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Reanimated: » Games » Project Angel » Issues » Issue 1: March of Mephisto

Issue 1: March of Mephisto

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126 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 23rd January 2012, 23:50

Soft music drifted in the background as Tatiana walked through to the table on the balcony. Yet neither the vista nor Vivaldi held her attention as would normally be the case. Her mind was on other things at the moment and while she appeared focused on the information she had recently acquired, her 'other' senses reached out to bring her more. She was so close to the solution now, her contacts and unique talents had helped her piece together the clues, but there was something still missing, a final piece that would explain Kimiko's mysterious disappearance.

Soft brown eyes flashed open to stare angrily into emptiness. Kimiko had just been named First violin, a position she had sought for the last three years, who ever had orchestrated her abduction had known little about her. No one just leaves town after getting their dream job, regardless what the evidence suggested.

Tatiana cared little why they did it, only that they did. Kimiko was a kindred spirit, and her ability to create music was unrivaled in their field. Tatiana could be very protective of those who share her passions and understand how powerful music can be. She rose and walked to the balcony's edge, sipping at her tea. A soft breeze ruffled her hair, and a smile played along her lips.

"Found you," she whispered, "it's time to learn not to mess with what's mine sobaka!"

Closing her eyes for a moment she frowned, something subtle had changed. She could feel it in the air, something was happening and things were going to get interesting. She turned her attention to the weather, small subtle changes were needed now if she is going to get the desired effect. On a small screen she saw the weather correspondent report on the mild front moving in. Laughing she walked back into the apartment to finish preparing.

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127 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 24th January 2012, 00:36

Richard followed Mark back down into the garage and his to his equipment stores, looking back over his shoulder to Jenny, "Yeah we make a right pair, but not very convincing unfortunately and tonight we're going to want to be subtle... at least for a while. I can probably find you some things that might work if Mark's stores are as good as he says."

At this Jenny looks thoughfuly for a couple of seconds longer than he was comfortable with, he was begining to think of reading her thoughts but she interupted that train of thought before it could head anywhere, "What do we have to take along anyway? Aren’t our powers enough?”

"Well your's might be more than enough and very impressive I might say but for us merely mortal folk we need some tools of the trade. And that my dear is my speciality..." Richards eyes light up as Mark cracks open a steel reinforced blast door onto an armoury out of Richard's Dreams. "Yes Mark this will definitely do nicely..." Richard said absent mindedly as he picked up and examined pistol after pistol from the rack on the wall. Finally settling on two matt black weapons that seemed oddly shaped for regular pistols. He also added a small handful of micro grenades, flash-bangs and a couple of small blocks of what looked like plasticine but was in fact a type of Thermite demolition charge and some remote detonators. At a quizzical look from Jenny, Richard relented and explained, "you can't always be where you want the 'accidents' to happen. Hey Mark, how about those fatigues, do you have them pretty young woman size as well by any chance? And I at least would appreciate a micro parachute on the off chance we can't get to their emergency supplies on board, or heaven forbid we get separated, you got any?" at that moment Dirk appeared behind Mark in the door to the Armoury, "You still got any of those X-ray sunglasses?"

"X-Ray sunglasses? Nice, but better than that do you have any night-vision ones preferably with flash suppression? If they also come with X-Ray vision and a fashionable finish that's a bonus! Dirk I picked up some things you might want to double up on with me, flash-bangs and the micro-chute in case of emergency... unless you can fly inside that glow of yours?"

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128 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 25th January 2012, 23:20

Only when Dirk spoke behind him did Mark stir from his day dream. He took a deep breath and stepped across the threshold of the armoury, trying not to look at Jenny. There were numerous drawers under the benches. Mark gave one of them a slight tap and it slid out noiselessly, displaying several rows of sunglasses.

“They’re not exactly x-ray glasses, they actually have an infra-red filter that can be activated by the small switch here. I think these pairs on the right hand side have a night-vision filter built in.”

Moving to a wall rack Mark took down a bandolier and tossed it to Richard.

“Parachutes plus the pack has a few handy pockets, and doubles as a bandolier. Designed to work in below freezing temperatures. They’ll stand a good bit of heat, but probably nothing excessive. They’ve also got a small built in air supply if required. As for fatigues…” Mark proceeded to kneel down under one of the desks that had sliding doors rather than shelves. From it he pulled numerous shoe-box sized cases. Talking his way through the armour was calming him down. Mark began to talk and act like his old self.

“Something I managed to ‘acquire’ a lot off before PHMA cracked down on it. I remember when you could practically buy this stuff off the shelf. Mega-mesh they called it. It’s outmoded now but still good for a job. Sturdy, offers some protection from guns and blades, and designed to cope with super-powers. I haven’t sorted through these boxes so I’ve no idea if there’s anything suitable in there.” He continually tossed the boxes onto the table where they more than covered the surface.

“I see you’ve already found the grenades. At least the standard ones. There’s also some EMP and stun versions hear as well.” Mark began going from drawer to drawer, talking as he went. First small palm sized disks, then large bulky pistols, then what resembled orb web-cams with 3 small jets.

“Force field generators. They can provide a small shield for about fifteen minutes, or a dome for about five. Depends on how much damage they take however. Grappling hooks, I swear by them. Never know when they’ll come in handy. Mini Spy drones. Remote controlled and cloaked, could be very useful. There’s a selection of close combat weapons there if you’re into those sorta things, plus normal and concealed holster for them and the guns. I think I may even have some different ammo types in the safe.”

Mark opened the safe and stepped back surveying the armoury. He muttered to himself under his breath.
“Hmm, I’m sure I had a L.A.W. launcher around here somewhere. Is it in the other… Ah, no. I used it to fix the plumbing.”

From behind Dirk walk up and tried to speak.

“Mark…” That was as far as he got.

“Ok Dirk, I don’t know what you’ve been up to for the past ten years, but this is going to be very different. This is breaking in, without any evidence, into high top security. If you get caught there’s no way you are going to remain a free man. At the very least try and make sure there’s no record of you being up on the bloody thing. And the base itself is pretty unstable. The power output required is insane and needs to be constantly regulated. If the power plant is even slightly damaged it’s going to fall out of the sky.”

“And...” Mark paused then pulled Dirk slightly out of the armoury out of earshot of the others, “I know that you’ve got reasons for going to Futura, Kid. Be bloody careful! I’m not going to say don’t go, but remember what happened at the hospital. Try and keep a clear head no matter what happens.”

“One last thing.” He plucked the pizza menu out of Dirks hand. “Don’t worry about your kids, I’ll look after them.”


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129 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 26th January 2012, 00:11

Jenny had barely listed to all the guns, weapon and other equipment talk. She truly thought all she need were her powers and something to wear. She went through the boxes with clothes. No one even noticed that she had found something, went away to get changed and came back liking her new outfit a lot. When she came back in the armoury she still didn’t really said anything. She saw Mark talk with Dirk and she tried to tell herself that she didn’t care that Mark seemed to be more concerned about Dirk than about her, but the truth was she cared a lot. She picked up one of the sunglasses

“So you can’t look with those glasses through my clothes?”


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130 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 29th January 2012, 22:07

Maeglin

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Dirk followed Mark through the armory, alternately picking up a useful item here and trying to get a word in edgewise there. It was clear enough Mark was on a roll, and nervous at that, so Dirk didn't bother trying to stop him. Jenny went away to change and came back wearing an outfit which--well, let's just say Dirk's instinctive reaction was something along the lines of I certainly wouldn't ever let my daughter out wearing that! but Mark hardly noticed her (or in any case seemed to be avoiding her).

But okay, first things first.

"Mark," Dirk said. "I--I know. Thanks for looking after me--you know, always. I've always appreciated it. No matter what you might think now, you've always been an excellent father," Dirk had meant to him, but he couldn't help a glance at Jenny, "despite extenuating circumstances," he added. "Anyway, thanks. And I'll be careful, and I'll try to figure out that clear-head thing, but...those kids need their mother back, so I'm going to do everything in my power to get her back." He sighed, grabbed one of the suits. "Guess I'll take one of these. You sure you won't change your mind and come with us?"

Mark looked, pained, at Jennifer. He didn't need to say anything.

"Okay, no problem. I'll keep talking to her. I think she'll come around. It's hard for everyone, but time will heal all--"

"Kid, you're doing it again."

"Oh. Yeah, sorry. Okay." Mark was easily annoyed by his tendency to wax heroic-poetic and speak in cliches. So Dirk said his last piece, which he had to blurt out quickly before Mark could interrupt him: "If something goes wrong, I left the kids' grandmother's number, you can contact her. Annie gets cranky if she doesn't get to bed before nine, and Alex is allergic to tomatoes so you'll need to get at least one white pizza, and Scott has make-up work in his backpack he needs to finish tonight. I'm going to go get changed."

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131 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 15th February 2012, 22:19

((OOC: Sorry, not really worth the wait I know))

“How can a kid be allergic to tomatoes of all things?” Mark muttered to himself.

He looked around the armoury. They all seemed ready to go out, equipped and suited up. Mark bit down hard before ‘You aren’t going to go outside wearing THAT!’ slipped out of his mouth. Followed by a small yelp as he bit his tongue.

Needing something to steady his nerves, Mark headed to the fridge at the back of the armoury where the emergency supply was kept. It was empty. Moving back to the kitchen the main fridge was also suspiciously clear of alcohol. He’d need to remember to stock up some time. But if he was going to keep an eye on Dirks kids, it would be best to remain sober.

A sudden worrying though stuck Mark, and he hurtled to where the kid were, to be met with surprised glances. Thankfully, there were no suspicion empty bottles nearby. Then Mark remember these were Dirk’s kids, they wouldn’t do anything wrong if their life depended on it.

“Mark, what are you doing?” came Dirk’s voice from below.

“Erm, making sure the kids haddn’t stumbled across the electro-pulson-ray-manipulator I put down around here.” Sure it was a bad lie, but better than ‘I thought your kids had nicked my booze!’

With preparations complete, the group headed out the door. Mark came to see them off, as the kids watched from the floor above, waving goodbye to their dad. As Renegade moved to exit Mark caught him by the arm.

“Can you really get them all up to the base?”

“Shouldn’t be too difficult. Provided we aren’t seen.”

“And if you are?” Renegade’s only answer was a small shrug.

“If you don’t bring them all back I will come after you,” Mark hissed as a warning. Renegade smiled and clapped a friendly hand on Marks shoulder.

“Don’t worry Steelman. I’ll watch their backs.” Renegade stepped out into the dark, leaving Mark even more shaken than before.


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132 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 19th February 2012, 20:48

"Do you have what I ordered?" Tatiana asked as she entered the small office.

Surprised the small man jumped. "Oh Ms Tempest...your order?" He glanced about the room appearing momentarily confused. "...yes of course. I have it in your case over here," He wandered over to a locked filing cabinet, opening it he removed a small black case and placed it before Tatiana. "everything you asked for."

"Any problems?" Tatiana opened the case and scanned its contents satisfied she closed it again. A small thrill of excitement sent a shiver down her spine and it took a moment for her to regain control of her emotions.

"A few strange looks I suppose," he shrugged, "nothing too difficult for me to source."

His voice shone with pride and Tatiana had to refrain from smiling. "This is perfect."

A frown creased his forehead as he sat down once more. "I do not mean to pry Ms Tempest, you know I am the very soul of discretion, but I do worry that you may be considering something rather dangerous and I wanted to make sure you knew what you were doing. You are a valued client."

Tatiana didn't repress the smile this time, she could sense his genuine concern for her wellbeing. "Mr Whyte, I do not doubt your integrity and appreciate your concern. I want you to be reassured I am doing nothing I consider a risk or beyond myself. I will be careful." She thanked him once more and bid him farewell before leaving with her case. Mr Whyte watched her leave, his frown still marring his expression. He then lifted his phone and punched in a number.

"Могу я поговорить с миссис Ромашкова?"

A couple of moments later a woman's voice came on the phone, "Mr Whyte?" It asked in Russian.

"Yes ma'am, I have just spoken with her." He replied.

"And your opinion?" The woman asked, there was a sharp edge to his voice.

"She's up to something and its probably dangerous." Mr Whyte explained.

The silence on the other end of the line became frosty, "How dangerous?"

"She's still in control, I'm not worried at this point..."Mr Whyte paused, "There is something happening. Things are stable for the time being but I would advise caution and suggest we continue to monitor the situation."

"Very well, we will proceed as you have advised but I wish to know if the situation changes at all." With that the line went dead.

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133 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 23rd February 2012, 21:56

Maeglin

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It made him more than a little uncomfortable trusting his life to a man who liked holding hostages in hospitals, but for one thing, Mark at least half-trusted him, and for a second thing, they didn't exactly have any other choice.

Anyway, if worse came to worse, if he strained himself, he could probably create a bubble around the three of them strong enough so they at least wouldn't die...

He smiled softly at Jenny, who attempted a smile back, before Renegade lifted them into the air. It was a strange sensation, and Dirk wasn't sure he liked it, but it worked.

Their speed was slow but controlled, so the trip up took a long time--though it made sense once he thought about it--and they arrived at their destination almost an hour later. The complex wasn't as majestic as he imagined it (Cloud City from Empire?)--but was really more of a bulky, impossible profanity in the sky--especially approached from this direction. As much as he hated the place, however, he hated the floating even more, and was glad when his feet touched the platform.

"All right," Dirk said. "Let's split up and look around. Jenny, come with me? I think these suits--ah, yes--have comms in them. No casualties, not until the last resort, anyway. And be careful."

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134 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 27th February 2012, 14:28

Jenny smiled, this was fun for her, and after all she could heal herself from injuries normal people die. It made her reckless in the past, but this was different this wasn’t because she was trying to get hurt to feel alive. She felt more alive than she ever did in the past ten year and for once she wasn’t bleeding.

“I should really learn to fly, it should be possible when I’m on fire that I can fly.” Jenny mumbled while she followed Dirk. Jenny bit her lip she was still trying to figure out what her past really was like. She wished they had time to sit down and she could ask Dirk about every memory she has, but they didn’t have time.
Suddenly she held Dirk by his arm and pointed at the camera in the corner ahead of them. She grinned. “Have a look what I can do.”

She created a hot spot the air was glimmering like on a hot summer day.

“The camera won’t be able to see us now. I did this trick a hundred of times.” Jenny let go of Dirks arm, passed the camera and turned around to Dirk. “See no one saw me.”

“Wait you did this before?”

“Oh, um yeah kind of, that’s a very long story. But hey you said Mark is glad to have me back right? So why is he so mad at me?” Jenny hoped she would distract Dirk, she didn’t feel like telling him about her career as an illegal street racer. It wasn’t something she should tell him a few hours after they met again.


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135 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 3rd March 2012, 17:00

Tightening her control over her emotions, Tatiana held the excitement of gliding through the air in check. She felt the air around her respond to her joy as she soared into the next cloud bank. She needed to be in complete control before she took the next step, for while she had planned and was a prepared as she could be, her next step was nothing short of reckless. She did not enjoy taking unnecessary risks, yet sometimes they proved the most profitable offer.

Once she reached the correct altitude she closed her eyes and focused on the air around her, awakening the storm she had simmering. At once she felt the air pressure change as thunder roared into life below her and rain began. Tatiana drew another separate air stream to keep her glider steady. Under cover of the storm she silently approached the air base. Once in sight of one of the exterior entrances she prepared to abandoned the glider and summoned the air below to slow her fall when she jumped. Taking a steadying breath she detatched the safety lines and felt a moments panic as she began to fall. After a moments panic she gathered the winds she had prepared and safely drifted to the airbase. Once she landed she found an opening and managed to gain admittance. Once inside she activated the few devices she had purchased earlier and began her search. Her technology should keep the cameras from finding her, the rest was up to Tatiana. Closing her eyes and pushing control of the storm to the back of her mind she sought out the emotions drifting through the ship and focused on any close to her and avoiding them until. Hopefully she would find what she was looking for and be out before anyone noticed. Providing luck was with her.

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136 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 15th May 2012, 22:34

“Director Savage?”

The younger man knocked as he opened the door. From behind the desk, eerily lit by the red glow from the walls, the older Director Savage looked up.

“Ah yes, the reports from the hospital incident?”

“Yes Sir.” The younger man handed over a brown file, marked with a globe crowned by an eye, flanked a pair of angel-like wings. Savage flicked through the preliminary reports, then reached a series of sheets with personal details.

“Renegade? That slippery bastard. Where has he been hiding these last ten years. Once the immediate crisis is over put out priority tracking on him. I still think there is more to him than meets the eye.”

“Well, well, well. That is interesting. Make sure Cannon is sent to us, and ensure he remains unconscious this time. With luck we will be able to do some examination of his Inhibitor crystal. Any progress on locating a possible telepath or mystic behind the breakdowns?”

“No sir, both Blue and Red systems have ran all the files. Whoever it is has so far remained off our records.”

“That’s not a failure of our system, new Post-humans are born every day, and you more than anyone should know how difficult telepaths are to detect.” The younger man refused to meet the Director’s eyes.

“Let’s see. Ah, so Mr Steelman has resurfaced. We never brought in Mark Wilson, correct?”

“No sir, his demonstrated abilities were below our target threshold.”

“Hmm, if he continues living much long we may have to re-assess that. For now no action.” Returning the sheet to the folder Savage pulled up the next. “And Wilson has found his old protégé. Why was Dirk Rogers never taken in for Assessment?”

“Risk of exposure during his manifestation years, then he became a High Profile target. Since his Inhibitor crystal was removed we have kept him under standard observation, but his personal circumstances have made Extraction difficult.” Savage nodded as he read the supplement to Dirk’s sheet.

“So I see, one of his own kid’s mixed up in the incident. Any sign of the child’s powers being a hazard risk?”

“No Sir.”

“In which case standard procedure for minors, kept tabs on him but no further action.”

“However his Inhibitor crystal apparently is non-functional, and from observations, since implantation.” The older man looked disturbed at the news.

“Damn, better bring him in. There’s too much we don’t know about what is happening with the Inhibitors to leave this.” He dropped the sheet down on the desk, trying to push it out of his mind. The next sheet was met with a raised eyebrow.

“Who’s next, another non-assessed?”

“Richard Montenegro Li was under Triad control during his manifestation. And the past few years have been spent out on the Martian colonists. Intelligence believes he is part of the resistance movement out there. And we are reasonable sure we have an accurate assessment of his abilities.”

“For now he is low priority, but once the crisis is over move him to the Extraction list. And the final candidate.” Savage picked up the last sheet.

“You’ll like this one Sir.”

“A non-recorded. Wait, no records at all?” Savage’s voice was a mixture of surprise and intellectual curiosity.

“No Sir, a non-person as far as we can tell. No current residency, ID records, medical reports, anything.”

“No matches in the database?”

“Blue System is running a check on all those outside the normal parameters. Could be another regenerator or rejuvenator.”

“Very well, no further action until we know who she is, or have exhausted that line of enquiry. Pass on my instructions and put these files on the mainframe. Does Red or Blue system have the higher spare capacity for the job?”

“Red technically, but it’s been acting up again so minor tasks are being re-routed through Blue system. Control wants you to deal with the issues with Red, we don’t want another rebellious streak.”

“Understood. Inform Control I’ll see to her immediately.”

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137 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 18th May 2012, 18:22

Maeglin

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"You said Mark is glad to have me back right? So why is he so mad at me?"

Dirk let himself be distracted from Jenny's previous life by this question, because this was so much more important, and he wasn't sure why she didn't already know the answer.

"We mourned you, Jenny. Both of us--but I was a kid, we'd only been friends for a year--but it broke your father. He's still recovering from that. And then we find out someone's brainwashed you and--"

She glared at him sharply.

"Or given you false memories, or something. We can argue that later--but anyway, you reacted to that, and he felt...I think you hurt him, Jenny. It's not your fault, and it's not his fault. This just needs time and--" Dirk laughed, "for both of you to be patient with yourselves and each other. Like that would ever happen," he grinned fondly at her.

She had an odd smile on her face that was maybe partially genuine and partially forced, but they kept walking.

Suddenly, Dirk ducked back behind a corner, yanking Jenny along with him as he spotted a guard patrolling a door.

They paused, held their breath and didn't move, but the guard didn't seem to notice them, so they stepped back a bit and had a quick conversation in hushed tones. Dirk hoped the background white noise of the entire compound made sure they weren't overheard.

"How quietly--and non-lethally--can we take him out?" he asked.

Jenny ignited a small fireball in her hand.

"No, no, no, no," Dirk said, catching himself using the more than slightly condescending 'no, no, no, no, don't touch Daddy's things' voice usually reserved for his youngest. "I mean, an explosion might be a bit much. I have an idea."

Dirk focused for a few seconds before rounding the corner and encasing the guard, before he knew what happened, in a bubble. It was as thick as he could make it, nearly solid and definitely sound-proof. It was dangerous, but effective, like a choke-hold. They waited a few agonizing minutes while the man choked and passed out, before Dirk dropped the shield immediately, quickly checking his pulse. It was thready and weak, but he was alive.

"We need to stash him somewhere," he said, regarding the body. He was also sizing the man up, eventually deciding that the guard's uniform would be a bit large but would probably fit him.

"There's a maintenance closet here," Jenny whispered.

"Okay," Dirk replied. "Help me get him out of his uniform first."

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138 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 18th May 2012, 19:15

Jenny grinned. “Really? I never pictured us to be that close. And to be honest knocked out guys are not my type.” She teased Dirk but helped him drag that guard in the closet and get him out of his uniform.

We mourned you, Jenny…

Jennifer had a hard time process this. She knew it was not the right time to think about it but she couldn’t stop. She had all those memorize of Mark and Dirk but in none of them they would have been anything but relived about her death. She would never think that she could actually hurt the man that gave a damn about her.

…it broke your father…

She wouldn’t admit it but it scared her that Dirk and Mark knew her and so much about her but she felt like she hardly knew them. There were moments in which Jenny dared to hope, to hope for more, for someone who cared what happened to her.

“You don’t look bad in the uniform.” She smiled shyly at Dirk. “But please tell me you not plan to put me into a uniform like this.”

Those long corridors started to confuse Jenny. “Any idea where we are and where we are going? I never broke into a place so big.”


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139 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 19th May 2012, 10:39

...endless corridors. Tatiana could feel her irritation growing as she continued through the maze of bleak corridors and doorways, finding no solution as yet. The irritation was a small thing and not something she worried about yet, but she could imagine it turning to frustration as her search continued to provide little results. It was taking longer than imagined due to her desire to avoid direct conflict and reveal her appearance yet. Instead she was skirting the awarenesses of the guards she came across and sometimes this meant doubling back and taking a longer alternative route.

She paused her head whipping around as she became aware of something different happening. Where she had been monitoring the sense of the emotions of those around her she had come across some that had been more erratic that those of the guards, she had assumed perhaps someone off duty or even those of more consequence that she may need to speak with later. Their emotions had drawn her curiosity and she had been tracking them as she moved but now as they seemed to peak something different had happened and she needed to analyse this. The wandering minds had been arguing, or at least of different opinions, that much she could deduce from their emotional responses. There was a great deal of confusion coming from one of them, while another felt more sad and concerned. They had been moving toward a door guard, who seemed to share the same sense of boredom she had discovered from most she had been trying to avoid. The wandering minds stopped abruptly, Tatiana had not thought much of the matter because she had assumed they did not wish to be seen arguing infront of the underlings. Nothing had really seemed out of place to Tatiana until the guard's fear and panic had caused her to whip round. She recognised the feel of that panic, and fear so strong it almost made her sick. After a few moment that felt like forever she felt the guard's awareness disappear...the confused mind had become amused about something as they approached where the guard had been.

None of this made sense, it was not a something she expected or could have predicted, this made it a problem. New game pieces on the board being controlled by an unknown hand were risks, and you never knew if they were being played by. Her choices lay before her, she could continue to labourious search for her friend, which she was already doubting was here. This was the simple option where the moves are planned and acted out but the chance of victory were reduced by the knowledge of a third player. Or she could take the second option of discovering the identity of the third player, this had the chance for more risk and would take longer but would yeild the best position to continue her search.

She was seldom a bold player but knew the risks playing against an unpredictable opponent, sacrafices were needed to win the game. She began walking towards the last place she had sensed the guard feeling those others begin to move on again.

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140 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 23rd May 2012, 17:53

Back upstairs Mark collapsed in a chair, idly turning the computer on a selecting the news channel. On the screen were pictures of the Bellevue hospital and the damage done.

“This is Kara Silvers reporting,” spoke the voice from the screen, “coming to you from Bellevue Hospital Centre where earlier today several staff and patents were taken hostage. Rumors are growing that this is part of a suspect post-human crime wave that…”

Mark groaned and buried his head in his hands, trying to drown out his nagging conscience. He wasn’t sure how long he’d had his eyes shut before becoming aware that he wasn’t alone. Lifting his head he turned and saw Dirk’s kids looking straight at him.

Scott was holding his little sister on his hip, and she was holding her bunny. Alex stood next to him, his eyes flicking back and forth between the news and Mark.

“Are you okay?” Scott asked.

Mark grunted noncommittally.

“I mean, are you hurt or anything?” Scott tried again, squinting. Alex’s eyes refocused on him now, ignoring the screen. Even Annie’s bunny was looking at him.

“What? No. I’m fine, you guys. Go back downstairs and—”

“Then why aren’t you with my dad?” Alex asked, a shred of accusation in his voice.

“Because someone needs to keep an eye on you kids.”

“Grandma could do that. Or we can stay at home alone if we have to. So why aren’t you out fighting the bad guys?”

“I’m an old man. Hell, I’m possibly older than your grandmother. Heroing is a young person’s game, I just wouldn’t be able to keep up anymore.”

“He’s lying,” Scott informed his brother, who nodded. The little girl nodded, too, slightly. It was starting to get creepy, with three children and one stuffed animal staring at him, apparently reading his mind.

“You fought at the hospital,” Alex continued, and Mark realized this exchange was simply a more sophisticated “why?” game one indulged normal five-year olds in, where every answer prompted another “why?” Only this was no game: “And you haven’t aged physically in at least ten years, since my dad saw you last. I’ve seen the pictures. So if you don’t age, you can’t be too old to fight. So why aren’t you?”

“Ok, fine. I’ve put my ass on the line for this planet for years. I’ve saved this world countless times. And what does it do to me in return? Crushes me in every possible way. Rips away my family and friends. If the world can’t give me a single break, why should I defend it?”

“Allegorizing ‘the world’ is an ideological fallacy,” Alex began, actually clasping his hands behind his back as if he was orating a prepared speech or a memorized passage from a book, or else was reading from photographic memory. “If by ‘the world’ you mean ‘Miss Jenny,’ you’re being unfair, because she shows all the typical signs of post-traumatic-stress-syndrome, and possibly brainwashing on top of that. If you mean ‘the public opinion,’ my dad says that you can’t always trust the news and that loads of people know the truth about Supers. And even then, you shouldn’t let what people think stop you from doing what is right.”

Mark tried to speak a few times, but eventually, a breathy “Damn you, kid,” was all that came out.

Alex was beaming, a cheeky, unapologetic grin that Mark couldn’t imagine him ever giving Dirk and not being grounded for a month. “Anyway, Dad said you and him did lots of heroing, but never any proper saving-the-world stuff. Are you really going to let him take all the glory alone?”

Mark shook his head, waved at the screen again: “It clearly isn’t about glory,” he spat.

Scott spoke up, adjusting Annie on his hip. “Oh, sure. It isn’t supposed to be glorious. That’s only in the comic books, whatever dad says.” He peered hard at Mark, like a bug under a microscope. “It’s not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need Supers to do it.”

There was a long pause.

“Can you kids keep a secret?”

The children’s faces brightened: “Yeah!” they replied in unison.

“Even from your father?”

This time the responses ran the gamut from “Yeah,” to “Maybe,” to “No!” but Mark only laughed.

“Come on then.” Finally rising from his chair, Mark walked downstairs and to one of the car ramps in the main garage.

“Obviously if it comes to a matter of life and death you can tell your Dad, but not before, understand?” Feeling for a secret switch on the ramp control box, Mark activated the device. The ramp rose up higher than normal, revealing another hidden entrance below the floor.

“Now then, what are you kids taught these days about superhero teams?”

“According to my teacher,” Alex said, in reciting mode again, “because of new technology teams, superheroes are ‘an unnecessary vigilante menace to society’.” He grinned. “But we know that’s not true! We’ll always need Supers to be heroes!”

Mark sighed. “Unfortunately, capability and willingness are two different things, kid. Just because someone has the ability to be a hero, doesn’t mean they will be.” He decided to ignore the hypocrisy of what he was saying for now, and moved on quickly before one of the kids could call him out on it. “But that wasn’t quite what I meant. What about the superhero teams you learn about in history?”

“Ooh, ooh!” Alex said, practically skipping after Mark down the corridor. Mark thought he caught Scott rolling his eyes as his massively nerdy brother launched into yet another memorized textbook: “Well the initial appearance of Supers was in the 70s, including First, the Egyptian-styled hero with super-strength, toughness and flight, and who turned darkside, only to be defeated by a coalition of superheroes from all over the world. This sparked the creation of the ‘Elite Champions’ active from 1981 to 2002: this group included the Ice Queen, who controlled ice, a speedster called Interceptor, and an electricity controller called Arc. They were led by Mr. Steelman, an armored paragon, probably the greatest Super ever (except for Dad) to—”

The second blast door opened and lights flicked on in the large room. The right wall was covered in alcoves containing computer banks, monitors and workbenches. Along the left were equipment racks which made the upstairs armory look like a dime store. The center of the room was dominated by a fold-winged jet. But the jet was missing several pieces of its hull and the whole room was covered in thick dust, except for one chair and desk, surrounded by photos and covered in empty bottles. Yet none of this was what caught the Rogers’ children attention. It was the recesses built into the far wall, each of which contained a suit of high-tech armor. An iconic suit from decades ago:

Alex, whom it was usually impossible to shut up once he got going, actually stood speechless, staring at the suit, for there was no mistaking it.

Scott was the first to speak: “Mr. Steelman! You’re Mr. Steelman? You never told Dad?” Mark didn’t suspect his estimation in Scott’s eyes could increase any more than it already had.

“Dad has all your comic books!” Alex cried, still in shock. “I’ve read every single issue!”

Annie, meanwhile, was giggling as if she was in on a very amusing secret.

“So I guess this means you’ll be going then, huh?” Scott asked, grinning sidelong up at him.


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141 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 23rd May 2012, 17:57

Maeglin

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"Well we can start by checking out what's behind this door he was guarding," Dirk said as he zipped up the jumpsuit, trying to ignore her comment about how he looked in it (though he felt his face grow hot). "He had to be guarding it for some reason. We're looking for a computer room, or some place where we can access files..."

But as Dirk reached out to touch the door, it opened on its own. For a brief, hopeful moment he thought maybe the doors in this place just did that, did the Star Trek thing where they open automatically when you approach them, but his hopes were soon dashed when a young man walked out, holding a personal computer in one arm and a bundle of papers and files in the other.

"Soldier!" he harumphed. "What is it? You know not to come in here!"

"Umm!" Dirk said, grabbing for Jenny and pulling her roughly to him. "I found this intruder trying to get in here!" It wasn't a good lie: he wouldn't have believed it, but the man seemed more annoyed than anything:

"Why haven't you sounded an intruder alert, then? You know these centers are secure-access only! What's your operating number?"

"Umm!" Dirk replied, as "TK421" was the only lie that came to mind, which was not likely to be convincing.

"Oh, for crying out loud," Jenny muttered, and before Dirk could blink, she had launched a fireball and knocked the man back into the room, where he hit the far wall with a sickening crunch.

"Hey, what's going on here?" cried another man, standing up from where he sat at a computer screen. Dirk slammed him with a shield wall before rounding on Jenny.

"What did I say about nonlethal?" he reprimanded.

"He was about to give us away!" she snapped, blasting the last worker in the large computer center.

Dirk frowned at the unnecessary loss of life, but did not push the issue. She had, probably, saved their lives. "Okay, fine. Let's work quickly, then," he said, assessing the room. "I assume we can't get into the information without access codes, so grab everything that isn't nailed down. Pull out hard drives, grab paperwork, thumb drives, anything," he said, erecting a shield wall in front of the door before kneeling behind one of the consoles to unplug it.

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142 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 24th May 2012, 10:53

Jenny sighed computer and her don’t go alone she set too many accidently on fire. Jenny looked through a couple of papers on the desks nothing really interesting but she grabbed it anyway. When she suddenly stopped and watched Dirk. She couldn’t stop wonder if it was like this when Dirk and Mark were alone. Thinking about Mark made her angry, why was he such a jerk when he was happy to see her again?

“Did you two ever talk about me? I mean after the accident.”

Jenny melted the screws of a hard drive since she didn’t have the strength to pull them out.


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143 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 27th May 2012, 17:10

Tatiana could feel the emotional storm ahead as the events continued to change dramatically ahead. Whoever this mysterious group were they had no ability to sense others around them. She got that from the utter panic felt by the one who stood before an irritated worker at the facility. He was clearly not used to lying and his stories were causing the worker to become suspicious quickly. Tatiana had almost given the group up for lost when the worker's mind disappeared, swiflty followed by the two remaining minds ahead of them. Again there was a sense of disappointment, confusion before anger became the most powerful emotion to be swiftly followed by confusion once more. Tatiana didn't know what this ship held but if anyone here had the power to sense the minds of others it would not take them long to find these airing their feelings. Tatiana was not clear herself why she bothered to seek them out beyond the fact that she knew she had to understand this new event if her own quest was to be considered safe enough to continue. It already stood on the brink and Tatiana was preparing her next moves, thunder danced in the distance and she could feel the air alive with all the tools she would need to defend herself or escape which ever was needed most. The anger felt earlier had once again burned down to confusion and a need for something...

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144 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 30th May 2012, 16:52

Maeglin

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Dirk sighed. "Not as much as I would have liked. Your dad's not much of a talker, and he's--well, at least after you died he wasn't--good at dealing with his feelings. So, no, we didn't talk about you...much..."

He had been flicking rapidly through a file cabinet which listed base personnel. They didn't sound incredibly interesting and at first Dirk was sure he was looking at the dossiers on the cleaning staff, when suddenly a name caught his eye--

ROGERS, JOAN CRAWFORD.

"Oh, my stars and garters."

The shield wall he had been holding in front of the door dropped as his concentration lapsed.

"Dirk?"

"This--" Dirk snatched up the file, unable to think, much less speak. "Joan--"

"Dirk!" Jenny grabbed his arm, making him look up. "I think we have company..." she said, pointing to a shadow beneath the door which wasn't there before.



Last edited by Maeglin on 31st May 2012, 04:21; edited 1 time in total

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145 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 30th May 2012, 19:46

Shock, confusion and the smallest trace of hope almost blinded Tatiana as she waited beyond the door. Just when she thought she understood these people they continued to behave in erratic and unpredictable ways. Now the new turmoil of emotions were tempered by a sudden withdrawing and hostility directed toward....her! Perhaps they were not as lax as she had originally presumed, well she was not one to slink in the shadows, she found the panel to open the door and prepared the air in the room ahead of her. Taking a moment to centre herself before she marched into the room to confront them.

As she stormed in she took in the loose wires and computer cadavours as well as the piles of papers in hands and uncerimoniously thrown into packs guilt was written over every inch of their bodies regardless of whatever 'fakery' had been planned.
Raising an eyebrow at the group she asked archly "Have you people never heard of subtlety?"

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146 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 30th May 2012, 20:03

Jenny looked for a moment at Dirk as if she was checking what he wanted to do, but she quickly threw the thought overboard and decided what to do. She dropped the few paper files, and the hard drive she had in her hands and let two fire balls appear. “Sure I did. Pick a spot and I burn a hole right through your body.”
This was getting annoying, too many people walked into them. Jenny knew this wouldn’t have been easy but this was starting to turn bad.


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147 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 30th May 2012, 20:56

Tatiana had a moments notice, the swift change of emotions, before she dropped to the floor while simultaniously dropping the termperature to bring about a dense fog and freeze the metal floor. She felt the heat fly over her before she pushed up and began to back out of the room.

"Idiota! If your presence were not already well documented then these actions would certainly draw attention." She could feel the elements she had prepped earlier eager to come to her command. She was unsure why she continued with reason but she would try...but patience only lasted until it broke, and Tatiana would end this fight one way or the other before she allowed herself to break.

Fog now began to drift down the corridors and now obscured her presence from the others with an icy floor ahead of her the clock was now ticking. "Perhaps we can be rational and talk now or do you wish to continue playing games?"

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148 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 31st May 2012, 04:20

Maeglin

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"Jenny!" Dirk shouted. "Jenny, stand down! I...don't think she means us any harm."

"What? How do you know that?" Jennifer snapped.

Dirk squinted at the newcomer. A weather controller, but something else: she had a knowing look that was equal parts soothing and disconcerting. It was the look his daughter gave him sometimes. Like he was an ant, and she understood the cosmos.

"I think if she was sent to kill us, we would be dead already," he said, giving her a hard look, but ready to throw a shield in front of Jenny if his guess proved wrong. "I have no quarrel with you, ma'am" he said to the stranger. "And I'm not good at subtlety, as I am sure you can see. We are here for information, and we do not intend to incur casualties. You can either help us, or step aside." The third option wasn't polite for a first meeting, so he left it out.

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149 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 4th June 2012, 12:59

Mist continued to swirl around the space between them. Things seemed to be calming down but she had seen how quickly emotions flared up.

"I'm glad you have shown yourselves capable of rational discussion." Tatiana tried to split her attention between her new friends and anyone moving toward their location which was much harder to do than she expected. "I do not want to hurt you but I will not let you interfere with my mission. I had simply wanted to find out who you were, that your actions were enough to draw me to you suggests that others may not be far behind wouldn't you agree?" She did not wait for their agreement before pushing on, "why are you taking the computer parts instead of hacking the system. It would be easier to do from an inside data point?"

While it was not possible to see their faces she could sense their perplexion, she assumed they were not as skilled in data retrieval as herself. She decided not to push the matter further not just because it was rude but also because it was never a good idea to give too much information so early. Especially when she was unsure whether or not these were allies or enemies, her weather sense suggested there were too many undercurrents ready to shift unexpectedly.

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150 Re: Issue 1: March of Mephisto on 7th June 2012, 01:30

Maeglin

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"Our agent with that capability is...indisposed, so this is a hit and run mission. And I mean no disrespect, ma'am, but just because we are fighting the same enemy it does not mean we are on the same side, and you are wasting valuable time. Now if you walk away and pretend you never saw us, there's no cause for alarm." Dirk respected this woman, but he was not ready to trust her. She could easily be a double-agent and trip an alarm.

Or she could be stalling them.

"Jenny, take what we have and go. We're getting out of here." He slipped the last precious files into watertight bags and stuffed them in his backpack. He needed to inform Renegade and Richard that they'd made a contact and that they were leaving, but he would wait until they were out of earshot before giving away that they had reinforcements.

He squared up against the woman at the door. "Now please step aside, miss, or prepare to defend yourself."

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