than not, but you also lost control and put the others at risk in the process. You crippled that kid, he might have joined us otherwise, and ..." ,, "And so now none of them trust me right? I'm just the psycho who lost control." TK dropped into a chair, "You know what happened to May and I. You know that that leech was there. It's no different than what Fahrenheit wanted to do to Silberman, I just-" ,, "You just put your fellows in harms way in the process." David shook his head, "I get it, I do, but they don't. These people are your people Travis, and I'm sure they'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but try and see it from their side. Heck, try to see it from my side. I, they, need to know that you won't cause as much mayhem to our own as you do to the DEHA. You've got amazing power and potential, but I can't make use of that if all I can do is drop you like a bomb into an area I need blasted into rubble. I need you to be a weapon, but not a WMD. OK?" ,, Travis sighed, frowning, and ripped a hunk of bread in half, stuffing a portion into his mouth. He nodded though. "Besides," Sol continued, "by keeping you behind, if the others get into trouble and need extraction, we have somebody ready to lend a hand, and for that you do seem more than capable. Your hatred of captivity, understandable as it is, makes you ideal to keeping our people, and yourself, out of DEHA hands." ,, "Ok." Travis left it at that. They sat in silence as he finished his meal. Finally the younger mutant broke the silence once more. "I have a question, and I don't think I can ask May." David looked up, surprise on his face. "What did the DEHA do to me while they had me?"
  2. [Continued from 1.3] The yawning black hole opened before the rag-tag group flying over Germany, exactly as planned. Travis felt relief as he angled the flying disk through the hole. After the fuck-up that this fight had been, he just wanted to hole up with May and bitch to her about the sheer amount of crazy in their growing group. They burst through into the morning light of highlands of Tibet. Tyrone and Jack both frowned, while Ty-ty squealed with delight. “You found her!” the child cried happily. “And you rescued others!” “Damnit! I hope we have enough spray for everyone. Get that boy over here, before they bounce the signal to detonate his collar off a satellite.” Jack was already digging in a bag for the bottle of freezing chemical. “Maybe Jeremy can make more if needed.” Tyrone had already hefted the sensor. “Let’s see how many microchips they have hidden in these poor guys.” He shook his head. “Man, they gave them a beating for trying to escape, didn’t they?”
  3. (Time and date indeterminable - sometime in the not so distant past.) Days turn blue to gray… Sascha stared out of the tiny window in her cell. Clouds gathered and darkened the sky and she felt today was a special day. She turned around and her gaze fell on the high-security door just across the room… or cube, as she referred to it. For the last 4 years it was the only space she knew besides the “walks” she had to take in the asylums park. It was a beautiful park for sure if it wasn’t for her being literally imprisoned there. Her daily dosage of sedatives and medications had been already administered to her but somehow the full effect didn’t deploy today. Instead she felt her just underneath her skin… waiting patiently to be unleashed. It was a long time she felt her… it was a long time she heard from her… it was a long time she felt the urge… The red light in her cell turned on and almost as if it was a automated process she turned around to face the wall and put her hands on her back. Then she slowly slided into a crouching position with her knees balancing her against the wall. As her head brow settled on the cold wall she spoke out monotonously “Ready when you are, Dr. Silberman” The door opened with a heavy clacking sound and in stepped two guards and an elderly man in a Doctors apron. He nodded to the guards who proceeded to lay Sascha in chains, making sure that both her hands and her feet didn’t give much space but for little steps to walk. One guard behind her and one guard to her left she started to walk outside of her cell and turned to the left down the hallway which led to the asylums Park. “No, Ms. Kindler… the other way, please” objected Dr. Silberman and took the lead down the hallway to the right which led to a simple white door – Dr. Silbermans office. Sascha wasn’t sure if yet another year had passed and she was due for her psychological exam but she turned nonetheless and followed Dr. Silberman. “Take your seat, Ms. Kindler.”, said Dr. Silberman, pronouncing the last syllable as he sat down himself. “You know the procedure, so lets get this started.” He took a small sip of his glass of water and opened a file folder containing Saschas medical history. “Do you still believe that there is an entity in your subconscious mind, waiting to be released in a blaze of fire?” his voice sounding mockingly. Sascha knew the procedure all too well and she knew no matter what she said, she could never convince Dr. Silberman of her mental stability. Today it didn’t seem to matter, though. She knew the truth, she felt it. Fade out... Fade in... The constant dripping of water on cold stone echoed through Sascha’s mind. Her body ached all over, even breathing felt painful and exhaustive. The cell was dimly lit and she could hear the squeals of rats scurrying around. She felt an odd itching pain on the back of her head and reached with her hand to feel for it and realised that she was shaved bald. She tried to stand up but the pain in her legs was unbearable. Gritting her teeth she managed to pull herself across the floor to her bed tears running down her cheeks both of frustration and pain. Obviously she was thrown forcefully into the cell and not taken care for where she landed. Bloodstains gave the floor an eerie sense of doom… as if she would never make it out of there alive. Almost screaming from the pain she managed to drag herself on the bed before she lost consciousness and oblivion darkened her mind. Visions of flame and fire coursed through her subconscious mind. Fire was virtually everywhere – in space, on the streets and in the darkest corners of her soul. Encircled by lashing flames Sascha tried not to be burned and to her surprise the fire didn’t harm her. The dancing flames slowly formed a face vaguely resembling hers and spoke just one word. "Burn" Fade out... Fade in... Maybe she was getting crazy. Sascha remained on the floor and looked at the ceiling. She barely felt the cold stone floor or the bruises of her encounter with the ‘caretaker’. Though her body ached all over she couldn’t remove the smile on her face. Her breaths got interrupted by uncontrollable fits of chuckling and laughter. It felt like an out-of-body experience. The same thing people who lay in a coma described. Sascha registered the world around her through an odd haze of dreamy fog. Her movement strangely delayed from the decision to the actually motion. From the distance she could hear the alarm and the clacking of boots. Something has happened… something that had spared her from getting raped. She wondered if all this was making sense. If the dream she had was connected to this. Her mouth was dry and she bled from her nose but she didn’t cared. The rhythmic sounds around her carried her thoughts away and she remembered a song she heard years ago. She's not a girl who misses much. Do do do do do do, oh yeah She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand Like a lizard on a window pane. The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors On his hobnail boots Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy Working overtime A soap impression of his wife which he ate And donated to the National Trust. I need a fix 'cause I'm going down. Down to the bits that I left uptown. I need a fix 'cause I'm going down. Mother Superior jump the gun Mother Superior jump the gun Mother Superior jump the gun Mother Superior jump the gun. Happiness is a warm gun (bang, bang, shoot shoot) Happiness is a warm gun When I hold you in my arms And I feel my finger on your trigger I know nobody can do me no harm Because happiness is a warm gun. Yes it is Humming its melody she smiled to herself "Yes it is..." (OOC:Lyrics taken from Tori Amos - Happiness is a warm gun) Fade out... Fade in... The disjointed feeling did not go away. She didn't know how long she sat there, humming and interrupting herself with laughter, but it felt like a cleansing eternity. She rocked back and forth, and hugged her secrets tight. The vision came to her again. Not suddenly, like usual...it just sort of drifted up. Her other self, wreathed in fire, walked toward her. The air pressure in the room seemed to change when Sascha saw her. The finger pointed. The woman spoke as always, said the only thing Sascha had ever heard her say. "Burn!" Sascha thought about it for a moment. While she thought, the door clanged and began to open. Her attacker had returned. ***** The orderly grinned at the sight of the new girl cowering in the corner. She might have thought he forgot, or was scared. He didn't get scared. Once he saw that the staff was watching the news, all about some satellite, he knew for sure no one would come down here anytime soon. His lust had cooled, but he felt himself getting hot all over again. He stepped forward. "Where were we?" She just looked up at him, a blank expression on her face. He frowned a bit. That wasn't right. She was gonna react to him. He took off his belt, and wrapped the end around his fist. The buckle dangled. He moved closer to her. ***** Permission, she decided. That is what her other was giving her. Relief flooded her body, and she saw the man standing over her. Over his shoulder, her other self whispered to her. "burn." Sascha grinned. She spoke aloud. "Okay." Fade out... Fade in... Again she felt droplets of water on her skin. It felt alien and her skin didn’t get wet. Instead the droplets which were heralding the rain they’ve been birthed from evaporated the moment they touched her. Reaching for her head images of an inferno and the bright light of the sun flashed through her mind. Sascha tried to focus on her surroundings but only managed to smell something akin to tar. The images kept disorienting her, as if she was assaulted by flashlights. Eachtime an image burnt into her eyes, the caretaker’s face distorted in agony, melting metal bars and strangely deformed plastic tables. The images seemed to come directly out of a Salvador Dali painting. Sascha didn’t know how she came to her feet and she stumbled around trying to reach out for something to hold on to when she suddenly stopped sobered up by surprise… or was it shock? She stared at her hands which were a crimson red but the color was slowly fading away until it resembled her normal rather pale complexion. Looking around she had difficulties to process what she saw… a huge crater of molten concrete – and she was standing right in the middle of it. “Oh my god…”, the images flashed again through her mind and as if that wasn’t frightening enough she started to hear voices or screams to be more precise, deathscreams. “It was…”, she couldn’t finish the sentence but the truth dawned on her. She relinquished to the voice in her head and what she saw now was the consequence of it… of losing control. Terrified by the damage she had caused Sascha started to run unaware that her clothes had been burned off her body, too. Fade out... Fade in... Falkenberg? FALKENBERG?!? They’ve actually sent her to the “Karl Bonhoeffer Klinikum” or “Bonnies Ranch” for those who knew what transpired within once you got transferred to it. Sascha felt a strange satisfaction as she looked back at the devastation. She knew she must’ve killed dozens of people – IF it was her doing - but she didn’t feel any remorse. A car passed by and honked at her and she heard a male voice yelling at her as one of the passengers obviously saw her nakedness. She wasn’t sure if she really understood what he said and decided to don’t bother about it. The ground felt warm and malleable. The asphalt must’ve melted a bit from the intense heat behind her. Knowing that she would be in great trouble if someone found her near the Asylum she ran towards Falkenberg keeping a lookout for any buildings on the road. Sascha ran like she never ran before. She felt her legs cramping and the pain almost paralysed her but she managed to stay on her feet – then she ran some more. In the distance she could make out a small building and she immediately headed towards it. Her legs were killing her and her lungs almost rattled from the exertion yet instead of collapsing from the strain her body kept her going providing her with enough endorphins and adrenaline. As she got closer she recognised the building – it was a rest stop, a bit off the road and there were two cars and a truck parked just behind it. Through the windows she could see people sitting at tables and having their coffee or a small snack before they went on with their trip. Deciding against going into the building and causing some major uproar she walked around the building and approached it from the parking lots hiding at the truck and waiting for its driver to come back. Fade out... Fade in... While she was waiting, she heard the sound of a helicoptor. Mentally she subtracted the sound, until she felt the wind whipping her bare skin. The copter landed in the field to the south of the rest stop, at the edge of the parking area. As Sascha watched, two women jumped out of the copter and approached her. One carried a bundle under her arm "Ms. Kindler?" The one without the bundle shouted above the noise of the helicopter. Sascha was too dumbfounded to do anything but nod. The woman with the bundle unfurled it to reveal a tee shirt, jeans, and sandals. She gave them to Sascha, who quickly pulled on the clothing. She looked around. People at the rest stop were starting to come towards the copter. "We want to take you away from here!" the first woman shouted, "Some place safe!" Her German was heavily accented. "Please," the second one yelled, "won't you come with us? We can help answer your questions!" Her German was similarly flawed. Fade out... Dr. Silberman’s office The elderly man shook his head and closed the file. He was dealing with her since the early 90s and she had managed to escape again and again. Each time the DEHA managed to recapture her before more damage was done. And each time he had to explain he had things under control – that it was part of her therapy and he had to revaluate her dosage of Kytone. The latter was getting exceedingly difficult. Sascha responded less and less predictable under the influence of Kytone. While it still had the desired effect and Dr. Silberman could exclude a building resistance to the drug Sascha’s behaviour certainly... adapted. Dr. Silberman added another report to her file and started to speak. “Sascha is showing an unusual reaction to the general treatment. While we managed to condition her and get her to do what we want I’m still not certain if we can move on to the next stage and take advantage of her more destructive abilities under controlled conditions. The risks are still too high.”, there was a short sigh followed by this statement. “If I could only find a way to reach to her core personality. Creating Sascha took us roughly one year until we got a stage to work with but progress has been... stagnating ever since. There are days I feel like we’re making good progress and then she suddenly slips away. Her disorientation increases and putting more pressure on her makes my work near impossible. Maybe my assumptions were wrong but I’ve never encounter anyone like her before. Her adaptability is... amazing. If I could get her under full control she’d be an invaluable asset for the Department.” Finish recording.
  4. May 7, 2012 Staging Site in rural Tibet “Shit. Shit!” Jack’s cultured British voice wasn’t used often for profanity, but when it was, it had an impact. “What’s going on?” Tyrone asked, looking up from his surveillance of the phones. He was waiting for the calls for evacuation. “A mutant escaped yesterday from a German facility.” Jack looked up from the communication hub he was monitoring. At some point, DEHA was going to figure out that the mutants could peek into this emergency channel and they’d alter the protocols. Until then, it was a resource for them. “They’re setting a trap to catch her today. It looks like it might work –they’re using a nullifier to take her down.” “We already have missions going on.” Tyrone’s statement was delivered reluctantly. He was quiet, then scooped up the phone. “I’m going to go back really quickly and round up everyone who can help. Then I’ll be back.” Jack hesitated; there were few things he liked more than altering a plan, particularly if that could result in the possible failure of the plan. But the whole idea, the entire purpose to what they were doing was to save their people. And one of them needed saving. “All right. Make it fast and be sure they have a phone for extraction.” * * * DEHA facility in Southern Germany Seeker had been loaded on a plane yesterday and flown somewhere. All he knew is that he’d crossed the Atlantic in the night and was somewhere over Germany. This had the feel of another mutant hunt, and the young man stared moodily out the plane window. When they off-loaded him, he was hustled into a building. It was a standard military complex, one of dozens that Seeker had seen in his time with DEHA. He was marched into a room where a couple of other men were already seated. There was a short, dark-haired man whose face brought to mind yard gnomes; Seeker had worked with him before. If Cancel was here, this was definitely a mutant hunt. The other man was probably the muscle: he was slim and blond with an intense gaze that seemed to take in all the details of a room. Like Seeker, they were in AMP collars. The door opened one more time and a group entered. One of the members was a boy in his early teens; he took the open seat between Seeker and the blond without a word to anyone. The other men were clearly DEHA and they opened the briefing immediately. “This is Farhenheit.” An image of a woman made of flame appeared on the screen behind the man giving the briefing. “She’s exceptionally dangerous and completely crazy. Yesterday, she escaped from German custody so it falls to all of you to get her back. We’ve arranged for a capture outside of Passau, Germany. Her tracking chip shows she’s in the region and we have someone she really wants to kill. We’ve leaked where he’ll be for her to come and find him.” A satellite image replaced the woman behind the military man briefing them. It showed a wooded area, remote and perfect for staging a balls-out mutant fight. “I’m going over what everyone’s roles will be in this operation. Seeker, you’re our hound, as normal. Assist where you can. Cancel, take out her powers as fast as you can, before she kills someone. In particular, the doctor we’re using as bait is to be protected. Strike-” The young boy looked up at that. “-you’re going to protect Dr. Silverstein from damage, taking attacks for him if necessary. Hopefully she’ll think twice about attacking you. Prime, you’re to take her on in the air. Seeker and Cancel, this is Strike and Prime’s first mutant hunt, so feel free to share your wisdom with them. We’re all in this together.” * * * After gathering up everyone at Home who was willing to go, Tyrone jumped them all back to the staging ground in Tibet. “Everyone, here’s what we know. Fahrenheit is a flame-based mutant who escaped from the facility holding her in Germany. She’s now in Southern Germany. DEHA is setting a trap for her south of Passau, Germany in a wooded area. They’re using her former doctor to draw her out. We’d like you guys to go get her, keep her free and get her home.” “Easy enough, right? Let’s get this baby rolling.” Tyrone turned from them and began to open up a warp, making the way for them. “Does she look like a flame controller?” Fenris asked. “Oh, you can’t miss her.” Jack nodded firmly. “She’s quite distinctive.”
  5. May 7, 2012 Umatilla Military Correctional Facility Umatilla was something of a legend among conspiracy nuts. It was labeled as a military prison, but there didn’t seem to be many prisoners listed there. As just one example, there was a Tiffany Schmit listed among the prisoners. She’d been convicted of treason and the records were sealed. Her family had been trying to get her released for eight years, to no avail. It was cases like this – where people were imprisoned under secretive reasons, where the government was telling people, ‘Trust us, really’ – that made Umatilla so notorious. What made the conspiracy people drool was the fact that an inordinate amount of resources, men and space was dedicated to imprison less than twenty people. Of course, those were just the official prisoners. Located in the dry mountains of Eastern Oregon, it was highly inaccessible. It was off of Up Middle Fork Rd, but vehicles without at least of foot of clearance were not making it up the narrow path. Most people and supplies were flown in by helicopter, which was the most reliable way in and out. Walking or horseback might get you close, but unless you had a way over the Constantia-wire fences, you probably weren’t getting into the facility. Of course, the four people now approaching didn’t need horses. Between their own skills and the skills of their companions, the fences were not a big deal. They crossed the ‘Border Zone’ – the area between the fences and the facility proper – in no time. Now the prison, a squat brown building, was just in front of them. All of the attackers knew the facility. They’d all see the map recently. They may not have to even enter. The goal was get one of their own out, and he was planning on meeting them halfway. Yesterday... May 6, 2012 Home Grav – at least one of her personalities – Gold, Jeremy and Matt were all in the planning room when David entered. “Now that we’re all here,” Jack started, “I’d like to go over the plan. Then we’ll be asking if you’ll go along, help us out.” “It is completely voluntary.” David’s interjection was probably unnecessary, but he made it anyway. “All we’re asking of you to stay here is help with provisions, but this is above that. This is war and I’m not conscripting any mutant into the conflict. Go on, Jack. Sorry to interrupt.” “Not a problem. We have an operative named Randall who is currently imprisoned in the Umatilla Military Correctional Facility. It’s a prison for mutants and humans alike. Most of the humans there have been convicted of collaboration or treason regarding mutants. We have little idea as to the internal layout but we know that there are three wings: Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Alpha is high security and that’s where Russell has been kept. His mission is to retrieve another mutant codenamed Foresight and files of her precognitive predictions.” “She can actually see the future?” Jeremy looked intrigued. “According to DEHA files yes. Her abilities were fairly minor to start and affected only large scale events. But they are getting more and more precise, and it’s just a matter of time before she forecasts something about us.” David looked grim. “She’s a program baby, and we’re going to try to get her out of there and show her the world. Give her a wakeup call like we did Mary.” “She’s in Beta Wing, and Russell’s going to break out and head for her. His signal is that you guys will start blowing things up.” Jack picked up the details of the plan again. “He’s also going to get the recordings of her prognostications, if he can. But that’s secondary to getting her.” “Are we ready?” Matt looked at the three of them. “Just give the word and we’ll get this party started.”
  6. May 7, 2012, 9:45 p.m. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center April Wolcott and Scott Harrison were getting married. It was a gala affair that was the buzz of the Washington D.C. social circuit. April Wolcott was the daughter of the British Ambassador to the United States, Marcella Wolcott. Scott Harrison was the son of U.S. Senator Richard Harrison, a hardcore warhawk Republican from Florida. The social and political implications of the evening were a minefield. The Democratic President, Jonathan Henshall, needed Harrison’s support for a Medical and tax bill that had been a key point of his campaign. Harrison’s support for this sort of thing was grudging at best, but the promise that Henshall would protect Harrison’s pet weapons project in exchange for support made this alliance a possibility. For now, Henshall had to play nice and attend the wedding and reception. The International Trade Center, or ITC for short, was the site of the wedding and reception. The lavish wedding was to be held in the Atrium; its 125 foot tall skylight, marble and granite floor and bold columns created the perfect place for a wedding of power and prestige. The reception would be held in the Atrium Hall, while there would be dancing in the Ballroom. The guest list numbered in the hundreds; anyone who was anyone in the U.S. Capital had been invited – and would probably come. The riff-raff were not invited, and it was here that Mirage, Rebekka and May found themselves. They were clothed appropriately for their roles – Mirage and Rebekka were in the most fashionable dresses Mary could create. May was dressed nicely as well, but she was going to work the crowds outside – and provide a distraction should it be needed. It was a trial by fire- '[i Yesterday...']May 6, 2012 Home David grinned at the two women who had entered the room. May was already there, lounging in her ‘base’ form, a woman with black hair and green-blue eyes. While similar to Raven’s image, this woman appeared to be far more innocent and younger than Raven had been. “Sorona, Rebekka, thanks for coming.” “Tyrone hinted that you had plans for us. Something about… the President?” Rebekka asked this with a coy tone, but David didn’t seem to take it personally. The powerful mutant’s smile didn’t change as he waved the two women to a seat. “I do have plans. We need, more than anything else, information. Specifically, military codes for satellites. If we have those codes, we can use the United States’ satellites to monitor the DEHA.” David smiled thinly. “Sorona, I’d like you to help Rebekka determine who she needs to sleep with to get those codes. Rebekka, I think you understand by now what we need from you. May’s faces are known to DEHA until she develops another, so she’ll have to remain outside for now. She’ll be there in case things go wrong.” “There’s one more catch.” May didn’t act like it was a problem as she said, “We don’t have invitations to the wedding reception. It’s the only place to have this kind of public access to the people in the highest positions of power but we don’t have the pull to get you into the party. You’ll have to find your own way in.” -but somehow, it seemed more fun this way.
  7. The warp opened into a tree canopy. It was dark enough that reading would have been difficult. There was almost no growth; the thin soil had only scrawny plants growing in it. It was hot and humid; the air was thick with moisture. It smelled like the wilderness, and the scent of water hung in the air. Animals were screaming in alarm at their sudden appearance. Ahead of them, a hesitation in the density of trees revealed an old temple. The stone rose in stairs and blocks, though some of it was crumbling. Matt grinned and stepped backward, waving them away from the temple. “The under-canopy entrance is back here.” Now his smile was proud as he explained, “I added this entrance so we wouldn’t risk being seen coming and going by spy satellites.” “Where are we?” Rebekka asked softly. “We’re in Guatemala.” Jack was being picked up by David; clearly he found this undignified but he continued to share his information as he was carried like a child. “Almost in Mexico. This is an old Mayan temple, refurnished courtesy of our earthmover.” Matt bowed, smiling. Their rescuers seemed more relaxed now that they were here and the warp was closed. The under-canopy entrance appeared to be little-more than a hole in the ground; once inside, there were handholds in the stone. The tunnel under the ground was straight and smooth; electrical cords appeared to be trapped in blocks of stone along the ceiling. Matt had gone first, showing people where to grab, then he was the one leading the tour. They were walked back toward the temple, rooms opening up quickly. At first they were storage areas; next they were empty rooms. There were more rooms than people, even after the increase in numbers with the escapees. Lights came from lanterns that were plugged into the cords or by chemical glow sticks. “The power comes from generators, back in a cavern that way. We have to steal gas or propane for them.” David smiled. “Pick a room, make it home. We have blankets and basic bedding in all the rooms, but let me know if you need anything. Or want. We can’t guanatee anything, but I’ll do what I can to make this feel like home to you.”
  8. Mole National Park, Central Ghana Savannah stretched before the black hole, which marred the natural beauty of late-afternoon Ghana. The animals in the area were keeping their distance from the strange humans there. The smells coming from them made the wildlife nervous. John’s arm itched but he didn’t move to scratch it. His focus was on that black hole, waiting for their brethren to arrive. Who would be first? Mary, the reluctant escapee? Travis, the furious kinetic? Maybe Gold with his physical prowess would be first. In his heart though, he wanted it to be Lamia. He was dreading seeing her; she was one of his regrets. Ty-ty was next to him, using the table as a shield and holding the extra clips on the gun. Tyrone’s youngest sister had been training with him for a while for this task and had proven herself to him. It was her job to reload or cock it or do anything he might have done with his left hand. She was young but had her older brother’s reliability and intelligence. The flat plane of the warp rippled a little, signaling incoming. John exhaled and blanked all thoughts from his mind, preparing to shoot. But when the slight girl emerged, he stayed his hand. It was Mary, or looked like her. “Get behind me! Hurry up!” The girl skittered to the side and said, “Th… there’s more people coming. Don’t use that on them? Please?” “I will not shoot any people,” he assured her, remembering that she was soft on humans and electing not to mention that humans were not people. “Now clear the way.” She nodded and scurried behind him. “And don’t bother Tyrone. He’s the gentleman providing the ride.” There was another ripple, larger this time. Do not be a tank, he thought. Instead a floating slab of concrete pushed through, holding the other escapees. “Come on, David.” The woman on the slab looked at him, frowned and said, “John of Howsted?” John smiled awkwardly. “Hello, Lamia.” The cell phone on the ground started to ring; Ty-ty looked down at it and said, “It’s Matt.” “Shit. Come on, David.” It seemed to take forever before the flaming form darted through the warp. Tyrone released it with sigh and the warp collapsed. “Matt called,” John reported. “I’m working on getting him out,” Tyrone reported, his eyes closing in concentration. David turned to the four mutants he had rescued. “Welcome to freedom,” he said to them, smiling. “We can celebrate in a moment, but we have to get the tracking chips out of you before we go home.” He picked up a case, opened it and set it on a second table. “Who’s first?” Behind him, another black hole started to form. It took roughly thirty seconds for it to solidy into a black disc of nothingness.
  9. The time at HeartStone had been refreshing for the Daltonites. With their status as heroes and allies, they found that Chideran hospitality was always more than enough to satisfy. Food, drinks, training and information was theirs for the asking. There were other kinds of hospitality, and for those Daltonites so inclined, company at night. Sean returned from his secret ritual as a full-blooded Chideran, whatever that meant. If nothing else, he seemed more comfortable in his skin – and with Swan. The kiss she’d given him on his return had made their status clear to everyone. Yithaja gave them one night to celebrate with Sean; early the next morning she roused them from bed and started back for DoorHold. The return trip was just as arduous and dangerous as the trip out, and everyone was relieved when the smoke of the city became clear. They were welcomed back again. It was made clear to them by the Pimszt that they were welcome to stay. It seemed that their choices were limited anyway; the door to Dalton would not open. It seemed that the kids might be in for an extended stay, but the Pimszt had an alternate suggestion; she had the Key to the Beast-Skinned Door. She was honor-bound to give it to only Ravi and Sylvia, but the two could bring others with them, if they wished. “Let me know what you’d like to do,” the Summer Shadow who led DoorHold told them, her hard body leaning casually against the wall of the longhall.
  10. Transcript from Interview with Grav Transcript from Interview with Hard Light/Dog Transcript from Interview with Fenris May 5, 2012, 3:47 am CCT Foduxiang, East China Sea Foduxiang appeared to be just another island in the East China Sea, but it was an open secret that the Chinese government had a private resort there. The once-volcanic island was now dormant and completely dead, but the two small peaks that had once created the tropical island were still there. The rich soils supported a wide variety of life, including a few species transported to the island for big-game hunting. Tigers now hunted lands that had never been theirs, and Cape Buffalo wallowed in the wetlands and glowered at trespassers. At two miles wide by two miles tall, there was actually enough room to stretch out a bit. The only official way onto the island was to via a dock on the Western edge of the island. A single building stood there, a mixture of security checkpoint and a garage for the jeeps and the boats. From there, a single path wove deeper into the island, paved only because the wet season turned much of the island into a mudpit. There were a total of four buildings clustered inside a small walled enclosure. The biggest was the guest facilities, where most of the rooms were, along with a rec room and a kitchen. A barracks for the soldiers was the next largest building, followed by the staff residence. Finally, a small building served as a storage facility. There was also a driving range, a tennis court and a swimming pool. If the grounds inside the walls had been utterly dominated, then the ground outside were still wild. It was here that Fenris worked. His orders were to watch for interlopers and stop them. If he couldn’t stop them, then he was to alert the compound and made sure the Russian staff got out. Mr. Misha Ivanov and his two assistants were the primary concern of this mission; Ivanov was a friend of President Putin’s and had his blessing to negotiate this deal with China regarding oil. As such, he was given limited freedom to do his business as he saw fit, in a green paradise. It wasn’t so bad, as missions went. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The plane was running below the radar but over the waves – in theory. The turbulence from flying this low was bouncing them up and down. Grav rode silently, ignoring the mutant shivering next to her. They’d called him Dog, and he’d seemed terrified of the Canadian major who was giving him orders. She shifted a little, getting more comfortable against her safety restraints. It was a little silly; if the plane went down, she wasn’t going down with it. “Remember your mission,” Grav’s handler said to her quietly. “You just need to take out Ivanov, disrupt the talks and get the hell out. There is a Russian mutie there, but we’re not sure which. You have your maps and everything you need.” The red light flashed and a buzz rang out; Dog flinched but Grav merely unbuckled. At the back of the plane, the cargo doors opened, granting the mutants freedom to the skies. “Good luck,” Grav’s handler told her with a smile. “Don’t fuck it up,” the major growled to Dog. Then it was time to jump out of the plane and fly to the island.
  11. Transcript from Interview with Mirage Transcript from Interview with Noctis Transcript from Interview with The Archive May 5, 2012, 6:45 p.m. SAST Spicenkop Research Facility, South Africa The Spicenkop Research Facility was normally a rather quiet place; located in northwest South Africa, it sits in the side of a mountain. Hollowed out of the stone itself, the facility normally didn’t host mutants at all. Instead, their scientists typically worked on research, both mechanical and scientific, derived from mutants. As such, the Facility didn’t normally host EBS-geared RRs, or any of the R-94 Supertanks. But for the last twenty-four hours, the place had featured both. The normal soldiers stared at the RRs in their exo-suits, trying to not feel like they were on the set of a science-fiction movie. They’d all heard about the Trains, and what they looked like when fully loaded, but it was still a sight worth staring at. It was also a constant reminder that they had strange mutants inside the facility – foreign and home-town guests, so to speak. Spicenkop has two areas; the first is the garage where the mechanical R&D was done. There are several offices and workshops and labs in this area, and grants the entire facility has a slight smell of grease. Deeper in the mountain is the chemical lab, which has been getting a lot more attention these days. The scientists think they have found something to help them in the on-going war for mutant control. The evening’s focus is on this lab. “Seven o’clock on a Saturday evening. Fuckers,” one of the guest soldiers muttered, glancing at his watch. “How long will this take?” The man had been excited to learn he was going on a mission to South Africa; he’d never been there, and he wanted to see exotic Africa – and exotic African women. Then he’d learned that he was in the middle of nowhere in the northwest part of the country, hours from a large city. Worse, there were no donne nere, here; the South African government would never trust their black population in a position of power. He had seen a pride of lions on his way in, so that was something, but they hadn’t stopped and he hadn’t gotten a picture. This was a terrible mission. The Italian soldier was doing his best to ignore the three mutants in the room, each fitted with an AMP collar and restrained to examination chairs. They all seemed rather calm and complacent; he knew that their Noctis was cooperative. Too cooperative, given some of the stories he’d heard about the mutant being open to being fucked for favors. He’d also been told that even when forced into sex that the mutant had seemed smug about it. The soldier mentally shook his head. That was just all messed up. The French were more observant. Mirage was a little more concerning to them. She was mostly cooperative, but if she were to become less so in this setting, they’d have a hell of a time restraining her. There was always the collar, but that was a measure of final recourse. Many of them even liked her; she was largely non-offensive. But none of them could trust her, not completely. Her green hair was a constant reminder of why trust was impossible. The South Africans were much more casual about their charge. The beautiful Rebekka was dragged into the room, shivering from the final throes of the feeding they’d just given her. When she was dropped roughly into the chair, she moaned in delight; her expression, as they secured her, said that the experience wasn’t unpleasant. The Italians and Germans watched uneasily, filled with a mixture of disgust and envy as the South African men took their time lashing her down, none too careful where they put their hands. Finally they stepped back and the scientists moved in, preparing IVs and saline bags. A line was attached to the saline drip, which led to a small remote designed to slowly administer an unknown drug. That done, the scientist heading the experiment said, “We need to clear the room, please. We don’t know what reactions the chemicals will induce.” That wasn’t comforting at all to the restrained mutants. “It will not kill them, will it?” the Capitaine in charge of the French contingent asked. Mirage was France’s best mutant; he was loathe to allow her to be destroyed at DEHA whim. “No, kytone doesn’t kill, and neither should dyxelkytone,” the lead researcher assured him. “Clearing the room is merely a precaution.” Nervously, the soldiers withdrew, casting final looks over their shoulders at the mutants. A low rumble shifted through the complex; screams rang through the corridors from the mechanical R&D area. “What is happening?” one of the Italians asked, moving automatically to cover the door to the room the mutants were in, just in case. “I… I don’t know!” one of the scientists babbled nervously, his eyes wide. “God help us.” The whisper was strangely loud in the room. The woman who’d spoken was staring at the screens that monitored the room; wish a shaking finger, she pointed at the fourth mutant who was now in the room. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The three mutants were only alone a few seconds when the tiled floor writhed and buckled. The stone underneath bubbled upward, stretching over six feet tall before parting to reveal a man in blue jeans and a collared shirt, open over a gray t-shirt. He had pale brown hair, gray eyes and the kind of face you would buy a used car from. “I’m here to getcha y’all out,” he announced to the three in American English. “Anyone not wanna leave?”
  12. Transcript from Interview with Travis Kincaid Transcript from Interview with Mary Transcript from Interview with Lamia Transcript from Interview with Gold May 5, 2012, 9:44 a.m. MST Sletten Lake, North Dakota The Sletten Lake Containment Facility sits in rural North Dakota, far from any major settlements. It is clearly a military complex, but unlike other military complexes, it doesn’t feed the local economy. Trucks come and go all the time, but they are military transports, and they don’t stop at the local Kum & Go. The locals have dozens of rumors about the place, all of them far less fantastic than the truth. The center of Sletten is the Main Building, sometimes called Mutant central. This squat, single story concrete box houses the facility’s mutants, all four of them. Sometimes, it’s inconceivable to the soldiers and scientists here that so much exists solely to study and contain these four, but at other times, it was all too easy to understand why all the security existed for them. They were some of the most dangerous or valuable mutants housed in the United States. The Main Building is divided into five sections by incredibly thick walls, one for each of their mutants and a fifth area that houses, the supply room, computer room, cafeteria, one of three armories and some offices. One section houses Mary, along with labs and offices to support the scientists who study her. She also has a compliment of guards; men she’s never seen who have orders specifying under what conditions they can put a bullet in her head. Lamia has another section; like Mary, she has a bevy of guards and scientists, thought their functions and orders are very different. Each woman’s suite contains several rooms, each of them designed to provide her with everything she needs so she’ll never have to be removed from the secure area. The third area houses Project Ice, a government funded research project to determine the viability of long-term cyrostatis. Their mutant test subject is housed there, along with all the labs and equipment that are required by the program. The fourth section contains the imprisoned mutant Gold as well as the Colonel who oversees the training general preparedness of Weapon Gold. Today was sunny and bright; a few clouds scuttled overhead. Outside the Main Building, the unit permanently dispatched here went about their duties, which mostly involved finding new ways to remain alert on this fairly dull day. The sun overhead made the air warmer than was usual for early May in North Dakota, and a couple of the harder working soldiers were already sweating. No one really looked up, so no one noticed that there wasn’t one sun in the sky, but two. The glowing form got in the first strike before anyone realized he was there. The communications tower was briefly outlined in gold as the sun itself seemed to strike it; then the concrete slagged under the intense heat. Men didn’t have time to notice they were dying before the fact, save a few luckless souls who were far enough away to survive the initial blast only to be seared to ash seconds later. The shed housing the tanks and vehicles was next. In nearby Battleview, population 389, the residents stared to the south, where the horizon glowed with a second sunrise. The first of the anti-aircraft weapons fired at the glowing form, only to explode against a glowing shield yards away from the form. Another shell entered the fray; this one struck the form. The explosion couldn’t obscure the form’s brilliance, and the form seemed relatively unhurt. But the defenses were gearing up, and the form dropped rapidly to hover just above the building. Another blast of heat and light from his hands punched a brutal hole into the roof, and the DEHA’s worst nightmare came true: a mutant had penetrated Project Ice. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Travis was dreaming again. He was flying and free, with nothing to stop him save his own limits. The platform of debris under his feet carried him high into the sky and he grinned at the unparalleled feeling of freedom. Then he remembered – he couldn’t dream while he was in cyro-sleep. That thought brought a surge of adrenaline, as he realized he was being woken up again. He came awake with a shout, ready to fight. An alarm whooped in the building, and there was a hole in the ceiling of the lab. There was only another man in the room and Travis wasn’t strapped to a gurney. The other person was thin, not too tall, and older in his mid-to-late forties. His hair was brown and eyes gray; his close-cropped facial hair added his age. But more important that all that: the man glowed with a golden light. He was another mutant. “Ready to leave?” the man asked. “Fuck yes!” Travis said, bounding off the bed. He was dressed in hospital pants and nothing else, but he didn’t care. It was time to GTFO. “Great. There’s three more mutants held here,” the man told him. “Gold’s prison is that way.” He pointed due south. “You spring him – I’m going to make sure the other two are ready to go. I have a way out, so don’t worry about getting away. Just get Gold out. Got it?” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Gold sighed as he worked his sore muscles. The workout today had taxed even him; the latest trainings had a deliberate feel, and the mutant resigned himself to another upcoming mission. Maybe he’d get to kill some humans and no mutants. That’d be nice. A distant roar rang through the building, like it’d been struck with a hammer. The mutant was on his feet before the vibrations had stopped and the alarm started. Outside his cell, he could hear soldiers scrambling, but he couldn’t see anything. All he knew was that something big was happening. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Lamia stared at the Sudoku puzzle. It was the last one in the book, and she debated whether she should complete it or wait. She’d angered one of the doctors accidently last week, so there was no telling when her next book would come. She ran her fingers over the squares, trying to decide if she should save it, or if she was bored enough to do it now. Perhaps she would only work on it five minutes- A distant roar rang through the building, like it’d been struck with a hammer. Lamia looked around in alarm – alarm mixed with hope. How many sweet dreams had started just this way? How often had she hoped for something like this to herald her escape? Was her chance here? -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Mary was asleep; she wasn’t normally allowed to sleep this late but it was a Saturday, and she’d done very well on her test yesterday. Normally, she’d be filled with a sense of satisfaction over that, but Dr. LaCroix’s visit had tainted everything since that point. A distant roar rang through the building, like it’d been struck with a hammer. Mary woke up and was half out of bed before she really thought about what she was doing. Her thoughts flew to Dr. LaCroix, and what she’d said.
  13. The Daltonites in the guest lodge – those who had found sleep and were still in their rooms – were awoken by a sharp pounding on their doors. A male voice added, “Breakfast.” It was then that the guests of DoorHold smelled the heavenly aroma lingering in the air. It smelled a lot like fat and protein, made by someone with no understanding of good and bad cholesterol. Those who stumbled out into the kitchen found that the table was piled high with food. Outside of Sylvia and Ravi’s door were neatly folded clothing that fit well enough. It was all rough-spun linen, wool or leather, much like they’d seen the Chiderans wearing. In fact, once Sylvia had put them on, she looked like a less-buff member of the race. The breakfast was very hearty, full of meat and starches. The only drink was a milk; it tasted oddly meaty and was somewhat warm – fresh from the cow warm. It was also very filling. Ryan meanwhile, found his class with Becor being interrupted by a servant. Becor fell silent as the door opened. The man who entered looked fey, with baby-fine silver hair and wide blue eyes. “Your friends are being served breakfast in their lodge,” the man said, blinking. “Would you like to join them…. Or sit here by yourself some more?”
  14. Sunday morning, 5:45 a.m. Frida’s mural was still on the wall, offering a haunting reminder to anyone who cared to see that something unusual was going on here. It was a well-done mural, at the least. That wasn’t why Isaac Rotterdown was in the room examining it. His interest was in the supernatural. He’d heard the stories about the painting and had come to see for himself. He’d meant to wait until later today to see it, but he couldn’t sleep. Figuring that he’d take a walk, he decided to swing by the building. To his surprise, it was unlocked and he took advantage of the lapse in security. Slipping into the room, he left off the lights and used his small LED light on the keychain to illuminate the mural in six-inch circles. More than once, he thought about turning on the light but knew that would draw security. Instead, he forced patience and hoped his light would be sufficient. The mural was everything he’d been told it was, and Isaac didn’t have a clue about what half of it meant. There was a whisper of sound behind him; the man turned to see a man with gray skin and wrong eyes – white pupils and irises, black sclera – standing there. He was lean but gave off an aura of power that went beyond the physical. He wore finely-made clothing straight from a Ren-Faire. “This is most unfortunate,” he said, tilting his head. “I believe the current Daltonites say ‘awkward’?” “Uh,” Isaac said, not sure if he was going to demand that to know what he was doing here or compliment him on the outstanding makeup and contacts. Then something touched the crown of his head and the urge to sleep was overwhelming. He dropped into slumber as a female voice spoke softly: “He’s one of them, too. This is-” He had some very odd dreams. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Brihn and Brahn were both waiting for the students and teacher to arrive the next morning. The two looked different today; perhaps they were merely tired. Being early was certainly a contrast to their usual habits of lurking in a dark shadow and then stepping out to scare the crap out of everyone, or at least out of Ryan. One of the students, Isaac Rotterdown, lay sprawled on one of the tables. “We were not sure what to do with him,” Brihn said apologetically. “He had already seen me,” Brahn said, his mouth twitching. Click to reveal.. You arrive in order of posting, please – no posting and saying “But I’m the last there.” If you want to be first-first or last, please say so in the OOC thread and we’ll work it out. The special guest stars will be along soon. Oh, and say hi to Collider! He’ll be joining us.
  15. December 17, 2010, Ronnie’s apartment, Las Vegas Ronnie walked into her apartment. She closed the door, the click loud in the room. For a long moment, she wasn’t sure what to do. Nothing was different in here; the place was just as she’d left it. Her apartment was still the same neutral-toned room as before. Her pool table even had the same balls on it, the leftovers of the last game. But the silence was oppressive and the room pushed in on her. Ronnie walked into her dining area, dropping her keys on the table. The bottle of Midleton Very Rare, an Irish whiskey so pretentious it told you why it cost $110 in the name, vibrated as the keys bounced off it. Ronnie stared at the bottle before her eyes slid to the gift bag and tissue paper behind it. Travis’s Christmas gift. As predictable as he was. He was dead. Something slipped through her lips; maybe a sob, maybe the start of a wail. Whatever it was, Ronnie clamped down on it. “I’m not doing this,” she growled. Her plane left for Goa tomorrow. Thanks to India’s tolerant attitude toward mutants, the Goa beaches were the place for mutants to go on vacation. Tyler had a secret beach house down there, but Ronnie wasn’t going there. She was getting a vacation on UNISON’s dime. Or maybe just on Raven’s. Her handler hadn’t been clear on that. The only thing she had been clear on was that Ronnie didn’t have a choice. Mandatory vacation. What a joke. I was supposed to be getting laid. She was supposed to be telling Travis right now, “Sure, come on vacation with me. I’ll wear a bikini.” And when he made a lewd comment, she was going to look him in the eye and say, “Sure. Let’s do it.” And then she’d find out if his claims and boasts over the years had been real or bullshit. Ronnie snarled and shook away the daydream. “Fuck this!” she snapped and marched over to the table. Before she could rethink her plan, she snatched up the bottle and ripped the seal way. The cap came off with a few twists and Ronnie put the 750 ml of golden liquid to her lips. Three strong gulps lowered the milliliters appreciably and Ronnie stopped before she choked. Normally she could have chugged this without effort, but her throat was raw and tight. The alcohol was burning into her gut as she wandered over to her pool table. The balls were where they’d left them, after their last game. Ronnie leaned against the table, staring at the solids that Travis had left on the felt. Suddenly, she was angry. “God damnit, why did you tell me to go! We were partners! We should have both gotten out!” She picked up the 6 and threw it, watching it disappear into the wall and rattle back and forth between the studs. Ronnie threw a few more balls, not caring about the mess she was making. It felt good to destroy something, even if it was her apartment. An hour later, her couches were turned over, her bed pulled apart and her countertops had been cleaned with sweeps of her arm. Only her pool table, her beautiful slate pool table, was left unmolested. She was out of Midleton but that didn’t matter, because it had done the job. Ronnie was leaning against her twisted couch, her face buried in her arms, weeping like a baby.
  16. September 30, 2011, 10:00 p.m. The lights of Vegas gleamed overhead as the tall mutant pulled her beat-up Land Rover into the queue for valet parking. The tan vehicle wasn’t one of those pussified modern Rovers that were designed to make yuppies squeal because they could drive through a ditch; this was the real deal, shipped to the US in the eighties from the Gaza Strip when its owner had come to the US. Ronnie wasn’t sure where it had been before that; the widow she’d bought it from said her husband had bought it in England from a dealer before driving it home. Ronnie wasn’t sure she believed that, but she did like having a car that had history. The Luxor. Why’d it have to be the Luxor? Ronnie thought sourly as she stared out the window at the gaudy faux pyramid front. Tonight, it was to see “Fantasy”, one of the hotel’s shows. It was, by all accounts, pretty steamy and it didn’t take a rocket genius to figure out why her date had chosen it. Someone was trying to get lucky. It would have never been her choice; this place had been a favorite of Travis’s and even with her attempts to move on, she wouldn’t have come here on her first real date. And a blind date at that. “A date,” she muttered, glancing at the mirror. Her purple hair was done in nice curls and her makeup was impeccable – not that she was responsible for it. She’d paid way too much money for someone else to do this, just as she’d paid too much money for the black dress. That was harder to complain about, because it was damned cute, even on her – not that she’d ever admit it. Finally it was her turn, and Ronnie exited the Rover. On a shorter woman, the movement would have been obscene; Ronnie’s long legs gave her enough height to merely step out of the vehicle. The valet’s eyes widened, first at her hair and then at her height. He backed away, shaking his head. Ronnie rolled her eyes and looked to the next guy, who was more than happy to take her keys and the tip she gave him. Despite her height – or perhaps in spite of it – Ronnie had worn the only pair of heels she owned. She towered over other women and most of the men; anyone 6’2”and under was currently shorter than her. Eyes were on her as she stalked into the hotel’s bar, sidling up to the counter and tapping it with her knuckles. The bartender turned, quirking an eyebrow in silent inquiry. “Scotch, neat,” Ronnie ordered, getting a nod. So I’m in the Luxor on a Friday night, dressed to the nines and waiting for a mutant named ‘Doug’. This is the last time I take a dare from Lena, Ronnie sighed to herself as she fished a cigar out of her purse and lit up, adding her smoke to the haze already permeating the room. It wasn’t truthfully a dare, but Lena and Tyler had goaded her into it by insisting she was still hung up on Travis. She’d finally signed up for a mutant dating service and got a date just to shut them up. Of course, they’d just find something else to tease her about, probably, but Ronnie didn’t care. She didn’t take teasing about Travis well. She admitted to herself that was probably proof that they were right about her feelings, but fuck if she’d tell them. Her drink came and Ronnie paid for it, nodding at the bartender in thanks. Sighing through her nose, she took her first taste of the Scotch and nodded, feeling the fine liquor burn its way home. Who the fuck names their kid ‘Doug’? Bet he’s an accountant. A mutant super-accountant. Half-hoping she’d be stood up, Ronnie leaned against the bar and waited.
  17. UNISON Headquarters: location Top Secret "KINCAID! Pay attention to the briefing and let Ms. Klipsch do her job!" Travis looked up, somehow managing a boyish innocent grin on his face. As he did Ms. Klipsch, a statuesque brunette with a winning smile and a habit of wearing rather short skirts, slipped her hand from Travis' and hurried away, her face already flushed red. Dresdener was also flushed red, but from fury not a mix of excitement and embarrassment. "Damnit, Travis, can we not get through one mission briefing without you trying to get into somebody's bed?" Their handler, a German in his middle years, hair too gray from stress, middle too round from convenience food and desk work, scowled at Travis, a look that would curdle milk. Travis rolled his eyes somehow maintaining a charming smile, “Relax, I was listening. Algiers. Lab. Weapons. Bad guys.” Travis tapped his thumb on the wad of papers and photographs in front of him; the ones apparently ignored until now, “It's all in here.” He looked to Ronnie, giving her one of his inescapably winning smirks, the kind that made her heart race despite everything, no wonder she rarely stayed mad at him. Turning his gaze back to Dresdener Travis got serious, “What isn't clear is where this crap intel came from. Why are we risking our necks? In fucking Algeria no less! Do you know what they do to mutants Dresdener? It's fucking barbaric.” Travis waved a hand at Ronnie, “Barbaric! She'll have to wear a wig, or,” he shuddered dramatically, “dye her hair.” "Verdammte Scheisse" Dresdener pinched the bridge of his nose, "Was habe ich nur getan, um das zu verdienen?" He locked up, “Yes, she'll have to dye her hair, or at least wear a head covering of some kind.” He held up his hand to forestall the incoming barb, “And yes, I know that Algeria's treatment of mutants borders on the Inquisition. And yes, I am well aware of the specious nature of the intelligence, however we cannot afford to let this go without looking into it.” He slammed his fist down on the table, “People could die if we don't verify this! The inel is shoddy, the source unverified, but we have NO CHOICE!” Travis rolled a shoulder in a noncommittal shrug, “Or it could be bogus. A trap. We could walk right into a shitstorm.” He looked over at Ronnie again, “What's your take Grape Flavor? We gonna take a risk this foolish?”
  18. There are parts of Las Vegas that no one really ever gets to see. Parts that even mutants who were trying to hide avoided. Simon and Savannah didn't really know about that, they were just seeking shelter and some time to gather some food and then see how to move on. So far Las Vegas has been kind to them. The local homeless shelter served warm food every tuesday and friday and had warm blankets and even some shoes for those in demand. The two young mutants had found an old abandoned warehouse where they already managed to make themselves comfortable. It looked like this years Christmas would be a merry one for a change. Simon was about to fetch something downstairs, a present he had ceremoniously planned to get for his sister. It was tough thinking something up without letting her know. They shared almost every thought, knew what they dreamt and feared. For most of the time they were like one. Simon's plan seemed to be adding up though and as far as he knew his sister had no idea. When Berta, the local "good spirit" showed up with a package he kindly asked her to stow it somewhere on the main floor of the warehouse without him knowing where. He wanted his surprise to be perfect. Berta was about to leave when she reached out for Simon's hand. "I know about you two, I know you're mutants but don't worry. There were some men asking for a boy and a girl just a day ago. Creepy men, you know. They were dressed like hudlums but no one had seen them before. I thought you might want to know... I didn't tell them anything but... but I don't know how might have.", she gave him an apolegetic smile before she left the warehouse.
  19. Tyler's living area, Mumbia, India June 15, 2010, 7:44 p.m., Indian Standard Time Tyler’s head dropped back as he heaved a great sigh of relief. The emails were all sent. His mystery contact had been paid. His contact report had been filed. He was done. Only he wasn’t really done. It was just starting; part of him wasn’t sure how it’d been so easy. Just a few emails and he was shipping off money and plans. Of course, this might be a hoax; that was the risk you took in this business. The number-machine-person on the other end could take the money and run. Tyler wasn’t worried. So UNISON would lose some cash and Tyler would have to start over with a new contact. Big whoop. His eyes settled on the framed picture of Disney’s Pinocchio hanging over his desk. He stared at the image, blinking slowly. His computer screen flickered and went black, the light dying with a soft pop. Tyler sighed again and checked the time: 7:44 p.m. It was 9:15 p.m. in Bangkok. Tyler enjoyed living in Mumbai most days. It was a bustling city, full of people and glutted with amenities – almost all amenities. One of India’s great lacks was the state of the strip clubs. They were usually for the upper class; they were basically exclusive clubs that required wealth, status and the right blood in your veins. One of Tyler’s bosses had taken him to one, as a reward for making a ground-breaking discovery. Tyler had not seen the attraction; the girls were fully clothed. Fortunately, when you were able to teleport, issues like being in the wrong country for easy access to naked women wasn’t a big deal. Tyler rose and went into his bedroom, stripping off the tee-shirt he had been wearing. His pants followed before he stopped in front of his closet, picking out their replacements. He finally settled on some black jeans and a collared shirt that stretched over his torso nicely. The next stop was the bathroom to check his appearance and do a pit/breath/hair check. Satisfied, he closed his eyes and readied himself for the suck. The first step was easy. He reached into himself, in that hollow of light within himself. He wasn’t sure how to describe it, but that’s what he saw in himself: a cored out spot under his heart that was full of light. He’d never told anyone that; it seemed silly. Of course, he had a framed picture of Pinocchio on his living room wall, so perhaps silly was relative. When he opened his eyes, a formless blur of light stared back at him. Tyler smiled and the face of the form seemed to move a little. His features were there but obscured by the light he was now emitting. He closed his eyes again, mostly for his own sake, and reached for a spot of light he knew in Port Blair, on the Nicobar Islands. There was the sensation of lots of movement and none at all while being one with the light. To the outside viewer, Tyler appeared to change color and brightness until he just faded into the light in the room. To Tyler, it was like the light steamed past him; he may have merged with it, but he didn’t lose that sense of himself. He saw the golden luminescence of his bathroom lights, then the white light of everything and then a reedy, orange-ish light. The weirdness stopped and the smell of the sea assaulted his nostrils. Tyler looked around. He was outside a warehouse, abandoned at this hour. It was his halfway point; not literally so in the geographic sense, but he couldn’t make it to Bangkok in one hop without making himself sick; as it was, he was racked with nausea and vertigo from the exertion of pushing himself this hard. Panting, he waited, leaning against the warehouse wall. It would pass soon. It always did. True to form, soon the only thing making him gag was the stink of the fish cannery one building over. Standing straight, the living beam of light focused again, seeking out another familiar light, this time in Bangkok. He felt himself, without moving, merge into the sickly orange light coming from the bulb above. The white light flared around him again, only to give way to a dull, reddish color. Tyler reappeared, sick and dizzy, in the light cast off of a sign advertising a Thai strip club. He released the light inside of him and felt his body return to normal. Hearing someone murmuring in Thai, he glanced up to see two young women shrink back against a wall. In Thailand, most of the mutants belonged in various criminal syndicates. “Hi,” he said in American-accented English, straightening enough to wave at them. His smile was friendly enough, despite the greenish pallor to his cheeks. They edged away from him and he nodded, expecting this. Slowly, his stomach quieted and he was able to move normally. Smiling a little to himself, he headed toward Pac’s. It was his preferred strip club in Bangkok – upscale enough to be reasonably clean, cheap enough that he could afford to frequent it. It was time to unwind.
  20. She usually liked to sleep a bit longer but something woke her up, a strange sound, something unexpected and definitely not belonging to her apartment. She looked around eyes adjusting to the midday sun. Outside she could hear the sirens of Policecar and if she hadn’t known it better she’d have thought she was in somekind of demilitarized zone. Her phone was just out of reach but the thought occurred giving Travis a call and ask him to come over. She wasn’t really much in heat but… but she felt like having company. She wanted to pick up the phone when she heard the noise again. Something at the door? She closed her eyes and blend out all other distracting sources. 4, no 6 pair of feet, very nimble ones actually were closing in on her apartment. There, another sound, this time a metallic sound attached at her door. “Merde!”, she hushed under her breath and jumped for cover under her bed, a moment later an explosion, not loud, but quiet effective destroyed her door. She rolled on her back weighing her options, the phone was just on the other side, facing the door, she had forgotten to put on a shirt last night which left her naked on the smooth flocati carpet… and she was running out of time, the intruders were already approaching.
  21. The holidays always meant work for most teachers but today Annalise decided to continue her papers after the holidays and take a nice warm bath. It had been weeks when she had the time to really relax and recharge her batteries. The bath was already steaming and smelling good from the fragrance she added to the water when she heard the doorbell. For a short moment she waged if she should answer the door or simply ignore it. Sighing she tightened the knot of her bathrobe and went to the door, opening it just slightly. “Excuse me, you are Ms. Gravinsky?”, a tall man with short blonde hair in a military flat cut wearing a standard Policemen uniform was holding his badge up. It read Captain Mark Ward, behind him she could see at least 4 other Policemen, all wearing helmets and fullbody armors. They seemed pretty edgy to her. Annalise just nodded at Capt. Ward but didn’t open the door. “What is going on?”, she asked hoping the officer would realize she wasn’t really able to have a conversation right now. “We are looking for two young kids, a boy and a girl.”, he reached for his breast pocket and produced a photograph of a young boy and a girl. Both looked ragged almost like homeless kids. “Have you seen or heard of them?”, even though Capt. Ward was smiling politely there was an uneasy edge to the entire situation. The armored policemen behind her were waiting impatiently, almost as if they were ready to charge in any moment. “I’m sorry, Captain… Ward?”, Annalise tried to ease the tension by modulating her voice hoping it had some effect on the man. Shaking her head she added, “I’ve never seen them, may I ask why you are looking for them? They’re not one of my students.” “Aha”, nodded the Captain looking back at his men. “I’m sorry Ms. Gravinsky, based on federal law art 215 I have to ask you to open the door and let us look for ourselves.”, he let his hand slide down to his sidearm and unhooked the security pin on his holster.
  22. The dry smell of molten Lava and burnt stone almost blinded his senses but he had to stay focused. He knew his enemy was nearby, he could feel his presence, could almost taste his anxiety. A flash of blue light caught his attention and he instinctively tumbled out of his enemy’s line of attack. He had kept his favoured weapon nearby not wanting to give away his position but hatred filled his mind and he no longer could hold back. With righteous anger he fired his saber and assaulted his target with a series of blindingly fast strikes. “You shouldn’t have come.”, his sinister voice intoned as he pressed his attack knowing that as long as he kept driving his enemy back he would soon run out of option for escape. The two saber wielding fighters were crossing a dangerously narrow slope which led across a sea of lava underneath and he could already see the end of this fight. As soon as they’d reach the plateau behind the slope he would somersault over his enemy and then force push him over the edge. A solid plan. Blue and Red lightsabers crossed with hissing sounds as the two combatants were getting close to a stand off. Now is my chance…, the young hero saw his window of opportunity and prepared his jump, when… “What the…?”, Devin stared in disbelief at his controller then back to the Xbox 360 which just decided to freeze. “You can’t be serious!”, he shook the controller as if that would somehow make the game continue again but then his eyes noticed IT. The RROD… “You got to be fucking kidding me!”, Devin tossed the controller aside and ‘jaunted’ right next to the console. He picked it up shaking it briefly before he set it down again. He was so close to break his last record, the fight was almost flawless and his attacks were executed with near perfection. Only a machine could’ve beaten him and it actually did. “Stinkin’ cheater.”, he angrily pulled the power cord and was about to kick the piece of shit away but instead ‘jaunted’ to the roof of the building. Fresh air would do some good to cool his head off. What he saw wasn’t quiet what he expected. Police was closing in from every direction towards the MIC. He had heard about the MIC but he had no idea what exactly was going on. Unfortunately he was too far away to make out any details and… as much as he hated it the whole situation reminded him of his abusive father. Only the scale was different. Within a matter of seconds he had covered a distance that would have taken him maybe an hour given the hassle the police was building up. “Please, stop!”, he heard a voice of a young man pleading. He was still at the outskirts of the MIC but the Police was already patrolling this area and were obviously searching for loners. Being on the roof he was relatively save but once he peeked over the edge he saw how 6(!) Policemen in full attire, shields, helmets and tonfas were beating up a young kid and his even younger sister…
  23. There was quite some buzz in the Headquarters of the local Mutant resistance. One particular group was steadily growing in numbers lately but Sam had more important things on her mind. She observed several screens at once searching for something, just a single clue that would make sense of the latest bits and pieces Mouse had revealed. He managed to intercept a transmission which was extremely promising. Parts of it was still encoded but two vital information were loud and clear. They were looking for two Mutants, a boy and a girl - siblings to be precise - who were obviously of extreme value for the Government. Sam had no idea why, but this was a close as they ever got to actually find evidence that something was brewing. "Damnit...", she cursed watching the latest news feed. From what she could tell things were getting way out of hand. She wasn't sure if they should get involved but they simply didn't have the manpower to handle this. Originally she had hoped she could scan the footage and isolated potential Mutants who they could tag and watch. This idea was discarded pretty quickly, though - they had to get inside the MIC and find some other way to search for the kids...
  24. It was supposed to be Christmas but the city obviously had different plans for today. Adrian pulled his sister closer to him unsure what to do next. They wanted to go shopping, he wanted to buy her a nice present, give back some of the past they had, when the world was a place they didn’t have to fear. „I’m scared, Adrian“, his sister pleaded unable to jerk herself free from his grip. „You’re hurting me!“, but he barely heard her. His mind was searching for a way out. „Why didn’t we stay at Juno’s?“, his sister asked but before he could answer a Policeman was getting in their way. „Hey you! Get the hell outta here this is no place for kids.“, he was about to shove them away when he saw Adrian’s sister starting to bleed from her nose. „Waitaminute... Mutants!“, before Adrian could react he felt several hits from the Policemens Tonfas and although they didn’t really hurt him it slowed him down. Especially since his sister was so fragile. „Stop, please!“, but they didn’t... -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Ronnie read the text message on her phone and frowned briefly. She checked her watch and then jumped into her car driving back home as fast as she could. It was a short run from where she lived but she still had some time left and started to sprint to Rebecca’s hidden shelter where she kept some of her stuff just for a case like this. Once she was in in the alley she already started to transform making sure she was unwatched. Her large frame shrank and reshaped itself leaving a very young looking and slender girl in place insteada of the purple headed amazon. She rummaged through her duffel bag and quickly changed her clothes stuffing Ronnie’s stuff back. She’d take care of it later. Once on the street she searched the next public phone and dialed a number waiting for it to ring 2 times after which she hung up again. Within a minute the phone rang and she answered it. „Secured line activated.“, a mechanical voice announced, then a female voice took over, „Rebecca, I need you to check something for me, it is very urgent. Can we meet?“ Now this was new. Actually she couldn’t recall the last time she’s seen her handler in person. It was considered too dangerous for several reasons. A short moment of doubt crept up her spine...
  25. The phone rang hammering with it’s annoying sound into his consciousness. There was a short moment of disorientation, then the world slowly aligned itself. First colors, then sense of gravity shortly followed by sound. Just when he thought he got his bearings a terrible pain stabbed through his head, then he remembered. Too much tequila. He had trouble piecing the bits together that made up last night. He knew he went to the Luxor and met someone... but after that? This was a first time total black out ever since he got back from the dead. The pain was barely tolerable and he really hoped for the caller that this was important. He picked up the phone and barked his foul mood into it, „This better be important or I tear you apart!“ There was silence at first then he heard a female voice, „Sorry, wrong number.“, followed by hanging up. Angrily he threw the phone away only to catch it midflight with his telekinetic power and thus preventing it’s certain destruction. „Ouch“, another searing pain stabbed his head and his concentration broke dropping the phone. He opened his eyes to find his shirt stained with blood. He stood up, the world still shakey and partially unfocused and went to the bathroom mirror. Blood was smeared over his mouth and he could taste it’s coppery aroma. „What the...?“, it was the Virus. He woke up with the V and had no idea how he had acquired it. He surely didn’t use his powers last night, did he? Travis pulled off his shirt and dried off the blood from his face, then he decided that a nice shower was due. The hot water did wonders and he felt mostly refreshed after emerging from the bathroom. Still trying to figure out what happened his eyes fell on the dropped phone. He didn’t know why but he picked it up and checked the number – Not transmitted. That voice... he heard that voice before. He’d be damned if he was wrong. Another noise assaulted his sensitive hearing and he almost dropped the phone again. Several police cars where chasing each other at high speed. Not an unsual thing per se but it was just around noon and they were heading south, to the MIC...
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