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Mutants & Masterminds: The Indigo Children - [First Phase: Gamma Segment] The Burden of Guilt

jameson (ST)

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Rob was off like a shot. One moment there the next gone. The night sky over New York was normally bright enough to navigate and the landmarks well enough lit to make up for any lack of daylight. Now there was only the single spot of Times Square where perhaps thirty street lights pulled power as though nothing had happened while in every direction there was no other artificial light to be seen.

There were flames however.

Good lord were there flames.

The runway at LaGuardia was lit by them, a pool of baleful orange light that lapped hungrily at the shattered wing of the 747 that lay broken on the tarmac. Jet fuel poured forth from the wound like blood from a bullet wound.

Or a knife wound.

Rob winced and covered the distance in barely a second, heedful only to stay below the sound barrier and to do his best to mind his clothing. He hovered above the wreckage for less than a second more taking in the scene. The plane had made a bad landing, probably it had been on descent and with loss of instruments and power the pilot had done some minor miracle to bring it down as well as he had. The port side wing was ruptured and rent from the fuselage, its tanks hemorrhaging fuel to feed the flames that could turn an accident into a disaster in only seconds.

Seconds were all Rob had.

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Oh godshitNO...

Rob barely heeded the small sick-sounding voice inside of him. He blocked out the chill sense of horror that threatened to numb him at the sight of what he had done. There was no time for panic, or telling himself that this was his fault no matter what funky doohickey the MiB's (and he hoped Tess and Isaac were squeezing some info from the uninjured one) had used, or even hurling. He could do all that later. Hell, he would do all that later.

People needed his help right now.

Never moved anything this big. Never moved anything this big with this many people inside it. Breathe, Robbie. Size matters not... Hah, yeah right. Moving into position above the aircraft, the magnetokinetic extended a web of power around the main body and remaining wing of the passenger jet as fast as he could envision the thought. Metal vibrated slightly as he focused on picturing a large, gentle hand picking up something akin to a giant eggshell. Got to make it smooth and even. Can't just yank the damn thing around, but can't waste time either.

The terrified passengers inside were trapped, most of them stunned by the impact, some injured, all unable to use the escape chutes due to the fire and wondering where the hell the fire and rescue trucks were. Those on the right-hand side of the fuselage who were able to collect themselves after the crash could see the ruptured wing, could see the fuel gushing onto the tarmac, and wondered what apocalypse had struck to make the lights go out and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of plane drop from the sky like so much scrap metal.

Suddenly the downed 747 quivered and, impossibly, rose into the air and turned away from the severed wing and the spreading flames. Those inside cried out in momentary fright but the movement, though rapid, was smooth and gentle, carrying the shattered plane safely across the asphalt runway and onto the grass approximately 300 feet from the fire. Rob floated along with it, a slim figure clad in khaki shorts, white t-shirt and brown leather jacket, his face obscured by flight goggles and his hair under a dark blue bandanna. Setting the plane down gently, he tore the main cabin door off and stepped in off thin air, hitting the chute-release as he went. The inflatable slide hissed into life behind him.

"Everyone okay!?" he yelled above the babble. "Those who can: get down the slide, then help the others!"

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The interior was a mess. Opened overhead compartments had spilled their contents, passengers had been tossed about, though most were generally in their seats save those quickest to recover. There was a stewardess, nee, flight attendant, near the door and she just stared in shock at Rob. The chute behind him seemed to beckon to the eyes of those nearby and some started for it. Blinking out of her stun the woman in the blue uniform immediately took charge and began directing two strong men down and two more to stay and help people out.

"Somebody open those other doors! We should get away from the plane before our luck runs out!" The woman seemed to have things under control in only a matter of seconds. She turned to Rob, "How? Who?" She shook her head, "Thank you." Rob nodded and turned to the door opposite the one he had come in. The hatch flipped open of it's own accord and the chute deployed. "I'm just glad we didn't crash into the river or ..."

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The river!

Rob didn't even let the poor woman finish her sentence, turning abruptly and diving out through the open hatch behind him. A push of magnetic current propelled him skywards in the direction of the East river.

This is nuts. I'm playing whack-a-mole here while the problem just keeps mounting up. Got to get the tower at La Guardia up and running again, at least enough to warn the planes to re-route. As his mind raced Rob skimmed along the river about 100 meters above the surface, eyes searching for signs of another downed aircraft. No radio to keep in touch, no cellphones, no computers... There's God-knows how many planes up there and even assuming I didn't tag them with the EMP, they've got no ground-based guidance. Rob shoved that thought to one side as he turned again to sweep the next section of the river.

God DAMN those MiB assholes for this.

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Up and out of the 747 Rob sped toward the river. He sped over the airport, one quick pass to make sure there was nothing he could do here on the way. A few other aircraft with rough landings were scattered about but there were no fires. Thank god it's not cloudy. It was dark as hell and hard to see without the light that he and every other person in range had taken for granted. Now he strained his eyes and flew in low over the river. Three hundred feet over the river was still too far. He closed to less than fifty yards and closed toward the first wreck he could see.

He'd barely halted his forward movement before starting to raise the downed plane from the water. It was small, a commuter plane. Probably coming up from DC. It had ditched in the river and Rob saw the mashed in nose and busted windscreen and was certain the pilots were probably dead. The rest of the plane seemed intact though and he hoped that the people inside were alive. He got it to shore, no further, no time for further, and tore the doors off all at once. Water gushed out but quickly stopped. He flew in and found the passengers wet, terrified, but alive. He spared only a second to give thanks for that before he was headed back out over the river.

Thirty minutes and half a dozen planes later Rob, starting to feel the wear of using his powers, found yet another wreck. This plane was breached and broken, surrounded by figures in the water that bobbed like corks on seat cushions, or sprawled, clinging desperately to the inflated slides that also acted as massive rafts. The vehicle itself was nearly completely submerged. The roiling waters of the river were closing over the fuselage like a tar pit swallowing up some unfortunate mammoth.

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There was no time to plan it out, no time to think. The broken jet was going under right before his eyes, and the suction of it's downward plunge could easily drown the unfortunates on the surface nearby, pulling them under like the grisly tail of a grim comet.

Not happening.

He reached out, arms making a loose grasping gesture in the air before him as he grabbed for the submerging plane. It was heavy, full of water and with the suction of it's plunge beneath pulling against him. To simply yank it free would break the fuselage open like an eggshell, yet all his slow and gentle approach was acheiving was to stop the plane sinking. Despair started to seep through him, it's power increased by his tiredness. He'd never used his powers so heavily for so long. I'm... not strong enough! The baggage hold... and the passenger compartment have to be full... of water. It's got to weigh... ungh... twice or more what I can lift! Rob gritted his teeth, determined to hold on and fight against the crushing weight. A tiny thought surfaced in the red haze of effort.

How do you KNOW how much you can lift? You've never really tried. Like with the EMP that started this mess. Lift that fucking plane out of the water, Robbie!

Rob felt like every muscle in his body was clenched as he leaned into his gift further, pushing past the limits he'd set for himself. He felt his pulse pounding in his ears as a surge of power rippled out from his core, surrounding and cradling the mostly-submerged plane.

With a strained groan of effort as he balanced speed against urgency Rob Mitchell, aka Robert Lensherr, aka Telluris, tried once more to gently lift the drowning plane from the East River.

Click to reveal..

Spending a HP for negating the fatigue from Extra Effort, jim. Adding 2 ranks to Magnetokinesis. Let me know if you need anything else from me. smile

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Click to reveal.. (HEAVE!!)
Magnetic Control (Array; Indirect; Subtle) Rank 15
Extra Effort +2 ranks
Rank 17 x 5 Str = 85 Str, or 3200 tons (6,400,000 lbs) (max. lift)

Rob groaned under the strain having no idea just what kind of jet he was pulling. Despite the added water weight there was also a factor of buoyancy. Air pockets and displacement by materials less dense than the river water helped to mitigate the extra load. Empty and on dry land Rob would have been more than strong enough to lift the craft but nearly filled with water, not only in the cargo bay, but the passenger cabins, the cable runs, everywhere, the Airbus A380 and its contents were a mass that neared the tipping point of Rob's power.

Still he pushed on.

The craft halted its descent and then slowly it began to rise, creaking and groaning, its structure not meant to hold so much weight. Stress cracks formed and even as it poured its watery load back into the river the craft threatened to break apart. Rob had it under control however, and when the right side wing snapped off it fell less than six inches before he caught it.

At last, free of the water, Rob could feel the excess mass draining away and he started to move the broken craft toward shore. It was impossible to know if there were any people stuck inside, the jet's capacity was over 2000 when full and the number of bobbing survivors in the water was beyond his ability to count. Still, as he set the plane down on the nearest clear piece of land, he knew he'd save hundreds, thousands total, and yet there were no doubt more to save.

Did the EMP Hit Newark? Hartford? Boston? DC? Pittsburgh? He couldn't hope to save them all, the potential blood on his hands was more than he could count. Plus one. The only one that he'd intended to hurt. The man whom he'd attacked to aid Jordan. He had been dying, he could already be dead. Rob hovered over the wrecked jet as he thought these thoughts but was brought forcefully out of his reverie by the sound of coughing. He looked down at the plane and near one of the doors he saw a young boy, on his hands and knees, coughing up water. Alone. In the dark.
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Head and body aching slightly from the prolonged unaccustomed usage of his abilities, Rob settled onto the grass next to the boy, shucking his jacket as he did so. Wrapping the fleece-lined coat over the kid's shoulders the young Indigo felt a sense of weariness other than physical: a tiredness that went soul-deep without passing through his corporeal shell. There was a limit to his abilities, and to him. Robbie knew he'd pulled every plane out of the East River, saving more lives than he could count right now. But there were other airports, other rivers, other situations that had been caused by the EMP. Robbie silently acknowledged that he couldn't be everywhere in time, and the knowledge was sickening. Even here people had still died, were still injured.

"Get it all out." He patted the shivering boy on the back, his own mind numb. "You're safe now. Sorry... sorry it took me so long." The boy's coughing subsided, and he drew the jacket around himself whilst regarding Rob with large eyes that were dark in the gloom.

"I'm going to check on the others inside, okay?" Rob straightened up, keeping his goggle-shrouded eyes on the boy. For hundreds of yards in every direction waterlogged planes were being evacuated by the airport's own emergency crews. Several teams of men and women were already heading over to the newest addition to La Guardia's impromptu boneyard. Rob floated up and into the Airbus, looking around himself.

"Anyone conscious?" he called out loudly. "Hey! Anyone able to move, get yourselves out. Help those you can. If you see someone that's not moving, call out!"

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Inside a few dozen people were coughing up water and dragging themselves from the floor. With the slides gone Rob tore strips of the shell of the plane off and fashioned ramps for them. As he completed the last of them he noticed the boy was still seated in the hatchway, looking at him. He still had Rob's jacket wrapped around him and he shivered a little in the cool night air but his eyes never left Rob.

The last few passengers were sliding down the makeshift slides and rescuers were picking their way toward the plane across the littered beach of downed aircraft. Rob descended toward the boy. He was maybe ten years old, a with Rob's coat around him he looked even smaller than he was. Looking up at Rob, the bandanna covering his features from the boy, the child asked in an innocent voice, awe tinging his words, "Are you Superman? Or Batman?"

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An unseen weary, wry smile on his lips Rob hunkered down on one knee so he could look at the kid eye to- Well, okay, eye to goggle. Some of the tension left him at that wide-eyed question, and glancing around Rob could see people, living people, milling around being alive simply because he had helped them. He looked back at the boy and shrugged, not a terribly heroic gesture.

"Not really, ki- Wait, you have a name?" The boy nodded, still gazing at Rob.

"Micah." He shivered again, drawing the jacket around himself tighter.

"Micah." Rob nodded. "I'm... Telluris. That's not my real name, of course." Micah nodded again, wise in the ways of superheroes needing secret identities in the way an adult would not be.

"And I'm not Supes, or the Caped Crusader, though..." another glance around. Living people. Alive and doing living people things. "Perhaps I can be, a little." That last was directed mainly at himself in a thoughtful tone. Micah nodded again, this time in encouragement. Rob reached out and rifled through his coat's pockets, grabbing his (dead) cellphone and wallet. "You hang onto that jacket, okay?" he told Micah as he transferred them into his shorts. Rob straightened up meaning to go, then paused mid-turn and looked back at Micah. A moment's thought, then he offered the boy his hand.

"Who were you travelling with, kiddo? Want to try and find them in this crowd?"

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"Telleriz? What the heck is that?" The kid made a face at the name. "I was supposed to meet my mom at the airport. My mom and dad got divorced. He lives in Wyoming now. It's boring there." He looked down at his shoes, the sadness in his voice was part of the standard package for kids of a divorced couple. After a moment he looked at Rob again, "You know, superheroes are supposed to have cool names like Green Lantern, Colossus, or ... or Apex!! Hey! Do you know Him? Are you freinds with Apex??!"

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"Nope. Never met him." Rob said with a grin (albeit one hidden by his impromptu mask). He picked Micah up. "Oof... c'mon, let's take the high road. Telluris is a pretty cool name for me. Telluric energy is electro-magnetism, and that's what I control, and Magneto's already taken plus is an officially bad-guy name..."

"Yeah. Guess so." Micah said, his eyes going wide as they floated into the air and started to fly gently towards the airport's main terminal. "So you control metal an' stuff?"

"Yeah. An' stuff." Rob answered, searching for official-looking people in hi-visibility jackets. Micah alternated between watching the ground flow past beneath him excitedly and barraging his rescuer with questions,

"Can you stop bullets?"

"I guess so." Rob answered. "So far nobody has shot any bullets at me, so I don't know for sure."

"How much metal can you move?" Micah looked back at all the beached aircraft, getting a better view from the higher vantage point. His voice fell to an awed hush. "Did you lift ALL those?"

"Well, one at a time, yeah. I don't know exactly how much I can lift, but it's a lot."

"But all those planes! That's tons and... tons!"

"And tons and tons on top of that." Rob agreed. Micah seemed if anything more impressed.

"I bet Apex can't lift that much!"

"Maybe. But he can do things I can't too. I'm not strong and tough like him. Hold on, there's some cops." The ground came up to meet them as Rob landed by a pair of astonished airport police, one male and one female.

"Heya officers. This here is Micah, and his mom is somewhere in the airport probably going out of her mind." Rob set the boy down before the cops and straightened up. "Could you do me a favor and see that he gets back to her soon-ish?"

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"Uhh ... Charlie, are you seeing that too?"

"Yeah, Kris, its a flying man with a kid."

"Rrriiight," the female officer replied staring upward next to her partner.

"Heya officers. This here is Micah, and his mom is somewhere in the airport probably going out of her mind." Rob set the boy down before the cops and straightened up. "Could you do me a favor and see that he gets back to her soon-ish?"

After a moment of slack jawed shock, Kris replied, "Yes, of course. Um, thank you ... "


"... Tell ... uris ... right." Kris glanced over at Charlie who merely shrugged and then squatted down by the kid.

"Hey Micha, can you tell me your mom's name? Do you remember which airline you were on?" he asked the youngster, apparently at ease with the child.

Kris had retrieved a notebook from her jacket and a pen from somewhere, "So Mr. Telluris, did you do this? I'm just going to need to take a ... um, statement."

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"Just Tel- Nevermind." Rob sighed. It had been a long night, even though barely an hour had passed since all hell had broken out in Times Square. He was well aware that he had a taxi to drop off somewhere and some food and sleep to acquire. He focused on the cop, thinking carefully for a moment.

"I pulled the planes out of the water and, in the case of that one over there, out of the fire. As to what happened, I'm not sure." That was true enough. "Somehow, someone or something triggered a huge EM pulse." Again, true enough in an Obi-Wan Kenobi fashion. Someone did, somehow, and Rob was going to try and make sure it didn't happen again. As he'd started pulling those planes out of the water one thing had become clear: he might have been the source of the EMP, but he wasn't the one who had triggered it. The lives lost and endangered might be his responsibility, but not due to his action or lack of care. "As I realised what had happend, I knew that here was where the most lives would be in danger. So I came and helped out." he finished.

"'helped out'..." Officer Kris repeated as she wrote his words down. She glanced back at the masked and goggled man, her eyes curious. "So, no snazzy outfit?"

"God no." Rob laughed wearily. "Is that all, officer? I'm tired, hungry, and I have a headache, and I really don't want to wait around for someone to get the bright idea that I need to come out of the superhero closet."

"Well, we really need to do a proper-" she began, but Rob was already starting to float upwards. She exchanged a look with her partner, who returned it with one that said, louder than words, 'the man just saved hundreds of lives and wants to go have a burger. I'd let him go'.

"Goodnight guys." Rob said as he floated further upwards. He waved at the boy. "Be good, Micah." Micah waved back, and Rob turned, disappearing into the darkness as he sped up, rising rapidly out of sight.

"What if we need to do follow-up...?" Kris asked Charlie, who shrugged.

"Whatcha gonna do?"

"He's a superhero." Micah explained patiently, and with ineffable authority. "You can't arrest a superhero unless he turns into a bad guy." He considered. "Well, you can try to. Policemen try to arrest Spidey all the time. But thats because they're dumb."

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Rob arced up into the dark sky over Manhattan, eyes adjusting to the gloom that spread out beneath him. Here and there, small dots of light were springing up as people rigged up generators and started to push back the night. There were lights at the hospital over there, which meant that the underground capacitors meant for disasters had kicked in. Rob breathed a little easier as he took it all in.

For a short while he just hung up there, riding the ether, and watched more and more lights blink on, shining freckles spreading across the darkened face of the city. It was kinda beautiful, watching the entity restore itself, all the adaptive ingenuity of humankind brought to bear on the problem at hand.

Or something like that, anyway. Rob thought to himself somewhat wearily. Christ, he was so tired he was waxing poetic. The cold up here was getting to him, especially since he'd left his coat with Micah. With a brief shiver, he turned and arrowed towards Tess's island retreat.

One of Isaac's adopted cats was using the top of the cab as a vantage point from which to survey it's new domain, only to flee as the flying human soared in and landed on the drive beside the car with a loud crunch and scatter of gravel. Rob glanced at the cab, then back at the house. It might be a plan to see if Tess had any better disposal ideas than 'drop the cab off somewhere'. And he needed a coffee. Preferably five.

"An'a burger" Rob slurred to himself, numb with cold and fatigue as he ambled inside. "Or mebbe pizza."

(Continued back in Alpha Segment )

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