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WEIRDER STUFF
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Weirder Stuff Episode V - Rainbow Weave

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Cassandra stared at Courtney with startled contempt.

"Really?" she asked. "You're going to waste breath on this high school alpha-bitch bullshit now? Do you even know what they've DONE down here? Jesus."

She nodded at the Major, slipping her phone unobtrusively back into her pocket as she turned back towards him.

"Okay, we're coming. Come on, Autumn."

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Sean gulped audibly at the sight of the creatures that belonged in one of his campaigns - a part of his mind filed away the wet, stagnant stench preceding to add verisimilitude for his next game - resisting the urge to run. One, he'd only be running into whatever Jason and his father were facing with these things still behind him, and without the excuse that he was ostensibly trying to find another way to help. And two, he didn't want to run again, when now there was something he could do to help his friends and Kat, even if it left him in danger.

He firmed his resolve and his stance, hands balling into small fists at his side as he took a step forward to interpose himself between the aberrations and Kat's slight figure. Sean heard an odd squelching beside him, and thinking another one of the things was there, he glanced to the side, his jaw dropping open for a moment as he saw Charlie contorting and shifting into something that was definitely not a talking head from TV.

Refocusing himself, he gritted his teeth, his turquoise and jade eyes blazing, his attention back on the crawling, skittering, tentacled creatures, trying to not to picture any number of anime. The inhuman flow of their neural activity - or what passed for it - was nauseating.

The strange light permeating the hallway fractured into panoply of rainbow luminescence, then solidified into three smooth, distinct shafts of light, red, yellow, and green, hovering about Sean's tight, slender shoulders. The three arrows of almost tangible incandescent tinted his pale complexion, picked out incongruous highlights in his hair. His expression was a rictus of terror and fury. Always, there seemed to be something after him, after them.

"Not this time!" he promised, soft, but emphatic.

Sean's pet lasers zipped, curving through the air as swift and graceful as Yondu's arrow, leaving ionized trails as they streaked towards the three closest creatures...

... and missed, overshooting their slick, rubbery hide, not even singeing them, nor even causing them to swerve the volley.

"Fuck," Sean cursed, having misjudged their alien gait.

"You missed?!" Marissa exclaimed in disbelief.

"It's my first time!" Sean retorted, voice rising sharply in protest and panic, his face almost as red as the laser beam he had made.

The Yellow laser scored a scorched furrow in the ceiling. The Green laser simply stopped, hovering in mid air several meters down the hall. But the Red laser had sunk deep into the wall. There was an electric snap, the acrid scent of burnt rubber, red light seeping balefully from where it had sliced into the wall...

... Then the lights went out, Red having found something critical inside that wall, instead of something critical inside the guts of one of the creatures as Sean had intended. The Hallway went black, save for the constrained light of Sean's lasers.

"Seriously?!" Marissa shouted.

"Oops?" Sean added apologetically.

Reddish emergency lighting came on, weird and flicking, granting light enough to see, barely, and far too many ominous shadows dancing around the hallway.

Spoiler

Attacking the three closest Chokers with one laser each - each laser gets a free Enhancement during a Mixed action.

Sean Cassidy Roll: [7, 6, 4, 3, 3, 3, 1] Result: 0 - Botch! Wheee!

 

Edited by Sean Cassidy
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Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

Autumn exhaled slowly, willing her hands to unclench and counting to four as she bit back the angry retorts and refutations that sprang to her lips; she needed to focus right now, which was hard enough without the sarcasm of the 1st runner-up in the Queen Bitch pageant. She took another breath; the athletic young woman could practically taste the adrenaline flooding her system, bitter and sharp on the back of her tongue, even as it elevated her normal level of restless energy to a near-visible vibration in her limbs, a noticeable tension in her posture just on the cusp of motion. Whatever had happened down there was apparently happening upstairs too, where Jason- where her friend was still injured... and, the plain redhead of Shelly High reasoned that if Cook and Courtney had made it down the hall from the elevator unscathed, whatever she'd sensed on the other side of the doors hadn't come through them yet. She hoped that was good news.

Glancing at the Major,  and then back toward the departing Captain Williams, Autumn hesitated, weight shifting on the balls of her feet. Did they know what they were walking into, the repulsive mockeries of life that were waiting for them? Would ten people, even well-armed ones, be enough? Maybe, if they'd dealt with them before... Fuck.

How the hell did this even happen? At the trailer, it had seemed like the teenagers themselves had been transported when they'd adjusted that radio-or-whatever-the-hell-it-was, but what would it take to move an entire hospital? What the fuck did they do?!

"Excuse me, sir?" she turned, her gaze direct and alert amid the flashing blue lights as she addressed the man who seemed to be in charge. "I don't know if this will help them, but there were about a half-dozen... things on the other side of the fire doors." With a sidelong look at Cassandra, she added, "Maybe more."

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

They looked like some undersea nightmare, in Charlie's opinion. If these four were charging them, he shuddered to imagine what might be heading for Sophia. No, he had to trust to Devin, and focus on the ones in front of him. Charlie took a breath and tried to find the positives. He'd grown since the encounter with the Coochiesaurus, being little more than instinctive claws and feral swipes.

No. Since then, Lilly had taught him self-defense. It probably didn't mean more than knowing how to throw a punch, but that was fine. Because Charlie's real asset was the ability to shapeshift, and transform his body beyond human bounds. Jason had taken care to give Charlie some useful inspiration from the world of real life zoology. Like, for example, the mantis shrimp.

Charlie did some more internet research and agreed. In another life or death throw-down against the supernatural, the mantis shrimp was a very good model to work off of.

Now, he stepped up with Sean to the front, took the mental image and concentrated. Muscles and flesh contorted and twisted. Skin mottled and then warped itself into hard plating, a carapace engulfing his body. Next, they stretched out, a second set of limbs, ending not in hands, but in sharpened points. Emerging from behind the shoulders, these showed evidence of joints somewhat like elbows, giving them definite flexibility.

Sean's ill-aimed lasers blew out the lights, but Charlie felt his bio-sense would give him enough to gauge. One, two, three...

The monster that had dared to get closest to Charlie didn't see it coming. It couldn't have, as the pincers lashed out with the speed of a high-powered rifle and skewered deep into the Deep One-like creature's guts. It could barely let out a cry before the piercers lifted it up and dashed it to the ground. It lay still, burst like a goopy rubber tire, pungent dark fluids tinged crimson by the red emergency lighting spattering across the walls and floor.

Spoiler

Close Combat, with 3 momentum spent and 6 Enhancement thanks to the limb-piercers.

Gabe Roll: [9, 5, 5, 5, 4, 1] Result: 1

Total then of 7 sux - Def 2 = 5 over. Since they don't have Soft Armor, Inflict Damage (1), followed by Brutal (4).

That's 2 Injury Conditions dealt, which is enough to kill.

 

Edited by Charlie Cole
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Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

On 1/26/2020 at 10:46 PM, Autumn Keane said:

"Excuse me, sir?" she turned, her gaze direct and alert amid the flashing blue lights as she addressed the man who seemed to be in charge. "I don't know if this will help them, but there were about a half-dozen... things on the other side of the fire doors." With a sidelong look at Cassandra, she added, "Maybe more."

The team that had been making ready to follow the Captain to the labs paused as their leader held up a closed fist, then looked at his superior.  "Major?"

The hard-faced older man squinted down the hallway, then at Autumn with a gaze that, whilst not hostile, indicated urgency despite his calm demeanor.  "Alright, miss.  Talk to me.  Did you see them?"

"Felt them."  Autumn replied, repressing a shiver at the wrongness she'd felt.  "They're the size of large dogs, fast, and maybe thirty meters from the fire doors by his elevator."  She indicated Cook.  "They felt wrong, too."

"Felt wrong?"  The Captain interjected.

"Alive, but all twisted up."  Autumn's blue eyes were wide with the effects of adrenaline and fear, but her voice was steady.  She needed them to take her seriously - perhaps it would keep them alive.  The Major regarded her for a moment longer, then nodded to the Captain.  

"Proceed with caution.  Don't be afraid to fall back, and stay on comms."  As the ten-man section hurried off down the corridor five to a wall, weapons raised and moving with that peculiar smooth gait, the Major glanced at Doctor Cook as he motioned for the section escorting the civilians to proceed down the other hall.   "Doc, these girls yours?"  

Cook was staring hard at Autumn, as though he was seeing her for the first time.  Courtney, likewise, was giving the less-glamorous redhead a keen-eyed glance.  The Major repeated "Doc?" at which point the man in the white coat shook his head.  "No.  Allen is, but not this one.  She's not one of mine.  She wasn't even marked down as part of the control group."

"Seems she should have been."  The major remarked tersely, then with an air of dismissing Cook looked at Autumn and Cassie again. "I'm gonna be straight. One or both of you has sensory and perhaps other abilities.  If you can help me do my job, which is to clean up the mess upstairs right now, speak up.  Otherwise keep quiet, behave and I won't have to tranq you and lock you down on a gurney."  They moved at a hustle through the double doors at the far end of the hall, emerging into a many-screened operations center, men and women in a mixture of Air Force uniforms and civilian attire buzzing back and forth like bees when the hive had been disturbed whilst others sat at holographic screens and spoke urgently into their microphones.  "Lieutenant, report!"  The Major rapped out, and a woman wearing the insignia of a Lieutenant turned from a screen and hurried over.

"Still collating data sir.  First glance is that there is some kind of dimensional overlap, like a shadow being cast over half of Shelly.  Satellite and cellular comms are slowed, imagery from above makes it look like a sudden storm."  The L.T's eyes were wide and her face pale - she had the air of a woman focusing on the job at hand so she could live to fall apart later.  Autumn and Cassie could relate.  "We've got an indeterminate number of hostiles both down here and upstairs in the medical center.  Infrared doesn't track them well, so we're having to rely on visual cameras and motion trackers."

On the large screen behind her, both Autumn and Cassandra could see a split-screen camera view of the hallway outside the ICU and the waiting room.  They saw Devin running, tugging Sophia Fingleman along as Hank Graskle and Gar Bannon raced up the corridor, the amorphous bulk of the screeching fish-monster behind them.  They saw Jason coming around the corner ahead of the fleeing people, his body coated with ice that shimmered in the lights like frost in the sun.  There was a flare of red, green and yellow from the other screen, streaks of brilliant color that streaked past fast-moving shapes - and then the lights went out in the medical center above, the cameras going dark.

"Sir!"  A technician yelled.  "Power's out upstairs.  Emergency is coming online but we've lost most of the cameras!"

"Is the personnel elevator still working?"  The major asked.  Another screen-jockey peered at their display.

"Yes sir.  We still have power down here.  We're trying to re-route the power upstairs now but will need time.  Some sort of surge fried everything."

"Bravo team, elevator." The major ordered.  Cook looked at him askance.

"What about us?"  The doctor asked.  The major regarded him for a moment, then indicated the armed guards in the operations center.

"You'll be as safe here as anywhere."  He said curtly, then motioned for his men to proceed to the large elevator at the back of the room, pausing to issue a couple of orders to the lieutenant.  Cook frowned, and headed over to vacant console with Courtney in tow, picking up the headset with the apparent aim of talking to someone.  It dawned on Cassie and Autumn at that moment that the powers that be seemed to have forgotten about them...

Spoiler

Okay Team Pluck - If you stay in the ops center, sooner or later someone will remember you're there and start being all official-like.  If you head after the major indicating a desire to help, he will harrumph but take you along, especially as Autumn has demonstrated an ability to sense these things.  He's not really concerned with Project protocols as much as he is concerned with stopping these monsters nomming on civilians.

Or you might decide to so something else, in which case hit me up in PMs on Discord. :D

 

Edited by GDP_ST

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Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

Cassandra had to trot to keep up, and when the Major asked for help she almost dropped step for a second. Autumn had told him as much as she could sense of the situation herself...but was that true? She'd recently felt something new in herself, an ability to see the Shine that went deeper than what most of the Fellowship seemed able to do. It was still a little scary, thinking of turning that loose...especially here, now. But lives were on the line, and some of those lives were her friends.  As they came into the operations and control center she was still mulling over the situation, too distracted even to take in the happenings on the holoscreens.  Finally she made her decision.

She took a deep breath and opened her mind...

...immediately it was a struggle, a war. Something thick and viscous and vile pushed in on her, smelling like sewage, like dead animals, like...somehow like despair, or terror or hate so cold and frozen it was like a vast icicle sharpened to a hooked edge... She stopped where she was in the hall, struggling with her body's instinctive reaction to the sensation of ingesting filth. But in the filth was knowledge. Amidst that noisome black goo were people, tangled and twisted up in it. And other things, not people, that seemed to be knots in its fabric. Then she realized what she was sensing.

"It's like the shine," Cassie breathed, letting her breath out and swaying. "Like the opposite of it. Jesus, it's...it's everywhere." She turned around in a circle, eyes wide but unblinking, unseeing. "It starts here, and...it's covering pretty much all downtown and a little farther." Cass grimaced and focused in . "There's...like twenty, almost two dozen...but only nine of them are down here. They're made of it, like we're made of shine....and there's a big one upstairs."

Flashes of shine refracted in her mind, and she could sense not just powers being used, but what powers they were. Focusing light? Ice and fire... Charlie's body consumed in the light of the shine as he remade himself...

"Most of them are upstairs," she said. "The others are fighting them, but...there's a lot. They're going to need help!"

She shook her head, forcing the vision back enough that she could see and hear around herself again. It was the opposite of waking up from a dream, the memory of it kept clinging to her, trying to push its way back in, to pull her away again. Instead Cass forced herself to meet the Major's eyes, who had paused in the middle of turning to lead his men to the elevator.

"Your men are heading towards nine of the smaller ones. That's all there are on this level. The rest...fifteen or sixteen, plus the big one...are upstairs in the hospital. Our friends are fighting them, but I don't know if they can get them all. So far, there's none outside the medical center though. Whatever's going on here, we have to stop it. So far this...anti-shine...isn't hurting us, but I think if it goes on too long that's going to change."

Edited by GDP_ST
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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Charlie shrimped out and waded into the fray like a Mongol thirsting for blood Marissa was, for once, impressed.  She'd not admit to it, and thankfully he couldn't hear the muffled 'wow', under her breath, but she also knew he wouldn't last long.  He was one, they were many.  The laser trick, it was a cool idea, but  it needed refinement.  Through pursed lips she swallowed her pride.

"Sean," she spun the pretty redhead to look at her, clasping his shoulders tightly.  "Listen to me.  Charlie needs help, and we need to help him, okay?  I know you're scare and it's hard to focus, but I'm scared too."  She smiled.  "I know things aren't easy for you, they're not easy for me sometimes too.  Use it.  Every time you've been bullied.  Every time some jerk on the street has name called or made you feel like less than person and more like just a piece of ass to make cat calls at.  Every insult, every rumor, every beat down... they are right right behind you, and they are about to make dinner out of one your friends.  "It's time to stand up to those bullies, Sean.  Take control of your life and stop letting the monsters in our lives run our lives.  You are brilliant, talented, all kinds of bad ass... and Charlie needs you."  Her voice was pure sincerity laced with the slightest quiver of worry for Charlie being in there all by himself.  The typical sarcasm and venom she naturally spewed seemed to be set aside for the duration of the hellish situation they always seemed to find themselves in.  Her prefect brown gleamed slightly with a violet sheen.  "We are not victims.  The Dark has no power over us, Sean.  We are light.  You, more than any of us understand that.  So, shine."

Spoiler

Compelling 4 - Inspiring Sean to greatness (Presence + Command).

(Roll) 4 successes +2 Striking (+2 enhancements to Presence rolls) +1 Compelling 1 (+1 Enhancement to any Presence rolls) = 7 Enhancements.

Sean has an automatic 7 enhancements applied to his next action.

Normally a pool is generated for every one near her to draw from, but in this case she was directing her pep-talk solely at Sean.

Devin's action will handled after Jason makes his ice wall (actually while Jason is making his ice wall).

 

Edited by GDP_ST
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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

She was breathing fast, holding her head, trying to get through the intense pain moving its magma-hot hooks into her brains. Kat was on her knees, almost cowering next to Sean, in the dazing reddish light painting the Medical Center's hallways with doom. What had happened ?

When Kat first had seen the moving horrors closing in on them, her heart had missed a heartbeat. Then something had happened. In her urge to protect herself, she had become... lucid ? Would that be the word. She could feel the very atoms in the air between the monsters and her - she had felt the very bonds between the air molecules, and with a little manipulation, somehow she knew that she could probably have stopped the monsters, or slowed them down to the least.

She couldn't do it. Everything went so fast, the lights were shut down, and suddenly, her fear took over and broke her focus, an arrow of pain crossing her mind and leaving her panting, unable to move. But her attempt didn't go unnoticed to the members of the Fellowship, and Sean turned a worried eye to the kneeled shape behind him. "Kat! Get up!" Sean exhorted the smaller redhead, getting an arm under her shoulder while trying to keep his attention on the monsters and shoving her towards Marissa. "This isn't over and you're not alone."

"Girl," Marissa gripped Kat tight, holding her close and offering her a cheeky smirk. "I need you to get your shit together, because it's only Tuesday. Trust me, you last until Friday, and our parties are just as wild as our weekdays. Stay with me, now."

Kat took a deep breath in, sweeping her humid cheeks. "My head fucking hurts." Her chest was still heaving at a fast pace, but she was standing on her feet, the ghost of the painful experience she just lived turning into an annoying headache.

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

"Ohfuckohfuckohfuck!"  Sophia was not particularly athletic, but her gym coach would have been impressed at the turn of speed she was making right now as she fled headlong down the hall towards the T-junction at the end, hanging onto Devin's hand for dear life.  She was making a couple of classic errors a lot of horror movie fans would have called her on, and those were glancing back and wasting air talking and/or screaming rather than running, but other than that her performance was a solid 'eight' apart from the East German judges, who were harsh graders and didn't go above 7.6.  Devin, by now, felt he was an old hand at fleeing from monsters - no looking back, no wasted breath, and keep your eyes on where you were putting your feet.  Parallel to the two fleeing teens, Gareth Bannon and Hank Graskle were both making good time for old guys, actually pulling ahead of Devin somewhat since they weren't towing a panicking Junior.

Then Jason appeared at the corner, stepping well out from the left hand corridor and stopping in the middle of the T at the top of the hallway, his appearance giving pause to two of the fleeing people.  He appeared to be made of ice, glittering starkly in the overhead lights, the frozen substance covering him from head to foot and causing him to trail vapor as though he had stepped from a bath of liquid nitrogen as the ambient temperature air encountered the sub--zero chill of his body, and his eyes were a gleaming frosty blue-green.  He moved unhurriedly, turning and planting himself in plain view, the sight of him encouraging the Fishasaurus to shriek and redouble it's efforts to close the distance.  Hank and Devin, experienced and focused on survival, didn't let the eerie sight sway them.  Gar and Sophia were not so lucky and the surprising sight, followed by the sudden gloom as the main lights died and the emergency lights flickered to life, caused near-disaster.

Gareth gaped at the sight of his son, the shock causing him to stumble and fall headlong, sliding along the tiled floor as the air at the point where the hallway met the junction began to haze up, ice crystals forming on the walls, floor and ceiling.  Hank also slid, but it was the slide of a baseball player stealing home base as he slid on his knees to the corner and then righted himself, turning to look back down the hall.  Jason's dad found himself being lifted by unseen, impossibly strong hands then half-pulled, half-thrown to the end of the hallway, sliding enough distance that Hank was able to catch him and pull him to safety around the corner, the elder Bannon shivering from his passage through the strength-sapping cold of the forming wall.

Devin saw the frosty shimmer in the air, gauging the distance, and realised that he wouldn't be able to cross the line in time, not towing Fingerbang.  He saw the calm inexorable expression on Jason's frozen features, his friend nodding to him as the buzzing, chittering sound of Ugly's equally ugly swarm of bugs bore down on them from behind.  Jase would hold off closing the wall to the last second, but he would close it.

Spoiler

Jase is spending 1 Psi point to Build The Wall (no roll necessary), but he's drawing it out as much as possible to give everyone a chance to get through the closing 'door'.  The air where he's forming it is frigid, but not dangerously so yet.

He used Remote Hands (always on - Invested power) to yank/throw his dad to safety.

Once the wall is up, the swarm bugs will shatter on it like hailstones as they encounter the freezing cold then the solid ice (each swarm sub-unit has 1 health level).  Ugly the Coochisaurus will be blocked off, at least for a short while.

 

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Devin didn't fault Sophia, he couldn't.  Who honestly worked out with the notion that one day they'd be fleeing from crusty choochiesuaruses out of the Fromunda period?  No one, that's who.  He held her hand and drug her along as the beast wailed and screeched behind them but he had to admit, she was slowing him down.  The anchors for the wall of ice were set and slowly the air was beginning to freeze and the wall forming a knot-work of random frozen patches growing into a thick, solid barrier.

Time was running out.  They weren't going to make it.

They were close, and just at the last minute just ten or so feet from the barrier, Sophia tripped.  She tumbled to the ground sliding a few feet from her own momentum as the nightmarish beast quickly gained ground on her.  She lost grip of Devin's hand and her mind filled with curses as she watched him not even break his stride.  He was leaving her.  He didn't even look back to her as she fell.

Devin ran as fast as he could the ice wall quickly formed and there were only a few spots left where a person could slide or dive through.  He remembered being trapped in the Upside Down.  He focused his thoughts on the moment, the angles, the distance and he reached out to be in contact with all points simultaneously.  He leapt through the wall, turning his body horizontally and spiraling through the frozen wall in a series of aerial rolls that would have been impossible for anyone without his spatial awareness.  Just like when he was being hunted, his world slowed down as the ice formed and he rolled through the wall.  He opened his eyes and saw Sophia as the beast lumbered up to her and leapt into the air in a vicious pounce guaranteed to to break her spine and liquefy her organs.  She screamed Devin's name with an out stretched hand as death was about to claim her in the vain hope that it would reverse his decision and he'd come back for her.  It didn't.  The wall was almost complete and Devin was rolling through it, leaving her behind.

The nightmare of flesh slammed down onto the floor and slid headlong into a solid wall of ice as his feet lost traction in a slippery sheen of ice and a hazy violet distortion.  Devin's back slammed onto the hard tiles and he and Sophia rolled several times, leaving a the tell tale shimmer of gossamer violet patterns in the air.  They came to a stop with Sophia on top of Devin, clutching his hoodie tight in both hands at the collar.  Their eyes met as her breathing tried to reach something close to normal.

"What?"  Devin smirked.  "You didn't think I'd leave you, did you?"

She managed a crazy grin to match her expression as she searched for words.  "I-I could kiss you right now."

"Please don't," he winked as she stood up and offered him her hand to help him up.  "Our girlfriends would get jealous."  She slugged him in the shoulder for making fun of her boyfriend.

They took only the briefest of pauses to collect their breath and thoughts as the hollowed slamming of the choochiesaurus slamming against the ice snapped them back into the now.  They approached the two older gentlemen who were a bit shocked and mildly slack jawed at the sight of Jase and the display of ability from Devin.  "Gentleman," Devin nodded.  He turned to Jase and shook his head at Jason's icy, shimmering crystal look.  "Man, I... I have to admit, I loved you Twilight, but... me and Coochisaurus?  Still a way better love story."

A telekinetic hand took a handful of his hoodie and yanked Devin to the lead, pushing him several several steps ahead with a few stumbling strides and they followed his lead, running down the hall to meet up with the others.

Spoiler

Transmasion Roll: [10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1] Result: 9

I'm only putting this here to rub it in Sean's face. :P

 

Edited by GDP_ST

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

The buzzing sound of whatever hellish swarm the large creature had spawned died off to the accompaniment of a hail-like rattle that was almost as deafening, as hundreds of tiny bodies froze solid as they hit the wall of ice blocking their path then shattered from the force of their impacts, falling in pieces to the ground.  The mutated beast shrieked in frustration, slammed into the barrier, then screamed in discomfort as the chill of the wall, clearly felt to those on the other side of it even from a few feet away, bit into it's rubbery slick hide, freezing sections solid and forcing the beast to rip it's own skin off to free itself.

Jason emanated the same heat-sapping, nerve-numbing chill as the wall, a fact which stopped his father from grabbing his ice-encased son in a hug and caused Sophia to step wide around the lanky form that trailed chilly vapor as he motioned to everyone to follow Devin.  "Questions later." he said in a tone that wasn't quite as cold as the rest of him, but nevertheless seemed far too collected for the situation they found themselves in.

"This is so fucking unreal."  Sophia muttered as she hurried after Devin, aware that Graskle and Jason's dad were following her, with Jason bringing up the rear.  Up ahead she could see the large form of Cade outlined against the emergency lighting and beyond that-

A monster of chitin and spiked, scythe-like limbs.  Fighting other monsters that seemed made of oily rubber.  Moving beams of light in three different colours, zipping through the air, coming back to rest next to Sean Cassidy like playful hounds coming to heel.  Marissa Jauntsen, one arm around the shoulders of that new girl and standing tall for all the world like Joan of Arc sounding the charge.  And-

Then the ceiling tiles fell in, four more of the reeking creatures dropping onto everyone's heads as two of the three ahead of the party attempted to rush the chitinous creature and the third, running along the walls, leapt for Sean, who stepped aside and ducked at the last moment, his reaction speed just ahead of even the blindingly swift pounce of the oily-skinned hunter, it's tooth-studded hands narrowly missing his head.  Charlie hunched and braced as the shark-like grippers of the things scraped at his chitinous hide, unable to find purchase. 

One of the ambushers from above dropped on Marissa, rubbery arms reaching out for the lithe girl who, still with her arm around Kat's shoulders as though the smaller girl were a dance partner, twisted and backstepped out of the way of the flailing attack with a smirk.  "Sorry, sweetie.  There's not enough liquor in the world." she snarked, even as her nose wrinkled at the stench of the thing up close.  Another dropped on Devin, only to find it's prey wasn't where he had been as the agile youth rolled neatly aside, coming up balanced on the balls of his feet, ready to move again. 

And the last two from above dropped on the trailing member of the party who was making no effort to resist.  The creatures dogpiled Jason, wrapping their arms around his form, the rubbery tentacle limbs constricting his chest and throat, clawed/toothed grasping ends of their limbs seeking vulnerable flesh - and finding only solid ice and searing cold that was beyond any natural chill.  Both recoiled, screaming high-pitched whistling screams of pain, portions of their limbs and torsos covered in biting frost that blackened the flesh beneath, leaving chunks of their flesh attached to Bannon who, in an oddly fastidious gesture, brushed the blackened shards of frozen flesh from his clothing to shatter into particles on the floor.

Spoiler

An unlucky first round for the monsters. 

Two attacked Charlie - hit but didn't get past his Soft Armor.
One attacked Sean - narrowly missing thanks to Sean having activated Precision Understanding
One tried to strangle Marissa and didn't even offer to buy her breakfast after.  Missed her, though.  She even made the evasion look elegant.
One dropped on Devin, who handled it without even breaking stride.
And finally two dropped on Jase, and found out what happens when you stick appendages in liquid nitrogen.  Each of them took 1 health level of damage (half their health pool) and are pretty messed up.

Next up is Cade, and then Hank Graskle.

 

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Cade really didn't think Jason needed as much protecting, hell he couldn't even touch the other teen right now.   He was ready to help him engage the larger threat, when more of the smaller creatures appeared.   With even more creatures descending on them as the ceiling tiles caved in, he'd been the only one seemingly left alone.  It gave him a free hand, so to say, one he was loath to waste.   He brought the extinguisher around in a vicious swing, with the bottle striking the creature closest to Marissa and sending it flying with impressive force.  It wasn't a baseball bat, which he'd have probably made a better hit with, but it was satisfying nonetheless.

"Get the hell away from her."   He growled out with more menace in his voice than anyone there'd ever heard him use.  It wasn't that he didn't care about the others, he did, but for a moment, after that kiss, he didn't want to fail her, even it was all for show.

 


spending 3 momentum
cade rolls 12d10 to attack 
Shameless Roll: [10, 9, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 4, 4, 4, 2] Result: 2 +3 from weapon  5 success 

Monster hit and knocked away, taking 1 level of damage  knockdown and sent flying 5m away.

Edited by GDP_ST

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Hank had been in some shit and hellfire situations, but even given Jason's candid talk with him on Sunday morning this whole FUBAR scenario seemed surreal.   Jason hadn't told him about the other's abilities, so the sight of kids controlling lasers, teleporting, changing into armored killing machines... not to mention the hellbeast back there beyond the freezing wall and these bendy, Gumby-looking fuckers shrieking and whistling to each other was enough to overload the strongest of minds.  Fortunately, he had a maxim for situations like this, born of training and experience: hold onto your shit, and focus on the opportunity for doing some damage.

The opportunity came when the Allister kid, with a swing that'd do his coach proud, slammed one of the demonic looking shitstains a few meters through the air and into a wall, where it slumped to the floor, bonelessly flailing to get to it's feet.  Hank stepped up, careful to avoid the thrashing limbs, and put two what he hoped was the thing's brainpan.  Goop sprayed along the wall and the rubbery mass of it's body gave a heave, then stopped moving.  Hank grunted to himself, lowering his weapon and glancing quickly around to assess the rest of the situation.  Looked like they died just fine, at least.

Spoiler

4 succs for Hank to put the already injured beastie out of everyones misery.

End of round Report:

Charlie is still facing off with two Chokers.
One is close to Sean, Kat and Marissa, having just  pounced at Sean and missed.
One is near to Devin.
Two are near Jase, Gar and Sophia, each on 1 Health.

'Near' is a relative term.  All it means in this case is that ranged attacks on these beasts might, in the event of a botch, hit a friendly.

Back at the Wall, the Fishasaur is trying to break through and finding the process painful.

 

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Sean scrambled back upright, regretting he wasn't wearing a sports bra as he backed up and formed an outward-facing triangle with Marissa and Kat, wishing he was half as graceful as the female Jauntsen was in the situation, even with heels on. The throbbing red emergency lighting, the miasma of sewage staining the air, and the alien movements and alien synapses of the monsters were making his head swim.

But Marissa was right. He'd been telling himself that what others thought, or said, or even did to him didn't matter to him - as much - since he'd begun to shine. He might have considered his old tormentors monsters, until he'd come face-to-face with real monsters. Monsters who weren't interested in mocking him, or harassing him, or beating him up for being an abomination in their eyes, or for just being different or weird.

The real monsters wanted to eat him, eat his Shine, and those of his friends. The monsters wanted to consume them. His fear was real, but now, so too was his determination. He no longer wanted to merely endure the torments of the monsters in his life until he could escape them. Now, he wanted to fight back.

Marissa's attention could be exhilarating when she wasn't being a complete bitch. He could even see, maybe, what Jase saw in her, not that he could bring himself to admit it to his disturbingly ice-coated friend, and especially not to Jauntsen herself. Not yet.

"Round two, fuckers!" Sean muttered tightly, planting himself lightly on his feet, almost bouncing on his toes, hands up in an approximation of a boxer's stance, though the way he was going to fight was in no way physical. Which was well, since his form was poor, his physique more decorative than functional.

Creative and bright as he was, Sean could fall for bias and tradition. He could wield photons as easily as others wielded a bat or their fists. Lasers were beams, but nothing said those photons had to be formed like shafts, like spears. Such would give greater penetration in regards to something tangible, at the cost of a smaller cross-section, but with light itself, Sean figured he wasn't bound to such constraints.

Sean's hovering laser beams, shifted, melted, as though made of incandescent goo, and reformed into broad, razor thin disks, the outer rims glowing more brightly then the rest of their surfaces. His fists sprang open, fingers moving like a DJ juggling a pair of albums on turntables.

The crimson disk spun around Sean, Kat, and Marissa in a tight circle, slicing into the spine - if the creature even had a spine - of the one Sean had dodged with a sharp, sizzling hiss of cauterizing flesh and the scent of burnt rubber. Sean extended an arm and the amber disk flew down the hall, curving around Devin to decapitate the one he had blinked away from, its limbs flailing, head bouncing across the floor. Sean flung out his other arm, and the veridian disk streaked past Man-Shrimp-Charlie and practically bisected one of his assailants. Vertically.

"Boo-fucking-yah!" Sean crowed jubilantly, extremely gratified for having redeemed himself for his previous blunder. Over his shoulder, he flashed Marissa a fierce grin. "Better?"

"That'll do, Cassidy. That'll do."

Spoiler

Action - Mixed Action, attacking with each laser, swiping 5 momentum

Laser Attack (Psi 4 + Photokinesis 3) +5 Momentum = 12d10
Sean Cassidy Roll: [9, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1] Result: 3 =  3 Successes

1 success assigned to each laser.

Dynamic Control grants each laser 1 enhancement during a Mixed Action and each laser has 3 enhancements (enhancements equal to Photokinesis Mode rating).

Marissa has granted 7 enhancements - assign 2 enhancements to each laser, with one leftover, to be assigned to in case any Choker has a better defence roll, or to mitigate another factor.

Currently, each laser has a total of 7 enhancements, enough to overcome a defence of 2, and to deal 2 wound levels (Inflict Damage, and Critical Hit effects), dispatching 3 of the creatures.

Please edit if things have changed, or as necessary.

 

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Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

Autumn blinked at Cassandra as, without preamble, she suddenly started describing what none of the rest of them could see-  and after a couple of seconds listening, it clicked that the pretty blonde was referring to the hellbeasts and the influence of the Dark. It was different from what she had experienced, but they could discuss the finer points and details of their respective perceptions later, when they'd dealt with the threat; everything else was trivial by comparison, and the information Cass had given them on numbers was useful, with or without context. Still...

All of downtown? Jesus fuck, she reflected, aghast, the painfully livid bruise on her cheek only emphasizing her uncharacteristically grim countenance. But for all of those...ugh, things to be here, when it's spread so far... That's pretty goddamn weird, isn't it? Super weird. Unless... Maybe it started here. But how? Why? By the time she turned to face the intrepid teen journalist, Autumn realized the movement was only necessary because she'd been pacing, impatience and neurochemicals spurring restive muscles to action; she'd told both Cassie and Jason earlier that she wanted to do something, wanted to help somehow, and this was a chance to do that. It was important. Okay, sure, she didn't know exactly what she was going to do yet, and, yeah, the thought of getting her face eaten before she graduated high school was terrifying in a very visceral, trapped-in-a-horror-movie-franchise kind of way, but... Inhaling, she laced her fingers together atop her head to stop her hands from shaking, the movement pulling her faded Lewis & Clark Trail t-shirt taut over her chest as she forced herself to focus on what she could do right now, rather than what might happen in the next few minutes.

Fuck it. Whatever.

"I'm going," the redhead announced decisively, arms dropping bonelessly to her sides. "I'll help." She glanced over at her classmate then, who looked pale and not a little shaken, and laid a tentative hand on the other girl's shoulder. "Hey, listen," Autumn added a little more gently, concern and nervousness vying for control in the wide, grey-blue eyes that regarded Cass speculatively. "If you want to stay here, it would probably-"

"No, our friends are fighting up there, and I want to help!" the oracular young woman insisted, her voice firm despite the tremor of nausea and unease that lingered in the wake of her reaching-out through the aether. Maybe if she stayed there in the ops center, she'd be safe, and it might give her a chance to learn more about what was really going on in the hospital, but she couldn't just sit there while other people were getting hurt- or worse- on her behalf.

Autumn's lips compressed into something that was probably meant to be a smile, and she nodded. "Yeah," was all she said, and then glanced back at the Major, untying her hoodie from around her waist and pulling it on. "Tell us what we need to do."

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Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

The Major, his name-tag currently invisible under the body armor he was wearing, regarded both girls with an stone-faced expression that could be considered daunting - except that both of them knew Jason Effing Bannon, who redefined the unblinkingly focused intense gaze to new levels of vivisection-like discomfort.  They waited a heartbeat or two, then the Major looked over at Cook, who was busy at the console talking to someone, and back at them, appearing to make up his mind.  "Come with me." he said with quiet authority, turning and moving towards the large elevator at the back of the room.  Autumn and Cassie glanced at each other and hustled after him, having to almost trot to keep up.

"I'm probably going to catch hell for this, but never mind that."  The Major stopped at some lockers next to the elevator and pulled out a couple of tactical armor jackets.  A hand signal to his waiting men caused two of them to step forward and, without undue fuss, start helping the two girls into the garb, cinching straps and ensuring they were secure as the Major continued talking.  "You girls can sense those things.  You're also known to your friends.  Both facts make my job easier."  He handed them each a helmet, which the attendant Airmen helped them strap on.  "Now I'm going to tell you how not to make my job harder."  Giving them both a once-over, he smiled wryly and motioned for the teens to follow him into the elevator.  His men bundled in also, the elevator obviously meant for the moving of freight or large numbers.  A button was pressed, then a brief code entered, and the elevator started moving up.

"You do as you're told.  No running off, no getting between my guns and the enemy.  These two men will be your protection, and ensure you move and stop when you're supposed to move and stop."  Pale blue eyes fixed on both girls.  "Pay attention to them as if they were the word of God, ladies.  Now, if you sense an enemy, you talk to me.  Call out the o'clock and roughly how far, if you can.  We're going to try and catch up with your friends and ensure they are safe, but we need you to smooth that over - I can't afford to take chances that some gifted kid is going to panic and start throwing my guys around.  My men have dart guns and tasers and will subdue any kids who get aggressive."

"Yeah, probably best not to lead with that."  Cassie piped up somewhat absently, her attention on the sense of what was playing out overhead.  "A bunch of the creatures close to our friends just died, like fast."  She wondered how the Dark monstrosities had bought it: Jason's flames, Sean's laser trick, Charlie turning into an armored killing machine, maybe even Devin teleporting them into a wall or something?  The Shine flashed and strobed around her friends in a way that, were it visual, would be seizure-inducing.  But her attention was drawn further afield: beyond the 'light' show there was something else, just outside the edge of the Dark zone being projected onto Shelly...

A foul, deeper knot of darkness - no, of Dark-ness, somewhere to the southwest of the medical center, near the center of Shelly.  It was thick, tarry, and just brushing her senses over it made a fresh wave of nausea rise in the clairvoyant's stomach.  It pulsed and beat like a powerful black heart, and some intuition - or perhaps the Shine itself - told Cassandra that this was where the Dark made it's home.

If the Tree was a literal tree, this place was it's main taproot.

Spoiler

Dun-dun-DUN!
Cassie, you can make an Intellect + Enigmas roll to pinpoint where in Shelly the Dark's nest is.  Your specialty in Piecing Clues Together counts.

Both Cassie and Autumn are wearing Tactical Armor as per p126 of the Trinity main rulebook.  It protects against impact and bullets, and gives a Soft Armor rating of 2 and a Hard Armor rating of 1.

If either of you wish to say anything or talk more during the elevator ride up you can.  It's not a slow ride, but it will take a minute or two.

 

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Cade stood as a barrier between Marissa, Kat and any harm coming their way.  Maybe it was the lost, hopeless romantic in her or the fact that she, like her brother, was borderline sociopathic, but the exhilarating scene unfolding before made all the people she'd come to see as incompetent or moronic seem more... awesome.  Even Cade, whom she she considered nothing more than a masculine doll to be led around seemed so alive and, wow.

"Oh, I have got to get into politics," she mumbled to herself as she ducked low and puller her and Kat away as Sean's LumiDiscs sliced through the air.  "I am so good at this.  C'mon girl," she pulled Kat away from the conflict.  "Let's let hem do their thing."

Spoiler

Full defense action for Marissa.  Her defense is currently 6.

 

Edited by GDP_ST

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Charlie paused and waited as the last spike-handed creature flailed ineffectually, because smashing it apart with a brisk one-two of the piercers. Casually kicking the guts and gore over to the side, the teen's armored form turned around to see if there was anyone else in need of assistance. Jason - for all that he might be an abrasive friend - was very often right. The mantis shrimp had been a great idea.

Spoiler

2 more Momentum spent for this roll.

Gabe Roll: [9, 4, 4, 4, 3] Result: 1

Ok, so Enhancement makes 7, buy off defense 2, Damage, Brutal, etc. Dead Choker.

 

Edited by GDP_ST

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

The creature lashed and struck out for Devin and every time simply shifted to the side in a shimmering purple haze.  When the LumiDisc sliced his critter in half he stood straight up and looked at Sean.  "Hey!  That was mine!  KSer!"

The two beasts on Jason backed away, howling and lamenting their mistake of touching the frost rimed, pallid teen.  They were not keen in the brains department, but where they couldn't get to Jason they saw an opportunity for his father and Hank, splitting off in a 'Y' around Jason to strike at his loved ones.  Swiftly they leapt for the two men, and as Jason prepared himself a defense help was already inbound.

Devin appeared in mid air, already halfway through a round house that connected with the side of the monster's head and he disappeared the moment he transferred force only to bamf out and reappear, standing at the second one's flank where he delivered a solid kick to the still frozen tissue, chipping off flakes of solid flesh.  The first one staggered a few steps but continued on only to find Devin there to kicking it in the frozen bits.  Three, four, five... Hank and Gar lost count of how many times Devin blipped in and out between the two beasts until his sneakers were covered in black goop from where he'd whittled past the frozen tissue and kicking away organs.  When the two beasts fell over from pain or whatever they felt, the two stepped up and stomped on their heads, ending their time in this world.

"Y'sure can move kid."  Gar said, slapping Devin on the back.

Devin caught his breath and offered a return on the nod he'd received earlier.  "Yeah, I'm all kinds of impressive."  He said more to the halfway than to anyone in particular.  He teleported to Marissa and hugged his sister.  "Stick close, stay down."

He turned to the others.  "We're not out of this yet," he motioned to Jason.  "Do like Elsa and stay frosty, I'll scout ahead.  We need a game plan, we coming or going, or what?"

He strolled past Charlie's monstrous, nightmarish form and just patted him on the 'shoulder', thunking chitin and completely unafraid of what Charlie had become.  He fist bumped Cade.  "We got this.  Keep doing what we're doing.  I'll be back in a jiff."

Devin disappeared.

"That boy ever stay still," Hank asked as him and his father approached Jason.

"You get used to it," Jason replied quietly.

Spoiler

Devin is just scouting the next hallway, making sure the coast is clear.  He'll wave everyone forward and keep things moving along.

 

Edited by GDP_ST
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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

"Stick to the plan."  Marissa spoke up, pointing down the hallway in the direction they'd been headed.  "Charlie, you lead."  The brunette's eyes were wide with a mixture of excitement from the action and concern that they weren't out of this yet.  Charlie glanced back over one carapace-clad shoulder and nodded, moving up the corridor.  His laser discs hovering over his shoulders, poised to lend fire-support, Sean followed.

"That's Charlie?"  Sophia asked, hurrying to catch up with Marissa, Cade and Kat, taking care only to step over the gooey remnants of the creatures on the floor with a grossed-out expression on her face which once more turned to confused with that icky obstacle navigated.  Marissa smirked at the busty girl's tone, though she could feel a trace of empathy for her too.  This was all weird as hell, after all.  She'd just had longer to process it.

"Hidden depths, Fingleman."  The Queen Mantis said by way of explanation.  "Everyone has them - some depths are just deeper.  We'll explain more later - give you the blue pill-"

"Red pill."  Jason from behind, Cade from next to her, and Sean from ahead all corrected, almost in chorus.

"Whatever, nerds!"  Marissa snapped, but her glower was fond as she glanced at them, then took in the adults present.  "Hi Mr Graskle, Mr Bannon."

"Miss."  Hank nodded as he and Gar followed along behind, the icy shape of Jase bringing up the rear again.  Gar was looking over his shoulder at his son, and Hank nudged him.  "Later, Gar.  Let's get outta here first."  There was a fwoop as Devin reappeared next to Marissa, who to her credit barely jumped.

"It's clear up around the corner."  Devin reported.  "I'm still feeling that fucked-up oily sense though.  Pretty sure there's more uglies lurkin'.  We should mo-"

There was a splintering crash from behind them back at the T-junction as the icy wall finally gave way under the assault of the massive abomination trapped beyond it, which shrieked in anger and pain as it forced past the jagged frozen shards that ripped at its rubbery hide to emerge into the corridor.  Spotting it's prey escaping once more, it screamed and began to lumber towards them, picking up speed.

"-move."  Devin finished, and the group of teens and the two adults began to run.  All but one.

Jason turned, head canted to one side as he considered the beast with a gaze that was frosty in more ways than one.  The gashes caused by the ice were knitting, he realised.  But the blackened areas of flesh where his fire had seared the creature on Friday were still raw and cracked, and the frost-bitten patches of ripped-off flesh where it had bashed against the unearthly chill of his wall were likewise not healing.  This monster, this thing of the Dark, had plagued him and his friends long enough.  The role of monsters was to die, which was one reason the young psychopath worked so very hard not to be one:  all monsters eventually were vanquished.  This one's time had come.

The creature was lumbering at a running pace now, maw opening wide, the stunted ruin of it's tongue visible as it roared.  And then, between one thunderous footfall and the next, it went silent.  Its limbs slowed, then stiffened as Jason stilled all molecular activity in the creature, sucked all thermal energy from its atoms, vapor visibly wreathing into the air around it as Jase's Shine drove the heat out.  Its tissues, muscles and organs froze, the lashing tail becoming as rigid as a board, the oily rubbery skin became stiff and coated with ice as the red glare of life left its remaining eye.  Between eye-blinks, the horse-sized monstrosity charging towards them became a frost-etched sculpture of frozen flesh that slid to a halt a few meters from where its killer stood, trailing tendrils of steam in the air as he turned back to his friends.

"Let's go."  he suggested calmly, walking towards them.  Ahead of them somewhere in the hallways, they could hear hoarse, whistling calls increase in volume as more hunters closed in on their prey.

Spoiler

Spent 2 Psi:  10/14 to activate Temperate Extremes.  Rolled 6 succs total, monster got 1 on the resistance roll.  Five health levels of damage, ignores armor = Coochicicle.

Combat is currently over / between rounds.  Feel free to post continuing to move towards the side exit, which is about five minutes hustle from where you guys are.  The Medical Center is still semi-dark and lit by emergency lighting.  Nice and spooky.

 

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Kat followed in Marissa's tracks, speechless. She could not make sense of anything that happened since the moment she entered Jason's room. No matter how hard her brains looked at the situation, she could not find any explanation satisfying her current need for reality. And she hated that. She hated being kept in the dark, she hated her mind unable to sort an unfamiliar problem out. The flickering red lights were not helping at all., and she closed her eyes for a moment, brushing her hair with an uneasy hand.

When she opened them, the red lights were gone. Or were not. They simply could not withstand the shining halo emanating from the group, and Kat stopped under the effect of surprise, Gareth Bannon behind her resting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "What is it now ?"

"I..." She gazed, amazed, at the teens around her, then noticed how peculiar was Marissa at that very moment. Aside from her prettiness, she felt different from the others, as if- The sense of Darkness around them became more oppressive to her, and she swore in French as she heard the ghastly shriekings ahead of the group. "There are five more coming that way !"

Edited by GDP_ST

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

Cade's face remained a neutral mask as the last of the creatures there was handled by Jason, and still he didn't relax.  His mother was scheduled to come in later, as she was working overnight. Thankfully that meant she wasn't here now, so he didn't have to be concerned about her being caught in the crossfire of whatever the hell was going on now.

In the dim emergency lighting it was hard to see, but he had knew where the others were, and  was there ready to back up whoever needed it.   Having the two adults there, and seeing how they reacted to the various abilities displayed, he marveled at how well they were taking it.

He looked back to Jason, and nodded.  "You still good?"  The other Teen nodded once, and Cade turned back ahead.  It seemed odd to ask given what he'd done, but all the same he'd come into this hurt, and Lona hadn't been able to work her magic yet.  

"Dammit it all, It was a good day to go fishing today too."   He muttered to no one in particular.   It showed how calm he was, even in this nightmare situation, that he could complain about such a mundane thing.  More than that, it showed his total faith in the friends there that he wasn't panicked.  

Kat's warning was a surprise, but he smiled.  "Well knowing where they're coming from's a big help.  "Can you tell if they're on our level, or will this be another Drop-down encounter?"

Edited by Cade

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Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked

"They're moving around, trying to get in our path."  Kat squinted, trying to focus this new sense.  "I can't really tell this far from them.  It's more like a... a..."  Marissa put a hand on the tiny girl's shoulder, gentle pressure reassuring her.

"Chill.  The warning's enough.  Looks like you're experiencing- what do you call it, Jason?"  She threw a glance back past Sophia and Gar at the shimmering ice-coated specter behind them.

"Primary sensory awakening.  Or if you prefer classic language, her Third Eye is opening."  Came the glacially calm reply.  He felt cold to Kat's new senses, too, like an ice-cube being run down her spine, as though the chill he radiated was more than merely physical.  Of course, cold did not radiate, the exchange student corrected herself.  What was actually happening was that Jason Bannon was sufficiently cold that he was drawing in thermal activity from the air around him whilst not himself being warmed by the process, small ice-crystals of frozen moisture forming a barely perceptible sleet in his wake.  The tangent to thermodynamic principles oddly helped.

"Third eye."  she said levelly.  "I'm psychic now?"

"Psionic."  Sean corrected from up ahead as they moved steadily together to the next corner.  "Psychic is all ouija boards and tarot cards and crystals and talking to the dead.  You're feeling energy from the subquantum stratum, and as you get stronger you'll be able to shift it around."  Sophia had been silent for a few minutes, absorbing the shock of Charlie's outlandish and monstrous appearance, the way Sean was throwing around laser-chakrams and the casual manner in which Jason Creepazoid Bannon had just looked at a fish monster and deep-frozen it.  But there was only so much a girl could take.

"Wait - who are you people, the bizarro X-Men?!"  she said a trifle shrilly.  "I mean - laser ladyboy, ice creep back there, talking about third eyes, and that's Charlie the lobster lord, and nobody thinks any of this is weird?"  There was a fwoop as Devin appeared next to her, making her eep and flinch.  The teleporter held a fire-ax in one hand and a broom handle in the other, having evidently done some scrounging for usable weapons.

"Naw, that's not weird."  Devin had obtained a donut from somewhere in his wanderings and currently spoke around a mouthful of it as he handed the fire-ax to Cade.  "Weird is when Chuck lets slip that he's actually the last descendant of Zoidburgthu, and it is vital for the survival of his species that he snargle your garthog.  Something to bear in mind when you're blowing  his squid dick later - just don't get ink in your eye."  He grinned at the bewildered girl.  "Just remember this phrase:"  And the irrepressible Jauntsen did a warbling, back of the throat gurgling sound that was a dead ringer for a murloc warcry from WoW.  "That's Charlie-speak for 'fertilise my eggs, big boy'."

Sophia stared at him as there were some snorts and one or two short laughs of amusement from the rest of the Fellowship, even Hank cracking a grin as Jason's frosty lips quirked in a smile.  Charlie sighed from up ahead of the column.  "Thanks, Devin." came his very normal, Charlie-like voice from within the chitinous shell.  "That helped. Really."

"Just being an awesome wing-man."  Devin said, handing the rest of his donut to Kat and blipping to the front of the group next to the shapeshifter.  "She'll be okay, dude.  Just remember to-" another murloc noise "-her-" and another gurgling warble "-and she'll be putty in your hands."  With a grin, a pat on Charlie's armored back and a fwoop he was gone again.

"Jase."  Charlie called back over his shoulder.  "Can you freeze his vocal chords?"

"Probably."  came the wry, matter-of-fact reply.  "But where's the fun in that?"

Spoiler

Weapon stats for Fire Axe and broom-handle.

Fire Axe: (Edged)  Enhancement 3, Deadly, Melee, Brutal, Two-Handed.

Makeshift Bo-staff: (Impact) Enhancement 2, Melee, Reach, Two-Handed, Non-Penetrating, Shield

See p 123 of the Trinity PDF for information about the tags and what they do.

 

Edited by GDP_ST
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Cassandra leaned back against the wall of the elevator, still trying to split her attention between where her eyes and ears were and the clashing energies overhead. The fight, she felt, was going well for her friends, though she couldn't help but be concerned still. Even Jase was hardly a seasoned warrior, no matter what kind of power he had. When she felt the big creature fade away though, she could relax a little.

"They're winning," she said. "They just got the big one too." Cassie tugged absently at the vest, a little uncomfortable under its weight. Then she looked back over her shoulder and frowned.

"What the hell is that...?"

The Major glanced down at her and asked, "More of those creatures?"

Cass shook her head. "No, it's not in the building. It's..." she paused, trying to work out what was around there. A little ways away from the Medical Center towards downtown...wait, yeah, the center of town. She remembered messing with Google Earth and checking out the aerial maps when looking for secret buildings a while back. The center of town was...

"It's at the town hall. The old one, the historical one. It's like...a thick place in the darkness. I don't think it caused what happened here...this was like a leak in a pipe, you know? What I'm seeing now is the source of the pressure. The water heater."

She fixed her eyes on Autumn. "It's the Tree. It has to be. The place the Dark grows out of. It's there."

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Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck

Even as Autumn digested that, and the Major was gazing at both teens with eyes narrowed, trying to assess what the hell they were talking about, the elevator emitted a soft chime to indicate they had arrived, and the soldier's inside readied themselves before, with a nod from the Major, thumbing the door release and immediately deploying into the red-limned gloom beyond, which seemed to be some manner of laundry room.  Moving past the bulky shapes of the machines and shelving, the advance team scanned the area carefully before giving back the terse 'clear' that prompted the rest of the party to leave the elevator.

"Where are your friends?"  the Major asked Cassie, who closed her eyes briefly, then nodded at the door.

"Out there.  About fifty feet ahead and maybe ten to the left."  she replied, opening her eyes once more and shrugging.  "Sorry.  It's not like I have an exact map of this place in my head." 

"What about the hostiles?"

"They're..."  Cassie frowned.  "Fading.  Like the shadow over the med center is fading now the big one is dead.  Not completely gone, but it's like the fog is lifting and the creatures are becoming... I dunno, less somehow."
 

 

Cody Sikes / The Horned Man

He screamed as he felt the larger creature die and the smaller ones get snuffed out, a scream of inchoate rage and fear that was shared between the two Selves inhabiting the body.  Gibbering, drooling, he lurched from his makeshift throne and kicked at one of the piles of bones stacked nearby.  The humans had shut off their key-machine, and without the larger divergent to anchor the projected shadow of the Void, it was dissipating and with it the lesser hunters.  And it was children who had done this!  Freaks and outcasts and losers and pampered rich kids.

"So strong!  So bright!" he/they moaned, clutching at the sides of his head, clawlike fingers digging into his scalp through the greasy remnants of his hair.  It should not be possible.  Could not be possible.  This world was not capable of producing such Radiance.  The usurpers had seen to that.  Even close proximity to the shiftship only produced weak, random manifestations in the millennia that had gone before - enough to slowly feed the Tree, not enough to be a threat.  Until now.  Something was wrong with the order of things.  Cody didn't feel that, but the Horned Man did.  He had a sense for the ebb and flow of Radiance in this place.  He knew what humanity was capable of unaided, and this was beyond that.  Someone had tampered, but who, and how-?

"Howdy.  Kids did well, din't they?  Gotta say, I'm as proud as a daddy could be right now.  Guess you ain't sharing that warm fuzzy feelin', but that's always the way - our kids are always most special to us."

He/they whirled, glaring at the slender figure that now sat on the grisly throne, hands on the bone armrests, mouth set in a moue of fastidiousness as he flicked a beetle from the yellowed surface.  Cody was confused. He didn't know this man, or why he seemed so unafraid.  But the Horned Man did.

"You!?  You are dead!"  the guttural voice came from his throat.  The black-clad man smiled, dark eyes gleaming with an inner light as he stood.

"'Fraid not.  Greatest trick I ever pulled and all that.  Not fooling the world, mind you.  That was just a side-effect.  I was fooling the old fella inside you."  His eyes bored into Cody's, his voice becoming strangely gentle.  "It's almost over now, boy.  For you, for him, and hopefully soon for me."  Cody had no idea what he was talking about, the possessed teen's mind awhirl with memories and images not his own.  Strange shining towers, and stars, and this mans face, smiling as they talked atop a tower once, long ago...

"We should be allies!"  The language was strange, the meaning coming to Cody through his bond with his passenger, the words almost shrieked through a raw throat.  "We want the same things!"

"I want freedom.  You just want to be the last thing to die."  The man in black corrected absently in English as  he stepped around piles of gory remains.  "But you died millennia ago, Araun - you just don't know it.  Rest easy - my kids will be along to clean you up."

"I will kill them! I will devour their marrow!  I will tear the Radiance from them and feed their souls shrieking to the Great Maggot!"  The Horned Man raged, frothing at the mouth, starting towards the interloper, who laughed and disappeared between steps, his last words coming back mockingly.

"That's the spirit."

Cody / Araun gibbered curses in a mixture of tongues both earthly and otherwise, tugging at the horns growing from his scalp.  His own horns, now.  The skull was where it belonged, on the effigy facing his throne.  He didn't need that anymore - he was becoming the Horned Man in truth.  The Horned Man had told him so.  He would kill them.  Kill them all.  And the Tree would feed.


Marias Medical Center - The Fellowship

"The creatures.  I can't feel them anymore."  Kat said suddenly as the group moved along the hall to the T--junction ahead.  Those with psionic gifts paused, also unable to feel the oily presence of the things, as the strangeness began to fade from their surroundings.  The black patches on the walls began to fade, the light lost it's eerie quality.  The emergency lighting was still on, but the sickly sweet smell and oppressive sense of corruption, of the Dark's realm, faded as swiftly as the black mold-like stains on the surfaces.

"Thank fuck."  Charlie muttered, a sentiment echoed by everyone behind him as they all relaxed a little.  Marissa let out a heartfelt sigh, repressing the urge to hug everyone and settling for linking arms with Cade, leaning her head against his shoulder.

"Let's get out of here before it decides on round two?"  suggested Devin, drawing nods from the others.  The teleporter could feel normal spatial laws reasserting themselves and felt his own warm glow of relief.  The group rounded the corner - to stare into a sudden constellation of flashlights.

"Contact, 12 o'clock."   Someone shouted ahead of Charlie.  "Some kind of weird bug thing!"  The shapeshifter had a vision of himself as a giant bullet-pinata and unthinkingly raised his hands as he heard a bunch of click-clacking noises of weapons being readied.

"Wait!"  Cassie pushed past the Major, Autumn in tow.  "That's Charlie!  Uh, friendly!  Friendly!"

"Weapons secure!" the Major ordered above the hubbub as the two girls moved towards their friends, the soldiers re-safeing their guns and moving forward more slowly.

"What the fuck is that?!"  came from behind Jason, who glanced over one frozen shoulder to see four deputies and the sheriff advancing from the other corner of the t-junction, shotguns leveled at him.  Immediately the soldiers went into crouches, their own rifles raised.  Everyone started yelling at each other, two groups of armed men and the teens between them.

"Lower your weapons!"  shouted the Major.

"Identify yourselves!"  yelled Sheriff Allister.

"Major Taggart, US Air Force, Sheriff.  And I am in command here.  Lower your weapons!"

"Cade?"  The Sheriff stared at his son.  Hank kept his own sidearm down, watching tensely.

"Uh, hi dad."  Cade replied, lowering the fire-ax and aware of Marissa hanging onto his free arm.  Charlie took the opportunity to de-Shrimp and look as harmless as possible.

"Sheriff?"  one of the deputies asked, looking nervously at the soldiers and the still ice-encased Jason who was utterly still, staring at the law enforcement posse with an intent, calculating air.  Hank went to put a restraining hand on his shoulder and paused, realising that to do so would possibly mean losing a finger or two to frostbite.

"Everyone calm down!"  Marissa spoke up, her voice carrying authoritatively over the chaos.  "You're both pointing guns at each other with kids in the way, damn it."  Something about her tone carried her faint scorn and strong disapproval to both armed groups, who slowly relaxed.  "We're going to put our weapons down, because we don't need them now, with you all here to protect us.  Right?"  Taggart and the sheriff exchanged glances past the teens, then nodded, signalling their men to lower their weapons.  Marissa nodded to the Fellowship members who unclenched a little, Sean allowing his laser discs to fade out, Cade setting the ax down, Devin resting his broom handle against the wall.  "Jason?"  Marissa slipped her arm from Cade's and went to stand between him and the deputies.  He didn't seem tense to her, even past the icy sheath covering his body and features.  He rather seemed to be assessing something as he looked over one shoulder at Taggart's men, then back at the sheriff's group.  "Jason?" she repeated softly, getting his attention.  His gaze was even paler than usual, blue tinging the green.  "Whatever calculus you're doing, we need you to not be doing it right now."

"You're happy with this exposure?" he replied in a murmur, confirming Marissa's suspicions.  She met his eyes and nodded slightly.

"Happier than I would be with you being a murderer."  she said quietly, keeping her gaze on his and feeling the chill he emanated fade as the ice coating him began to dissipate into vapour, boiling away into the air and leaving warm flesh behind.  Marissa smiled at him as he shrugged, his manner shifting from calculating predatory intensity to relaxed predatory intensity - which was ground-note Jason.  "Thank you."  she said simply, before stepping around him in a puff of hibiscus and jasmine, going back to Cade's side.

 

The Project Facility - The Fellowship

It was later.  Not much later, but later.

The medical center was currently under quarantine - at least that was the public story.  Something about biohazard containment - no deaths but everyone on the premises having to be thoroughly checked and decontaminated before they could be released.  The Fellowship, Hank, Gar and Sophia were all sitting in a large meeting room with a central table and couches along the walls.  A holo-screen was playing the local news, showing the medical center from outside - or rather, showing a large white tent from outside, with official looking men and women in biohazard suits moving in and out of an airlock carrying large crates.  The teens had been assured that their parents would be notified of their safety, but 'containment' needed to be performed before they could let them all go.  Conspicuously absent were the sheriff and deputies, who'd been led elsewhere.  Snacks and sodas had been provided, but none of the Fellowship trusted their captors, and so the drinks and food remained untouched.

Jason had changed into the new clothes that Sean had brought now, and sat in the grey sweatpants and Rangers jersey talking quietly with his father in one corner, Hank sitting nearby having been relieved of his pistol.  Gar seemed to be taking the revelations well, perhaps taking on some of the calm with which his son was relaying them.  The others were arrayed around the room, attempting to relax until Sophia, who'd been keeping a distance from Charlie and watching him intently, rose and moved to sit beside him.

"Sooo." she said after taking a deep breath.  "You're a mutant?  Or an alien?  What?"

Spoiler

Action is over for now.  We are back in Narrative roleplaying mode.

Feel free to talk among yourselves IC, or perhaps take other action. It's up to you.  There are no guards inside the room, though you're all pretty sure their will be some outside.  Major Taggart was polite but firm when he asked you all to stay put and not make his life difficult so he could sort things out with the Project - but hey, who says you have to listen to that guy?  Him and whose army, right?

You've all recovered any Psi points spent by this time (other than invested ones) and other than Jase are unharmed.  Jason is still down 1 health level.

 

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Devin popped a soda, and loudly slurped a guzzle.  Then picked up a cookie and took a bite as he walked a round the room, still unable to stay still no matter the environment.

"Does it matter?"  He asked calmly, answering Sophia's question as her voice seemed to be the only thing that had broken the silence in the room for many minutes.  "What he is is far less important than who he is."  Realizing he'd said something borderline complimentary about Charlie Devin quickly changed his tone.  "Cuz we straight showed up and showed out.  Dark ain't got nothing on us, baby!"

Marissa stepped forward and stood in front of her brother, stopping him.  "You know they're going to try getting your DNA off that can, right?"  Devin held out his hand and the soda bamfed away in the violet 'pop'.

"They want it?  They can go to Wisconsin and get it."  He smirked as everyone grabbed a soda.  With the adrenaline wearing off and the events of the afternoon having been a drain on them physically and mentally, they were all starving and parched... just no one wanted to admit it.  "You guys wanna starve, feel free.  But in a captive scenario they say you always eat and drink whenever possible, since you never know when you next meal will be.  Keep your strength up."

"I don't think we're captives, Devin."  Cade offered.  "Still, we all know that this is leading up to very long hours of questioning.  I hate to agree with him, but Mouth has a point,"  Marissa smirked as Cade gumptioned up and took a shot at Devin for once.  "We should at least try to eat something and stay hydrated."

"I mean I'm not a captive," Devin smirked like he always did.  "I could popped smoke an hour ago and peaced out.  You guys lemme know when you're ready to leave, or... go get a burger or something."

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Marissa rolled her eyes and shook her head as she scooped up a couple sodas and few snack packs of chips.  She wasn't a fan of either, but everyone knew she could eat like there was no tomorrow.  If that was any reflection on her metabolism, she had to be famished.  She sat back down next to Cade, giving him a drink and bag of corn chips.

"Waiting on others?"  Cade said.  His tone was inquisitive and laced with a hint of mistrust since it'd become his impression that she only did things for others when it served herself.  "You take a blow to the head when I wasn't looking?"

"Very funny," she snarked with a hint of pouting in her voice.  "I'm not always a bitch, Cade.  Right now I just don't have the energy for it."

Her faux boyfriend accepted her offering and cracked open the chips with a loud crinkle.  He pinched out a few chips and was was half halfway into his third bite when he realized she was looking at him, had been looking at him the entire time.  His eyes slowly angled to meet her.  "What?"

"Nothing," she smiled innocently shaking her head.  When he stopped eating and gave her all of her attention like a man who knew 'nothing' meant 'something' he saw a hint of color flush in her cheeks.  "It-it's stupid."  She shook her head.

"Tell me."  The top of his soda can hissed as he opened it.

"Earlier you were... I don't know... gallant.  I felt," she sighed, unable to form her thoughts and feelings into words.  "Safe?  Like, no matter what happened you would actually be there to protect me.  It's not something I'm used to from people who aren't my brother, you know?"  She leaned in gently pressed her lips to his cheek, kissing him softly.

Cade whispered to her while she was close.  "I don't think we need to keep up appearances here of all places."

She smiled and thumbed away the lipstick mark she'd left on his cheek.  "I'm not," she whispered back to him.  "You earned that one."  She shot him a parting wink as tore open her own bag of chips and pinched out a few for herself.  A moment later she handed her can of soda to Cade so he could open it for her so she wouldn't entertain the possibility of breaking a nail and things seemed back to normal.

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Cass barely even noticed the interplay between the others. She was eying her sandwich warily, her stomach daring her brain to try it...then she realized there was more important stuff going on. More important than any of this.

"You guys," she said, "I know where the Tree is. We have to check it out. As soon as we're done with all this bullshit here."

That got people's attention, so she added, "The old town hall building. It's not even very far from here. Whatever they're doing downstairs poked some kind of...hole or something that let all the Dark in, but the source of the Dark is the Tree. That's where we have to go."

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"Wait, wait, wait..." Devin waved his hands about.  "Let the Dark in... or let it out?  I thought it was trapped in the Upside Down Thunder.  Because that thing that treid to kill me there didn't seem like an Earth Prime native."

Sophia's eyes darted back and forth, trying to follow what what the hell was going on.

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"I mean, kind of potato potahto?" Cassie suggested. "I just meant they let the Dark in here. To us. This world. Out of its world, into this one. That's what got everything all fucked up. The bigger creature seemed like it kind of...stabilized it or something, I don't know. I could see the energy, but I don't know exactly what they did here, or why it all started going away when the big one died. It just all started unraveling and fading away."

She shrugged.

"But I did, definitely see the Tree. There was a big sort of...like a knot in it, while it was here. Right smack in the middle of town. I think the Dark energy was drawn to it, even on this side. Even though it's still on the other side."

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"So, like a taproot."  Marissa added.  "It's in the... other place, while it spreads it's secondary roots into our world."  She sipped her soda.  "Not to cast a shadow over all thi, but it's great you can sense it, Cassandra, but we don't need to sense it, we need to destroy it.  So we go there.  Then what?"

"We have no idea what they did, or how powerful this thing is, or if it can even be destroyed, not to mention none of us have anything to fight it with.  I'm no gun toting amazonian warrior... not all of us got lasers and fire."

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Charlie turned his head to Sophia. "Psychic, actually." She gave him a disbelieving look - since psychics generally didn't turn into giant killing machines - but Charlie met hers back. "Hey, the others got the more classic powers. Wasn't like we got to vote." Then the conversation turned to the Dark with Sophia's confusion. "Evil force of evil." Charlie whispered to her. "But I'll never let it hurt you."

Cheesy or not, it worked enough for Sophia to squeeze his hand and smile.

Edited by Charlie Cole

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"Careful Charlie, don't go making promises you aren't sure you can keep."  Devin cut in.  "You haven't seen the bigger ones.  Trust me, if the Dark wanted her, it'd have her."

He turned to Sophia.  "Breaks down like this Fingerbang: something our there, a Darkforce, something supernatural is feeding on the misery and life force of the people of Shelly.  Been doing it for a long time.  The indians knew bout it, but it's not like the movie... we don't have some mystical jar and ritual to trap the evil glowing balls in.  We have our gifts, and... each other.  That's it."

He shrugged, still in motion as he hadn't slowed down the entire time, like he was one big wound up ball of unlimited energy.  "Fact is, it has us by the short and curlies.  I agree with Cass," Devin motioned towards the aspiring reporter.  "We need to go after this thing, but my sister is right," he motioned to Marissa who was resting her head on Cade's shoulder.  "I don't think we have the artillery."

Marissa lifted her head and looked to everyone.  "What if you all 'linked up'.  I mean, Deej is right, all we have is each other.  One team, one fight.  Separately we're a force unto ourselves, together... you could lay waste to that thing, I know it."

"That kind of power, Emjay..." Devin's voice was worrisome and he finally stopped moving to lean against the wall and cross his arms.  "The backlash could kill us, and we don't even know it would work."

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"So we start small," suggests Cass. "Try simple things first. Practice. Get better."

She nods. "Then when we can handle it...we go in."

Edited by Cassandra Allen

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The Project Facility - The Fellowship

Studying the holographic display and the embedded device projecting it with avid interest, Sean stood with his hands clasped behind his back to hide their trembling. With the danger - okay, immediate danger anyway - and the fight with the Dark-spawn over, Sean was realizing just what he, they, had done, and how it could have gone seriously sideways.

He'd backed up the hulking Mantis-Shrimp-Charlie with circular laser-blades, at the time ignoring the fact if he'd been hit by one of the Darkspawn Choker things, he didn't have Charlie's shell or Jase's Ice Armor to protect himself. Devin had been blipping here and there, Cade batted one of the damn things into the wall with a fire extinguisher, and Jase had frozen the big one solid.

In a role-playing game or a video game, all that would be awesome. In real life, after the fact and without adrenaline pumping through your veins... it was still still awesome, but also damned terrifying. There were no restarts or respawning in real life.

10 hours ago, Charlie Cole said:

Charlie turned his head to Sophia. "Psychic, actually."

"Psionic," Sean corrected absently, "Psychic is all oui--" He chuffed in irritation as Charlie and Sophia clearly didn't care about the distinction, and then turned away with a slightly sour expression when he saw Sophia squeeze Charlie's hand and smile at him. Laser Ladyboy, indeed! "Oh, never mind."

Sean sidled over to the refreshments, cracking open a Pepsi and grabbing a wrapped, dubious looking egg-salad sandwich. It wasn't so much mistrust or that they might get his DNA - they had that plenty already from all the visits with Cook and the tests he'd taken - but rather concerned he'd bring up anything he ate or drank while still dealing with the shakes.

"Ugh! Warm!" Sean protested with a scowl after taking a sip of his Pepsi. The can suddenly got colder in his hand, the cola almost verging on slush. He took another sip, sighed in satisfaction, and nodded his thanks at Jase.

"Not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted to show you around, Kat," Sean admitted dryly while asking her with a pointed glance at the refreshment table if she wanted anything. "But it seems like you fit right in with weird and wonder of Shelly."

For the moment, he'd leave it up to the smaller redhead if she wanted to talk about her own psionic potential, if she'd known about it before or if it was a new thing cropping up from exposure. Though if her dad had been stationed at the base before...

9 hours ago, Cassandra Allen said:

"So we start small," suggests Cass. "Try simple things first. Practice. Get better."

She nods. "Then when we can handle it...we go in."

"Couple things with the plan," Sean added. "One, we still need to find out what Cook and the Major and their lot know about the Dark and all this, us, and we need to share too, so we can help each other. I had an appointment to meet with Cook at five. We're running kinda late on that, but it sure would be nice if he'd keep that appointment. We all have a lot to talk about."

Like the rest of the Fellowship - still need a better name - Sean assumed they were being observed. With a minor bit of effort and recalibrating how he perceived the electromagnetic spectrum, it had been easy to figure how and from where they were being watched. An enigmatic grin tugged at his full lips as he reached out with his will, and began to play with the digital transmissions of the cameras about them.

"Two, I've just given them an incentive to come talk with us instead of just watching and listening for who knows how bloody long," Sean admitted.

"How's that?" Autumn asked.

Sean's smile widened, inordinately pleased with himself. "I'm Rickrolling them. At least, through what they have watching us here."

Devin barked a laugh, clinking his can with Sean's as he passed by pacing. "Classic. Actual Rick roll, or...?"

"That's getting kinda old, so updated it a bit. I Allstarred them instead."

The Project Facility - Security Office

Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an "L" on her forehead

"What the hell is happening?" a gruff voice demanded.

"We don't know," replied a younger woman, trying to keep her tone professional, rather than frustrated. "Something, someone, has taken over the feed."

Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

"Get the damn feed back!"

"I can't! I can't even change to the feed to another camera." A huff of annoyance. "Rather, I can, but this shit is still showing, overlaying whatever we're supposed to see and hear."

So much to do, so much to see
So what's wrong with taking the back streets?
You'll never know if you don't go
You'll never shine if you don't glow

"Is it one of the kids? An outside hack?"

"Yes? If it's outside intrusion, it's like nothing I've seen before."

"Isn't the guy from Smash Mouth dead or something?"

"Just turn it off, then," the gruff voice sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose evident through tone alone.

Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold

"I can't!" There was choking laughter and frustrated tears in the admission.

The Project Facility - The Fellowship

"Anyway, three, we aren't the first these powers, not judging by the psionically active artifacts we saw at the museum, and the tales of the Land of Upside Down Thunder," Sean continued. "If the Dark is trapped there, it was because they couldn't find a way to kill it the first time. I don't think killing it is going to be as easy as levelling up couple of times.

And four, assuming we have to get to the taproot itself to Raid it or pull it out or whatever to get rid of the Dark," Sean nodded at Marissa, continuing her analogy, we don't have a reliable way to get there. The Dark or its minions seem able to pull us in." Sean pointed a finger at Devin. "And there was the time at the trailer with coochiesaurus round one. Not sure yet if that was purely outside influence, or something to do with the trailer and the radio that we might be able to use to our own ends."

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"Cook and the others?"  Devin pushed himself off the wall and motioned to the door like Cook and the military people were waiting outside.  "We can't trust them, Sean.  All people like them want to do is give abilities like ours to people they can weaponize and toy with things they don't understand and then cover it up after the body count rises because they don't want to admit the shat the bed."

"No," he shook his head.  "We have to do this on our own.  The more they know, the more they'll take control, use what we gave them, and then shut us out.  In the end, we'll be stuck cleaning up their mess, we all know it.  It's only a factor how big do we want their mess to get before we step in."

"Facts."  Marissa piggy backed Devin's comments, agreeing with her brother.  "But, we have nothing to go on, Deej.  They've technology, research, hell, protection.  We're flying blind out here.  We all know they'll screw us in the end, but at this point, what choice do we have?"

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7 hours ago, Sean Cassidy said:

"Not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted to show you around, Kat," Sean admitted dryly while asking her with a pointed glance at the refreshment table if she wanted anything. "But it seems like you fit right in with weird and wonder of Shelly."

For the moment, he'd leave it up to the smaller redhead if she wanted to talk about her own psionic potential, if she'd known about it before or if it was a new thing cropping up from exposure. Though if her dad had been stationed at the base before...

Kat didn't reply, sat on her chair, her chin resting on her knees.

She wasn't hungry, rather busy visualizing the whole fight against the monsters over and over. What on Earth had happened ? Psionics ? The Dark ? Coochiesaurus ?!? Laser Ladyboy ? She briefly gazed upon Sean next to her. When she first saw him, she thought he was full of surprises. If only she had known. And what about Jason Frozone ? Paler, colder, and a gaze so intense it would split open an iceberg. She then looked at Charlie, sat accros the room. Morph. Her brains said. Please, not Minecraft, not now. This definitely lacked of style. She could do better than a cubic Shrimp-Mantis-Charlie. Mantis ? Kung-Fu Panda ? She held back a giggle. Could he change size ? Psycho Mantis ? Much better. Then Jason was... Princess Snaaaaaaaaaake ?!? A nervous giggle came out muffled but audible to everyone.

She was hungry, and rose on her feet, grabbing a soda and a sandwich that looked like it had seen better days. She gave it a bite and everyone a shrug, and went back to her chair, sitting with a sigh, her feet barely touching the floor, then turned to Sean. "At one point I'll really need an explanation, 'cause the situation you're - we're in almost sounds like Chinese to me." With another jaded shrug she added : "Still funnier than reading the same Chem book twice."

Edited by Catherine 'Kat' Barras

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"...and then today, two guys were influenced to attack me over some minor grievance."  Jason's voice was low as he finished quietly explaining to his father, the elder and younger Bannon sitting a little way back from the rest of the room on a couch.  "It seemed that the Dark - or whoever makes the decisions for it - decided to move on us all here at the hospital: a preemptive strike to take us all out."  Gar Bannon was staring at the floor as his son explained most of the events of the summer and the first week of Fall semester.  Whilst a genius - or at least, once a genius before he'd crawled into a bottle - Jase's dad was struggling, trying to find rocks to latch onto in the torrent of horror and eeriness that had reached out and enveloped his son during the last months.  And in one particular, even before that.

"Since you were eight?" he murmured quietly, turning perhaps the largest personal revelation over.  He looked up into his son's clear, pale stare.  "You've known since you were eight, and didn't tell me."

"There never seemed to be a good time."  Jason said, unmoved.  Gareth examined the boy - the young man - seeing now the removal of the mask and desperately trying to find some shred of evidence that the inhuman calm was itself a pose to shield some deeper vulnerability.  "The information would only have caused you more worry, and to no good purpose."  A small fracture showed in the mirror-shine of his glacial gaze, though his tone was still matter-of-fact as he added.  "You might even have given me up."

"Jesus!  How could you think that?!"  Gar hissed, reflexive outrage warring with the awareness that others were present, if not actually part of the conversation.  Jason's head tilted slightly, his stare examining his father's reactions.

"My own mother did.  How could I expect more or better from anyone else?  You were fresh out of jail, heartbroken, and drinking."  He replied in a tone that was entirely logical, irrefutable in it's simple truth.  "I don't have intuitive empathy to go on when I trust people.  Leaps of faith are alien to my nature.  I go on observed behavior: what people do, what they say, and how those contrast.  I extend trust bit by bit, from necessity and to test those around me as well as myself.  Those I cared for most learned latest, since they were the ones I least wanted to drive away."

Gar had always carried guilt that he had somehow been responsible for what he perceived as Jason growing up too fast, never being a normal kid.  A loser drunk for a father - of course the kid would learn to cook, clean, do the dozen and one things that kept the household in order.  But now, looking at his son, he saw that perhaps Jason had never been a 'kid' in anything but physical development.  He'd always been a serious-eyed child even when learning to walk.  When he fell down, even if it was a nasty bump, he'd just get up and try again.  Kate had wanted to get him tested, but Gareth had resisted that, wanting to let Jase just develop naturally.

"I wish I had known."  he said, as much to himself as to Jason.  "I should have-  I dunno.  I could have been there for you, perhaps.  If you even need that.  Do you?"  he looked up into his son's eyes again.  "Do you need people to be there for you?"

"I.." Jason hesitated, examining his father, then glancing around at the room, at his friends.  He remembered Marissa taking his hand in the trailer, Devin hanging out and talking a million miles a minute in the vehicle barn, Sean and his family welcoming him into the fold, Autumn hugging him despite her own nervousness around him, Cassie lightly poking him, teasing him about his lack of pluck, Charlie trying to understand him even as the experience terrified him.  "Need isn't the accurate word.  But I like some people being there for me.  It enriches my life - usually."  He looked back at his father. "You have been there for me, dad.  Don't think you haven't."

"Not enough, I haven't been."  Gar frowned, wiping his face with a hand.  "I need a minute or two, Jason.  I just...  Need a moment.  It's a whole lot."

"Sure."  If Jason felt any worry, or concern, he didn't show it in an obvious sense.  His gaze followed his father as Gareth stood, resting a hand on his son's shoulder for a moment, then wandered off to the far side of the room to sit down again.  Jase looked at Hank, who nodded silently and went to sit near Gar, leaving Jason alone.  He sat back, gesturing and floating a can of Sprite and a couple bags of chips over to himself as he tuned in to the ongoing conversation.

5 hours ago, Marissa Jauntsen said:

"No," he shook his head.  "We have to do this on our own.  The more they know, the more they'll take control, use what we gave them, and then shut us out.  In the end, we'll be stuck cleaning up their mess, we all know it.  It's only a factor how big do we want their mess to get before we step in."

"Facts."  Marissa piggy backed Devin's comments, agreeing with her brother.  "But, we have nothing to go on, Deej.  They've technology, research, hell, protection.  We're flying blind out here.  We all know they'll screw us in the end, but at this point, what choice do we have?"

 

"We cannot rely on the Project unless we run the Project."  Jason said calmly from where he was seated, popping the tab on his soda.  "And the only way to do that is to get inside and become indispensable to the Project.  If we get involved now, we can at least try to head off any disasters they might cause.   My recommendation is to play along guardedly, never showing too much at once.  Treat it like a game of poker.  They have some cards, we have some cards - and I'm pretty sure ours beat theirs - but it doesn't hurt to see how they bluff."  He took a long sip from the can, then lowered it and regarded them all.  "Don't think like teenagers - at the whims of adult laws and supervision.  Teenagers don't have real power - we do.  Teenagers don't have real knowledge - we do.  Teenagers don't kill nightmare beasts - we do.  Oh, and they probably have all the DNA they need from us over the last few years, so that horse has bolted."  he added with a slight lopsided grin at Devin before wincing and gingerly touching his jaw.

"Just consider our assets: Sean can get into any computer system, Marissa can wrap people around her little finger, Cassie can see, sense and feel things they try to hide.  That's just the most obvious intelligence gathering talents we have.  Then there's the muscle side of powers equation, and that's formidable enough that I'm pretty sure the bunch of us could give Major Taggart and his men shit-fits in a straight fight.  So we play it cautious, we give the appearance of cooperation, and we try not to spook them into doing something stupid while we figure out what exactly they're all up to."

"And if it all goes south, we at least will have better information to use when shutting them down and kicking over their sandcastle."

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"No sweat,"  Devin half-laughed.  "If there is one thing I excel at it's disregarding the whims of adult laws and supervision."  He looked down at his phone and shot Lona another text.  They'd been exchanging messages every few moments since they arrived in the room.

"Great," Marissa tossed her arms up and let them smack down on her denim sheathed thighs.  "Anyone have any great ideas on how we get my idiot brother to not show all his cards at once?  We all know he's the epitome of excess and the loudest braggart in three states."

"I am not!"  Devin protested, as he looked at his phone and paced about.  He laughed at the screen and tapped away a reply.  "Oh man, she wants this 'D' so bad.  Girl's a freak."

Marissa motioned with her hands as if to present exhibit 'A', her idiot brother.  "I rest my case."

"Hmm?"  Devin obliviously looked up from his screen.

"Nothing," his sister smirked and shook her head.

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Things were kind of totally fucked.

Autumn sighed, her head resting on the back of the couch as she stared up at the ceiling, mechanically drawing the knotted cord back and forth through the hood of her faded red jacket. She'd learned a long time ago to sense an impending storm by the way the wind changed, the way it smelled and felt on her skin, and the air had begun to shift around them in tangible ways. Events were in motion, invisible currents redirected in ways they couldn't see and patterns they couldn't yet grasp- the fact that they had all ended up in the same place just before the Dark descended seemed to be proof of that. But how did it know to strike there? If they were right, and it was just this... force without a real physical presence, where were its eyes? How did it see them? Where were its limbs? How was it acting against them, unless it was acting through other people? Lifting her head, she glanced in Cassie's direction, eyebrows knitting in concern; if one of their group could see its movement in the world, track its path, was someone doing the same for the Dark? If so, could they find that person and blind it somehow, even if they couldn't eliminate it completely?

With a quiet huff, the redhead leaned forward, propelling herself adroitly off the couch and onto her feet.

"Okay, so," she interjected, her thoughts falling into place more readily as she started moving again. "Question. What is 'The Dark,' exactly? Because if it's just energy, or an idea, or some big black cloud of misery somewhere, that's a whole lot harder to fight than a bunch of nightmare-world hellbeasts we can hit with things until they stop moving. ...Regardless of how many of us there are, or who we're working with, or whatever. How is it finding us?" she asked, sea-colored eyes intent as she scanned the faces of the group, pacing over to the table to grab one of a few lukewarm bottles of water and cracking the seal. "How is it actually doing anything? A bunch of just, I don't know, mystical bad intentions can't see, can't touch anything, can it?" Autumn paused, taking a few more steps around the central table as she downed a quick gulp of water and shook her head, addressing everyone and no one in particular. "You guys keep talking about how huge and powerful it is, how much time and work it's going to take to deal with it. Look, if we can't get rid of the Dark in one fell swoop, we find the parts we can, and take it apart piece by piece. Start with the eyes," she suggested, taking another sip as she continued her slow circuit around the waiting room. "It's harder to defend against something you can't see... Which," the energetic teen added with uncharacteristic solemnity, "means we need to take good care of Cass, because she's seen it and can track it where it hides." Jason, from his seat on the couch at the far end of the room, nodded in agreement, his expression inscrutable as ever.

"And if it does have someone or something acting on its behalf, they've probably had the same idea," she finished quietly, realizing she'd interrupted their discussion and turning the plastic bottle in her hands as her cheeks grew warm.

 

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