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ProfPotts

Aberrant: Quantum Zero - Quantum Zero

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Ideology:

"Baby, I've got to do this. This Corinna is out there suffering, novas out there are dying to supply her baseline-enabled drug habit, and this face of Glacier would be like a bull in a mansion in that setting."

Eel's attitude is softened somewhat by Glacier's kiss, but still she squirms & frowns,

'I... I guess... but isn't there another way? I just can't stand to think of you... weak... like that...'

"Actually, until you said that I was hoping you'd be willing to come do this with me. Dormancy didn't take me all that long to learn..."

::blink

Pushing Glacier away from her Eel spits out an angry reply... although if he didn't know better John would swear there was an element of fear in her emotional response as well... ::unsure

'What?! You can't be suggesting... Never! Never, you hear me! I'll not go back to being that, that... thing... I was before I erupted. This is the true me - not that pathetic blonde beach bunny...' ::angry

Undulating away Eel close to smashes the door of the private bar off its hinges as she storms out of the room...

Shifting a little uneasily in his seat Geryon glances at Glacier,

'Sorry, friend,' he offers, 'but I'm sure she'll get over it. The harvesters can be a little... passionate... about their beliefs, but that aside Eel really is one of the better ones: at least she's out here doing things, & not hiding away & brooding like a lot of them do. Besides, if she didn't really care about you, then she'd never have gotten so worked up about it, right? I'd suggest letting her cool off a bit before trying to patch things up... I think the Count had a quick mission you'd be good for, if you're up for it - after that you can talk to Eel, then get down to this business with the American Eagles...'

[Cue for your downtime post Phoenix ::wink ]

Flying High:

It's a while later when Mike, Nathan & Emma find themselves on a Masters International hyperjet cruising towards Japan. Emma, clad in a simple flower-print summer dress, remains huddled close to her 'bodyguard' on one of the jet's large leather sofas, a contented smile playing on her lips as her fingers almost unconsciously stroke across her lover's skin. Mike's not sure if he feels better or worse after the pounding 'Larrs' gave him... although he's pretty certain that, either way, he got less of a workout before the flight than the other two... ::sly Sitting across from 'the invisible quarterback' his assistant, Heather, busies herself typing into her laptop computer, trying to avoid her boss's eye (& trying hard not to smirk while doing so... ::wink ). Two rather gorgeous air hostesses (a Black South African girl & a petite French girl) try their best to cater to the passengers' every whim...

... Less than an hour later the hyperjet has touched down at Tokyo airport, & the door opens to reveal a waiting aircar limo. A pretty Asian chauffeuse, in a uniform just this side of fetishistic, waits next to the car, bowing as the passengers disembark the hi-tech aircraft,

'Honoured guests,' she says, 'Mister Masters regrets that he cannot meet with you in person, but extends his welcome to Japan, & invites you to dine with him this evening. All required proceedures with customs have been dealt with, so we can leave whenever you are ready. If you have any quest...'

The chauffeuse's words are cut short by a deafening crash! All eyes dart towards the noise, only to see that a giant of a man - he must be at least fifty feet tall - clad in the distinctive 'sentai suit' of a member of the Japanese government's Nova team Nippontai has toppled over to smash through several private jets parked up a little way away from the newly arrived Masters International contingent. Caught in a clinch with the Nippontai member is a similarly giant man, this one seemingly composed completely of a dark mass of buzzing insects! Those in the know recognise the combatants as Nippontai's Kyojin, & the infamous Elite Swarm...

Workers around the private jets scatter away from the destructive path of the two giants, whilst the MI chauffeuse screams & ducks behind the aircar. Heather too lets out a small yelp &, obviously not thinking about her actions, takes a step behind Mike, her hand seeking reassurance by clutching his arm. Emma just stands & stares at the two huge Novas for a moment ::blink , before turning to Nathan & saying quietly (in ancient Egyptian),

'How long has it been since you fought a giant, my love, my King?' ::sly

Across the airport sirens of various types start to blare out warnings...

The Zanzibar:

Touching his hand to Dee's forehead The Ghost feels that she's burning up... Her eyes flicker under the lids, but still she doesn't open them... Suddenly the demonic girl convulses, once, coughing up dark, dark, blood... Then lies still... Quickly checking, Vinnie fails to find a pulse... ::devil :tombstone:

The Chase:

"I'm on the trail of one right now, but I can't see him. He's heading east from the back door, just went over the fence and is still moving. Slither, follow my radio signal instead, and hurry. Ghost, if you want to help that girl, get out here and help me catch this one. It may take all three of us to make sure he doesn't get away, and I want him alive."
"Right, I'm on it, chief."

With cat-like agility Slither quickly bounds up the side of the building, across the roof (avoiding the gaping hole) &, hopping from rooftop to rooftop, races after The Stranger & his prey. As she goes she reverts her outfit to a less 'icky' version & shifts colours to blend seemlessly into the urban camouflage all around her...

Easily vaulting the chainlink fence in a single bound The Stranger pauses in a crouch as he lands, hawk-eyes scanning for any signs of his target - a rustle of garbage in a dumpster catches his eye: the movement is subtle, but against the prevailing air currents... Once more he races in pursuit of his invisible foe...

After a block & a half the chase is still on, The Stranger pausing every now & then to check his target's trail, but his superior speed keeping the fleeing Templar close. By this time, however, Slither has - taking a more direct cross-rooftop route - reached the scene: her enhanced hearing building a 'picture' of the area she 'sees' the Templar sprinting down the alley, The Stranger hot on his heels. Surprisingly for a baseline, the Templar's heart rate, even after the chase, is only slightly elevated - The Stranger's, of course, is steady as a rock...

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'Sorry, friend,' he offers, 'but I'm sure she'll get over it. The harvesters can be a little... passionate... about their beliefs, but that aside Eel really is one of the better ones: at least she's out here doing things, & not hiding away & brooding like a lot of them do. Besides, if she didn't really care about you, then she'd never have gotten so worked up about it, right?'

Glacier nods. "Thanks." The bear anima loses visual integrity, degenerating to a quantity of shapeless freezing energy, then diminishing into an aura, then to nothing.

The "man behind the curtain" is an impressively muscled, tall baseline young man with a long ponytail of platinum hair.

"My old name was John Walker. Maybe we shouldn't use that, though, there's always the chance they Google me and find scary things on the OpNet..."

"I'd suggest letting her cool off a bit before trying to patch things up... I think the Count had a quick mission you'd be good for, if you're up for it - after that you can talk to Eel, then get down to this business with the American Eagles..."

John rolls his head around on his shoulders, stretching his neck muscles, loosening them in all directions. "Okay."

"Thanks, Geryon."

He walks over to one of Synapse's consoles in the lounge. From his jeans pocket, he produces a half-sized computer disc with the initials, "W.H." scrawled onto the front. He rolls it in his hand as he speaks to the cyberspace being...

"I'm sorry for your door, Synapse. You've been as great a host as ever. I'm about to have a talk with the Count, but in the meantime, I have a favor to ask of you..."

[Downtime post coming up! ::cool ]

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The Chase:

After a block & a half the chase is still on, The Stranger pausing every now & then to check his target's trail, but his superior speed keeping the fleeing Templar close. By this time, however, Slither has - taking a more direct cross-rooftop route - reached the scene: her enhanced hearing building a 'picture' of the area she 'sees' the Templar sprinting down the alley, The Stranger hot on his heels. Surprisingly for a baseline, the Templar's heart rate, even after the chase, is only slightly elevated - The Stranger's, of course, is steady as a rock...

The most amazing thing Carla is feeling right now...is enjoyment ::huh

Of course, she's still concerned about the demon girl (blissfully unaware of her fate), and she has really learned to hate these Templar guys, but the main thing she's feeling is a tremendous sense of purpose and release. She has never chased down a criminal before, and she likes the way it feels; it never even occured to her to use her powers to help people, until she joined the mob and her self-loathing bubbled up from her guts. It took seeing herself in a dark mirror, to see the way real criminals lived, to realize she wasn't one, not really; she was a bored girl with a new toy, and she was ashamed.

But right now, there was only the chase. I think I can take him, she thinks to herself; glide down on top of him, knock the wind out of his sails until the Stranger can catch up and deliver the smackdown - well, it might work, right?

She pushes herself even harder, trying to close the gap between herself and the stupid annnoying armored thug as she nimbly leaps from roof to roof; when she finally feels ready, or as close to ready as she can be, she leaps as high and far as she can, attempting to form flaps under both arms to allow her to dive like a missile straight at her invisible prey. As she hits the air, she thinks:

*I could die right now - no shit, I really could. But at least I'm not dying for those greasy bastards, with their slimey mitts on my thighs-*

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Touching his hand to Dee's forehead The Ghost feels that she's burning up... Her eyes flicker under the lids, but still she doesn't open them... Suddenly the demonic girl convulses, once, coughing up dark, dark, blood... Then lies still... Quickly checking, Vinnie fails to find a pulse... ::devil :tombstone:
Already moving to start the chase, The Stranger hears Ghost and Slither over his earpiece.

Running smoothly, the vigilante's voice doesn't register any strain as he replies. "I'm on the trail of one right now, but I can't see him. He's heading east from the back door, just went over the fence and is still moving. Slither, follow my radio signal instead, and hurry. Ghost, if you want to help that girl, get out here and help me catch this one. It may take all three of us to make sure he doesn't get away, and I want him alive."

Maybe there should have been a hint of sorrow in his voice. Maybe an undercurrent of anger, a sense of grief at the life lost, or at the very least a momentary hesitation, an instant to compose himself before responding to the Stranger's call. But there isn't. The Ghost's voice is cold and calm, all business as he replies.

"Too late to help, but I'm coming. Give me an intercept point, one of you. GPS coordinates, map or landmark-based."

As he waits for a reply from either of his allies, he routinely checks his gear and pictures the cityscape as seen from the roof of the Zanzibar, preparing to calculate his next teleport.

In the deathly silent theater, Vinnie runs a hand over the face of the girl he named. His gloved fingers glide over her eyes and cheeks before he raises his hand to cross himself, like any good catholic boy in the presence of death.

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Boy Girl Wonder:

Leaping high & far Slither dives from the rooftops towards the fleeing Templar, the majestic grace of her aerobatics totally lost on all concerned due to her equally masterful talent for prowling... ::ninja Quickly woven Eufiber patagia-style wings aiding her already dead aim she rockets head-first towards the invisible armoured figure, at the last moment using the wings to turn & slam a dropkick into the back of the unsuspecting running man's shoulders...

... The Templar goes crashing down, face-first, to the street, as Slither herself flips smoothly backwards to land in a ready stance behind him - this part of the impressive maneuver The Stranger does get to witness... ::blink along with the spray from the puddle the cloaked Templar lands in which momentarily highlights his form...

Despite going down hard, the Templar recovers quickly, rolling to his feet so that he's facing Slither & The Stranger in a low, fighting, stance. As he rights himself the armoured man simultaneously de-activates the 'cloak', shimmering back into sight, as well as drawing & activating the rod-like 'flaming sword' which he holds easily in his right hand like the bastard child of a corrupted lightsabre... his left hand, meanwhile, slips behind his cape to bring out a small, distinctly 'grenade-ish' sphere: the motion is subtle, but both Slither & The Stranger are perceptive & quick-witted enough to notice the attempted legerdemain...

The Valley of Death:

"Too late to help, but I'm coming. Give me an intercept point, one of you. GPS coordinates, map or landmark-based."

Kneeling by the dead girl Vinnie is rudely interupted by the distinct sounds of New York's finest (finally) storming the building: he can hear them coming in the front, as well as the back & side entrances... He also gets a niggling feeling that The Gothic Knight isn't going to be far behind either... & he's not entirely convinced of the legality of his own presence (& equipment...). ::unsure

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Airport trouble ...again!

It's a while later when Mike, Nathan & Emma find themselves on a Masters International hyperjet cruising towards Japan. Emma, clad in a simple flower-print summer dress, remains huddled close to her 'bodyguard' on one of the jet's large leather sofas, a contented smile playing on her lips as her fingers almost unconsciously stroke across her lover's skin. Mike's not sure if he feels better or worse after the pounding 'Larrs' gave him... although he's pretty certain that, either way, he got less of a workout before the flight than the other two... ::sly

Nathan seems lost in thought behind his sunglasses for much of the trip. But despite having a lot to think about, he's also just been laid and is happily in love. His hand never strays far from Emma, and it's obvious to anyone with half a brain that their relationship has... taken a few steps further than before.

*Life is good. Once I get off this jet, I might even get a smoke.* ::ultracool

... Less than an hour later the hyperjet has touched down at Tokyo airport, & the door opens to reveal a waiting aircar limo. A pretty Asian chauffeuse, in a uniform just this side of fetishistic, waits next to the car, bowing as the passengers disembark the hi-tech aircraft,

'Honoured guests,' she says, 'Mister Masters regrets that he cannot meet with you in person, but extends his welcome to Japan, & invites you to dine with him this evening. All required proceedures with customs have been dealt with, so we can leave whenever you are ready. If you have any quest...'

The chauffeuse's words are cut short by a deafening crash! All eyes dart towards the noise, only to see that a giant of a man - he must be at least fifty feet tall - clad in the distinctive 'sentai suit' of a member of the Japanese government's Nova team Nippontai has toppled over to smash through several private jets parked up a little way away from the newly arrived Masters International contingent. Caught in a clinch with the Nippontai member is a similarly giant man, this one seemingly composed completely of a dark mass of buzzing insects! Those in the know recognise the combatants as Nippontai's Kyojin, & the infamous Elite Swarm...

Nathan mentally - and physically, but who the hell would know - rolls his eyes at the MI dress codes as he gets ready to enter the car. As the relative peace and quiet is shattered his head snap around and he instinctively moves between Emma and the threat.

"Holy crap! I'm never gonna fly again. This always happens when I use this jet..."

Nathan chuckles a little before the gravity of the situation gets the best of him.

Workers around the private jets scatter away from the destructive path of the two giants, whilst the MI chauffeuse screams & ducks behind the aircar. Heather too lets out a small yelp &, obviously not thinking about her actions, takes a step behind Mike, her hand seeking reassurance by clutching his arm. Emma just stands & stares at the two huge Novas for a moment ::blink , before turning to Nathan & saying quietly (in ancient Egyptian),

'How long has it been since you fought a giant, my love, my King?' ::sly

"Far, far too long, my dear..." Nathan replies in the same language. He grins as he removes his sunglasses and hands them to her, kissing her cheek. Then - as the argent light in his eyes flares and the soft glow of his forcefield covers him - he turns to Mike with a wink.

"Nippontai are the good guys, right..?" ::wink

With those parting words he soars skywards, his eufiber shifting from his casual jeans and t-shirt look to Blaze's signature skintight white and yellow suit, although still wearing his denim jacket over it. Quickly reaching the battling giants Blaze circles them once - cigarette still in his mouth - and shouts to the more human of the two

"Hey! Nippontai! Need a hand?"

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Boy Girl Wonder:

Leaping high & far Slither dives from the rooftops towards the fleeing Templar, the majestic grace of her aerobatics totally lost on all concerned due to her equally masterful talent for prowling... ::ninja Quickly woven Eufiber patagia-style wings aiding her already dead aim she rockets head-first towards the invisible armoured figure, at the last moment using the wings to turn & slam a dropkick into the back of the unsuspecting running man's shoulders...

... The Templar goes crashing down, face-first, to the street, as Slither herself flips smoothly backwards to land in a ready stance behind him - this part of the impressive maneuver The Stranger does get to witness... ::blink along with the spray from the puddle the cloaked Templar lands in which momentarily highlights his form...

Despite going down hard, the Templar recovers quickly, rolling to his feet so that he's facing Slither & The Stranger in a low, fighting, stance. As he rights himself the armoured man simultaneously de-activates the 'cloak', shimmering back into sight, as well as drawing & activating the rod-like 'flaming sword' which he holds easily in his right hand like the bastard child of a corrupted lightsabre... his left hand, meanwhile, slips behind his cape to bring out a small, distinctly 'grenade-ish' sphere: the motion is subtle, but both Slither & The Stranger are perceptive & quick-witted enough to notice the attempted legerdemain...

The Stranger moves without thought. Arms sliding behind him to retrieve the vitrium batons from his back, he leaps forward, immediately attacking the hand holding the grenade with one baton, trying to knock it away before it can be armed. His other hand readies to parry the Templar's sword if needed. At the same time, he barks at Slither. "Get clear!"

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Mean Streets:

Carla can't believe she pulled it off; for a fleeting second, she was sure she was dead, but then her body had performed, almost by reflex, the most amazing set of moves, and here she is unbruised and ready to go all night.

*Can it be I'm actually pretty darn good at this? Back in high school, my teachers always said I sold myself short.*

The Stranger moves without thought. Arms sliding behind him to retrieve the vitrium batons from his back, he leaps forward, immediately attacking the hand holding the grenade with one baton while readying to parry the Templar's sword if needed. At the same time, he barks at Slither. "Get clear!"

Aw jeez, is he trying to protect her now? Didn't he just see what she did, with the swooping and the thing? She's a badass, baby, and though she might be new to the whole 'fighting crime' thing, she is not going to cower behind some dumpster while Mr. Man saves the day. Slither takes a step back to give the Stranger a bit more room, but she isn't going anywhere.

"I've got you back, boss man, and I am not leaving this alley until we're done here."

She snaps her arms out, and ten wicked claws sprout from her fingertips.

"Let me know when you need to tap out."

"Too late to help, but I'm coming. Give me an intercept point, one of you. GPS coordinates, map or landmark-based."

Unsure of the range of her 'radiohead' capabilites, Carla does her best to respond to Ghost's request.

"I'm not quite sure where we are, but our boy is kinda busy right now; however, if you can read me and track a radio signal, I'm about to hum every Bon Jovi song I can think of until you show up."

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Terry approached the podium and eyed the journalists in front of him. The Count had pulled some strings for setting up this conference on such short notice. He’d even helped Terry with the speech. After his last stint in front of the cameras, the nova knew how spin doctors could manipulate the slightest details. Now he was dealing not only with Nippontai but with the much more formidable Masters Corporation.

The nova’s baritone voice filled the room as he talked to the assembled journalists.

“The world is a better place since 1997. Novas everywhere, with few exceptions, are doing their best to help. Project Clean Sweep in particular was a rousing success. The work of Bashan, Armstrong, Johanssen and Mindel helped back up the damage to the environment that over 150 years of industrialization caused to it.”

The handsome nova paused. So far nothing new had been revealed but the journalists were listening intently as they could feel the scoop coming up. A few old school journalists were furiously scribbling on their pads and some were only half listening as they got instructions from their home networks.

“Team Tomorrow has its limits, however.”

Now everyone was hanging on the novas words.

“Sometimes mankind does its damnedest to make a buck at the expense of people’s safety, the cleanliness of the environment and with little regard for unique life that may be found near exploitable sites.”

The nova’s dark eyes surveyed the faces in front of him as he continued, making eye contact with each of them. His preternatural charisma was infectious and the baselines were particularly vulnerable to his mesmerizing eyes and the inflections of his voice.

“A multi-national corporation recently built an underwater facility off the coast of Japan near some volcanic vents. I love Japan and its citizens, but historically the Japanese government has been very loose with its regulation of commercially or culturally desirable activities. Need I remind you that it was only a few years ago that you could find whale meat of protected species at the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market poached under a “scientific research” license? The underwater facility was similarly dubbed as a “research facility” but in truth this was a thin pretext for the collection of rare minerals from the ocean bed.”

The nova paused once more, then continued.

“I learned of this facility as someone informed me of the group called “Greenwar”’s intent to destroy the facility. A unique bio-system surrounds these volcanic vents and the station, as I have seen first hand, was destroying it. If only this was the only danger…”

Once again the nova paused for emphasis

“The facility was powered by an experimental fusion reactor designed to take in sea water and convert it to plasma energy. A simple failure of the reactor’s safety measures could trigger a reaction not unlike a nuclear explosion. Its position near the volcanic vents meant that such an explosion would almost certainly trigger catastrophic tidal waves and earthquakes for Japan and other local countries.”

The nova purses his lips for moment at the gravity of the news and his voice rumbles as he continues

“As luck would have it, I decided to accompany Greenwar’s operatives to make sure that everyone survived their “clean up” activities. Once I had rounded up all but one of the station’s workers, I opened up a portal to their surface ship and allowed them to escape. As I found the last crewmember he informed me that the reactor’s safety measures had indeed failed.”

“In his confusion the worker had understandably assumed that the failure was somehow connected to Greenwar’s presence on the station. However, since I had asked them to wait for me to evacuate the workers, they had yet to destroy anything other than a few bulkhead doors and some automated mining submersibles outside of the station, as the other crewmembers will confirm.”

“The plasma reaction was fast losing containment and the safety controls that the station’s designers had installed failed as they were placed so close to the core that they had melted. It was only through the concerted efforts of myself and other novas present that we managed to snuff out the reaction and bring the last crewmember to safety. It’s ironic that this catastrophic disaster was only averted by Greenwar’s timely intervention…Once the reaction was contained, the station was destroyed. I encourage you and any novas interested to verify this. The coordinates are: 29 degrees, 23 minutes, 5 point 61 seconds North and 133 degrees, 33 minutes and 5 point 60 seconds East.”

The Nova raises his left arm and a large black circle appears next to him. A spec in the middle quickly grows into a scene of destruction as some of the stations rubble is revealed, gently illuminated by the conference room light. Gasps and murmurs are heard from the journalists as they see first hand the underwater facility that was. ::blink

“I would also like to take this time to announce that I have registered my new name, Atlas, with Appellate Lexington. I will always be here to ensure that people don’t die needlessly, either from nova actions such as in Ibiza or from corporate greed such as in this case.”

*My name is Atlas, and I am the president*

The portal closes and the nova looks up and nods

“Thank you.”

As the journalists stand up and scream questions, a portal opens above Terry Atlas, in the cacophony, he rises through it.

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The Valley of Death:

Kneeling by the dead girl Vinnie is rudely interupted by the distinct sounds of New York's finest (finally) storming the building: he can hear them coming in the front, as well as the back & side entrances... He also gets a niggling feeling that The Gothic Knight isn't going to be far behind either... & he's not entirely convinced of the legality of his own presence (& equipment...). ::unsure

"I'm not quite sure where we are, but our boy is kinda busy right now; however, if you can read me and track a radio signal, I'm about to hum every Bon Jovi song I can think of until you show up."

The Ghost doesn't bother commenting on Slither's choice of beacon, but fixes her direction in his mind, estimating the distance based on signal strength, delay and how long she's been gone.

For a fraction of a second he considers setting Dee and the Zanzibar on fire as he leaves, but decides there are better ways to cover his tracks. He quickly shoulders his rifle and pulls out a heavy pistol loaded with armor piercing rounds. Leaning down over the dead girl he hoists her onto his shoulder in a fireman's grip and stands up [OOC: reattuning her in the process, if necessary], turning in the appropriate direction as he pictures his teleport target. As he fades out of the ruined theater he drops a couple of smoke grenades to delay the NYPD.

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Lending a Hand:

As Blaze zooms into the air Mike hears Heather murmur,

'Hmmm... he really should have some sort of Masters International logo on that outfit...' ::sly

"Hey! Nippontai! Need a hand?"

The Nippontai giant, Kyojin, appears to have Swarm in a headlock of some kind as he glances up at Blaze...

::blink

'Uh...' he begins, his voice booming & deep, '... that is okay, tiny American person... I think I have got it all under control...'

At that point Swarm disintegrates into the billions of tiny insects which make up his humungous form, scattering all across Kyojin & heading for the nearest terminal building...

Kyojin says something in Japanese which, by the tone, is most likely a profanity of some variety. Pushing himself to one knee he glances at the dispersed Swarm, then at Blaze,

'Please don't ignite any aviation fuel...' he says with a resigned sigh... ::sad

Streetfight:

"Get clear!"
"I've got you back, boss man, and I am not leaving this alley until we're done here... Let me know when you need to tap out."

The Stranger's baton lashes out even as the Templar's left hand comes out from under his cloak - striking the armoured man's guantleted wrist: an electronically distorted grunt of pain issues from the Templar's helmet as the metal sphere leaps from his hand & bounces... seemingly harmless... down the alley... The Templar swings the line of flame which is blade of his 'sword', but the attack is clumsy & wide, whistling over The Stranger's head.

Fast Exits:

The Ghost drops his smoke grenades & fades out just as NYPD SWAT (lots... maybe all... of them ::blink ) burst into the room - the laser light from their weapons' sights sweeping distinct crimson lines through the smoke... but finding no targets...

... at that same moment The Ghost materialises in the alley a few blocks away - a still-cooling Dee on his shoulder, & gun in hand - only to find The Stranger, twin batons in hands, going toe-to-toe with a flaming-sword wielding Templar, & a clawed Slither looking dangerous (but apparantly 'staying back' for the time being ::innocent ) behind him...

Glancing up at Vinnie's arrival the Templar's distorted voice manages to sound angry through the helmet,

'You sick bastard,' he declares, 'you let her die... slowly, & in agony... what sort of monster are you?' ::angry

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Lending a Hand:

As Blaze zooms into the air Mike hears Heather murmur,

'Hmmm... he really should have some sort of Masters International logo on that outfit...' ::sly

Mike looks back over his shoulder at Heather,

"Always on the clock, huh? ::sly "

At that point Swarm disintegrates into the billions of tiny insects which make up his humungous form, scattering all across Kyojin & heading for the nearest terminal building...

Kyojin says something in Japanese which, by the tone, is most likely a profanity of some variety. Pushing himself to one knee he glances at the dispersed Swarm, then at Blaze,

'Please don't ignite any aviation fuel...' he says with a resigned sigh... ::sad

Mike takes off his sportcoat and hands it to Heather,

"Wait here, we'll be back shortly..."

And takes off running after Blaze and the insect swarm...

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Glancing up at Vinnie's arrival the Templar's distorted voice manages to sound angry through the helmet,

'You sick bastard,' he declares, 'you let her die... slowly, & in agony... what sort of monster are you?' ::angry

"The angry sort." ::angry

The Ghost's reply is cold and calm in contrast to his words, pistol immediately raised and aimed at the templar's sword wielding hand. Not one to let the Stranger's mano a mano fight get in the way of a quick conclusion, he fires, hoping to disarm the goon.

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Streetfight:

The Stranger's baton lashes out even as the Templar's left hand comes out from under his cloak - striking the armoured man's guantleted wrist: an electronically distorted grunt of pain issues from the Templar's helmet as the metal sphere leaps from his hand & bounces... seemingly harmless... down the alley... The Templar swings the line of flame which is blade of his 'sword', but the attack is clumsy & wide, whistling over The Stranger's head.

*That's taken care of anyway. Now to deal with that sword.*

Fast Exits:

Glancing up at Vinnie's arrival the Templar's distorted voice manages to sound angry through the helmet,

'You sick bastard,' he declares, 'you let her die... slowly, & in agony... what sort of monster are you?' ::angry

*Damnit! You're not going out that easily.* Seeing Ghost raising his pistol in response, The Stranger acts quickly. Already ducked down from avoiding the Templar's swing, the vigilante keeps moving, swinging one leg in a wide arc to knock the armored man flat.

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American Eagle Party Campaign Headquarters, Washington:

The zip woman with the stupid, fake, grin looked up from the screen of the laptop at Glacier... John... She'd been running the fake ID Synapse had supplied him with, & (hard though it was to tell when everyone in the busy, busy, buzzing baseline hive of activity room had a similar fake grin plastered on as an expression) she seemed pleased,

'So, Mister Edward "Teddy" Snow from Dallas, Texas - taking politics & law at Boston I see. Well, good for you, Teddy - your OpNet site & papers supporting Senator Green's views & opinions are impressive indeed, & show a great deal of political maturity, if you don't mind me saying so. As long as you don't mind chipping in with the rest of the team, I think you'll be a great asset to us here.'

The woman, John guessed she was in her early forties, was dressed in a smart business-style suit, as were most of the staff & volunteers, & had a 'Vote Green' badge displayed prominantly on her lapel. Of course, John found himself in a smart (but not too expensive - 'struggling student eager to please' smart) suit with a similar badge on his lapel too, all courtesy of his friends at the Blackburn. The haircut had been a bit of a drag, but he was pretty sure it'd grow back when he went Glacier again - but for now it was neat & (above all) conservative - just the way the American Eagles liked things. The monkey was still talking at him...

'I'm sure we'll find something else for you to do soon, but every little helps, & every job is important: for now if you could get everyone's coffee orders that'd be great.' she smiles again, then stands & shakes John's hand, 'Welcome to the team Teddy!' she declares, then, calling for silence in the bustling room (& getting a lowering of volume, although those manning the phones keep doing what they're doing) she announces, with one hand on John's shoulder, 'Everyone - this is our latest volunteer: Teddy from Dallas; Teddy, this is everyone!' the response is a few half-hearted 'hi Teddy's before the baselines all return to their oh so important baseline tasks - like harassing other baselines with random unwanted phone calls, making up badges, photocopying leaflets, or stuffing envelopes... all in a great communal effort to elect a biggoted Nazi to the White House... go figure... ::rolleyes

Left to gather coffee orders from people who are so highly stressed they should probably never drink coffee again, John takes a moment to glance at the stairs to the back of the room which lead up to Green's personal office - there are two large, suited, gentlemen in dark glasses flanking the stairs, but John did see Green & his aide, Shelly Caspari, head up there just as he arrived himself. So far he's seen no sign of Corinna Gilbert...

Panthenon Productions Studios, Hollywood:

'Aaaannnnddd... cut! That's a wrap folks, good job, take five.' The director's proclaimation allowed everyone to release their collective held breaths, & sent people scurrying here & there across the set.

Stepping from the large four-poster bed which had been the focus of the shot the film's star actress, & producer, allowed a suitably obsequious assistant to approach her & add a black silk bathrobe to the fishnet stockings & torturously high heels which were her only other clothing, before walking with an elegant glide (despite the heels) across to her personalised chair, where she accepted a cocktail offered by another fawning assistant, & the mobile phone proffered by yet a third. After shooting two hours of hardcore pornographic footage, Narcosis appeared fresher, brighter, more glamourous & more radiant than any baseline woman would ever be able to achieve in her lifetime. Long raven hair, a slightly feline beauty, perfect figure, & somewhat vampish air combined into a ridiculously compelling package which few could resist. The director approached, stammering praises for the Nova actress's amazing performance, but she shooed him away, prefering to concentrate on the individual on the other end of the phone,

'Why yes, darling' Narcosis's voice was as compelling as her beauty, 'of course I'm interested in the Fabry boy... No, I dont think he's contracted to Masters - just that one film... Maybe not at first, but set up a face to face & I'll see what I can do to convince him... No, darling, move that to next week... No, not right now... No, I'm expecting a guest... Hmmm? No, I'm seeing him tomorrow... Today that Atlas fellow is dropping by...'

Passing the phone back to one of her faceless drones the media queen of the Teragen took a moment to glance round the studio, taking in the buzz of activity which would all contribute to the success of her latest (undoubtedly best-selling) film: more money for her, more recruits to the Teragen cause - glamour was power, & she knew she was glamour. She couldn't wait to see the drones reactions to one of Atlas's famous dramatic entrances... ::sly

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'Why yes, darling' Narcosis's voice was as compelling as her beauty, 'of course I'm interested in the Fabry boy... No, I dont think he's contracted to Masters - just that one film... Maybe not at first, but set up a face to face & I'll see what I can do to convince him... No, darling, move that to next week... No, not right now... No, I'm expecting a guest... Hmmm? No, I'm seeing him tomorrow... Today that Atlas fellow is dropping by...'

Passing the phone back to one of her faceless drones the media queen of the Teragen took a moment to glance round the studio, taking in the buzz of activity which would all contribute to the success of her latest (undoubtedly best-selling) film: more money for her, more recruits to the Teragen cause - glamour was power, & she knew she was glamour. She couldn't wait to see the drones reactions to one of Atlas's famous dramatic entrances... sly.gif

Terry Atlas didn't know what to think of Narcosis' invitation. She could be a most helpful ally or the worst of mistresses if any of the rumors were true. Still, when someone as renowned as Narcosis invites you over, the least you can do is show up.

The portal opened above the Hollywood sign. Atlas, eufiber morphed into a black jumpsuit, burst out of the portal, flying towards Panthenon Studios. Narcosis' minion had told him to look for the pool...it had been featured in more than one of Narcosis' films and was fairly easy to find if you knew to look for it. Flying to a point above it Atlas broke into a freefall. It didn't feel any different from when he normally flew but it sure looked impressive...and Pathfinder told him that Narcosis liked that kind of stuff.

Atlas' fall stopped suddenly above the pool and he stood there, arms crossed, looking at the workers as his jumpsuit morphed into a black business suit.

"I'm here to see Narcosis..." ::jaw

One of them, at least, managed to tell him where she was. The nova thanked him and floated in the direction indicated, doors opening and closing for him as he made his way to the "dark Queen" herself...

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The Nippontai giant, Kyojin, appears to have Swarm in a headlock of some kind as he glances up at Blaze...

::blink

'Uh...' he begins, his voice booming & deep, '... that is okay, tiny American person... I think I have got it all under control...'

Nathan shrugs as he hovers over the giant wrestlers, the cigarette smoke highlighted in the glow of his forcefield.

"Sure, if you say s..."

At that point Swarm disintegrates into the billions of tiny insects which make up his humungous form, scattering all across Kyojin & heading for the nearest terminal building...

::blink

"Whoa, that's just wrong..." Nathan mutters as the insects scatter.

Kyojin says something in Japanese which, by the tone, is most likely a profanity of some variety. Pushing himself to one knee he glances at the dispersed Swarm, then at Blaze,

'Please don't ignite any aviation fuel...' he says with a resigned sigh... ::sad

"Don't worry... I've never set fire to anything in my life..!" ::wink

With those less than reassuring words Blaze heads after the swarm of insects, the heat and flare of his glowing forcefield intensifying as he swoops down low enough to hear insect carapaces snap and crackle in the immolating plasma surrounding him. If that doesn't get Swarm's attention, he'll climb again, and fire a plasma bolt at the thickest concentration of insects, taking care to have the ground or some other safe background to take the surplus energy.

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Raise your flag

"Politics and law, yes." Glacier John agrees absently with the woman reading off his cover story. "I'm glad you enjoyed my work."

He runs his hand through his short-cropped blond hair. What an strange feeling, after growing it out for a year and a half. Almost as strange as, after weeks as a god among gods, being an ordinary monkey once again, left with these other monkeys to throw their shit at each other...

John grins widely at the room. "Who wants coffee?"

After getting orders from everyone in the room, John will go up to the two big men in suits in front of Green's office. "Either of you guys want anything?"

"What about the Senator?"

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Goddamn the Pusherman:

... at that same moment The Ghost materialises in the alley a few blocks away - a still-cooling Dee on his shoulder, & gun in hand - only to find The Stranger, twin batons in hands, going toe-to-toe with a flaming-sword wielding Templar, & a clawed Slither looking dangerous (but apparantly 'staying back' for the time being ::innocent ) behind him...

Glancing up at Vinnie's arrival the Templar's distorted voice manages to sound angry through the helmet,

'You sick bastard,' he declares, 'you let her die... slowly, & in agony... what sort of monster are you?' ::angry

"The angry sort."

Seeing Ghost cradling the demon girl, the bottom drops out of Slither's stomach, until the Templar makes his self-righteous comment, and now her gut is knotted with instant rage.

"You f@ckers get her hooked on the stuff, and now it's his fault that she died?! You are so goddamned dead!"

She waits for the first opening she gets, then drives a fist into his nearest kidney ::angry

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Bug Zappers:

"Wait here, we'll be back shortly..."

Jock background coming to the fore Mike sprints off after Blaze & Swarm, his super-keen senses picking up a trio of rather dreamy, appreciative, sighs from Heather, Emma, & the Masters International chauffeuse as they watch him go... ::blush

"Don't worry... I've never set fire to anything in my life..!"

Swooping down low over the massive swarm of insects Blaze is disappointed to not hear the customary crackle of roasted carapace, or to smell burnt bugs - the Quantum-charged little buggers which make up Swarm's mass seem to be a little tougher than your average ant under a magnifying glass... Deciding to try a rather more intense plasma bolt Blaze starts to rise...

... only to suffer a cruel reminder of why Swarm's an Elite with several Nova kills to his name: as Blaze begins to gain altitude the mass of bugs surges upwards, engulfing him with crushing force. Sprinting over Mike sees the bug swarm once more gain a semi-humanoid form, with the point where Blaze was engulfed forming Swarm's gigantic fist - a fist which is raised high into the air, then smashed, palm-down, into the airport tarmac with ground-shuddering impact! ::ohmy Continuing his fluid motion Swarm once more 'melts' into a dispersed mass as he carries on towards the airport terminal building, the trailing bugs finally flowing away to leave the bloody & broken figure of Blaze imbedded into a new crater in the runway...

[blaze is Incapacitated with Bashing damage, & Injured with Lethal damage]

Behind him Mike clearly hears Emma's fear-stricken scream in response to her man's fate...

Once more cursing under his breath in Japanese, Kyojin strides after the bug swarm, his giant footfalls shaking the ground as he goes...

Nearing the fallen Blaze Mike's super-keen senses pick up Heather's worried voice way behind him, back by the hyperjet,

'... Emma? What's... what's happening to you? Emma?' ::unsure

Glancing back Mike notes Heather backing away as a glint of highly reflective gold spreads rapidly across Emma's skin & solar-bright flames begin to flicker to life in her hair... ::devil

Three-on-One:

"The angry sort."
"You f@ckers get her hooked on the stuff, and now it's his fault that she died?! You are so goddamned dead!"

... Responding to the Templar's comments the three Novas leap to attack - all are amazingly quick to act, but The Stranger's reactions seem to be off the proverbial scale: his leg-sweep is incredibly fast... but even so, the Templar manages to leap above it & throw himself to one side as The Ghost's pistol barks out a shot which just manages to clip the armoured figure's gauntletted right hand. The bullet deflects off the dark armour, leaving a few spider-web cracks in the plate it struck, but even so the Templar grunts in pain as the flaming sword drops from his hand, retracting into rod-form as it does so, & skitters across the alley.

Seizing her chance as the Templar rolls out of his dive into a crouch, Slither darts forward, expertly slamming her fist past his attempted block & into where the man's kidneys should be... however, his armour proves to get the better of her knuckles & the man doesn't even flinch (while Slither feels like she's just punched a brick wall).

Rubbing his right wrist with his left hand the Templar slowly backs away from the three Novas, his gaze shifting between them. For a moment the 'cloaking effect' starts to once more wash across the man's armour, but then electrical sparks pop from the damaged gauntlet & the outfit returns to matt black. The Templar utters a quiet curse through the electronic distortion of his high-tech helmet...

Hurray for Hooolllly-woood!:

Massive double-doors sliding open at a thought, floating imperiously above the ground, Atlas hardly notices the baselines scurrying out of his way... or just gaping at his entrance... as he drifts towards the figure seated, like a queen bee, at the centre of the buzzing hive of activity which is a Hollywood film studio: reports of Narcosis's beauty have definitly not been exagerrated. Unable to focus anywhere else Terry drinks in the sight of the raven-haired, vampish, figure seated before him, clad in nothing but fishnets, high-heels, & a brief black-silk robe which leaves just enough to the imagination to cause a man to crave more... ::drool

Smiling as Atlas approaches, Narcosis finally stands & offers him her hand - as she does so one of her many minions hurries to bring over a second seat for her guest, but such small details are nothing but skimmed footnotes of perception in relation to the palpable aura of sexual magnetism the hostess herself radiates. Sitting, & indicating that Terry should do likewise, Narcosis greets him, her voice honeyed purity with just the right promise of hedonistic depravity lurking beneath the surface,

'Atlas, darling,' she begins, her dark eyes catching Terry's gaze & threatening to drown him in fantasies from his darkest desires, 'so good of you to visit me. I do like to get to know all our clients, to make sure that their every wish is catered too... Tell me, darling, is their any service you can think of which I haven't yet provided?' ::sly

Coffee Run:

John's suggestion of dark liquid sustenance meets with great approval by the haggard campaign workers of the American Eagle party, & he soon has a long list of orders...

"Either of you guys want anything? What about the Senator?"

Both bodguards happily place orders, then one disappears up the stairs, returning with three additional orders - suggesting that the senator has at least two guests with him...

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Three-on-One:

... Responding to the Templar's comments the three Novas leap to attack - all are amazingly quick to act, but The Stranger's reactions seem to be off the proverbial scale: his leg-sweep is incredibly fast... but even so, the Templar manages to leap above it & throw himself to one side as The Ghost's pistol barks out a shot which just manages to clip the armoured figure's gauntletted right hand. The bullet deflects off the dark armour, leaving a few spider-web cracks in the plate it struck, but even so the Templar grunts in pain as the flaming sword drops from his hand, retracting into rod-form as it does so, & skitters across the alley.

Seizing her chance as the Templar rolls out of his dive into a crouch, Slither darts forward, expertly slamming her fist past his attempted block & into where the man's kidneys should be... however, his armour proves to get the better of her knuckles & the man doesn't even flinch (while Slither feels like she's just punched a brick wall).

Rubbing his right wrist with his left hand the Templar slowly backs away from the three Novas, his gaze shifting between them. For a moment the 'cloaking effect' starts to once more wash across the man's armour, but then electrical sparks pop from the damaged gauntlet & the outfit returns to matt black. The Templar utters a quiet curse through the electronic distortion of his high-tech helmet...

Jesus f@ck, that hurt! Shaking the feeling back into her hand, Slither is nonetheless happy to see that Ghost took the cowardly weasel's stealth tech offline. Smiling her most evil smile, she poses with hands on her shapely hips.

"Buddy, you have royally pissed off three people you really shouldn't have, and now you can't even hide from us; I think these two want you alive, but I just want to rip out your heart and drink it in a smoothie. You think you can take us all out, champ?"

There's a weird bitter taste in her mouth, and she feels a sudden strong desire to bite his f@cking throat...::unsure

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Three-on-One:

Rubbing his right wrist with his left hand the Templar slowly backs away from the three Novas, his gaze shifting between them. For a moment the 'cloaking effect' starts to once more wash across the man's armour, but then electrical sparks pop from the damaged gauntlet & the outfit returns to matt black. The Templar utters a quiet curse through the electronic distortion of his high-tech helmet...

Smiling grimly, The Stranger reaches down to his belt, switching on the multi-frequency jammer he'd brought along. "He's not going anywhere."

Moving just slightly forward, his right leg suddenly snaps out, aiming for the Templar's knee...and with all the force he can muster behind it.

((Crush on, also spending WP for at least 1 succ to hit))

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Where baseline morals have no meaning...

Smiling as Atlas approaches, Narcosis finally stands & offers him her hand - as she does so one of her many minions hurries to bring over a second seat for her guest, but such small details are nothing but skimmed footnotes of perception in relation to the palpable aura of sexual magnetism the hostess herself radiates. Sitting, & indicating that Terry should do likewise, Narcosis greets him, her voice honeyed purity with just the right promise of hedonistic depravity lurking beneath the surface,

Atlas smiles as he sits cross legged in the chair and straitens out his tie.

'Atlas, darling,' she begins, her dark eyes catching Terry's gaze & threatening to drown him in fantasies from his darkest desires, 'so good of you to visit me. I do like to get to know all our clients, to make sure that their every wish is catered too... Tell me, darling, is their any service you can think of which I haven't yet provided?' sly.gif

Terry's mouth drop open as if to say something only to close it again...finally the words come out pleasantly enough as he eyes the nova goddess up and down.

"Y'know, if you don't have plans, I could really use a blow job while I think of something..."

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XXX:

"Y'know, if you don't have plans, I could really use a blow job while I think of something..."

Narcosis's smile widens & eyes narrow in response to Terry's request. Leaning towards her guest, revealing a little more tantalising glimpse of cleavage as she does so, she places one hand firmly on Terry's thigh, & moistens her lips with her tongue,

'I evoke that sort of... desire... all the time, darling - but few are as brutally honest about it as you are. PathFinder's pathological truthfulness rubbing off, hmm? Still...' one graceful eyebrow arcs as the fingers on Terry's thigh tighten slightly; Narcosis leans even closer, her voice dropping to a husky whisper as her lips brush Terry's ear with the lightest of caresses, '... I'll happily indulge you, if you're willing for the footage to be used in my next film...' ::sly

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XXX

Narcosis's smile widens & eyes narrow in response to Terry's request. Leaning towards her guest, revealing a little more tantalising glimpse of cleavage as she does so, she places one hand firmly on Terry's thigh, & moistens her lips with her tongue,

'I evoke that sort of... desire... all the time, darling - but few are as brutally honest about it as you are. PathFinder's pathological truthfulness rubbing off, hmm? Still...' one graceful eyebrow arcs as the fingers on Terry's thigh tighten slightly; Narcosis leans even closer, her voice dropping to a husky whisper as her lips brush Terry's ear with the lightest of caresses, '... I'll happily indulge you, if you're willing for the footage to be used in my next film...' ::sly

Terry smiles

"Gladly...As long as there are no drugs or killings in it or anything that according to the PR reps can tarnish my "good" bad boy image with Pandemonium...You can have my face in your next movie in exchange for your...friendship"

The dark eyed nova took the goddesses chin in his hand and turned it gently until their eyes met. Even Atlas, master of gravitic forces, couldn't restrain the nova's physiological fight against them...

"You've undoubtedly seen my latest press junket...that sub station belonged to Masters. If I'm to attract some talent and make a name for myself, I'll need all the help I can get fighting his press monkeys."

His eyes fluttered down to her lips and back again as his hand makes its way behind her neck

"Will you help me, Narcosis?" ::sweetlove

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... In The Act:

"Gladly...As long as there are no drugs or killings in it or anything that according to the PR reps can tarnish my "good" bad boy image with Pandemonium...You can have my face in your next movie in exchange for your...friendship"

Narcosis pouts a little,

'I was hoping for a little more than your face, darling...' ::devil

"You've undoubtedly seen my latest press junket...that sub station belonged to Masters. If I'm to attract some talent and make a name for myself, I'll need all the help I can get fighting his press monkeys... Will you help me, Narcosis?"

As Terry's hand touches Narcosis's chin, then moves to the back of her head, she gracefully slips from her chair to kneel in front of him, her deep, dark, eyes fixed on his. Her fingertips sensuously run from Atlas's thighs up across his abdomen, then down to trace the outline of his arousal as she slowly moves the tip of her tongue over her slightly parted, inviting, lips & waits for his eufiber to get then hint... ::blush

Senses focused tightly on the woman kneeling before him, & the promises of pleasure she represents, Terry hardly notices the film crew efficiently moving into position & setting up to capture the scene... On the other hand, despite the allure of Narcosis, he can't fail to note the familiar glowing disc which manifests in the air behind the kneeling Terat moments before PathFinder steps through...

::unsure

PathFinder's perfect, pale skinned, slender form is clad in little more than a white string bikini & a wrap-skirt in a bright 'Hawaiian' flower design; she's also barefoot, & Terry glimpses a tropical beach scene through her rapidly shrinking warp just before it closes & vanishes. Tossing her flowing white hair PathFinder stands with her fists on her hips, casts her all-white eyes down at Narcosis, then fixes Terry with an intense stare... for the first time in a long time Atlas finds that he can't hear his lover's thoughts... ::angry

... After a few taut moments PathFinder closes her eyes & turns her face away, brushing aside a tear as she does so. Then she shakes her head, takes a deep breath, & looks back at Terry & Narcosis...

'Go ahead,' she murmurs, then repeats, more clearly, 'go ahead.'

Once more she fixes Terry with an intense stare, & her thoughts find their way to his mind...

*I... I need to experience this... The things I feel for you Terry... Atlas... are mired by the remants of my baseline self. If I am to explore my evolved potential, to grow as a Nova, I can't just blindly react to emotion. I have to step back from that baseline instinct, to seek not my own petty reactions, but to embrace the universal truth of the situation. I have to share the experience as you, as she... as all of them...* she waves a hand towards the goggle-eyed baselines surrounding them *... experience it. One point of view may be pure, but can it be truth?* A (somewhat forced) smile touches PathFinder's lips as she (mentally) adds *You challenge me to explore beyond what I am, Atlas... thankyou...*

The kneeling Narcosis glances back at PathFinder, then looks up at Terry, eyebrow arched in silent questioning - should she continue?

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Going-fer

'...and an iced latte, and a frappuccino, and another latte, and an iced coffee and a hot chocolate.'

John sighs and coughs up $30 or so to cover the Brown campaign's daily coffee fund. I hope I can get reimbursed for this...

He returns to the campaign office, Steadily balancing several recycled coffee-holders on top of one another. He serves the security guards first, not bothering to ask if he could deliver them personally to Green and get a look around his office - after all, even if they let him, it would just go to show there was nothing there worth seeing.

Besides, this was a public office - not exactly prime real estate for hiding one's secret druggie nova slave. John feels the muscles in his hands tighten, as though to make a fist.

He hands out the rest of the coffee and behaves himself. Geryon did mention this part of the mission might take some patience...

I miss Eel.

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The Waiting Game:

It's about an hour & a half after John's coffee run when Shelly Caspari, Green's aide, walks down the stairs & heads out of the office. By this point John's been put on the phone lines - charged with the task of calling every zip in his assigned section of the phonebook & reading election-related leading questions at them from the set script in the folder in front of him (for those who don't just hang up on him he's also got a cross-indexed list of stock answers to typical questions), from there he's meant to enter the relevant answers & data into a computer. Basically it all seems designed to get the monkey on the other end of the phone to agree to a load of questions no zip would disagree with ('do you love your family?' 'are you a patriot?' 'do you hate terrorists?', etc.) until they end up agreeing with the final suggestion that they vote for Green, as if that was the only logical choice for a right-thinking US citizen to make. It's all so phoney & contrived John wonders how the baseline masses, time & time again, fail to see through such pathetically simple psychological trickery... probably because most of them are too lazy to think for themselves... maybe they like to be told what to think, maybe it makes them feel safe? The urge to just go Glacier & rip the place into the shreds it deserves to be is growing by the moment... but, perhaps luckily (despite Eel's opinions on such things), the bear is a lot easier to keep chained when John's dormed... In any case, the appearance & exit of Caspari is, for John, a welcome return to his real mission...

Caspari is a slender, long-legged, & attractive young brunette woman in her late twenties, dressed in an impeccable charcoal grey lady's business suit, with the skirt ending high enough above the knee to accentuate her toned legs, but not so high as to appear scandalous - all in all a pretty calculated appearance. Her hair is pulled back into a neat ponytail, & the slim glasses perched on her nose do little to detract from her high cheekbones, fine features, & dark eyes. Briefcase in hand as she strides from the campaign offices she appears the very image of a successful, independent, businesswoman or lawyer (or, maybe, a really hot teacher... ::blush )... John, however, recalls that Synapse's files noted Caspari was probably Green's closest confidant, & worth observing as a potential source of information...

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Bug Zappers:

... Continuing his fluid motion Swarm once more 'melts' into a dispersed mass as he carries on towards the airport terminal building, the trailing bugs finally flowing away to leave the bloody & broken figure of Blaze imbedded into a new crater in the runway...

[blaze is Incapacitated with Bashing damage, & Injured with Lethal damage]

Behind him Mike clearly hears Emma's fear-stricken scream in response to her man's fate...

Once more cursing under his breath in Japanese, Kyojin strides after the bug swarm, his giant footfalls shaking the ground as he goes...

Nearing the fallen Blaze Mike's super-keen senses pick up Heather's worried voice way behind him, back by the hyperjet,

'... Emma? What's... what's happening to you? Emma?' ::unsure

Glancing back Mike notes Heather backing away as a glint of highly reflective gold spreads rapidly across Emma's skin & solar-bright flames begin to flicker to life in her hair... ::devil

"F*CK!"

Turning back towards Swarm, Mike thinks quickly, then concentrates. The ground beneath and around the Swarm of bugs erupts, walls of earth shooting up from all sides and joining a few feet above the ground to form a dome to encapsulate the Elite.

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Swooping down low over the massive swarm of insects Blaze is disappointed to not hear the customary crackle of roasted carapace, or to smell burnt bugs - the Quantum-charged little buggers which make up Swarm's mass seem to be a little tougher than your average ant under a magnifying glass... Deciding to try a rather more intense plasma bolt Blaze starts to rise...

... only to suffer a cruel reminder of why Swarm's an Elite with several Nova kills to his name: as Blaze begins to gain altitude the mass of bugs surges upwards, engulfing him with crushing force. Sprinting over Mike sees the bug swarm once more gain a semi-humanoid form, with the point where Blaze was engulfed forming Swarm's gigantic fist - a fist which is raised high into the air, then smashed, palm-down, into the airport tarmac with ground-shuddering impact! ::ohmy Continuing his fluid motion Swarm once more 'melts' into a dispersed mass as he carries on towards the airport terminal building, the trailing bugs finally flowing away to leave the bloody & broken figure of Blaze imbedded into a new crater in the runway...

As Blaze falls to the ground, only the rapidly pulsing light pouring from every wound and slowly starting to close them up show any sign of life. He fights to stay conscious, but has no chance to fight the tremendous force of Swarm's attack. He probably doesn't even have the chance to think 'Not again... ::rolleyes '

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"Buddy, you have royally pissed off three people you really shouldn't have, and now you can't even hide from us; I think these two want you alive, but I just want to rip out your heart and drink it in a smoothie. You think you can take us all out, champ?"

Smiling grimly, The Stranger reaches down to his belt, switching on the multi-frequency jammer he'd brought along. "He's not going anywhere."

"Make that one." Ghost states grimly in response to Slither's comment, straightening up and covering the disarmed Templar as he lets The Stranger do the dirty work. Should the templar draw another weapon, he'll do his best to disarm him again. Otherwise he won't interrupt unless the Stranger looks like he's in real trouble.

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Stepping out

Briefcase in hand as she strides from the campaign offices she appears the very image of a successful, independent, businesswoman or lawyer (or, maybe, a really hot teacher... blush.gif )... John, however, recalls that Synapse's files noted Caspari was probably Green's closest confidant, & worth observing as a potential source of information...

John watches as Caspari exits the building and thinks, Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

'I suppose that my biggest hang-up with the American Eagle party has to do with certain anti-nova social policies that it espouses. For example, do you-'

'Well, I'm sorry you feel that way,' John says quickly. 'Please think of us this November.'

He hangs up and strides out the door after Caspari, and tries to catch up with her on the street.

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